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March 2020 International News

  • Indira Gandhi and Amrit Kaur named by TIME among ‘100 women of the year’
    Former Indian PM Indira Gandhi and freedom fighter Amrit Kaur was named by the TIME magazine among the world's 100 powerful women in the last century. TIME has named Kaur as 'Women of the Year' for the year 1947 and Indira Gandhi for the year 1976.

    Amrit Kaur:
    In 1918, the young princess Kaur returned to India and was fascinated by Mahatma Gandhi's teachings. She was born into the royal family of Kapurthala. She helped to break India free from British colonial ties and oppressive societal norms. She fought many social issues, pushing for women's education and the right to vote and to divorce, and speaking out against child marriage.

    AmritKaur became the first woman to join the Cabinet after independence. She served as Health Minister for 10 years. She established the Indian Council for Child Welfare and helped establish India's top hospital and medical college. She campaigned to prevent malaria, likely saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

  • Two new land ports to be added as entry points for Bangladeshi people
    Bangladesh is to add two new land ports for the Bangladeshi citizens travelling to India. It will have the option of two more land port entry points on their visas. The announcement was made by the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das.

    Visitors from Bangladesh to India will be able to enter India from Bhomra, and Akhaura side of Bangladesh will connect Gojadanga and Agartala, respectively, on the Indian side. Currently, Bangladeshi people can travel to India with a normal visa from only two land ports namely Benapole and Petrpole, apart from the travel by air and rail.

    The decision to allow entry into India from the two additional land ports was agreed during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in October 2018. The move is now in the process of being implemented.

  • UN releases World Happiness Report 2020
    United Nations released the World Happiness Report 2020. The World Happiness Report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves. The report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness.

    This is the 8th edition of the World Happiness Report. The special focus of the World Happiness Report 2020 was on environments for happiness, which emphasizes more specifically on social environments for happiness, as reflected by the quality of personal social connections and social institutions.

    World Happiness Report 2020 covers the period of 2017-2019 and analyses the countries on the following six variables:
    1. GDP per capita
    2. Social support
    3. Healthy life expectancy
    4. Freedom to make life choices
    5. Generosity
    6. Perceptions of corruption

    Ranking of countries as per the World Happiness Report 2020:
    1. Finland
    2. Denmark
    3. Switzerland
    4. Iceland
    5. Norway
    6. Netherlands
    7. Sweden
    8. New Zealand
    9. Austria
    10. Luxembourg
    11. Canada
    12. Australia
    13. United Kingdom
    14. Israel
    15. Costa Rica
    16. Ireland
    17. Germany
    18. United States
    19. Czech Republic
    20. Belgium
    144. India

  • International Nowruz Day celebrated on March 21
    International Nowruz Day is celebrated on 21 March every year. International Nowruz Day to celebrate Nowruz which is an ancestral festivity and marks the first day of spring as well as the renewal of nature.

    The values of peace and solidarity among generations and within families hence contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples as well as in different communities.

    Nowruz marks the first day of spring celebrated on the occasion of the astronomical vernal equinox that generally occurs on 21 March.

    It is celebrated by more than 300 million people all around the world as the beginning of the new year honored for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and other regions.

  • International Day of Forests observed on 21 March
    United Nations celebrates International Day of Forest on March 21 every year to increase awareness and importance of forests. The Day is celebrated since 2012.

    Forests and Biodiversity
    March 21 has chosen to mark the international day of forests as it is the Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere and autumnal equinox.

    The organizers are the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.

  • UN to create global coronavirus fund
    The United Nations (UN) has announced that it is to create a fund to support the treatment of coronavirus patients worldwide.

    The announcement was made by Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide. A formal announcement is yet to be made.

    The move aims to provide predictability to the partners and help to make the efforts more effective.

    The fund will assist developing countries with weak health systems to address the crisis and to tackle the long-term consequence.

    Almost 340,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the world, and more than 14,500 have died.

  • World Meteorological Day is observed on 23rd March
    The World Meteorological day is observed on 23rd March. The day is celebrated by the World Meteorological Organization. The day marks the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization.

    The theme of the 2020 World Meteorological day is "Climate and Water." The theme focus on climate change for the year 2020 is "Count Every Drop, Every Drop Counts." The day focuses on the challenges posed by the water crisis, floods and droughts, and lack of access to clean supplies.

    World Meteorological Day:
    World Meteorological Organization was established on 23 March 1950. The day showcases the essential contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to the safety and wellbeing of society. On this day, several activities are hosted around the world.

  • World Water Day is observed on 22nd March
    World Water Day is observed on 22nd March every year to create awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water.

    The day marks the importance of freshwater and spreads awareness for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The day aims to revive initiatives and measures to save water. Water is the essential building block of life. It is essential to protect the health, and hence water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.

    The theme for the 2020 World Water Day is 'Water and Climate Change.' The theme explores how the two issues are inextricably linked. The 2020 campaign promoted messages around hand-washing and hygiene and gave guidance on staying safe while supporting the campaign, in view of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

    World Water Day is celebrated by hosting a variety of events, including educational, theatrical, musical, or lobbying in nature. The day includes campaigns to raise money for water projects.

  • World Down Syndrome Day was observed on 21st March
    World Down Syndrome Day was observed on 21st March every year to raise public awareness and understanding of Down syndrome. The congenital disorder is caused by an extra 21st chromosome.

    The day aims to showcase the abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. It also focuses on encouraging independence, self-advocacy, and freedom of choices for people with Down syndrome.

    The UN reported that Down Syndrome affects about 1 in 800 births worldwide. It causes intellectual disability and associated medical issues. Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition. It is universally present across racial, gender, and socio-economic lines.

    Down Syndrome International and many other organizations have organized various activities for World Down Syndrome Day since 2006. In November 2011, the UN decided to officially observe the event from 2012 onwards, inviting governments and businesses to take part in World Down Syndrome Day.

  • World Poetry Day was observed on 21 March
    World Poetry Day was observed on 21 March. The day recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

    The day reminds and encourages the oral tradition of poetry recitals. It also promotes the teaching of poetry and restores a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, and painting. The day supports small publishers and creates an attractive image of poetry in the media.

    The World Poetry Day aims to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

    The observation of World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO's 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999. The aim is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increase the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.

    The days aim to honour poets, writing, and teaching of poetry, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music, and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media.

  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed on 21 March
    International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed on 21 March to promote equality and reminds people of the negative consequences of racial discrimination. It encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination.

    On 23 December 2013, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2024. The theme of observation is "People of African descent: recognition, justice, and development".

  • US cuts USD 1 billion aid to Afghanistan after Pompeo trip to Kabul
    The United States has cut $1 billion in assistance to Afghanistan as Afghan's leaders failed to agree on forming a new government. The slash was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after his visit to Kabul to meet with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdulla.

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah informed Pompeo that they do not agree on an inclusive government that can meet the challenges of governance, peace, and security, and provides for the health and welfare of Afghan citizens.

    The US has supported the Afghan government since it invaded the country in 2001 and overthrew the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks.

    The US withdrew its troops from Afghanistan under the terms of its agreement with the Taliban. As per the agreement, the US will continue to withdraw its troops in the next several months from about 13,000 to 8,600.

  • Afghan government, Taliban held first discussion to arrange possible prisoner exchanges
    The Afghan government and the Taliban held their first discussion on arranging possible prisoner exchanges. The information was passed by the US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.

    The US and Qatar facilitated the first Afghan government to Taliban technical talks on prisoner releases through Skype video conferencing. Zalmay Khalilzad stated that they should move quickly to conclude plans for such exchanges as the Coronavirus pandemic was complicating diplomatic contacts.

    Earlier, the Afghan government said that it would free 1,500 Taliban prisoners. There will be a delay in the release of another 3,500 that the militants say must be set free for talks to begin under a peace deal reached with the United States.

  • International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is observed on 24 March
    International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is observed on 24 March.

    The day pays tribute to those who have devoted their lives to and lost their lives in the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all.

    The day is observed to pay tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Monsignor Romero was actively engaged in denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable individuals in El Salvador. He was murdered on 24 March 1980.

    In 2006, the UN decided that the people had the right to know the truth about gross human rights violations and serious violations of human rights law. Also, the right was linked to governments' duty and obligation to protect and guarantee human rights, to conduct effective investigations, and to guarantee effective remedy and reparations.

    On 21 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated the observation of 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

  • World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24 March
    World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on 24 March every year to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

    The theme of the 2020 World Tuberculosis Day is "It's time." The theme aims to scale up access to prevention and treatment, build accountability, ensure sufficient and sustainable financing including for research, promote an end to stigma and discrimination, and promote an equitable, rights-based, and people-centered TB response.

    World Tuberculosis Day:
    The date, 24 March, marks the day when Dr.Robert Koch announced the discovery of the bacterium that causes TB in 1882. The discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

    TB is still the world's deadliest infectious killer disease. A study says, each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB, and close to 30,000 people fall ill with preventable and curable diseases.

    Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 58 million lives since the year 2000. In September 2018, Heads of State came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting and accelerated the TB response in countries to reach targets.

  • Saudi Arabia proposed to convene virtual G20 Leaders Summit on 26th March
    Saudi Arabia proposed to convene a virtual G20 Leaders' Summit on 26 March. Saudi Arabia is to advance a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications. Saud Arabia holds the chair. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair Summit.

    Summit Participants:
    Leaders from countries namely Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland and several international organizations including United Nations (UN), World Bank Group (WBG), the World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organization (ILO), World Trade Organization (WTO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Financial Stability Board (FSB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will participate in the summit.

    Regional organizations will be represented by South Africa the Chair of the African Union (AU), Vietnam the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Arab Emirates the Chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Rwanda the Chair of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

    The G20 (Group of 20) is an international cooperation forum on financial and economic issues. It includes 19 of the world's largest economies and the European Union. It is a primary platform for global economic governance.

  • IMF says COVID-19 might cause a global recession
    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause a global recession in 2020. The recession could be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. It is also expected that the world economic output should recover in 2021. The information was passed by the IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

    Many countries have taken extraordinary measures to boost health systems and protect affected companies and workers. Also, several steps have been taken by central banks of the countries to ease monetary policy.

    The finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 (G20) of the world's largest economies agreed on the need for solidarity across the globe. IMF has asked all the countries to work together to protect people and limit the economic damage due to the COVID-19.

    IMF asked its members to contribute funds to its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust in order to help the poorest countries.

  • Tokyo Olympic torch relay has been cancelled
    The Japan leg of the Tokyo Olympic torch relay has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee. The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Tokyo Olympic games by roughly one year.

    The decision was made during a telephone conference. International Olympic Committee (IOC) is planning to draw a new plan for the relay. IOC stated that the Olympic flame will remain in Japan.

    The torch relay was scheduled to begin in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. The flame for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 was lit as scheduled on 12 March in ancient Olympia despite the COVID-19 outbreak. The flame handover ceremony took place in Athens on 19 March before the flame arrived in Japan on 20 March in Miyagi Prefecture. The relay was to cover 859 municipalities across all 47 prefectures in Japan.

    After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Games Organizing Committee planned to transport the Olympic flame in a lantern by car instead of having it carried by torchbearers when the Japan leg of the torch relay starts later in the week. It was decided as it aimed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among people who would normally line the roads to watch the flame be carried past.

  • International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is observed on 25th March
    International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members is observed on 25 March every year to remember the fallen personnel who served for the cause of peace in a violent world. Since the United Nations' founding, over 3,500 brave men and women have lost their lives in its service.

    The day aims to mobilize action, demand justice and strengthen staff in the non-governmental community and the press.

    The day is marked on the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett. He was a former journalist who worked for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

    He was abducted by armed gunman in 1985. His body was found in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in 2009. The first resolution on staff security was adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC) in September 1993.

    In the 6th Legal Committee of UNGA, an international legal convention to protect UN personnel was proposed. It led to the adoption of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel on 9 December 1994.

  • International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed on 25 March
    International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed on 25 March every year to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice in the world. The day provides an opportunity to honour and remember the people who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system.

    On 17 December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution and designated 25 March as International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

    As per the resolution, the Secretary-General, in collaboration with UNESCO, should establish an educational outreach program to mobilize educational institutions, civil society, and other organizations to educate the future generations about the reasons, consequences, and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade. It mainly aims to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice.

  • Man dies of Hantavirus in China
    A report from China stated that a man died from Hantavirus. He was from China's Yunnan province. He died on a bus to the Shandong province. The people who travelled along with him have been tested.

    Hantaviruses are a family of viruses that are transmitted mainly by rodents. It can show varied disease syndrome in people. The name varies differ in various regions. In America, it is known as "New World" hantaviruses, and in Europe and Asia, it is known as "Old World" hantaviruses.

    The virus is spread mainly from rodents. The infection with any of the hantavirus can cause hantavirus disease in people. Hantaviruses may cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS).

    Early symptoms of HPS include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems.
    Late symptoms, usually after four to 10 days, include coughing and shortness of breath. It can be fatal too in some cases.

    HFRS will show symptoms from 1-2 weeks after coming in contact with the virus. In rare cases, it may take up to 8 weeks to show symptoms. Early symptoms include severe headaches, back and abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision.
    Late symptoms include are low blood pressure (BP), acute shock, vascular leakage, and acute kidney failure.

  • The US reported more Coronavirus cases than China, Italy
    The United States has reported more coronavirus cases than any other country with over 82,400. The report was announced by Johns Hopkins University.
    The number has overtaken China and Italy. The country made the coronavirus tests available in all 50 states and more than 552,000 tests had been conducted nationwide.

    The US has released "new guidelines" which will create "low, medium and high-risk zones". These guidelines will allow the government to advise on maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place.
    The United States is the world's largest economy. The Labor Department of the US reported that 3.3 million people applied for unemployment benefits. It is the highest number ever recorded.

    The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion package. It will provide cash payouts averaging $3,400 for a family of four.
    A study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington's School of Medicine stated that around 2,300 patients could be dying every day by April 2020.

  • WHO conducts Mega trial of 4 drugs to combat coronavirus
    The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun a global mega trial of the four most promising drugs that may cure the novel coronavirus.
    The 4 drugs are Remdesivir, Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, Ritonavir and lopinavir, Ritonavir/lopinavir and interferon-beta.

    Mega Trial:
    The mega trial by WHO is called Solidarity.

    Under Solidarity, the scientist will study, test, and develop an antidote against coronavirus will be done.

    Solidarity trial test is expected to procure robust results. For the test trial, several thousands of patients have to be recruited.

    Remdesivir drug was used to combat Ebola and other dangerous viruses.

    Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are used to treat patients suffering from malaria.

    Ritonavir and lopinavir drug is given to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to slow down the process of deterioration of organs.

    Ritonavir/lopinavir and interferon-beta is used to treat Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) patients in Saudi Arabia.

  • World theatre day is observed on 27th March
    World Theatre Day celebrated is observed annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. The day aims to promote theatre in all its forms across the world.

    The main objective of the World theatre day is to enable theatre communities to promote their work on a broad scale so that governments and opinion leaders are aware of the value and importance of dance in all its forms and support it.

    The World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). The day has been celebrated since 1962.

  • World countries asked publishers to make all coronavirus-related data available to the public
    World countries, including India and the US, have asked publishers to make all coronavirus-related research and data available to the public to contain and mitigate the rapidly evolving Pandemic.

    The joint open letter was issued by the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and US' Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier on behalf of the government science leaders including science ministers and chief science advisors from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

    The Coronavirus was first surfaced in China in December 2019. Coronavirus has been declared as Pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
    It has now killed more than 3,000 people globally. Science officials have stated that basic science research and innovation will be vital to address the global crisis. Looking at the urgency of the situation, it is very important that scientists and the public can access research outcomes as soon as possible.

  • Bill Gates stepped down from the Microsofts board
    Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft's board. Microsoft did not announce any replacement for Gates on the board.
    Gates also announced that he would be stepping down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway. Since 2004, he has served as a director of Berkshire Hathaway.

    His departure reduced the number of Microsoft directors to 12. The board directors of Microsoft are John W. Thompson, Microsoft independent chair; Sandra E. Peterson, operating partner, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; Nadella; Reid Hoffman, partner at Greylock Partners; Hugh Johnston, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Pepsico; Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gap; John Stanton, chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners; Penny Pritzker, founder, and chairman, PSP Partners; Charles W. Scharf, CEO of Wells Fargo; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International; Padmasree Warrior, founder, CEO, and president, Fable Group; and Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline.
    Earlier, in October 2018, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died of cancer at the age of 65.

  • UNCTAD reports Coronavirus outbreak cost global economy up to USD 2 trillion
    The UN's trade and development agency United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported that the coronavirus (Covid-19) cost the global economy up to $2 trillion in 2019.

    The announcement was made by Richard Kozul-Wright, Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD.

    As per the report, the epidemic caused a recession in some countries and depress global annual growth to below 2.5%.

    The economic uncertainty has likely cost the global economy $1 trillion in 2020.

    A $220 billion hit the developing countries, excluding China.

    The most badly affected economies because of the epidemic are oil-exporting countries. They lost more than 1% point of growth and those with strong trade linkages to the initially shocked economies.

    Also, growth decelerations between 0.7% and 0.9% are likely to occur in the American countries such as Canada, Mexico, and the Central American region and countries in the East and South Asia, and immediacy of the European Union.

  • India pledged USD 10 million toward a Covid-19 emergency fund
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a video-conference meet of leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations to tackle the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

    The conference witnessed the participation of leaders of all SAARC countries.

    PM Modi proposed for Covid-19 emergency fund.

    India pledged $10 million toward a Covid-19 emergency fund and planned to put together a rapid response team of doctors and specialists for SAARC nations.

    India suggested Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal (IDSP) that is currently being used to detect infected patients and contact tracing.

    The leaders proposed that health secretaries and experts from all SAARC member nations should coordinate to monitor and curb the spread of Covid-19.

  • International Pi Day is observed on 14 March
    International Pi (p) day is observed on 14 March. The day was chosen as 3, 1, and 4, which are the first three significant digits of p.

    Pi is one of the most well-known mathematical constants. It is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

    It is represented by the lower-case Greek letter p. For any circle, the distance around the edge is a little more than three times the distance across.

    The irrational number is most often approximated with the decimal 3.14 or the fraction 22/7.

    Pi has been known for almost 4000 years. Mathematicians started to use the Greek letter p in the 1700s.

    It was introduced by William Jones in 1706. The use of the symbol was popularized by Leonhard Euler, who adopted it in 1737.

    An 18th-century French mathematician, Georges Buffon, devised a way to calculate p based on probability.

  • International Day of Action for Rivers is observed on 14 March
    International Day of Action for Rivers is observed on 14 March. This year, the 22nd annual International Day of Action for Rivers is observed.

    The day aims to stress the importance of rivers and how it affects the lives of the people. The theme of 2020 International Day of Action for Rivers is Women, Water, and Climate Change.

    The International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers, Water and Life was initiated at the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams at Curitiba Brazil in March 1997.

    Representatives from 20 countries decided the designate 14 March as the observation of International Day of Action, which coincides with Brazil's Day of Action Against Large Dams.

    The day was designated to raise people's voices against destructive water development projects, reclaim the health of our watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of our rivers.

  • World Sleep Day is observed on 13 March
    World Sleep Day is observed on 13 March. The day focuses on the issues related to sleep, sleep medicine, education about sleep.

    The day raises awareness about the social effects that sleep deprivation can have on everyday life.

    World Sleep Day:
    World Sleep Day aims to help those who have sleep problems, educate people all over about the importance of sleep, and change the way people view and experience sleep by giving people valuable resources to help them in their daily lives.

    World Sleep day was organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society.

    According to the American Sleep Association, over 50 to 70 million people have a sleeping disorder, over 25 million have sleep apnoea, and the most commonly reported sleep problem is insomnia.

    The Society sought to encourage the development and exchange of information for world-wide and regional standards of practice for sleep medicine.

  • World Consumer Rights day is observed on 15 March
    World Consumer Rights Day is observed on 15 March. The consumer movement marks 15 March with World Consumer Rights Day every year.

    The day aims to raise global awareness about consumer rights and needs.

    The day aims to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

    The observation World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by President John F Kennedy. He sent a special message to the US Congress on 15 March 1962, where he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights.

    He was the first world leader to do so. The consumer movement was first marked in 1983. The day aims to mobilize action on important issues and campaigns.

  • First human trial of a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 began in the US
    The first human trial of a vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19) began at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle, the US.

    Covid-19 vaccine trial:
    The vaccine is called mRNA-1273. The vaccine has shown promise in animal models.

    It was developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    A 43-year-old woman from Seattle received the first dose.

    The vaccine contains a harmless genetic code copied from the virus that causes the disease. It cannot cause COVID-19.

    The trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers over approximately six weeks.

    The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial.

    The study participants will receive two doses of the vaccine via intramuscular injection in the upper arm approximately 28 days apart.

    Participants will return to the clinic for follow-up visits between vaccinations and for additional visits across the span of a year after the second shot.

    The participants will be monitored by the Clinicians for common vaccination symptoms, such as soreness at the injection site or fever, as well as any other medical issues.

    A safety monitoring committee will also periodically review trial data and advise NIAID.

  • PM Narendra Modi to participate 100th birth Anniversary celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to participate in the 100th birth Anniversary celebrations of 'Jatir Pita' Bangabandhu, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in Bangladesh on 17 March (through video message).

    Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the planned events will be held without any public gatherings.

    Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:
    Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is popularly known as Bangabandhu by the people of Bangladesh. He was born on 17 March 1920 at Tungipara, Bengal Presidency, British India.

    He was a leading figure of the Awami League, which was founded as an East Pakistan-based political party in Pakistan in 1949. He served as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and then as the President of Bangladesh.

    He was assassinated on 15 August 1975. His daughter Sheikh Hasina is the current leader of the Awami League.

  • Virtual G20 leaders summit to be held in March
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks (through telephone call) with the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman.

    The two leaders discussed the global situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The leaders emphasized the need for coordinated efforts to adequately address the global challenge.

    Discussion on Covid-19, which impacted the health and well-being of several hundred thousand people, was held.

    Prime Minister Modi proposed a virtual conference with the g20 leaders.

    His Highness, Mohammed bin Salman agreed to the exercise at the level of G20 leaders. At present, Saudi Arabia holds the Chair of G20.

    The G20 leaders' summit will be held in March 2020.

    It is expected that it would be useful at a global scale, both for discussing specific measures to address the challenges posed by the global outbreak of COVID-19 and also to instill confidence in the global populace.

  • World Sparrow Day is observed on 20 March
    World Sparrow Day is observed on 20th March. It is observed every year. The day aims to raise awareness about the importance of sparrows in the ecosystem.

    It also conveys the message of conservation of sparrows that are disappearing faster than other common birds.

    The theme for the 2020 World Sparrow Day is 'I Love Sparrow.'

    The day aims to teach the public about the threat of polluted urban environments and non-caring humans to the house sparrow population and to other common bird species.

    The World Sparrow Day was initiated by the founder of The Nature Forever Society, Mohammed Dilawar. He also started many projects, including the BiodiverCity Photo Competition, the annual Sparrow Awards, Project Save Our Sparrows, and the Common Bird Monitoring of India program.

    The first World Sparrow Day was observed in the year 2010. In 2011, the World Sparrow Awards were instituted.

    The award recognizes the individuals who have made the biggest contributions toward conserving the environment and protecting common species.

  • International Day of Happiness is celebrated on 20 March
    International Day of Happiness is celebrated on 20 March. The day aims to inspire and advance the global happiness movement.

    The campaign theme for the year 2020 is 'Happiness For All, Together.' The campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness.

    International Happiness Day was founded and conceptualised by Jayme Illien, the CEO of the United Nations New World Order project, in 2006.

    The main idea behind celebrating the day is to establish happiness as a fundamental human right among the masses. It was one of the goals of the United Nations (UN) to celebrate the happiness, freedom, and well-being of mankind on earth.

    In 2011, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution which recognized happiness as a "fundamental human goal" International Happiness Day was celebrated for the first time in 2013.

  • North Korea fires three projectiles, says Seoul's military
    North Korea has fired three projectiles, Seoul's military said, a week after it launched what the South said appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles.

    The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff in a statement said that three devices were fired eastwards over the sea from the Sondok area in South Hamgyong province. Today's launch was the North's second weapons test in a week.

    After last week's launch the North's state media said leader Kim Jong Un had overseen a long-range artillery drill but it was not clear if those two incidents last week were the same.

    The latest launch came days after Kim sent a personal letter to the South's President Moon Jae-in, offering comfort for the rapid outbreak of the Novel Corona virus outbreak in the country.

    The launches come as nuclear negotiations with the US are at a standstill and after the expiry of a unilateral deadline Pyongyang set for Washington to offer it fresh concessions on sanctions relief.

  • Maldives introduce motion to launch inquiry into gender discrimination on International Women’s day
    Maldives Parliament introduced a motion to launch an inquiry into systemic gender discrimination on the occasion of International Women’s day.

    Parliament’s deputy speaker Eva Abdulla presented the motion seeking to identify policies, laws and systems that are detrimental to women.

    Noting that women constitute 49 per cent of the country’s population, the motion stated that putting an end to gender discrimination and facilitating more opportunities for women contributes to the swifter development of the nation.

    It called for all necessary steps to ensure gender equality and launching a parliamentary inquiry to compile a report on systemic gender discrimination in the country and presenting the recommendations to parliament.

    The motion also noted recent efforts to empower women such as the new amendments to the decentralization act which allocated 33 percent of council seats for women.

  • Saudi Arabia slashed oil prices after OPEC plus meeting fails to make a deal
    Oil prices plunged by 20% after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) failure to make a deal with its allies regarding production cuts.
    The meeting OPEC+ that was held between OPEC and its allies concluded with no deal on additional production cuts.

    Saudi Arabia slashed oil prices. The country announced massive discounts on the official selling prices for April. It is preparing to increase its production above the 10 million barrel per day mark.
    Saudi currently pumps 9.7 million barrels per day. But it can generally ramp up to 12.5 million barrels per day.
    After the move by the Kingdom, Brent oil was down nearly 10% at $45.27.

    OPEC+ meeting:
    The 178th Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of OPEC was held in Vienna, Austria, on 5 March 2020.
    It was held under the Chairmanship of its President, HE Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy of Algeria and Head of its Delegation.
    The Conference considered the withdrawal of Ecuador from OPEC, with effect from 1 January 2020.

  • UNSC passes resolution to endorse US Taliban peace agreement
    United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a United States' resolution that supports a recent deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban, which is a rare endorsement of an agreement with a militant group.

    The US military has started to withdraw its troops per the agreement signed in the 29 February pact with the Taliban.

    In the resolution, UNSC has urged the Government of Afghanistan to advance the peace process by participating in intra-Afghan negotiations through a diverse and inclusive negotiating team composed of Afghan political and civil society leaders, including women.

    The United States is to end its longest-ever conflict and under the terms of a deal signed in Doha in February 2019.

    Under the pact, all foreign forces would quit Afghanistan within 14 months.

    It also will provide the Taliban to stick to their security commitments.

  • London patient becomes the second person to be ever cured of HIV
    The journal The Lancet HIV reported that Adam Castillejo, London, has become the second person to be ever cured of HIV. He was previously known as "London patient." The 40-year-old was first diagnosed with HIV in 2003.

    He underwent a special bone-marrow transplant. After that, he had been free from HIV for 18 months. After 12 months, now, he indeed represent a cure.
    The first patient to be cured of HIV is Timothy Brown. He is also known as the Berlin patient. He received a similar bone-marrow transplant in 2007. He has been HIV-free for more than 10 years now.

    Stem cells transplants:
    The stem cells used for the transplants (of both Adam Castillejo and Timothy Brown) was from a donor who had a relatively rare genetic mutation that confers resistance to HIV.

    The researchers stated that bone-marrow transplant would not work as a standard therapy for all patients with HIV.
    A stem cell (or bone marrow) transplant is a procedure that will replace defective or damaged cells in patients whose normal blood cells have been affected.

  • UNCTAD stated that FDI inflows dropped by 15 percent due to Corona Virus outbreak
    The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has issued a warning that global foreign direct investment (FDI) could drop by up to 15% on previous estimates due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

    The downward pressure on FDI will be -5% to -15%, as compared to previous forecasts that projects marginal growth in the FDI trend for 2020-2021.

    UNCTAD stated that the impact on FDI would be concentrated in the countries that are most severely hit by the Coronavirus outbreak. The economic impact of supply chain disruptions will affect investment prospects in other countries.

    It also projected a stable level of global FDI inflows in 2020-2021 with a potential increase of +5%, which is relatively marginal for FDI.

    UNCTAD highlighted that the top 5000 MNEs, which accounts for a significant share of global FDI, have shown downward revisions of 9% due to Covid-19. Also, the automotive industry with -44%, airlines with -42% and energy and basic materials industries with -13%. The developing country multinational enterprises (MNE) profit guidance has been revised downwards by 16%.

  • ADB allocates USD 200 million to support supply chains in the fight against Coronavirus
    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to make available $200 million through its Supply Chain Finance Program for several companies that manufacture and distribute medicines and other items needed to combat the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

    About Funding:
    ADB, in partnership with commercial banks, has offered to provide the companies in Asia and the Pacific that produce and distribute drugs for COVID-19.
    It will support the companies for which the supply chain is critical to fighting the virus.

    Previously, ADB funded $2 million to enhance detection, prevention, and response in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Greater Mekong Subregion, $2 million to support response in all its developing members, and $18.6 million private-sector loan to Wuhan to support the continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.

  • WHO declared COVID-19 pandemic
    The declared the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a "pandemic" on 11 March. The infectious disease has spread freely in more than 100 countries around the world.

    In January, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a "global health emergency." WHO's highest level of alarm reserves for the most sudden, serious, unexpected outbreaks that cross international borders and might require a coordinated response between countries.

    According to WHO, a new disease that is spread worldwide and the determination is made based on the geographic spread of a disease, the severity of illnesses it causes, and its effects on society are defined as "pandemic."

  • World Kidney Day is observed on 12 March
    World Kidney Day is observed on 12th March every year. It is celebrated on the second Thursday of March every year.
    The day aims to create awareness and educate people about the importance of kidneys to overall health and to reduce the frequency

    The theme of the 2020 World Kidney day is "Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere–from Prevention to Detection and Equitable Access to Care."

    The theme stresses the need to strive for kidney health for everyone everywhere.

    The theme also highlights to focus on the importance of preventive interventions to avert the onset and progression of kidney disease.

    The day highlights that diabetes and high blood pressure are key risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD).

    It encourages the systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for CKD.

    It also encourages preventive behaviors and educate all healthcare professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD.

    The day encourages transplantation as a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and the act of organ donation as a life-saving initiative.

  • Eric Horvitz appointed as CSO of Microsoft
    Microsoft has appointed Eric Horvitz as its first-ever Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). He will provide cross-company leadership on advances and trends on scientific matters and on issues and opportunities arising at the intersection of technology people and society.

    The team under Horvitz will advise the company on its scientific directions and capabilities, including standing up new initiatives, providing guidance on company priorities, and assessing important areas for investment in science and technology.

  • India offered 600 tonnes of rice to flood victims of Madagascar
    India offered 600 tonnes of rice to flood victims of Madagascar. Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shardul brought the relief material and arrived at Port Antsiranana in Madagascar.

    This is the second delivery of relief materials was handed over by Ambassador Abhay Kumar to Madagascar Foreign Minister Tehindrazanarivelo DjacobaLiva.

    The rice is to be distributed to the people who are affected by cyclone Diane that hit Madagascar coast in the month of January 2020.

  • Sri Lanka to withdraw from UNHRC resolution on war crimes
    Sri Lanka formally announced the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that it was withdrawing from the UN resolution on post-war accountability and reconciliation.
    The announcement was made by the Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena in Geneva.

    Sri Lanka announced its withdrawal from co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1 on Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in the country.

    Sri Lanka will still be committed to achieving "sustainable peace and reconciliation”, through a process designed and executed domestically.

    The country cannot pull out of the resolution until 2021 as the former President Maithripala Sirisena co-sponsored the resolution. The resolution aimed to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in the country.

    Background :
    In 2015, Sri Lanka co-sponsored the UNHRC resolution, 30/1, making commitments to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

    The commitments were reaffirmed in two further UNHRC resolutions in 2017 and 2019. Sri Lanka was committed to establishing a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. Close to 5 years later, Sri Lanka has not yet established the mechanism.

  • World rare disease day is observed on 29th February
    World rare disease day is observed on 28/29 (last day of) February. The day aims to raise awareness for the millions of people who are impacted by a rare disease.
    It aims to educate people about rare diseases and their impacts.

    The theme of the day is "Reframe Rare". The theme encourages everyone to take steps to clarify many of the misconceptions that can make people with rare diseases feel isolated and affect the quality of care and support they receive. The Slogan for 2020 is "Rare is Many. Rare is Strong. Rare is Proud."

    Rare disease:
    Any disease that affects fewer than 200,000 people is considered a rare disease in the United States. This definition is derived from the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. There are more than 7,000 rare diseases that affect 25-30 million Americans. 1 in 20 people are dealing with a rare disease. These people struggle to receive a proper diagnosis, find information and get treatment.

    The World rare disease day was first launched by the European Organization for Rare Disorders (EURORDIS) and its Council of National Alliances on 29 February 2008, a rare date that comes only once in four years.

    Since then the day is observed on the last day of February. In 2009. the US joined with EURORIDS. By 2017, over 94 countries joined the alliance.

    The official sponsor of the day is the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) in the United States and EURORDIS. The sponsors organize the official international campaign.

  • U.S. strikes a deal with Taliban to end 18-year-long Afghan war. 
    The long-drawn negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban and the signing of the peace deal.
    The peace deal was signed in the Qatari capital Doha by U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

    Key features :
    The deal lays the groundwork for intra-Afghan talks, negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

    The deal could pave the way for a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan over the next 14 months and represents a step towards ending the 18-year-war in the nation. In exchange, the Taliban has to guarantee that it will not allow militant groups like the al-Qaeda to operate within Afghanistan.

    The U.S. under the deal is committed to reducing the number of its troops to 8,600 from the current 13,000 within 135 days of signing the deal.

    The U.S. is also said to be working with allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces in Afghanistan if the Taliban adheres to its peace commitments. However, under the deal, Western powers could continue to maintain military bases.

    Under the prisoner swap agreement, the Taliban has agreed to release 1000 Afghan prisoners in exchange for the release of around 5000 Taliban fighters from the Afghan government.

    The U.S. and the elected government of Afghanistan also announced a joint declaration in parallel to the accord.

  • World Civil Defence Day is celebrated on 1 March
    World Civil Defence Day is celebrated on 1 March every year to raise awareness of public protection from natural and technogenic disasters and rescue service work.

    World Civil Defense Day was instituted by the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) General Assembly in 1990.
    It commemorates the day when the ICDO Constitution came into force as an intergovernmental organization in 1972.

    ICDO was established by French Surgeon-General George Saint-Paul in 1931 in Paris. It was recognized by the French Parliament in June 1935 and in 1972 it achieved the status of an intergovernmental organization.

    The Constitution of ICDO has two main purposes that are aimed to bring attention of the world public to the vital importance of Civil Protection, raise awareness of the preparedness for self-protection and preventive measures to be taken in the event of accidents or disasters and pay tribute to the efforts and sacrifices of the national services responsible for the fight against disasters.

  • Zero Discrimination Day is observed on 1 March.
    Zero Discrimination Day is observed on 1 March every year. The day promotes diversity and recognizes that everyone counts.
    The symbol for Zero Discrimination Day is the butterfly. It is used by people to share their stories and photos as a way to end discrimination and work towards positive transformation.

    The United Nations celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on 1 March 2014, after UNAIDS. UNAIDS is a program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.

  • ADB provides USD 4 million to the Asia-Pacific countries to fight coronavirus outbreak
    Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to provide a total of $4 million (Rs.29 crore) to the Asia-Pacific countries. The bank aims to help developing countries in Asia and the Pacific to fight the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

    ADB has also approved a further $2 million to help developing countries in Asia and the Pacific to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak. The bank also asked to improve resilience to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.

    The work is to be conducted in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The funds will be given to all ADB developing member countries to update and implement the pandemic response plans.

    The financial assistance would be used for several purposes including assessing the health system, buying emergency supplies and equipment, and economic impacts to improve future resilience, and coordinating better regionally to prevent, detect, and respond to animal and human disease outbreaks.

  • World Hearing Day is observed on 3rd March
    World Hearing Day is observed on 3rd March every year to raises awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world.

    The theme of 2020 World Hearing Day is "Don't let hearing loss limit you. Hearing for life!” It highlights that timely and effective intervention will ensure that people with hearing loss can achieve their full potential.

    At all life stages, communication and good hearing health connect an individual to each other, communities, and the world. For people who have hearing loss, timely interventions can facilitate access to education, employment, and communication.
    Globally, there is a lack of access to interventions to address hearing loss, such as hearing aids. Early intervention should be made available through the health system.

  • World Wildlife Day is observed on 3rd March
    World Wildlife Day is observed on 3rd March every year to celebrate beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora. It raises awareness to conserve wildlife.

    The theme of 2020 World Wildlife Day is "Sustaining all life on Earth". The theme encompasses all wild animal and plant species as a component of biodiversity and the livelihoods of people.

    The observation aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14 and 15. It focuses to ensure sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life both on land and below water to stop biodiversity loss.

    The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) held in Bangkok passed a resolution and designated 3 March as the World Wildlife Day. The outcomes of CITES CoP16 were transmitted to the UNGA.

    On 20 December 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) decided to designated 3 March as World Wildlife Day. The date also marks the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.

    CITES ensures that international trade does not threaten the survival of any species. The Secretariat of the CITES, in collaboration with other relevant United Nations organizations, facilitates the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

  • North Korea launched two short-range missiles
    North Korea launched two short-range missiles into its eastern sea on 2nd March. The information was given by the South Korean officials.

    Missile launch:
    The two projectiles were fired from an area near the coastal town of Wonsan.

    The missiles had a range of about 240 kilometers and a height of about 35 kilometers.

    They are presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles.

    North Korea:
    1. Leader: Kim Jong-un
    2. President of Assembly Presidium: ChoeRyong-hae
    3. Capital: Pyongyang
    4. Official languages: Korean
    5. Currency: Korean People's won

  • First direct discussion between the US President and Taliban ended well
    URL –US President and Taliban discussion

    The first direct discussion between the US President Donald Trump and a senior Taliban official was 3 March. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban's chief negotiator, and Mr. Trump held a 35-minute telephone call.

    Both parties have agreed to avoid violence. The call happened after the US and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    Peace deal:
    The Peace deal was signed on 29 February. The deal will allow for the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.

    More than 12,000 US troops are there in Afghanistan. Over 2,448 Americans died in combat there since October 2001.

    India is invited by the Qatar government for the singing ceremony as India has been a key stakeholder in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

    For the first time India will officially attend an event involving the Taliban.

    Countries including the US, Russia, and Iran have been reaching out to the Taliban as part of efforts to push the stalled Afghan peace process.

  • Sri Lanka will lead science, technology and innovation sector in BIMSTEC
    The 20th Session of the Senior Officials' Meeting (SoM) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 3 March 2020.
    The meeting was chaired by Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha.

    In the meeting, it was decided that Sri Lanka will lead the science, technology, and innovation sector in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

    It was also decided that a facility for technology transfer is planned to be opened in the future.

    Sri Lanka also appointed a Director to the BIMSTEC secretariat in June.

    The country is keen to cooperate with the member countries in the fields of trade, investment, technology, tourism, and connectivity, ahead of the summit.

    BIMSTEC Secretary General Shahidul Islam emphasized the importance of sectoral meetings for more comprehensive cooperation and called for the support of all member states on this front and negotiation on BIMSTEC free trade area (FTA).

    Sri Lanka had focused on the need for institutional building through the finalization of the BIMSTEC charter, and the allocation of defined areas of Sri Lanka has been scheduled to hand over the chairmanship to Thailand by the end of 2020.

    Sri Lanka is currently preparing for the 5th BIMSTEC Summit, which will be preceded by the 17th Ministerial Meeting and 21st Senior Officials Meeting by the end of 2020.



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