International Current Affairs 2019 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Japan backs India combating terrorism in cooperation with the international community

    22 hours ago
    Taro Kono, Foreign Minister of Japan condolences to Sushma Swaraj, extending sincere condolences to those who lost their lives and their bereaved families in the terrorist attack carried out in Kashmir. Japan expresses its solidarity with India in combatting terrorism. The Japanese government and people, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to those who lost their lives and their bereaved families, and express my heartfelt sympathy to those who were injured” Expressing his heartfelt solidarity to the people of India in the process of overcoming this difficult time.  

    Zimbabwe gold miners risked their lives in search of gold

    22 hours ago
    Zimbabwe is the country has valuable platinum, diamond, gold, coal and copper deposits. It faces a deep economic crisis, the worst in a decade. The country's main commodities include metallurgical-grade chromite, as well as asbestos, coal, copper, gold, nickel, and iron ore. At least 60 illegal gold miners were missing feared dead in Zimbabwe on Friday after water flooded two disused shafts in a mining town southwest of Harare, a government minister said.

    Macedonia officially changes name to North Macedonia

    22 hours ago
    The country changed its name to North Macedonia from Macedonia after an agreement with Greece to settle a long-standing dispute. After declaring independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, the country chose the name Macedonia. But that title severely strained relations with neighbor Greece, which also has a region called Macedonia. The agreement and normalization of relations with Greece will help clear the way for North Macedonia to join NATO, most likely later this year or early 2020, and eventually the European Union.

    EU-India to fund 7 Projects to deal with Water challenges

    2 days ago
    India and the European Union made a decision to mutually invest up to 40 Million Euros on 7 Research and Innovation projects to tackle and handle immediate water challenges in the country. The projects which are selected will develop or adapt the most acceptable existing creative and affordable solutions for Indian conditions, both in rural and urban areas, to facilitate solutions to cope up with water challenges. ‘Horizon 2020’, EU’s programme and Indian government will invest together on projects for average duration of 4 years. The main prime areas of the projects are to improve the quality of drinking water, wastewater management system and real-time monitoring and control systems. The project will brace India’s Ganga rejuvenation initiative, transfer of European technologies to India to suit Indian needs.

    Pulwama terror attack: India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan

    2 days ago
    A day after the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14, India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan. The MFN status to Pakistan was given by India in 1996. The MFN status was accorded under WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Removal of this status means India can now enhance customs duties to any level on goods coming from Pakistan. About Pakistan: Prime minister: Imran Khan President: Arif Alvi Capital: Islamabad Currency: Pakistani rupee
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    US announces 25 Countries to give USD 100 million aid to crisis-hit Venezuela

    2 days ago
    US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that, a total of 25 countries have pledged $100 million in humanitarian assistance to crisis-hit Venezuela. Venezuela is facing the biggest economic crisis in its modern history, with hyperinflation predicted to hit 10 million percent this year according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). About Venezuela:- Capital: Caracas Trending Currencies: Venezuelan bolívar, Sovereign Bolivar Official language: Spanish President: Nicolás Maduro

    European Union adds Saudi Arabia to dirty-money blacklist

    3 days ago
    The European Commission has added seven countries including Saudi Arabia, Panama, and Nigeria to a blacklist of nations that fail to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The list now includes 23 jurisdictions, up from 16. Newcomers to the list are Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. The other listed states are Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen. Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu were removed.

    U.S. defence head to visit Iraq for talks

    14 February 2019
    Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan made an unannounced visit to the Iraqi capital for talks on the sensitive issue of a continued U.S. troop presence after Washington withdraws from neighbouring Syria.  Mr. Shanahan is keen to reassure Iraqi leaders after President Donald Trump angered many by saying he wanted to maintain some troops at the Al-Asad airbase, northwest of Baghdad, to keep an eye on Iran. It focuses on the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Mr. Trump’s comments about Iran drew a stern rebuff from President Barham Saleh.

    Russias Medvedev clinched Sofia Open Title

    14 February 2019
    Russia’s ace Daniil Medvedev has achieved his fourth ATP title after a triumph against finalist Hungary’s Morton Fucsovics in the Finale of Sofia Open 2019. The 2019 Sofia Open was the 4th edition of the Sofia open as part of the 2019 ATP Tour, which was held at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria, from February 5-11. The 22-year old Medvedev, with his devastating best, won with a solid 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes win over Marton Fucsovics to claim the Sofia Open title. About Russia ♦ Capital- Moscow ♦ Currency- Russian Rubel ♦ Prime Minister- Dmitry Medvedev ♦ President- Vladimir Putin

    Macedonia officially changed its name to North Macedonia

    14 February 2019
    Republic of Macedonia officially changed its name to North Macedonia. Greece had been blocking Macedonia’s entry into the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as it disapproved of the name of the country,as the Greek province of Macedonia adjoining it has been associated with Alexander the Great. About North Macedonia ♦ Capital – Skopje ♦ Currency – Macedonian Denar ♦ President – Gjorge Ivanov About Greece ♦ Capital – Athens ♦ Currency – Euro ♦ President – Prokopis Pavlopoulos

    LAWASIA Human Rights Conference was held in New Delhi

    13 February 2019
    LAWASIA Human Rights Conference was held in New Delhi. LAWASIA, in association with the Bar Association of India, hosted the conference. Its motive is to explore a broad range of human rights issues of relevance in the Asia Pacific region.  The theme of the conference was “State Power, Business and Human Rights: Contemporary Challenges”. It provides the opportunity for lawyers and associated professional members to exchange insights and expertise on topics of significance. LAWASIA is a regional association of lawyers, judges, jurists, and legal organizations, which advocates for the interests and concerns of the Asia Pacific legal profession.

    Thailand hosted Multinational Cobra Gold Military Exercise

    13 February 2019
    The United States and Thailand are hosting the multi-nation Cobra military exercise 2019. The exercise is taking place in the northern Thai province of Phitsanulok. 10000 personnel, 29 nations are taking part as participants or observers. About Cobra Gold Exercise. It is one of the Asia-Pacific region's largest multinational military exercises that is held in Thailand every year. It was first held in 1982 and its headquarters is in Bangkok, Thailand. This is a Thai-American initiative with an aim to improve coordination between the armed forces.

    Australia spin legend Shane Warne named brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals

    12 February 2019
    Australia spin legend Shane Warne was entitled as the brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals in the upcoming Indian Premier League. Shane Warne was the captain Rajasthan Royals for four seasons until 2011 and after that, he retired from all form of cricket.

    Nepal hosted 2nd Joint Secretary Level Meeting to assess India-Nepal Trade Treaty

    12 February 2019
    The two days 2nd Joint Secretary Level meeting to assess the India-Nepal Trade Treaty was organized in Pokhara, Nepal on 7th Feb 2019 to deliberate upon various bilateral issues and non-tariff barriers in bilateral trade. India deputation was led by Bhupinder Singh Bhalla (Joint Secretary of South Asia), Department of Commerce whereas Nepal Deputation was led by Ravi Shankar Sainju (Joint Secretary of Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies). This meet was based on a comprehensive review of the existing bilateral trade treaty to enhance both way’s commerce and investments between India and Nepal. About Nepal ♦ Capital- Kathmandu ♦ Currency- Nepalese Rupee ♦ Prime Minister- Khadga Prasad Oli

    ADJA added Hindi as 3rd official language of the citys courts

    11 February 2019
    The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has added Hindi as the third official language of the city’s courts. Arabic and English are the first and second languages. The move is aimed at helping foreigners to learn about litigation procedures, their rights, and duties without a language barrier. It also aims to facilitate registration procedures via unified forms.  Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates.

    Macedonia signed an accord to join as a new member of NATO military alliance

    10 February 2019
    Macedonia signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the NATO military alliance. The historic agreement was signed between Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. About Macedonia ♦ Macedonia Capital-Skopje ♦ Currency-Macedonian denar.

    FCO demands more control for Facebook users

    10 February 2019
    Federal Competition Office (FCO), the German competition watchdog, said that Facebook users should be asked for consent before data collected by the group’s subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram and on third-party websites is combined with their social network account.  FCO ruled neither should users who refuse permission for their data to be merged be shut out of Facebook services as a result. The FCO's requirement for specific consent to merge data with Facebook accounts stopped short of media rumors that the authority could ban familiar products, such as the "Like" or "Share" buttons strewn around many third-party websites which aid data collection.

    Frances highest civilian honour is conferred to 92 years Old Bengal Priest Father Francois Laborde

    9 February 2019
    Father Francois Laborde, a 92-year-old priest, conferred with the Legion d’Honneur, the highest civilian award of France, in recognition of his work for specially-abled children in Howrah. He was entitled by the French Ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler. Father Francois Laborde, French-origin with Indian citizenship,is considered to be the third person from the state to be entitled with the Legion of Honor after film maestro Satyajit Ray and actor Soumitra Chatterjee.

    Fifth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meet to be held in New Delhi

    9 February 2019
    The 5th India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Committee Meeting will be held in New Delhi.  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Affairs Minister of Bangladesh Dr A. K. Abdul Momen will co-chair the meeting.  The two sides will also sign agreements after the meeting. The last Joint Consultative Committee Meeting between the two countries was held in October 2017 at Dhaka.

    Siamese fighting fish was named Thailands national aquatic animal

    9 February 2019
    Tiny, testy and eye-catching with a colorful fin plumage, the Siamese fighting fish was named Thailand's national aquatic animal. Known in the West as a betta fish, the underwater brawler is popular in home aquariums for its iridescent body and many-hued tail.  The government said in a statement that the cabinet approved a proposal for the "fighting fish to be the national fish", citing its historical and cultural significance. Thailand's official national animal is the elephant.

    Ivanka Trump unveiled Womens Global Development and Prosperity Initiative

    8 February 2019
    Ivanka Trump unveiled an effort aimed at helping 50 million women in the developing world get ahead economically over the next six years. The White House officially launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a government-wide project led by the senior adviser and daughter to President Donald Trump.  The initiative will involve the State Department, the National Security Council, and other agencies. Ivanka Trump, who will attend the Munich Security Conference next week to promote the project, stressed that she sees this as a national security priority.

    Indian Coast Guard and AAI signed MoU for maritime search and rescue Operations in Port Blair

    8 February 2019
    Indian Coast Guard(ICG) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) signed a MoU with an objective to coordinate the aeronautical and maritime Search And Rescue(SAR) operations in congruence with the International Aeronautical Maritime Search And Rescue(IAMSAR) standards. The MoU enhances Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC), Kolkata and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Port Blair and AAI’s mutual interactions, interoperability and validating procedures on the occasion of SAR operations.

    UNESCO organised Second Edition of the India Heritage Walk in partnership with Sahapedia

    8 February 2019
    Sahapedia in partnership with UNESCO organized the second edition of India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF) 2019. It is also supported by the National Mineral Development Corporation. The first edition of the festival, went on to receive the PATA Gold Awards 2018 in Heritage and Culture. This festival offers the opportunity to discover the hidden gems linked to history. Heritage Walks of 2019 edition. In the list of heritage walks, Delhi has a new attraction. The heritage walk plans to introduce  Sanjhi- a paper-cutting art by a stencil of Vrindavan and the lanes of Bandra in Mumbai.

    World heritage centre to be set up at Mayapur in West Bengal

    6 February 2019
    A World Heritage Centre housing 'spiritual camps' of 45 countries would be set up at Mayapur, the global headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), in Nadia district. The process for setting up the center got momentum after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inquired about the project at a recent administrative meeting in Nadia district. The estimated cost of the proposed center will be around 3000 crores. The Temple of Vedic Planetarium will come up at the first part of the World heritage center. It will have one of the biggest domes in the world.

    USA and 11 EU nations back Guaido as Interim President

    5 February 2019
    Eleven European nations joined the U.S. in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim President. This is to heighten a global showdown over Nicolas Maduro’s socialist rule. The 11 EU nations followed suit are Spain, Austria, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden. An interim president is a person who temporarily fills the role of a country's president when the incumbent president is unavailable (such as by illness or vacation) or when the post is vacant (such as for death, injury, resignation, dismissal).  Venezuela: Capital: Caracas Official language: Spanish President: Nicolas Maduro (partially recognized)                   Juan Guaido (partially recognized) Currency: Petro Bolivar Soberano (VES)

    Taliban to meet Afghan Opposition leaders in Moscow

    4 February 2019
    The Taliban said that it plans to send a delegation to Russia for a rare meeting with Afghan Opposition leaders. This is just days after peace talks with the U.S. that excluded the Kabul government. The two-day talk in Moscow will be attended by some of President Ashraf Ghani’s chief political rivals, but none of the government envoys tasked with Taliban negotiations.  Mr. Ghani has appealed to the insurgents to talk after being frozen out of six days of discussions between the Taliban and the U.S. in Doha in the month of January that sealed the outlines of a peace deal. It is expected that the former warlord Atta Muhammad Noor and former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, both Ghani rivals, will attend.

    US envoy held talk with his Korean counterpart

    4 February 2019
    The U.S. special representative on North Korea, Stephen Biegun arrived in Seoul and held talks with his counterpart Lee Do-hoon. They discussed the pending issues including working-level talks with North Korea.  The talk with North and South Koreans is ahead of the second summit between President Donald Trump and the North’s Kim Jong-un. The agenda of the summit is expected to be settled during the talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

    India and Algeria relations on new heights as investment expected in the energy sector

    3 February 2019
    India and Algeria are cooperating in space, defence and civil nuclear energy. The President invited Algeria to consider investments in oil reserves, refineries and LNG terminals. Extending cooperation to strategic areas Sushma Swaraj & Algerian Foreign Minister Messahel held productive talks on cooperation in sectors such as trade & investment, space, defense, hydrocarbon resources, mining, fertilizers, as well as regional & global challenges.

    US to back out from INF Treaty

    3 February 2019
    The U.S is suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty effective February 2 and will withdraw from the treaty in six months. The announcement was made by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty: ♦ Type of agreement: Nuclear disarmament ♦ Signed on: December 1987 ♦ Location: Washington D.C ♦ Condition of the treaty: Ratification by the Soviet Union and United States  ♦ It is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union with an Unlimited duration

    Cory Booker to run for the 2020 presidential election

    2 February 2019
    U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who gained national prominence in the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, announced that he would seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2020 presidential election, injecting more youthful energy to the expanding Democratic field.  Mr.Booker, 49, became the latest Democrat and the fourth U.S. Senator to announce a presidential bid in what is expected to be a crowded and diverse race to be the candidate to try to unseat President Donald Trump. The second-term Senator from New Jersey has appeared at political events in Iowa and New Hampshire as speculation mounted that he would parlay the Kavanaugh fracas into a presidential run.

    International conference on 8th century sage held to mark 50 years of India-Bhutan ties

    2 February 2019
    The 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan, a two-day international conference on 8th-century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi. This conference was organized by the Centre for Escalation of Peace (CEP) and was titled ‘Life and Legacy of Guru Padmasambhava’, was held on January 29-30.  Scholars from both countries participated in the conference and discussed the Guru who was born in India and moved towards Bhutan in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings all across the Himalayan region. About Bhutan ♦ Capital: Thimphu ♦ Currency: Ngultrum ♦ Prime minister: Lotay Tshering ♦ King: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

    Italy, UN, Launch Africa Centre For Climate And Sustainable Development

    1 February 2019
    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte along with UN representative launched Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable development. The new center is located near the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome. The major objective is boosting the agricultural sectors and promoting rural development in Africa.

    Dubai airport has been named the worlds busiest airport

    31 January 2019
    The Dubai International Airport (DXB) has been named as the world's busiest airport for international passengers for the fifth consecutive year. The UAE's aviation sector's contribution to the country's economy also grows steadily.  Dubai became the world's busiest airport for international passenger traffic in 2014 when it overtook London's Heathrow Airport. Indian travellers emerging as the largest source of traffic for the airport which registered a record footfall of over 89 million. Dubai international airport was opened for civil aviation in July 1937.

    Pakistan appoints Its First Ever Female Hindu Civil Judge

    30 January 2019
    Suman Kumari becomes the first Hindu woman to have been appointed as a civil judge in Pakistan after passing an examination for induction of judicial officers.  Kumari, who hails from Qambar-Shahdadkot, will serve in her native district.  

    India Replaces Japan To Become Second-Largest Crude Steel Producer

    30 January 2019
    India replaced Japan as the world’s 2nd largest steel producing country, while China is the largest producer of crude steel, accounting for more than 51% of production, according to the World Steel Association. The global steel body, in its latest report, stated that China’s crude steel output jumped 6.6% to 928.3 million tonnes in 2018 from 870.9 MT in 2017. China’s share increased from 50.3 percent in 2017 to 51.3% in 2018. India’s crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 MT, up 4.9% from 101.5 MT in 2017.

    Indian-origin US Senator Kamala Harris launches 2020 Presidential bid

    29 January 2019
    Indian-origin US Senator Kamala Harris launched her 2020 presidential bid. In a scathing criticism of President Donald Trump's policies. The US is at an inflection point in the history due to the attack on democracy like never before. Addressing a cheering crowd in downtown Oakland, she said free press has been bullied and attacked, and democratic institutions undermined under the current leadership.  Harris also slammed Trump's policies at the border, and his decision to shut down the government. She denounced his plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border as a medieval vanity project.  A 54-year-old Harris, who was elected to the Senate in 2016, announced her run for the presidency last week. She has been voted on top of the list of Democratic leaders aspiring to defeat Trump in the November 2020 election.

    Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh appointed as Regional Director WHO SOUTH EAST Asia

    29 January 2019
    Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh appointed Regional Director for World Health Organization South-East Asia, for a second five-year term. Her second term of office will begin on 1 February 2019. She is the first woman to become Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region Previous year,Thailand became the first in Asia-Pacific to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. About World Health Organisation (WHO) ♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland ♦ Head: Tedros Adhanom ♦ Founded: 7 April 1948

    Sugarcane Juice National Drink of Pakistan

    28 January 2019
    The Pakistan government declared sugarcane juice as the “national drink” of the country. The government of Pakistan declared sugarcane juice as the nation juice of Pakistan. The Poll includes three option including orange juice, carrot juice, and sugarcane juice. But it is sugarcane juice which won the poll with 81 percent votes. Over 7,600 people participated in the poll and declared sugarcane as national drink ok Pakistan with 81 percent votes.

    China clones five gene-edited monkeys

    27 January 2019
    Scientists in China have cloned five monkeys for human disease research. The research team edited genes of monkeys to induce several human diseases like Alzheimer's claiming that it would help in medical research.  This experiment may likely to raise fresh ethical concerns about gene-editing. As per the media reports, this is the first time multiple clones had been made from a gene-edited monkey for biomedical research. The announcement in  National Science Review, a Chinese journal, follows the recent confirmation that the world's first gene-edited human babies have been born in China,  which caused widespread disquiet in the scientific community. The cloned monkeys born in Shanghai at the Institute of Neuroscience of Chinese Academy of Sciences are closer to the human in physiology, make better models for research on disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic treatments.  In order to create an ideal donor monkey, researchers knocked out a core circadian regulatory tranion factor named BMAL1, using gene editing at the embryo stage. They selected one of the gene-edited monkeys with the most severe disease phenotypes as the donor. The fibroblasts of the donor were then used to clone five monkeys by somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same method used to generate Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, the first cloned monkeys born in China at the end of 2017.

    India, South Africa to revise and update Strategic Partnership

    27 January 2019
    India and South Africa will update their Strategic Partnership by agreeing on a comprehensive “roadmap” on the way ahead, as well as relaxing visa restrictions when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Republic Day.  Mr. Ramaphosa will be in India as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on January 26 and will be accompanied by nine Ministers and a 50-member business delegation.  The Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa, called the Red Fort Declaration, was signed in March 1997 by the then South African President Nelson Mandela and former PM H.D. Deve Gowda.  The partnership would be reviewed and updated with a three-year plan of action on security cooperation, trade, and investment, tourism, harnessing the ‘blue economy’, maritime cooperation, agriculture, science, and technology projects.

    Floods and landslides killed at least 59 people in Indonesia

    27 January 2019
    In Indonesia, floods and landslides have killed at least 59 people, in Sulawesi island the government said on Friday. Heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks and inundate dozens of communities in 11 districts of southern Sulawesi. Parts of the provincial capital Makassar have also been affected. Some 3,400 people have been evacuated from their homes and given refuge in schools, mosques and tents.

    South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa to be Chief Guest at R-Day Parade

    26 January 2019
    South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade. He is the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the parade.  President Ramaphosa will be accorded ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan Friday morning.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ramaphosa will hold delegation level talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.  Both the leaders will also address the India-South Africa Business Forum today with the objective to grow business ties between the two countries.  AIR correspondent reports, relations between India and South Africa are age old.  Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi is revered in the African nation as he had an important role in the non-violent movement in South Africa.  India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the anti-apartheid movement there. India is among the top five trading partners of South Africa.  Both countries have close cooperation in the areas of vocational training and capacity building.

    Niagara Falls region freezes as storm system sweeps through North America

    26 January 2019
    One of the biggest waterfalls, Niagara Falls frozen out due to extreme weather conditions. The winter storm that has blanketed the Midwest in snow and turned the Northeast into a deep freezer has now brought the falls' rushing waters to a halt in places. The Niagara Falls region is expected to be coated in the snow for the next few days, with the area bracing for more storms. About 2 to 5 centimeters of snow, considered light snow by the Canadian weather bureau, was forecast, along with temperatures that felt like -5 degrees Celsius. The icy vista was a weather system moving over North America from west to east, which the

    Sultan Abdullah elected as New Malaysian King

    26 January 2019
    Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was elected as Malaysia’s new king by the members of the country’s royal families. The 59-year-old was earlier appointed the Sultan of the Malaysian state of Pahang.

    South Africa plans to ease travel procedures for Indians

    25 January 2019
    Indian travellers to South Africa have spent 20% more than they did last year, till just mid-2018. Representatives from the 2 countries met with the aim of strengthening tourism ties between the two countries.  Cordial relations between South Africa and India go way back in time, significantly owing to India’s support to the anti-apartheid movement. The minister said the Indians’ average length of stay went up by 7.7% and total bed nights by 4%. India is one of the top sources of tourism for South Africa. The country plans to improve destination marketing support.

    Talks between U.S. and Taliban have entered 4th day

    25 January 2019
    Negotiations between the Taliban and U.S. officials in Qatar entered a fourth straight day. Washington has been stepping up efforts for a peace deal that could pave the way for the Taliban’s participation in the next government. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry also confirmed that talks were ongoing between the two sides. However, there was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy or NATO. The talks come after Mr.Khalilzad spent the weekend in Pakistan, where he met with Prime Minister Imran Khan as part of a regional tour that saw the envoy shuttling between India, China, and Afghanistan.

    India and Kuwait signed MoU for cooperation on the recruitment of domestic workers

    24 January 2019
    The Union Cabinet approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Kuwait for cooperation on the recruitment of domestic workers.  This signing will benefit around 3,00,000 Indian workers deployed in Kuwait, including about 90,000 female domestic workers.  The MoU provides a structured framework for cooperation on domestic workers related matters and provides strengthened safeguards for Indian domestic workers, including female workers deployed in Kuwait. The MoU is initially valid for a period of five years and incorporates provision for automatic renewal. Under this MoU, a joint committee will also be set up to follow up the implementation.

    India signed 11 MoUs worth $9.5 million with Afghanistan

    23 January 2019
    India signed 11 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Afghanistan for 26 projects worth 9.5 million dollars in the field of infrastructure, public services such as health clinics and governance-related projects. The MoUs signed will involve the construction of classrooms, orphanages, health clinics, canal protection walls and enhancing economic opportunities for women. The projects will be developed in seven provinces of Afghanistan- Balkh, Ghor, Herat, Kabul, Bamyan, Badghis and Kapisa. It will help local communities in education, employment and livelihood generation and capacity building. These projects which are part of 577 community-based Small Development Projects (SDP) are being funded by India from 2005-2021 and worth $120 million.

    Germany banned Iranian airline Mahan Air

    22 January 2019
    Germany banned Iranian airline Mahan Air from its airports, in an escalation of sanctions adopted by the European Union (EU) against Tehran over attacks on opponents in the bloc. The move is to protect Germany’s foreign and security policy interests.  Mahan Air, Iran’s second-largest carrier, was blacklisted by the U.S. in 2011, as Washington said the carrier was providing support to an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards known as the Quds Force. The U.S. Treasury has threatened sanctions against countries and companies offering the airline’s aircraft landing rights.

    CNIL imposed 50 billion euros on Google

    22 January 2019
    CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty), France’s data watchdog imposed a fine of €50 million ($57 million) on U.S. search giant Google, using the EU’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for the first time. According to CNIL, these violations are yet to have been rectified by google. Under European Union’s strict General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies are required to gain the user’s “genuine consent” before collecting their information, which means making consent an explicitly opt-in process that’s easy for people to withdraw.  CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty): ♦ National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) is France’s data protection regulator ♦ It aims to ensure that data privacy law is applied to the collection, storage, and use of personal data

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