▼ Jean Claude Junker appoints Michel Barnier as Brexit EU negotiator [07-29-16]
Taking a tough stand, EU chief Jean Claude Juncker appointed well known anti Brit eurocrat former commissioner Michel Barnier as the Brexit negotiator in what is being seen as alarming for UK.
- Federalist Frenchman had tried to enforce a tax on all financial transactions and hit bankers with punitive bonus caps.
- EU Commission Chief has also demanded Britain should trigger Article 50 to begin formal departure as soon as possible.
- Ministers saw the hiring as a move to outdo Donald Tusk, the EU Council president.
- Barnier is the former internal markets commissioner and was recently a special adviser to Juncker on defence.
- The 65-year old Barnier held a position of internal markets commissioner from 2009-2014.
▼ Hillary Clinton confirmed as first woman Presidential candidate for Democrats [07-28-16]
Hillary Clinton has been selected officially as the first woman to lead a major political party (Democrats) towards the White House, breaking the barrier that eluded her eight years ago.
- Former American President Bill Clinton also spoke of how his wife was a change maker who put a lot into making people’s lives better.
- If she wins in November, Clintons will be the first married couple to serve as president.
▼ Sri Mulyani Indrawati named new Finance Minister of Indonesia [07-28-16]
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo announced a fresh Cabinet line up on 27th July 2016 returning a reformist to the Finance Ministry and placing the former head of military as the minister of security.
- Sri Mulyani Indrawati who was Finance Minister from 2005-2010 is returning from the post as an MD at the World Bank.
- She was praised for overhauling the corrupt taxation department and guiding the nation through the 2008 financial recession.
- Former general Wiranto heading the military at the time of East Timor carnage was named minister of security, political and legal affairs.
- Wiranto will replace Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, a Jokowi ally who became CM for maritime issues during the South China Sea despite.
- This is the second reorganisation of Jokowi’s cabinet.
- Total of 13 ministries were changed and 9 of the ministers were new to the Cabinet.
- Many new appointments were in economy related ministries.
▼ Debbie Wasserman Schultz, first woman DNC chair resigns [07-26-16]
Debbie Wasserman Schultz was put in charge of the Democratic National Committee , becoming the first woman to chair the DNC.
- But following publication of emails (close to 19,000) indicating senator Hillary Clinton was preferred over Bernie Sanders as rocked the party.
- WikiLeaks posted the emails and Schultz will now step down.
- At 26, she was the youngest woman elected to a seat in Florida’s House.
▼ Nepalese PM Oli resigns [07-25-16]
Nepal’s PM KP Oli resigned on 24th July 2016 ahead of the no confidence vote plunging the country into fresh turmoil after the Madhesi protests against the new Constitution.
- Oli who became PM in October 2015 heads the eighth government of Nepal in the past decade.
- He was facing a no trust motion after Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government.
- Madhesi People’s Rights Forum Democratic and the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party has supported the no confidence motion tabled against Oli by the Nepal Congress and Prachanda led CPN Maoist Centre.
▼ India ranked at 110 in attaining Sustainable Development Goals [07-25-16]
India is ranked at a low of 110 of 149 nations for achieving SDGs according to a recent index topped by Sweden
- Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Bertelsmann Stiftung have launched a fresh Sustainable Development Goal Index to provide a report card for tracking SDGs and ensuring accountability.
- Sweden has topped the chart followed by Denmark and Norway as the top 3 performing countries.
- Germany and the UK are the only G-7 countries found among the top 10 performers.
- US ranks 25th on the index; Russia and China were 47th and 76th respectively.
- India ranks 110th on the list. Pakistan is 115 and Bangladesh is 118.
- Central African Republic and Liberia were at the base of the index.
- Index collected data for 149 nations to assess where each country stands in 2016 with regard to SDGs.
▼ China, Pakistan launch joint patrolling of border [07-22-16]
China and Pakistan border troops have launched joint patrolling of the border and connecting PoK with Xinjiang province amidst reports that over 100 Uighurs have fled the region to join IS.
- President Xi asked Chinese Muslims to practice their religion as part of the Chinese society and direction.
- This marks the first time China-Pakistan commence joint patrolling in recent years.
- Uighurs are Muslim Turkic speaking ethnic minority that hail from Xinjiang in China.
- Work is also underway for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor connecting the countries through rail, pipelines and optical cable network and highways.
- Xinjiang will be linked to Pakistan’s Gwadar post through this.
▼ UK government owned CDC has agreed to purchase sake in IIFL Finance [07-21-16]
UK Government owned development finance institution CDC Group PLC has agreed to purchase 15 percent stake in India Infoline Finance, a completely owned subsidiary of IIFL Holdings Ltd for INR 1000 crore.
- Move will help IIFL Group in expanding financing business and address capital needs of under served segments through diversified offerings, as per company statement.
- Proposed investment is by way of Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares which on conversion will result in 15 percent equity stake for CDC in IIFL Finance on a fully diluted basis.
- Proposed transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
- CDC was the first PE investor in IIFL during the startup phase in 1999.
- IIFL Finance, an NBFC in the business of home and property loans, gold loans, commercial vehicle finance, healthcare finance and SME business loans is under the chairmanship of VK Chopra.
▼ Republican Party nominated Donald Trump for US President [07-21-16]
Republican Party formally nominated Donald Trump for President of the US in a campaign that saw billionaire tycoon defeat 16 White House hopefuls
- Real estate mogul will be accepting the nomination to face off against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton in the November elections.
- Delegation of Trump’s home state of NY cast the deciding votes which put them over the threshold of 1237, the majority plus one of delegates to the Cleveland, Ohio convention.
▼ Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev suspended Deputy Sports Ministry Yuri Nagornykh [07-21-16]
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev on 18th July 2016 suspended Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh from office.
- He was suspended after the name occurred in the report on doping of Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
- President Vladimir Putin has indicated that WADA report named officials would be temporarily suspended.
- Suspension will last until the investigation into the WADA report on the involvement of Russian state officials in the doping scandal.
- WADA’s report indicated the deputy sports minister was responsible for the cover-up.
▼ Pakistan to pass law against honour killings: Maryam Nawaz Sharif [07-21-16]
Pakistan’s ruling party has planned to pass a legislation against honour killings within weeks of the high profile murder of social media star Qandeel Baloch by her brother.
- Government has faced increased pressure to pass the law against murders carried out by people of their family members for honour
- Law will now remove a loophole allowing other family members to pardon the killer.
- Close to 500 women are killed for “honour” in Pakistan.
- Jamaat i Islami, one of the two religious parties in the parliament said it had no objection to the bill.
▼ BlackBerry signs deal with US government [07-20-16]
BlackBerry has signed a 5 year multimillion dollar deal to run emergency notifications for the US senate.
- The Canadian company has also signed the deal to shift to software from smartphones.
- BlackBerry also said that AtHoc, a crisis communication firm purchased last year has expanded a deal with US Coast Guard to cover staff in Washington.
- US Department of Defence is one of its largest customers.
▼ Malcolm Turnbull appointed PM of Australia for another term [07-20-16]
Malcolm Turnbull was on 19th July 2016 appointed the next Australian PM for the second time.
- He was sworn in following a narrow election victory with budget repair and public vote on same sex marriages being among the top priorities.
- The 2016 elections in Australia was a double dissolution election, being the first such since the 1987 election.
- During the first week of vote counting following the election, no party garnered enough seats in the House of Representatives to form a government.
- Opposition leader Bill Shorten conceded defeat on 10th July, 2016.
▼ 6 wealthiest countries host less than 9 percent of the world’s refugees: Oxfam [07-19-16]
Six wealthiest countries in the world hold less than 9 percent of the world’s refugees according to a news report issued on July 18, 2016.
- US, China, Japan, France, Germany and the UK made up more than half the global economy while they hosted 2.1 million refugees and asylum seekers which is just 8.88 percent of the world’s total according to Oxfam.
- Nation that host more than half of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers account for less than 2 percent of the world’s GDP- South Africa, Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey and Jordan.
- Close to one of 113 people have been forced to leave their homes due to violence, conflict and persecution.
▼ Turkey government foils coup attempt [07-18-16]
Factions within Turkish military attempted to control the government on 15th July leaving the Parliament building bombed with jets swarming over Istanbul and close to 42 people being killed in the capital city of Ankara.
- The rebel controlled air force jets continued to bomb parts of the capital after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the coup had been repelled.
- Erdogan blamed the coup attempt on followers of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric based in Pennsylvania.
- His Hizmet movement has been accused of plotting against the government.
- Alliance for Shared Values, a non profit associated with Gulen had released a statement that the movement has consistently denounced military interventions in domestic politics.
▼ Boris Johnson appointed foreign secretary in new PM Theresa May’s government [07-15-16]
Boris Johnson, the former London Mayor and Leave campaign figurehead in Britain EU referendum was appointed foreign secretary in new PM Theresa May’s government.
- Johnson cast into political exile after the June 23 referendum, was handed the task inevitably dominated by handling Britain’s departure from the EU following last month’s decision to leave.
▼ Mohamed Asim appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in Maldives [07-14-16]
He succeeds Dunya Maumoon who quit following her opposition to the death penatly that the government was planning to implement.
- Mohamed Asim was earlier the High Commissioner to Bangladesh
- He holds a PhD in political science and international relations from Australian National University, Canberra.
- Maumoon became the foreign Minister following which there were reports of power struggle between the President and Dunya’s father and former president Mammon Abdul Gayoom.
▼ Political party leaves Nepal’s coalition government [07-14-16]
A political party that has left Nepal’s coalition government has partnered with the main opposition party Nepali Congress and filed a no-confidence motion against Pm Khadge Prasad Oli.
- The motion was filed in the parliament after the Maoist party moved out of the government,indicating Oli had failed to honour past agreements
- Oli became the PM in October 2015 heading Nepal’s 8th government in the past 10 years
▼ Japanese PM Shinzo Abe achieves decisive electoral victory [07-13-16]
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe seeking to allay concerns he would move from fixing a fragile economy to revising a pacifist constitution after the big election win, said that changing the charter would not be easy.
- Abe’s coalition and allies won two-thirds of the seats in Parliament’s upper house in a Sunday election.
- That victory, with the ruling bloc's two-thirds majority in the lower house, opens the door to revising the constitution for the first time since its adoption.
▼ SCS ruling in favour of Philippines by the Hague draws China’s i.e. [07-13-16]
SCS is a busy international waterway and one of the main arteries of global economy and trade.
- China has claimed more than 85 percent of it
- Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, Netherlands has ruled that China’s claim of historical rights over the South China Sea has no legal basis.
- The case against China was started by Philippines.
- PCA organises arbitration tribunals between member countries in the event of issues.
▼ Theresa May to take over as British PM after rival withdraws [07-12-16]
Theresa May will take over as the new British PM, British premier David Cameron announced after the home secretary’s only rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the race.
- Cameron said he will chair his last cabinet meeting tomorrow and attend the House of Commons for last PM questions before heading to Buckingham palace to hand in the resignation to the Queen
- The new PM will become responsible for taking the Brexit negotiations forward with EU after the June 23 vote in favour of Leave
- The 59-year-old May will become the second female PM after Margaret Thatcher
- May’s only rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out from the two way contest throwing her support behind May as “ideally placed” to enforce the vote for Brexit in last month’s referendum on British membership of the EU
▼ Shinzo Abe claims support for government formation [07-11-16]
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has claimed victory on July 10 for his ruling coalition in parliamentary elections coming despite lukewarm public support for economic policies and wariness over the country’s pacifist constitution
- Abe has yet to achieve a strong recovery in what is the world’s third largest economy through unconventional l measures centred on easy money and other steps of Abenomics.
▼ Obama administration slaps sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un [07-11-16]
The Obama administration has placed sanctions on N. Korean leader Kim Jong Un and 10 other regime officials for complicity alleged in human rights abuses against the people of North Korea.
- Move marks the first time Washington has personally sanctioned the North Korean leader.
- Sanctions also extend to 5 North Korean state entities including the Ministry of People’s Security.
- North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006.
▼ Russian President Vladimir Putin signs anti terror amendments dubbed Big Brother [07-8-16]
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a package of controversial anti terror amendments called Big Brother measures by critics costing internet companies billions of dollars
- Measures boost surveillance power for security services by requiring communication providers to store calls, messages, videos and photographs for six months as well as metadata for three years
- Notable critics of this include Edward Snowden who called the passage of the law a “dark day for Russia.”
▼ Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull rejected opposition calls for resignation [07-6-16]
Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull on 5th July 2016 refused to step down even as opposition labour party leader Bill Shorten called for Turnbull to quit as leader of the Liberal National Party Coalition indicating the premier was out of touch and unable to provide parliamentary stability promised to Australian voters.
- Turnbull said he will not step down from the post and described the Labour leader’s attack as purely political
- Australia has said that there is no such thing as a failed election
▼ Linda Burney becomes first indigenous woman elected to House of Representatives [07-5-16]
Linda Burney, a former teacher on 2nd July 2016 became the first indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives (lower house) of the Parliament of Australia.
- She attained the feat after claiming a victory in the marginal seat of Barton.
- With this, she joins first aboriginal MP Ken Wyatt of the Conservative Liberal Party elected in 2010
- Olympian Nova Peris was the first indigenous woman in the upper house of the Parliament.
▼ Pro-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage resigns as head of the far right UKIP [07-5-16]
Britain’s main pro-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage on 4th July resigned as head of far right anti immigrant UK Independence Party saying he could not achieve more after Britons decided to leave the EU.
- Farage was elected as Member of the European Parliament for the party in 1999
- Farage led a separate grassroots campaign to convince voters of Brexit to make numerous speeches in wake of results to declare June 23 Britain’s Independence Day
- Cross party tea would negotiate UK”s exit from Brussels now.
- June 23 was the date when the 28 member economic bloc was voted against by Britain with 52 percent voting to leave while 48 percent sided with the remain camp
▼ Australia in political limbo following hung parliament [07-4-16]
Australia was in political limbo following failure of voters to hand PM Malcolm Turnbull a second win, and the nation is instead facing the prospect of a hung parliament.
- Turnbull was the country’s fourth leader and a former banker
- Majority coalition government will be returned at this election when counting is completed
- The aim is to work constructively and effectively with all members of the new Parliament, according to Turnbull
- Following polls, Liberal/National coalition had 65 seats to Labor’s 67 the Greens one and independents four, according to results shown.
- This left 13 seats too close with the call with 76 needed to rule the 150 seat House of Representatives.
▼ Coomaraswamy succeeds Arjuna Mahendran as the new Governor of CBSL [07-4-16]
Coomaraswamy has succeeded Arjuna Mahendran as the new governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Indirajit Coomaraswamy is a veteran economist.
- President Maithripala Sirisena announced the appointment through Twitter
- Mahendran’s tenure was marked by controversies over issuance of bonds closing at June 30
- Born in 1950, Coomaraswamy has been educated at Harrow and Royal College in Colombo.
- Coomaraswamy was holding the post of adviser at the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade before he was named Governor
▼ MEA: India abstains from LGBT vote [07-4-16]
MEA said India abstained from the LGBT vote in the United Nations as the case is subjudice and the SC is yet to pronounce its verdict.
- Vote was brought in after the Orlando nightclub shooting incident
- India was one of 6 countries that did not vote on the protection of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people
- Resolution got the support of the US, EU and Latin American countries
- It was opposed by China, Russia and several Islamic nations
- Of the 47 member states in the forum, 23 voted for and 18 against the motion
▼ US India strategic deal on mega arms finalised [07-4-16]
India-US strategic deal in mega arms is set to support India’s largest weapons supplier in recent times.
- Cabinet Committee on Security/CCS has set up the chaired by PM Narendra Modi has cleared yet another mega arms deal to reassert the status as India’s biggest weapon supplier in recent times
- The new P-81 aircraft with radars and weapons will join the first eight such aircraft inducted by the Navy in 2013-2015 under the USD 2.1 billion deal
- Navy is using eight P-81s armed with the deadly Harpoon Block II missile, MK-54 lightweight tornadoes, rockets and depth charge to maintain an intelligent eye over the complete Indian Ocean region
- With the operating range of 1200 nautical miles, the P-81s provide reach and flexibility to undertaken extensive maritime surveillance and intelligence gathering missions
- US is hawking its fighter jets - the Super Hornet and the Fighting Falcon
▼ Rodrigo Duterte sworn in as Phillippines President [07-1-16]
Rodrigo Duterte has on 30th June 2016 been sworn in as the President of Philippines.
- The 71 year old former prosecutor and longtime mayor of southern Davao city won a victory in May elections
- “If you destroy my country, I will kill you,” he said in a warning to criminals in a speech during the last flag-raising ceremony he presided as mayor in Davao city this week.
- Vice President Leni Robredo was also sown in
- Duterte is the first president to come from the south, home of the minority Muselin and scenes of decades long Muslim separatist insurgency
▼ Former London mayor Boris Johnson pulls out of British PM race [07-1-16]
Ex London mayor Boris Johnson who has become the next favourite to be the British PM pulled out of the race in an announcement on 30th June, 2016
- Johnson’s withdrawal makes Theresa May, the interior minister from the Remain camp who is said to be a favourite to succeed Cameron
- May firmly believes that no attempts should be made to join the EU through the backdoor and no second referendum
- Another prominent candidate who joined the race is Justice Secretary Michael Gove