World in Focus (NOV-DEC 2019) International



Nov. 16: US President Donald Trump granted full pardons to two American military officials and restored the rank of a third—although all three were found guilty of committing war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nov. 16: Finland qualified for the Euro 2020 finals—first major tournament in their history—with a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein.

Nov. 17: Dubai Air Show 2019 was officially opened by Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Nov. 17: Korean teenager Joohyung Kim became the second-youngest winner on the Asian Tour when he won the shortened Panasonic Open in India.

Nov. 18: World champion Marc Marquez clinched his 12th MotoGP victory of the season.

Nov. 18: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE President’s Representative, died. He was the brother of the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.4

Nov. 18: Airbus signed two mammoth orders for its A320 and A350 aircraft worth $30 billion at Dubai’s air show.

Nov. 18: As per ATP season-closing rankings, Rafael Nadal became the year-end world number one for the fifth time.

Nov. 18: Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was sworn in as the country’s president.

Nov. 18: Hong Kong’s High Court ruled that a British colonial-era emergency law revived by the government to ban protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional.

Nov. 18: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States had decided to soften its position on Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank, meaning that Washington is going to repudiate a 1978 State Department legal opinion which held these settlements inconsistent with international law.

Nov. 18: Afghanistan defeated West Indies in the third Twenty20 International to clinch the series.

Nov. 18: Max Verstappen won a thrilling Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix for Red Bull.

Nov. 19: Afghan president Ashraf Ghani announced that the country’s security forces have “obliterated” fighters of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan.

Nov. 19: The Afghan Taliban freed two Western academics—American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks—held hostage since 2016 in exchange for three imprisoned senior militants.

The Taliban prisoners included Anas Haqqani, Haji Mali Khan and Hafiz Abdur Rasheed Omari.

Nov. 19: A United States policy change has no impact on the legality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in annexed east Jerusalem, the United Nations said, insisting that the settlements breach international law.

Nov. 20: The UK government suspended an agreement with Pakistan for exchange of convicted prisoners because of lenient application of law and punishment handed down to drug smugglers in Pakistan.

Nov. 20: Myanmar’s civilian leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was nominated to head a delegation to the UN’s top court to defend a case accusing the mainly Buddhist country of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.

Nov. 20: The son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death.

Nov. 20: Newly elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa named his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the country’s Prime Minister.

Nov. 20: Marking his 2,887th day in office, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became Japan’s longest-serving political leader, surpassing Taro Katsura from the early 20th century.

Nov. 20: Japanese electronics giant Sony launched a new artificial intelligence unit they hope will change the way we cook and eat.

Nov. 20: After years of wrangling over the future of the butter-yellow house in Austria where Hitler was born, the authorities have decided to turn the building into a police station.

Nov. 21: A US federal judge ordered a temporary halt to the scheduled executions of four inmates, saying that President Donald Trump’s administration lacked legal authorisation to use its intended lethal-injection drug.

Nov. 21: US Congress passed new legislation “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,” supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. China accused the United States of seeking to “destroy” Hong Kong and threatened retaliation.

Nov. 21: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges.

Nov. 21: Donald Trump told the US Navy not to pursue any efforts to oust Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher – a member accused of war crimes and then given clemency – from the elite SEAL commando unit. Trump said, “The Navy will NOT be taking away ´s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”

Nov. 22: The United States warned Pakistan that the CPEC would push the country deeper into an already stifling debt burden, foster corruption and repatriate jobs and profits to China.

Nov. 22: The Dutch appeals court overturned a ruling saying the government must help repatriate the children of women who joined the Islamic State group in Syria.

Nov. 23: US Vice President Mike Pence visited Iraq to reassure Iraqi Kurds of US support after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria.

Nov. 23: Taiwanese family drama “A Sun” won top prizes at the Golden Horse film awards.

Nov. 23: The European Commission allocated an additional 40 million euros in emergency assistance for those affected by the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, as well as for Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran.

Nov. 23: The 15-member United Nations Security Council passed a declaration, proposed by Britain, expressing support for the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.

Nov. 23: A referendum was held in the Pacific island chain of Bougainville on independence from Papua New Guinea.

Nov. 23: Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu clinched his fourth NHK Trophy.

Nov. 23: Yulia Tarasenko was appointed the interim president of Russia’s athletics body.

Nov. 25: An emergency meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Arab League was held at the bloc’s Cairo headquarters where they rejected the US decision that it no longer considers Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank illegal.

Nov. 25: Opponents of Chinese rule in Hong Kong secured a landslide election victory, by winning almost 90 percent of 452 district council seats.

Nov. 25: US Navy chief Richard Spencer was fired over his handling of the case of a Navy Seal, Edward Gallagher, who was demoted for misconduct.

Nov. 25: World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) revealed that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2018, exceeding the average yearly increase of the last decade and reinforcing increasingly damaging weather patterns.

Nov. 25: Rafael Nadal won sixth Davis Cup title for his country after beating Canada in the final.

Nov. 26: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP was forced out of power in Maharashtra state, home to the country’s financial capital Mumbai.

Nov. 27: A Taliban delegation visited Tehran and discussed efforts to bring a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s 18-year war.

Nov. 27: Anti-govern­ment protesters burned down the Iranian consulate building in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf.

Nov. 27: The First Mekong-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit was held in Busan, South Korea.

The five Mekong countries refer to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nov. 28: The European Parliament voted to declare a “climate and environment emergency”.

Nov. 28: Some 128 Houthi rebels detained in Saudi Arabia were released and flown to the Yemeni capital, as efforts to end the five-year conflict gain momentum.

Nov. 28: Former Maldives president Abdulla Yameen was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering.

Nov. 28: Turkey signed a military deal with Libya’s UN-recognised government.

Nov. 28: A canvas by the French artist Pierre Soulages was sold for $10.5 million, a new world record.

Nov. 29: India announced to lend Sri Lanka $400 million for infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced after talks with the island nation’s new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Nov. 29: West Indies handed Afghanistan a crushing nine-wicket defeat within three days in their one-off cricket Test.

Nov. 29: Prime Minister of Iraq Adel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation.

Nov. 29: The 164 signatory countries to the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) agreed to accelerate the work to achieve the goal of a “mine-free” world in 2025.

Nov. 29: Yasuhiro Nakasone, one of Japan’s longest-reigning premiers and known for his friendship with the late US President Ronald Reagan, died at the age of 101.

Nov. 30: The EU ambassador to Benin, Oliver Nette, was ordered to leave on accusation of “subversive” activities.

Nov. 30: A court in Suriname convicted President Desi Bouterse of murder for the execution of 15 opponents in 1982 following a coup to seize power, sentencing him to 20 years in prison.

Dec. 01: Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that he would step down after his replacement is chosen in January.

Dec. 01: European Union leaders celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty, the union’s legal cornerstone.

Dec. 01: Saudi Arabia became the first Arab nation to take over the G20 presidency.

Dec. 01: China’s information technology authority ordered all telecom operators to collect face scans when registering new phone users at offline outlets.

Dec. 01: Lewis Hamilton completed 2019 with a masterful triumph at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his 11th win this year and the 84th of his career.

Dec. 01: Paris, London and Berlin welcomed six new European countries to the INSTEX barter mechanism, which is designed to circumvent US sanctions against trade with Iran by avoiding use of the dollar.

Dec. 02: The 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) officially opened in Madrid, Spain. The event was hosted by the Spanish capital after Chile, which presides over the event, had to step down as host due to social unrest.

Dec. 02: China suspended US warship visits and sanctioned American NGOs in retaliation for the passage of a bill backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Dec. 02: Russia and China launched a giant gas pipeline “Power of Siberia” linking the countries for the first time.

Dec. 02: Qatar’s Akram Afif was named Asian Player of the Year at the Asian Football Confed­eration’s annual awards in Hong Kong. Saki Kumagai from Japan claimed the women’s prize.

Dec. 03: NATO’s 70th anniversary summit started in London.

Dec. 03: Novelist Milan Kundera gained Czech citizenship four decades after communist Czechoslo­vakia stripped him of citizenship following his emigration to France.

Dec. 03: In a report by the Pentagon on the US defence strategy, US military chief Gen Mark Milley warned that China and Russia, and not Muslim militants, pose the greatest threat to America’s global interests.

Dec. 03: Argentina’s Lionel Messi became the first six-time winner of the Ballon d’Or.

Dec. 03: Skipper Kane Williamson posted his 21st Test century and veteran Ross Taylor his 19th in a record partnership that ensured New Zealand win the two-match series against England.

Dec. 03: NASA announced that India’s Vikram lunar lander, which crashed on its final approach to the Moon’s surface in September, was found, thanks in part to the sleuthing efforts of an amateur space enthusiast.EMiAYY9XUAUgq8q

Dec. 04: Tetsu Nakamura, a widely respected Japanese physician and aid worker who dedicated his career to helping some of Afghanistan’s poorest, was among six people killed in an armed attack in Jalalabad city.

Dec. 05: Former English Test cricketer Bob Willis, who famously bowled England to a dramatic Test win against Australia in 1981, died aged 70.

Dec. 05: Israel’s defence ministry signed a deal with its Czech counterpart to sell it radar systems used in Iron Dome missile defence system.

Dec. 05: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled $120 billion in stimulus measures, to help the world’s third largest economy overcome the aftermath of recent natural disasters.

Dec. 06: Two former prime ministers of Kyrgyzstan were sentenced to long jail terms on corruption charges.

Dec. 06: Greece’s foreign ministry announced to expel the Libyan ambassador for failing to disclose the contents of a disputed maritime jurisdiction deal with Turkey that has raised hackles in the region.

Dec. 07: Washington resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar, three months after President Donald Trump abruptly halted diplomatic efforts that could end America’s longest war.

Dec. 07: A bipartisan resolution was moved in the US Congress wherein India was urged to end the restrictions on communications and mass detentions in occupied Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents.

Dec. 07: Iranian scientist Massoud Soleimani was released by the United States in a swap deal shortly before Washington declared American researcher Xiyue Wang was returning home.

Dec. 07: The US Supreme Court refused to lift a stay on federal executions.

Dec. 08: Finland’s Social Democrats elected Sanna Marin, a 34-year-old former transport minister, as the country’s prime minister, making her the youngest head of government in the country’s history.

Dec. 08: North Korea carried out ‘a very important test’ at its long-range rocket launch site.

Dec. 08: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani presented to parliament a “budget of resistance” against crippling sanctions imposed by arch-enemy the United States.

Dec. 09: South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi became Miss Universe 2019.

Dec. 09: Caroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on Sesame Street, died at the age of 85.

Dec. 10: An Algerian court sentenced two former prime ministers to long jail in the first of a series of high-profile corruption trials launched after long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in the face of mass protests in April.

Dec. 10: Canada, Mexico and the United States agreed to a fresh overhaul of their quarter-century-old regional trade pact.

Dec. 10: A cargo plane of Chile’s Air Force crashed with 38 people on board after going missing in an isolated area between South America and the Antarctic.

Dec. 10: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) released its updated ”Red List of Threatened Species” in which 1,840 new species have been added to IUCN’s catalogue of plants and animals that risk extinction. The list now contains more than 30,000 species under threat of disappearing.

Dec. 10: South Asian Olympic Committee, in its meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal, announced that Pakistan will host the 14th South Asian Games in 2021.

Dec. 11: The Pentagon announced halted operational training of all Saudi Arabian military personnel in the United States until further notice, after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people at a base in Florida.GN39806-Artboard_1

Dec. 11: Myanmar’s former pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi told the ICJ, the UN’s top court, that her country’s armed forces didn’t commit genocide against the Rohingya minority and that the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Muslims was “the unfortunate result of a battle with insurgents”.

Dec. 11: The Nanavati-Mehta Commission, a commission of inquiry, absolved Prime Minister Narendra Modi of any responsibility in the 2002 pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat. The Commission also absolved the state administration, ministers and police officers from any complicity, direct or indirect, and also ruled out any conspiracy to organise the large-scale riots.

Dec. 11: The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft took its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver.

Dec. 11: Greta Thunberg, the teen activist from Sweden, who has urged immediate action to address a global climate crisis, was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.

Dec. 11: The name ‘Muhammad’ made it to the list of top 10 baby names for boys in the US for the first time.

Dec. 11: India’s upper house of parliament, the Rajya Sabha, passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Dec. 11: Former Afghanistan cricket captain Asghar Afghan was brought back to replace Rashid Khan and lead the team in all formats.

Dec. 11: India beat West Indies in the third and deciding T20 International to clinch the series 2-1.

Dec. 12: India’s Supreme Court dismissed 18 petitions seeking a review of its recent ruling in favour of the building of a Hindu temple on a disputed site in Ayodhya where a 16th-century mosque was torn down by Hindu hardliners in 1992.

Dec. 12: An Indonesian cave painting that depicts a prehistoric hunting scene could be the world’s oldest figurative artwork dating back nearly 44,000 years, a discovery that points to an advanced artistic culture, according to new research.

Dec. 13: In UK’s general election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won their best result for three decades by winning 365 seats.

Dec. 13: The United States and China announced a major thaw in their trade war, including immediate cuts to punishing import tariffs.

Dec. 13: The Pentagon flight-tested a missile that had been banned under a treaty, i.e. INF, the United States and Russia abandoned last summer.

Dec. 13: Abdelmadjid Tebboune, a former ally of Algeria’s deposed leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was elected president of the country.

Dec. 13: US lawmakers approved two charges against Donald Trump, setting up a full House of Representatives vote to impeach the president for abusing his powers and obstructing Congress.

Dec. 13: Unesco withdrew an annual carnival in the Belgian city of Aalst from its heritage list over persistent charges of anti-Semitism.

Dec. 14: Tony-Ann Singh of Jamaica was announced as the winner of the Miss World 2019 beauty pageant

Dec. 15: Danish-French actress Anna Karina, muse of New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, died at the age of 79.

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