World in Focus (Nov-Dec 2018)



Nov 16: Pakistan’s first Austro Turf cricket stadium was inaugurated in Balochistan’s Chaman city.

Nov 16: CPEC media forum, organised by the China Economic Net and Pakistan-China Institute, was held in Beijing. During the forum, lawmakers and opinion-makers from China and Pakistan called for joint efforts to highlight cooperation between the two countries and counter propaganda against the CPEC framework.

Nov 16: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government integrated Fata directorates of agricultural extension, forests, irrigation and hydel power, and sports with relevant departments.

Nov 16: Former Olympian and famous hockey player Rizwan Munir Bhutta passed away.

Nov 17: The PCB chairman Ehsan Mani handed over the presidentship of the Asian Cricket Council to Bangladesh’s Nazamul Hasan who will now remain the ACC president for 2018-20.

Nov 17: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) released its flagship report ‘Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2018’, wherein it warned that negative wage growth was witnessed in Pakistan in 2015-16 (-4.7pc). In Pakistan’s education sector, 6.6pc of the total female employment in 2016 was well behind the 72.9pc share in agriculture and 12.7pc in manufacturing.

Nov 17: The Supreme Court (SC) dissolved Board of Commissioners, Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC).

Nov 18: Tableeghi Jamaat emir Haji Abdul Wahab passed away. He was 96.

About Haji Abdul Wahab

Haji Abdul Wahab was born in June 1922 to a Rajput family in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh (India). He graduated from the Islamia College, Lahore, and joined the revenue department as tehsildar. In 1944, he met Maulana Ilyas Kandhalvi, the founder of the Tableeghi Jamaat, and resigned from the revenue department to devote his life for preaching Islam. After Partition, his family moved to Burewala in Vehari district. Soon, he moved close to Raiwind Markaz to give maximum time to the cause he had taken up in a young age.

In 1992, he was made emir of the Jamaat on the demise of then chief Haji Mohammad Bashir.

He was ranked 10th among 500 most influential Muslims in the world due to his position in the Jamaat. His name hit headlines late in 2013 when Pakistani Taliban had suggested including him in the committee formed by the government to hold peace talks with the militants.

He was the third emir of the global movement for preaching Islam.

Nov 18: Defending champion Mir Nadir Magsi won the final round of Thal desert race.

Nov 18: Prime Minister Imran Khan went on a one-day visit to the United Arab Emirates where was assured of improved strategic and economic ties with the Gulf nation.

Nov 19: The government appointed Khalid Mirza, former chairman SECP and Competition Commission of Pakistan, the chairman SECP policy board.

Six members from the private sector were also named on the board. They included: Sadiq Saeed (JS investments), Farrukh Khan (BMA Capital), Adnan Afridi (Ex-CEO KSE), Waqar-ul-Islam and Asad Ali Shah (Chartered Accountant).

Nov 19: The Centre and the provinces decided to form task forces within their jurisdictions to control rapid population growth. The task forces will be headed by the prime minister at the national level and by the respective chief ministers at the provincial level.

Nov 19: Social activist Krishna Kumari, the first Hindu Thari woman senator of Pakistan, was named among the BBC’s 100 list of inspirational and influential women for 2018.

Nov 19: Pakistan received $1 billion from Saudi Arabia as part of the $3bn package promised by the kingdom during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Nov 20: Pakistan Railways and the National Railway Administration of China signed an agreement pertaining to doubling of the entire ML-1 track from Karachi to Peshawar, up-gradation of the speed of passenger trains, freight trains, computer-based signalling, control system and others.

Nov 20: An MOU was signed between the State Council of Oman and the Senate of Pakistan with a view to increasing and strengthening parliamentary cooperation.

Nov 20: The Punjab government suspended the Punjab Film Certification Board.

Nov 21: Well-known progressive Urdu writer, poet, human rights activist and feminist, Fahmida Riaz, passed away. She was 73 years of age.

About Fahmida Riaz

She was born on July 28, 1945 in a literary family of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India. Her family settled in the city of Hyderabad following her father’s transfer to the province of Sindh. Her father passed away when she was four. She learned about Urdu and Sindhi literature in her childhood and later learnt Persian language. After completing her education, she began working as a newscaster for Radio Pakistan.

Fahmida Riaz spent some years in the United Kingdom after her marriage. During this period, she worked with the BBC Urdu service (Radio) and got a degree in film making.

Nov 21: Prime Minister Imran Khan approved 5-year plan for enhanced National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS).

Nov 22: Pakistan and Malaysia vowed to strengthen their trade and economic relations, according to a joint statement issued on the conclusion of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit to Malaysia.

Nov 23: Three heavily armed militants were shot dead in an encounter with law-enforcers during a gun-and-grenade attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi.

Nov 23: The Balochistan government approved the establishment of the Bank of Balochistan.

Nov 23: The Federal Cabinet appointed Arif Usmani the President of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

Read More: World in Focus (Aug-Sep 2018)

Nov 23: Renowned poet, activist, journalist, livestock expert and PPP’s first secretary general of District Jhang Safdar Saleem Sial passed away. He was 82.

Nov 24: The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its report ‘Regional Risks for Doing Business’ in which it listed water crisis, unmanageable inflation, terrorist attacks, failure of urban planning and critical infrastructure as immediate risks faced by Pakistan with 220 million inhabitants.

Nov 24: Tehmina Asif was elected unanimously as the Softball Federation of Pakistan (SFP) Chairperson.

Nov 25: The government appointed Rafique Ahmed Shaikh as Member NEPRA for the Sindh province.

Nov 25: The Human Resources Committee of the World Bank Board elected Pakistan’s Executive Director Shahid Ashraf Tarar as its Chairman for a period of two years.

Nov 25: The 11th International Urdu Conference concluded in Karachi.

Nov 26: The Pakistan-UK Education Gateway Program was launched at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat in Islamabad.

The programme is aimed at cooperation between the education sectors of Pakistan and the UK and will include split PhD programmes, full-fledged PhD programmes, student and faculty exchange.

Nov 27: Punjab Police SSP Faisal Mukhtar featured in the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) 40 Under 40 Awardees 2018.

Every year IACP picks 40 police chiefs from around the world who demonstrate values and commitment to law-enforcement as well as a capacity for leadership and are employed by a federal, state, local, or tribal law-enforcement agency.

Nov 27: Prime Minister Imran Khan named Defence Minister Pervez Khattak as head of a bipartisan parliamentary committee tasked with probing allegations of rigging in the 2018 general election.

Nov 27: Jam Mashooq, adviser to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, passed away.

Nov 27: Seasoned golfer Mohammad Shabir won the Serene Hotels 33rd President of Pakistan Gold Medal Golf Championship held at the Islamabad Club Golf Course.

Nov 27: Sindh retained the Pepsi-PCB Under-16 Cricket Stars Pentangular Cup crown by defeating Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Nov 28: Prime Minister Imran Khan broke ground on the “first university” to be constructed in Sialkot. The new campus of the Government College Women University will be spread on 200 acres and will be built at a cost of Rs1.627 billion.

Nov 28: Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor and said that his government and the army wanted a ‘civilised relationship’ with India.

Nov 28: British-Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie bagged the London Hellenic Prize 2017 and a cash prize of £10,000 for her seventh novel, Home Fire.

The prize, which is given to the best book inspired by or relating to Greece, celebrates “the cultural cross-fertilisation of the Greek and English-speaking worlds”.

Home Fire is a contemporary re-imagining of the Greek tragedy Antigone that follows three orphaned siblings, elder sister Isma and twins Aneeka and Parvaiz, as the latter leaves them to work for ISIS.

Nov 28: Justice Athar Minallah assumed the office of Islamabad High Court (IHC) chief justice.

Justice Minallah is the third chief justice of the IHC since it was established in Jan 2011.

Nov 28: Veteran television, radio and stage artiste Arshad Durrani passed away. He was 83.

Nov 29: Eminent writer Altaf Fatima breathed her last. She was 91.

About Altaf Fatima

Born in 1927 in Lucknow, UP, Altaf Fatima was an Urdu novelist, short-story writer, and an expert on poet-philosopher Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

At the time of partition, she moved to Lahore and earned a bachelor’s in education and a master’s degree from the University of the Punjab.

Her novel Dastak Na Dou is regarded as one of the defining works in the Urdu language.

Nov 30: Pakistan successfully launched the first-ever multipurpose infantry fighting vehicle VIPER that will increase the combat capability of armed forces in battlefields.

The huge vehicle is loaded with four major guns capable of shooting enemy and destroying tanks and other battle equipment and machinery from a distance of around four kilometres with the help of ‘gunner sight’.

It has a built-in ‘smoke grenade launcher’ which, if and when triggered, creates a screen of smoke in front of the VIPER and helps it disappear to change its location in tactical battle.

Nov 30: Noted Pashto poet Umar Daraz Marwat passed away. He was the author of 110 books.

Marwat served as the chief editor of the Pashto magazine Sheikh Badin and was well known among Pashto literary circles. He was known as the ‘Khitmatgar’ of Pashto literature.

Nov 30: The government established the Directorate General Immoveable Properties (DGIP) to deal with matters related to real estate and immoveable properties.

Director General for Broadening of Tax Base, Muhammad Tanveer has been given the additional charge to head the DGIP whereas three of his colleagues were also given additional charge to look after the new office.

G20 Summit 2018

Dec 01: The two-day G20 summit in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires concluded, with the final declaration adopted and the US-China trade war put on hold.

Final Declaration

The declaration consists of 31 articles and an appendix with the list of documents adopted at the level of ministers and the working group.

The leaders of the G20 nations have renewed their general commitment to improve the rules-based global order.

They reiterated their full commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change calling the agreement irreversible.

The G20 nations also reaffirmed their commitment to the Hamburg Leaders Statement on Countering Terrorism and pledged to enhance their efforts to combat terrorist and proliferation financing,

The issue of migration, which has been high on the agenda across the globe, was similarly in the summit’s focus.

“Large movements of refugees are a global concern with humanitarian, political, social and economic consequences. We emphasize the importance of shared actions to address the root causes of displacement and to respond to growing humanitarian needs,” the document said.

Finally, the leaders of the G20 states have agreed on the need for a WTO reform, saying that the system was “falling short of its objectives.”

Dec 01: The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) created history in the cardiac care when a two-member team of surgeons led by Dr Fazl-e-Rabbi and Dr Ali Raza Mangi along with anesthesiologist Dr Amin Khuwaja performed the first, free-of-charge open heart surgery at the NICVD Larakana.

Larkana is the first city in interior Sindh to have a satellite NICVD center where facilities of angioplasty and angiography as well as cardiac OPD are available. It became the third city of Sindh, after Karachi and Sukkur, to have the facility of open heart surgery.

Dec 02: WAPDA were crowned champions of the 12th National Women Karate Championship.

Dec 02: Amid legal challenges, the promotion of hundreds of top bureaucrats met a setback following a dispute among members of the Central Selection Board (CSB) over their discretionary powers in deciding the future of civil servants.

The chairman of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) heads the CSB.

Dec 02: People wearing traditional Sindhi dress celebrated the aikta (unity) day, as the annual Sindh Culture Day is popularly known.

Dec 03: Ahmed Baig won the first Chairman Wapda Golf Championship.

Dec 04: Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed Usman Dar the Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs.

Dec 04: The federal government set up a 5-member parliamentary commission comprising two lawmakers from the treasury benches and three from opposition to find out the facts in the kidnapping and later martyrdom of Superintendent of Police Mohammad Tahir Khan Dawar.

Tahir Dawar, SP Rural Peshawar, went missing from Islamabad on Oct 26 and later his body was found in Afghanistan on Nov 13.

Dec 04: The Punjab government announced abolishing the laptop scheme, launched by the PML-N government for shining students.

Dec 04: Veteran Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez announced to retire from Test cricket.

Dec 04: The 10th round of Pak-Iran Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Islamabad where both countries agreed to extend full support to Afghan-led, Afghan-owned efforts for peace in Afghanistan. The two neighbours also agreed on having a “coordinated approach” on Afghanistan for “safeguarding their core interests”. An understanding also reached for enhancing bilateral trade to $5bn.

Dec 05: A symposium on population growth was held at the Supreme Court of Pakistan building. The symposium was called by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar.

Dec 05: The Jinnah Society announced to confer its prestigious Jinnah Awards on prominent artist and social worker, Jimmy Engineer and SOS Children’s Villages Pakistan Founding President Mrs Souriya Anwar in recognition of their selfless services for the humanity at large particularly for the special and orphaned children.

The Jinnah Award comprises a gold plated medal and “Jinnah Award” plaque.

Dec 05: The World Bank released its report “Glass Half Full: Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia,” according to which trade between Pakistan and India is only valued at a little over $2 billion, but it could be as high as $37bn.”

Dec 05: A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court disposed of a petition seeking to reinvestigate the 2014 Model Town incident after the Punjab government assured the court of appointing a fresh joint investigation team (JIT) for a third time for the purpose.

Dec 06: Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah became the fastest cricketer to take 200 Test wickets, breaking an 82-year-old record. He achieved the feat in his 33rd Test, beating Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s record of 36 Tests set against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1936.

Dec 06: Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati resigned from his office.

Dec 07: New Zealand won their first away series win over Pakistan in 49 years with a crushing 123-run win in the third and final Test, at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Dec 08: DIG (r) Hamid Mukhtar passed away. He was a son of DIG Ch. Mukhtar Gondal and uncle of SP Rizwan Gondal.

Dec 08: Pakistan’s Mustafa Faran Baig created new Asian record in Dead Lift with 232.5kg in the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championships, held at Mongolia. Mustafa won 2 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal.

Dec 08: A contingent of Special Forces of the People’s Liberation Army of China reached Pakistan to participate in the joint counterterrorism drills, Warrior-VI 2018.

Dec 08: For the first time in the country’s history, President House was opened to the public as part of the government’s plans to allow the people to access state-owned buildings.

Dec 08: HBL retained the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy National Cricket Championship title.

Dec 10: Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi inaugurated newly established Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) Base at Keti Bandar.

Keti Bandar has a small population mainly dependant on fishing. PMSA Base will keep this area under effective surveillance through regular patrolling and prevent unauthorised exploitation of resources. PMSA Base Keti Bandar will help fishermen with search & rescue operations as well as facilitate registration of fishing boats and assistance to public.

Dec 10: Reviewing the performance of first 100 days in office, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked his cabinet colleagues to show ‘extraordinary performance’ to come up to his expectations and get out of the prevailing ‘extraordinary situation’ in the country.

Dec 11: In another first for Pakistani women, Helena Saeed became the first female Additional Inspector General (Addl IG) of Police in the country’s history.

Hailing from Quetta, Helena is not only the first female to achieve this milestone but is also the first individual to have done it from Balochistan.

Dec 11: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother former Punjab health minister Khawaja Salman Rafique in the Paragon Housing Society scam.

Dec 11: The Supreme Court withdrew a ban it had earlier imposed on the construction of high-rise buildings in Karachi.

Dec 11: Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar announced the ‘mobile tax policy’ for foreign visitors.

Dec 11: Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed Yousaf Baig Mirza, a former managing director of Pakistan Television, as his special assistant on media affairs.

Dec 12: President Dr Arif Alvi met Saudi King and Custodian of the two Holy Mosques Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and discussed issues of mutual interests.

Dec 12: The Islamabad High Court ordered the removal of prime minister’s aide Syed Zulfi Bukhari’s name from the ECL.

Dec 12: The Pakistan Navy (PN) inducted its first marinised and upgraded ATR aircraft and Sea King helicopters (Ex Mod UK) into its fleet.

Dec 12: The $78 million Project Implementation Letter (PIL)-2 for Mangla Refurbishment Project (MRP) was signed between Wapda and the USAID.

Dec 13: Pakistan and Iran signed an MoU to improve border security and stop oil, drugs and arms snuggling and human trafficking.

Dec 13: Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the Shuhada Assistance Package, Sehat Insaf Cards and residences for the capital police.

Dec 13: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced its new ‘Country Operations Business Plan for Pakistan’ covering 2019-21, under which resources would be available for sovereign lending programme amounting to $7,528 million.

Dec 14: The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) won the award for ‘Best Asian Operator’ at the Telecom Review Excellence Awards (TREA) 2018 held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Dec 15: Senator of Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) and Chief of Musakhel tribe Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel died.

Dec 15: Pakistan, China and Afghanistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for intensification of their counterterrorism cooperation at the second trilateral foreign ministers’ dialogue in Kabul.

Dec 15: The Supreme Court declared that persons with dual nationality could not retain important government positions.

Dec 15: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Mohammad Naveed was elected as the next head of South Asian Telecommunication Regulators Council (SATRC) at the 19th meeting of the Council in Islamabad.

Dec 15: Amin Shafi won the U-18 singles final in the 1st NBP National Seniors & Juniors Tennis Championship.


Nov 16: The United States voted, for the first time, against an annual UN resolution condemning Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, dropping its practice of abstaining in the vote.

Nov 16: In a historic vote in Versailles, Paris, nations approved a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements, uniting together behind new scientific definitions for the kilogram and other units.

For more than a century, the kilogram has been defined as the mass of a cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy kept in a high-security vault in France. That artefact, nicknamed ‘Le Grand K,’ has been the world’s sole true kilogram since 1889.

Nov 16: Khmer Rouge’s former head of state Khieu Samphan, and ‘Brother Number 2’ Nuon Chea, the two most senior living members of the ultraMaoist group that seized control of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, were found guilty of genocide.

Nov 17: Heads of state and ministers from the 55 African Union member states gathered at headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa as a last-ditch attempt to push through reforms that have been mulled for nearly two years.

Nov 17: Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took office as the new President of Maldives.

Nov 18: The US granted India a waiver from Iran sanctions on account of Iranian nuclear programme for some time, allowing Indian companies to continue to import about 1.25 million tonnes of oil a month.

Nov 19: European ministers signed off on Britain’s draft divorce deal.

Britain will leave the EU on March 29, 2019 but remain within its single market for a further 21 months.

Nov 19: Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which lead a military coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, announced $500 million in aid to the country.

Nov 19: UN environment chief Erik Solheim resigned after an audit that questioned his huge travel expenses. The former environment minister of Norway had been the chief of the Nairobi-based UN Environment since June 2016.

Nov 21: The international police organization (INTERPOL) elected South Korean Kim Jong-yang as its new president at the annual Interpol congress held in Dubai.

Nov 22: The United States and South Korea scaled down an annual joint military exercise “Foal Eagle” scheduled for the spring of 2019 to facilitate nuclear talks with North Korea.

Foal Eagle is the biggest of the regular joint exercises held by the allies, and has always infuriated Pyongyang.

Nov 22: The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the main driver of climate change, have hit a new record high, the UN said, warning that the time to act was running out.

Nov 23: Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez visited Cuba, in what is the first official visit by a Spanish leader to the Communist-run country in three decades.

He met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and the two leaders signed an agreement instituting annual high-level political dialogue meetings between Spain and Cuba.

Nov 23: Teenage Bangladesh off-spinner Nayeem Hasan became the youngest-ever player to take five wickets on debut. He achieved this feat against West Indies.

Nov 24: Phil Mickelson beat Tiger Woods in an exhibition clash to pocket $9 million.

Nov 24: Shakib Al Hasan became the first Bangladeshi bowler to take 200 Test wickets. He is also the fastest to complete the double of 3000 runs and 200 wickets, having completed the feat in his 54th Test, one fewer than Ian Botham, the previous quickest to the landmark.

Nov 24: India’s Mary Kom became the most successful female boxer in world championships history after clinching her sixth gold medal in New Delhi. She beat Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota in the final of the 48kg category.

Her sixth gold takes her past Ireland’s Katie Taylor, and level with the men’s record held by Cuban legend Felix Savon as the most successful pugilist ever at the world championships.

Nov 24: Nicolas Roeg, prominent British film director known for making provocative films and working with rock stars Mick Jagger and David Bowie over a six-decade career, died. He was 90.

Nov 25: Australia defeated England to win the Women’s World T20 that was held in Antigua.

Nov 25: Russia’s border guards rammed one of Ukrainian navy’s tugboats in the Black Sea off Moscow-annexed Crimea. The incident took place as three of Ukrainian ships including two small warships were heading for the port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, an area of heightened tensions between the two countries.

Nov 26: A Chinese university professor and a scientist, He Jiankui, claimed to have created the world’s first genetically-edited babies, a move that would be a ground-breaking medical first but which has generated a barrage of criticism.

Nov 26: Nasa’s Mars lander InSight touched down safely on the surface of the Red Planet (Mars) to begin its mission.

Nov 26: Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci, whose films include Last Tango In Paris and 1900, died aged 77.

Nov 26: England overcame spirited hosts to seal a first 3-0 series sweep in Sri Lanka.

Nov 27: Slovenia appointed Maj. Gen. Alenka Ermenc as chief of the country’s army, making her the only woman in charge of a NATO country’s military.

Ermenc is the first female chief of the general staff of the Slovenian army.

The British-educated Ermenc replaced Maj. Gen. Alan Geder after serving as his deputy.

Burke is an activist who coined the phrase “Me Too” more than a decade before it became a slogan for survivors of sexual violence. McLaughlin and Marts have worked to combat harassment in science fields.

Nov 27: The Ukrainian parliament voted in favour of President Petro Poroshenko’s request for the introduction of martial law in border areas for 30 days, in response to Moscow’s seizure of its 3 navy vessels.

Nov 29: In a report released ahead of the COP 24 climate summit in Poland, the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations reported that global temperatures in 2018 are set to be the fourth highest on record, stressing the urgent need for action to rein in runaway warming of the planet.

Nov 29: Georgia elected Salome Zurabishvili as the country’s first woman president. The French-born former diplomat, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, received 59.52 percent of the second-round vote.

Nov 30: Paris city announced to strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary freedom of the French capital over her failure to speak out against crackdown on Rohingya minority.

Nov 30: The leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada signed a regional trade deal, i.e. the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to replace the old NAFTA, at a ceremony in Buenos Aires, on the sidelines of a G20 leaders’ summit.

Dec 01: Anti-establishment leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador swore in as the Mexico president.

Dec 01: Microsoft surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.

The software maker’s prospects looked bleak just a few years ago, as licences for the company’s Windows system fell with a sharp drop in sales of personal computers. But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has found stability by focusing on software and services over the internet, or the cloud, with long-term business contracts.

Nov 30: George HW Bush, the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd, who steered the nation through a tumultuous period in world affairs but was denied a second term after support for his presidency collapsed under the weight of an economic downturn and his seeming inattention to domestic affairs, died. He was 94.

Dec 01: Iran’s navy launched a domestically made destroyer, the Sahand destroyer which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply.

Dec 01: Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and deputy chair, and the daughter of the founder of Chinese telecoms giant was arrested in Vancouver, Canada, upon request by the United States.

Dec 02: The Global Passport Index 2018 was released, according to which the passport of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the strongest passport and now ranked first globally.

The UAE passport was on 27th position in December 2016, and now has attained first place globally in December 2018.

Dec 02: China and the United States agreed to halt additional tariffs in a deal which keeps their trade war from escalating.

Dec 02: With the direst environmental warnings yet still ringing in their ears, nations gathered in Katowice, Poland, for a UN summit aimed at heading off the “urgent threat” of runaway climate change.

Dec 01: The commander of US Navy’s 5th fleet, Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, was found dead at his residence in Bahrain.

The 5th fleet covers the entire greater Middle East region, from the shores of Pakistan to the Suez Canal. Its areas of responsibility include the Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, the Indian Ocean, Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal.

Dec 03: The World Bank unveiled $200 billion in climate action investment for 2021-25, adding this amounts to a doubling of its current five-year funding.

Dec 03: Russia’s first manned Soyuz flight since a failed launch in October successfully docked at the International Space Station, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.

Dec 04: The National Green Tribunal, India’s environmental watchdog, slapped New Delhi’s government with a $3.5 million fine for failing to enforce rules to reduce smog in the world’s most polluted major city.

Dec 04: Luka Modric of Croatia won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, ending the 10-year stranglehold on the award by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or award.

Dec 05: China’s President Xi Jinping signed, in Lisbon, agreements to link Portugal to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Dec 05: In a medical first, a mother, who received a uterus transplant from a dead donor, gave birth to a healthy baby in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Dec 06: Yemen’s warring sides agreed to a broad prisoner swap, at UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden.

Dec 07: US President Donald Trump nominated State Department spokeswoman and former Fox TV news anchor Heather Nauert as US ambassador to the United Nations.

Dec 07: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a close ally of Angela Merkel, won a tight race to succeed her as party leader.

Dec 08: China launched the Chang’e-4 lunar probe mission — named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology — a rover destined to land on the far side of the moon, a global first that would boost Beijing’s ambitions to become a space superpower.

Dec 08: Former Colombian president Belisario Betancur, who steered his country through one of its most turbulent periods in the 1980s, died aged 95.

Dec 08: US President Donald Trump nominated an Afghan war veteran, Gen Mark Milley to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, replacing Gen Joe Dunford.

The nomination has to be confirmed by the US Senate.

Dec 09: Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption, the United Nations warned as the world observed international anti-corruption day.

Dec 10: The world’s first state-of-the-art digital courtroom was unveiled in Abu Dhabi.

Dec 10: Israel became a full member of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Dec 10: Miss Mexico Vanessa Ponce de Leon, 26, a model and volunteer, was crowned Miss World at a glitzy event on the tropical Chinese island of Hainan.

Dec 10: Defying fierce opposition from the United States nearly 85 percent of the countries at the UN agreed on a sweeping yet non-binding accord to ensure safe, orderly and humane migration. A total of 164 countries among the 193 UN members approved the agreement.

Dec 10: Leading Indian historian and a scholar of partition, Professor Mushirul Hasan, died. He was 69.

Professor Hasan is credited with transforming as its vice chancellor Jamia Milia Islamia into a globally connected university, hosting international seminars and lectures by prominent thinkers and intellectuals.

Dec 11: Results from crucial state polls in India came as a major setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of next year’s general election. The ruling BJP was evicted from its strongholds of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Dec 12: Theresa May survived the vote of no-confidence in her leadership of the Conservative party.

Dec 12: The European Parliament approved an accord with Japan that has been dubbed the world’s biggest trade deal, covering economies that represent a third of the world’s GDP.

Dec 12: Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, was sentenced to a total of three years in prison for his role in making illegal hush-money payments to women to help Trump’s 2016 election campaign and lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.

Dec 13: Afghanistan opened a new international trade route aimed at establishing direct access to Central Asia and Europe. President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the route, known as the Lapis Lazuli corridor.

Dec 13: Yemen’s warring parties agreed to cease fighting for the Houthi-held port city of Hodeidah and withdraw their troops, the first significant breakthrough for UN-led peace efforts in five years of conflict.

Dec 14: Oscar-nominated actress Sondra Locke died at the age of 74.

Dec 14: Australian prodigy Ariarne Titmus broke the women’s short-course 400m freestyle record and grabbed her second gold medal at the World Swimming Championships in China.

Dec 14: Kosovo passed laws to build an army, asserting its statehood in a US-backed move that has angered Serbia, which does not recognise the former province’s independence.

Kosovo has been guarded by Nato-led peacekeeping troops since it broke away from Belgrade in a bloody separatist war in 1998-99.

Now, new legislation will transform a small crisis-response outfit, the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), into an defence army with 5,000 troops.

Dec 15: The Colombian crime film “Pajaros de Verano” won the prized Coral Award at the 40th edition of the popular Havana Film Festival.

Dec 15: Former Ethiopian president Girma Woldegiorgis died.

Dec 15: Leaders of countries in the Lake Chad region met in Nigeria to give fresh impetus to their fight against Boko Haram.

Dec 15: Sri Lanka’s strongman Mahinda Rajapakse bowed out of a power battle that had crippled the island nation for seven weeks.

Dec 15: A federal judge in Texas ruled that the US health care law known as Obamacare was unconstitutional.

Dec 15: Australia formally recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of Middle East policy, but will not move its embassy there immediately.

Dec 15: Sri Lanka defeated India to clinch the Asia Cup Emerging Teams title.

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