Hong Kong was rated as the most free economy of the world with a score of 89.8 points out 100 in the index of economic freedom – 2017 released in February 2017 by US-Based the Heritage Foundation. Singapore (88.6) and New Zealand (83.7) secured second and third spots respectively in the Index while North Korea was rated the least free economy with only 4.9 points. Total 186 economics were included in the index. The index has been prepared on the basis of 10 factors of economic freedom, using the statistics from international organizations like World Bank, IMF and Transparency International. India was ranked 143rd in the index with a score of just 52.6 points.
India and Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on February 17, 2017 in New Delhi on boosting railway safety measures in the Indian Railways with focus on railway track and rolling stock safety. Indian Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mittal and Vice-Minister Hiroshi Tabata of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. The areas of cooperation under this pact include rail inspection, rail wielding, providing automatic railway track safety inspection, maintenence of rolling stock etc.
Veteran military strategist Lt. Gen. H. R. Mcmaster was appointed the new National Security Adviser (NSA) of the USA on February 20, 2017 by President Donald Trump Mr McMaster succeeded Michael Flynn on this post. McMaster is the author of the book ‘Dereliction of Duty : Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The joint Chiefs of Staff and Lies that Led to Vietnam’.
Former foreign minister and a Social-Democrat leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected the new President of Germany with a massive majority on February 12, 2017. 630 lawmakers of German Parliament’s lower house and an equal number of representatives from 16 States of Germany took part in the election. The German President has little executive power, but is considered an important moral authority and symbols of the National integrity.
Pakistan’s Senate unanimously passed the Hindu Marriage Bill – 2017 on February 17, 2017 to regulate marriages of ministry Hindus in Pakistan. The Bill now needs the President of Pakistan’s assent to come into force as a law as it had already been cleared by the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistani Parliament. It will be the first elaborate Hindu Community’s personal law. The bill aims to regulate marriage, registration of marriage, separation and remarriage and other marriage related issues of Hindus in Pakistan with the minimum age of marriage set at 18 years for both boys and girls.
Jamaica’s star sprinter Usain Bolt was honoured with the coveted Laureus Sportsman of the Year honour for 2017 at a ceremony in Monaco on February 14, 2017. Bolt pipped Christiano Ronaldo and Lebron James to lift the top Laureus honour for the record-equalling fourth-time in his career. He won it in 2009, 2010 and 2013 before this latest one. Legendary Michael Johnson presented the award to Bolt. American gymnast Simone Biles won the Laureus Sportswoman of the year honour.
Kheleo, the official mascot of the FIFA under-17 Football World Cup was launched on February 10, 2017 at a ceremony in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Union minister of Youth Affairs and sports Mr. Vijay Goel and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and the chairman of the local organising committee Mr. Praful Patel unveiled the mascot of Kheleo – ‘a clouded leopard’. The FIFA under-17 World Cup is scheduled to be organised from October 6 to 28, 2017 in India. Total 24 teams will compete for the FIFA U-17 crown.
China’s newly formed Rocket Force has showcased an advanced ballistic missile with a range of more than 1,000 km that can hit targets in India, Japan and Taiwan. China’s state media issued a veiled warning to neighbours, especially Japan, about the capabilities of the DF-16 missile, which was first revealed at a military parade in Beijing in September 2015. Experts said that the DF-16 poses a challenge to foreign military installations along the first island chain, which is what the Chinese military calls the series of island that stretch from Japan in the north to China’s Taiwan and the Philippines to the south , state run China daily reported.
The Israeli Parliament’s adoption of a contentious law meant to retroactively legalise thousands of West Bank settlement homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land is expected to trigger international outrage and a flurry of lawsuits against the measure. The explosive law, passed 60-52 in Israel’s 120-member Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on February 6, 2017, is the latest in a series of pro-settle steps taken by Israel’s hardline government since the election of Donald Trump as US President.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once again topped the Forbes magazing list of the world’s richest person with an estimation wealth of $86 billion. He topped the Forbes list which was released on March 20, 2017, as the world’s Wealthiest man for the fourth year in a row. Berkshire Hathaway Chief Warren Buffett finished behined gates. Others in top 10 included Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at number three. The US led countries with the most number of billionaries with 565 while China is a second place with 319 Chinese billionaires in the list.
Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance Group was inducted into the international advisory board of the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based foreign policy think tank on March 28, 2017. The advisory board of the Atlantic Council included political and bussiness leaders like media baron Rupert Murdoch, Avibus CEO Dr. Thomas Enders, Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, former US national security advisor, former Australian PM Kevin Rudd etc. The Atlantic Council, through the work of its ten programmes and centers, promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in the world based on the central role of the Atlantic Community.
China-backed civil servant Carrie Lam was on March 26, 2017 elected the first women Chief Executive of Hong-Kong. Lam secured 777 votes in her support from the 1,194 member election committee. Former financial secretary John Tsang finished runner-up in the race, securing 365 votes only. Retired judge Wookwok-hing got 21 votes. Many votes were declared invalid. After winning the poll, Carrie pledged to work for all. In Hong-Kong, Chief Executive is not elected directly by public vote, but by an election committee dominated by pro-Beijing electors. The Chinese name of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
Norway was ranked the happiest country of the world in the World Happiness Report 2017 released on March 20, 2017 by the United Nations on the International Day of Happiness. Norway captured the top spot in the report with a score of 7.54 while last year it was on fourth place. Denmark and Iceland finished second and third respectively on the list, completeing the dominance of Nordic nations. Finland was another Nordic nation in the top five as it secured fifth place. It was the fifth edition of the world Happiness Report since the first report was published in 2012. Total 155 countries were included in the report.
Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix-2017, finishing the race in 1 hour, 24 minutes and 11.670 seconds, about 10 seconds clear of runner-up Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, in the Albert Park Circuit, Melbourne on March 26, 2017. It was Vellet’s first F1 win since Singapore GP in 2015 and 43rd of his career. Hamilton remained second year unlucky in the Australian GP to start with the pole position and finished runner-up. Another Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finished third in the race.
The US senate on March 14, 2017 gave its nod to the name of Indian-American Seema Verma, as the Chief of the $ 1 trillon centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services that provide health services to 130 million people. US President Donald Trump sent her name for the top health care position and senate cleared it by a vote of 55-43. Seema is the second Indian-American in the Trump administration to be confirmed by the US Senate after UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. The centre of Medicare and Medicaid Services is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Bangladeshi lawmaker on March 11, 2017 unanimously adopted a resolution declaring March 25 as ‘Genocide Day’ in remembrance of the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani Army in the night of March 25, 1971. A total of 56 lawmakers including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina backed the resolution. The Pakistani Army launched a brutal onslaught on unarmed civilians on the night of March 25, 1971 to suppress the Bengali movement under the operation searchlight. The Pakistani Army did not accept the landslide election victory of the Awani League in 1970 polls and carried out several brutal crimes against innocent people.
Pakistan’s Parliament has finally passed the landmark bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in the country. Pakistan’s Hinuds will now get an exclusive law to regulate marriages after National Assembly unanimously adopted the Hindu Marriage Bill, 2017 on March 9, 2017. The law was passed after a lengthy process of enactment. It was the second time that National Assembly passed the bill. It passed the bill in September last year but had to pass it again as its version of bill was changed by the Senate when it adopted the bill in February 2017.
The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 with more than 20 million people in four countries facing starvation and famine, the UN humanitarian chief has said. Stephen O’ Brien on March 10, 2017 told the UN Security council that “without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease”. The largest sufferers are Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north east Nigeria. Arab World’s poorest country Yemen is the worst sufferer. Things have been made worse still by the shiite Houthi rebels. $ 2.1 billion are immediatly needed to provide relief.
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