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International Current Affairs October 4th Week 2017
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International Current Affairs October 4th Week 2017

1. Nepal tops Asia Pacific list of nations elected to UNHRC.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) today elected 15 States to serve on the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of which Nepal topped the countries representing the Asian Group in the 47-member council.

UNHRC, Geneva-based highest intergovernmental body looking into matters relating to protection and promotion of human rights globally, elects its members through a secret ballot.

The 15 new members were elected according to set groupings from which States are chosen. The pattern is as follows: four seats for African States; four seats for Asia-Pacific States; three seats for Latin American and Caribbean States; two seats for Eastern European States; and two seats for Western European and other States.

Nepal topped the Asia-Pacific group with 165 votes followed by Qatar with 155 Pakistan with 151 and Afghanistan by 130. All got elected. Malaysia lost with 129.

The newly elected countries are Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine. All would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2018.

Pakistan in a statement today welcomed the decision saying, "Pakistan was elected today to the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the term 2018-20.

Pakistan secured more than two third majority votes. There were five candidates from the Asia Pacific region against four seats." Adding that Pakistan was committed to "uphold", "promote" and "safeguard" universal human rights by building on efforts towards ensuring that the "Council`s work is guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, dialogue and cooperation."

"Pakistan`s membership to this Council demonstrates a strong vote of confidence of the international community in our role and contribution to the national and global human rights agenda", the statement read.

While Pakistan has been trying to claim victory despite recorded violations within its country, an official told India Today that "all four States from the grouping got the same two-thirds majority and two States much smaller than them secured first and second position."

In a rare event in 2015, Pakistan failed to win a re-election to the top UNHRC, garnering just 105 votes in the 193-member General Assembly due to widespread criticism of its egregious human rights violations.

This year while it has found entry, India will be looking at other important Asian partners like Afghanistan and Nepal to ensure Pakistan`s moves against India at the world body are curtailed.
 
2. India and Bangladesh resolve to fight common challenge of terrorism together.
India and Bangladesh resolve to fight common challenge of terrorism together
India and Bangladesh today discussed the common challenge of terrorism and resolved to fight the scourge together even as New Delhi reaffirmed its status as a reliable development partner of Dhaka.

"We are both determined to protect our societies from the threat of ideologies of hate, violence and terror by adopting a zero tolerance policy and a comprehensive approach in fighting violent extremism and terrorism at all levels," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said after talks with the Bangladeshi side as part of the fourth Joint Consultative Commission between the two countries.

"We discussed the common challenges that we are faced with today. One such challenge is that of terrorism, extremism and radicalisation and we will continue to fight this scourge together and along with other like-minded countries," she said.

Ms Swaraj, who arrived in Dhaka on a two-day visit, said "India has been a longstanding and reliable development partner of Bangladesh".

"Totally, three lines of credit amounting to $8 billion have been extended by India to Bangladesh so far. This is by far the largest development assistance that India has extended to any country worldwide," she said.

India has also been extending grant assistance for small socio-economic projects in Bangladesh. In the past three years alone, 24 such grant projects have been completed which include construction of students` hostels, tube-wells, cultural centres, and orphanages among others. Presently 58 projects, including city development projects in Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet, are under implementation, she said.

"India is now supplying 660 MW of much needed power to the Bangladesh people and this figure will double, if not triple, in the foreseeable future. We will work together as founding members of the International Solar Alliance, for which Bangladesh has just confirmed its accession. This alliance is expected to make solar energy affordable," Ms Swaraj said.

The two nations have already agreed on the construction of a petroleum products pipeline that will link Siliguri with Parbatipur, for the benefit of the people of northwestern Bangladesh, as a grant in aid project.

The setting up of LNG terminal, supply of natural gas by pipeline and investments in the upstream sector are also under consideration, she said.

She said restoration of pre-1965 links encompassing road, rail, water and coastal shipping links is being planned to increase connectivity, citing increase in frequency of the Dhaka-Maitri express.

The inaugural run with end-to-end Immigration and Customs services for the Maitri Express and the inaugural commercial run of the Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan service are all expected soon, she said.

In order to facilitate people-to-people contacts, she said the Indian Mission and Posts in Bangladesh issued 9.76 lakh visas in 2016 and these are expected to grow to about 14 lakh visas in 2017.
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Ms Swaraj said India will also offer five-year multiple entry visas for Bangladeshi freedom fighters and is planning a scheme for their medical treatment in India.

She will also hand over some memorabilia of the 1971 liberation war to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to be displayed in museums.

This is Ms Swaraj`s second visit to Bangladesh and comes after the recent trip of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during which India operationalised a $4.5 billion line of credit to Bangladesh to enable implementation of development projects in key areas, including power, railways, roads and shipping.

The announcement of the line of credit was made during Sheikh Hasina`s visit to India in April.

The development is also seen as India`s attempt to counter rising Chinese influence in Bangladesh, where Beijing is trying to make inroads in infrastructure ventures.
 
3. Tesla signs deal to set up manufacturing factory in China.
Tesla signs deal to set up manufacturing factory in China
Tesla Motors is in discussions to establish a factory in Shanghai, its first in China, a move that could bolster its efforts in one of its major markets even as it further lifts China’s position as a builder of electric cars.

In a statement on Thursday, Tesla said it needed to set up more overseas factories to make cars that customers could afford. Such a strategy is a must in China, which charges steep tariffs for imported cars.

“Tesla is working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in the region to serve the Chinese market,” a company spokesman said. “Tesla is deeply committed to the Chinese market, and we continue to evaluate potential manufacturing sites around the globe to serve the local markets.”

“While we expect most of our production to remain in the U.S., we do need to establish local factories to ensure affordability for the markets they serve,” the spokesman said.

China accounted for about 15 percent of Tesla’s revenue last year, nearly double the percentage it contributed in 2015.

Tesla Hits a New Milestone, Passing G.M. in Valuation APRIL 10, 2017

China’s Plan to Build Its Own High-Tech Industries Worries Western Businesses MARCH 7, 2017

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Shanghai city officials did not respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg News reported earlier that Tesla and Shanghai had signed a preliminary agreement.

Tesla’s negotiations do not guarantee that a plant will be built. Under Chinese law, such a project would require Tesla to find a Chinese joint-venture partner. While China is full of Chevrolets, Fords and Volkswagens, most are made in factories jointly owned by a foreign automaker and a local company.

The City of Shanghai controls the SAIC Motor Corporation, one of China’s largest automakers and a partner for General Motors and Volkswagen. It was not clear whether Tesla’s negotiations with the city government would steer the company to negotiate with SAIC. Calls to the Chinese automaker were not returned.

Tesla could get around the joint-venture requirement by building a wholly owned factory in a foreign trade zone in China. But it would still have to pay the 25 percent import duty for cars sold in China, as the factory would be treated as outside China for trade purposes.

Further complicating matters, China recently announced that it would issue no more business licenses to make automobiles, including electric cars. Tesla does not have a license, although it could form an alliance with a company that has one.
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These are formidable obstacles. But some in the Chinese auto industry say that the economics of producing in China — a low-cost supply chain, especially for electric cars, as well as the ability to bypass the import tariffs — make the proposition attractive.

For China, a domestic Tesla factory could represent a big symbolic victory. Spurred by incessant pollution and increasing dependence on foreign oil, China for the last several years has pushed to be a leader in electric car development.

That has raised concern in Western countries. In March, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China complained that Chinese law requires manufacturers who set up shop in China to transfer crucial technology to their Chinese partners.

The complaint coincides with a broader debate over China’s plan — called Made in China 2025 — to become self-sufficient in some technology industries. That plan has led to concerns that China will nurture and subsidize domestic competitors to Western companies.

Still, it is not clear what arrangements Tesla would make in China. The battery is central to electric car technology. Tesla has already invested heavily in its huge, $5 billion Nevada factory, called the Gigafactory, to produce batteries.

Tesla models carry a hefty price in China. The Model S ranges from 723,500 to 1,399,800 renminbi, or about $104,000 to $203,000. The same model retails for $70,000 to $140,000 in the United States, before government incentives.
 
4. Bangladesh Signs Gas Oil Deal with India.
Bangladesh Signs Gas Oil Deal with India
Bangladesh on Sunday signed a long-term sales and purchase agreement with an Indian refiner to import gas oil to meet the country’s energy demand, officials said.

The deal between Bangladesh Petroleum Corp. (BPC) and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) was signed in presence of India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who arrived in Dhaka on Sunday on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral issues.

Her visit comes as Bangladesh is struggling to cope with an influx of almost 600,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar since 25 August when the UN says the Myanmar army began a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” following insurgent attacks.

Under the deal, BPC will take up to 250,000 tonnes of gas oil each year from NRL for the first three years of the deal to the BPC’s northern fuel depot via a 131-km (79 mile) pipeline, which will be built by India.

The import volume will be increased in line with demand, a senior BPC official said, adding the deal would come into effect when the pipeline is built.
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BPC will pay a premium of $5.50 per barrel over Middle East quotes under the 15-year deal, up from the current premiums of $2.20 a barrel for gas oil cargoes it receives by tanker through the country’s south-eastern port of Chittagong, the official said.

“The premium is cost-effective as there is no added cost as the supply will be delivered to the deport in the northern part,” the BPC official said.

NRL already supplies a small volume to state-owned BPC for the country’s northern region.

The refinery, located in the eastern Indian state of Assam, will supply around 22,000 tonnes of gas oil with a sulphur content of 500 parts per million (ppm) between October and December by railroad, BPC officials said.

BPC received its first batch this month under the three-month agreement.

Bangladesh typically ships in around 3.2 million tonnes of diesel and 2.5 million tonnes of fuel oil annually.

Sellers include Kuwait Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Berhad, Emirates National Oil Company, Philippines National Oil Co., Vietnam’s Petrolimex, Thailand’s PTT, Indonesia’s Bumi Siak Pusako and Zhenhua Oil.
 
5. Second World Congress on Marxism to be held in Beijing.
The 2nd World Congress on Marxism is scheduled to be held in Peking University in Beijing next May, the organiser said on Sunday.

The congress, to be held from May 5 to May 6, is expected to attract more than 300 Marxism researchers to discuss Marxism in the 21st century and its developments in China, Xinhua reported.

The congress coincides with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx`s birth and 40th anniversary of China`s reform and opening-up, said Gu Hailiang, head of the academic board of the organising committee.

It will be a significant event for the world Marxism research and scientific socialism, Gu told a press conference.

The conference, with the theme of "Marxism and the current world and China", will have 17 subforums covering topics like Chinese solution and modernization approach by the developing countries, said Sun Daiyao, vice president of the School of Marxism of Peking University.

Gu said the congress will focus on Marxism research by the global academic circle and Marxism in current China.

The congress will help to interpret to the world academic circle the "China road, China theory and China experience", Gu said.
 
6. United Nations Day is observed on 24th October.
The United Nations feeds 80 million people, vaccinates 45 percent of the worlds children, protects 65 million people forced to flee, tackles climate change, keeps peace with 117, 000 peacekeepers, fights poverty, promotes human rights, prevents conflict through diplomacy and works for a more peaceful world.

Today, 24th is the UN Day which marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

“Our world faces many grave challenges; widening conflicts and inequality; extreme weather and deadly intolerance; and Security threats including nuclear weapons. We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will. The world’s problems transcend borders. We have to transcend our differences to transform our future,” said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people – they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world. On United Nations Day, let us, ‘We the Peoples’, make this vision a reality.”
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This was his key message to all the member states as they celebrate the UN Day which  is devoted to making known to people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations Organization and is part of United Nations Week, which runs from 20 to 26 October.

The day was declared and celebrated by the United Nations General Assembly as the United Nations Day in 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

Furthermore, today is the UN World Development Information Day which was established in 1972 to draw the attention of the world to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them (resolution 3038 (XXVII)). The Assembly decided that the date for the Day should coincide with United Nations Day, 24 October, which was also the date of the adoption, in 1970, of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.

The Assembly deemed that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.
 
7. Nicaragua signs Paris climate agreement.
Nicaragua signs Paris climate agreement
Nicaragua is set to join the Paris climate agreement, according to an official statement and comments from the vice-president, Rosario Murillo, on Monday, in a move that leaves the United States and Syria as the only countries outside the global pact.

Nicaragua has already presented the relevant documents at the United Nations, Murillo, who is also first lady, said on local radio on Monday.

“It is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters,” Murillo said.

Donald Trump said in June he would withdraw the United States from the accord, and Nicaragua’s decision to enter the pact means only two countries will now be outside it – the world’s No 1 economy and war-torn Syria.

Nicaragua, which is often threatened by hurricanes, was the only country to reject the agreement in 2015, and has argued for far more drastic action to limit rising temperatures.
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The Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 countries two years ago, seeks to limit planetary warming by curbing global emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists believe drive global warming.

The administration of the former US president Barack Obama had pledged deep emissions cuts as part of the deal, but his successor, Trump, has said the accord would cost America trillions of dollars, kill jobs, and hinder the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries.

The island country of Fiji will preside over the next round of UN climate talks, from 6-17 November in Bonn, Germany, where environment ministers from around the world will work on a set of international guidelines for the Paris accord.

The latest round of negotiations take place after a string of powerful hurricanes ravaged Caribbean island nations and caused billions of dollars in damage along the Texas and Florida coastlines.

Climate scientists have said warmer air and water resulting from climate change may have contributed to the severity of the storms. The US Environmental Protection Agency has disputed such claims as an attempt to “politicize” natural disasters.
 
8. Singapore Passport Named `Most Powerful`, India Ranks 75.
Singapore Passport Named `Most Powerful`, India Ranks 75
Singapore has the world’s “most powerful” passport, according to a global ranking topped for the first time by an Asian country with India figuring at 75th position, three notches better than its previous ranking. According to the ‘Global Passport Power Rank 2017` by global financial advisory firm Arton Capital, Germany is ranked second, followed by Sweden and South Korea in third place.

Paraguay removed visa requirements for Singaporeans, propelling Singapore’s passport to the top of Passport Index’ most powerful ranking with a visa-free score of 159, the company statement said. Historically, the top 10 most powerful passports in the world were mostly European, with Germany having the lead for the past two years. Since early 2017, the number one position was shared with Singapore, which was steadily going up, it said.

“For the first time ever an Asian country has the most powerful passport in the world. It is a testament of Singapore’s inclusive diplomatic relations and effective foreign policy,” said Philippe May, managing director of Arton Capital’s Singapore office.
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India, which was listed 78th last year, has improved its ranking, figuring at 75th position with a visa-free score of 51. Coming in at last place on the list is Afghanistan, ranked 94 with a score of 22, followed by Pakistan and Iraq at 93 with a score of 26, Syria at 92, having a score of 29 and Somalia at 91 with a score 34.
“Visa-free global mobility has become an important factor in today’s world,” said founder and president of Arton Capital Armand Arton at the recently held Global Citizen Forum in Montenegro.

“More and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families,” Arton added.

While Singapore quietly climbed the ranks, the US passport has fallen down since President Donald Trump took office. Most recently Turkey and the Central African Republic revoked their visa-free status to US passport holders, the statement said.

Passport Index has become the most popular interactive online tool to display, sort and rank the world’s passports. The index ranks national passports by the cross-border access they bring, assigning a “visa-free score” according to the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.
 
9. India has 3rd Highest Number of Family-Owned Businesses.
India has 3rd Highest Number of Family-Owned Businesses
India has 108 publicly-listed family-owned businesses, third highest in the world, while China tops the tally with 167 such companies followed by the US which has 121, says a Credit Suisse report.

As per the Credit Suisse Research Institute`s (CSRI) latest "CS Family 1000" report, with an average market capitalisation of $ 6.5 billion, India ranks 5th in Asia Pacific excluding Japan, and 22nd globally, in terms of average m-cap.

Besides China, the US and India, the top 10 countries in terms of number of family-owned companies include France (4th place), Hong Kong (5th), Korea (6th), Malaysia (7th), Thailand (8th), Indonesia (9th), Mexico (10th).

However, in terms of average size, the ranking changes much more in favour of developed markets, the report said.

Average market capitalisation of family-owned companies is greatest in Spain ($ 30 billion), the Netherlands ($ 30 billion), Japan ($ 24 billion) and Switzerland ($ 22 billion), the report that covered close to 1,000 family-owned, publicly-listed companies by region, sector and size said.

It further said Indian companies surveyed are more mature, with 60 per cent of family businesses in their third generation compared to 30 per cent of Chinese companies.

According to Credit Suisse, the financial performance of family-owned companies is also superior to that of non- family-owned peers. Furthermore, family businesses appear to focus more on long-term growth and they have outperformed peers in terms of share price returns.
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"At country-level, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian family-owned companies appear to be the most expensive, trading at high absolute multiples, with a 12-month median price to earnings (P/E) of 15-16 times, compared to around 10 -13 times P/E multiples of companies in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore," the report said.

The definition used for the database of family or founder-owned companies is a minimum shareholding of 20 per cent and/or minimum voting rights of 20 per cent.

In terms of key concerns and challenges, Chinese family- owned companies rank succession planning as their least important issue and do not envisage a reduction in ownership.

However, they tend to worry much more about the threat of technological disruption (30 per cent said this was very concerning) which may be driven by China`s overall greater exposure to disruptive technologies globally and its state of economic development.

On the other hand, challenges seen as most prominent in India include succession planning, followed by greater competition and talent retention.
 
10. World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is observed on 27 October.
 World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is observed on 27 October
Discover: Each day hundreds of thousands of recordings are captured, preserved and annotated by archivists to enable search, discovery, new interpretations, uses and enjoyment of moving image and sound recordings. Celebrate the voyages of discovery made possible by your archive in your domain. Showcase and promote your mission and work.

Remember: Audio-visual archives are a cornerstone of the memory of the world, with recordings that enable recall for future generations and give context to our shared history, culture and humanity for over a century. Promote a greater understanding of the unique role of audiovisual archives and the need for it to be safeguarded, preserved and protected as part of our world heritage. 

Share: Digital media has created opportunities as never before for archives to connect directly with their publics, sharing and engaging with new audiences across digital platforms in ever new ways. Promote your shared archive events and celebrations with the archive community worldwide.

The eight associations forming the CCAAA (AMIA, ARSC, FIAF, FIAT-IFTA, FOCAL International, IASA, ICA, SEAPAVAA) strongly encourage all their members (and any other institutions) not only to join in the global celebrations of the 2017 World Day on and around 27 October, but also to share the information about their particular events, by filling the quick-and-easy form that can be found on this site when clicking on “Add a new World Day for Audiovisual Heritage event”. Your descriptive text can be in the language of your choice (or even better... in several languages), but we ask you to limit it to 500 words max. You can also attach one image per event. Please fill in and submit one form per event. Your contributions will be automatically added to the list of World day events on the aforementioned site.
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UNESCO encourages audiovisual archives around the globe to join us in celebrating 27 October by showcasing their precious collections and holdings as part of an international endeavour to promote the value of audiovisual heritage. Audiovisual archives tell us stories about people’s lives and cultures from all over the world. They represent a priceless heritage which is an affirmation of our collective memory and a valuable source of knowledge since they reflect the cultural, social and linguistic diversity of our communities. They help us grow and comprehend the world we all share. Conserving this heritage and ensuring it remains accessible to the public and future generations is a vital goal for all memory institutions as well as the public at large.

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is a commemoration of the adoption, in 1980 by the 21st General Conference, of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images. The World Day provides an occasion to raise general awareness of the need to take urgent measures and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents.

11. Chile named best country to visit in 2018.

Chile named best country to visit in 2018
Lonely Planet has ranked Chile as the number one country to visit next year in its much anticipated Best in Travel 2018 list.

The travel guide company, which produces content in more than 14 languages and has over 13 million followers on social media, published the 13th edition of its annual list of the top 10 countries every traveler should have on their bucket list for 2018 yesterday.

Chile was the only South American country to earn a spot on the list and ranked first in the Countries categories which also included Portugal, New Zealand, China and South Africa. Lonely Planet also produced a video on Chile explaining why it was selected as their best country to visit in 2018 presented by Lonely Planet writer, Mark Johanson. The Top 10 Countries category was one of four categories in the list which also included top 10 regions, top 10 cities and top 10 best value destinations.
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Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list is selected by the guide’s most experienced travellers and takes into consideration hundreds of recommended destinations worldwide. Its selection criteria includes current events, innovative travel offers and the diversity of a destination’s tourism offering which are all factors in deciding the final top 10.

“This distinction is big news for Chile and reaffirms the government’s successful campaign to market the country as must-see international tourism destination. And the statistics confirm this as well, with a record-breaking influx of 5.5 million foreign tourists in 2016,” said Undersecretary of Tourism, Javiera Montes.

Sernatur Director Marcela Cabezas also asserted that, “recognition by Lonely Planet is an award that all Chileans can feel proud of as it highlights both the natural beauty of our country and the outstanding hospitality of its people. This acknowledgement comes on the heels of our recent distinction as South America’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination 2017 in the World Tourism Awards.”

12. Qatar Introduces Minimum Wage for First Time.
Qatar Introduces Minimum Wage for First Time
World Cup 2022 host Qatar, under global scrutiny over its alleged ill-treatment of migrant labourers, is to introduce a minimum wage for workers, official state media said Wednesday.

Qatar News Agency also announced that the gas-rich emirate has signed bilateral accords with 36 countries from which it draws most of its two-million-strong foreign workforce, to provide legal protection for workers headed to the Gulf.

The announcements came on the eve of an International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting that could see the launch of a formal investigation by the UN agency into Qatar`s treatment of migrant workers.

The minimum wage initiative and the agreements were announced by Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi, minister of administrative development, labour and social affairs, during a meeting with foreign diplomats.

A minimum wage would aim to "meet the necessary needs of the worker to live at an appropriate humanitarian level", said the minister, quoted by QNA.

No details were given of when the minimum wage would be introduced or at what level.
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Workers in Qatar, unions and rights groups have claimed that many have been lured to work in the Gulf for wages considerably less than they had been promised.

There has also been widespread criticism that a large number of workers are not paid their salaries on time, leading to hardship for the most vulnerable.

In February 2015, Qatar introduced the Wage Protection System, a major reform, designed to ensure workers receive their salaries electronically, either fortnightly or monthly.

The ILO meeting starting on Thursday in Geneva is expected to run until November 9, with Qatar being discussed towards the end of the meeting.

If the UN agency decides to launch an investigation, it could prove embarrassing for Qatar and other organisations, including world football`s governing body, FIFA.
 
13. GMR Hyderabad Airport, Malaysia Tourism, MAHB Sign Pact to Promote Tourism.
GMR Hyderabad Airport, Malaysia Tourism, MAHB Sign Pact to Promote Tourism
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board have come together to promote the growth of tourism traffic.

A memorandum of agreement was inked here on Thursday to promote tourism from the catchment area of Hyderabad to Malaysia and also explore new locations for connectivity.

SGK Kishore, CEO, GHIAL, Mohd Badlisham Ghazali, Managing Director, MAHB, and Abdul Khani Daud, Deputy Director General (Promotion), MTPB signed, the agreement in the presence of Hidayat Abdul Hamid, High Commissioner of Malaysia.

Over 100,000 passengers travel between Hyderabad and Malaysia every year and the traffic has grown by 28% CAGR in the last five years.

SGK Kishore said, “This is a strategic initiative, which we have taken up to enhance outbound tourism from our catchment region to key international destinations to enhance RGIA’s International connectivity and traffic growth. Through these efforts we can encourage a new segment of potential tourists from our region.”

Mohd Badlisham Ghazali said, “This three-way partnership will enhance the visibility of Malaysia’s tourism attractions in Hyderabad and surrounding areas. This will in turn boost arrivals of Indians from South-central India to Malaysia.”
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Abdul Khani Daud said, “We hope to see one million tourists from india by next year. Last year we closed at 6,38,000 as against 7,50,000 a year before.”

“The number will go up as more people get to know about the connectivity and leisure tourism Malaysia offers. It is already a popular destination for weddings, honeymooners and film makers,” he said.

Hyderabad Airport has witnessed 15.24 million passengers in FY2016-17, registering a growth of 22 per cent in overall passenger traffic and 23 per cent growth in air traffic movement over FY2015-16. RGIA recorded a 56 per cent growth in domestic passenger traffic in FY17.

At present, 10 domestic carriers connect Hyderabad with 39 domestic destinations. The airport also connects 18 international destinations with 16 foreign and 3 Indian carriers. To cater to the growing passenger traffic, Hyderabad Airport is in the process of taking up expansion of the airport terminal and also dev other airlines to add capacity on this route, they said.

14. India and ADB Signed $65.5 Million Loan to Support Coastal Protection.

 India and ADB Signed $65.5 Million Loan to Support Coastal Protection 
The Asian Development Bank has signed a $65.5 million loan agreement with India for checking coastal erosion on the western coast of Karnataka.

The loan is the second tranche of a $250-million financing facility under the Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme, ADB said in a statement.

The financing will be used to address the immediate coastal protection needs and for strengthening institutional capacity of Karnataka’s public works, ports and inland water transport department.
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The agreement was signed on Thursday by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Finance Ministry, and ADB’s Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama in Bengaluru.

Coastal erosion in the State, where the project is focussed, poses a high risk to human wellbeing, economic development and ecological integrity through loss of land, infrastructure and business opportunities.

Under increasing threat from climate change impacts, coastal protection and management has evolved as a major challenge to development.
 
15. India and US to implement HOSTAC to strengthen maritime security.
India and US to implement HOSTAC to strengthen maritime security
To strengthen maritime security, India and the United States have agreed to implement the programme for Helicopter Operations from Ships other Than Aircraft Carriers (HOSTAC), the Pentagon has said.

A decision in this regard was taken by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her US Counterpart Jim Mattis during their meeting in Philippines on Wednesday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers` Meeting-Plus.
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"The two emphasized the importance of strengthening maritime security cooperation, and, in support of this objective, decided to implement the program for Helicopter Operations from Ships other Than Aircraft Carriers (HOSTAC)," the Pentagon Spokesperson Dana W White said.

Sitharaman and Mattis "agreed on the importance of a rules-based international order" in which all nations are able to prosper, and the "need to work together" against the common threat of terrorism, White said.

They discussed a range of initiatives to strengthen US- India defense cooperation and enhance India`s leadership role in the Indo-Pacific, White said.

This was their second meeting in less than a month.

Mattis had travelled to India late last month.

"This is a moment of strategic convergence for the US and India," White told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
 
16. Burundi becomes first country to leave International Criminal Court.
Burundi becomes first country to leave International Criminal Court
Burundi on Friday (Oct 27) became the first ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), set up some 15 years ago to prosecute those behind the world`s worst atrocities.

"Burundi`s withdrawal from the Rome Statute will take effect on Friday, Oct 27, 2017," an ICC spokesman said.

The move comes a year to the day after Bujumbura officially notified the United Nations that it was quitting the world`s only permanent war crimes tribunal.

Burundi on Friday hailed it as a "historic" day and called on people to demonstrate across the country on Saturday in celebration.

"The ICC has shown itself to be a political instrument and weapon used by the West to enslave" other states, said presidential office spokesman Willy Nyamitwe.

"This is a great victory for Burundi because it has defended its sovereignty and national pride," he told AFP.

But activists mourned what was seen as a major blow to international justice.

"The decision to withdraw Burundi from the Rome Statute comes at a time when the machine continues to kill with impunity in Burundi," said Lambert Nigarura, president of the Burundi Coalition for the ICC.

"Today, Burundian justice, as it is so-called, has lost contact with life. It has become a mere tool of repression of any dissenting voice," he added in a statement.

But ICC officials said a preliminary probe launched by the prosecutor in April 2016 into possible crimes against humanity in the central African nation would continue.

"Burundi`s withdrawal does not affect the jurisdiction of the court with respect to crimes alleged to have been committed during the time it was a state party, namely up until Oct 27, 2017," the spokesman told AFP.

Violent Political Crisis

The initial probe was started by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, following reports of "killing, imprisonment, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as cases of enforced disappearances".

The reports came amid a violent political crisis triggered when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in office, winning July 2015 elections which were boycotted by the opposition.

UN investigators last month urged the ICC to move forwards and open a full-scale investigation saying they had "reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed" in "a systematic attack against the civilian population".

Overall, the violence in Burundi has claimed between 500 and 2,000 lives, according to differing tolls provided by the UN or NGOs and more than 400,000 Burundians have fled abroad.
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Set up in 2002, the ICC based in The Hague has often come under fire from some countries who claim it is unfairly targeting African nations.

The ICC now has 123 member states who have ratified the 1998 Rome Statute, the guidelines which underpin the work of the tribunal.

But Burundi`s snub triggered a wave of copy-cat moves from other African countries.

South Africa and Gambia said they would both follow suit, before then later reversing their decisions. And Kenya and Uganda have also threatened to leave, but not acted on it yet.

Zambia meanwhile has held public consultations, with an overwhelming 93 per cent of those who participated opting to stay within the court.
 
17. India Overtakes US to Become Second Largest Smartphone Market: Report.
India Overtakes US to Become Second Largest Smartphone Market: Report
Cheap handsets and the proliferation of fourth generation, or 4G, services have helped India overtake the US to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market, trailing only China, according to a new report by analyst firm Canalys.

After a wobble in the second quarter of 2017, India’s smartphone market recovered quickly with shipments growing 23% year-on-year in the third quarter to reach just over 40 million units, Canalys analysts said on Thursday.

“Doubts about India’s market potential are clearly dispelled by this result,” said Canalys research analyst Ishan Dutt. “There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE (long term evolution, or 4G) are the main drivers.”

Despite posting excellent results, the market continues to concentrate, with the top five vendors (Samsung Electronics, Xiaomi Inc., Vivo Electronics Corp., Oppo Electronics Corp. and Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Ltd) now accounting for 75% of total shipments in India. Samsung and Xiaomi accounted for almost half of the total market as the top five vendors continued to post strong growth in Q3 2017. Samsung shipped 9.4 million smartphones, almost 30% more than in Q3 last year.
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Second-placed Xiaomi increased shipments by over 290% to 9.2 million units.

“Xiaomi’s growth is a clear example of how a successful online brand can effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads,” said Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi. “But Xiaomi focuses on the low end. It struggles in the mid-range (devices priced between Rs15,000 and Rs20,000), where Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are particularly strong. Nevertheless, we predict Xiaomi’s continued go-to-market innovations will allow it to overtake Samsung within a couple of quarters.”

Apple Inc. began local production in India earlier this year, and its iPhone shipments more than doubled to 900,000 units in Q3 2017 compared with the year-ago period, impressive in a market that is skewed toward low-end smartphones.

 

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