Monday, May 10, 2010


Monday, February 02nd 2009
111 killed in petrol tanker explosion
Around 111 people were killed in an explosion caused by an overturned petrol tanker in Kenya. 200 people have been reported to have been wounded. Hundreds of people who were trying to scoop up free fuel from the overturned tanker were the ones who were hit by the explosion. The death toll is expected to rise. Kenyan Prime minister Raila Odinga said at a press conference that the explosion seemed to have been caused by someone’s cigarette.

Monday, February 02nd 2009
Lankan army captures two LTTE rebel camps
As LTTE rebels failed to honour a 48-hour deadline set by the Sri Lankan government to surrender and release civilians caught in the war, the Lankan troops went all offensive and captured two of the rebel camps. The troops of the 58th division captured two rebel camps in the Visuamadu region. The UN has raised concerns over innocent civilians being killed in the crossfire in the North-East region of Sri Lanka. The UN in Sri Lanka has said that many people including children have been killed by shells landing on a hospital in the rebel held territory of Vanni.

Tuesday, February 03rd 2009
UN official abducted in Pakistan
A senior UN diplomat who is an American national working for UN High Commission for Refugees has been kidnapped by Pakistani militants in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta. The UN diplomat Mr. John Solecki is the head of the UNHCR office in Balochistan. The kidnapping is the latest in a series of kidnappings and killings of foreign officials in Pakistan. The government has condemned this incident and the UN is taking all possible measures to secure his release. No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Tuesday, February 03rd 2009
Israel not in favour of negotiations with Hamas
In the middle of attempts to reinstate a ceasefire between the battling sides of Israel and the militant group Hamas, comes a fresh set of altercations between the two sides. Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has ruled out negotiations with Hamas as long as the militant group continues its attacks on Israel. The Palestinian Islamic group has sent its delegation to Cairo for discussions regarding the ceasefire. The informal ceasefire which took place on January 18th has been violated by both sides .

Wednesday, February 04th 2009
Iran launches its satellite ‘Omid’
Iran has announced the launch of its first domestically made satellite ‘Omid’ into orbit. Western powers have expressed serious concerns over this new development. Iran has stated that the launch of its satellite carried on a Safir 2 rocket is meant only for research and telecommunications purposes. The US, UK and France feel that the technology used may lead to ballistic missile development. A group of six nations comprising the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany have scheduled a meeting to discuss the Iran issue in Frankfurt. The six nations have offered Iran an incentive package to suspend its Uranium enrichment activities. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has said that the US will continue to press Iran to give up its nuclear programme and accept the opportunity to ‘step up and become a productive member of the international community.’

Wednesday, February 04th 2009
N Korea preparing for suspected missile tests
According to reports from South Korean officials and spy satellite images, North Korea is supposedly preparing to test fire its longest range missile which is apparently capable of hitting the US. N Korea has so far not confirmed any of these reports in an official statement.

Thursday, February 05th 2009
Obama sets new rules for executives’ pay
A new set of rules have been introduced by US President Barack Obama that will cap down salaries of executives at firms receiving future government aid at $500,000 a year. President Obama had earlier criticized Wall Street chiefs for accepting bonuses worth millions of dollars in 2008. He has promised compensation reforms as part of a package which will ensure stricter regulations over the financial industry.

Thursday, February 05th 2009
US Senate softens stance over trade bill
A controversial clause in a trade bill, ensuring the use of only American iron, steel and manufactured goods for public works funded by the bill, seems likely to be eased by the US senate. The change of stance among senators regarding this economic recovery package has come about after being warned of a ‘trade war’ taking place due to the ‘buy American’ clause in the bill. The senators have now agreed to an amendment in the bill which will comply with the trade agreements with Canada and the EU.

Friday, February 06th 2009
Lankan troops capture last LTTE sea base
The Sri Lankan troops have captured the last sea base of the Tamil Tigers, pushing them to a small stretch of northern coastline. The sea base at Chalai was captured by the armed forces on Thursday and the troops are now closing in on the top commanders of the LTTE. According to reports in the media army tanks and infantry had moved deep into the Chalai region and killed four of the top LTTE leaders.

Friday, February 06th 2009
Taiwan plans a bridge to China
In a sign of warming ties between mainland China and its cross Strait rival Taiwan, Taiwanese officials are considering a plan to build a bridge linking the two regions. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou had asked his top economic planners to conduct a feasibility study when he had visited the Taiwan-controlled fortified island Kinmen off the Chinese mainland. The project is likely to cost around $390.5 million and the bridge would link Kinmen and Xiamen, a city in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian.

Sunday, February 08th 2009
24 killed in Brazilian plane crash
A Brazilian plane which crashed into the river Manacapuru in the state of Amazonas killed 24 people aboard the plane which included seven children. Four people have been reported to have survived the crash. The aircraft which took off from Coari disappeared from the radar due to heavy rain. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Monday, February 09th 2009
Australia’s worst inferno
In what seems to be the worst case of inferno faced by Australia around 100 people have been killed by the wild fire. Searing temperatures and strong wind blasts have produced a firestorm which has charred at least 700 homes in the state of Victoria where all the deaths have occurred. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced an immediate emergency aid of 10 million Australian dollars. The death toll is expected to rise.

Tuesday, February 10th 2009
28 killed by a female LTTE bomber
A female LTTE suicide bomber killed around 28 people including 20 Sri Lankan soldiers. The suicide bomber blew herself up at a checkpoint in a refugee processing centre located in the war zone in the Northern part of Sri Lanka. Around 60 people were wounded in the explosion. The security forces who were killed were unarmed.

Wednesday, February 11th 2009
Israelis go to vote
Around 9,500 polling stations were reported to have opened across Israel for the 18th parliamentary elections in the country’s 60 year history. Voters will elect a new parliament and a new leader. The voting started at 7:00 am on Tuesday and ended at 10 pm on the same day. The first official results are yet to be announced. About 4.8 million voters are expected to choose from 33 lists. The race for leadership is tough between the Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign minister Tzipi Livni who leads the centrist Kadima party.

Wednesday, February 11th 2009
Dalai Lama made honorary citizen of Rome
The Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama was made an honorary citizen of Rome on Tuesday. The Italian nation has pledged its support for Dalai Lama’s unflinching and non-violent struggle for Tibet’s autonomy. The spiritual leader who is in exile informed Italian lawmakers that the Chinese authorities have increased repression in his homeland following a revolt by monks last year.

Thursday, February 12th 2009
Taliban strikes in Kabul
Killing around 27 people and injuring 70, the Taliban have struck three places in Kabul. Seven suicide bombers attacked the Afghan Justice Ministry and another government building in Kabul on Wednesday. There was also a gunfight waged between few of the attackers and the security forces which were reminiscent of the Mumbai terror attacks. The attackers who had managed to enter the interior ministry building held hostages for three hours before being killed.

Thursday, February 12th 2009
Zimbabwe has a new Premier
Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader and arch rival of the current president Robert Mugabe, was sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday. This comes under a power sharing deal that was struck between the two political sides. The move is aimed at rescuing the nation from complete ruin. The once prosperous Zimbabwe continues to reel under hyper inflation, food shortages and the deadly cholera epidemic.

Thursday, February 12th 2009
No clear victory in Israel’s early elections
The results of the elections in Israel have not revealed a clear winner. The two opposing parties lead by Tzipi Livni and Benjamin Netanyahu do not have a majority to form a government. The centrist Kadima party won 28 seats whereas the right wing Likud won 27 seats. A party needs 61 seats to form a government. Both parties will now have to consider a coalition government.

Thursday, February 12th 2009
New Prez for Bangladesh
Seventy nine year old veteran Awami league leader Zillur Rahman was declared as the new president of Bangladesh. The announcement was made by the election commission on Wednesday. Mr Rahman was the lone candidate for presidency.

Sunday, February 15th 2009
US H1-B Visa provisions to be tightened
The stimulus plan which had an amendment in it that got passed by the congress will use indirect means to recruit H 1-B workers as direct recruitment of these workers have been barred. Financial firms which have availed of funds through the stimulus plan will find it difficult to hire foreign workers coming through H 1-B visas. In other words financial firms such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Co, and Morgan Stanley which are among the top six firms availing bailout money cannot hire any H1-B if they are replacing fired American workers. The H1- B if employed will have to prove that the job did not have any qualified American candidates applying for it.

Monday, February 16th 2009
Chavez gets a another chance at the elections
In a referendum held in Venezuela the people of this South American nation have voted to lift the limits of the term in office for elected officials. This would mean a constitutional change which would enable President Hugo Chavez to stand for re-elections after his two six year terms in office. Under the existing rules of the constitution a President cannot contest elections again after two six year terms in office. A national electoral council official stated in the media that about 54% of the total 94% votes backed the end to the term limits.

Tuesday, February 17th 2009
Pakistan to suspend military action in NWFP
In a move to pacify the Taliban and to curb the rising insurgency in the nation .The Pakistani government has agreed to impose Islamic law in the northwestern region of Pakistan and also put an end to the military offensive in the northwest. This announcement followed after talks with the local Islamists.

Tuesday, February 17th 2009
Darfur rebel group and Sudan strike a deal
Khartoum and the Justice and Equality Movement have agreed to sign a declaration of good intentions. This hopes to bring respite to the war torn region. The deal was struck in Qatar and between Sudan and Darfur’s most active rebel group. The deal includes an end to attacks on more than two million people in refugee camps and an exchange of prisoners.

Thursday, February 19th 2009
Pakistan's peace deal with the Taliban overlooked by the US
Pakistan recently signed a peace deal with a Taliban group which will lead to enforcement of the sharia law in the Swat valley at the North Western frontier Provinces. The US seems to have considered this new development as not an important concern as it needs all possible cooperation from Pakistan in the war on terror to continue. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her reaction to the Swat deal has said that the US is still studying and trying to understand the agreement and the intentions behind it. This is what State spokesperson Gordon Duguid is reported to have stated in the media “As I understand it, Islamic law is within the constitutional framework of Pakistan. So I don't know that that is particularly an issue for anyone outside of Pakistan to discuss, certainly not from this podium.”

Thursday, February 19th 2009
US agrees to 17k troops for Afghanistan
President Barack Obama has made his first major military move where he has approved the deployment of 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. He said more troops were needed to stabilize the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.

Thursday, February 19th 2009
Benjamin Netanyahu receives key support
The Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have received crucial support to form the next Israeli government. The support has come from the leader of the far right Israeli Yisrael Beiteinu party which has got 15 seats as per the election results. Mr Netanyahu can in theory now count on the support of 65 from the total 120 members of the parliament. It looks likely that Benjamin Netanyahu will be asked to form the next Israeli government by President Shimon Peres.

Friday, February 20th 2009
Pak to sign FTA with China
Signaling a new high in Sino-Pakistani relationship, Pakistan and China are all set to sign a free trade agreement on trade and services. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is on a four day visit to Hubei and Shanghai. Pakistan is also seeking China’s assistance on several issues including hydro-power projects.

Friday, February 20th 2009
Kyrgyz MPs vote in majority to shut US air base
In an overwhelming majority, Kyrgyzstan MPs have voted in favor of the move to shut the Manas air base. The air base was a key point for the US in its operations in Afghanistan and also the only air base in Central Asia. The decision was passed by 78 votes to one. After the President signs the bill, the US will have 180 days to leave the base.

Saturday, February 21st 2009
25 Killed in a suicide attack at a Pak funeral
A suicide bombing aimed at a funeral procession for an assassinated local Shia Muslim leader in Northwest Pakistan has killed around 25 people. A curfew has been imposed in the city of Dera Ismail Khan. Around 1000 people were part of the procession. Officials believe that the attacks were a result of sectarian rivalries.

Saturday, February 21st 2009
The US finds new Afghan supply route
After the decision to close the manas air base in Kyrgyzstan by the Kyrgyz MPs the US has now found a new route to carry non-military supplies to Afghanistan. The supplies bound for Afghanistan will be taken through Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Monday, February 23rd 2009
China Coal mine blast kills 74
74 people have been killed and 114 injured due to a pre-dawn gas explosion in a coal mine shaft in the Northern Province of Shanxi in China. It has been termed as one of the worst coal mine disasters in China in more than a year. Most of the miners are said to have suffered Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The rescue operations have been concluded as all the miners who were under the shaft were found.

Monday, February 23rd 2009
Lankan army kills 73 LTTE rebels
73 Tamil tiger rebels were killed by the Sri Lankan army as it entered its last phases of the offensive in the Mullaitivu region. Fierce fighting between the LTTE and the armed forces has resulted in rising death toll among the rebels. The army also unearthed a weapon production factory of the rebel outfit.

Wednesday, February 25th 2009
Indefinite ceasefire declared by Taliban
The Taliban declared an indefinite ceasefire in the Swat valley of Pakistan on Tuesday. As a goodwill gesture it released three security men who had been nabbed earlier. The Taliban has been waging an armed campaign in the Swat valley for the past two years.

Wednesday, February 25th 2009
Iran's first N-Plant testing
According to media reports, Iran is slated for its first nuclear power plant tests today. The tests would be conducted in the presence of Russian and Iranian officials. A senior Iranian official is reported to have stated that the tests would be conducted without enriched Uranium. If these tests at the Bushehr plant are successful, then further tests will be conducted with Uranium.

Wednesday, February 25th 2009
Former Washington Governor to be Commerce Secretary for Obama
US President Barack Obama is likely to appoint former Washington governor Gary Locke as the Commerce Secretary. If appointed Mr Locke who is also the first Chinese- American governor would be the third Asian-American in Obama's cabinet - the most any US administration has ever had. President Obama, in his maiden address to the US Congress at a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate, stressed on the severity of the economic condition that the nation is heading for. He also congratulated the congress for passing his economic stimulus plan. He warned banks and bankers that they would be accountable for all the public money that they took. “We will rebuild, we will recover” was the President's confident statement.

Thursday, February 26th 2009
Turkish Jet crashes near Amsterdam
A Turkish airlines plane which attempted to land at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport crashed in light fog killing around nine people. The passenger plane had 135 people aboard. Around 50 people have been injured due to the crash. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined as rescue operations are underway. The aircraft was a Boeing model 737-800, flight TK 1951 from Istanbul.

Thursday, February 26th 2009
Rebel soldiers in Dhaka to surrender
Bangladeshi soldiers who mutinied against the government and their senior officials on the issues of pay have now decided to surrender after having held talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who has promised to grant them general amnesty. The soldiers who were from the paramilitary border guards called ‘Bangladesh Rifles’(BDR) had earlier stormed into their headquarters and opened fire at their senior officers. The headquarters and a nearby shopping mall were seized, while several school children were trapped in the school compound. The army was then called in to ease the situation. According to the state minister for law and parliamentary affairs Mohammed Quamrul Islam, at least 50 people are feared to have died in sporadic fighting.

Friday, February 27th 2009
Standoff spreads outside Dhaka
The Mutiny in the Bangladesh Rifles seems to be over but some rebel soldiers are yet to surrender with their weapons. Figures so far suggest that at least 170 may be dead. The dead include senior army officers and their families. The standoff is now affecting areas outside Dhaka - in Jessore, Chittagong, Sylhet Rajshahi, Khulna and Feni. The Prime Minister has warned the rebel soldiers that tough action will be taken if they do not surrender.

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