Monday, May 10, 2010


Thursday, January 01st 2009
Hasina Wajed regains power in Bangladesh
The Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina Wajed, daughter of Bangladesh’s founding leader Mujibur Rehman has been voted back to power by a landslide victory in parliamentary elections held earlier this week. The Mahajot, or Grand Coalition of The Awami League and its allies won the largest parliamentary majority since 1973, crushing the Khaleda Zia-led Bangaladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat e Islami alliance. Reports however indicate that former prime minister Khaleda Zia has rejected the results, saying that the elections were rigged.

Thursday, January 01st 2009
Slovakia enters eurozone
Yet another former communist country, Slovakia, is on its way to adopting the Euro as its formal currency, becoming the 16th member of the eurozone. The Slovak currency “koruna” will remain operational alongside the Euro till January 16, even as banks start swapping the currency for Euro starting January 1. The koruna has been pegged at a rate of 30.126 to the euro since July even as other European currencies and particularly those of the former Soviet-bloc economies have witnessed great turbulence over the same period.

Friday, January 02nd 2009
EU presidency to be taken over by Czech Republic
France handed over the European Union presidency to the Czech republic on the 31st of December . The Czech Republic a former communist country became a European Union member in 2004.The presidency for the EU is on a six month rotating basis.

Friday, January 02nd 2009
60 killed in Bangkok inferno
New year celebrations took a tragic turn in a popular nightclub in Thailand's capital Bangkok as a blaze broke out and killed at least 60 people injuring around 212.The two storeyed Santika club in the Ekkamai district had a fierce fire breaking out after a pyrotechnic display.

Friday, January 02nd 2009
Indian warship saved from pirates
A Malaysian warship saved an Indian vessel from a hijack bid by pirates dressed as military personnel and who were armed. The pirates came in two speed boats and opened fire at the Indian vessel in the Gulf of Aden region, off Somalia. The Malaysian frigate dispatched a helicopter which came to the Indian vessel's rescue. The Indian tanker was carrying a full load of oil and was heading towards the Suez canal.

Saturday, January 03rd 2009
LTTE's de facto capital falls
The Sri Lankan army has managed to capture the de facto capital of the LTTE rebels after a devastating fight. Kilinochchi fell to the government forces on Friday and President Mahinda Rajapaksa made the official announcement of the capture of the strategic town. The rebels however retained their ability to strike back even after the fall of Kilinochchi with a suicide bomb attack in the aftermath.

Saturday, January 03rd 2009
Hamas's “day of wrath” in the Gaza strip
Several Israeli planes attacked militant targets in the Gaza strip following Hamas's orders of an attack against Israel over the killing of a senior commander. The Palestinian militant outfit has also redirected its rocket missiles towards the main nuclear plant in Israel. Israeli security forces are on high alert in Jerusalem and in the west bank.

Monday, January 05th 2009
Israeli troops launch Gaza offensive
Ground troops belonging to Israel have bisected the Gaza strip and have surrounded the city as the offensive against Hamas militants gains momentum. Around 31 Palestinian civilians have been killed in the attacks by the Israeli troops. The military has been reported to have used firepower from tanks, artillery and aircraft to protect the advancing soldiers. The US has placed the blame entirely on Hamas for the ongoing operations. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has meanwhile asked Israel to put an immediate end to the operations in Gaza.

Tuesday, January 06th 2009
Israeli strikes continue
The military strikes by Israeli troops are continuing in relentless fashion in the Gaza strip. The offensive against Hamas militants which started on December 27, 2008 has killed around 550 Palestinians with 2500 injured so far. Gaza city has been facing power shortage for the past three days as power cables were damaged during the shelling.

Wednesday, January 07th 2009
Hasina is new Bangla PM
Sheikh Hasina Wajed the Awami league chief was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Bangladesh on Tuesday. Earlier last week Ms Hasina’s party led Grand Alliance swept the general elections with a majority. The party won three fourths of the total 300 parliamentary seats. The new Prime Minister took an oath at the Bangabhaban presidential palace. The oath of office was administered by the Bangladeshi president Iajuddin Ahmad.

Wednesday, January 07th 2009
Seven European nations face gas shortages
With the growing dispute over energy supplies worsening between Russia and Ukraine seven European and Balkan countries are facing a shortage in gas supplies. Russia halted its exports to Ukraine due to a price row. Russia’s Gazprom has also accused Ukraine of stealing gas in transit to Europe. The EU depends on Russia for a quarter of its total gas supplies.80% of the gas to the EU is pumped through Ukraine.

Thursday, January 08th 2009
Israel makes 60 air strikes after a truce
After the truce agreed to by Israel amid a mounting civilian death toll to halt operations in the Gaza strip for three hours on a daily basis, the Gaza strip was bombed through the night. Israel had agreed to open a humanitarian corridor in the war zone as 680 Palestinians were reported to have been killed in the Jewish state’s war against Hamas. Israel made sixty air strikes in the Gaza strip in a single night after the first daily truce to allow humanitarian aid expired. In the meantime senior Israeli defense officials have agreed to discuss ceasefire options in Cairo.

Friday, January 09th 2009
Russia shuts Gas flows to Europe
On Wednesday all gas supplies to Europe from Russia through Ukraine were shut down completely.80% of the gas supplies from Russia go to Europe through Ukraine. The shut down has reduced power to industries and households in south-east Europe. It has also disrupted supplies to some of the major economies. The countries affected by the cut down are Bulgaria, France, Germany and several other European nations. The reason behind this decision by Russia is the dispute over gas prices and debts that Ukraine owes to Russia.

Sunday, January 11th 2009
LTTE airstrip captured
As the Sri Lankan army pushes its campaign further into the other LTTE held territories, the war between the state army and militants has reached the rebel stronghold of Mullaittivu.The LTTE airstrip was captured by the armed forces and around 20 rebels were killed in the clashes. The Sri Lankan foreign minister has confirmed that if the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran is caught alive, he would be handed over to India. The LTTE chief is wanted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Sunday, January 11th 2009
Nepal faces power crisis
Declining water levels in the hydro-electric reservoirs have led to a power crisis in Nepal. The nation is expected to face 16 hours of load shedding starting from Sunday. The Nepal government is working on plans to import power from India.

Monday, January 12th 2009
Ukraine agrees and signs Russian gas transit deal
Ukraine has signed a deal which enables EU-led monitoring of the Russian gas transiting to be deployed in Ukrainian territory. This comes after Russia shut down all supplies of gas to Europe through Ukraine. Russia had accused Ukraine of stealing gas supplies and also had a bitter dispute over a contract.

Monday, January 12th 2009
250 people feared dead as storm sinks ferry
Central Indonesia and many other parts in the region are facing severe storm like conditions. A ferry capsized due to the storm in central Indonesia on Sunday. Officials have said that around 250 people are reported to have died. 18 survivors were rescued using fishing boats. The 700 ton Teratai Prima sank en route from the western port of Parepare on the island of Sulawesi to Samarinda. Search and rescue operations are still on.

Tuesday, January 13th 2009
Clashes in Somalia kill 29
Clashes between Islamist militia have killed 29 people and have wounded around 50 in central Somalia. The fighting was witnessed in the town of Guriel between the hard-line Al-Shabab militia and a local Islamist militia. Somalia has a tottering government backed by the UN. According to political analysts the power vacuum can lead to intensified clashes between the different Islamist groups in country.

Wednesday, January 14th 2009
Illinois attorney Burris wins battle to take Senate seat
Illinois attorney Roland Burris succeeded president-elect Barack Obama in the Senate, after a row over his appointment by the state’s impeached governor. Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid and his top lieutenant senator Dick Durbin said Burris had provided fresh paperwork confirming his appointment after his credentials were rejected as incomplete last week.

Thursday, January 15th 2009
Lebanon strikes back at Israel
Entering its 20th day the Israeli offensive against Hamas militants continues to rage on. The death toll in the Gaza strip has now crossed 1000.Guerrila groups in Lebanon struck Northern Israel with rockets. Israel has not shown any signs of reducing the offensive strikes. It struck 60 targets in the Gaza strip close to the southern borders of Israel. UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon has asked for an immediate end to the strikes.

Thursday, January 15th 2009
Jaffna seized by Lankan army
With the capture of Jaffna, the Sri Lankan army has liberated the last bit of land which was under LTTE control thus establishing full government control over the northern peninsula. Military troops took over the Chundikulam area and also managed to capture 100 boats, 400 anti-personnel mines and 40 anti-tank mines. Sri Lankan troops have advanced further into the Mullaitivu area where the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran is believed to be in hiding.

Thursday, January 15th 2009
Somalian insurgents take on retreating troops
A day after the Ethiopian troops handed over security duties Islamist insurgents launched attacks on the retreating troops and also fired at the presidential palace in Mogadishu. There are fears doing rounds that Somalia may collapse into chaos due to a power vacuum at the centre and the extremists wanting to seize power from the UN backed government.

Friday, January 16th 2009
Mining reforms in Guinea
Since the military coup on December 23, 2008 which led to a change in the political power in the African state of Guinea mining reforms are on the cards for the state. President Moussa Dadis Camara who seized power last month stated that the mining contracts that were previously honoured by the center were not in the interests of the state. The government has now set up a committee to revise mining contracts of the state. Guinea has one of the world’s biggest reserves of aluminium ore and is also a major exporter. Mining is the main source of revenue for the state .Guinea also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel.

Saturday, January 17th 2009
US Airbus 320 escapes miraculously
155 people onboard a US airways jetliner remained unharmed when the Airbus 320 crash-landed in the Hudson river off Manhattan. The pilot Capt Sullenberger has been hailed as a hero for having maneuvered the failed plane into the river and averted a major catastrophe. The plane which took off from La Guardia airport had struck a flock of geese and developed power failure in both its engines. The 155 passengers were rescued with help of the emergency boats and ferries.

Monday, January 19th 2009
Ceasefire by Hamas
In the wake of the unilateral ceasefire announced by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on 18 January 2009, the Palestinian militant group Hamas has announced a ceasefire. It has asked Israel to pull out its troops from Gaza in the next one week.

Monday, January 19th 2009
Russia and Ukraine agree on gas deal
After a bitter dispute between Russia and Ukraine over an energy contract, the two nation states have come to a consensus to end the row . Russia had cut off all gas supplies to the EU through Ukraine because of the dispute. Russia had accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas supplies that was meant for Europe. Regular supplies of gas will resume after the deal is finalized.

Tuesday, January 20th 2009
Obama swears in today
President elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th US president today. Barack Obama will be the first African-American president of the United States of America. Millions have gathered in Washington DC to witness the historical moment. Obama takes charge when the nation is in an economic crisis. Addressing the financial situation would be top priority for the president.

Wednesday, January 21st 2009
“We shall overcome”
It was a defining moment in the history of the United States as Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the nation and the first African-American president on Tuesday. At least 2 million people had gathered to witness the swearing in ceremony. The oath was administered by Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr on the steps of the Capitol Hill where the US Congress sits. In his inaugural address President Barack Obama reminded the nation about the dark times that US is placed in and assured the people of its capability to spring back. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.” As part of his agenda on the President’s first day in office Barack Obama is expected to appoint Mr George Mitchell as the special envoy for the Middle East.

Wednesday, January 21st 2009
UN asks Israel to allow flow of goods into Gaza
The UN humanitarian chief John Holmes has urged Israel to open all crossings into Gaza to enable the flow of goods. Israel has to allow building materials to enter the disputed territory for re-construction of buildings that were destroyed in the offensive. So far Israel has been allowing only basic humanitarian supplies like food and medicine into Gaza.

Thursday, January 22nd 2009
UN and aid staff barred by Congolese troops
Congolese soldiers have been accused of having barred UN troops and aid staff from an area where an operation by Rwanda on Hutu militia is believed to be on. The UN has expressed its concern over the deplorable condition that the displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are facing without any aid. Congo and Rwanda had agreed to joint action against the Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The leaders of the rebel group are believed to have been involved in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Around 3,000 Rwandan troops have crossed the border for the joint operation.

Saturday, January 24th 2009
Castro praises Obama
In an unprecedented move, ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a staunch critic and adversary of America and its administration for decades, has actually praised the new President Barack Obama in his column “Reflections of Comrade Fidel” primarily on account of Obama’s decision to close the Guantanamo detention camp. However, the veteran leader has also predicted that Obama will soon fall a victim to “the unsolvable, antagonistic contradictions of the (American) system” and thus, is unlikely to achieve anything truly revolutionary. Castro has also admitted that his health is failing steadily and he may not live to see the end of Obama’s presidency.

Monday, January 26th 2009
Lankan army claims 95% of war over
The LTTE's last perceived bastion, the Mullaitivu region, fell to the Sri Lankan army on Sunday. The army overcame strong resistance from the Tigers and captured the LTTE stronghold. Army chief Sarath Fonseka informed media of the capture and also stated that the LTTE chief V Prabhakaran has been virtually cornered.

Tuesday, January 27th 2009
US President continues with agenda
President Obama seems likely to direct federal regulators to bring in strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards in several of the US states, thus breaking away from the Bush regime policies. The US envoy to the Middle East, Mr George Mitchell, is expected to meet and discuss ways of boosting Gaza's ceasefire and renewing the peace process, thus bringing in a new era in the US's Middle East diplomacy. Mr Mitchell is also expected to visit Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, President Obama also sent India the warmest message of cooperation and support on the occasion of its Republic day. He added that India has no better friend than the US and it is the shared values of the two countries that form the bedrock of a robust relationship across peoples and governments.

Tuesday, January 27th 2009
Pacific islands forum to discuss “Fiji issue”
Leaders from the 16-member Pacific islands forum which will meet in Papua New Guinea will discuss measures to push for democracy in Fiji. Fiji's military had seized power two years ago and there seems to be no sign of the nation returning to democracy. Both Australia and New Zealand are pushing for tougher sanctions against the Fijian military.

Wednesday, January 28th 2009
Obama gets tough with Pak, assures the Islamic world
In order to make Pakistan more accountable in the war against terror the US government has withheld $55 million from the latest reimbursement of expenses that Pakistan claims to have incurred during its fight against terrorism. The decision was made after auditors raised objections over some bills that were handed over by Pakistan for the war on the Pak-Afghan border. Meanwhile, in his statement to all Islamic nations, US President Barack Obama has said that America should not be considered as their enemy, “ I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries... My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that Americans are not your enemy.”

Thursday, January 29th 2009
Economic package gets a nod from US house
The US house of representatives has passed the $825 bn economic stimulus package that was proposed by President Barack Obama. It was passed by 244 votes to 188 with the Republicans not wanting to support the plan as it is thought to be too expensive. The US Senate will now discuss the plan next week where the package is expected to face stiff resistance since the democrats lack a fat majority.

Thursday, January 29th 2009
2.5 lakh Tamil civilians trapped in Sri Lanka says Red Cross
The Red Cross has indicated a possible civilian crisis in Sri Lanka where the Lankan army and the LTTE rebels are in a state of war. According to the Red Cross, around 2.5 lakh Tamil civilians are believed to be trapped in the embattled northern Wanni region . Here 'hundreds' are believed to have been killed in the war. The Red Cross has asked for more protection for civilians in this region . Sri Lanka has however denied any humanitarian crisis in the warring regions of its nation. The 2,50,000 people are trapped in a 250 sq Km area which has come under intense fighting.

Thursday, January 29th 2009
IMF warns, world growth at 'worst for 60 years'
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned of a fall in world economic growth to 0.5% this year which would be the lowest that the world has seen since World War II. In October 2008, the IMF had predicted that world output would increase in 2009 by 2.2%. It has now projected UK's economy to shrink by 2.8%.UK has recently entered a recession . The IMF has revised growth prospects for India to 5.1 per cent in 2009 against its earlier forecast of 6.3 per cent.

Friday, January 30th 2009
LTTE given 48 hours to surrender
Sri Lanka has set a 48 hour ultimatum for the LTTE to surrender to its troops and allow free movement for civilians trapped in the crossfire. The Sri Lankan army is close to wiping out the rebel outfit. The army has stated the number of LTTE cadres to be around 600. Amid warnings coming from the Red Cross regarding a possible human calamity in Sri Lanka, the armed forces captured Visuamadu town which is the nerve centre of the LTTE’s artillery power.

Friday, January 30th 2009
EC announces delay in Afghanistan’s Prez elections
The Election Commission has announced a delay in the date of presidential elections in Afghanistan. The elections have now been postponed to August 20th. According to the country’s constitution the vote should have been held in May but the deteriorating security situation seems to have prompted the postponement.

Friday, January 30th 2009
France protests against President’s economic policies
Two and half million people took to the streets in France to protest against President Nicholas Sarkozy’s policies and his handling of the financial crisis. The French constitution allows its citizens to hold a strike.

Saturday, January 31st 2009
Iraq goes to vote
In its first since four years Iraqi nationals are going to vote for new provincial councils in the nationwide elections today. Around 15 million Iraqis are eligible to cast votes. The Sunni minority is expected to turn out in strength since they largely boycotted the ballot the last time. This vote is seen as a test of Iraq's stability ahead of the next general election later this year.

Saturday, January 31st 2009
Australia faces heat waves
Around 20 people are feared to have died as a result of one of the worst heat waves in 100 years to have hit the south-east of Australia. Temperatures of more than 40 degrees celsius have hit the southeastern states of Victoria and South Australia for the past three days. The heat waves have caused power outages in Melbourne which is Australia's second biggest city.

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