KP Sharma Oli Sworn In As Nepal PM

Sworn in a second time, KP Sharma Oli has become Nepal’s 41st Prime Minister. He is known to be pro- China, & with support from CPN-Maoist Centre whose head is Prachanda, he has led his party CPN-UML to win almost two-third majority in Parliament. Another successful elections have also improved Nepal’s image as a democracy before the world.

ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2018

Acting as a perfect host, India organised the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi in January 2018 to mark the 25th anniversary of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership, 15th anniversary of its Summit-level partnership and 5 years of strategic relations. Based on the theme of “Shared Values, Common Destiny,” the Special Commemorative Summit culminated in the adoption of the Delhi Declaration which would chart the future course of ASEAN-India relations. The summit is crucial to the creation of new ‘rules of the game’ in Asia, at a time when the region is in the throes of a disruptive phase that could well determine the future balance of power.

Since 2014, India has significantly upgraded its “Look East” policy to “Act East” policy & in the past 3 years, Mr Narendra Modi, former president Mr Pranab Mukherjee and former vice president Mr Hamid Ansari visited all 10 Asean countries and Indian naval ships have made port calls at Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Brunei last year.

Maldives conferred country’s highest civilian honor on PM Modi

During the 2-day state visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Maldives, he was conferred with country’s Highest Honor “Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen”. The award was bestowed upon him by Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a ceremony in Male for his role in strengthening bilateral relations between India and Maldives. It is Maldives’ highest honor accorded to foreign dignitaries. The award was given in 3 degrees that include a Collar, a Badge, and a Sash. Upon arrival, PM Modi and President Solih exchanged pleasantries and were also accorded the guard of honor. This was the first bilateral-level meeting held between the 2 countries in the last eight years. It was also the first meeting after the Maldives imposed an emergency by the then President Abdulla Yameen.

It was PM Modi’s first foreign visit after re-election as the 15th Indian PM.

Kassym Jomart Tokayev elected as Kazakhsthan President

The interim and incumbent President of Kazakhstan, Kassym Jomart Tokayev won the country’s presidential elections by receiving 70.96 percent votes. With more than 50% votes in his favor, he was recognized as the elected President by the Member of Central Election Commission (ECE), Lyazzat Suleiman.

The new President took oath at the Palace of Independence in the country’s capital, Noor Sultan. Tokayev was the Interim President after former First President, veteran ruler, and former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev gave his resignation. He had sworn an oath after receiving a presidential certificate from the Chair of Chief Election Commission, Berik Imashev and addressed a gathering of around 2500 people including members of the Government, member of Nur Otan party and diplomatic corps.

The total voter’s turnout for all seven presidential candidates was 77.5 percent that includes Daniya Yespayeva, the country’s first woman candidate. The nearest rival of Tokayev was Amirzhan Kossanov of the Ult Tagdyry United National Patriotic Movement who received 16.23% votes.

The new President emphasized following the footsteps and strategies of Nazarbayev including The Third Modernization, 100 Concrete Steps to Implement Five Institutional Reforms and Digital Kazakhstan program.

Ex-President Pratibha Patil awared Mexico’s highest civilian award

Former Indian President Pratibha Patil was honoured with ‘Orden Mexicana del Auguila Azteca’ (Order of the Aztec Eagle), the highest civilian award of Mexico for foreigners. Mexico’s Ambassador to India, Melba Pria, presented the award at a special ceremony.

Ms. Patil, India’s only woman President, has also become the second Indian President after S. Radhakrishnan to receive this award. This is also the first time the Mexican government has proffered ‘Aztec Eagle’ award to a woman. The award is bestowed to foreigners to acknowledge their outstanding services to the Mexican nation and humanity, and for any contribution in strengthening bilateral relations between Mexico and the country of the recipient. The award was created in 1933 by the then Mexican President Abelardo L Rodriguez as a reward to the services rendered to Mexico or humankind by foreigners. A Sash of Special Category, Plaque, Collar, Venera, and Insignia are the five degrees of the award. It is offered to prominent heads of the state or government, ambassadors who have served in Mexico and eminent personalities who have contributed to serving countries or its people.

Previous recipients who have received this award under various categories include: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip (Great Britain), Emperor Mohammed Reza (Iran), King Juan Carlos I, Queen Sofia (Spain), Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavia), President Charles de Gaulle (France), President Dwight D. Eisenhower (USA), King Mohammed VI (Morocco), etc.

GST Bill Sees a New Surge With the Monsoon Session in the Parliament

With the beginning of the Monsoon session, a new positive wave has surged in the India parliament. There is a strong possibility that the withstanding Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill will get clearance from the house.

A day before the beginning of the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that “GST is of national importance. Issue is not which government gets credit. Important Bills, including GST will be taken up in the monsoon session and I hope for meaningful discussions and outcomes.” Later on the first day of the session, he suggested that everyone should work together for this Bill as it will prove to be a breakthrough for the greater good of the country. The Congress has also agreed to a five-hour debate on the proposal giving way for the Bill.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar affirmed this and said “I should say there is a positive atmosphere. Everybody seems to say that we should take it (GST) to a logical conclusion in this session”. He also made it clear that the current government is making forward steps and “will run extra mile and shall reach out to the opposition parties.”

The proposal has already been passed in Lok Sabha but has not received an approval in the Rajya Sabha. However, now many parties are coming forward in the support of the bill indicating the positive chances that it will get an approval in the upcoming times. BJP has made it clear that GST proposal is on priority in this session and they will strive hard to get a clearance on it.

It is said that this Bill will remove the implications of the tariffs imposed by the Centre and different states. The Bill has been presented as the most important tax reform in the past years and will certainly contribute towards the national interest.

World Government Summit 2019

Dubai, UAE hosted the 7th Annual World Government Summit 2019. The three-day summit was attended by 4000 decision makers across 150 countries that include the head of the state, ministers and business leaders. It’s a global platform meant for shaping the future of governments worldwide.

The World Government Summit sets the agenda each year for the next generation of governments, focusing on how they can effectively use innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity. It’s a neutral non-profit organization that operates as a knowledge exchange platform for leaders in the public and private sectors to converge and collaborate with world-renowned experts to create a positive impact for citizens worldwide. This unique platform showcases and exchanges best practices and smart solutions to the challenges that nations face worldwide.

The World Government Summit was commissioned in 2013 by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as global knowledge exchange platform to showcase advance government services and technologies in an effort to bring policymakers, businesses and civil society together into the future. At the summit, a special track focuses on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ‘SDGs in Action @WGS’ is organized through the collaboration between the United Nations, the World Bank, and the OECD. The collaboration brings together various stakeholders which include governments, international organizations, subject matter experts, NGOs, academia, youth groups, and the private sector. The World Government Summit is graced by various leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers, philanthropists, religious leaders, etc. Imran Khan, Christine Lagarde, Harrison Ford were the speakers.

Saudi Arabia appointed its first female ambassador to US

On February 23, 2019, Saudi Arabia appointed its first female ambassador, Princess Reema Bint Bandar, to the United States. A former Vice-President of Women’s Affairs at General Sports Authority and a known philanthropist who lived in the US for more than two decades, her appointment came as a replacement of Price Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, which was a result of fallout over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder tests relations between the allies.

The princess, who has been a pioneer women’s rights advocate in the kingdom, is also a rising political star in the country. Her appointment is considered as an earnest effort from Saudi Arabia that tries to smooth relations with the US after facing wide criticism for the murder of the US journalist at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The appointment is considered as a desperate measure to quell the international outcry.

Modi’s 5 Nation Tour

Ever since Narendra Modi acquired the chair of the Prime Minister of India 2 years back, he has been working untiringly to improve the countries relations with other nations across the globe. He has been on a whirlwind of foreign trips to improve India’s image on a global scale.

Recently he concluded his 22nd foreign trip visiting Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the United States, and Mexico. It was a 5-day 5-nation tour packed with over 45 engagements. The PM had visited the US and Afghanistan earlier too (it was his fourth trip to the US) but it was his first visit to Qatar, Switzerland and Mexico.

The tour was concluded at a strategic time, days before India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group had to be discussed at the 26th plenary meeting of the group held in Seoul, South Korea. With this visit he managed to win crucial support from Switzerland, the US and Mexico for its application to join the exclusive group.

PM Modi also garnered support from the US and Qatar towards India’s stance on terrorism. The US and India also resolved to increase their efforts to fight the menace of terrorism by strengthening their bilateral ties and also gaining support from other like-minded countries.

The visit also proved as a fuel to ‘Make in India’ initiative of the NDA government as the US showed its interest in developing defense industries through the export of goods and technologies to the Indian soil. The US also assured financial assistance for India’s clean energy initiative and the countries announced the formation of a $20 million US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) program. The initiative will be equally supported by both the countries and will provide clean and renewable electricity to almost 1 million households by 2020.

Also, India and Switzerland agreed to accelerate the sharing of financial information regarding taxpayers’ bank balance, dividends, interest income and sales proceeds used to calculate capital gains tax to tackle the issue of unaccounted illicit wealth.

The success of the trip was later put to question after Switzerland and Mexico took a U-turn on their stance to support India’s NSG bid at Seoul, South Korea.

Gate Launches “Chicken Plan” for Africa

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates launched a new initiative under which he will donate 100,000 chickens to the extremely poor living in the Sub-Saharan African region. The program which is christened Coop Dreams will help to improve the financial and health conditions of the impoverished families living in the area. The birds will be vaccinated against common diseases before donation.

Announcing the Coop Dreams initiative on social media, Gates stated, “When I was growing up, chickens weren’t something you studied, they were something you made silly jokes about,” he further added, “It has been eye-opening for me to learn what a difference they can make in the fight against poverty. It sounds funny, but I mean it when I say that I am excited about chickens.”

According to the United Nations reports about 41 percent of sub-Saharan Africans live in extreme poverty. Bill Gates believes that chickens are a good investment as they are easy and inexpensive to take care of. Thus, they will prove to be an effective way to tackle poverty. Therefore, in association with the charity organization Heifer International Gates will be donating flocks of chickens to families in need. The initiative aims to make improvised breeds of chickens available to 30% of the rural families rising from the current 5%.

It’s a determined plan that can considerably increase nutrition and income levels in one of the most impoverished regions of the world. Gate believes in the Math behind this initiative; a farmer with three hens and one rooster can breed them to produce 12 chickens in a time span of three months. And with the selling price of $5 per chicken, a farmer with a small starting kit of four birds can earn up to $1,250 per year.

Genetics also play an important variable in this equation as African hens are generally less productive than the American ones. But, African chickens have the advantage of having better resistance to heat and diseases. Thus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is interbreeding these two types of livestock to create a progeny of super birds which will be extremely productive and also have better resistance to ailments.

Gates’ wife Melinda, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said breeding chickens can also empower women by giving them a source of income, which they are more likely than men to spend on education and healthcare.