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  • The Saudi public prosecutor’s office said on 12 feb it will recruit women as investigators for the first time, as the kingdom seeks to boost female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.
  • “Vacancies are available in women’s positions on the staff of the public prosecution for the rank of lieutenant investigator,” the office announced in a statement relayed by the information ministry.
  • The announcement is in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” reform programme that seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.
  • Saudi Arabia’s passport department recently said it received 107,000 applications for 140 vacant positions for women at airports and border crossings. King Salman last year decreed that women would be allowed driving permits from June, a historic reform that could put not just millions of women behind the wheel but potentially much more into the workforce.
  • Saudi Arabia last month allowed women to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a game. But women still face a number of restrictions.
  • Under Saudi Arabia’s existing guardianship system, a male family member normally the father, husband or brother must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and a host of other activities.

  • Prime Minister Modi and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al Nahyan held bilateral talks after a ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.
  • It was straight down to business after Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed at Abu Dhabi airport on his second visit to the United Arab Emirates. Prime Minister held delegation-level talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The two sides inked 5 agreements related to energy & railway sectors, manpower and financial services.
  • In a first:MoU between a consortium led by ONGC and Abu Dhabi national oil company for acquisition of 10 percent stake in offshore concession was inked
  • MoU aiming to institutionalize employment of Indian workers in UAE to safeguard their interests was also signed
  • MoU aiming at technical cooperation in rail sector between Ministry of railways and Federal transport authority and maritime of UAE signed. This will facilitate development of Joint Projects, Knowledge Sharing, Joint Research and Technology Transfer. In the area of financial services, MoU between BSE and Abu Dhabi Securities exchange was also inked.
  • MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World was also signed to establish multi-modal logistics park and hub in Jammu comprising warehouses and specialized storage solutions.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be laying the foundation stone of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Members of the temple committee met PM Modi and the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and presented them with mementoes to express their gratitude.
  • Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also hosted a grand Banquet dinner in honour of Prime Minister Modi and the Indian delegation. Day one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's UAE visit saw substantial outcomes with ties between the two countries surging ahead.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred the 'Grand Collar of the State of Palestine', the highest Palestinian honour for foreign dignitaries, recognizing his contributions to promoting relations between India and Palestine.
  • The Grand Collar is highest order given to foreign dignitaries - Kings, Heads of State and persons of similar rank.
  • It’s a historic visit for more than one reason. The first visit by any Indian Prime Minister to Palestine is turning into a moment of great pride for a nation of 1.3 billion.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Indian to receive the 'Grand Collar of the State of Palestine', the highest Palestinian honour for foreign Heads of states or Royalty. The award is given for statesmanship and quality amply displayed by PM Modi.
  • The commendation reads "In recognition of his wise leadership and his lofty national and international stature, and in appreciation of his efforts to promote the historic relations between the State of Palestine and the Republic of India; in acknowledgement of his support to our people's right to independence and freedom so that peace prevails in the region.
  • " President Abbas described the award as a reflection of Palestine's respect for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision towards establishing peace and stability in the region and the world
  • Prime Minister Modi is internationally known for his vision and decisive leadership. Prior to PM Modi, the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine' was awarded to King Salman of Saudi Arabia, King Hamad of Bahrain, President Xi Jinping of China.

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for better protection of workers "left behind" by globalisation and technological development and said North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations should take this into account.
  • "The wave of technological innovation," particularly in Silicon Valley, which Trudeau visited 8 feb, "can be hugely positive and transformative," he said yesterday during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, near Los Angeles.
  • "But we cannot allow it to sweep some people and their families aside," he said, adding the issue must be discussed as part of ongoing efforts between Canada, the US and Mexico to revamp NAFTA.
  • Trudeau called for improved sharing of wealth and help for people "whose livelihoods have been disrupted by global economic shifts" adding he and US President Donald Trump agree "too many people have been left behind."
  • "We need to collectively do a much better job of ensuring the benefits of trade are shared more broadly to more people," he said.
  • Six rounds of NAFTA talks have already concluded the most recent on January 29 but the Canadian premier said the toughest issues remain, including "rules of origin in the auto industry
  • On 7 feb, Trudeau said in Chicago that Canada was ready to withdraw from NAFTA described by Trump as a "bad joke" if current negotiations did not conclude with a satisfactory deal for the country.But he added yesterday that "trade is not a hockey game" with a winner and a loser, and that the trade pact has benefited Canada, the US and Mexico.
  • "It's vitally important we build on that progress and not step back from progress made with extraordinary efforts by our countries," Trudeau said.

  • Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned imports of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India after a form of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry was found, the Saudi agriculture ministry said on 8 Feb.
  • In January, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said, citing a report from the India's agriculture ministry, that India had reported an outbreak of a highly contagious bird flu virus near Bengaluru in the southern state of Karnataka.
  • The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said in a statement that its ban was issued in accordance with the warning released by the Paris-based OIE, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
  • According to OIE report, posted on its website, the H5N8 virus was detected on December 26 among birds in the village of Dasarahalli, killing nine out of 951 birds. The others were culled. No details were given on the type of birds involved.

  • Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on 6 Feb that there was a plan to reduce U.S. forces in the country gradually, but that they were needed to prevent a vacuum forming and to prevent infiltration by Islamic State.
  • An Iraqi government spokesman said on 5 Feb that U.S. forces, who number more than 5,000, had begun reducing their numbers but some would remain.
  • But two major Iraqi Shi'ite groups backed by Iran are demanding all U.S. forces leave Iraq, opposing plans by Baghdad and Washington to keep some there for training and advisory purposes.
  • The U.S.-led international military coalition helped Iraqi forces recapture territory taken by Islamic State in 2014 and 2015, providing air and artillery support in the battle for Mosul, and trained tens of thousands of elite Iraqi soldiers.

  • Maldives President Abdulla Yameen declared a 15-day state of emergency on 5 feb before heavily armed troops stormed the country's top court and a former leader was arrested in a deepening political crisis.
  • The island nation has been plunged into chaos, with the president pitted against the Supreme Court after he refused to comply with its Thursday order to release nine political dissidents.
  • The standoff comes amid a years-long government crackdown on dissent that has battered the image of the upmarket holiday paradise, with the president jailing almost all the political opposition since he came to power in 2013.
  • On 5 feb, Maldives police arrested Yameen's estranged half-brother and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had sided with the main opposition. The 80-year-old president for 30 years until the country's first democratic elections in 2008 was taken from his home in the capital Male around midnight on Monday, according to a tweet from his daughter Yumna Maumoon.
  • "I have not done anything to be arrested," Gayoom said in a video message to supporters posted on Twitter. "I urge you to remain steadfast in your resolve too. We will not give up on the reform work we are doing."
  • Heavily armed troops and police special operations units had earlier stormed the Supreme Court building where Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and others were sheltering, the court said on Twitter, though their fate was not immediately clear.

  • Life in Saudi Arabia has long been defined by the oil that flows from the kingdom. Over decades, the vast wealth it pumped out paid not just for gleaming towers and shopping malls but also for a government sector that employs a majority of working Saudis.
  • Now, Saudi Arabia is trying to tie its future to another natural resource it has in abundance: sunlight.The world's largest oil exporter is embarking, under Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on an ambitious effort to diversify its economy and reinvigorate growth, in part by plowing money into renewable energy.
  • The Saudi government wants not just to reshape its energy mix at home but also to emerge as a global force in clean power.Reaching that goal is a big if. But the strategy is finally making progress after fits and starts.
  • Riyadh on 5 feb tapped ACWA Power, a Saudi energy company, to build a solar farm that would generate enough electricity to power up to 200,000 homes. The project will cost $300 million and create hundreds of jobs, according to Turki al-Shehri, head of the kingdom's renewable energy program.
  • By the end of the year, Saudi Arabia aims to invest up to $7 billion to develop seven new solar plants and a big wind farm. The country hopes that renewables, which now represent a negligible amount of the energy it uses, will be able to provide as much as 10 percent of its power generation by the end of 2023.
  • "All the big developers are watching Saudi," said Jenny Chase, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a market research firm.
  • "The country has made grand plans and pronouncements, but various bodies within it have failed to agree on the new way forward," Chase added. She referred to the agreement as "the first step in creating what is widely expected to be a major market."

  • Maldivian authorities on 3 Feb announced an indefinite postponement of parliament as President Abdulla Yameen's regime resisted international pressure to comply with a landmark Supreme Court order to free political prisoners.
  • The People's Majlis, or parliament, told local reporters in a brief message that the assembly will not have its scheduled sessions on 5 Feb "due to security reasons". No fresh date was given for the sessions.
  • The move followed a shock order 1 Feb by the country's Supreme Court to release nine political dissidents. It also restored the seats of 12 legislators who had been sacked for defecting from Yameen's party.
  • The reinstatement of the dozen legislators has given the opposition a majority in the 85-member assembly, and it can now potentially impeach Yameen as well as his cabinet.
  • The beleaguered president announced Saturday that he sacked police chief Ahmed Saudhee, who was appointed just two days ago. His predecessor Ahmed Areef was fired on Thursday, shortly after he said he will honour the court's decision.
  • The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said Yameen was yet to release any political prisoners. The court had said that cases against the nine dissidents, including MDP leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed, were politically motivated and asked the government to release them immediately.
  • In a statement issued overnight, the joint opposition, which includes Nasheed's MDP, said there were concerns the regime would ignore the ruling and that it would trigger further unrest in the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims.

  • The theme of 4 feb’s ceremony is "One Nation". It was on this day in 1948 that country achieved freedom from British rule. Representing Britain's Queen, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and the Countess of Wessex participated in the celebrations as Chief Guests in presence of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
  • President Sirisena hoisted the National Flag and a two-minute silence was observed to commemorate the patriots who had sacrificed their lives for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. In his address, he called for economic freedom and independence to ensure prosperity for all.
  • The President said that fight against corruption is vital for self-defence of nation. The Independence Parade following the President's address was adorned with parades by the tri forces and cultural shows by students and civil organizations.
  • A large number of foreign diplomats, ministers, members of parliament, and senior government officials participated in the celebrations on 4 feb.

  • A chronic drought could leave South Africa's Cape Town without water within weeks and hurt visitor numbers, said tourism officials on 02 Feb.
  • With experts predicting Cape Town will run out of water in mid-April, residents have been told to limit usage to 50 litres per person per day. An average bath holds 80 litres of water.
  • Hotels have asked guests not to use baths and to limit showers to two minutes or less, while some restaurants are switching to disposable cups and ditching table linen.
  • CEO of the popular tourist V&A tourist destination in Cape Town, David Green, said the restrictions were a small price to pay to try and shore up tourist numbers. Around 10 million tourists visited Cape Town last year, drawn by iconic sights like Table Mountain, its long sandy beaches and clutch of nearby wine farms.
  • Tourism accounted for an estimated 9 percent of South Africa's economic output last year, or 412 billion rand ($35 billion).
  • Tourist Jarrad Fox said, "I think coming from Australia particularly we're used to, you know, having to be on water restrictions and things like that so it's not too big a deal for us to have to deal with it."
  • Though visitors are sympathetic to Cape Town's plight, there are fears that people may stay away due to the inconvenience of water restrictions or because they don't want to add to demand. Cape Town residents on Wednesday (January 31) were queuing day and night to fill up bottles to meet the restrictions, amid worries of a "frenzy".

  • Sweden and the United Nations World Food Programme on 2 feb signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement committing an unprecedented $370 million dollars to WFP over the next four years, the agency said, hailing the Scandinavian nation as a global leader in aid.
  • The contribution for the period 2018-2021 is the biggest ever made by a donor within a WFP Strategic Partnership Agreement, WFP underlined.
  • For almost a decade, the Swedish government has been the largest donor of flexible funds to WFP whereas 90 per cent of government funding to WFP is earmarked for specific operations or activities, the agency said.
  • "Sweden's extremely generous contribution provides WFP with one of the largest amounts of flexible and predictable funding any country has ever given us, enabling us to save lives at any given place and at any given time," said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
  • "The people and the government of Sweden help us bring hope to millions of people, including the most vulnerable people caught up in some of the world's most heart-breaking crises.
  • When it comes to saving lives and changing lives, Sweden is a global leader."The Swedish contribution comes at a time of record need as the world faces the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, with multiple large-scale hunger emergencies occurring across the planet, WFP said.
  • For the first time in a decade, the number of hungry people in the world is increasing and the majority of world's hungry people now live in countries affected by conflict, WFP said.Ten of the 13 largest food crises on the planet are driven mainly by conflict, said WFP.

  • A rescue operation is underway to release 955 workers from a gold mine in South Africa after a power cut left them trapped.A spokesman for the mine's operating company said on 02 Feb morning that power had been restored to a lift to release them.The miners have been trapped underground since 31 Jan night.
  • South Africa is a leading gold producer, but safety in the industry is often questioned.The Beatrix mine is in Welkom town, about 290km (180 miles) south-west of Johannesburg.
  • It is owned by Sibanye-Stillwater mining firm.It has 23 levels, going down to 1,000 metres (3,280 ft) below ground.Rescued workmen are expected to get taken for food and showers upon their release, before having medical health checks.
  • Company spokesman James Wellsted said there was "no indication so far that anyone has been in distress", but that counselling has been made available to the workers and their families

  • India’s accession to the agreement will come into force on 3rd of this month.
  • India has joined Ashgabat Agreement on the establishment of an International Transport and Transit Corridor between the Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
  • The agreement was signed in April 2011, which envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
  • External Affairs Ministry said the accession to the Agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with Central Asia and have a positive influence on its trade and commercial ties with the region.
  • Turkmenistan, as depository state of Ashgabat Agreement, informed India on 1 feb that all the four founding members have consented to the Accession of India.
  • India’s accession to the agreement will come into force on 3rd of this month. India had deposited the Instrument of Accession with Turkmenistan in April 2016.

  • Cameras belonging to Mexico's National Centre for Prevention of Disasters (Centro Nacional de Prevencion de Desastres, or CENAPRED) caught the phenomenon on camera in the Altzomoni mountain range beside the volcano.
  • Residents in Mexico City and neighbouring State of Mexico shared social media videos of the clouds of smoke seen coming out of the famed volcano.
  • The Mexican government has deemed the exhalations of "Yellow Fase 2" severity and continues to monitor Popocatepetl.

  • "This is our new American moment," Trump declared to lawmakers gathered at the Capitol for his first State of the Union address.
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday night said that that his administration's policies on jobs, deregulation and national security have spurred a "new American moment."
  • "This is our new American moment," Trump declared to lawmakers gathered at the Capitol for his first State of the Union address.
  • The president pointed to tax cuts passed at the close of last year, along with planned pushes for infrastructure and immigration reform and continued deregulation efforts by the administration.
  • Trump asked members of both parties "to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure our economy needs," while coalescing around an immigration plan that protects Americans "of every background, color and creed."
  • While delivering his first State of the Union address, the US President declared suspension of security assistance to Pakistan. He also said that nations like China and Russia challenge American economy and values.
  • The White house in a tweet said that Trump’s conditions-based South Asia Strategy provides commanders with the authority and resources needed to deny terrorists the safe haven they seek in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • As Frank Sinatra asks Lady Luck to stick around, the neon red lights of one of Las Vegas' most famous towering signs appear to dance under the night sky, revealing a beating heart and the rest of the marquee of a famed casino-hotel.
  • Other rusted, dusted and broken neon signs in a large gravel lot ringed by a security wall appear to light up with neon not seen for decades as other classic tunes play in the background
  • But these former landmarks of Sin City are missing light bulbs and some of the remaining are cracked or hang by a wire. They have not being restored and are not plugged to a power outlet. Augmented reality tests last week made it look like many of the city's famed neon signs are burning brightly again.
  • Forty neon signs that once drew visitors to some of Las Vegas' most iconic casino-hotels and other venues will shine again for the public starting Thursday night at the Neon Museum, but not a single one of their lights will truly be on.
  • The unrestored marquees, worn by the beating sun and twisted by desert winds, are being brought back to life thanks to projection mapping, a type of augmented reality created by projecting life-like digital animations of the signs onto the hulking metal.
  • "We are combining art, history and technology in this space," said Neon Museum president and chief executive officer Rob McCoy.
  • He added: "This is Las Vegas as it was. It is very emotional. Even people who don't live here, but live around the United States or around the world, they all have in their heads a romantic image of Las Vegas, and it's usually that vintage, neon Las Vegas."
  • The signs on display include the Golden Nugget, Lady Luck, Binion's Horseshoe and the first four futuristic-looking letters of the Stardust because the sign at the museum is missing the "dust" part of it.

  • An estimated 60,000 children face potential starvation in North Korea, where international sanctions are exacerbating the situation by slowing aid deliveries, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on 30 Jan.
  • World powers have imposed growing sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Last week the United States announced fresh sanctions on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships it accused of helping the weapons programmes.
  • Under United Nations Security Council resolutions, humanitarian supplies or operations are exempt from sanctions, Omar Abdi, UNICEF deputy executive director, said.
  • "But what happens is that of course the banks, the companies that provide goods or ship goods are very careful. They don't want to take any risk of later on being associated (with) breaking the sanctions," Abdi told a news briefing.
  • "That is what makes it more difficult for us to bring things. So it takes a little bit longer, especially in getting money into the country. But also in shipping goods to DPRK. There are not many shipping lines that operate in that area," he said, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.Sanctions on fuel have been tightened, making it more scarce and expensive, Abdi added.

  • All that glittered at the 60th annual Grammy Awards was Bruno Mars' '24K Magic'. The R&B singer took home a total of six awards including Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year.
  • Following close behind on the list was Rapper Kendrick Lamar, who walked away with five wins of his own including Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.
  • British singer and songwriter Ed Sheeran, who was snubbed out of major categories, won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for 'Divide' and Best Pop Solo Performance for the album's single 'Shape of You'. Sheeran however, was not present to receive the awards.
  • The hit track 'Despacito' by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber didn't pick any of the three Grammys it was nominated for. Another big shocker was JAY-Z losing out on all the eight categories he was nominated for last night.
  • Here's the complete list of winners at the Grammy Awards, announced Sunday by The Recording Academy.Album Of The Year: '24K Magic', Bruno Mars.Record Of The Year : '24K Magic', Bruno Mars.Song Of The Year : 'That's What I Like', Bruno Mars.
  • Best Country Album : 'From A Room: Volume 1', Chris Stapleton.Best Rap Album: 'DAMN', KendrickLamar.Best Pop Solo Performance : 'Shape of You', Ed Sheeran.New Artist: Alessia Cara.Rap/Sung Performance : 'Loyalty', Kendrick Lamar feat. Rihanna.Best Comedy Album : 'The Age of Spin' and 'Deep in the Heart of Texas', Dave ChappelleTraditional Pop Vocal Album : 'Tony Bennett Celebrates 90', various artists.
  • Best Pop Duo/Group Performance : 'Feel It Still', Portugal. The Man.Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album : 'Tony Bennett Celebrates 90', various artists.Best Pop Vocal Album : - 'Divide', Ed Sheeran.Best Rock Album : 'A Deeper Understanding',The War on Drugs.Best Rap Song : 'HUMBLE.', Kendrick Lamar.Best Rap Performance : Kendrick Lamar.Best Urban Contemporary Album : 'Starboy' - The Weeknd.Best R&B Album : '24K Magic', Bruno Mars.
  • Best R&B Performance : Bruno Mars.Best R&B Song : 'That's What I Like', Bruno Mars.Best Dance/Electronic Album : '3-D The Catalogue'.Best Jazz Vocal Album : 'Dreams And Daggers', Cecile McLorin Salvant.Best Jazz Instrumental Album : 'Rebirth', Billy Childs.

  • Drug major Cipla today said it has received final approval from the US health regulator for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate tablets, used to treat HIV-1 infections in adults.
  • Cipla in a BSE filing said it has received final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for tenofovir disoproxil fumarate tablets, 300 mg.
  • These tablets are AB-rated generic equivalents of Gilead Sciences' Viread Tablets, 300 mg, and are indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of HIV -1 infection in adults and paediatric patients 12 years of age and older.
  • Citing IMS Health data, the company said Viread Tablets, 300mg, had US sales of approximately USD 725 million for the 12-month period ending November 2017.The company's stock was trading 0.55 per cent higher at Rs 621.55 per scrip on the BSE.

  • A kangaroo named Paul has become the oldest living tree kangaroo in the country.
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence says the Matschie's tree kangaroo turned 23 years, three months and four days old on 26 jan.
  • The zoo says it knows of no other male tree kangaroo to reach this age anywhere.
  • Paul has good genes. His mother lived to age 27 at the zoo in Miami.To celebrate, Paul may get extra sweet potatoes, his favorite.
  • Paul retired two years ago so he's kept in a habitat that's closed to the public.
  • The zoo says Matschie's tree kangaroos are native to Papua New Guinea and live to about 8 years old in the wild or 14 years old in captivity.

  • Russian police on28 jan broke into the Moscow headquarters of top opposition leader Alexei Navalny using a saw, and detained several members of his team, his aides said.
  • The 41-year-old opposition politician had called on Russians across the country to defy authorities and stage rallies calling for an active boycott of March 18 presidential elections despite the prospect of mass arrests.
  • 28 Jan, police broke into Navalny's headquarters in the Russian capital using a saw, to interrupt a live broadcast covering a series of protests in the east of the country.
  • Police also detained several employees of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation as well as supporters in the regions, Navalny's team said.
  • Earlier 28 Jan opposition supporters rallied in far eastern Russia and Siberia, with main protests expected to begin in Moscow and Saint Petersburg at 1100 GMT.

  • President Donald Trump's administration has joined European governments in urging China to release a Swedish citizen who sold gossipy books about Chinese leaders.
  • A US State Department spokeswoman called on China to disclose Gui Minhai's whereabouts and allow him to leave China if he wishes.
  • "We call on Chinese authorities to explain the reasons and legal basis for Mr. Gui's arrest and detention, disclose his whereabouts, and allow him freedom of movement and the freedom to leave China," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
  • The US "will continue to coordinate with our partners, allies and regional organizations on promoting greater respect for human rights in China," Nauert said.
  • Around 10 Chinese police officers surrounded Gui and Swedish diplomats on Jan. 20 as they traveled by train to Beijing. Gui, a naturalized Swedish citizen, was seized and his whereabouts remain unknown.
  • Gui had disappeared from his home in Thailand in 2015 and reappeared months later in China after being sentenced for a decade-old traffic violation.
  • In a videotaped confession that supporters believe was coerced, Gui stated that he had turned himself in to mainland authorities over a hit-and-run accident.
  • That spurred suspicions that he had been abducted by the Chinese security services. He remained closely supervised even after his release from prison.His latest detention has particularly rattled Western governments after it unfolded in the presence of diplomats.
  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry says it has no information about Gui's whereabouts, but has suggested that he may have been breaking the terms of his release. The ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment 28 Jan.

  • Overcoming a hiccup, India and Seychelles signed a revised agreement that will allow India to build military infrastructure on Assumption Island, that will expand its strategic reach in the Indian Ocean.Foreign secretary S Jaishankar signed the agreement in Victoria on 27 Jan.
  • In a statement, Jaishankar said, "India and Seychelles have drawn up a cooperation agenda that covers within its purview joint efforts in anti-piracy operations, and enhanced EEZ surveillance and monitoring to prevent intrusions by potential economic offenders indulging in illegal fishing, poaching, drug and human trafficking.
  • The cooperation is further exemplified by the operationalisation of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System in March 2016, and our commitment to augment Seychelles' defence assets and capability.
  • After meeting Jaishankar, the island nation's President, Danny Faure, said "on 28 Jan we will sign a revised version of the Agreement for the development of facilities on Assumption Island.
  • This project is of utmost importance to Seychelles, and it attests to the kinship and affinity that exists between our two countries. We are proud to have India as a partner in realising our development aspirations."
  • The agreement had been signed in 2015 during the visit of PM Modi but it ran into trouble because it had not been ratified by the Seychelles parliament by the previous president, James Michel.
  • The first sign that the agreement was in trouble came in August 2017, when Faure said in a press conference that it would have to be re-negotiated. "We would like to relook at the agreement which does not have a legal statute on the Seychelles side. But for India, it has a legal statute. We have to go back to the drawing board."

  • Overwhelmed with the love and support she gets from Indians, young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has said she wants to visit the country and work for the girls there.
  • Twenty-year-old Malala, who was shot at by Taliban at the age of 15 for defying the ban on girls going to school and went on to get a Nobel peace prize and become the UN Messenger of Peace, said she has already learnt a lot about India and is a big fan of its movies and drama and wants to learn more about its culture and values.
  • She was here to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, held from January 22-26, and during her visit met a number of global leaders and CEOs to seek their support for girl education.
  • She has co-founded Malala Fund that seeks to invest in girl education across the world, while one of its initiative Gulmakai Network - named on Malala's pen name that she used while writing blogs against Taliban regime - supports the work of education champions across the world.
  • In an interview here with PTI, Malala said she is very excited about expanding her Gulmakai Network to India, where she would want to work with the local people as they best understand the local issues and can suggest necessary solutions as well

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