Finance Minister P Chidambaram presented his first and India’s 13th interim Budget on February 17, 2014. As per the expectations, being the last budget before the elections, the budget didn’t initiate major reforms and decisions. The budget has indicated that India has witnessed slight improvement in its economic conditions especially in terms of current account deficit and fiscal deficit.
In a significant move towards augmenting bilateral ties, India and Bahrain have entered three agreements and have also decided to launch an annual security dialogue to strengthen information and intelligence sharing apart from working closely to combat terrorism. The agreements were signed during the state visit of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Kingdom of Bahrain to India. The agreements signed included a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Cooperation in the fields of youth and sports. The MoU aims at promoting and strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of sports and youth through institutional exchanges particularly through exchange of youth and sports teams in various disciplines. The two nations signed a MoU on the Establishment of a ‘High Joint Commission’ for bilateral cooperation between India and Bahrain. The MoU will replace the existing Joint Committee for the Technical and Economic Cooperation (established in 1981) by “High Joint Commission”, to be chaired by the two Foreign Ministers, and will serve as an umbrella framework for all bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Another MoU was signed between the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain. The MoU aims at promoting cooperation between the FSI and the Diplomatic Institute, including exchange of information on structure and content of training programmes, exchange of trainees, students, faculty members, experts and researchers.
Both sides to boost economic cooperation: On economic cooperation, the two sides noted with satisfaction the growth and progression of the bilateral trade ties with two-way non-oil trade reaching USD 1.268 billion in 2012-13. Both the sides recognised the potential for greater trade and commercial exchanges and agreed to take necessary steps to provide an impetus to the bilateral trade turnover. The two countries agreed to provide favourable environment for investors.
Positive signs with talks after seven years
In a significant move, North and South Korea held their first high-level talks in seven years on their armed border, exploring ways to improve ties while the South and the United States geared up for large-scale military drills that have angered Pyongyang. Two rounds of meetings - requested by Pyongyang - took place at the border village of Panmunjom.
India and Mauritius have agreed on the principle of including a Limitation of Benefit (LOB) or anti-treaty shopping law clause in the revised tax treaty to ring-fence its jurisdiction from any attempts of round-tripping and money laundering activities.
Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina has been sworn in as prime minister of Bangladesh for the third time along with her 48-member cabinet. This is Hasina’s third stint as Prime Minister since 1996 when she became the head of government for the first time after Bangladesh returned to democracy from a prolonged military rule. Hasina’s Awami League had won two-thirds majority in the January, 5, 2013 parliament election held amid massive violence and boycott by the opposition parties.
stealth fighter – “Qaher F313”
Iran has unveiled a new domestically designed and developed fighter jet. The single-seat Qaher F 313 (Dominant 313) is the latest design aircraft produced by Iran’s military since it launched the Azarakhsh (Lightning), in 2007. Iran claims that Qaher F 313 ranks among the most sophisticated aircrafts and is shaped to stealth bombers. The Qaher-313 is similar to the US built F/A-18, although its appearance is similar to F-5E/F Tiger II. The new single-seat bomber has been manufactured by Iran based on state-of-the-art technologies and modern defence achievements.
on women in trousers
A 200 year old law forbidding women to wear trousers in Paris has finally been revoked. The decision was announced by France’s Minister of women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, revoking the 200 year old that forbids Parisian women wearing trousers in public. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem declared that the ban, imposed in 1800, has become incompatible with modern French values. It should here be noted that the 1800 law, which required women to ask police for permission to wear trousers, had earlier been amended twice – allowing women to slip into their slacks only if they were on the back of a horse (1892) or a bicycle (1909).
interceptor missile test
China has successfully carried out its second interceptor missile test as part of its efforts to build a missile shield to intercept incoming warheads. As per reports, the Chinese missile can intercept an incoming ICBM with a range of more than 7,000 km or mid-range missiles with a range of 4,000 to 5,000 km at an altitude of more than 100 km. China claims that the interceptor missile is superior to the U.S.’ Patriot missile because it can destroy incoming missiles at a higher altitude and greater speed. The Patriot system destroys incoming missiles at an altitude of only 15 km.
US PGA at Torrey Pines: Tiger Woods captures his 75th career title winning the US PGA event at Torrey Pines. Woods won the title at the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines and has also won the PGA event staged at Torrey Pines seven times. No other PGA player has won so many times on a single course. His victory at Torrey Pines has brought him closer to the all-time record of 82 set by Sam Snead.
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