1. 23rd APEC Economic Leaders Summit held at Manila
23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Summit was held at Manila, Philippines from 18 November to 19 November 2015. The summit was chaired by Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The theme of the Summit was Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World. After the conclusion of the summit, the leaders from 21 member-countries issued the 2015 Leaders Declaration titled Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World: A Vision for an Asia-Pacific Community
Peru will chair APEC throughout 2016 and host the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
2. Harshavardhan Neotia elected as President of FICCI
Harshavardhan Neotia, Chairman of Ambuja Neotia group, was on 20 November 2015 elected as the President of industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) for the year 2016.
Neotia will succeed the current FICCI President Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director of Bharat Hotels Ltd, during the chamber's AGM in December 2015.
3. Rajasthan, South Australia signed Sister-State Agreement
Rajasthan and South Australia on 20 November 2015 signed the historic Sister-State Agreement to boost export and investment opportunities between the two states.
The agreement was signed by South Australia Trade and Investment Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan.
Highlights of the agreement
• The sister-state relationship between South Australia and Rajasthan is based on a two-way exchange of research, policy and technical capabilities.
• The agreement provides partnership opportunities across key sectors where South Australian business will offer services and product support.
• The expertise of South Australia in sustainable water management will also play a critical role to further improve water access and security for businesses and communities in Rajasthan.
In November 2015, the South Australian Government released research showing that 65000 South Australian jobs are linked to international exports. It showed export jobs are not just limited to traditional export sectors like agriculture but also to services, health care, communications, transport.
4. Russia inks deal to build Egypt’s first nuclear plant at Dabaa
Russia has signed two agreements with Egypt to finance and build its first nuclear power plant at Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast in the northwest of the country. As per one of the agreement, Russia will extend a loan to Egypt to cover the cost of construction of the nuclear plant which is expected to be completed by 2022.
5. ADB pledges $120 million loan to finance India, Bangladesh electricity link under SASEC Programme
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to provide 120 million dollar loan in order to finance cross-border electricity link between Bangladesh and India under SASEC Programme. In this regard, loan agreement was signed by ADB Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi and Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary of Bangladesh Finance Ministry. The loan fund would be used for Second Bangladesh-India Grid Inter connectivity project under the ambitious South Asia Sub-regional Economic Co-operation (SASEC) Programme. The projects under SASEC Programme aim to promote regional prosperity through improved cross-border links in trade, power, road and rail links between India and Bangladesh. The second project under will double the existing capacity from 500 MW to 1000 MW of the inter-connectivity link connecting power grid at Bheramara in western Bangladesh and the grid of eastern India at Bahrampur (Odisha). It should be noted that the networks under the first project were connected in 2013 and was financed by ADB under the SASEC Programme.
6. Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim wins 2015 Reporters without Borders Prize
Syrian woman journalist Zaina Erhaim has won the prestigious 2015 Reporters without Borders Prize for her defence of press freedom. She was singled out for this prestigious award for her determination and courage covering news in in civil war and conflict ravaged Syria which is deemed the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. Presently, Zaina Erhaim lives and works in Aleppo (Syria). She has trained about 100 citizen reporters (third of them are women) from Syria in past two years. She also has helped in establishing new, independent newspapers and magazines in the war-torn country.