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Pakistan to host 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad

Pakistan is going to host the 19th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit in Islamabad (capital city) and Murree on November 9 and 10, 2016.

It will be the meeting of the head of states or head of government of the eight SAARC countries. Besides, nine observers of SAARC have also been invited to attend the Summit.

The 18th SAARC Summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in November 2014 with the theme Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity. It had focused on enhancing connectivity between the member states for easier transit-transport across the region

About the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

  • SAARC is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia. It promotes development of economical and regional integration.
  • As of 2015, SAARC member countries compromise of 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 9.12% of the global economy.
  • Member Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan (joined in 2007).
  • Nine observer states: Australia, China, European Union, Japan, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, South Korea, and United States.
  • Formation History: The idea for the SAARC was proposed by Ziaur Rahman, the then President of Bangladesh on May 2, 1980.
  • The seven founding countries had met for first time in April 1981 and then in 1985, they created SAARC Charter.
  • The first SAARC summit was held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) in December 1985. The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu (Nepal) on 16 January 1987.

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South India’s First Children’s Court inaugurated in Hyderabad

The first Children Court of South India was launched at the Nampally Criminal Courts Complex in Hyderabad, Telangana to fast disposal of cases related to children.

With this, Telangana has become the third state to have a child friendly court after Goa and Delhi. This court is the 6th child-friendly court in the country.

Key Facts

  • The Nampally children court project was facilitated by NGO Justice and Care in collaboration with the state government and the judiciary.
  • It has features like separate waiting rooms for children and a video camera trial for accused, mandated under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012.
  • It has waiting area, which provides a child-friendly environment, complete with toys, bean bags and colourful furniture.

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PM Narendra Modi, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate the restored Stor Palace in Kabul

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani  jointly tele-inaugurated the restored Stor Palace in Kabul.

The Stor Palace is located in the Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Campus in Kabul. The newly renovated and restored building will house the Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Besides, it will also serve as the venue for hosting official domestic and international events by the Afghan government.

Background

A tripartite agreement for restoring Stor Palace was signed in 2011 during the visit of then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Afghanistan. The agreement was signed between Aga Khan Development Network, Government of Afghanistan and Government of India.

India’s Contribution in Afghanistan’s development  

  • India has played a significant role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Afghanistan in the past few years.
  • Earlier in June 2016, both countries had inaugurated the $300 million India and Afghanistan Friendship Dam in Herat Province.
  • Besides, India also had gifted Afghanistan its new parliament building in December 2015.
  • So far India has poured more than $2 billion dollars into Afghanistan reconstruction projects and humanitarian aid as part of its goodwill diplomacy making it one of the largest donors to the war-torn country.

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