WTO cuts 2013 global trade forecast to 3.3 %

The World Trade Organization (WTO) slashed its forecast for trade growth in 2013 on Wednesday, saying it feared protectionism was on the increase. It cut its forecast for global trade growth in 2013 to 3.3 per cent from 4.5 per cent and said trade grew only 2 per cent in 2012.

S Korea raises alert level, as North readies missile test

South Korea raised its military watch alert to “vital threat” today ahead of an expected North Korean missile launch, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned the Korean peninsula may be slipping out of control. The South Korea-US Combined Forces Command raised its “Watchcon” status from 3 to 2 reflecting indications of a “vital threat”, Yonhap news agency said, citing a senior military official.

Pakistan tests nuclear-capable Hatf-IV missile

Pakistan today successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable Hatf-IV ballistic missile with a range of 900 km that can hit targets in India. The Hatf-IV is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads.

Uhuru Kenyatta sworn in Kenya President

Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn-in as the new President of Kenyaon 9 April 2013. He is the fourth president of Kenya. Kenyatta clinched victory in a tightly fought race for Kenya's presidency on 9 March 2013 against Raila Odinga. He won with 50.07 percent votes in the election. He is facing charges in the ICC over allegations he helped orchestrate the vicious tribe-on-tribe violence that marred Kenya’s 2007 presidential election.

China, Pakistan signed deal on 1,000 MW reactor

China on Monday mounted a defence of its controversial civilian nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, arguing export of nuclear reactors “did not violate the norms” of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a body that governs global nuclear trade.

Cyprus clinches last-minute deal on 10 b euro bailout

Cyprus clinched a last-ditch deal with international lenders to shut down its second largest bank, and inflict heavy losses on uninsured depositors, including wealthy Russians, in return for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.

Bangladesh President Zillur Rahman dies after illness

The president of Bangladesh, Zillur Rahman, has died after a long illness. The president, 84, had been undergoing treatment at a hospital in Singapore.

A hard-fought victory for women’s rights at U.N.

Greeted by loud cheers and applause, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) announced the “historic” accord at the U.N. headquarters in New York, winning particular praise for getting the multilateral membership of the group to agree to language stating that violence against women could not be justified by “any custom, tradition or religious consideration”.

Universal Periodic Review Report on Human Rights in Sri Lanka adopted by UNHRC

New Zealand North Island hit by worst drought in 30 years

A drought has been declared on the entire North Island of New Zealand - in what the government describes as the worst dry spell in 30 years. The capital Wellington is said to have just 18 days of water left, and parts of the South Island could soon be hit. Some scientists say the unusually dry weather could be a harbinger of climate change.

Argentina's Bergoglio elected Pope Francis

“Habemus Papum” “We have a pope!”

Xi formally appointed China’s President; new Vice President selected

Of the 2,956 present delegates of China's parliament, 2,952 voted for Mr. Xi, one against.

Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi sworn in Nepal Prime Minister

Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi took oath of office and secrecy as Chairman of the Electoral Council of Ministers. President Ram Baran Yadav admistered the oath of office.

Lanka president sacks first woman top judge over graft

Japan, The first country to extract natural gas from frozen methane hydrate

Japan says it has successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate off its central coast, in a world first. Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are a type of frozen “cage” of molecules of methane and water. Engineers used depressurisation to turn methane hydrate to methane gas. A Japanese study has estimated the existence of at least 40trillion cubic feet (1.1 trillion cubic metres) of methane hydrates in the eastern Nankai Trough

Iran, Pakistan ignore U.S., launch gas pipeline project

The long-pending Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project inched closer to reality on Monday with the launch its final phase under which a 781-km-long pipeline would be laid on the Pakistan side of the border. To run from Iran’s border to Nawabshah in Sindh, the pipeline’s construction was inaugurated in the Iranian port city of Chabahar by the Presidents of the two countries.

US-South Korea drills begin amid North Korea tensions

The US and South Korea have begun annual military drills amid high tensions with North Korea in the wake of a UN sanctions vote. The US-South Korea joint drills, which are known as "Key Resolve", last two weeks and involve more than 13,000 troops. Another joint exercise, known as Foal Eagle, has been under way since the beginning of March. Both exercises take place every year

Pak parliament passes counter-terrorism authority bill

Pakistan’s parliament has passed a bill for establishing the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) after incorporating some amendments suggested by lawmakers. NACTA will be headed by the Prime Minister. The board of NACTA will also include the Interior, Finance and Defence Ministers, the Chief Ministers of all provinces and the chiefs of the Inter-Services Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and Federal Investigation Agency.

Uhuru Kenyatta wins Kenyan election by a narrow margin

International criminal court indictee Uhuru Kenyatta was officially declared the winner of Kenya's presidential election this afternoon, although his rival, Raila Odinga, will not concede defeat and a legal challenge alleging widespread fraud is certain. Kenyatta won by the slimmest of margins, earning 50.07% of the vote to clinch a first-round win, in an election that saw a record turnout of 84.9% of registered voters.

Beijing air pollution soars to toxic levels

The World Health Organization considers a safe daily level to be 25 micrograms per cubic meter.