Indian-born educator Jayathi Y Murthy has become the 16th president of the Oregon State University (OSU- one of the top universities in the US renowned worldwide for its cutting-edge research and facilities, particularly in the fields of AI, robotics and advanced technology. Murthy, 64, is the first woman of colour to lead OSU that works on addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the planet from climate change to sustainability. An IIT Kanpur alum, Murthy is a leader in higher education engineering teaching, research, and service. She is recognized as a champion for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and has made it her top priority at OSU.
Saudis hand Pak fresh $3 bn lifeline
Saudi Arabia extended the term of a $3 billion deposit it made to Pakistan’s foreign reserves, state news agency SPA and Pakistan’s central bank said.
Saudi Arabia had deposited the money in Pakistan’s central bank late last year as a loan to shore up the cash-strapped country’s reserves. The central bank reserves stood at $7. 5 billion as of November 25 this year. Too low to cover more than a month of imports, the reserves together with a widening current account deficit have threatened a balance of payment crises for the South Asian economy, which has to settle another $1 billion bond this week.
Indonesia set to penalise sex outside marriage
Indonesia’s parliament is expected to pass a new criminal code this month that will penalise sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail, officials have confirmed. The legislative overhaul will also ban insulting the president or state institutions and expressing any views counter to state ideology. Cohabitation before marriage is also banned. The new criminal code is expected to be passed on December 15, Indonesia’s deputy justice minister, Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, said. The code, if passed, would apply to Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike and would change Indonesia’s image as a holiday and investment destination.
5 letter bomb defused at US embassy in Spain
Bomb disposal experts defused a letter bomb at the US embassy in Madrid, the sixth such device sent to high-profile targets in a wave that prompted Spain to step up security and vow not to be deterred from supporting Ukraine. On November 24, a package was sent to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to kick off the campaign, prompting Madrid to step up security around government buildings. Similar devices have also been sent to the Ukrainian embassy, where a security guard was slightly hurt, an air force base, a weapons manufacturer, and other locations.
Free movement for people of East Africa
East Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) signed an agreement on the free movement of people, as representatives from the eight African countries gathered in the Sudanese capital. Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, the authority's secretary, stated that representatives from seven countries, with the exception of Uganda's minister, who was not present, had signed a free movement of people agreement and a "trans-human protocol." Gebeyehu provided no further details about the two deals, which were signed behind closed doors. He called it a "very big achievement for the region."
Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin dies
Jiang Zemin, the Shanghai Communist kingpin who was handpicked to lead China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and presided over a decade of meteoric economic growth, died last week in Shangau. He was 96. A Communist Party announcement said the cause was leukaemia and multiple organ failure. His death and the memorial ceremonies to follow come at a delicate moment in China, where the ruling party is confronting a wave of widespread protests against its pandemic controls, a nationwide surge of political opposition unseen since the Tiananmen movement of Jiang’s time.
16 killed, mostly kids, in Afghan blast
At least 16 people were killed and 24 others wounded by a blast at a madrassa in Afghanistan’s northern city of Aybak, a doctor at a local hospital said. There have been dozens of blasts and attacks targeting civilians since the Taliban returned to power last year, most claimed by the local chapter of the Islamic State group. A doctor in Aybak said the casualties were mostly youngsters. “All of them are children and ordinary people,” he said, asking not to be named. A provincial official confirmed the blast at Al Jihad madrassa, an Islamic religious school, but could not provide casualty figures.
Democrats choose ex-lawyer to replace Pelosi
Democratic lawmakers have unanimously elected Hakeem Jeffries as their next leader in the House of Representatives, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she would step aside as the party’s most senior member of Congress. Jeffries, the 52-year-old congressman from New York, was selected in a meeting of Democratic members of Congress. Jeffries, who ran unopposed, becomes the first black person to lead a major political party on Capitol Hill. The smooth transition of power in the Democratic caucus comes as Republicans remain at odds over who should lead their party in the wake of disappointing midterm election results.
Thai temple left empty after monks fail drug tests
A Buddhist temple in Thailand has been left without monks after all its holy men failed drug tests and were defrocked, a local official said. Four monks including an abbot at a temple in Phetchabun province’s Bung Sam Phan district tested positive for methamphetamine. The monks have been sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official said.
DNA testing leads to arrest in 1983 murders in Canada
Genealogical testing has led to an arrest in the 1983 murders of two women in Toronto, one of whom was the daughter of a founder of gold mining giant Barrick Gold, police said. Erin Gilmour, 22, and Susan Tice, 45, were found stabbed to death four months apart in in 1983 in their respective bedrooms after having been sexually assaulted. Joseph George Sutherland was taken into custody at his home in Ontario last week and charged with two counts of first degree murder after police connected him to the crime scene via genealogical probe using DNA.