World this week
The Brexit process was thrown into disarray as British Prime Minister Theresa May pulled the plug on a crucial parliamentary vote on her deal for the country to leave the European Union. May admitted the decision to delay the vote was made after it became clear she would lose it "by a significant margin." She will now go back to EU leaders to seek further reassurances, she said. The embattled leader told the UK House of Commons that she had listened "very carefully to what has been said in this chamber and out of it" -- a statement that was met with laughter and jeering by members of Parliament.
As Dhaka Courier went to press this week, an emergency debate on the government's decision was set to take place in Parliament as "the first item of business," Speaker John Bercow said. Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn requested the emergency debate after May's humiliating capitulation, which sent the pound tumbling to its lowest level in more than 18 months. May admitted that "there remains widespread and deep concern" over the Northern Ireland backstop, an arrangement designed to ensure there is no return to a "hard border" between Ireland, which will remain part of the European Union after Brexit, and Northern Ireland when the UK leaves the bloc next March.
Citing personal reasons, Urjit Patel resigned as the Reserve Bank of India (central bank) governor. His resignation comes against the backdrop of increasing tensions between the Finance Ministry and the Reserve Bank of India. Urjit Patel, 55, who took over as the 24th Governor of the central bank on September 5, 2016, had the shortest tenure since the year 1992. He was hand-picked by the BJP-led government after his predecessor Raghuram Rajan was denied a second-term.
In recent months, the Indian government and the RBI have been at loggerheads over whether the RBI has been too hawkish in its stance towards lenders and the economy given a drop in the inflation rate and signs of slower growth, as well as in the face of defaults by a major lender. Terming the resignation as a mark of protest, former RBI chief Raghuram Rajan said that the government needs to understand what prompted it.
China's economy czar and U.S. trade envoys discussed plans for talks on a tariff battle, the government in Beijing announced, indicating negotiations are going ahead despite tension over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada. The announcement indicated talks are on track despite China's weekend threats of unspecified "grave consequences" if the Huawei Technologies Ltd. executive isn't released. She was arrested in Canada on U.S. charges of possible violations of trade sanctions on Iran.
President Donald Trump agreed Dec. 1 to postpone more U.S. tariff hikes on Chinese imports for 90 days while the two sides negotiate over American complaints about Beijing's technology policy. The Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested the same day in Vancouver, British Columbia. Trump approved tariff hikes of 25 percent on $50 billion of Chinese goods and 10 percent on another $200 billion of imports in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. China retaliated with penalties on $110 billion of American goods but is running out of imports for retaliation due to their lopsided trade balance.
The Voyager 2 probe, which left Earth in 1977, has become the second human-made object to leave our Solar System. It was launched 16 days before its twin craft, Voyager 1, but that probe's faster trajectory meant that it was in "the space between the stars" six years before Voyager 2. The news was revealed at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in Washington. Chief scientist on the mission, Prof Edward Stone, confirmed that both probes had now "made it into interstellar space" and that Voyager 2's date of departure from the Solar System was 5 November 2018.
On that date, the steady stream of particles emitted from the Sun that were being detected by the probe suddenly dipped. This indicated that it had crossed the "heliopause" - the term for the outer edge of the Sun's protective bubble of particles and magnetic field. And while its twin craft beat it to this boundary, NASA says that Voyager 2 has a working instrument aboard that will provide "first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space".
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