The Republic of Gambia, previously a secular country, will henceforth be an Islamic state, President Yahya Jammeh declared on Saturday. Africa’s smallest nation gained independence from the UK in 1965. Some 95 percent of its 1.8 million population are Muslim. Islam or one of its denominations is a state religion in 24 nations worldwide. A handful of nations adopted Buddhism, Catholicism or some form of Protestantism as their state religion. Israel is legally a Jewish state, but there is a debate on whether the word applies to Judaism as a religion, the Jewish people as an ethnic group or both.

A second Spanish policeman has died after a Taliban attack targeted residential houses near the country’s embassy in the Afghan capital, AFP reports citing the Spanish Interior Ministry. Officer Jorge Garcia Tudela died at dawn from wounds sustained during the siege that began late on Friday. At least four Afghan policemen were also killed in the attack.

Ecuador and Sweden have signed an agreement facilitating the interrogation of WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange. “The agreement is a tool that strengthens bilateral relations and facilitates, for example, the execution of such legal actions as the questioning of Mr. Assange, isolated in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Assange is wanted for interrogation in Sweden on charges of sexual abuse and rape, which he fears is a cause to deport him to the US where he would face trial for leaking scores of classified military files and diplomatic cables. The new agreement is expected to help the Swedish authorities question Assange without his leaving the embassy.

Joint Statement on India and Japan Vision 2025
Working Together for Peace amd Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and World
Read the full text of Joint Statement here:
Ministry of External Affairs, India's photo.
Ministry of External Affairs, India's photo.
Ministry of External Affairs, India's photo.
Ministry of External Affairs, India's photo.
Ministry of External Affairs, India added 8 new photos.
1 hr ·
An old friend and an all weather friendship.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi warmly welcomed PM Abe Shinzo at Hyderabad House.
Turning the belief of potential into the conviction of a partnership.
The Prime Ministers led delegation level talks in which PM Shinzo said multiple times that the India Japan partnership had the greatest potential of any bilateral relationship. He said his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi would open New Age in India-Japan partnership.
Both PM’s exchanged Joint Statement on co-operation in security, infrastructure, technology, education and economy.
After that, PM Modi took the centre stage and welcomed Abe Shinzo.
PM Modi said that last year PM Abe Shinzo had spoken of US $35 billion of Japanese finance and investments for India over 5 years.They were also engaged in wide ranging collaboration in clean energy and energy efficiency technology that would create solutions for the world at large. He further said that they had taken two more decisive steps in security cooperation that would deepen the defence relations between both countries and promote defence manufacturing in India. It built on decision to expand staff talks to all three wings of Armed Forces and to make Japan a partner in Malabar Naval Exercises.
PM Abe Shinzo added how they had taken relationship to new level and buds had turned into blossoms. With a view to supporting growth of India, both public and private sector of Japan would act in unison. People-to-people relations were important so they were extending multiple entry visas.
Read the full text of Joint Statement here:

McLeod Russel Tour Championship

Russel Tour Championship – Race to Royal Calcutta Golf Club to provide fascinating finale to 2015 PGTI season. 
PGTI’s Year Ending ChampionshipPrize purse of Rs. 1.5 Cr
Only top 60 players on the Rolex Ranking to be eligible 
Sponsor invites include former champion SSP Chawrasia, Jyoti Randhawa, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rahil Gangjee, Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar, Himmat Singh Rai and foreign players Md Siddikur Rahman, Mithun Perera, Koh Deng Shan & Sean Navin Shrestha Einhaus
Kolkata, December 12, 2015: McLeod Russel, the world’s largest tea producer, and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), today announced the McLeod Russel Tour Championship 2015, the PGTI’s year-ending Championship. The tournament will be staged at the prestigious Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) from December 24 – 27, 2015. The tournament carries a handsome prize purse of Rs. 1.5 crore, the highest for a domestic event in India.
The event will see the top 60 players from the Rolex Ranking 2015 compete for top honours. This year the field will also feature sponsor invites including the 2013 champion SSP Chawrasia, Jyoti Randhawa, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rahil Gangjee, Chiragh Kumar and Himmat Singh Rai along with foreign players Md Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh), Mithun Perera (Sri Lanka), Koh Deng Shan (Singapore) and Sean Navin Shrestha Einhaus (Germany).
The tournament will be a 72-hole stroke-play championship and there will be no cut applied after 36 holes. All players will be guaranteed prize money. The Pro-Am event preceding the tournament will be played on December 22nd and 23rd.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kamal Baheti, Whole-time Director, McLeod Russel India Limited (McLeod Russel), said “After the big success of first edition from 2012 – 2014, we are happy to be hosting the first year of second edition (2015 – 2017) of McLeod Russel Tour Championship. We are very pleased with the response from top golfers and everyone else who supported this event wholeheartedly. This is our small gesture of giving golf a boost in the Eastern Region and hope that it will lead to the growth of the game eventually. We are also encouraged to see the level of play by local amateurs this season at various tournaments. McLeod Russel’s heritage is based on values, culture and commitment and a strong belief in supporting and backing the right talent, and keeping that in mind, we will continue to sponsor one professional and two amateur golfers from Kolkata for the 2016 season. We will continue to be on the lookout for budding golfers in the future as well, and have put in place a committee to evaluate and identify budding golfers. We take this opportunity to thank the PGTI and the Royal Calcutta Golf Club for the opportunity to host the Championship this year. We are committed to the McLeod Russel Tour Championship and in the development of golf.”
Announcing the event, Mr. Uttam Singh Mundy, Director, PGTI, said, “The McLeod Russel Tour Championship 2015, like its previous editions, is set to provide yet another fascinating finale to the PGTI season, as the Rolex Player of the Year title is up for grabs with many contenders in the fray. The golf fans in Kolkata are in for a treat as the leading names in Indian golf go head-to-head at the historic Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC), for the biggest prize of the season. We thank McLeod Russel for their undying support to Indian professional golf and look forward to continuing our partnership with them in the years to come.” 
Mr. Abhay Pasari, General Committee Member & Golf Convener, Royal Calcutta Golf Club, said, “It’s a privilege for the RCGC to host the 4th edition of the McLeod Russel Tour Championship. It’s an exciting event with a two day Pro Am for the members and invitees.  I am told that this year a few foreign invitees will also be participating with the best from India.  I take this opportunity to wish all of them all the very best.”


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