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December 22, 2013 2:51 pm
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads a delegation of businessmen and investors to Pakistan; Britain’s Royal Mail joins the FTSE 100 index; Pervez Musharraf, former president of Parkistan, is due to appear before a special antiterrorism court on trial for treason; Pope Francis celebrates his first Christmas at the Vatican
Erdogan visits Islamabad
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has vowed to serve no more terms as premier and is instead seeking the presidency, a post that will be directly elected next summer for the first time, leads a delegation of businessmen and investors to Pakistan to promote co-operation in trade, energy and investment (to December 24).
Japan marks Emperor Akihito’s birthday, a national holiday. Japan is the last country whose monarch uses the title “emperor”. Claimed to be the world’s oldest continuous hereditary monarchy, the imperial line can be traced back 2,000 years. Emperor Akihito, the 125th emperor, will be 80.
Britain’s newly privatised Royal Mail joins the FTSE 100 index following a strong share price performance since its London stock market debut. The government was forced to defend itself against criticism that it sold the company too cheaply. It is joined in the index by construction equipment company Ashtead. They replace Indian miner Vedanta Resources and speciality chemicals maker Croda International. Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene becomes one of just four female FTSE 100 bosses in the spring.
Comforts for homeless
Homelessness charity Crisis opens its Christmas centres across London to offer companionship, hot meals, warmth and a range of essential services (to December 29). More than 8,000 volunteers are expected to help out and 2,500 guests are expected at eight centres. The charity has run for 40 years.
Three amateur London choirs, voted for on social media, take part in a final to decide which performs a concert at the View from the Shard, atop western Europe’s tallest building. The winner, chosen by a panel of judges from the local community and guests, is announced on Christmas eve.
Pervez Musharraf, 70, former president and military ruler of Pakistan, is due to appear before a special antiterrorism court in Quetta on trial for treason. Gen Musharraf will be the first military ruler to be tried for treason in a country that has had three military coups in its 66-year history.
The International Conference on Computer, Electrical and Systems Sciences, and Engineering in Bangkok brings together academic scientists, researchers and scholars (to December 25).
Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas at the Vatican, delivers his urbi et orbi message and blessing to the crowds in St Peter’s Square. The Pope is expected to mention the war in Syria and the unrest in the wider region, as well as youth unemployment, the welfare of the elderly and those suffering from economic strife.
Statue by command
China marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, although the Communist country is undecided how to commemorate its founding father. A gold and jade statue worth more than £9.8m and weighing eight stone has been unveiled in Shenzhen.
Melbourne cricket Test
The fourth Ashes cricket Test match between Australia and England is played at Melbourne Cricket Ground (to December 30). The Boxing day match is the fourth of five in Australia. England conceded the Ashes in 14 playing days after losing in Perth by 150 runs.
Fleet sets sail
A fleet of 94 yachts is expected for the 68th staging of the 630-mile Sydney to Hobart ocean yacht race hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia with the
Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
Boxing day horseracing cards include the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, Britain’s second most prestigious chase which was narrowly won by Long Run for a second time, ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen last year, beating Captain Chris (to December 27).
Kwanzaa, a week-long secular holiday honours African-American heritage (to January 1). It was created by Dr Maulana Karenga, a Black Power leader of the 1960s and 1970s, in 1966 and the name means “first fruits” in Swahili.
The UN Security Council in New York receives reports from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and from its mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. UN peacekeepers said last week they found an arsenal of weapons at the site of the last stand by M23 rebels in the east of the republic. Congolese troops and the UN mission last month defeated Tutsi-led M23, ending a 20-month rebellion.
Taizé community gathers
The European meeting of the Taizé community takes place in Alsace and Ortenau, in Baden, Germany. Some 40,000 young adults are expected. The community is an ecumenical Christian monastic order. More than 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year.
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