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November 06, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Pak-Russia drill against terrorism ends
• Pakistan and Russia on November 5, 2018 completed the third edition of their joint counterterrorism drills named Druzhba III
• Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Russian deputy head of mission in Pakistan, Valadamir Betezyuk, witnessed the drills on the lastday at the National Counter Terrorism Centre, Pabbi.
• The drills are being held since 2016 when Pakistan hosted the first edition. The second edition was held in Russia. The purpose of the war games is to strengthen cooperation between the militaries of the two countries and exchange professional experience, particularly in the field of counterterrorism.
• Defence ties between Pakistan and Russia have steadily grown since the two countries signed their defence cooperation agreement in 2014. The agreement, besides providing for cooperation in different areas of military cooperation, also caters for collaboration between the two sides for promoting international security and intensification of counterterrorism.
• Earlier this year, Islamabad and Moscow set up a commission for promoting military cooperation
2. Pakistan, China to trade in Chinese currency
• Pakistan and China had signed an agreement to trade in Chinese Yuan instead of US dollar, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Ch said on November 5, 2018.
• Current trade volume of Pakistan and China stood at 15 billion dollars and the switch from the US dollar to Chinese Yuan would help save country’s dollar reserves in the State Bank of Pakistan.
• Pak-China relations had moved beyond the CPEC as China had not only extended its support to Pakistan’s currency, it was also pledged to cooperate in agriculture and industrial sectors. Chinese support in establishment of industrial zones in the country would help create new jobs besides generating economic activity.
• Pakistan had signed a historic pact with China on strategic relations which were decades-old and of great value.
• Pakistan had also achieved another milestone in space cooperation with China as the first Pakistani astronaut would be sent to the space with the help of Chinese Space Programme in 2022.
3. Pakistan re-elected to two important world bodies
• Pakistan was November 5, 2018 re-elected to two important international bodies.
• Pakistan won a four-year term (2018-2022) for the Administrative Council of the International Telecommunication Union during elections held in Dubai. Pakistan was one of the thirteen countries elected to this important body from the Asia and Australasia region. Pakistan secured 155 out of a total of 177 votes cast.
• Pakistan’s re-election to this Council demonstrates a strong vote of confidence of the international community in Pakistan’s advances in the Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure and platforms. This re-election is also recognition of the important role and contribution that Pakistan has made and can also play in the global ICT policy arena.
• Separately in New York, Pakistan was re-elected to the United Nations Committee on Contributions by acclamation.
• The Committee on Contributions is one of the key UN bodies that worked on the methodology to determine each UN member state’s individual mandatory share of financial contribution to the United Nations budget.
4. Sino-Pak bus leaves Lahore for Kashgar
• The much-awaited bus service between Pakistan and China started its first operation on a November 5, 2018.
• The bus will make another trip on November 7, 2018. These two tour are part of its trial run while its operation will begin next week.
• A private company, North-South Transport Service, is authorised to look after its operation between Lahore and Kashgar city of Chinese.
• The distance between the two cities will be covered in around 3o hours and passengers will be served food and tea on different designated places.
• First stopover of the bus will be Islamabad-Rawalpindi for pickup of passengers and from where it will stop at Mansehara for breakfast at around 7am. The passengers will be served lunch at Besham at 1pm, he said, adding the stopover will be made at Chelas and Gilgat for tea and dinners at 4pm and 8pm respectively.
5. Buzdar opens Head Marala hydro project
• Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar inaugurated on November 5, 2018 Monday the Head Marala Hydro Power Project near Head Marala-Sialkot.
• Provincial Energy Minister Punjab Dr.Muhammad Akhtar Malik briefed the participants about the Head Marala Power Project.
• The hydro power project was established at the Upper Chenab Canal near Head Marala Barrage over the River Chenab with a cost of Rs3.98 billion by Chinese engineers.
November 6, 2018: International Current Affairs
6. US reimposes tough curbs on Iran`s oil, banking industry
• The United States imposed strict sanctions targeting Iran`s oil, banking and industrial sectors on November 5, 2018 and threatened more action to stop Tehran from pursuing `outlaw` policies, steps the Islamic Republic condemned as economic warfare and vowed to defy.
• The measures are part of a wider effort by US President Donald Trump to curb Tehran`s missile and nuclear programmes and diminish the Islamic Republic`s influence in the Middle East, notably its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.
7. EU-Japan to form largest free trade area
• European Union and Japanese plans to form the world`s largest free trade area cleared a significant hurdle on Monday when EU lawmakers specializing in trade backed a deal that could enter force next year.
• The European Parliament`s international trade committee voted 25 in favour to10 against to clear the deal for vote in the parliament`s full chamber set for December 13.
• An agreement would bind two economies accounting for about a third of global gross domestic product and also signal their rejection of protectionism.
• Both have faced trade tensions with Washington and remain subject to US tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on imports of steel and aluminum.
• Japan had been part of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump rejected on his first day in office, turning Tokyo`s focus to other potential partners such as the European Union.
8. British army lifts restriction on Commonwealth recruits
• Citizens of Commonwealth countries will be able to join the British armed forces even if they do not live in Britain, the government said on November 5, 2018 as it struggles to fill vacancies.
• Britain`s Junior Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said in a statement to parliament that the previous five-year residency requirement for Commonwealth army recruits has been removed.
• Lancaster said that Commonwealth applicants would have to be aged over 18 two years more than the minimum for Britons so as `to mitigate the risks associated with unaccompanied minors travelling to the UK without the guarantee of a job`.
• A report by the National Audit Office, an independent government watchdog, earlier this year found that the full-time military was running a 5.7 per cent shortfall in its ranks.
9. US novelist McDermott takes top French literary prize
• The American writer Alice McDermott’s novel The Ninth Hour was awarded France’s Prix Femina for the best foreign novel of the year on November 5, 2018.
• The prize is awarded to the best French and foreign novels, written by a man or woman.
• The Femina jury is composed exclusively of women writers and academics.
• Established in 1904, the award was seen as a female answer to the Goncourt Prize, which did not go to a woman until 1944.
• The Ninth Hour is McDermott’s eighth novel, and the seventh to be translated into French.
• Set in Irish Brooklyn at the beginning of the 20th century, the novel follows the life of Sally, who is rescued from dire straits and raised by nuns.
10. Neil Armstrong’s commemorative plaque sold for $468,500
• A commemorative plaque brought to the moon on the Apollo 11 mission went under the hammer for $468,500 in Texas, as part of a huge collection that once belonged to late astronaut Neil Armstrong.
• The plaque includes a representation of the lunar module that touched down on the moon on July 20, 1969.
• Once back on Earth, it was mounted on a wooden base before being offered to Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon.
• The other two astronauts who took part in the mission, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, also each received one of these plaques.
• Armstrong’s two sons, Rick and Mark, decided to part with some of the very large collection of their father, who died in 2012. It includes more than 2,000 objects.
• Just part of the collection was offered at the sale held Thursday through Saturday in Dallas as well as online.