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October 11, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Asim Munir made new ISI chief
- Lt Gen Asim Munir was on October 10, 2018 named as the new director general of premier Spy Agency Inter Services Intelligence. He will assume office on the retirement of incumbent ISI chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar on Oct 25.
- The appointment of the new ISI director general was announced by Inter-Services Public Relations, the army`s public affairs wing.
- The ISI chief`s appointment is a prerogative of the prime minister and as such it is the first significant military-related posting made by the Pakistan Tehreek-iInsaf government. The spymaster`s choice is, however, made by the prime minister in consultation with the army chief.
- Gen Munir, who had been promoted as a three-star general on Sept 28, was previously heading the Military Intelligence as its director general. He was always believed to be a strong contender for the ISI appointment because of his intelligence background.
- There are very few examples of a Military Intelligence chief being posted as head of the ISL There are four such instances in the past nearly three decades Lt Gen Nadeem Taj (2007-08), Gen Ehsanul Haq (2001-04), Lt Gen Asad Durrani (199091) and Lt Gen Hamid Gul (1987-89).
- Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa had picked Gen Munir as the Military Intelligence chief months after assuming command in November 2016. Before his MI assignment, he was Force Commander Northern Areas, where he had for sometime also worked under Gen Bajwa, who was then heading Corps X that is responsible for Northern Areas. He is, therefore, believed to be Gen Bajwa`s most trusted person.
2. China ready to include new projects in CPEC
- Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has confirmed Beijing is revisiting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in view of suggestions made by the government to include new development projects with the consensus of both countries.
- He said this during a visit to the Quetta Press Club on October 10, 2018. China`s Counsel General based in Karachi and other officials of the consulate and embassy were also present.
- The decision to review the CPEC agreement was natural as the new government had its own agenda and vision, Mr Jing said, adding the two governments had agreed to further expand the CPEC.
3. Inspectors not impressed with work done on FATF list
- Not impressed with the progress made so far, a delegation of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) has asked Pakistan to do more and get its house in order so that it may get out of the grey list of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- Apparently the group members found the legal framework insufficient, and the institutional arrangements weak. The delegation feared that the set-up installed for scrutinising the activities of nonprofit organisations, brokerage houses, exchange companies and donations of corporate entities registered under the companies act was not robust enough.
- The sources said that the APG believed that even in areas where the legal framework appeared vigorous, the implementation mechanism was not geared to track down financial flows of the entities in question, because the agencies involved were not well-connected. This weakness was prominent in real estate brokerages where large business transactions remained outside the ambit of legal records.
- A team of the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) reported to the APG that brokerage houses were largely documented though real estate dealers and their operations were generally outside its area of regulation. The APG also noticed shortcomings in commodity trading and the effectiveness of laws against money laundering through cross-verification of service providers.
4. Iran navy ships make port call at Karachi
- Islamic Republic of Iran Navy’s 57th Flotilla comprising Iranian navy ships BOUSHER (tanker), KHANJAR and NIZEH (patrol crafts) made port call at Karachi on goodwill-cum-training visit.
- The ships were received by officials of Pakistan Navy, Defence Attaché of Iran and consulate staff. The visit of Iranian ships to Pakistan was aimed at enhancing collaboration and interoperability between the two Navies
5. Pakistan proposes N-test ban arrangement with India
- Pakistan has renewed its proposal to India for a bilateral arrangement on a nuclear test ban, saying it would go a long way in strengthening the global norm against nuclear testing and promote regional stability.
- “Peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving the underlying disputes; agreeing on reciprocal measures for nuclear and missile restraint; and instituting a balance between conventional forces,” Ambassador Farukh Amil, who is Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN and other int’l organisations based in Geneva, told the UN General Assembly’s First Committee, which deals with disarmament and international security matters.
- “Our proposal for a strategic restraint regime in South Asia, based on these three inter-locking elements, remains on the table,” he said, while reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to promote peace and stability in the region.
- Speaking in the committee’s general debate, Ambassador Amil said while many old disputes continue to fester, new conflicts are constantly emerging. He highlighted the steady rise in the quality and quantity of armaments as ever more deadly and sophisticated weapons are being developed.
- “These trends are most pronounced in the South Asian region, marked by one country’s quest to establish its hegemony,” the Pakistani envoy said in an obvious reference to India. Security dynamics are further complicated by discriminatory exemptions made by certain states to supply advanced military hardware, he said, adding that such actions sidestep non proliferation considerations.
October 11, 2018: International Current Affairs
6. US tightens restrictions on foreign investment
- The US government on October 10, 2018 announced a plan for tougher oversight of foreign investment in key technology industries, a move seen as largely targeted at China.
- President Donald Trump has accused China of rampant theft of American technology and used that as justification for imposing punitive tariffs on thousands of products amounting to more than $250 billion in annual imports.
- The new rules, which take effect November 10, updated 30-year-old statutes giving the president broad powers to block foreign investments in sensitive industries or those deemed harmful to US national security.
- The reform allows the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review any investment, not just company takeovers, in an American firm in one of 27 key sectors.
- Those include aeronautics, telecommunications, computers, semiconductors and batteries.
7. Tunisian parliament adopts historic anti-racism law
- Tunisia’s parliament has adopted a law criminalising racist speech, incitement to hatred and discrimination, in a vote hailed as a historic first in a country with a significant black minority.
- The legislation was approved on October 9, 2018 after a lengthy debate with 125 members of parliament voting for it, one against and five abstaining.
- Slavery was abolished in the North African country when it was a beylik, or vassal of the Ottoman empire, in 1846.
- Under the newly passed legislation, offenders can be jailed for one month and fined 1,000 dinars ($350) for using racist language.
- Incitement to hatred, making racist threats, spreading and advocating racism, and belonging to an organisation that supports discrimination are punishable by one to three years in prison and can be fined up to 3,000 dinars.
8. Some 2,800 Afghan civilians killed in hostilities in 2018: UN
- Nearly 2,800 civilians were killed and over 5,200 sustained injuries in military action in Afghanistan in the period from January to September, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a press release on October 10, 2018.
- Covering the period 1 January to 30 September 2018, the new UN report documents 8,050 civilian casualties (2,798 dead and 5,252 injured), reflecting the same extreme levels of harm to civilians in comparison to the same period in 2017.
- According to the UNAMA, despite the fact the number of civilians wounded in hostilities in the country fell 3 percent in the corresponding period, the number of those killed rose by 5 percent. The report mentions blasts caused by improvised explosive devices, ground engagements and deliberate killings as three most frequent causes of civilian deaths, which claimed 1,050, 605 and 439 lives, respectively.
- The United Nations once again reiterated in its report the call on the anti-government elements to stop immediately the deliberate targeting of civilians.
9. UN says cost of climate-linked disasters soars
- The economic cost of climate-related disasters hit $2.25 trillion over the last two decades, an increase of more than 150 percent compared to the previous 20 years, the UN said October 10, 2018.
- The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) noted that “climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events” such as floods and storms.
- Between 1978-1997, total losses for climate-related disasters was $895 billion (780 billion euros), UNISDR said in a report based on data compiled by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. But between 1998-2017 that figure hit $2.25 trillion, the report said, listing the United States, China, Japan and India as the countries where the financial toll has been highest.
- The findings were released as Michael, a Category Four hurricane, rumbled towards the Gulf Coast of Florida, in the latest storm to threaten vast destruction across the eastern US.
October 11, 2018: Sports Current Affairs
10. Abdul Rehman retires from international cricket
- Former Pakistan left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who along with teammate Saeed Ajmal famously stunned England during a 3-0 defeat in 2012, announced his retirement from international cricket October 10, 2018.
- The 38-year-old took 19 wickets and Ajmal finished with 24 when Pakistan whitewashed the then-world number one Test team in United Arab Emirates six years ago in one of the finest performances of his career.
- However Rehman said he was disheartened as of late after being ignored by national selectors. “I am announcing retirement from international cricket with a heavy heart,” Rehman told media in Lahore. “It was a tough decision but I have decided to call it a day.”
- A wily spinner Rehman finished his 22 Test career just one short of a deserved hundred wicket mark, while he took 30 in 31 one-days and eight wickets in 11 Twenty20 internationals.
- His last Test was in Sri Lanka in 2014 before the selectors began picking younger players in his place to form a new team. Rehman said dismantling the English batsmen in 2012 was his most memorable moment as a professional.
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