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April 19, 2021: National / International Current Affairs
1. Establishment Div refuses to disclose civil servants` assets
• The Establishment Division has refused to make public details of assets owned by powerful bureaucracy, saying this is a labourious and time-consuming task which does not fall within its purview and disclosure of their assets will jeopardise interests of civil servants.
• The Establishment Division has challenged the order of the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) which has sought disclosure of details of assets owned by civil servants, particularly officers of powerful service cadres such as the Pakistan Administrative Service and Police Service of Pakistan
2. Classes 9 to 12 to resume from today with 50pc capacity
• Punjab Minister for School Education Murad Raas on April 18, 2021 announced resumption of classes 9 to 12 from April 19 (today) with 50 per cent students on Monday and the remaining 50pc on Thursday.
• He said a staggered approach would be implemented in order to mitigate the virus spread. `Classes 9,10,11,12 will open tomorrow April 19th, 2021 with 50% students on Monday and 50% on Thursday, the minister tweeted.
• He said this in reference to an earlier tweet in which he had announced the resumption of classes for grades 9 to 12 in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Multan, Toba Tek Singh, Sargodha, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan
3. CM approves new organisational structure of health directorate
• Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has approved new organisational structure of the Directorate General of Health Services to enhance the working capacity of the health department and ensure efficiency in administrative and operational matters of health service delivery outlets.
• The approval was given during a meeting held here with chief minister in the chair, said a press release issued here on Sunday. Besides Provincial Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Health Secretary Imtiaz Hussain Shah, Finance Secretary Aatif Rehman, Director General Health Services Dr Niaz and other relevant officials attended the meeting
4. US, China commit to climate cooperation ahead of summit
• The United States and China are `committed to cooperating` on the pressing issue of climate change, the two sides said on April 17, 2021, issuing the pledge days ahead of a key summit hosted by President Joe Biden.
• The joint statement came after a trip to Shanghai by US climate envoy John Kerry, the first official from Biden`s administration to visit China, signaling hopes the two sides could work together on the global challenge despite sky-high tensions on multiple other fronts.
• But to achieve the global climate goal, Kerry said words must be put into action and urged China to reduce its use of coal
5. Russia expels 20 Czech diplomats in retaliation
• Russia expelled 20 Czech diplomats on April 18, 2021 in retaliation for a slew of diplomatic expulsions by Prague and gave the affected officials just over 24 hours to leave the country.
• The Czech Republic had expelled 18 Russian diplomats the previous day saying that two alleged Russian spies accused of a nerve agent poisoning in Britain in 2018 were behind a deadly explosion at a Czech ammunition depot four years earlier.
• In Moscow, Russia`s foreign ministry summoned the Czech ambassador over Prague`s expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats
6. S. Arabia, Iran held direct talks to ease tensions
• Saudi and Iranian officials held direct talks this month in a bid to ease tensions between the two foes, a senior Iranian official and two regional sources said, as Washington works to revive a 2015 nuclear pact with Tehran and end the Yemen war.
• The April 9 meeting in Iraq, first reported by the Financial Times on Sunday, did not lead to any breakthrough, the Iranian official and one of the regional sources familiar with the matter said.
7. UN agencies seek to reduce Afghanistan`s dependence on Pakistan`s food routes
• A UN report on hunger hotspots around the world has urged donor nations to help reduce Afghanistan`s over-reliance on trade corridors with Pakistan to help it deal with a rising food crisis.
• On Friday, UN agencies also warned that more than 31 million people across West and Central Africa may not have enough to eat in the coming months as hunger rises in the region.
• Afghanistan is the only country from the Asia-Pacific region, which is listed among the hunger hotspots
8. Nasa`s Mars copter to make first flight on another planet today
• Nasa hopes to score a 21st-century Wright Brothers moment on Monday as it attempts to send a miniature helicopter buzzing over the surface of Mars in what would be the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.
• Landmark achievements in science and technology can seem humble by conventional measurements.
• The Wright Brothers` first controlled flight in the world of a motor-driven airplane, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903 covered just 120 feet (37 meters) in 12 seconds
9. Oldest American who ‘made world a better place’ dies at 116
• She was born long before World War I, the year the ice cream cone was invented and as work was beginning on the Panama Canal. America’s oldest citizen, 116-year-old Hester Ford, has died, her family announced.
• The death of the North Carolina resident was announced on Facebook by great-granddaughter Tanisha Myers, who said Ford passed peacefully at home, surrounded by family.
• She had 288 descendants: 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren and 120 great-great-grandchildren
10. Sensational Messi fires Barca to Copa final win over Bilbao
• If Lionel Messi isn`t happy at Barcelona, it was impossible to tell on April 17, 2021 when he scored two goals in another masterful performance to brush aside Athletic Bilbao and win the Copa del Rey.
• Messi climbed into the tribune after leading the 4-0 win and lifted the trophy high above his head and turned to his team on the pitch below.
• For his team-mates, coach, and millions of anxious fans, it was easy to read so much into that broad grin, that vigorous shake of the huge cup
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