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August 20, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. Weekly inflation races to all-time high of 42.3pc
• Inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) rose sharply in the week that ended on Aug 18, climbing to a record 42.3 per cent year-on-year, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed on August 19, 2022.
• Before this, the highest ever year-on-year increase in the SPI was 38.63pc, recorded for the week ending on Aug 5.
• The latest data shows that the SPI rose by 3.35pc over last week, mainly because of higher food prices. The highest week-on-week increase in inflation was recorded at 3.68pc for the week that ended on July 28.
• Soaring vegetable prices due to damage to standing crops and a massive hike in power rates have also contributed to higher prices
2. Jameel Ahmad appointed SBP governor for five years
• The federal government has appointed Jameel Ahmad, a deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), as the bank`s governor for a five-year term, the finance ministry said on August 19, 2022.
• He has been appointed `with the approval of the president of Pakistan, upon the recommendation of the federal government, with immediate effect`, the ministry`s notification said.
• The central bank had been with-out a full-time governor since May and one of Mr Ahmad`s first tasks will be to chair a monetary policy meeting to consider its policy rate
3. Pakistan again urges US to unfreeze Afghan assets
• Pakistan on August 19, 2022 urged the United States again to unfreeze Afghan assets and conditionally allow the Taliban regime to use those funds for dealing with the economic and humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged country.
• Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar, at a weekly media conference, said the Afghan assets held in the US should be released urgently and `in a manner that would make it easier for the interim authorities to utilise this money.
• He was responding to a question relating to reports that the process for the unfreezing of the funds could face delays because of renewed concerns in the US, after Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri`s killing in Kabul late last month, that the money could be diverted to terrorist groups
4. Rs37.2bn cash assistance for flood-hit people launched
• Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on August 19, 2022 launched Rs37.2 billion flood relief cash programme to disburse Rs50,000 cash assistance in two installments among 1.5 million affected families each in the country, particularly in Balochistan where hundreds died and infrastructure was damaged the most by floods amid heavy monsoon rains.
• Fund are being given through the Benazir Income Support Programme in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority and other allied departments.
• The disbursement of cash would be completed within three days as assured by the NDMA chairman to help rain-hit people afford their food and other immediate needs, said Prime Minister Sharif at the launch of the flood relief cash programme
5. Punjabi becomes Canada`s second-most spoken language
• Punjabi has ranked second after Mandarin among the non-official languages, spoken predominately at home, by the largest number of people in Canada, new census data released by Statistics Canada has revealed.
• The 2021 census, released on August 18, found that 4.6 million Canadians speak predominantly a language other than official English or French languages at home, among them Urdu has become the fifth top language in the ranking of 12 spoken languages in Canada.
• The number of people whose mother tongue is Mandarin or Punjabi, the two most spoken languages nationwide, has grown significantly, with the former increasing from roughly 610,000 in 2016 to 730,000 in 2021 and the latter increasing from 543,000 to 763,000. The Punjabis counted in the census have come mainly from India, speaking gormukhii Punjabi