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August 23, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. No province safe from rain-related devastation
• As heavy monsoon rains and flooding continued to cause widespread damage to areas across the country, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on August 22, 2022 declared a state of emergency in four districts, relief goods were air dropped in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts of Punjab, dozens of families were shifted to tents in Gilgit-Baltistan after their villages were destroyed and efforts still under way to restore the National Highway link between Punjab and Balochistan.
• The KP government declared a state of emergency in Dera Ismail Khan, Upper and Lower Chitral and Upper Kohistan districts, while glacier melting in Gilgit-Baltistan wreaked havoc on Hoper Valley and Nagar Khas where flooding washed away small villages of Shaman and Tokerkot rendering around 50 families homeless.
• While taking stock of the deteriorating situation and reviewing relief measures in the flood-affected areas at two separate meetings, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the federal government decided to hold a donors` conference to apprise international institutions about the devastation caused by floods as well as the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts by the federal and provincial governments
2. Govt passes ordinance to reverse taxes from last budget
• While withdrawing the budgetary fixed tax scheme for traders, the government on August 22, 2022 increased tax rates to collect additional Rs18 billion from tobacco sector to meet lateral demand of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before it clears Pakistan`s bailout package on August 29.
• Through the Tax Laws (second amendment) Ordinance 2022, issued on Monday, the government has also reversed several revenue measures announced in the last budget in a bid to facilitate different sectors and taxpayers and comply with some international obligations.
• In the budget 2022, the government had introduced the fixed tax scheme for retailers (other than tier-I retailers) on commercial electricity connection with an aim to collect Rs42bn alone from these documentation measures.
• However, the FBR has now withdrawn fixed tax scheme retrospectively from July 1 this year
3. Senate committee passes bill granting charter to degree-awarding institute
• The Senate Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training on August 22, 2022 unanimously passed a bill titled `The Global Institute Bill, 2022` for granting charter to a degree-awarding institute (DAI) in the private sector which will have Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from South Korea.
• The bill was moved by Senator Shahadat Awan.
• The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui at the Parliament House. The bill was approved unanimously after a detailed briefing.
• The said bill had already passed from the National Assembly (NA). Committee members said that they intended to visit the site allocated for the university and evaluate its framework and progress
4. Firewall failure hits National Savings operations
• The Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) suspended its operations on August 22, 2022 after its core business application was interrupted due to a firewall failure, a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance said.
• However, after rectification of the issue, CDNS thoroughly observed the smooth functioning of all transactions made by the investors, the press release added.
• `ATM and PoS operations were made available by noon. These operations are available to the customers round the clock, and after fixing of the issue, CDNS thoroughly observed the smooth functioning of ATM and PoS transactions made by the investors,` the press release said.
• The CDNS has instructed its field offices to extend working and business hours for Tuesday to overcome the hassle faced by the investors concerned
5. First Palestinians to use an Israeli airport land in Cyprus
• A group of Palestinian passengers flew to Cyprus from an Israeli airport on August 22, 2022, but the flight was not organised under a promised arrangement easing travel restrictions for residents of the occupied West Bank, an airports authority spokesperson said.
• Israeli authorities agreed earlier this month, following pressure from the United States, to ease some of the strict travel restrictions which prevent Palestinians from using Israeli airports _ including Ben Gurion, Israel`s main international hub _ without special permission.
• Israel`s airports authority said on Aug 9 it would allow special flights from Ramon Airport, near the Red Sea resort of Eilat, to take Palestinian passengers to some destinations in Turkey