August 2020

Daily Top-10 Current Affairs MCQs / News (August 15, 2020) for CSS, PMS


August 15, 2020: National / International Current Affairs

1. Chinese firm developing virus vaccine will supply to Pakistan

• A coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by a unit of the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) appeared to be safe and triggered antibody-based immune responses in early and mid stage trials, researchers said.
• The candidate has already moved into a late-stage trial, one of a handful of candidates being tested on several thousand people to see if they are effective enough to win regulatory approval.
• Sinopharm is testing the potential vaccine in the United Arab Emirates in a Phase 3 trial expected to recruit 15,000 people, as China has too few new cases to be a useful trial site.
• The state-owned company will also supply the candidate to Pakistan as part of a trial agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported.

2. President announces award for 184 Pakistanis, foreign nationals

• President Arif Alvi on August 14, 2020 announced awards for 184 Pakistanis honouring their work in their respective fields.
• An investiture will be held on Pakistan Day, 23 March, 2021, honouring the recipients of the Nishan-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Hilal-i-Quaid-i-Azam, Sitara-i-Pakistan, Sitara-i-Shujaat, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, President’s Award for Pride of Performance, Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, Sitara-i-Khidmat, Tamgha-i-Pakistan, Tamgha-i-Shujaat, Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, and the Tamgha-i-Quaid-i-Azam.
• The list features several prominent individuals for their services in various fields including the perfomance arts, literature, science and education. It also acknowlegdes many of the country’s martyrs for their ‘gallantry’. The 184 recipients include citizens of Pakistan as well as foreign nationals, all being recognised for their contributions to their respective fields

3. Nishan-e-Pakistan for Syed Ali Geelani

• President Dr Arif Alvi on August 14, 2020 conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan, Pakistan’s highest civil award on noted Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani to recognise his decades-old struggle for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
• The award was conferred at a special investiture ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr, during the flag hoisting ceremony to mark the 74th Independence Day of Pakistan. The award was received by Convenor All Parties Hurriyat Conference Muhammad Hussain Khateeb along with other Hurriyat leaders.
• The ceremony was attended by First Lady Samina Alvi, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, federal ministers and services chiefs.

4. Pakistan announces civilian award for Turkish professor

• Pakistan on August 14, 2020 announced its one of the highest civil awards for a Turkish scholar for his work to promote Urdu Pakistan’s national language in Turkey.
• President Arif Alvi announced Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam or Star of Excellence the country’s third highest civil award for Prof. Celal Soydan, who teaches at the Department of Urdu Language and Literature at Istanbul University, state-run Pakistan Television reported.
• This came on the occasion of the 74th independence day of Pakistan.
• Soydan will be conferred with the medal on March 23 next year on the occasion of Pakistan Day.

5. Pakistan`s deforestation rate second highest in Asia: WWF

• World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on August 14, 2020 with only 5.7pc of land, or around 4.54 million hectares under forest cover, the country`s deforestation rate is the second highest in Asia, after Afghanistan and is well below the recommended cover of 25pc.
• In a statement, WWF said that the recent flash floods in parts of Balochistan, Kachho in Sindh and widespread rains in Karachi, Lahore and other cities, call for a joint effort to mitigate the destructive impacts of climate change and plan effective strategies to deal with such situations.
• On Pakistan`s Independence Day, WWF-Pakistan emphasised adopting nature-based solutions, reviving natural waterways, halting deforestation, promoting environment-friendly tourism and conserving rainwater through effective and innovative storage systems in place at different scales

6. One in five inmates of Kashmiri jail tests positive for Covid-19

• One in five prisoners at the largest jail in Occupied Kashmir has tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said on August 14, 2020.
• India`s health ministry, meanwhile, reported a daily nationwide rise of more than 60,000 cases for the third straight day.
• Authorities at the central jail in Srinagar said they were preparing to shift some prisoners after 102 of the 480 inmates tested positive

7. White House to host signing of UAE-Israel accord, says Trump

• US President Donald Trump has said that he will soon host a White House signing ceremony to formalise the peace deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel.
• President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi agreed on August 13, 2020 to establish full diplomatic and commercial ties between Israel and the Emirates.
• At an Oval Office news briefing on Thursday afternoon, Trump said the peace deal would `be known as the Abraham Accord,` which, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, was named after `the father of all three great faiths,` Christian, Muslim, and Jewish.

8. Erdogan says Turkey could suspend diplomatic ties with UAE

• As the United Arab Emirates defended its bombshell move to establish relations with Israel, Turkey and Iran condemned the decision while Saudi Arabia conspicuously kept quiet on August 14, 2020.
• Turkish president said his country could suspend diplomatic ties with the UAE over the move while Iran described the decision as a `strategic stupidity`.
• `I gave an order to the foreign minister. I said we could suspend diplomatic relations with the Abu Dhabi administration or withdraw our ambassador,` President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters

9. EU agrees first Covid-19 vaccine deal with British drugmaker in WHO blow

• The European Union has agreed to buy at least 300 million doses of AstraZeneca`s potential Covid-19 vaccine in its first such advance purchase deal, which could weaken plans led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for a global approach.
• The European Commission, which is negotiating on behalf of all 27 EU member states, said the deal included an option to purchase 100 million additional doses from the British drug maker should its vaccine prove safe and effective.
• The EU`s bilateral deal mirrors moves by the United States and other wealthy states, some of which are critical of the WHO`s initiative, and further reduces the potentially available stock in the race to secure effective Covid-19 vaccines.

10. US claims seizure of Iranian fuel on Venezuela-bound ships

• The US Justice Department on August 14, 2020 claimed it had seized the fuel cargo aboard four tankers sent by Iran to crisis-wracked Venezuela, tying the shipments to Tehran`s Revolutionary Guards and stepping up the pressure on its foe.
• `With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now in US custody,` the Justice Department said, putting the total at more than one million barrels of petroleum and calling it the largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran.
• The department had issued a warrant last month to seize the cargo of the tankers Bella ,Bering, Pandi and Luna.

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