WELCOME TO CSS TIMES DAY BY DAY CURRENT AFFAIRS, YOUR BEST SOURCE FOR UP-TO-DATE AND DAILY TOP CURRENT AFFAIRS 2019 FOR PREPARATION OF CSS, PMS, BANKING, NTS, RAILWAYS AND ALL COMPETITIVE EXAMS. “DAY TO DAY CURRENT AFFAIRS” BASICALLY IS TOP 10 NEWS SUMMARY ON CURRENT HAPPENINGS OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE FOR ALL EXAMINATIONS
August 16, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. UNSC set to hold Kashmir meeting after 50 years
• The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) holds a consultative meeting on August 16, 2019 (today) to discuss the Kashmir issue as Pakistan urges the world body to implement its own resolutions on this 70-year-old dispute.
• `We hope the Security Council discussion will be guided by the statement of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who has voiced concern over the situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir,` said Pakistan`s UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi.
• She pointed out that the secretary general had also emphasised the need to resolve this `issue in accordance with applicable Security Council Resolutions and the Charter of the United Nations`. The UNSC resolutions uphold the Kashmiri people`s right to self-determination while the UN charter guarantees their basic human rights.
• As Ambassador Lodhi noted, last week Mr Guterres also expressed concern about the human rights situation in India-held Kashmir.
• This marks the first time in over 50 years that the UN Security Council is holding an exclusive meeting on Kashmir, even though consultative.
2. Three soldiers, two civilians martyred in Indian shelling
• Three Pakistan Army soldiers and two civilians were martyred and one civilian was wounded in two sectors of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) as Indian troops resorted to heavy shelling from across the restive Line of Control (LoC) on their independence day on August 15, 2019 which was observed as a black day in Pakistan as well as both sides of the disputed Himalayan region.
• While Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned to the Foreign Office over the latest ceasefire violations, the prime ministers of Pakistan and AJK condemned the incident.
• The military casualties took place in Leepa sector of Jhelum Valley district and the civilian casualties in Battal sector of Poonch district, officials said.
3. Punjab takes up maiden ambitious tourism promotion policy
• Acknowledging that Punjab has never utilised the economic potential of the tourism sector that remained mainstay of many countries in the world, the Punjab government has given its first Punjab Tourism Policy to make Punjab an attractive tourist destination through inclusive planning, diversification, development and management of tourist destinations.
• The Punjab cabinet approved the tourism policy in its 15th meeting on July 20 aspiring to make tourism an engine of economic growth while treating the sector as a provincial priority area.
• The tourism was effectively developed under the close supervision of former tourism minister Raja Yasir Humayun, but he was stripped off his tourism ministry, only hours before the cabinet approved the tourism policy.
• The Punjab Tourism Policy document explains that the UNWTO (World Tourism Barometer) had recorded a 12 per cent increase in the growth of tourism in South Asia in 2017.
4. First minority MPA-elect from tribal districts hopes to make a difference
• Wilson Wazir, 45, is the first member of minority communities from tribal districts, who made it to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on a reserved seat through his hard work and dedication towards the cause of his community.
• He topped the list of minority applicants submitted to the three-member parliamentary board of the ruling PTI for selection of candidates for the lone reserved seat for all the seven tribal districts keeping in view his educational qualification, his contribution in the social sector for his community and above all the national award of Pride of Performance, which he received in 2015.
• Wilson Wazir, a Christian from Landi Kotal of Khyber tribal district, had only recently joined PTI.
5. Govt lifts all bank liquidity as private credit offtake goes negative
• With banks parking their money in risk-free government securities in huge sums, private sector has found no space to borrow from financial institutions since the beginning of FY20.
• The State Bank of Pakistan`s latest data shows the government borrowed Rs1.367 trillion from July 1 to Aug 2 (33 days) as against net debt retirement of Rs20.2bn during the same period last fiscal year.
• This shift in government`s borrowing to the private banks came as a result of SBP`s decision to stop lending to the centre and finance its cash shortages. Banking money`s flow now directed towards the government papers is likely to hit economic growth by adversely affecting the investment landscape of the country.
August 16, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. OIC condemns curfew in Occupied Kashmir
• Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has strongly condemned the ongoing security lockdown, curfew and communications blackout in the Occupied Kashmir by the Indian occupation forces.
• These arbitrary and unjustified administrative measures have prevented Kashmiris from performing their religious rites, a blatant violation of the right to freedom of religion, Radio Pakistan reported. The Commission is further appalled by the worsening humanitarian situation arising due to long curfews and closure of economic and social activities, which are causing severe hardships for the patients to reach hospitals and general population to replenish food and fuel supplies.
7. Amnesty urges Modi to end Kashmir lockdown
• Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on August 15, 2019 expressed serious concern over the human rights situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and called upon Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end ongoing lockdown in the valley.
• “If Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that his decisions regarding Jammu and Kashmir have the support of the people of India, then he must immediately lift the 10-day-old communications blackout,” head of Amnesty International India Aakar Patel in a statement said, as India celebrated its independence day on August 15th.
• Aakar Patel stressed that Prime Minister Modi must listen to the people in the region and engage with them when it comes to decisions affecting their lives.
• “Right now, as India celebrates her freedom, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are unable to contact their loved ones and express their views freely. Any restrictions must always be limited in duration and proportionate for a legitimate purpose defined under international law,” he said.
8. Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic
• Finland-Even in the Arctic, microscopic particles of plastic are falling out of the sky with snow, a study has found.
• The scientists said they were shocked by the sheer number of particles they found: more than 10,000 of them per litre in the Arctic.
• It means that even there, people are likely to be breathing in microplastics from the air though the health implications remain unclear.
• Researchers collected snow samples from the Svalbard islands using a low-tech method – a dessert spoon and a flask.
9. Spaceplane gets a ride for space station trips
• The Dream Chaser spaceplane, which will ferry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), now has a rocket to launch on.
• Sierra Nevada, the private company that builds the spaceplane, has chosen the Vulcan rocket as its ride into orbit.
• The company hopes to start launching missions by 2021, to deliver supplies to astronauts on the ISS. Neither the Dream Chaser vehicle, nor the Vulcan rocket, has yet flown to space.
• Sierra Nevada was awarded the contract by Nasa to re-supply the ISS. It joins two other private companies that already ship cargo and experiments to the station – SpaceX and Orbital ATK.
10. July was hottest month on record, says US agency
• July 2019 temperatures were the hottest ever recorded globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on August 15, 2019, while satellite data showed polar ice shrank to its lowest levels.
• According to the NOAA, the average global temperature for the month was 0.95 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 15.8 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest July in its records, which go back to 1880.
• `Much of the planet sweltered in unprecedented heat in July, as temperatures soared to new heights in the hottest month ever recorded.
• `The record warmth also shrank Arctic and Antarctic sea ice to historic lows,` the agency said.