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August 06, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. India forcibly revokes IOK special status
• Tension between Pakistan and India has intensified as New Delhi changed the status of the disputed territory of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades.
• Clamping an indefinite security lockdown in the occupied valley and putting the elected representatives under house arrest, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on August 5, 2019 rushed a presidential order to repeal the Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
• Through this ominous move the Hindu nationalist-led government has paved the way for diluting the demographics of Muslim-majority state with Hindu settlers, as it gives people from the rest of India right to acquire property in IOK and settle there permanently.
• A foreign ministry statement issued here on Monday said that no unilateral step by India can change the disputed status of IOK as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions. “Nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Kashmir and Pakistan,” it added.
2. Pakistan shared details of CPEC loans with IMF: official
• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on August 5, 2019 that it had full access to borrowing and maturity terms of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and its loans were manageable.
• Addressing Senior Journalists` Forum at the National Press Club, IMF resident representative in Islamabad Teresa Daban Sanchez counted issues relating to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), provincial spending behaviours and insufficient parliamentary strength of the government as key risks to its $6 billion 39-month bailout programme.
3. Sindh sales tax on newspaper ads withdrawn
• The Sindh cabinet, which met here late last week under Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, decided to withdraw the three per cent Sindh Sales Tax (SST) levied by the provincial bureau of revenue on advertisements in newspapers and periodicals, as well as their web editions.
• The decision was taken after a delegation of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) met the CM and told him of the grave financial crisis the newspaper industry was in.
• Mr Shah was told that the government had not cleared the outstanding dues of the newspapers, and the imposition of SST would aggravate the situation.
4. Japan to give $5m for agri development programmme
• The Government of Japan announced grant aid worth around 560 million Japanese Yen to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to support Agri-Food and Agro-Industry Development in Pakistan’s Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.
• Notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between of Ambassador Japan to Pakistan Mr. Kuninori Matsuda, and Ms. Country Representative of UNIDO Nadia Aftab. A Grant Agreement on the details of implementation of the project was signed and exchanged between Shigeki Furuta, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Nadia Aftab in the presence of Federal Minister for Ministry of National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan.
August 6, 2019: International Current Affairs
5. Unilateral decisions about IoK to inflame tensions: Amnesty
• Amnesty International India August 5, 2019 cautioned that New Delhi’s decision to revoke Indian-occupied Kashmir’s (IoK) special status “without consulting [the region’s] stakeholders and amidst a complete clampdown on civil liberties” could lead to increased tension in the region.
• “The unilateral decision of the Government of India to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) under the Constitution of India without consulting J&K stakeholders and amidst a complete clampdown on civil liberties and communications blackout is likely to inflame prevailing tensions, alienate the people in the state and increase the risk of further human rights violations,” read a press statement that was released after Indian President Ram Nath Kovind signed an order revoking Article 370 of the constitution.
6. Britain joins United States for maritime security mission in Gulf
• Britain on August 5, 2019 joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels travelling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel.
• British officials stressed that there was no change to London`s policy on Iran but joining the United States is the most significant non Brexit foreign policy move to date of Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s 12-day-old government.
• Just two weeks ago, Britain was calling for a European-led naval mission.
• Now, it has joined what it said was a US-led `international maritime security mission`. No other nations are yet involved.
7. Putin to Trump: We`ll develop new nuclear missiles if you do
• Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on August 5, 2019 that Moscow would be forced to start developing short and intermediate range land-based nuclear missiles if the United States started doing so after the demise of a landmark arms control treaty.
• The United States formally left the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty and had already deployed at least one banned type of missile, an accusation the Kremlin denies.
• The pact banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500-5,500 km), reducing the ability of both countries to launch a nuclear strike on short notice.
8. `Majestic` WWII Spitfire takes off on round-the-world flight
• An original Spitfire plane took off from Britain on August 5, 2019 on an unprecedented attempt to fly the iconic World War II fighter around the globe.
• The gleaming silver aircraft set off from Goodwood Aerodrome outside Chichester near the south coast of England for the first leg of the epic four-month journey.
• The restored 76-year-old fighter served in World War II but has been de-militarised, stripped of its guns and paintwork, revealing the shining, silvery aluminium underneath.
• The Silver Spitfire was heading for Lossiemouth in Scotland on the first stage of its attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean via the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and the wilds of remote northern Canada.
• The single-seater plane will visit around 30 countries and soar over some of the world`s most cherished landmarks.
9. Australia won’t host US missiles, prime minister says
• US intermediate-range missiles will not be deployed in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on August 5, 2019, after the United States revealed ambitions to site missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.
• Officials from both governments held talks in Sydney over the weekend that ended with a joint statement in which the two allies pledged to strengthen opposition to Chinese activities in Asia-Pacific, as both sides have become increasingly concerned about China’s spreading influence. During the talks, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper spoke of hopes to deploy missiles in the Asia-Pacific region in coming months following Washington’s withdrawal from a landmark arms control treaty last week. Esper’s comments prompted speculation that Australia had been asked to host the missiles, but Morrison denied that any request had been made and said Australia would decline if it was asked in the future.
• “It’s not been asked to us, not being considered, not been put to us. I think I the rule a line under that,” Morrison told reporters in Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland.
August 6, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. NBP win Noor Khan National Hockey Championship
• National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) August 5, 2019 clinched the 65th Muhammad Noor Khan National Hockey Championship 2019 trophy after edging SSGC 6-5 on plenty shootouts in the final here at Abdul Sattar Edhi National Hockey Stadium.
• Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah graced the occasion as chief guest while Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, Secretary Olympian Asif Bajwa, chief selector Olympian Manzoor Junior, former hockey greats and a sizable crowd was present on the occasion.