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February 20, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. All set to regulate social media through ordinance
• In another move to regulate social media despite criticism from stake holders and digital rights activists, the government is all set to promulgate an ordinance declaring defamation of people and institutions on social media a */cognisable offence, with jail term being increased from two to five years.
• The drafts of the proposed legislations, including an amendment to the Elections Act 2017 allowing members of the parliament to take part in election campaigns, had already been circulated among the federal cabinet members for approval, said Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry while talking to Dawn on Saturday.
• The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had recently rolled back its plan to establish one authority to regulate all media, including social media, after facing strong resistance from almost all the stakeholders, including journalist bodies and civil society organisations
2. SBP to launch warehouse funding for farmers
• The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is launching the Electronic Warehouse Receipt Financing (EWRF) at a roadshow for maize crop in Kasur`s Chunian tehsil on Tuesday.
• This will formally kickoff the short-term action plan for the uptake of EWRF.
• The central bank is holding such events to promote the agriculture sector in collaboration with commercial banks.
• Last year the SBP`s initiative helped to improve substantially the country`s agriculture besides tackling food insecurity through EWRF.
• The EWRF was launched in March last year on rice and paddy stocks in Hafizabad district
3. Russia holds N-drills as Ukrainians flee border areas
• Russia`s strategic nuclear forces held exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin on February 19, 2022 as Washington accused Russian troops massed near Ukraine`s border of moving forward and being `poised to strike`.
• Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, said that his country was a `shield` against Russia and deserved more support in the face of a feared Russian invasion.
• In a speech at a security conference in Munich, Zelensky condemned `a policy of appeasement` towards Moscow
4. Australia says China warship fired laser at its patrol plane
• The Australian Defence Department said that a Chinese navy ship fired a laser at one of its surveillance aircraft, putting the lives of the crew in danger.
• The incident happened on Thursday when the P-8A Poseidon plane detected a laser illuminating the aircraft while in flight over Australia`s northern approaches, the department said.
• Such episodes are not uncommon as the US and its allies accuse China of asserting its military might, and have taken steps to challenge Beijing`s growing clout in the western Pacific and elsewhere
5. Trump took classified items to Mar-a-Lago, says US national archives
• Classified information was found in the 15 boxes of White House records that were stored at former president Donald Trump`s Mar-aLago residence, the National Archives and Records Administration said in a letter that confirmed the matter has been sent to the Justice Department.
• The Friday letter from the agency follows numerous reports around Trump`s handling of sensitive and even classified information during his time as president and after he left the White House. The revelation could also interest federal investigators responsible for policing the handling of government secrets, though the Justice Department and FBI have not indicated they will pursue
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