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January 07, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. Pakistan urges ME conflict parties to exercise restraint
• Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged the parties to the simmering Middle East crisis to exercise restraint, declaring that Pakistan will not become part of any regional conflict.
• Addressing both houses of parliament on January 6, 2020 separately, the foreign minister described the Middle East situation as fragile, fluid and critical that could assume any shape. Explaining reasons for Pakistan`s concerns, he said any actions affecting regional peace would not be in the interest of Pakistan. He said if the situation deteriorated, it would shift the country`s focus from its economic development.
• Mr Qureshi said experts believed that the repercussions of the US strike that killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani could be more severe than those of the killing of the chiefs of militant outfits, Al Qaeda and ISIS. He warned that use of force could take the things to a point of no return
2. Pakistan, China naval drill kicks off
• The opening ceremony of the sixth bilateral `Exercise Sea Guardians 2020` between Pakistan Navy and China`s People`s Liberation Army (Navy) was held at the Pakistan Navy Dockyard here on January 6, 2020.
• The Deputy Commander of Southern Theatre Command PLA (Navy) Vice Admiral Dong Jun graced the occasion as the chief guest. Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Asif Khalig was also present on the occasion.
• Vice Adm Khalig welcomed the Chinese officers and personnel, alluding to the evergreen, warm and eternally cordial relations between the two countries in general and navies in particular
3. Centre, Sindh agree to streamline gas supplies
• In a major development, the centre on January 6, 2020 claimed to have secured a broad agreement with the Sindh government for introduction of a significantly higher weighted average cost of natural gas and imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) in future to streamline supplies.
• At the same time, Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar blamed the Sindh government for ongoing gas shortfall in various parts of the country.
• They were briefing print media journalists here on Monday. `We have to go for weighted average cost of gas (WACOG) because LNG is also a source of gas and not a petroleum product,` said Mr Babar, adding that this would end the dispute surrounding the application of Article 158 of the Constitution. `We are shif ting towards WACOG,` he said.
4. US praises Imran for efforts to defuse tensions with Iran
• Prime Minister Imran Khan was one of the world leaders who had engaged in an `off-ramp` diplomacy to defuse recent tensions between Iran and the United States, an official of the US State Department said on January 6, 2020.
• `The off-ramp has been there for three years. The Iranians keep projecting it. And it`s not just us,` said the official during a briefing earlier this week on the current Iran-US conflict.
• `French President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Khan in Pakistan and Sultan of Oman -all these countries from all parts of the world have reached out to the regime` in Iran, the official added
5. Weinstein`s trial opens in New York
• Harvey Weinstein`s high-profile sex crimes trial opened on January 6, 2020, kicking off proceedings expected to last six weeks that could see the once-mighty Hollywood producer jailed for life if convicted on charges of predatory sexual assault.
• The disgraced movie mogul entered the New York state courthouse wearing a dark suit and using a walker, more than two years after a slew of allegations against him triggered the #MeToo movement that led to the downfall of dozens of powerful men.
• Protesters led by actress Rosanna Arquette one of Weinstein`s most prominent accusers gathered outside the Manhattan court wielding signs with slogans like `Justice for survivors.` Almost 90 women, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, have accused the 67-year-old of sexual misconduct since The New York Times detailed claims against him in October 2017
6. UAE launches multi-entry tourist visas for all
• The United Arab Emirates on January 6, 2020 introduced a multiple entry visa scheme valid for five years for all nationalities, with the aim of turning the Gulf state into a tourism hub.
• `#UAE Cabinet chaired by @ HHShkMohd, approves new amendment for tourist visas in #UAE,` the government of Dubai Media Office tweeted, referring to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai.
• `The new tourist visa will be valid for 5 years and can be used for multiple entries and is open for all nationalities,` the Dubai Media Office wrote
7. Indonesian jailed for life as UK`s most prolific rapist
• An Indonesian student described as Britain`s most prolific rapist was jailed for life on January 6, 2020 for a catalogue of sex offences on unsuspecting men he drugged and assaulted.
• Manchester Crown Court in northwest England was told Reynhard Sinaga may have attacked as many as 195 men, luring them into his flat with the offer of a place to stay or alcohol. Judge Suzanne Goddard described the 36-year-old from Indonesia`s Jambi province as `an evil sexual predator` who preyed on drunken young men on nights out.
• He is thought to have used sedatives to render his victims unconscious before filming the attacks. Most knew nothing about the assaults. He was caught only when one victim woke up
8. 1917, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood win Golden Globes
• THE 77th Golden Globes were meant to be a coronation for Netflix. Instead, a pair of big screen epics took top honors on Sunday, as Sam Mendes technically dazzling World War I tale 1917 won best picture, drama, and Quentin Tarantinos radiant Los Angeles fable Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood won best film, comedy or musical.
• The wins for 1917 were a surprise, besting such favorites as Noah Baumbachs Marriage Story, the leading nominee with six nods, and Martin Scors zeses The Irishman. Both are acclaimed Netflix releases but collectively took home just one award, for Laura Derns supporting performance as a divorce attorney in Marriage Story. The Irishman was shut out.
• 1917 also won best director for Mendes. The film was made in sinuous long takes, giving the impression that the movie unfolds in one lengthy shot.
9. Hamza brings U-15 British Junior Open title back to Pakistan
• Pakistan`s promising youngster Mohammad Hamza Khan on January 6, 2020 outclassed Yusuf Sheikh of England to win the U-15 title at the British Junior Open Squash Championship.
• Looking in extremely good form, the 14-yearold Hamza tamed Yusuf in just 16 minutes, registering a 11-4, 11-3, 11-7 victory in the final at Birmingham.
• Overall Pakistani juniors exhibited brilliant performance at the British Open Junior championship. Apart from Hamza`s superb show, compatriots Mohammad Ammad and Noor Zaman also reached the U-15 and U-17 semi-finals, respectively
10. Official posters unveiled as Tokyo Olympics near
• The official posters are out for this year`s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
• The 20 posters have been created by 19 artists in fields ranging from painting, graphic design and photography. Calligraphy and Japanese manga are also represented. Manga is the Japanese art of comics and cartooning, which is very famous in the host country.
• The posters were first put on display on Monday at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. They will remain on display at the museum in east Tokyo through Feb 16.
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