July 2020

Daily Top-10 Current Affairs MCQs / News (July 30, 2020) for CSS, PMS


July 30, 2020: National / International Current Affairs

1. Two key PM aides step down

• As the tug of war between the elected and non-elected members of the federal cabinet intensified, two special assistants of the prime minister (SAPMs) Dr Zafar Mirza and Tania Aidrus resigned from their posts on July 29, 2020.
• Their resignations come days after the opposition lambasted the government following the latter`s move to make public details of the assets and dual nationality of 20 advisers and SAPMs.
• Two notifications issued by the Cabinet Division said Prime Minister Imran Khan had accepted resignations of Dr Mirza and Ms Aidrus.
• Dr Mirza, the outgoing SAPM on health, said in a tweet that he had come to Pakistan on a personal invitation of PM Khan after leaving the World Health Organisation (WHO).

2. NA passes FATF-related bills amid opposition protest

• After facing a nerve-racking situation and amid noisy protest by the opposition, the government on July 29, 2020 finally managed to get two bills related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) passed through a majority voice vote during the extended sitting of the National Assembly.
• The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the United Nations (Security Council) (Amendment) Bill 2020, which had been introduced by the government earlier this year in order to fulfil certain conditions of the FATF on terrorism, were both moved by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan after the house witnessed some fireworks between the treasury and opposition members over their differences on the proposed changes to the accountability laws.

3. Awais appointed Punjab AG again

• The provincial government has once again appointed senior lawyer Ahmad Awais as advocate general of Punjab.
• A notification issued on July 29, 2020 said, `Governor of Punjab is pleased to appoint Mr Ahmad Awais, advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan, as Advocate General, Punjab, with immediate effect in public interest.
• The office of the Punjab`s principal law officer has been lying vacant since resignation by Ahmad Jamal Sukhera in February this year. Sukhera was appointed on April 16, 2019 following resignation by Mr Awais, the first advocate general of the PTI`s government in the province

4. Pak-Afghan border opened for two days

• The authorities on July 29, 2020 opened the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman for two days, allowing the people of both countries to cross the border for celebrating Eid ul Azha.
• The Friendship Gate remained open till late afternoon and people from both sides started crossing into Pakistan and Afghanistan. `Over 700 Pakistanis and Afghans, including women, children and patients, crossed into Afghanistan and Pakistan,` Zakaullah Durrani, a senior official of the Chaman administration.
• Around 200 Pakistani nationals retuned from Afghanistan, he said, adding that the border would remain open till July 30, 2020.

5. Pakistan, China and Iran urged to forge trilateral partnership

• Experts have advised Islamabad, Beijing and Tehran to develop their trilateral mechanism to benefit from the signing of a China-Iran strategic deal.
• The suggestion was put forward at a webinar hosted by the Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI), which was chaired by Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.
• The webinar was attended by representatives of local as well as Chinese and Iranian think tanks. It was held to discuss the proposed China-Iran pact and explore how Pakistan could benefit from it, especially after India`s gradual exit from Iran because of US sanctions.

6. Haj begins under precautionary measures

• Mask-clad pilgrims began Haj on July 29, 2020, circling Islam`s holiest site along socially distanced paths in the smallest pilgrimage in modern history as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak.
• Haj is usually one of the world`s largest religious gatherings, but only up to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will participate in this year`s rites, compared with 2019`s gathering of some 2.5 million from around the world.
• Pilgrims walked into Makkah`s Grand Mosque in small batches, walking along paths marked on the floor, in sharp contrast to the normal sea of humanity that swirls around the holy Kaaba during Haj

7. Tehran launches underground ballistic missiles during exercise

• Iran`s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles on July 29, 2020 as part of an exercise involving a mock-up American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, highlighting its network of subterranean bases.
• Although state television documentaries have focused on operations underground at the bases, all have avoided showing geographic details revealing their locations. Wednesday`s launch from what appears to be central Iran`s desert plateau changes that amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the US over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers and as economic pressures grow.

8. India uses arrival of new fighter jets to warn China

• The first five Rafale fighter jets bought from France in a multi-billion-dollar deal landed in India on July 29, 2020 and the defence minister used their arrival to launch a warning to adversaries over territorial tensions.
• Indian and Chinese soldiers are locked in a tense stand-off along their disputed border in Ladakh region, while Indian troops regularly clash with Pakistani soldiers along the Line of Control in Kashmir.
• A water-cannon guard of honour greeted the five jets when they landed at the Ambala airbase in Haryana state. An intense nationwide spotlight on the combat jets has been sharpened by a deadly border standoff with China.

9. US to withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany

• The United States will slash its military presence in Germany by 11,900 troops in what the Pentagon on July 29, 2020 called a `strategic` repositioning but President Donald Trump said was to punish Berlin for its weak defence spending.
• US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said that the Pentagon will be sending home about 6,400 of its military personnel in Germany, and move nearly 5,600 to other NATO countries, including Italy and Belgium.
• Some could also be relocated to Poland and the Baltic countries if Washington can reach agreements with them, he said

10. Study solves mystery origin of Stonehenge`s iconic boulders

• Stonehenge, a Neolithic wonder in southern England, has vexed historians and archaeologists for centuries with its many mysteries:
• How was it built? What purpose did it serve? Where did its towering sandstone boulders come from? The answer to the last question may finally have an answer after a study published on July 29, 2020 found that most of the giant stones known as sarsens seem to share a common origin 25 kilometres away in West Woods, an area that teemed with prehistoric activity.
• The finding boosts the theory that the megaliths were brought to Stonehenge about the same time: around 2,500 BCE, the monument`s second phase of construction, which in turn could be a sign its builders were from a highly organised society.

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