August 2020

Daily Top-10 Current Affairs MCQs / News (August 17, 2020) for CSS, PMS


August 17, 2020: National / International Current Affairs

1. Ordinances outnumber laws passed by National Assembly

• The ordinances promulgated by the government have outnumbered the laws passed by the National Assembly during its second parliamentary year which ended on August 12, exposing the dismal performance of the country`s top legislature not only in terms of legislation but also in terms of smooth conduct of proceedings and the prime minister`s attendance.
• The official data shows that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led coalition government mostly depended on promulgation of ordinances for doing legislation and issued a total of 31 ordinances as compared to seven during the last parliamentary year, despite severe criticism by opposition parties.
• These included the two most controversial ordinances one seeking amendment to the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, and the other aimed at allowing Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to have consular access in the light of the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

2. Govt starts real-time monitoring of oil, gas production

• Amid calls from the provinces for transparency, the federal government has started real-time monitoring of oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) through a dashboard application provided by a US-based vendor firm.
• The petroleum division of the ministry of energy said on August 16, 2020 it had introduced `an advanced and innovative dashboard application for effective management and monitoring of E&P information for the first time in the country with collaboration of LMKR`a petroleum technology company.
• It said the Exploration Management System (EMS) was a Windows-based, multi-user GIS database application which would enable the Directorate of Petroleum Concession (DGPC) to access real-time E&P data information.

3. Govt offices, hospitals in Balochistan to reopen today

• The Balochistan government has announced opening of all provincial and divisional departments and outdoor patients departments (OPDs) at all government-run hospitals in the province from August 17, 2020 (today).
• According to an official announcement on Sunday, all government employees have been asked to attend their offices from Monday with strict observance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the provincial government.
• The Balochistan government had closed all provincial and divisional departments, except a few important ones, in March this year after cases of Covid-19 started appearing in the province

4. Border trade with Iran resumes

• The informal border trade between Iran and Pakistan was resumed on August 15, 2020.
• The Iranian authorities reopened Zero Point gate at Taftan, a town in Chagai district, for bilateral trade.
• The gate was closed on July 30 in connection with Eidul Azha holidays.
• It has now been reopened to allow tax-free import and export of edible commodities between the two countries after more than two weeks.

5. Nationalisation marred educational system, especially for minorities: study

• Nationalisation in Pakistan ended up weakening educational institutions, in particular Church institutions, and triggered a downslide of the standard of education in general.
• Even after the nationalisation policy of 1972 was changed in 1984 entailing a partial denationalisation till 2003-04, it continued to drain resources and squeezed the potential to equalise, and also limited opportunities.
• This was claimed in a research study authored by historian Dr Tahir Kamran and Peter Jacob, titled `Lessons from the Nationalisation of Education in 1972`The study was launched by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and carried out by Rt Rev Irfan Jamil, the Bishop of Lahore, and Dr Fr Bonnie Mendes

6. Record 14,624 applications for UET undergrad admissions

• Around 14,624 students have applied for admission to various bachelors programmes of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) as compared to 4,682 last year.
• Previously, the highest number of applications was around 8,023 in 2011 when admissions were open to technology programmes also. A whopping 86.3 per cent of the applicants are interested in admission to undergraduate programmes at the main campus.
• Besides the usual disciplines, the university this year of fers admission to new programmes, including software engineering, chemistry, mathematics, physics and environmental science. The first merit list has been displayed and the new session is scheduled to begin on Oct 1.

7. Pompeo inks deal for US troop move from Germany to Poland

• US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 16, 2020 sealed a defence cooperation deal with Polish officials that will pave the way for the redeployment of American troops from Germany to Poland.
• In Warsaw at the end of a four-nation tour of central and eastern Europe, Pompeo and Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Baszczak signed an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement that sets out the legal framework for the additional troop presence.
• This is going to be an extended guarantee: a guarantee that in case of a threat our soldiers are going to stand armin-arm, Poland`s President Andrzej Duda said during the signing ceremony. It will also serve to increase the security of other countries in our part of Europe, Duda said

8. UAE, Israel establish phone service

• The UAE and Israeli foreign ministers held their first publicly acknowledged call on August 16, 2020 after the Gulf state opened telephone lines to Israel as part of a normalisation of ties.
• Israel and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday announced their US-sponsored rapprochement, which promised a boom in bilateral trade but angered Palestinians and anti-Israel countries such as Turkey and Iran.
• The two foreign ministers spoke by phone to inaugurate the newly-opened lines. Israel`s Gabi Ashkenazi said he and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed agreed during the call `to meet soon` Israel`s Communications Ministry said the UAE telecoms providers on August 15, 2020 unblocked calls to numbers with Israel`s +972 country code

9. Donald Trump`s younger brother dies

• Donald Trump`s younger brother Robert died on Saturday after being hospitalised for an undisclosed illness, the US president said in a statement mourning his loss.
• `It is with heavy heart I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight, Trump said in a White House statement.
• `He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever.
• Robert, I love you. Rest in peace.

10. Ex-India opener Chauhan dies of coronavirus

• Former India Test opener Chetan Chauhan, who forged a prolific opening partnership with Sunil Gavaskar, has died aged 73 from coronavirus,.
• Chauhan, who tested positive last month, was put on ventilator support at a hospital in Gurgaon, but his condition worsened after he suffered multiple organ failure.
• He is one of the highest profile figures to die from the disease in India, which is the world`s third-most infected nation with more than 2.5 million cases and almost 50,000 deaths.

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