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November 19, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Successful training launch of Shaheen-1 performed
• Pakistan Army on November 18, 2019 successfully conducted training launch of surface-to-surface ballistic missile Shaheen-1, the media wing of the army said.
• “The launch was conducted as part of a training exercise, which was aimed at testing the operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command,” said DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor.
• “Troops displayed a high standard of proficiency in handling and operating the potent weapon system, ensuring Pakistan’s credible minimum deterrence,” he said.
• Shaheen-1 is capable of delivering all types of warheads up to a range of 650 kilometres, Ghafoor informed.
• Missile is capable of delivering all types of warheads up to 650km
2. Asad returns to cabinet as planning minister
• Exactly after seven months, Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 18, 2019 brought back his former finance minister Asad Umar to the federal cabinet as minister for planning, development and reforms.
• Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, who has been holding the planning portfolio since the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf came to power, was made petroleum minister after slicing the portfolio of Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan.
• Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan revealed the reshuffle in the cabinet through a tweet, saying Mr Umar has replaced Mr Bakhtiyar as minister for planning and development, while the latter has been given the petroleum portfolio.
• In fact, Omar Ayub was holding two ministries petroleum and energy and after the reshuffle he will retain the energy ministry only.
3. Ibrar`s appointment as Red Crescent Society`s chief suspended
• The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on November 18, 2019 suspended the appointment of singer turned-politician Ibrarul Haq as chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and reinstated Saeed Ilahi as PRCS chief.
• IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, after a preliminary hearing, suspended both notifications one for the appointment of Mr Haq and the other regarding the removal of Mr Ilahi.
• Mr Ilahi filed the petition against the notification of Mr Haq`s appointment as PRCS chairman, under Article 199 of the Constitution.
4. Pakistan to host Istanbul Process meeting
• Pakistan will host the 8th meeting of the Istanbul Process next year with a focus to evolve responses to growing religious intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief. Federal Minister for Education and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on International Religious Freedom, Shafqat Mahmood made the announcement at The Hague, Netherlands, during his keynote address at the 7th Istanbul Process meeting
• The minister drew attention to the alarming levels of Islamophobia in many parts of the world, as evidenced inter alia, by growing incidents of hate crimes, negative profiling, assaults on hijab wearing Muslim women, denigration of venerated Muslim personalities and symbols.
5. Gotabaya Rajapaksa sworn in as Sri Lanka`s president
• Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as Sri Lanka`s president on November 18, 2019 and appealed to minority Tamils and Muslims who voted against him to give their support.
• Rajapaksa, who is credited with helping end the country`s long civil war, comfortably won November 16, 2019 presidential election.
• But minorities feared his election because of allegations of human rights violations against him dating from the war.
• Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya administered the oath of office to Rajapaksa at the ancient Ruwanweli Seya Buddhist temple in north-central Sri Lanka
6. Hong Kong court rules ban on face masks unconstitutional
• Hong Kong`s High Court ruled on November 18, 2019 that a British colonial-era emergency law revived by the government to ban protesters wearing face masks was unconstitutional.
• It said the law was `incompatible with the Basic Law` the mini-constitution under which Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
• The protesters made gains on a legal front when the high court struck down a ban on face masks imposed by the government last month.
• The court said it did not consider anti-mask laws unconstitutional in general, but in this case, the law infringed on fundamental rights further than was reasonably necessary
7. US says it no longer considers Israeli settlements as illegal
• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo disclosed on November 18, 2019 that the United States had decided to soften its position on Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank, meaning that Washington no longer considers the settlements as illegal.
• Pompeo said the US planned to repudiate a 1978 State Department legal opinion which held that civilian settlements in the occupied territories were inconsistent with international law.
• The decision, expected to be announced on Tuesday, will likely anger Palestinians and put the US at odds with other nations working to end the conflict.
• The Trump administration views the opinion, the basis for long-standing US opposition to expanding the settlements, as a distraction and believes any legal questions about the issue should be addressed by Israel courts, according to a draft of Pompeo`s remarks on the policy
8. US has highest rate of child detention in world: UN
• The United States has the world`s highest rate of children in detention, including more than 100,000 in immigration-related custody that violates international law, the author of a United Nations study said on November 18, 2019.
• Worldwide more than 7 million people under age 18 are held in jails and police custody, including 330,000 in immigration detention centres, independent expert Manfred Nowak said.
• Children should only be detained as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible, according to the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.
• `The United States is one of the countries with the highest numbers we still have more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention in the (US),` Nowak told a news briefing.
9. Yemeni govt back in Aden under peace deal
• Yemen`s internationally recognised government returned to the war torn country on Monday for the first time since it was forced out by southern separatists during clashes last summer.
• Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed landed in Aden, fulfilling a key point in the power-sharing deal brokered by Saudi Arabia that ended months of infighting with separatists in Yemen`s south.
• The government`s priorities in the next stage are to normalise the situation in Aden first and then consolidate state institutions on the ground as a guarantor of stability, Saeed said when he disembarked onto the tarmac.
10. Saturn moon Titan shaped by same forces as Earth, says study
• The largest of Saturn`s many moons has lakes, mountains and dunes, with its surface scarred and crafted by many of the same forces which have shaped Earth, scientists said on November 18, 2019.
• A team led by Rosaly Lopes at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) said Titan`s visible exterior was `one of the most geologically diverse in the Solar System.
• `Despite the differences in materials, temperatures and gravity fields between Earth and Titan, many of their surface features are similar and can be interpreted as products of the same geologic processes, the scientists said in an article in Nature Astronomy. Using radar and infra-red data generated by the now defunct Cassini probe, which completed a 20-year mission by crashing into Saturn in 2017, the scientists said they could fill in many of the gaps in mapping Titan, some 1.2 billion kilometres (800 million miles) from Earth
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