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October 19, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan escapes FATF blacklist, but gets warning
• While giving a four-month lifeline, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2020 and until then the country will remain on the `grey list` The Paris-based FATF reviewed measures taken and progress made byalmost 15 countries, including Pakistan, vis-à-vis antimoney laundering and combating unancing of terrorism (AML/CFT) in its five day plenary, which concluded on Friday.
• Representatives from 206 countries and jurisdictions around the world took part in the meeting. The Pakistani delegation was led by the Minister for Economic Affairs, Hammad Azhar.
• At the end of the meeting, three countries Iceland, Mongolia and Zimbabwe were added to the grey list, while Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ethiopia were removed from the list as they have adequately complied with the FATF recommendations.
• The news is not that good in the case of Pakistan as the global watchdog warned of action in case significant and sustainable progress is not made across the full range of action plan by the next plenary scheduled for February 2020, a statement issued by the FATF said.
• The action, it added, could include the FATF calling on its members and urging all jurisdictions to advise their financial institutions to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan.
2. PM`s aide on polio steps down amid surge in cases
• Prime Minister`s Focal Person for Polio Eradication Babar bin Atta on October 18, 2019 tendered his resignation citing personal reasons.
• Mr Atta said his father was ill and because he was his only son he had to look after him. He said he could not continue work on this important post on a full-time basis.
• However, there has been an alarming increase in incidence of new polio cases this year. While 12 such cases were reported from all over Pakistan in 2018, the number of polio cases has reached 72 this year. Fifty three of the cases are from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Sindh, six from Balochistan and five from Punjab.
3. Buddhist rituals performed at ancient stupa after nearly 2,000 years
• Buddhist rituals were performed for the first time in two millennia at the ancient Bhamala Monastery and Stupa on October 18, 2019, when Korean Buddhist monks prayed for peace in South Asia, the birthplace of Buddhism, and the world.
• This was the first religious service held at Bhamala, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. The ceremony was organised by the Gandhara Art and Culture Association, the Centre for Culture and Development and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology and Museums.
• The prayer ceremony was attended by civil society members and people from a variety of religious backgrounds from across the world, including from the diplomatic community.
• Bhamala has its own significance and importance in Gandhara civilisation, as the largest statue ever found in Gandhara depicting the death of Buddha was discovered here.
4. UK royal couple leaves after five-day trip to Pakistan
• Britain`s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton returned to the United Kingdom after completing their five-day trip to Pakistan.
• The British High Commission, in a statement announcing the completion of the royal visit, said: `Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge concluded their five-day visit to Pakistan October 19, 2019. During their trip the Duke and Duchess have seen the many sides of the modern, aspirational, dynamic Pakistan from the vibrant, leaf y Islamabad to the cultural capital Lahore, from the fragile to the remote communities in the mountainous north.
• It was the first royal visit from Britain to Pakistan in 13 years, which took place on the request of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for strengthening Pak-UK ties
October 19, 2019: International Current Affairs
5. Tens of millions trapped in slavery, says UN
• Tens of millions of people are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery more than ever before as poverty, conflict and climate change fuel a growing global trade in people.
• Victims are trafficked for profit and coerced into all manner of work, be it prostitution, forced labour, begging, crime, domestic servitude, forced marriage or organ mining.
• Human trafficking is one of the world`s fastest growing criminal enterprises, according to the United Nations, which has set a goal of ending forced labour and modern slavery by 2030.
• Hard and reliable statistics are hard to come by when it comes to the illicit market in people, but here are eight key facts and figures collated by international organisations as the European Union (EU) marked Anti Trafficking Day on October 18, 2019. At least 40.3 million people worldwide are modern slaves.
6. Syrian Kurds accuse Turkey of violating ceasefire
• The Kurdish led administration in northern Syria accused Turkey on October 18, 2019 of violating a US-brokered ceasefire that went into effect overnight, as fighters from both sides clashed in and around a border town that has been one of the hercest fronts in the Turkish invasion.
• The town of Ras al-Ayn was emerging as an immediate test for the five-day ceasefire agreed on by Washington and Ankara.
• Before the deal`s announcement, Turkish-backed forces had encircled the town and were battling fierce resistance from Kurdish fighters inside.
• The Syrian Kurds raised further uncertainty over a ceasefire deal that already was vague on key points and left significant questions unanswered. The self rule administration said some provisions of the cease-fire deal `need further discussion with the United States
7. US makes history with first all-female spacewalk team
• US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first all-female pairing to carry out a spacewalk on October 18, 2019, a historic milestone as NASA prepares to send the first woman to the Moon.
• The mission was originally planned for earlier this year but had to be aborted due to a lack of properly fitting spacesuits, leading to allegations of sexism.
• `Christina, you may egress the airlock,` spacecraft communicator Stephanie Wilson told the pair as they set out to replace a power controller on the International Space Station at 1138 GMT.
8. 62 perish as bomb goes off in Afghan mosque
• At least 62 people were killed in a blast inside an Afghan mosque during October 18, 2019 prayers, according to officials, a day after the United Nations said violence in the country had reached `unacceptable` levels.
• The explosion, which witnesses said caused collapse of the mosque`s roof, took place in eastern Nangarhar province and also left at least 33 people injured, said governor`s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani.
• A Taliban spokesman called the attack `a major crime`, apparently denying responsibility and blaming it on the militant Islamic State group or government forces.
• The attack occurred in Haska Mina district, about 50 kilometres from the provincial capital, Jalalabad.
October 19, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
9. Azhar named new Test skipper, Babar to lead in T20s
• A prolonged bad patch with both bat and gloves and a shocking T20 home series loss against a depleted Sri Lanka team this month cost Sarfraz Ahmed the Test and T20 captaincy on October 18, 2019 as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) replaced him with middle-order batsman Azhar Ali as the new Test skipper while promoting vice-captain Babar Azam to lead the T20 team on the upcoming tough tour of Australia, starting from Oct 26.
• Though the PCB made attempts to convince Sarfraz to step down voluntarily and take time out to regain his peak form, the wicket keeper batsman refused the offer and decided it would be better if the PCB sacked him.
• PCB chief executive Wasim Khan went to Faisalabad to meet Sarfraz on October 18, 2019 morning to convince him to step down from the captaincy due to his poor form with both bat and gloves but he refused to budge and asked the PCB to remove him instead.
• As captain Sarfraz had a good winning ratio, both in the in ODIs and the T20s, but in Test cricket the country has failed to show encouraging results and have slipped to a poor seventh place now.
10. Ex-SA cricketer sentenced for fixing
• Gulam Bodi, who played three limited-overs internationals for South Africa, was sentenced to five years in jail on October 18, 2019 after pleading guilty to eight charges of corruption.
• The batsman had been banned for 20 years by national body Cricket South Africa (CSA) for his role in attempting to fix or influence matches in a 2015 domestic T20 competition.
• CSA said no fixtures were affected as the plans of Bodi and other would-be conspirators were foiled