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November 24, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. EC allocates 40m euros for Afghan refugees
• The European Commission (EC) has allocated an additional 40 million euros in emergency assistance for those affected by the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, as well as for Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran.
• This brings total EU humanitarian aid for Afghan crisis to 77m euros in 2019; 61m euros in Afghanistan, 9m euros in Pakistan and 7m euros in Iran, the EU mission in Islamabad announced on November 23, 2019.
• The humanitarian outlook in Afghanistan is as bleak as ever. Not only has the conflict between the government and non-state armed groups intensified since the beginning of the year, but devastating floods have also hit this war-torn country.
• In Pakistan, the EU funding will provide assistance to Afghan refugees, as well as internally displaced Pakistanis.
2. Pakistan wins Rs1bln damage claim against Chinese firm
• Pakistan has clinched a favourable ruling in an international court regarding the country’s one billion rupees of liquidated damage claim against a Chinese energy conglomerate for delaying renewable power projects, officials said on November 23, 2019.
• The officials said London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) issued its final awards related to a dispute between Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G) and Zonergy Company Limited earlier this week.
• In the determination of the disputes between the parties, the sole arbitrator decided the required commercial operations date, “as agreed between the parties under the respective energy purchase agreements, represented a valid and binding obligation”.
• “Consequently, CPPA-G’s imposition of liquidated damages for the power projects’ delay in achieving COD (commercial operations date) by RCOD (required commercial operations date) was justified,” the official said, citing the awards.
3. ‘FBR to launch automated ‘Point of Sale’ for large retailers next month’
• FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi said on November 23, 2019 that they would launch automated ‘Point of Sale’ for all large retailers from next month.
• This step will help FBR bring potential retailers in tax net.
• “FBR will launch automated ‘Point of Sale’ (POS) for all large retailers from next month. All largescale retailers are suggested to integrate with the system. This will greatly assist such retailers as in such cases personal interaction with FBR will be minimized,” FBR chairman states in his tweet on Saturday. He also termed this move “a way forward”.
4. 45 years after Nixon, another US president faces impeachment
• On August 7, 1974, a trio of top Republican leaders went to the White House and told President Richard Nixon that party support was eroding and impeachment was inevitable.
• He resigned the next day.
• Fast forward 45 years, and another US president, Donald Trump, is facing impeachment by the House of Representatives and a potential trial in the Senate.
• Unlike Nixon, however, Trump appears to enjoy — at least for the time being — the support of Republican lawmakers, and has given no hint that he’ll buckle in the face of what he calls a partisan “witch hunt”.
• “Part of the story of Watergate and the investigation is watching Republicans peel off, start to call into question their support for Nixon,” said Kevin Mattson, a professor of contemporary history at Ohio University.
5. US imposes sanctions on Iran’s information minister
• The United States imposed sanctions on Iran’s information minister for his role in “widescale internet censorship,” a reference to a five-day-long nationwide shutdown meant to help stifle protests against fuel price hikes in Iran.
• The internet blockage, which Iran said on Thursday it had begun to roll back, made it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media to generate support and also to obtain reliable reports on the extent of the unrest, reported UK-based news agency.
6. Ex-CIA agent jailed for 19 years for spying for China
• The former CIA officer who may have devastated US intelligence collection in China by giving up its network of informants to Beijing agents was sentenced on November 22, 2019 to 19 years in prison.
• Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a naturalised US citizen who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1997 to 2004, was arrested in January 2018 for illegally possessing classified US defence information, which prosecutors alleged he turned over to Chinese intelligence agents.
• His indictment said he moved to Hong Kong in 2010 and begun accepting payments from Chinese agents who asked him for sensitive information on the CIA.
7. Egypt unveils animal mummies of lion cubs, crocodiles, birds
• Egypt`s Ministry of Antiquities on November 23, 2019 revealed details on recently discovered animal mummies, saying they include two lion cubs as well as several crocodiles, birds and cats.
• Items from the new find were displayed at a makeshift exhibition at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, south of Cairo, near where mummies and other artefacts have been found in a vast necropolis.
• We are finding here hundreds of objects, said Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany.
• All of them are very interesting from the Egyptological point of view to know better this area.
8. BJP makes surprise comeback in India’s richest state
• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party made an unexpected comeback to power on November 23, 2019 in wealthy Maharashtra state, home to the country’s financial capital, after prolonged backroom negotiations saw presidential rule lifted after days of uncertainty.
• President Ram Nath Kovind imposed direct rule on India’s richest state last week after fiercely fought elections last month led to weeks of haggling between parties over forming a government.
• The state was previously ruled by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and its right-wing regional ally Shiv Sena.
• But they failed to agree another power-sharing deal despite results showing the coalition had won a comfortable majority for a second consecutive term
9. Pakistan clinch Emerging Teams Asia Cup title
• Rohail Nazir scored a brilliant hundred as Pakistan crushed Bangladesh by 77 runs to win the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2019 title at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Bangladesh, on November 23, 2019.
• After being put into bat, the openers Omair Bin Yousuf (4 off 15 balls) and Haider (26 off 23 balls) fell early to leave Pakistan at 41-2 in eight overs.
• Imran Rafiq and Rohail Nazir then got together and contributed a 117-run partnership for the third wicket.
• Imran’s 62 off 88 balls included four fours and two sixes. Rohail top-scored with a 111-ball 113, laced with 12 fours and three sixes. Saud Shakeel played a captain’s innings and contributed a quick-fire 42 off 40 balls to help his side reach 301-6 in 50 overs.
10. Olympic ban looms for Russia after WADA panel ruling
• The prospect of Russia being banned from next year’s Tokyo Olympics has loomed closer as a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) panel recommended the country’s drug-testing authority be declared non-compliant with international rules.
• In a statement, WADA said its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) had recommended that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) be suspended again when the global anti-doping watchdog’s Executive Committee meets in Paris on December 9.
• If WADA chiefs adopt the recommendation, Russia faces severe sanctions including a possible ban from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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