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September 27, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. MoU focusing on poverty alleviation signed with Bill Gates Foundation
• The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Pakistan for its Ehsaas initiative on poverty alleviation.
• Prime Minister Imran Khan and Bill Gates, co-chair of the B&MGF, witnessed the signing ceremony as Special Assistant to PM on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar and president of Global Development at B&MGF Dr Chris Elias inked the MoU on September 25, 2019.
• The B&MGF will assist the Pakistan government with a range of activities, including accelerating stunting reduction programmes, supporting financial inclusion initiatives and investing in public health systems to improve health and reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. The foundation plans to spend about $200 million in Pakistan in 2020.
• Earlier, the meeting between Prime Minister Khan and Bill Gates and Chris Elias focused on Ehsaas and finding ways of its collaboration with B&MGF on funding, technical assistance, and help of global experts in improving health, nutrition and financial inclusion in Pakistan.
2. All border crossings with Afghanistan closed for two days
• The Pakistan government on September 26, 2019 announced closure of all border crossings with Afghanistan for Sept 27-28 for strengthening security in view of the fourth presidential election being held in the war-torn country on September 28, 2019.
• Meanwhile, enhanced security checks of pedestrians and trading vehicles were started from Thursday and the process will continue till September 29, 2019.
• `In view of the upcoming presidential election and in support of domestic transition in Afghanistan, it has been decided to enhance security along the Pak Afghan border,` said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
• The statement further said that in this regard strict security check of all pedestrians and trading vehicles had been ordered from Sept 26 to 29, whereas the closure of all passage ways/ cargo terminals (except for emergency patients) would be done on Sept 27 and 28.
3. UN committee allows Hafiz Saeed to draw Rs150,000
• The sanctions committee of the UN Security Council has allowed Pakistan to let Jamaat ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed use his bank account for personal expenses.
• Mr Saeed is a UN-designated global terrorist. The US Department of Treasury has also declared him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and has since 2012, offered a $10 million reward for his arrest.
• The committee that deals with such matters informed Pakistan`s Permanent Mission at the United Nations that Hafiz Saeed can use his bank account for `basic expenses` to help his family.
• The committee said in its letter that `with no objections being raised` to Mr Saeed`s request and `the Chair has approved the appeal.
• Two other people who also sought similar concession from the committee are Haji Mohammed Ashraf and Zafar Iqbal.
• The committee also approved their appeals.
4. Indigenously overhauled JF-17 aircraft rolled out
• Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra on September 26, 2019 achieved another milestone by rolling out first indigenously overhauled JF-17 fighting aircraft.
• Pakistan Air force (PAF) held a ceremony in this regard at Aircraft Rebuild Factory (ARF) Kamra.
• Out of the first four JF- 17 aircraft, two were overhauled in China; whereas, the other two were indigenously overhauled in ARF Kamra.
• PAF has been relentlessly pursuing these goals and has achieved remarkable capability.
5. Pakistan, Kazakhstan agree to enhance ties
• Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Kazakh counterpart Atamkulov Beibut Bakirovich met on the margins of 74th session of United Nations General Assembly and agreed to closely cooperate at all multilateral fora.
• Mr Qureshi briefed the Kazakh foreign minister on human rights violations in India-held Jammu & Kashmir following Delhi`s unilateral step of abrogating the special status of the Valley on Aug 5.
• He mentioned that the Office of the High Commissioner for the Human Rights, independent human rights organisations and watchdogs, parliamentarians in several countries and international media, continued to express grave concern over Indian atrocities
6. 900,000 websites blocked over content
• The National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecom has been informed that 900,000 URLs have been blocked for reasons such as carrying blasphemous and pornographic content and/or sentiments against the state, judiciary or the armed forces.
• The committee was told by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on September 26, 2019 that citizens could lodge complaints with the authority against unlawful content.
• However, the officials informed the meeting that any criminal activity pertaining to IT or mobile telephony was dealt with by the Federal Investigation Agency and information regarding cybercrime was not available with the PTA.
• They added there was no law in the country that barred the criminals or other people whose SIMs had been blocked, from obtaining new SIMs.
• The committee meeting chaired by Ali Khan Jadoon also approved the draft National IT Board (NITB) bill, which was presented by federal Minister for IT and Telecom Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
September 27, 2019: International Current Affairs
7. Trump asks Imran, Modi to `work out` Kashmir solution
• US President Donald Trump seems passionate about mediating a truce between India and Pakistan as he made four arbitration offers in less than a week, urging the prime ministers of the two countries to `just work it out`.
• In doing so, he also ignored India`s long-held position that New Delhi would only have bilateral talks with Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues and would never involve a third party.
• `And with respect to Pakistan and India, we talked about Kashmir. And whatever help I can be, I said I offered, whether it`s arbitration or mediation, or whatever it has to be, I`ll do whatever I can,` Mr Trump said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
• Although the news conference was about a move in the US Congress to impeach him, President Trump availed this opportunity to explain why he was so keen to negotiate a truce between India and Pakistan.
• `Because they`re at very serious odds right now, and hopefully that`ll get better, he said.
8. Former French president Chirac, who stood up to US, passes away
• Jacques Chirac, a two-term French president who was the first leader to acknowledge France`s role in the Holocaust and defiantly opposed the US invasion of Iragin 2003,died on September 26, 2019 at age 86.
• His death was announced to lawmakers sitting in France`s National Assembly, and members held a minute of silence. Mourners brought flowers and police set up barricades around his Paris residence, as French people, and politicians of all stripes, looked past Chirac`s flaws to share grief and fond memories of his 12-year presidency and decades in politics. In a rare homage to Chirac, President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, planned a nationally televised speech on Wednesday evening in his honour
9. Last Australian state decriminalises abortion
• Abortion was decriminalised in Australia`s state of New South Wales on September 26, 2019 after weeks of contentious debate, bringing its laws into line with the rest of the country.
• Politicians from across the political spectrum voted to overturn the laws that date back to 1900 and meant women seeking an abortion in Sydney or elsewhere in the state and their doctors could f ace up to 10 years in prison.
• The legislation was delayed for months by a small group of conservatives from the ruling Liberal Party who rebelled against their leader.
• The passage of the bill was cheered by pro-choice advocates, who had staged several large demonstrations in its support in recent months, countered by similarly passionate pro-life rallies.
September 27, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Facebook wins ICC`s digital content rights for subcontinent
• Facebook will have exclusive digital content rights for International Cricket Council (ICC) events in the Indian subcontinent till 2023, the world governing body of the sport said on September 26, 2019.
• The deal will include the next two men`s WorldTwenty20 events in 2020 and 2022, the 50-over World Cup in 2023 and the World Test Championship final in 2023.
• The social media giant will carry a range of digital content across four years including match recaps, in play key moments and other match and feature content on its various platform.
• Cricket is the most popular game in the densely populated Indian subcontinent and presents a huge market for Facebook, which began venturing into sports streaming in 2017 by broadcasting weekly Major League Baseball games.Facebook counts India as its largest market by users and last year announced a deal with Spain`s top flight soccer league which will allow viewers in the Indian subcontinent to watch every game for free on the social network for three years.