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September 29, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. PM`s stance on terrorism strong basis for India talks: US
• Prime Minister Imran Khan`s commitment to prevent cross-border terrorism, if implemented, would provide a strong basis for India-Pakistan dialogue, says a senior US official.
• At a news briefing in New York, Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells enunciated US President Donald Trump`s offers to mediate, saying it stems from his desire to reduce tensions between South Asia`s two nuclear neighbours.
• `Prime Minister Khan has made important public commitments regarding the need to prevent cross-border terror-ism and sanctuary for terrorist organisations, which, if implemented fully, would provide a strong basis for dialogue,` Ms Wells said in her opening statement.
• In an apparent reference to reports that some protesters in AJK wanted to march up to the Line of Control (LoC) to show their rejection of India`s Aug 5 decision to annex occupied Kashmir, Ms Wells said: `We call on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control.
• During this week`s 74th session of the UN General Assembly, US and other officials were heard expressing concerns over this report and some even pointed out that any attempt to cross the LoC in today`s tense situation could have dangerous consequences.
2. JUI-F leader among three killed in Chaman blast
• A senior leader of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUIF) Maulana Mohammad Hanif and two others including a young boy were killed and at least 11 others were injured when a motorbike bomb explosion ripped through the main bazaar of Chaman, the border town in Qilla Abdullah district, on September 28, 2019.
• It was an improvised explo-sive device planted in the motorbike which was detonated with remote control when the Maulana was coming out of a building.
• As the motorbike was parked close to a business centre on the busy Taj Road, the blast shattered windowpanes of the nearby buildings and damaged some shops and other vehicles.
3. ICJ urges Pakistan to revoke KP Actions Ordinance
• The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has denounced the promulgation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions (in aid of civil power) Ordinance, 2019, by the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Aug 5 and expressed the apprehension that it could lead to serious human rights violations and miscarriage of justice, contrary to the purported aims of the measures.
• `The ordinance is yet another example of Pakistan`s resort to `exceptional` measures that are grossly incompatible with human rights protections, ostensibly to combat terrorism and other serious crime,` said ICJ`s Asia Director Frederick Rawski, according to a press release issued on September 27, 2019.
• `Pakistan must reject this dangerous, oppressive, and counter producuve strategy and instead strengthen its judicial process and law enforcement in line with its domestic law and international human rights law obligations,` he added.
• The ICJ urged the Pakistan government to immediately revoke the ordinance and to review all national security legislation to ensure it is fully compatible with international human rights law and standards.
4. Legendary Pashto singer Hidayatullah passes away
• Winner of Pride of Performance, legendary Pashto singer Hidayatullah left for the eternal abode here on Saturday leaving behind a legacy of famous songs that are hard to forget. He was 79.
• He rose to fame by singing songs like ‘Yama Da Truck Driver’ for film ‘Urbal and Nishta De Manzil Zama’ and some songs of the first Pashto film, ‘Yusuf Khan Sher Bano’.
• He became a celebrated artist of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the then North-West Frontier Province, and also became a household singer across Durand Line in neighbouring Afghanistan.
• Born in 1940, late Hidayatullah started singing for Pashto films in 1970s. He also sang many famous songs in Hindko and Punjabi languages. The singer also visited Afghanistan on the invitation of Afghan King, late Zahir Shah. He also served at KP Agriculture Department. The provincial government twice gave him ‘Living Human Treasure’ certificate for his contributions to Pashtu music
September 29, 2019: International Current Affairs
5. Afghans vote in shadow of violence
• Afghans voted in presidential elections amid tight security on September 28, 2019, as Taliban militants determined to disrupt the process unleashed a string of attacks on polling centres across the country that killed at least five people.
• The first-round vote marked the culmination of a bloody election campaign that despite a large field of candidates is seen as a close race between President Ashraf Ghani and his bitter rival Abdullah Abdullah, the country`s chief executive.
• Authorities placed Kabul under partial lockdown in an effort to stop would-be suicide bombers from targeting residents as they cast their votes.
• The Taliban, who carried out multiple bombings during the two-month election season, claimed to have conducted hundreds of attacks against Afghanistan`s `fake elections`.
6. Mahathir condemns Kashmir occupation
• Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad has called for settling the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan through “peaceful means”.
• In his address to the 193-member United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2019, he regretted that despite the UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, it has been invaded and occupied.
• “It might have some reason, but it is still wrong,” he said, adding, “The problem must be solved through peaceful means.”
• “Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the rule of law,” said Mahathir.
7. Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine resigns
• Kurt Volker, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO caught in the middle of a whistleblower complaint over the President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, resigned September 17, 2019 from his post as special envoy to the Eastern European nation, according to a U.S. official.
• The official said Volker told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday of his decision to leave the job, following disclosures that he had connected Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with Ukrainian officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family over allegedly corrupt business dealings
8. Overshadowed by larger concerns, Syria gets its moment at UN
• Overshadowed by this year`s larger concerns, the war in Syria got some attention on September 28, 2019 as challenges posed by conflicts, poverty, inequality and the climate emergency continued to dominate world leaders` speeches at the UN General Assembly.
• Syria`s plight remains one of the world body`s thorniest issues as the country has been devastated by more than eight years of war. But global worries over rising tensions in the Gulf region, the eadh`s warming temperature and the trade war between the United States and China this year have eclipsed the plight of the Syrian people.
• The UN is hoping that the recent creation of a committee that would draft a new Syrian constitution will put the country on track for a political solution.
9. Astronomers find three black holes on collision course
• Astronomers have spotted three giant black holes within a titanic collision of three galaxies, according to a release of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
• The unusual system was captured by several observatories, including three NASA space telescopes.
• “We were only looking for pairs of black holes at the time, and yet, through our selection technique, we stumbled upon this amazing system,” said Ryan Pfeifle of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the first author of a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal describing these results.
• To uncover this rare black hole trifecta, researchers needed to combine data from telescopes both on the ground and in space.
September 29, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Sabalenka retains Wuhan title
• Aryna Sabalenka became the first player to claim back-to-back titles in Wuhan thanks to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over American Alison Riske in the final on September 28, 2019.
• The 21-year-old improved her record at the event to a perfect 12-0 and joins Petra Kvitova as the only two-time Wuhan Open champions.
• In a rematch of their final in Shenzhen last January, Sabalenka utilised her supreme power game once again to overcome Riske in 114 minutes in front of a 13,000-strong centre court crowd. She unleashed 18 aces and won 79 percent of her firstserve points.