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February 10, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan’s role very crucial to Afghan peace: US
• The United States believes Pakistan’s role is ‘very crucial’ to peace in Afghanistan, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said February 9, 2019.
• Khalilzad – who visited Pakistan more than once in the recent weeks – said the US was happy with what Pakistan had done so far.
• “We always would like Pakistan, like other countries to do more, but we appreciate what they have done so far and I have indicated and Secretary (of State), (Mike) Pompeo and the president (Donald Trump) that we want to have good relations with Pakistan, better relations with Pakistan,” he said.
• Khalilzad said: “What they (Pakistan) do on Afghanistan to facilitate peace and reconciliation, which has been a burden on the relationship that will be removed. Pakistan is an important country with which we want to have better relations. The role that Pakistan has played in terms of its relationship with the Taliban and the Haqqani network has been a burden on this (US-Pak) relationship. They say they want peace. We welcome that. We want them to, to play a positive role.”
2. World day to enhance awareness of benefits of eating pulses
• With a rapid increase in global food needs on the horizon, the role of pulses has become even more significant particularly with regard to dietary protein and micronutrients.
• To enhance awareness of the nutrient benefits of eating pulses, the first observance of `World Pulses Day` will take place on February 10, 2019 as proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) last month.
• Pulses are more than just nutritious seeds. They contribute to sustainable food systems and a `zero-hunger` world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
• Consumption of protein is essential to maintain the health and vigour of people and pulses are the most important source of protein in Pakistan. The supply of meat is not keeping pace with the population growth and therefore the production of pulses is required, according to a report on the `Status of pulses in Pakistan` which was presented to an international forum recently.
• The production of pulses in Pakistan is stagnant and disturbing the nutritional balance of the population, especially of poor and weaker sections of society which cannot afford other expensive sources of proteins.
3. Prime Minister to meet IMF chief in Dubai today (February 10, 2019)
• Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde in Dubai on February 10, 2019 (today) for talks on issues which have held up bailout negotiations, a minister said on Saturday, reported euronews.com.
• Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain told Reuters that Imran Khan will meet Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai. “This will give us a chance to understand the IMF views and we will be able to give our version to (Lagarde),” said Fawad, who will accompany the PM to Dubai along with Finance Minister Asad Umar.
4. AJK, KP IGPs, CSs transferred
• The federal government transferred chief secretaries and inspectors general police (IGPs) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir with approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
• The federal government posted the new chief secretary and IGP KP with the consent of KP chief minister. The Establishment Division has issued notifications of all transfers and postings.
• According to the notifications, Muhammad Salim, a BS-21 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service, presently serving under KP government, is transferred and posted as KP chief secretary with immediate effect and until further orders. The outgoing chief secretary, a grade-22 officer of PAS Naveed Kamran Baloch, has been transferred and directed to report to the Establishment Division.
• Similarly, Naeem Khan, a BS-22 officer of Police Service of Pakistan, serving as IGP AJK, is transferred and posted as IGP KP. The notification further says, “Salah-ud-Din Khan, a BS-21 officer of the PSP, presently serving as IGP KP, is transferred and his services are placed at the disposal of AJK government for appointment as IGP AJK, in his own pay and scale in terms of Clause 8 of Karachi agreement 1949 with immediate effect and until further orders.”
• Flt Lt (r) Khawaja Daud Ahmed, a BS-21 officer of PAS posted as Chief Secretary AJK, is transferred and his services are placed at the disposal of Supreme Court for further posting as additional registrar on deputation basis for a period of three years.
• Mathar Niaz Rana, a grade-21 officer of PAS serving as Additional Secretary Industries and Production Division is transferred and his services are placed at the disposal of AJK government.
5. Promotional drive for Pakistan Banao Certificate launched in UK
• Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari has formally initiated the ‘Pakistan Banao Certificate’ (PBC) promotional campaign from the United Kingdom (UK), urging the overseas Pakistanis to directly participate in the national development by purchasing the newly launched instrument online.
• The certificate was the first remarkable step of the incumbent government for the expatriates to invest in the country. It was a risk-free instrument of minimum 5,000 US dollar denomination without upper limit having three and five years maturity time with 6.25 and 6.75 per cent annual interest rate respectively, which could be purchased individually.
February 10, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way’ inaugurated in New York
• Amid vociferous slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, a section of a busy avenue in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City, which last December was renamed after Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was formally inaugurated at a largely-attended ceremony on February 10, 2019.
• The decision to re-name the Coney Island Avenue, where the Pakistani community is concentrated, was taken on Dec. 26 — Quaid’s birthday — when the New York City Council adopted a resolution to honour the founder of Pakistan. The move was the result of years of hard work and lobbying efforts by the Pakistani community, especially the Pakistani-American Youth Organization (PAYO).
• As Jumaane Williams, a city council member from Brooklyn who successfully piloted the resolution, unveiled, with the help of a string, the road sign “Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way” atop a pole, multi-coloured confetti was shot up in celebration, while Pakistani-Americans, carrying Pakistan’s flags, burst into cheers and chanted slogans. Pakistani Consul-General in New York, Naeem Iqbal Cheema, was a special guest at the event.
7. China to sell aircraft carrier to Pakistan
• The Chinese government has decided to sell its first and only aircraft carrier to Pakistan. More specifically, the Liaoning will be sold to Pakistan for a yet-undetermined price in order to upgrade the Pakistani Navy’s capabilities, reported Chinese and Russia media on February 9, 2019.
• The addition of an aircraft carrier to the Pakistani Navy’s arsenal will make it more competitive with respect to its rival India, which has an operational aircraft carrier.
• The Liaoning was first commissioned for the Soviet Navy in the 1980s and was expected to enter service in the early 1990s. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, frustrated these plans, and the unfinished structure was sold to Ukraine. The hull ended up in China, which rebuilt and recommissioned the ship and declared it operational only three years ago, in 2016.
• The Chinese Navy plans to replace the Liaoning with up to six nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The Chinese government announced its plans to have six carrier battlegroups by 2035. Aside from being potent machines of naval warfare, aircraft carriers serve as the ideal foreign policy tools. For example, just the appearance of an American aircraft carrier close to the shores of a country could deter actions hostile to US interests.
8. Putin accepts invitation to visit Italy
• Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Italy, and the date of his visit will be coordinated through diplomatic channels, Russian Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov said.
• “As for the Russian president’s visit to Italy, he has received and accepted the invitation by the Italian leadership. The exact dates will be coordinated through diplomatic channels and then announced according to the established procedure”, Russian Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov told Sputnik.
• The diplomat noted that the visit could become a “key event” in Russian-Italian bilateral relations.
• Russia and Italy have many shared interests, and their relations continue developing in spite of the damage done by Western anti-Russia policies, Russian Ambassador to Italy Sergeш Razov said in an interview with Sputnik.
9. NASA administrator says agency plans to go to the moon and stay
• Jim Bridenstine, the space agency’s administrator, said that NASA plans to return people to the Moon and have astronauts explore more of the surface for longer periods.
• The NASA administrator wrote a post detailing his agency’s goals, which aside from sending people to the Moon as well as Mars one day, involves keeping them there longer.
• “As a lifelong NASA supporter, I am thrilled to be talking once again about landing humans on the moon. But to some, saying we’re returning to the moon implies we’ll be doing the same as we did 50 years ago. I want to be clear — that is not our vision”. Bridenstine wrote in his blog post for Ozy news outlet.
• Bridenstine had previously called for “the best and brightest of American industry to help design and develop human lunar landers” in response to what he says is a clear mandate from Donald Trump and Congress to once again get astronauts out of Earth’s orbit.
February 10, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Pakistan hit back to level women`s ODI series with WI
• Pace bowler Diana Baig ensured that the good work by batters Sidra Amin and Nida Dar does not go to waste as Pakistan women made a strong comeback in the three-match ODI series against West Indies women with a 34-run win in the second ODI played at the ICC Academy in Dubai on February 9, 2019.
• Diana ripped through the West Indies top-order and returned magnificent figures of four wickets for 34 runs in 10 overs as Pakistan bowlers delivered a commanding performance to ensure the defence of the 241-run target.
• Diana who got the vital breakthrough when she bowled West Indies mainstay Deandra Dottin (5) bowled with impeccable control in her spell, she was ably supported by the experienced campaigner Sana Mir who took three wickets while left-arm spinner Nashra Sandhu took two wickets for 38 runs in her 10 overs.
• Natasha McLean fought a lone battle for the West Indies with a blistering 76-ball 82 that included two sixes and eight fours, she added 62 for the last-wicket with Shamilia Connell who made 15.