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January 12, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. India finally allows Pakistan to inspect its power projects
• India finally agreed on January 11, 2019 to allow Pakistani experts to inspect its hydropower projects at the Chenab basin -1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnai from Jan 28 to 31. India has formally confirmed this through a letter to Pakistan`s office of Indus Waters.
• `We have received a letter from Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters Pradeep Kumar Saxena.
• They have arranged a general tour of inspection for our three-member delegation of experts. Under the schedule, a three-member delegation headed by me will leave for India on Jan 27 and return home on Feb 1,` Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mehr Ali Shah.
• `The six-day tour includes four days for inspection (Jan 28 to 31) and two days (Jan 27 and Feb 1) for travelling (Pakistan-India-Pakistan), he said.The Pakistani delegation will leave for India on Jan 27 via Wagah border. After crossing the border, the experts will procee d to Amritsar for onward travelling to the disputed projects` areas.
• They will start inspecting the projects on Jan 28.
• The Pakistani water commissioner has been demanding for years the inspection of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydropower projects, disputing their designs.
2. Indian officials try to create problems for Pakistani team at FATF meeting
• While the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has expressed satisfaction over Pakistan`s efforts as well as plans against money laundering, India continues to raise questions about terror financing.
• The proceedings went well and almost all the FATF members appreciated measures taken by Pakistan and actions planned by it.
• India kept asking questions about the measures Pakistan had taken against Lashkar-eTaiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and other such organisations. It demanded that the steps be made public.
• The Pakistani delegation explained that all the actions recommended by the FATF had been taken and a compliance report submitted to its headquarters.
• The delegation also made it clear that it would be the Pakistan government`s decision whether or not to publicise actions taken against banned organisations and would not succumb to desires of any specific member.
3. President of UN General Assembly to visit Pakistan this month
• The president of the UN General Assembly will visit Pakistan from Jan 18 to 22 at the invitation of the government.
• This will be the first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region by the president of the UN General Assembly since María Fernanda Espinosa assumed office in September.
• A statement said that she is `looking forward to strengthening the ties between Pakistan and the UN, promoting multilateralism and continuing my work with Pakistan on the priorities for the 73rd session of the GA`.
• Travel costs are being covered by Pakistan and by the regular budget of the UNGA`s Office.
4. 9th NFC reconstituted to disburse resources
• The government on January 11, 2019 reconstituted the 9th National Finance Commission (NFC) to give new award for sharing of federal divisible resources among the centre and provinces.
• The Ministry of Finance has issued a formal notification for the reconstitution of nine-member commission after its reference was approved by President Arif Alvi.
• The commission will be headed by Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar and comprise four provincial finance ministers and four non statutory members.
• The non-statutory members, one from each province, include Dr Salman Shah from Punjab, Asad Sayeed from Sindh, Musharraf Rasool Cyan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Mahfooz Ali Khan from Balochistan.
• The finance minister has repeatedly been asking the provincial governments since Sept 3, 2018 to send their nominations to complete the NFC as the centre struggled finalising an economic package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since the federal government has to indicate a clear line about financing arrangements for tribal districts being merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and financing requirements for Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
5. Writer Khalida Hussain passes away
• Renowned fiction writer and novelist Khalida Hussain passed away on January 11, 2019 due to complications from a long illness. She was in her 70s.
• She had been suffering from various diseases after the tragic death of her only son and husband last year.
• Ms Hussain was known as one of the best fiction writers and novelists in Urdu Literature.
• She rose to fame in the 60s with her short stories and became a trend setter. Kaghazi Ghat was her last masterpiece in Urdu literature. Before marriage, she wrote under the name Khalida Asghar.
• Khalida Hussain was the best fiction writer in the country after Intizar Hussain. She always wrote stories on real life and introduced a new trend in Urdu fiction writing.
January 12, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Bid to oust Muslim from Republican post fails
• A move to oust a Republican Party leader in Texas because he is a Muslim has failed after it was put to a vote of the executive committee.
• Committee members voted 139-49 on January 10, 2019 night to retain Shahid Shafi, a trauma surgeon, as the vice chairman of the local branch of the Republican Party.
• `Religious liberty won tonight,` The Dallas Morning News quoted Tarrant County GOP chairman Darl Easton as saying in statement.
• After East on named Shafi as a vice chairman of the county party leadership in July, a campaign began to oust him because of his Muslim beliefs.
• The effort drew national attention and was denounced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
7. Nepal nudges India on Saare summit
• Nepal on January 11, 2019 strongly pitched for a South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, saying that differences should be resolved through dialogue and the grouping should collectively deal with terrorism and other key challenges facing the region.
• Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali cited last year`s historic talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, saying that dialogue was the only way to address differences.
• It is Pakistan`s turn to host the summit. However, India citing continued support to alleged cross-border terrorism by Islamabad has been maintaining that it is difficult to proceed with the summit.
• The 2016 SAARC summit was to be held in Islamabad.
• But after a deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir that year, India expressed its inability to participate in it.
• The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also refused to participate in the meet.
• The Maldives and Sri Lanka are the seventh and eighth members of the group.
8. Maduro sworn in for new presidential term in Venezuela
• Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in before the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) to begin a new six-year term on January 10, 2019, with delegations from 94 countries in attendance.
• Maduro was elected with 67.84 percent of the votes. He recalled that the May 20, 2018 elections were done “in spite of an international conspiracy to boycott the elections and delegitimize the institutional processes.”
9. Turkey tops tea-consuming nations
• Turkey tops the tea-consuming nations with a Turk taking an average of 1,300 cups of tea every year, according to the head of a coffeehouse association in Istanbul.
• Serdar Ersahin, head of the Istanbul-based association told Anadolu Agency on January 11, 2019 that Turks consumed around 3-5 cups of tea daily while the number increased to 10 cups during winter
10. Trump to skip Davos, threatens emergency over border wall
• US President Donald Trump has cancelled his planned trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, citing the prolonged government shutdown, while re-asserting his willingness to declare a national emergency to pay for building his promised 3,145 km-long wall along the border with Mexico aimed at stopping illegal migration.
• The announcement was made in a tweet January 10, 2019 in which Trump blamed Democrats for the shutdown, which began on December 22 after he and his fellow Republicans failed to come to an agreement with Democrats on whether to allocate more than $5 billion in funding the president has been demanding for the border wall.
• Democrats, who control the House of Representatives blame Trump for the shutdown, as they oppose the wall, calling it ineffective, immoral and expensive. They have instead agreed to allocate more than $1.3 billion in funding for broader border security measures that do not include a wall.
• Earlier on January 10, 2019, Trump said he wanted to go to the annual Davos event, which is scheduled from January 22 to 25, but would skip the meeting if the shutdown persisted. He then made the announcement he was cancelling his trip to Switzerland.