January 2019

Day by Day Current Affairs (January 29, 2019) | MCQs for CSS, PMS


January 29, 2019: National Current Affairs

1. Centre, federating units to resume NFC talks next month

• The federal government will enter into negotiations with the provinces next month for determination of a new formula for vertical division of the divisible tax pool under the new National Finance Commission (NFC) with an open mind, said federal Finance Minister Asad Umer on January 28, 2019.
• `We`re not starting discussions (with the provinces on the 9th NFC award) from a `fixed position said the minister during his interaction with reporters at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
• In the first meeting (of the reconstituted 9th NFC scheduled for February 6), we will explain to the provinces the economic and financial issues confronting the country and try to build up a consensus on the points that need to be addressed in the next NFC award.
• The 9th NFC has been facing a deadlock over the Centre`s demands since July 2015. Because of resistance from the provinces, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government thought it better to delay the discussions on the new award until after the election. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf recently reconstituted the commission to start negotiations afresh.

2. Pakistan to keep Torkham border open round the clock

• In a historic move aimed at strengthening people-to-people contact and boosting trade ties with Afghanistan, the government of Pakistan on January 28, 2019 announced round-the-clock opening of the Torkham border.
• The decision taken on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan had the backing of the army and all other stakeholders.
• The announcement was made in a meeting just a day after Pakistan closed its consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif over security concerns when an Afghan woman was caught taking a hand grenade into the consulate.
• However, the infrastructure required for the offices and accommodation of immigration staff, security personnel and other officials at the Torkham border and other necessary arrangements to ensure 24/7 crossing may take another six months.

3. First in Pakistan: Hindu woman appointed civil judge

• Suman Kumari has become the country`s first Hindu woman to have been appointed a civil judge after passing an examination for induction of judicial officers.
• Ms Kumari, who hails from Qambar Shahdadkot, will serve in her native district.
• Suman Kumari passed her LL.B. examination from Hyderabad and did her masters in law from Karachi`s Szabist University. She then worked for Advocate Rasheed A. Razvi`s firm.
• Suman Kumari fears that her community would not appreciate her decision to become a lawyer, but `I am confident my family will stand by me come what may`.

4. KP to get Rs40 billion hydel profit next month

• The federal government is set to pay the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government Rs40 billion from the province`s Rs65 billion share in net profit and its arrears projected for the current fiscal.
• The payment was likely to reach the province next month.
• The department had projected the net profit for hydel power generation in financial year 2018-19 at Rs39.98 billion and the relevant arrears at Rs25.29 billion totaling over Rs65 billion.
• Regarding the payment of the Rs25 billion arrears, the official said the province was likely to get details in that respect from the centre within a week.
• The KP government has also been pressing the federal government to implement the AGN Kazi formula to calculate the net hydel profit proceeds eyeing a surge in payments fromRs20 billion to Rs200 billion by 2023.

January 29, 2019: International Current Affairs

5. US, Taliban have agreed on all key issues: Khalilzad

• US special envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad said on January 28, 2019 that American and Taliban officials had agreed in principle on all key issues:keeping terrorists out of Afghanistan, withdrawal of all American troops, a ceasefire and Kabul-Taliban talks.
• `We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement,` Mr Khalilzad, said in an interview with The New York Times in Kabul.
• `The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals,`.
• Later on January 28, 2019, Ambassador Khalilzad, who led the American team in last week`s peace talks with Taliban in Doha, Qatar, also said he had briefed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the progress made in Doha.
• He returned to Kabul on Sunday.

6. Shutdown robbed US economy of $11bn: report

• The five-week government shutdown subtracted $11 billion from the US economy, about twice the amount President Donald Trump sought to fund a border wall, an independent congressional body said on January 28, 2019.
• However, all but $3bn, or 0.02 per cent of GDP, will eventually be recovered as the government resumes operations, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report.
• The estimate suggested the damages from the political brawl in Washington were significant but stopped short of the far worse harm that could have occurred had it been allowed to continue.
• `Underlying those effects on the overall economy are much more significant effects on individual businesses and workers,` the report said.
• `Some of those private-sector entities will never recoup that lost income.` Growth in subsequent quarters this year should see a small, temporary bounce, compensating for the losses in the quarter of 2018 and the start of 2019, the report said.
• The partial shutdown, the longest in US history, left some 800,000 fed-eral workers either working without pay or furloughed although they are due to receive back pay this week.

7. Dubai airport retains top global spot for 5th year

• Dubai International Airport said it retained its top global spot in 2018 after serving the largest number of passengers for the fifth year in a row despite falling short of its target.
• Traffic at the major transit hub rose slightly to 89.15 million passengers, up just over 1.0 per cent on the number who used the airport in 2017.
• Although the figure is a new record high, it missed on the 90.3 million passengers Dubai airport had projected for 2018.
• Indians retained the top position with 12.28 million passengers last year and Saudis came in second with 6.47 million travellers, ovehaking Britons.
• Passengers from east Europe made the largest growth with 16.7 per cent followed by the Commonwealth of Independent States and Africa, the statement said.
• In 2017, traffic at the world`s busiest airport grew by 4.6 million passengers or 5.5 per cent.

8. Facebook to set up election content monitoring centres

• Facebook Inc is planning to set up two new regional operations centres focused on monitoring election-related content in its Dublin and Singapore offices.
• The world`s largest social network has been under pressure from regulators around the globe to fight spread of misinformation on its platform.
• It said it will also strengthen its rules and safeguards around political adverts to prevent foreign interference in elections, including those in Europe this year.
• The world`s largest social network has faced pressure from regulators and the public after last year`s revelation that British consultancy Cambridge Analytica had improperly acquired data on millions of US users to target election advertising. Fears about misinformation and interference have intensified with elections due this year for the European Parliament and several EU countries including Belgium and Finland.

9. South Korea’s artificial rain experiment fails

• South Korea’s artificial rain experiment over the country’s western waters to reduce fine dust ended in failure, local media reported Monday citing the weather agency and the environment ministry.
• Research institutes of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) and the Ministry of Environment jointly carried out the artificial precipitation experiment in waters off the western coast Friday by dispersing silver iodide, a chemical that collects water vapor in clouds. The dispersion increased the size of precipitation particles, but no rain or snow was observed. Only the weak misty rain was detected for several minutes from a mobile observation vehicle. Despite the little success, the experiment was an opportunity to accumulate technology on the practical use of the artificial precipitation to reduce fine dust, the weather agency and the environment ministry were quoted as saying.
• The agency and the ministry planned to conduct 14 more artificial rain experiments this year. The next one could be carried out at a time when the fine dust concentration is expected to rise.

10. Black Panther takes top SAG awards, elevating Oscar chances

• Superhero film Black Panther, heralded for its mainly black cast and vibrant celebration of African culture, won the top Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award on January 28, 2019, boosting its stature ahead of next month`s Oscars ceremony.
• Black Panther was named best movie ensemble in a surprise triumph over favourite A Star is Born, which ended the night without any SAG trophies. Glenn Close was honoured as best film actress for playing a devoted spouse in The Wife.
• Rami Malek won best film actor for his portrayal of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
• The awards from SAG-AFT RA, Hollywood`s largest actors` union, are closely watched because actors form the largest voting group in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars. Black Panther has been embraced by audiences, becoming the second highest grossing movie at worldwide box of fices in 2018, and applauded as a milestone for diversity in Hollywood. `I didn`t think I was going to have to speak,` shocked star Chadwick Bosemansaid on stage, surrounded by his castmates. Boseman said his co-stars `all know what it`s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young, gifted and black`, referring to the 1969 Nina Simone anthem of racial pride. But he added that they realised early on that `we had something special that we wanted to give the world.

Day by Day Current Affairs (January 28, 2019) | MCQs for CSS, PMS

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