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July 18, 2019
1. ICJ rejects Indian plea for Jadhav`s acquittal, release
• The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on July 17, 2019 rejected India`s request for acquittal, release and return of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian serving naval commander sentenced by Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism, but asked Islamabad to provide him consular access under the Vienna Convention.
• The United Nations` top court, in its verdict after two-year-long proceedings, ruled an effective review and reconsideration of the sentence by Pakistan, by the means of its own choosing of legislation.
• `The court notes that Pakistan acknowledges that the appropriate remedy in the present case would be effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence,` the ICJ verdict read, supporting Pakistan`s stance.
• Commander Jadhav would remain in Pakistan and would be treated in accordance with the law of the country.
• President of the ICJ Judge Abdulgawi Ahmed Yusuf read out the 42-page decision in a public sitting at the Peace Palace`s courtroom packed with officials, representatives and media persons from Pakistan and India.
2. ECC bans wheat export amid roti price hike
• The federal government on July 17, 2019 decided to impose a ban on export of wheat and wheat flour amid rising concern over the price hike trend of roti and other wheat products in the wake of low wheat production in the country.
• The cabinet`s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), headed by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Hafeez Shaikh, took the decision at a meeting.
• During the Rabi season 2018-19, the ministry of national food security and research recorded 24.12 million tonnes of wheat production against the projected target of 25.5m tonnes for the year. The procured quantity of wheat during this year was also 33pc less than the procured quantities of wheat during the last year`s corresponding period.
• To control the price of roti and other wheat products in the local market, the ECC suggested that a meeting of National Price Monitoring Committee(NPMC) be convened with the cooperation of provincial governments.
3. Hafiz Saeed arrested
• Head of the proscribed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, an irritant for the Western world because of his Jehadist activities, was arrested on July 17, 2019 and within no time sent to jail on a seven-day judicial remand by an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala.
• The arrest was made in connection with a pending terrorism financing case against the JuD head.
• The CTD has been directed to complete its investigation and submit a charge sheet to the court in the stipulated time.
• The action is important as it took place only a few days before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to the United States, during which he is also scheduled to meet President Trump on July 22 and discuss a wide range of issues of bilateral interest.
• Interestingly, President Trump welcomed arrest of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, saying ‘great pressure’ was exerted over Islamabad in the last two years to find the ‘mastermind’ of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
• The US has placed a $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed.
4. Huawie to invest around $100m in Pakistan this year
• Huawei will invest around $100 million in Pakistan during current year. In a meeting with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Vice President of Huwaei Group, Mark Xueman, announced that Huawei will also set up a regional headquarters in Islamabad at a cost of $55 million that will create job opportunities for young engineers in Pakistan.
• Vice President of Huwaei Group, Mark Xueman further informed that Huawei will also invest $15 million more in its Technical support Centre in Pakistan and it will also hire more work force for the same taking the number of its staff from 600 to 800 this year.
July 18, 2019: International Current Affairs
5. Myanmar`s army chief barred from US over Rohingya `ethnic cleansing`
• The United States on July 17, 2019 banned visits by Myanmar`s army chief and three other top officers due to their role in the `ethnic cleansing` of the Rohingya minority, urging accountability for their brutal campaign.
• The State Department said it took action against army chief Min Aung Hlaing and the others after finding credible evidence they were involved in the violence two years ago that led about 740,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to Bangladesh.
6. Leyen confirmed as new European Commission president
• Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed as the European Commission president July 17, 2019, becoming the first woman to hold one of the most prestigious positions in the European Union and who will be one of the most prominent faces from the bloc on the world stage.
• The European Parliament voted 383-327 with 22 abstentions to approve von der Leyen’s nomination. The confirmation required an absolute majority of 374 votes and the outgoing German defence minister scraped through with barely nine votes to spare in a cliff-hanger vote.
• Her approval was a key part in the package of top jobs that EU leaders agreed upon early this month. Under the deal, the free-market liberal Renew Europe group got Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as European Council president and the Socialists won the top parliament job. France’s Christine Lagarde was put forward as head of the European Central Bank.
• Von der Leyen told lawmakers in Strasbourg that the gender element as embodied by herself and Lagarde will be an essential part of her job.
7. Sudan military and civilians sign deal to end deadly turmoil
• Sudan’s ruling military council and opposition leaders have signed a power-sharing accord after all-night talks.
• It is a “historic moment” for the country, the deputy head of Sudan’s ruling military council, Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo, is quoted as saying by a private news agency. Sudan has been in turmoil since the military ousted President Omar al-Bashir in April.
• Protesters have been demanding the military hand power to civilians. Those protests turned deadly in a crackdown on 3 June, when at least 128 people were reportedly killed – a figure disputed by the military authorities.
• The two sides have agreed to rotate control of the sovereign council – the top tier of power – for just over three years. That council will be made of five civilians, five military figures, and an 11th civilian, to be chosen by the 10 members.
• A military general will be in charge of that council for the first 21 months, then a civilian will lead for the following 18 months, followed by elections.
8. Drug kingpin El Chapo sentenced to life in US prison
• Once one of the world`s most powerful and notorious criminals, Mexican drug lord Joaquin `El Chapo` Guzman was jailed for life on July 17, 2019 the mandatory sentence for a host of crimes spanning a quaner-century.
• Guzman, the 62-year-old former co-leader of Mexico`s mighty Sinaloa drug canel, was convicted in February in US federal court on a spate of charges, including smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States.
• The much-anticipated hearing in New York capped a dramatic legal saga and saw Guzman deliver what will likely be his final public words before he is taken to a supermax federal prison to live out his days.
• The charges, which also include money laundering and weapons-related offences, carried a mandatory life sentence.
9. Partial lunar eclipse observed
• Like other parts of the world, a partial lunar eclipse was observed in most parts of the country on July 16 and 17. Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) sources told APP on July 17, 2019 that all phases of partial moon eclipse were visible in the country.
• The eclipse was also visible in most parts of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, South America, Pacific, Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Antarctica. Penumbral eclipse began at 23:44 PST (on 16th July, 2019), while partial eclipse started at 01:02 PST on 17th July, 2019,PMD source said.
• The entire lunar eclipse started at 02:32 PST, while the partial eclipse was ended at 05:18 PST, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) sources told APP. The sources further said the eclipse was the last lunar eclipse of year 2019 and the next lunar eclipse would occur on Jan 10, 2020, followed by three more in the same year. It may be mentioned here that a partial lunar eclipse happens when the Earth moves between the Sun and the Full Moon, but they are not precisely aligned. Only part of the Moon’s visible surface moves into the dark part of the Earth’s shadow. During a partial lunar eclipse, part of the Moon can get a reddish hue.
• Skywatchers across the UK have also witnessed a partial lunar eclipse, 50 years to the day since the US mission to put men on the Moon lifted off.
July 18, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Brazilian Cunha claims women`s 5km open water title at worlds
• Ana Marcela Cunha improved on her already impressive career in open-water swimming at the world championships with a win in the 5 kilometre race on July 17, 2019.
• It was the 27-year-old Brazilian`s fourth gold and 10th medal overall at the world championships since 2011.
• Cunha, who was consistently in the top 10 throughout the race, pulled away in the final 300 meters to finish in 57 minutes, 56.00 seconds, a second ahead of Aurelie Muller of France. There was a tie for the bronze medal: American Hannah Moore and Leonie Beck of Germany both fin-ishedin57:58,twosecondsbehind Cunha in the non-Olympic event.
• Defending world champion Ashley Twichell of the USplaced seventh.
• Cunha has won the 25-kilometre race three times at the worlds, but this was her first goldat the 5 kilometre distance. Her previous best finishes over five kilometers were bronze medals at Barcelona in 2013 and at Budapest in 2017.