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April 12, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan seeks apology from Britain over Jallianwala massacre, 1943 Bengal famine
• Pakistan has demanded a formal apology from Britain over the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Bengal famine of 1943 during World War II.
• Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry also called for the British government to return Koh-i-Noor to `Lahore museum where it belongs`.
• Originally belonging to Muslim rulers of the subcontinent before the arrival of the East India Company, Koh-i-Noor is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats and part of the British Crown Jewels.
• April 13 marks the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala tragedy, one of the worst massacres carried out by the colonial rulers in the subcontinent.
2. Pakistan not to attend US-Taliban talks
• Pakistan will not take part in the next round of Doha talks between the United States and the Taliban.
• Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal, however, reiterated that Pakistan is committed to the Afghan peace process and emphasised the importance of an intra-Afghan dialogue to lead the way forward to achieve durable peace in the war-torn country.
• The seventh round of talks between the Taliban, US delegation, Afghan politicians, and the Afghan government is expected to be held in Qatar’s capital Doha later this month.
• Faisal said: “There will also be an intra-Afghan dialogue on 14th and 15th of this month, organised by Russia.”
• The first such meeting was held in Moscow in February this year. Pakistan had supported the peace talks in the past.
3. Pak Navy takes over CTF-150 command
• Pakistan Navy has taken over the command of Combined Maritime Task Force 150 (CTF-150) from Royal Canadian Navy.
• An impressive change of command ceremony was held at Headquarters US NAVCENT, Bahrain, according to the Pakistan Navy officials.
• Commodore Alveer Ahmed Noor of Pakistan Navy took over the command of CTF-150 from Commodore Darren Garnier of Royal Canadian Navy. The change of command ceremony was graced by Vice Admiral James J Malloy, Commander US Naval Forces Central Command/Commander US Fifth Fleet/Commander Combined Maritime Forces. In addition, the ceremony was also attended by Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, Commander of the Royal Bahrain Naval Forces, reps of Ambassador of Pakistan to Bahrain and Ambassador of Canada to Kuwait and other senior officers from foreign navies.
4. Arshad removed as PTV MD
• The information ministry removed Arshad Khan from the position of acting managing director of Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) on April 11, 2019.
• Retired Colonel Hassan Immad, the PTV Director, has been given the additional charge of managing director for the time being.
• Arshad Khan, a member of the PT V`s board of directors, was made acting MD of the PTV in November last year.
• The government is likely to appoint a regular MD for the PTV by the end of this month.
5. Saudi Arabia executes first Pakistani woman in five years
• A Pakistani woman was executed by the Saudi authorities on April 11, 2019, according to the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).
• In a press statement, the non-governmental organisation working for prisoners` rights expressed outrage over the execution of Fatima Ijaz, the first Pakistani woman to be executed in the Kingdom since 2014.
• She was incarcerated in Dhaban prison of Jeddah on drug-related charges.
• The JPP pointed out that two other Pakistanis Fatima`s husband Muhammad Mustafa and Abdul Maalik were also executed by the Saudi authorities the same day, despite the fact that the two nations were currently negotiating a prisoner transfer agreement. `These executions are particularly worrying in the face of the announcement by the Saudi crown prince made in February this year to release 2,107 Pakistanis imprisoned in the Kingdom. The promise, however, has yet to be fulfilled, the JPP regretted.
April 12, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Sudan`s military ousts Bashir
• President Omar al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan in autocratic style for 30 years, was overthrown and arrested in a coup by the armed forces on April 11, 2019, but protesters took to the streets demanding the military hand over power to civilians.
• The ouster of Bashir, 75, followed months of demonstrations against his rule.
• In an address on state television, Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced a two-year period of military rule to be followed by presidential elections.
• He said Bashir was being detained in a `safe place` and a military council wouldnow run the country. He did not say who would head it.
• Ibn Auf announced a state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution.
7. World`s biggest election tests Modi`s grip on power
• Tens of millions of Indians joined nationwide queues on April 11, 2019 to give their verdict on nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi as the world`s biggest election started amid deadly clashes.
• Election officials reported a heavy turnout across the 20 states taking part in the first day of the massive exercise which involves 900 million eligible voters and will take nearly six weeks to complete.
• While the 68-year-old Modi remains popular because of his tough stance on national security, he is under pressure over unemployment and controversial economic reforms.
8. Assange arrested in London on US request
• WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange`s seven-year hideout in Ecuador`s London embassy ended spectacularly on April 11, 2019 when British police arrested him on an extradition request from the United States to face hacking charges.
• Footage shot by the Russian video news agency Ruptly showed a frantic looking Assange his face framed by a bushy white beard and shock of silver hair being hustled out of the building by burly men in suits and pulled into one of two waiting police vans.
• A Ruptly reporter who shot the scene and requested anonymity said that Assange shouted `UK must resist` as he was hauled away by at least seven men dressed in dark suits and ties.
• The scene took place on a plush side street in the heart of London that has been Assange`s refuge from prosecution since 2012.
9. Singapore airport unveils nature dome in fight for flights
• A 40-metre indoor waterfall cascading through a steel and glass dome is at the heart of a vast complex in Singapore`s main airport unveiled on April 11, 2019, part of the city-state`s fight for global flights.
• Reportedly built for a cool $1.25 billion, the `Jewel` centre has gardens growing over four storeys, as well as 280 retail and food outlets, a hotel and cinema. It links to three of the airport`s terminals.
• But analysts were sceptical the 135,700 square metre (1.4 million square feet) complex would be a hit with transiting passengers immigration has to be cleared to reach it and Changi airport already has high standard facilities.
• As well as an attraction for visitors to Singapore, it is also billed as a destination in its own right for local residents.
10. Israeli spacecraft crashes during moon landing
• An Israeli spacecraft lost contact with Earth and crashed just moments before it was to land on the moon late on April 11, 2019, failing in an ambitious attempt to make history as the first privately funded lunar mission.
• The spacecraft lost communication with ground control as it was making its final descent to the moon.
• Moments later, the mission was declared a failure.
• `We definitely crashed on surface of moon,` an official of Israel Aerospace Industries said. He said the spacecraft was in pieces scattered at the planned landing site.