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April 14, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. First-ever KP assembly polls across tribal districts in June
• The first-ever provincial assembly elections in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) will take place in the last week of June.
• A schedule for the polls on 16 seats of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly would be announced by the end of April, said a senior official of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
• The ECP had determined and elections for these seats were to be held within a year after the 2018 general elections.
• The decision was in line with Article 106 of the Constitution amended through the 25th Amendment in May last year and last-minute promulgation of an ordinance to avert disenfranchisement of scattered tribal regions.
2. Buzdar removes DIG for misconduct in missing girl case
• Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has removed Lahore DIG Investigation Dr Inaam Waheed from his post after he tried to `deceive` Prime Minister Imran Khan in the case of a missing student of a private university.
• The chief minister also ordered Anti-Corruption Establishment Director General Ijaz Shah to complete inquiry into the matter and submit a report within one week.
• The action was taken when the prime minister expressed his utter displeasure over the pathetic response of the DIG towards kidnap of a girl (R), a student of a private university on Raiwind Road. The prime minister was shocked when the mother of the girl filed a complaint on the PM Portal saying her 19-year-old daughter had gone missing some five months ago and instead of recovering her, the DIG misbehaved with the complainant.
3. Fehmida in Canada to represent Pakistan in CPA meeting
• Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza arrived in Ottawa on April 13, 2019 to represent Pakistan in the executive committee meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).
• The Canadian branch of the CPA is hosting the meeting first time since 2004 when it was convened during the fiftieth Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
• The meeting which commenced on April 11, will conclude on April 15.The executive committee is expected to discuss the control and management of the activities and business of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
4. UN expresses solidarity with Pakistan
• The United Nations has expressed solidarity with the government of Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism.
• In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the two attacks in Balochistan.
• “The Secretary-General is shocked at today’s attack in Quetta, Pakistan. He strongly condemns this cowardly act,” said Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric in the UN statement.
• “The UN chief extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Pakistan. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.”
5. Saudi Aramco team in Pakistan for talks on first LNG deals: official
• A delegation from the world’s largest crude oil producer, Saudi Aramco, is in Pakistan for discussions on what would be its first ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments, said a top Pakistani official. Pakistan is facing an energy crisis with repeated power blackouts and gas supply outages that led to the sacking of the heads of two of its main gas distribution utilities in January.
• The Saudi delegation, which arrived on April 11, 2019, was discussing LNG supplies, Nadeem Babar, the head of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s task force on energy reforms, told Reuters. “They’re discussing LNG sales. They’re entering this business,” he said. “Aramco is starting an LNG trade operation, and we are in discussion over all aspects, including terms and quantity, etc.”
April 14, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Venezuela`s ex-spy chief arrested in Madrid on US warrant
• Venezuela`s longtime spy chief was arrested on April 12, 2019 in Madrid by Spanish police acting on a US drug warrant a few weeks after he threw his support behind opponents of President Nicolas Maduro.
• The arrest of retired Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who for more than a decade advised the late leader Hugo Chvez, was celebrated by US law enforcement officials who watched helplessly as the spymaster slipped from their grips five years ago when he was picked up in Aruba on the same New York indictment used to order April 12, 2019`s arrest.
7. North Korean leader open to third Trump summit
• US President Donald Trump on April 13, 2019 backed a possible third summit with North Korea, after Kim Jong Un said he would be willing to meet his American counterpart if Washington comes to the table with the `right attitude`.
• Kim said he would wait until the end of the year `for the US to make a courageous decision` to change its approach and smooth the path to another meeting, state media reported, after his most recent summit with Trump in Vietnam broke down without agreement. Trump welcomed further talks between the pair, pointing to their `excellent relationship`.
8. New Palestinian govt sworn in amid factional tensions
• Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on April 13, 2019 swore in a new government headed by a loyalist from his dominant Fatah party, a move rejected by his Islamist rival Hamas as a blow to unity efforts.
• Mohammed Shtayyeh, an economist and longtime Abbas adviser, will serve as prime minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA). Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara will continue in their positions.
• Shtayyeh was named Palestinian prime minister on March 10, replacing the independent university president Rami Al-Hamdallah.
• He will run the ministries of interior and religious affairs until new appointees are named for the two posts.
9. SpaceX launches first commercial mission of Falcon Heavy
• CA-Upper-level winds over Cape Canaveral in Florida forced Hawthorne-based SpaceX Wednesday to delay the first commercial launch of its Falcon Heavy, billed as the most powerful rocket ever assembled.
• The rocket, carrying a communications satellite, was originally scheduled for launch at 3:35 p.m. California time, but it was pushed back to 5 p.m. due to wind conditions. SpaceX founder Elon Musk wrote on Twitter around mid-afternoon that the launch would have to be scrubbed if the winds failed to let up.
• The winds never did subside, and by late afternoon, the launch was canceled. SpaceX will try again Thursday, with the launch window again opening at 3:35 p.m. California time.
10. US, Chinese engineers create life-like DNA robots
• American and Chinese engineers have created simple machines using DNA molecules, which are capable of metabolism, self-assembly and organization, three key traits of life.
• The paper published in the journal Science Robotics described the biomaterial that can autonomously emerge from its nanoscale building blocks and arrange itself into chains of repeating DNA a few millimeters in size.
• In a solution that can provide liquid flow of energy and building blocks for biological synthesis, the DNA machine grows at its front end while degrades at the tail end, thus making its own movement, creeping forward against the flow.