April 2019

Day by Day Current Affairs (April 23, 2019) | MCQs for CSS, PMS


April 23, 2019: National Current Affairs

1. A happy turn in Pakistan-Iran ties

• Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to boost security cooperation and set up a Joint Rapid Reaction Force to fight terrorism and guard the common border between the two countries.
• Leadership of both the countries agreed also agreed to share intelligence and treat any group involved in inhuman activities on either side as terrorist, said a press releases issued in Tehran and Islamabad.
• In the talks led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Iranain President Hassan Rauhani, Islamabad and Tehran also agreed to further strengthen bilateral trade and their economic ties.
• Decisions taken
o Raising Joint Rapid Reaction Force to guard border areas and intelligence sharing
o Railway line to connect Gwadar and Chabahar ports
o Completion of gas pipeline to Pakistan
o MoU signed for health sector cooperation
o Iran shows willingness to tenfold electricity export to Pakistan

2. Senate committee approves bill to regulate courier, logistics services

• Nine years after its inception, the draft billto establish a regulatory body for courier and logistics businesses has been approved by the Senate Standing Committee on Postal Services.
• Stakeholders invited to the meeting and Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi objected to the bill on the grounds that the new authority would grant leverage to the Pakistan Post, contrary to the environment of fair competition in the sector.
• Since committee chair Senator Khushbalcht Shujat also moved The Pakistan Courier and Logistic Regulatory Authority Bill 2018, the meeting was chaired by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi.
• The committee was told by officials that the government supports the bill.
• There are more than 1,000 courier and logistics service providers but no regulations or registration agency to enlist these companies. Even the Post Office would have to register with the proposed authority and its services would have to be in the authority`s knowledge.

3. Buledi named finance minister of Balochistan

• Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has appointed Minister for Higher Education and Information Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi as new finance minister of Balochistan.
• However, as a result of changes made in the cabinet on April 22, 2019, the portfolio of higher education was withdrawn from Mr Buledi. He will continue to hold the portfolio of information minister along with his new responsibilities.
• According to an official notification, Mir Arif Jan Mohammad Hasni, who was earlier inducted into the cabinet as finance minister, has been given the portfolio of communication and works department. Tariq Hussain Mangi earlier held this portfolio.
• Political analyst Liaquat Shahwani has been appointed spokesman for the government.

4. Use of plastic shopping bags banned in Hunza

• Adviser to prime minister on climate change Malik Ameen Aslam has announced to impose ban on use of plastic shopping bags in Islamabad and the four provinces to help mitigate climate change effects.
• Necessary legislation will be made to impose ban on plastic bags usage across the country.
• Hunza became the first district in Asia to have imposed ban on plastic bags` use. Advisor to PM also announced to impose section 144 to ensure strict enforcement of the ban in the district.

5. Election Commission issues first annual performance report

• The Election Commission of Pakistan April 22, 2019 launched its first annual performance report and post-election review on General Elections-2018 with 47 recommendations.
• Secretary ECP Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad addressing the media said that best arrangements were made by the commission in general election-2018 with increased the number of polling stations. He said new technology of Result Management System (RMS) and Result Transmission System (RTS) was introduced.
• CCTV cameras were installed in 17,000 polling stations while a comprehensive monitoring mechanism was adopted by training ECP staff. The commission had no power to declare any political party as terrorist.

6. $551m facility signed with ITFC for fuel imports

• The government of Pakistan and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) on April 22, 2019 signed a $551 million facility to finance oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports during the current fiscal year.
• Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh attended the signing ceremony.
• This is the single largest financing from the ITFC a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank increasing the total facility to about $1.05 billion during current fiscal year. This is part of a $4.5bn package Pakistan and ITFC had signed in April 2018 to cover oil and LNG imports over a period of three years at the rate of about $1.5 per annum.
• This year, however, the facility could not go beyond $1.05bn owing to limitations of the partner banks of the ITFC. It has previously extended about $500m funds in three installments of $27m, $125m and $100m during the current fiscal year.

April 23, 2019: International Current Affairs

7. Moscow hesitant to welcome Ukraine`s new leader

• Russia`s reaction to comedian Volodymyr Zelensky`s poll win in Ukraine has been mixed, with the Kremlin refusing to congratulate him but others seeing an opportunity to improve ties after Moscow`s annexation of Crimea.
• The countries have been at loggerheads since a bloody uprising in Kiev ousted a Kremlin-backed regime in 2014, prompting Russia to annex Crimea and support separatist rebels in the east.
• Outgoing president Petro Poroshenko`s tenure was marked by the fight against Russian-backed rebels in the eastern Lugansk and Donetsk regions, which has cost some 13,000 lives. Poroshenko also sought to curb Moscow`s economic and cultural influence in the country.
• On the campaign trail, the Russian-speaking Zelensky capitalised on frustrations with Poroshenko`s leadership and criticised some of his anti-Moscow policies. But at the same time he said he would keep Ukraine on a pro-Western course.

8. Trump ends all waivers over Iran oil

• The United States said on April 22, 2019 it seeks to reduce Iran`s oil exports to zero by ending sanctions waivers to countries with which it has warm ties.
• The White House announced on April 22, 2019 that `President Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May. This decision is intended to bring Iran`s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.
• In doing so, the Trump administration is targeting the country`s top revenue maker in its latest no-holds barred move to scale back Iran`s influence.
• The decision will directly impact China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, the largest importers of oil from Iran. All these nations were using US waivers to continue buying oil during a first six-month grace period announced in November.

9. Chinese scientists develop needle sensor to detect heavy metals in seawate

• Chinese scientists have developed a sensor by combining stainless steel acupuncture needles and nanomaterials to detect active heavy metals with high sensitivity.
• Scientists from the Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences prepared a new needle-shaped sensor based on the acupuncture stainless steel needle, through the processes of insulation, sealing and functionalization with nanomaterials.
• The sensor was tested in detecting the heavy metal copper in seawater. It exhibited excellent performance and ultra-high sensitivity for the detection of different forms of copper by ASV

10. Tesla to launch self-driving cars amid skepticism

• Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears poised to transform the company’s electric cars into driverless vehicles in a risky bid to realize a bold vision that he has been floating for years.
• The technology required to make that quantum leap is scheduled to be shown off to Tesla investors April 22, 2019 at the company’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters.
• Musk, known for his swagger as well as his smarts, is so certain that Tesla will win the race toward full autonomy that he indicated in an interview earlier this month that his company’s cars should be able to navigate congested highways and city streets without a human behind the wheel by no later than next year.

Day by Day Current Affairs (April 23, 2019) | MCQs for CSS, PMS

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Shahzad F. Malik

Shahzad Faisal Malik is the administrator of CSSTimes.pk and is responsible for managing the content, design, and overall direction of the blog. He has a strong background in Competitive Exams and is passionate and sharing information with others.
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  • An excellent effort by css times. Thanks for providing latest info and analysis on various issues at domestic and international level.