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April 4, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. 40 brigadiers promoted to rank of major general
• The promotion board of the Pakistan Army, presided over by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, on April 3, 2019 approved the promotion of 40 brigadiers to the rank of major general.
• Eleven of those promoted belong to the Army Medical Corps.
• The officers are Brig Zafar Iqbal Marwat, Brig Shakir Ullah Khattak, Brig Muhammad Avais Dastgir, Brig Amir Naveed, Brig Mohammad Ejaz Mirza, Brig Tabassum Habib, Brig Muhammad Shuja Anwar, Brig Dilawar Khan, Brig Sarfraz Ahmad, Brig Asif Mahmood Goraya, Brig Kamal Azfar, Brig Muhammad Ali Khan, Brig Muhammad Kashif Azad, Brig Majid Jahangir, Brig Azhar Waqas, Brig Akif Iqbal, Brig Omer Ahmed Bokhari, Brig Muhammad Ahsan Khattak, Brig Inayat Hussain, Brig Adil Yamin, Brig Muhammad Hasan Khattak, Brig Muhammad Aamir Majeed, Brig Syed Imdad Hussain Shah, Brig Muhammad Aamer Najam, Brig Muhammad Aqeel, Brig Kamran Ahmed Satti, Brig Kashif Zafar, Brig Khurram Anwar Qadri and Brig Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry.
• Those approved from the Army Medical Corps are Brig Muhammad Aleem, Brig Ahsan Altaf, Brig Sayed Nusrat Raza, Brig Karamat Hussain Shah Bokhari, Brig Farrukh Saeed, Brig Qudrat Ullah Malik, Brig Aamer Ikram, Brig Shahid Hameed Chaudhry, Brig Muhammad Qasim Butt, Brig Farhan Tuyyab and Brig Muhammad Afsheen Iqbal.-
2. Economic outlook gloomy, warns ADB
• Pakistan will continue to face macroeconomic challenges despite tight fiscal and monetary policies to rein in twin deficits leading to deceleration of the GDP to 3.9 per cent in the ongoing fiscal year, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in a report released on April 3, 2019.
• In its assessment of Pakistan`s economy in the `Asian Development Outlook` for 2019, the Manila-based bank warns that `until macroeconomic imbalances are alleviated, the outlook is for slower growth, higher inflation, pressure on currency and heavy external financing is needed to maintain even a minimal cushion of foreign exchange reserves.
• Moreover, lower revenue collection and higher current expenditure pushed the budget deficit from 2.3pc of the GDP in the first half of 2018-19 to 2.7pc a year later. Pointing out the supplyside slowdown, the bank warns the agriculture sector is likely to underperform the 3.8pc growth target for the ongoing fiscal year as well amid water shortages.
3. Pakistan only behind China, India in air pollution deaths: study
• Pakistan is the second on a list of 10 countries with the highest mortality rate due to air pollution, while India ties with China for the first place, says a report released on April 3, 2019.
• A total of 2.4 million people (1.2m each) died of air pollution in China and India in 2017, when a survey was conducted.
• India, however, was ahead of China in the percentage of population expose d to household air pollution. In India 60 per cent people were exposed to household air pollution, 32 per cent in China, 79 per cent in Bangladesh and 52 per cent in Pakistan.
• The report `State of Global Air` by the US-based Health Effects Institute and the University of British Columbia identifies air pollution as the fifth leading cause of early death worldwide, responsible for more deaths than malaria, road accidents, malnutrition or alcoholism. Only dietary risks, high blood pressure, tobacco and high fasting-plasma glucose are more injurious than air pollution.
4. Punjab’s health package for Gilgit-Baltistan
• Provincial Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid on April 3, 2019 announced a ‘friendly health package’ for Gilgit-Baltistan.
• It includes quota of five seats each in 11 nursing colleges of Punjab, 11 ambulances and medical equipment worth Rs200 million.
• She made this announcement after a detailed meeting with Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Raja Jalal Hussain at the office of the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD) office.
• P&SHD Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman, Punjab Director General Health Services Dr Haroon Jehangir and Additional Secretary Technical Dr Asim Hussain also accompanied her.
5. Facebook launches Innovation Lab in Pakistan
• Facebook, in collaboration with Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom and National Technology Fund (Ignite), launched an Innovation Lab in Pakistan on April 3, 2019.
• Located in the National Incubation Centre (NIC) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums), the lab will focus on providing infrastructure access to developers, entrepreneurs and community groups enabling them to network, train and grow their expertise.
• It will also help developers build products and applications using emerging technology like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (A R).
• Facebook is committed to building an impactful community in Pakistan and we believe it is important to support businesses, startups and the individuals who are driving innovation to grow and succeed,` said Jason Lin, Head of Startup Programmes (APAC), Facebook.
April 4, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Islamic penal code comes into force in Brunei
• Brunei introduced Sharia laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex, on April 3, 2019 despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.
• The penal code in the tiny country on tropical Borneo island ruled by the all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah fully came into force following years of delays.
• The laws, which also include amputation of hands and feet for thieves, make Brunei the first place in East or Southeast Asia to have a Sharia penal code at the national level, joining Saudi Arabia and other mostly Middle Eastern countries.
7. US move not conducive to peace in South Asia: China
• The United States vowed on Wednesday to utilise `all available avenues` to ensure Masood Azhar was held accountable but China warned Washington that this attitude could complicate an already tense situation in South Asia.
• `We can confirm that we circulated a draft UNSC resolution with UK and French support,` said a US State Department spokesperson when asked how the United States planned to deal with this issue.
• On March 27, the United States circulated a draft resolution to the 15-nation UN Security Council (UNSC) to blacklist Azhar and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo.
• `We hope South Asia could maintain peace and stability and we hope India and Pakistan will engage in dialogue and through dialogue and consultation resolve outstanding issues,` said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang while explaining China`s policy on the dispute.
8. Trump again threatens Mexico border closure
• President Donald Trump again threatened on April 3, 2019 to close the US border with Mexico, this time calling on Congress to take steps immediately to deal with immigration and security loopholes that he says are creating a national emergency. `Congress must get together and immediately eliminate the loopholes at the Border!`.
• This is a National Emergency! Trump has repeatedly threatened to close the border to stem what he calls a tide of illegal immigration. On Friday, he said he would close the border this week unless Mexico took steps to stop illegal migration. The threat drew an outcry from business leaders and others, who said the move could disrupt legal crossings and billions of dollars in trade.
• The US Chamber of Commerce, the largest US business lobbying group, said it contacted the White House to discuss the negative impact of a border closure.
9. Panama Papers investigations yield over $1.2bn: report
• Taxmen in 22 countries worldwide have raked in more than $1.2 billion in fines and back taxes thanks to the 2016 Panama Papers leak of information about offshore dealings, media reported on April 3, 2019.
• Britain has recouped some $253 million, France $136m and Australia $93m, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) posted on its website.
• German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung which received the massive leak of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca on which the investigation was based reported Berlin has reaped $183m from related tax probes.
April 4, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Punjab Games begin with colourful opening ceremony
• The 72nd Punjab Games were inaugurated in a colourful opening ceremony at the Punjab Stadium Lahore on April 3, 2019 night.
• Around 3,000 male and female players from all nine divisions of Punjab Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha and Sahiwal are featuring in 21 disciplines at the Games. The competitions in various disciplines will continue till April 6. Lahore Division are the defending champions at the Games.
• The Punjab Games, after a lapse of eight years, are being organised by Sports Board Punjab (SBP)in collaboration with the Punjab Olympic Association.
• At the opening ceremony, the marching athletes received huge applause from the crowd. The events of aerobics, gymnastics, Sufi dance were displayed. Furthermore, a Turkish band and singer Saher Ali Bagga also entertained the crowd with national songs during the ceremony.