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August 4, 2018
- Nacta, FIA decide to coordinate for risk assessment
- Nearly a couple of weeks before a scheduled meeting of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group on Money Laundering, the National Counter Terrorism Authority has decided that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will work in coordination with Nacta to accomplish the task of National Risk Assessment and asked the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) to prepare a consolidated report for the APG meeting.
- The implementation of a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan was discussed at a special meeting of the National Task Force on Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) held at the Nacta headquarters.
- The 10th monthly meeting of the CFT, presided over by national coordinator for Nacta Dr Suleman Khan, was attended by the representatives of all 27 members of the task force comprising federal and provincial government departments as well as other organisations.
- Earlier in June, the FATF the international watchdog against money laundering and financing of terrorism put Pakistan on a grey list titled `jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies`.
`1.67 million votes rejected countrywide in 2018 polls`
- The number of votes rejected in the 2018 general elections was 1.67 million, 11.7 pc more that the 1.5 million rejected in the 2013 polls, according to a report released by Free and Fair Elections Network (Fafen) on August 3, 2018.
- The report says the increase in the number of rejected votes is observed in all four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
- In the ICT area, the number of polls rejected from the count are more than double those in the 2013 elections.
- There was a 40pc increase in the number of rejected votes in Balochistan,30.6pc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, 7pc in Sindh and 6.6pc in Punjab.
- The ballots excluded from the count surpasse d the margin of victory in 49, or 18.1pc, of the 270 National Assembly constituencies where elections were held Among these National Assembly constituencies, 26 are in Punjab, 11 in Sindh, six each in KP and Balochistan.
- According to the provincial results of the 2018 general elections, 79 national and 169 provincial assembly constituencies have a margin of victory of less than 5pc of the total votes polled or 10,000.
US cuts aid to Pakistan by $150m
- Amid tensions in bilateral ties, US Congress has passed a Bill to cut Pakistan’s defence aid to $150 million. After signatures of US President Donald Trump, the Bill will hold the status of law.
- As per details garnered, the US Congress on Tuesday approved a $716 billion Defence Authorisation Bill to cut Pakistan’s defence aid from $750 million to $150 million.
- This military aid is given to Pakistan in order to maintain its border security.
- However, the reduction in the defence bill is made after the allegation of using US aid in operations against Taliban.
- The Senate passed the conference report on National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-19 by 87 to 10 votes, last week. The Bill then was sent to President Trump seeking his assent.
- Last year, US Defence Bill had authorised a significant aid of $700 million for Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) that has been reduced now.
- The defence policy bill backs President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms.
- The annual act authorises US military spending but is used as a vehicle for a broad range of policy matters as it has passed annually for more than 50 years.
- The fiscal 2019 NDAA was named to honour McCain, the Armed Services Committee Chairman, war hero, long-time Senator and former Republican Presidential nominee, who has been undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Maldives HC hails Pak efforts for peace
- Maldives High Commissioner to Pakistan Ahmed Saleem has hailed Pakistan’s efforts and role for peace and regional security.
- He expressed these views at a meeting with Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in GHQ on August 3, 2018.
- Matters pertaining to regional security and bilateral interest came under discussion during the meeting.
China unveils proposed tariffs on $60bn of US goods
- China proposed retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods ranging from liquefied natural gas (LNG) to some aircraft on August 3, 2018, as a senior Chinese diplomat cast doubt on prospects of talks with Washington to solve their bitter trade conflict given current US behaviour.
- The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure for trade concessions from Beijing this week by proposing a higher 25 per cent tariff on $200bn worth of Chinese imports. China immediately vowed to retaliate though at the same time urged the US to act rationally and return to talks to resolve the dispute.
- The United States and China implemented tariffs on $34bn worth of each others` goods in July. Washington is expected to soon implement tariffs on an additional $16bn of Chinese goods, which China has already announced it will match immediately.
Sri Lanka secures $1bn Chinese loan
- Sri Lanka`s central bank on August 3, 2018 announced that it had secured a $1 billion loan from China as the island a key link in Beijing`s ambitious Belt and Road initiative (BRI) develops closer relations with Asia`s largest economy.
- The first half of loan will be released later this month and the balance will be received in October.
- The eight-year loan by China Development Bank carries a 5.25 per cent interest rate with a three year grace period.
- The terms of Chinese loan were better than other international lenders and the country hopes to secure additional $200 to $250 million from China`s domestic financial market by issuing `Panda bonds` Panda Bonds are renminbi-denominated bonds issued by non-Chinese entities in China. They were first issued in October, 2005 by International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.
Teen becomes youngest woman jailed in UK for terrorism
- A London teenager was jailed for life on August 3, 2018 for plotting a terror attack, becoming the youngest woman to be sentenced for terrorism of fences in Britain.
- Safaa Boular, 18, who together with her mother and elder sister formed the country`s first all-female cell linked to the militant Islamic State group, will spend a minimum of 13 years in prison.
- She had planned violent attacks in the British capital, using coded language themed around a tea party, after UK authorities stopped her travelling to Syria to marry an IS fighter she had met online.
- In June sibling Rizlaine Boular, 22, was also jailed for life, with a minimum term of 16 years, while their Morocco-born mother Mina Dich was handed a minimum sentence of six years and nine months for aiding the plots.
US, Turkey agree to resolve disputes after relations dive
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed on August 3, 2018 to try to resolve a series of disputes, after relations between the Nato allies sank to their lowest point in dec ades.
- Their meeting in Singapore followed Washington`s imposition of sanctions on two Turkish ministers over the case of Andrew Brunson, a US pastor on trial in Turkey for backing terrorism.
- State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described their conversation on the sidelines of a regional ministers` meeting as constructive. `They agreed to continue to try to resolve the issues between our two countries,` she said.
- Cavusoglu said he had repeated Turkey`s message that `the threatening language and sanctions doesnot achieve anything`, but added that he and Pompeo would take steps to resolve their differences when they returned home.
Chile enacts historic ban on plastic bags
- Chile made history on August 3, 2018 when it became the first country in South America to ban the commercial use of plastic bags.
- Large businesses have six months to phase out the use of plastic bags, while smaller ones will be given two years to adapt to the new rules.
- It means that any form of plastic bag other than those constituting primary packaging “necessary for hygiene or to prevent food wastage” are prohibited, the government gazette Diario Oficial said on August 3, 2018.
- Those flouting the ban will be subject to a $370 fine, in a country where the minimum wage is just $800.
Canada’s Zombie Boy dead of apparent suicide
- Zombie Boy – a model and artist known for his extensive tattoos, including of a skull and brain on his head – has died of an apparent suicide, Canadian media reported.
- Zombie Boy, whose real name was Rick Genest, died around on August 1, 2018, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said, citing police sources. He was 32.
- He held world records for having the most bones tattooed on his body at 139, and the most insect tattoos, with 176, according to Guinness World Records.
- Montreal tattoo artist Frank Lewis was “responsible for inking the majority (of) the designs,” it said. Lady Gaga – who appeared with Zombie Boy in the “Born This Way” music video – said she was “devastated” by his death.