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August 8, 2018
- Accord with Russia signed for training of Pakistani troops
- Pakistan and Russia on August 7, 2018 signed an agreement that allows for training of Pakistani troops at Russian military training institutes.
- Both countries signed the Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF`s (Russian Federation) Training Institutes.
- The agreement was signed at the conclusion of the first meeting of RussiaPakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC), described by the defence ministry as the highest forum of defence collaboration between Pakistan and the Russian Federation. The two countries had earlier this year, during the visit of the thenforeign minister Khawaja Asif to Moscow, agreed to set up a commission to boost military cooperation.
- Russian Deputy Defence Minister Col Gen Alexander Fomin led his side at the talks while Pakistani Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah headed the host side.
- The two sides, during the talks, reviewed the progress made in bilateral defence cooperation since they signed the defence cooperation pact in November 2014. Subsequently, Pakistan and Russia in October 2015 signed the military-technical cooperation accord providing for arms supplies and cooperation in weapon development.
- Russia has over the past three years provided four Mi-35M combat and cargo helicopters to Pakistan and the militaries of the two countries also held joint drills codenamed `Friendship`.
In a first, provinces reach consensus on law reforms
- The first inter-province consensus on the rule of law reforms has been achieved at a meeting convened by the United Nations Office for Crime and Drugs (UNODC) and the British High Commission in Bhurban on August 7, 2018.
- According to UNODC, key executives and members of the judiciary and those of civil society from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa agreed on the importance of the rule of law roadmap implementation plans to deliver better justice outcomes for all citizens.
- Members of the police, forensics, prosecutions, parole and probation depart-ments as well as judicial officials from Balochistan, KP and Punjab emphasised the value of strong cross-institutional engagement in securing buy-in to the roadmap processes. Officials from Sindh confirmed their roadmap would be completed by the end of this year.
Pakistanis hide Rs43 trillion assets abroad: News Report
- The authorities probing into the illegal foreign accounts and properties of thousands of Pakistanis disclosed on August 7, 2018 that the volume of hidden assets stashed by Pakistani nationals in different tax havens abroad stood at $350 billion (Rs43 trillion).
- Interestingly, the authorities also revealed, for the first time, that only accounts, properties worth Rs1,003 billion (US$8.1 billion) were declared by over 5,300 entities, individuals under the amnesty scheme 2018 in the past three months.
- “By the close of Amnesty Scheme 2018 on July 31st, 2018, declarations from 5,363 entities (individuals/companies) had disclosed foreign assets worth Rs1,003 billion (US$8.1 billion), with major share of declared assets located in the UAE.
Multi-national naval exercise Aman-19 ends
- A two-day preliminary planning conference of multi-national naval exercise Aman-19 hosted by Pakistan Navy concluded on August 8, 2018.
- The conference held threadbare discussions on Aman-19 naval exercise which will be held next year.
- The theme of the naval exercise will be “United for Peace”.
- Pakistan Navy has been hosting Aman exercise since 2007 with the aim to bring navies around the world at one platform for peace
Shujaat Ullah Qureshi given acting charge of DG IB
- After the retirement of Ihsan Ghani, the caretaker government has given acting charge of Director General (DG) IB to Shujaat Ullah Qureshi to run the Bureau’s day to day routine functions until the new government appoints a regular head.
- Shujaat Ullah Qureshi who is currently serving the Intelligence Bureau as Joint Director General Secretariat joined IB as a career officer in 1985. He also served in Balochistan, Azad Kashmir, Punjab and abroad.
- The acting DG IB has worked as head of DGIB Sectt, a very coveted and sensitive assignment, with eight Directors General for more than a decade and earned respect from all of them.
- The officer is a graduate from National Defence University (NDU) and secured top position in National Security Course 2013-14. He was promoted as Joint Director General (BS-21) in the year 2014.
Trump warns world against trade with Iran as sanctions return
- US President Donald Trump warned the world against doing business with Iran on August 7, 2018 as he hailed the `most biting sanctions ever impose d`, triggering a mix of anger, fear and deñancein Tehran.
- `The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level,` Trump wrote on Twitter.
- `Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less.` Within hours of the sanctions taking effect, German carmaker Daimler said it was halting its business activities in Iran.
- Trump`s May withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement had already spooked investors and triggered a run on the Iranian rial long before nuclear-related sanctions went back into force.
- Sanctions are already badly affecting people`s lives. I can`t afford to buy food, pay the rent,` said one construction worker on the streets of the capital.
Iran dismisses US talks offer
- Iran dismissed a US offer to renegotiate a historic 2015 nuclear deal signed with other major powers as President Donald Trump reimposed crippling sanctions on August 7, 2018.
- Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May has infuriated European partners who were determined to keep it alive and now find their businesses operating in Iran faced with the threat of US legal penalties.
- The sanctions that went into effect on August 7, 2018 target Iranian access to US banknotes and key economic sectors including cars and carpets. Much of the damage has already been done, with Trump’s aggressive rhetoric fuelling a run on the rial in recent months, while worsening inflation has stoked public protests against the government’s management of the economy that have intensified over the past week.
- Most Iranians see US hostility as a basic fact of life, so their frustration is largely directed at their own leaders for not handling the situation better. “Prices have been increasing for three or four months and everything we need has become so expensive, even before sanctions returned,” said Yasaman, a 31-year-old photographer in Tehran.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told the global reaction to Trump’s move showed that the US was diplomatically “isolated,” but acknowledged the sanctions “may cause some disruption.”
Judge rules against Trump move to curb transgenders` military role
- A US court ruled the Trump administration could not enforce an updated policy barring certain transgender people from serving in the US military, becoming the second court in the country to rule against the government since it unveiled the policy in March.
- President Donald Trump announced on March 23 that he would endorse a plan by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to restrict the military service of transgender people who experience a condition called gender dysphoria.
- The policy replaced an outright han on transgender service members that Trump announced last year on Twitter, citing concern over military focus and medical costs.
- US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington denied a request by the administration to lift an injunction she had issued against Trump`s original ban.
Lithium-rich giant star discovered
- Chinese astronomers have discovered the most lithium-rich giant star ever known, which could shed new light on the evolution of the universe.
- With 3,000 times more lithium than a normal star, it was found in the direction of Ophiuchus, on the north side of the galactic disk, at a distance of 4,500 light years from Earth.
- The star has a mass almost 1.5 times our sun. A composite image of the supernova 1E0102.2-7219 contains X-rays from Chandra (blue and purple), visible light data from VLT’s MUSE instrument (bright red), and additional data from Hubble (dark red and green). A neutron star, the ultra dense core of a massive star that collapses and undergoes a supernova explosion, is found at its center.
Veteran Tamil leader Karunanidhi dies at 94
- Towering Tamil leader M. Karunanidhi who began his political career as an anti-Hindi agitator at 14 and fought regressive social mores all his life died in Chennai on August 7, 2018. He was 94.
- Among the early leaders of the Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which rose in response to the pervasive hold of Brahminism in Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi was chief minister of Tamil Nadu five times.