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August 9, 2018
Pakistan defends economic partnership with China
- Pakistan on August 8, 2018 defended its economic partnership with China, amid fears that the terms of opaque multi-billion dollar investments by Beijing could be exacerbating Islamabad`s economic woes as it considers a fresh International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout.
- `We have noted recent media reports questioning the viability of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), claiming that it would create an unbearable debt burden for Pakistan,` the government said in a statement issued to the media.
- `Such media reports are often one-sided, distort facts, and are based on irresponsible statements by individuals who either have nounderstanding of CPEC or are driven by ulterior motives,` the statement continued.
- CPEC is an ambitious plan by Beijing to build infrastructure in Pakistan, mainly energy and transport, connecting the western Chinese region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea.
- It is part of China`s massive `Belt and Road` initiative seeking to revive ancient trade routes through a massive rail and maritime network via $1 trillion in investments across Asia and Europe.
Pakistan gets first African origin lawmaker
- Pakistan is set to have its first ever lawmaker of African descent, raising the profile of a small and mostly poor community that has been in the region for centuries.
- Tanzeela Qambrani, 39, was nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to a women’s reserved seat in the regional parliament of Sindh province.
- She hopes her nomination after last month’s election will help wash away the stigma attached to the Sidi community, the local name for the ethnic African population concentrated in the coastal regions of Makran and Sindh.
- Many Sidis are believed to be descended from slaves brought to India from East Africa by the Portuguese. Historians say their ancestors were also soldiers, traders, pearl divers and Muslim pilgrims. They enjoyed senior positions during the Mughal empire but faced discrimination under British colonial rule. Estimates put their population in Pakistan in the tens of thousands. They are well-integrated but keep alive some traditions, including an annual festival that blends Islamic mysticism, crocodiles and singing in a blend of Swahili and a local language called Balochi.
- Sidi communities also live in the Indian states of Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Pakistan will add 60,000 troops to Afghan border patrol
- The military will add as many as 60,000 troops to boost its patrols along its disputed border with Afghanistan in an effort to curb the flow of insurgents passing between the two nations, according to military officials familiar with the matter.
- Forty percent of the troops have already been recruited in the exercise, which is expected to take two years, asking not to be identified so they could discuss sensitive troop movements. About 13 percent of a fence planned along the 1,456 mile-long disputed border has also been completed, they said. The armed forces’ media department didn’t respond to a request for comment.
- The move will consolidate Pakistan’s border operations, which have been beefed up in recent years after widespread insecurity wracked the country following the US invasion of Afghanistan. Domestic terror-related violence is now at its lowest in more than a decade. The army, which has 661,000 regular and paramilitary troops, have previously been more focused on the country’s eastern border with arch-rival neighbour India, with which it’s fought three wars against since British India’s partition in 1947. The two continue to contest the disputed region of Kashmir.
- Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to act against the Afghan Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network since President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of allowing them safe haven. In January, Trump suspended military aid to the nuclear-armed nation and accused Pakistan of giving “lies and deceit” in return for years of US funding.
Punjab tops child abuse with 63pc reported cases
- The Punjab is on the top in child rights’ violations with 63 percent kids’ abuse cases while Child Protection and Welfare Bureau could rescue only 11 children during the current year, statistics issued by the bureau revealed.
- As per a report of Sahil, a private organisation working on child rights, a total of 3,445 child abuse cases were reported in newspapers from across Pakistan during the year 2017, out of which 63 percent cases were from the Punjab, 27 percent from Sindh, 4 percent from Balochistan, 3 percent from Islamabad and 2 percent from KP. 12 cases were reported in newspapers from AJK and 3 cases from GB.
- The data reveals more than nine children were abused daily during 2017. Major crime categories of the reported cases were – abductions 1039, missing children 517, rape 467, sodomy 366, rape attempt 206, sodomy 180, gang-rape 158 and child marriages 109.
- United Nation Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) was implemented in 1991. Pakistan is not only one of the signatories but also it ratified the UNCRC in 1995.
- The CP&WB was established in 2004 under Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children (PD&NC) Act, 2004. The act was amended in 2007 and 2017. After amendment in 2017, the CP&WB was given the task to regularise all the institutions working on children. But no such institution has so far been registered with the CP&WB in the Punjab.
SC restores Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018
- The Supreme Court on August 8, 2018 restored Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018.
- Hearing a petition filed by the federation in Islamabad, the apex court suspended the decision of Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court which struck down Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018.
- In his remarks, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said the government should ensure that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan also have the rights available to the people of other areas in the country. It may be recalled that Chief Appellate Court of Gilgilt Baltistan declared the package given by the Centre null and void.
Australia`s most populous state entirely in drought
- Australia`s most populous state was declared entirely in drought on August 8, 2018 and struggling farmers were given new authority to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture during the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.
- Much of Australia`s southeast is struggling with drought. But the drought conditions in New South Wales state this year have been the driest and most widespread since 1965.
- The state government said on Wednesday that 100 per cent of New South Wales`land area of more than 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) was now in drought.
- Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said farmers were enduring one of the driest Southern Hemisphere winters on record. `This is tough.
Malaysian ex-PM Najib charged with money laundering
- Malaysia`s former prime minister Najib Razak was hit with new charges on August 8, 2018 linked to a multi-billion-dollar unancial scandal that contributed to his shock election defeatinMay.
- Appearing at a court in Kuala Lumpur, Najib was charged with three counts of money-laundering over claims he pocketed 42 million ringgit ($10.3 million) from a former unit of scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
- These are in addition to the charges he faced last month after he was first arrested three for criminal breach of trust and a separate count that he abused his position to take the money.
- The 65-year-old, who is free on bail, has denied all the charges.
- Malaysia`s new government is probing allegations that billions of dollars were looted from 1MDB, which was set up and overseen by Najib, in an audacious fraudthat spanned the globe.
- Najib is facing a long time behind bars if found guilty the money-laundering charges carry maximum jail terms of 15 years each, while the otherfourcharges carry sentences of 20 years each.
- The money-laundering charges allege 42 million ringgit stemming from illegal activities was transferred to Najib`s bank accounts between December 2014 and February 2015.
Bolivia`s historic presidential medal stolen
- Bolivia`s gold-and-emerald presidential medal, which dates back to the foundation of the republic in 1825, was stolen while its custodian visited a brothel.
- The custodian, identified by police as Lieutenant Roberto Juan de Dios Oniz Blanco, had been meant to deliver the historic medal and a tricolour sash to the president to wear during his speech on August 8, 2018 in the city of Cochabamba, according to a police report quoted by local media.
- President Evo Morales who last wore the emblems on August 6, during celebrations marking Bolivia`s 193rd anniversary appeared at the Cochabamba military parade on August 8, 2018 with neither medal nor sash.
- The medal was a gift from the Congress of the recently formed Bolivian republic to its founder in 1825 and was first used in 1826 as the presidential medal by Antonio Jose de Sucre.
Nasa poised to launch first Sun-skimming spaceship
- Nasa is poised to launch a $1.5 billion spacecraft on a brutally hot journey toward the Sun, offering scientists the closest-ever view of our strange and mysterious star.
- After the Parker Solar Probe blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 11, it will become the first spacecraft ever to fly through the Sun’s scorching atmosphere, known as the corona. Understanding how the corona works will help scientists anticipate dangerous space weather storms, which can disrupt the power grid on Earth. “It’s of fundamental importance for us to be able to predict space weather much the way we predict weather on Earth.
- The corona is a “very strange, unfamiliar environment for us.”
- The unmanned probe is named after Eugene Parker, the 91-year-old pioneering solar astrophysicist, and the US space agency has coined it as the first mission to “touch the Sun.”
- It will actually skim by at a distance of 3.83 million miles (6.16 million kilometers) above the Sun’s surface. Mission managers say that may sound like a lot but is really quite a close shave, given the sweltering conditions out there.
Former world champion Bett dies
- Kenya`s former 400m hurdles world champion Nicholas Bett has died in a road accident aged 28.
- Bett died in Nandi county, north west Kenya after his car hit bumps and rolled into a ditch. He had returned home from the Africa Championships in Nigeria on August 7, 2018.