December 1, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Defence expo attracts large crowds on final day
• The queues outside the National Coaching Centre gates were unending on November 30, 2018.
• The fourth and final day of the 10th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2018 organised by the Defence Export Promotion Organisation at the Karachi Expo Centre was open to the general public, who after getting their passes made took the shuttle which was leaving every five minutes or so to proceed to the venue.
• Other productions of the Heavy Industry Taxila such as the command vehicle SAKB, the recovery vehicle Al-Hadeed, the logistics vehicle Al-Qaswa, the protection vehicle APC M113P and the armoured security vehicle Mohafiz IV/Interceptor also earned several fans. Some also got fooled by the inflatable smart decoys for deception, which seemed unbelievably realistic.
• China`s LY-80 Lomads guidance vehicle and firing vehicle, their IBIS-150 Radar and heavy mechanised bridge 84-A were also attracting big crowds.
2. Separate directorate established for real estate
• The government has established the Directorate General Immoveable Properties (DGIP) to deal with matters related to real estate and immoveable properties.
• A notification towards this effect was issued here on November 30, 2018 which also included the details on scope, operational mechanics and procedural parameters of the newly established authority. The plan to establish the authority was announced in Finance Act 2018.
• Director General for Broadening of Tax Base, Muhammad Tanveer has been given the additional charge to head the DGIP whereas three of his colleagues were also given additional charge to look after the new office.
• Furthermore, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also transferred three officials to the directorate including Saba Rehmat who was appointed as the Deputy Director North, Asim Reza as the Assistant Director Central and Mehran Khan was appointed as the Assistant Director South.
• The newly established authority will deal with all matters related to real estate and immoveable properties including open plots, constructed properties residential, commercial and industrial, agricultural lands, housing schemes, projects, societies, towers, chains of luxury apartments and other related assets. The notice defines different type of real estate and immovable properties in detail which are to be dealt with by the authority.
3. Pakistan to gift 40,000mt of wheat to Afghanistan
• The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on November 30, 2018 approved to provide 40,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan as a gift.
• The ECC, which was chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar, has considered the proposal of Ministry of National Food Security and Research for provision of 40,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan as a gift. The ECC has agreed to gift the wheat worth Rs1.73 billion to Afghanistan.
• The ECC has also considered and approved a proposal from the Finance Division for provision of funds amounting to US$ 82.6 million as grant to Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPA) for disbursement to 320,000 BISP beneficiaries, helping them graduate out of poverty.
December 1, 2018: International Current Affairs
4. Eradication of polio still international health emergency: WHO
• The spread of polio must still be classified as a public health emergency because, while progress has been made towards wiping out the disease, that progress is fragile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on November 30, 2018.
• `We are so close to the elimination of polio, but we have to use all of our international tools to achieve this end,` Helen Rees, chair of the WHO`s international emergency committee, told reporters on a telephone briefing.
• `The ongoing situation continues to require that a public health emergency of international concern should be applied.
• Latest WHO figures show there have been 27 cases of wild polio so far in 2018 all of them in Pakistan and Afghanistan where the contagious viral disease is endemic.
• Rees said the WHO was `very concerned` that this number was higher than last year, and urged governments against complacency in the battle to eradicate the paralysing disease.
5. S. Korean train crosses into North for first time in 10 years
• A South Korean train crossed into North Korea on November 30, 2018 for the first time in a decade packed with engineers on a mission to upgrade the North`s dilapidated rail tracks and create a linked, cross-border network.
• Connecting the railway systems was one of the agreements signed earlier this year in a key meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the South`s President Moon Jae-in.
• A red, white and blue train displaying a banner reading `Iron Horse is now running toward the era of peace and prosperity` pull away from the South`s Dorasan station, the nearest terminal from the western part of the inter-Korean border.
6. Trump claims win as US, Mexico, Canada sign new trade deal
• The leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada on November 30, 2018 signed a huge regional trade deal to replace the old NAFTA, denounced by President Donald Trump as a killer of US jobs.
• Trump said negotiating the deal known in Washington as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, had seen the leaders take `a lot of barbs and a little abuse.` But he insisted that the `incredible milestone` would aid US workers, especially in the auto industry, while putting in place `intellectual property protection that will be the envy of nations all around the world.
• Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was less effusive about the renegotiated pact, but said the USMCA would resolve the threat of `serious economic uncertainty` that `would have gotten more damaging.
• While praising the `historic` nature of the deal, Trudeau also told Trump that the progress gave `all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminium between our countries. Mexican President Pena Nieto, on his last day in office, called the revamped version of NAFTA important in shoring up `the view of an integrated North America with the firm belief that together we are stronger and more competitive.
7. US air strike killed 23 civilians in southern Afghanistan, says UN
• At least 23 civilians, including women and children, were killed by a US air strike in southern Afghanistan earlier this week, according to an UN investigation, as ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the 17-year conflict.
• `Initial findings indicate that the vast majority of the victims were women and children,` the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a report received by this news agency, adding that at least three people were also injured in the attack.
• The strike occurred during a firefight between Afghan special forces working with US advisers and Taliban insurgents in restive Helmand province.
• NATO said air support was requested by security forces on the ground as the militants deployed heavy weapons and retreated into a nearby compound.
• Provincial authorities had earlier said several members of a single family appeared to be killed in the strike, with one official saying `at least 18 civilians were killed`, which could not be confirmed. NATO has said it was investigating the incident.
8. 3 new Russian military satellites successfully reach orbit
• The Briz-KM upper stage of the Rokot launch vehicle brought three new Russian military satellites to the orbit, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry said on November 30, 2018.
• “The light-class carrier rocket Rokot, which lifted off from the state cosmodrome Plesetsk in Arkhangelsk Region today on November 30, at 05:27 a.m. Moscow time [02:27 GMT], successfully brought three satellites to the desired orbit for the Russian Defense Ministry,” the press service said in a statement. The upper stage and the cluster of satellites separated at 05:33 a.m. Moscow time.
• The orbit where the upper stage has been placed is situated around 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) above the Earth.
9. Suu Kyi to be stripped of freedom of Paris award
• Paris city will strip Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary freedom of the French capital over her failure to speak out against a crackdown on Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
• Mayor Anne Hidalgo decided to revoke the honour because of the “multiple violations of human rights recorded in Myanmar and the violence and persecution by Myanmar’s security forces against the Rohingya minority.
• The move, which follows similar decisions by Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oxford, would make Myanmar’s de facto leader the first person to lose the freedom of the French capital, a purely symbolic award.
10. Ukraine holds military drills after Russia sea confrontation
• A Ukrainian general wearing camouflage and a bulletproof vest looks out from his Mi-8 helicopter flying over the Sea of Azov, the flashpoint of rising tensions between Kiev and Moscow.
• “Our presumed enemy is Russia. We don’t have any other enemies,” says Sergiy Nayev, Ukraine’s commander of military operations in the pro-Russian separatist east of the country.
• The 48-year-old general is observing from the skies anti-aircraft defence exercises near the village of Urzuf on the coast of this small sea, after the Russians seized three Ukrainian military ships and 24 sailors nearby on Sunday. Ukraine’s soldiers are practising repelling a Russian attempt to land on the coast. The ex-Soviet republic believes it is now under threat of a “total war” from Moscow.