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February 21, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. NAB arrests Sindh Assembly speaker on graft charges
• The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on February 20, 2019 arrested Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in connection with corruption allegations.
• According to NAB officials, Mr Durrani faces an inquiry for accumulating assets beyond his known sources of income as well as allegations that he had embezzled public funds.
• The Sindh Assembly speaker was reportedly arrested at a hotel in the capital. He was in the hotel for over two days and did not go out. NAB officials were waiting outside the hotel to arrest him. According to a spokesman for the anti-corruption watchdog, the Karachi NAB collaborated with the Rawalpindi NAB and intelligence wing of the NAB headquarters to ensure his arrest.
2. Unanimous NA resolution against India passed
• The NA unanimously passed the resolution, stating that `this House strongly rejects the baseless Indian allegations seeking to link the attack on the convoy of Central Reserve Police Force in Pulwama, Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IoK) to Pakistan without investigation and any shared of evidence`.
• The house `condemns Indian kneejerk reaction where instead of introspection on its repressive policies against the people of IoK denying their right of self-determination, India has again sought to shift the blame to Pakistan through baseless polemic and provocative rhetoric`.
• The NA `recalls the statements by heads of all political parties and the prime minister`s statement of 19 February 2019, offering Pakistan`s assistance to India in investigations of this attack and to take action on actionable intelligence or evidence`.
• The house also `strongly denounces the continuing reprisal attacks on Kashmiris in IoK and targeting of Kashmiri students in India after the Pulwama attack`.
• The resolution `stresses that India`s smear campaign should not delude and obscure the real issues of the human rights nightmare and humanitarian emergency prevalent in IoK due to the Indian atrocities`.
• The NA `emphasises that no one should underestimate Pakistan`s resolve to defend itself against any act of aggression`.
3. India suspends bus service to AJK
• India halted a key bus service with Azad Jammu and Kashmir, cutting the only land route linking the divided Himalayan region, Pakistani and Indian officials said on February 20, 2019.
• Indian authorities suspended the bus service this week without explanation.
• The development comes amid escalated tensions between the two countries in the wake of last week`s deadly suicide bombing in India-held Kashmir against paramilitary troops. Over 40 Indian soldiers were killed in February 14, 2019`sattack,whichNew Delhi blamed on Islamabad.
• Pakistan condemned the attack and cautioned India against linking it to the bombing without an investigation.
• An Indian official confirmed the bus service was halted on Monday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters.
4. India alters demand from Jadhav`s acquittal to retrial in civilian court
• Senior lawyer Harish Salve representing India in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case before the International Court of Justice replied to Pakistan`s submissions on February 20, 2019, the third day of the four-day hearing, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, seat of the Court.
• India`s reply, which was afforded one and a half hours by the principal judicial organ of the UN, commenced with taking a strong exception to the `scathing attack` made on India by Pakistan on Tuesday. The transcript peppered with words such as `shameless` (used five times), `disgraceful` (used four times) and `nonsense` (used five times) ought to be taken a notice of, argued a solemn Salve. He admonished Pakistan`s counsel for hammering the proverbial table, as the saying goes `If the facts are against you, hammer the law. If the law is against you, hammer the facts. If the fact and the law are against you, hammer the table.
• Queen`s Counsel Khawar Qureshi representing Pakistan took this correspondent aside later and inquired `have you heardany explanation by Salve by way of response to any of the points we`ve raised yesterday?` It was for a second time during the course of these hearings that India`s lawyer branded Pakistan`s queries `inappropriate and irrelevant` and an `internal matter` of India. He did, however, for the first time talk about the demand from Pakistan to prove Kulbhushan Jadhav`s Indian nationality before consular access could be granted.
February 21, 2019: International Current Affairs
5. Would be wonderful if India, Pakistan get along, says Trump
• US President Donald Trump has said that it would be wonderful if Islamabad and New Delhi got along instead of once again facing a `horrible situation` triggered by the recent suicide attack in India occupied Kashmir.
• At a separate news briefing, the US State Department urged Pakistan and India to avoid further escalation.
• `I have seen it. I have watched. We will have a comment at the appropriate time,` said President Trump in reply to a question on the consequences of the Pulwama attack. `It would be wonderful if they [Pakistan and India] got along.
• At a White House news briefing, the US president had said he had received `a lot of reports` on the attack and its impact.
6. Saudis pitch for Pakistan-India de-escalation
• Saudi Arabia on February 20, 2019 urged India and Pakistan to deescalate their tensions as it threatens world peace, and encouraged both its friends to talk out their differences, including their problems with terrorism.
• While the visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared before the media and denounced terrorism in general terms.
• The Indian account of the incident was at variance with what the delegation had heard from the Pakistani side in Islamabad.
• `In Pakistan, they told us they have nothing to do with the incident, and they do not control those elements.
7. Germany launches push to halve food waste by 2030
• Germany launched a drive on February 20, 2019 to halve food waste by 2030 as research shows every consumer on average throws away 55 kilogrammes (120 pounds) of edibles a year.
• The new strategy would target households, producers, retailers and the restaurant industry to get them to cut down the 11 million tons of food wasted a year.
• The new push would aim to help Germany meet UN and EU targets and reduce its climate footprint.
• New research will look to develop “intelligent packaging” that could use a colour gradient to indicate whether food is still edible or past its use-by date.
8. China says it will engage with India on JeM leader issue
• Following the latest escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India, China on February 20, 2019 called for restraint and said it would engage with India on the issue of listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations.
• `China hopes that Pakistan and India can exercise restraint, engage in dialogues and realise an early `soft landing` of this issue,` Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said ahead of the next week`s trilateral foreign ministers` meeting between China, India and Russia.
• Since last week`s Pulwama attack, India has stepped up efforts for listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar by the UN.
• The JeM claimed the Pulwama attack on Central Police Reserve Force bus in which 44 security personnel were killed. China, it should be recalled, has been maintaining a technical hold on Azhar`s listing.
February 21, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
9. Clinical Gladiators whip Sultans for third win
• The Quetta Gladiators` fairytale run in the HBL Pakistan Super League continued on February 20, 2019 with another rollercoaster performance as they thumped Multan Sultans by eight wickets in the opening game of the second leg at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
• Having cruised to easy wins in the first leg against Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United, the two sides which contested the final in Karachi last year, Gladiators were just too powerful for the Sultans. The latter managed 160-9 after Sarfraz Ahmed made a hattrick of winning the toss and opdngforthechase.
• Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw both crossed 60s against a depleted Sultans bowling, which was crippledby a hamstring injury to emerging seamer Ali Shafiq early in the innings before the Gladiators romped home to a third successive win.
10. Southee, Taylor help NZ whitewash Bangladesh
• Tim Southee snared a six-wicket haul and Ross Taylor tore up the record books as New Zealand dominated Bangladesh to seal a 3-0 series whitewash with an 88-run victory in the final One-day International at the University Oval on February 20, 2019.
• Sabbir Rahman`s gallant maiden ODI century saved Bangladesh from total humiliation after they lost three wickets with just two runs on the board chasing New Zealand`s imposing target of 331.
• The tourists were 242 all out in 47.2 overs after the Black Caps were sent into bat and made 3306.
• It was final New Zealand outing before the Cricket World Cup and players were desperate to impress coach Gary Stead even though the fixture was a dead rubber.
• Paceman Tim Southee, overlooked in New Zealand`s past six ODIs, took six for 65 to guarantee himself almost certainly a berth at the tournament.