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January 22, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. US has never been this close to Pakistan: Trump
• US President Donald Trump said on January 21, 2020 that the United States has never been as close to Pakistan as it is right now and that he will discuss the Kashmir issue with `friend` Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit.
• Prior to a private meeting, the two leaders spoke during a media briefing on the sidelines of the summit being held in Davos.
• Reiterating Pakistan`s desire for peace and continuity of its efforts for regional stability, Mr Khan said he would talk to President Trump on the situation in Afghanistan. The US president, while referring to Mr Khan as his friend, said he would speak to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Kashmir issue. `We`re talking about Kashmir […] if we can help, we certainly will be helping. We`ve been watching that and following it very, very closely, said President Trump.
2. In a first, former bureaucrat picked as CEC
• Former railways secretary Sikandar Sultan Raja will be the first-ever ex bureaucrat to be heading the country`s apex electoral body.
• A decision to this effect was taken with consensus at a meeting of 12-member bipartisan parliamentary panel, headed by Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, on January 21, 2020.
• The panel also named NisarDurrani and Shah Mohammad Jatoi as members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from Sindh and Balochistan, respectively.
• `Today`s decision is a much welcome one. Parliamentarians have taken a decision, which was their responsibility.
3. N. Korea abandons pledge on nuclear freeze
• North Korea said on January 21, 2020 it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States` failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and `brutal and inhumane` US sanctions.
• North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set an end-December deadline for denuclearisation talks with the United States and White House national security adviser Robert O`Brien said at the time the United States had opened channels of communication.
• O`Brien said then he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearisation commitments he made at summits with US President Donald Trump.
4. Russian air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria
• Russian air strikes killed at least 23 civilians on January 21, 2020 in northwestern Syria, as renewed violence tightened the noose around the country`s last major rebel-held bastion and deepened an already dire humanitarian crisis.
• Retaliatory rocket attacks blamed on rebels and jihadists killed three more civilians in the nearby government-held city of Aleppo, state news agency SANA said.
• The spike in violence in the neighbouring provinces of Aleppo and Idlib follow so far unsuccessful diplomatic attempts to reduce hostilities in the flashpoint region, with the latest truce in theory going into effect less than two weeks ago.
5. Iranian MP offers $3m for killing Trump
• An Iranian lawmaker has offered a $3-million reward to “anyone who kills” US President Donald Trump to avenge the assassination of Gen Qassem Soleimani, semi-official news agency ISNA reported on January 21, 2020.
• Ahmad Hamzeh, a little-known member of the Majlis, made the offer on behalf of the people of Kerman, the hometown and final resting place of the storied commander.
• “We will give $3m to anyone who kills Trump,” Hamzeh, who represents Kahnouj county near the southeastern city of Kerman, was quoted as saying by ISNA
6. China`s former Interpol chief sentenced to 13 years in prison
• Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, who was detained on a visit to China in 2018, was sentenced on January 21, 2020 to more than 13 years in prison for bribery in a case that shook the international police organisation.
• Meng a former vice minister of public security -is among a growing group of Communist Party cadres caught in President Xi Jinping`s anti-graft campaign, which critics say has also served as a way to remove the leader`s political enemies.
7. Forces likely committed war crimes against Rohingya: Myanmar commission
• An independent commission established by Myanmar`s government has concluded there are reasons to believe that security forces committed war crimes in counterinsurgency operations that compelled more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.
• However, the commission headed by a Philippine diplomat said in a report given to President Win Myint that there was no evidence supporting charges that genocide was planned or carried out against the Rohingya.
• The Independent Commission of Enquiry announced its findings in a statement posted on its Facebook page and the fuH report did not appear to have been publicly released. Nevertheless, it went further than any public statements issued by Myanmar`s government in suggesting government forces were guilty of major abuses.
8. World`s oldest crater was formed 2.2bn years ago: study
• A crater in western Australia was formed by a meteor strike more than 2.2 billion years ago and is the world`s oldest known impact site, new research shows.
• The study marks the first time that the Yarrabubba crater has been precisely dated, at 2.229 billion years old, and means it is 200 million years older than any similar site known on Eahh.
• The revelation also raises the intriguing possibility that the massive impact could have significantly altered the Eahh`s climate, helping end a period of global `deep freeze`.
• Scientists had long suspected that Yarrabubba, in a remote pan of the outback, dated back several billion years
9. Qatar, FIFA publish World Cup rights pledges
• Qatar and FIFA published January 21, 2020 the first jointly issued legacy planning strategy ahead of a football World Cup, with pledges on labour and LGBT rights alongside protections for activists and journalists.
• Qatar has faced intense scrutiny from rights groups over its treatment of migrant labourers working on construction projects ahead of the 2022 tournament as well as its laws criminalising homosexual acts.
• The 112-page `Sustainability Strategy` also sets out commitments on making the tournament inclusive for groups including the disabled, boosting economic development, protecting the environment and promoting ethical business practices
10. Bangladesh squad set to land in Lahore today
• After a long gap of 12 years, the Bangladesh cricket team will arrive in Pakistan on January 22, 2020 evening to play a three-match Twenty20 International series at the Gaddafi Stadium here from Jan 24 to 27.
• The T20 series will be the first of the tour split into three phases. The second phase will see Bangladesh play Pakistan in the first Test in Karachi from February 7 while in the third, the Tigers will play a solitary One-day International and the second Test in the metropolis in the first week of April.
• The itinerary was announced after the Bangladesh Cricket Board agreed to send the team to Pakistan followed by initial concerns citing security threats
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