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July 17, 2019
1. Pakistan reopens airspace for civilian traffic
• Pakistan has fully reopened its airspace for all civilian traffic following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with India in February.
• `With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,` read a notice to airmen published on the Civil Aviation Authority`s website on July 16, 2019.
• Pakistan had closed its airspace for all international and domestic flights after violation of its airspace by the Indian Air Force on Feb 26, 2019. While Pakistan partially reopened its airspace on March 1, the ban remained in place for Indian flights.
• Due to the closure of airspace, more than 150 domestic flights including 110 national flag carriers domestic flights and 50 flights of private airlines were either cancelled or delayed. Also 50 international flights operating from Pakistan were affected.
2. HEC issues final notification to abolish two-year BA/BSc, MA/MSc
• The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has issued a final direction to all the public and private universities of the country and their affiliated colleges to abolish two-year BA/BSc programme and start Associate Degree (AD) programs from upcoming academic year. It also directed the public and private sector universities that they could not offer MA/MSc programs after 2020, after the ongoing programs end.
• The move that requires the degree colleges, those not following BS programs, would have to change their current set-up, to start a new Associate Degree (AD) program whose outline has to be finalised yet. Such colleges reportedly don`t have the required conditions and staff for the new pro-posed program and need capacity building. It is raises concerns among the stakeholders for depriving thousands of students who appear in the graduation or master`s programs as private candidates.
• According to a HEC notification, issued on July 13, `In place of the two year BA/BSc programs, universities and colleges affiliated with public sector universities may offer Associate Degree programs (AD) for post-higher secondary students.
• The new nomenclature (Associate Degree or AD) shall be adopted in all documentation and announcements related to two-year post-higher secondary or equivalent programs, and the previous nomenclature of BA/BSc programs shall be discontinued forthwith.
3. Dawn Editor Zaffar Abbas honoured with Gwen Ifill award
• The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has announced Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award of 2019 for Dawn Editor Zaffar Abbas.
• The award is presented annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom.
• `Abbas, who has decades of experience as a reporter in Pakistan, has led Dawn since 2010. Under his leadership, Dawn and its reporters frequently have come under government pressure,` says the announcement.
4. Poet Himayat Ali Shaer passes away
• Veteran poet, broadcaster, playwright, prose writer, teacher and journalist Himayat All Shaer passed away in Canada on July 16, 2019. He was 93.
• Born Mir Himayat Ali in Aurangabad in British India on July 14, 1926, he worked for different newspapers such as Jinnah, Manzil and Hamdard, published from Hyderabad (India). He also worked for Radio Deccan (Hyderabad, India). When Deccan fell to Indian forces, Radio Deccan`s name was changed to All India Radio and Himayat Sahab was rendered jobless in 1950. After migrating to Pakistan, he joined Radio Pakistan`s Karachi station and was later transferred to Radio Pakistan`s Hyderabad (Sindh) station. He resumed his education and ultimately did his MA in Urdu from Sindh University in 1964. For about 15 years, he served Radio Pakistan as writer and broadcaster.
• Himayat Sahab is considered among the Urdu poets who were just as successful and popular when they wrote songs for movies.
5. ICJ to decide fate of Indian spy Jadhav today
• The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is all set to announce its judgment in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case between Pakistan and India on July 17, 2019 (today).
• The much-awaited verdict in the high-profile case between the two neighbouring countries, the proceedings of which took two years and two months to complete, will decide the fate of Indian serving Navy Commander Jadhav, who was sentenced by Pakistan on charges of espionage.
• President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the decision during a public sitting which will take place at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, at 6 pm (Pakistan Standard Time).
• Earlier, a 15-member bench of ICJ had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by Pakistan and India, two days each.
• Pakistan’s delegation led by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan and other officials including Director General South Asia Dr Muhammad Faisal arrived in the Netherlands on Monday.
• English Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi, who represented Pakistan in the case, will also be present during Wednesday’s decision.
6. Kartarpur to have 39 acres extra land
• Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has announced to increase the area of Gurdawara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur from three acres to 42 acres and further announced not to build structures on the land which remained under the cultivation of Baba Guru Nanak.
• Briefing media during his visit to Kartarpur Corridor on July 16, 2019, the Punjab governor said that total land of the Corridor would be 408 acres.
• FWO Project Director Colonel Nadeem, Brigadier Atif, NESPAK officers and officials of other departments briefed Chaudhry Sarwar about the progress made on the project so far. Commissioner Gujranwala, DC Narowal, DPO Narowal, RPO Gujranwala Tariq Qureshi, Kamran Lashari, Pervaiz Qureshi and others were also present on the occasion.
July 17, 2019: International Current Affairs
7. Lagarde resigns as IMF chief
• International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde announced on July 16, 2019 she had submitted her resignation from the global lender, saying she had more clarity about her nomination to be the next head of the European Central Bank(ECB).
• Lagarde said in a statement her resignation was effective September 12, opening the way for the IMF to launch the search for her successor, which is likely to be another European.
• Lagarde`s resignation comes two weeks after her nomination on July 2 for the ECB`s top job. She did not immediately resign from the IMF because of uncertainty over whether the new European Parliament would support her and other new EU leadership positions, sources told Reuters.
8. German minister becomes first woman to win EU top job
• German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen was narrowly elected president of the European Commission on Tuesday after winning over sceptical lawmakers.
• The 60-year-old conservative was nominated to become the first woman in Brussels` top job last month by the leaders of the bloc`s 28 member states, to the annoyance of many MEPs.
• The Strasbourg parliament would have preferred a candidate chosen by one of its political groups, but in the end a small majority 383 members of the 751-member assembly voted for her.
9. Turkey: EU sanctions over gas drilling ‘worthless’
• Turkey on July 16, 2019 rejected as “worthless” an initial set of sanctions approved by the European Union against Ankara, and vowed to send a new vessel to the eastern Mediterranean to reinforce its efforts to drill for hydrocarbons off the island of Cyprus.
• EU foreign ministers on Monday approved sanctions against Turkey over its drilling for gas in waters where EU member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights. They said they were suspending talks on an air transport agreement, as well as high-level Turkey-EU dialogues, and would call on the European Investment Bank to review its lending to the country. They also backed a proposal by the EU’s executive branch to reduce financial assistance to Turkey for next year. The ministers warned that additional “targeted measures” were being worked on to penalize Turkey, which started negotiations to join the EU in 2005.
10. Scientists work out way to make Mars surface fit for farming
• US-For future astronauts bound for Mars it will surely rank as a positive: when they sit down to dinner on the barren red planet, they should at least have plenty of greens.
• The harsh environment on Mars has always made growing food a daunting prospect, but scientists believe they have cracked the problem with sheets of material that can transform the cold, arid surface into land fit for farming.
• The “aerogel” sheets work by mimicking Earth’s greenhouse effect, where energy from the sun is trapped on the planet by carbon dioxide and other gases. Spread out in the right places on Mars, the sheets would warm the ground and melt enough subsurface ice to keep plants alive.