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March 05, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Govt move against UN-listed terror outfits
• The government on March 4, 2019 notified a 2019 order of the United Nations Security Council that would provide a legal basis for freezing or seizure of properties owned by individuals and organisations designated by the council as terrorists.
• `The Federal Government issued the United Nations Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019 in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan`s United Nations Security Council (UNSC)Act, 1948 (Act No. XIV of 1948), the Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement issued to the media.
• The order has been issued to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regarding the implementation of designation of persons and entities under the UNSC resolutions. Pakistan, despite making some progress in overcoming the shortcomings in its counterterrorism financing and anti-money laundering regimes, continues to remain under the cloud at the global illicit financing watchdog.
• After failing to adequately convince the FATF, Pakistan is now required to complete actions it has to take by the May timeline. The next FATF plenary is due in June this year.
2. Draft of new aviation policy finalized
• The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has finalised the draft of a new aviation policy that aim s at supporting local players which otherwise have been failing to compete with foreign airlines operating under the existing `open sky policy`.
• After having eight-hour deliberations with local stakeholders at the CAA headquarters on March 4, 2019, the draft National Aviation Policy (NAP), 2019, also known as the `fair sky policy`, was finalised.
• It would be sent to the federal cabinet and after getting its formal approval the new policy would override the `open sky policy`.
• The CAA said that the main vision of the new policy was to regulate and facilitate stakeholders for the revival of the aviation sector. The new policy would have a number of `direct and indirect benefits and incentives for airline operators, pilots/cabin crew and most importantly the passengers travelling by air within Pakistan`, it added.
3. FO launches digital attestation today
• To improve consular services, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to shift from manual to digital attestation of documents.
• It will launch the digital QR code system at the headquarters on March 5, 2019 (today). The system will also be introduced in the camp offices later.
• The QR code system is used to efficiently store small amount of data. According to a statement, this system is a user-friendly digital process which would lead to an expeditious attestation of papers. It will also help verify the attestation of documents via the QR code scanner.
• Moreover, the malpractice of forged attestation would be curbed. Digital attestation would create a paperless environment as the data would be digitally backed up.
March 5, 2019: International Current Affairs
4. US symbolically tightens trade embargo on Cuba
• The Trump administration announced on March 5, 2019 that it is symbolically tightening the six-decade trade embargo on Cuba by allowing lawsuits against Cuban companies using properties confiscated after its 1959 revolution.
• The announcement limits lawsuits to a list of about 200 Cuban businesses and government agencies that are already subject to special US sanctions because they are tied to the Cuban military and intelligence ministries. Virtually none of the businesses have any links to the US legal or financial systems, meaning the ability to sue is unlikely to have any effect on the Cuban economy or foreign businesses that work with the socialist government.
• Some of the businesses on the list are hotels operated as joint ventures with foreign companies, but the Trump administration measure does not allow the foreign companies themselves to be sued, a State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
5. Germany to strip dual-national militants of citizenship
• Germany plans to strip dual nationals who fight for a foreign militant group of their German citizenship, the government said on March 4, 2019, as Western nations eye the return of IS militants warily.
• `There are plans to introduce a legal amendment, for Germans with multiple nationalities who fight for a terror militia, to lose their German citizenship,` said interior ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann. Justice Minister Katarina Barley has separately said that the change would be `implemented soon`, her spokeswoman said.
• Under German law, individuals with more than one nationality can already lose their German citizenship if they fight for a foreign army without permission from the German defence ministry. The amendment would therefore add participation in combat for a foreign militant group to the existing law.
6. Putin suspends key nuclear pact with US
• President Vladimir Putin on March 5, 2019 suspended Russia`s participation in a key nuclear arms treaty, in response to Washington`s decision to withdraw.
• In a decree, Putin suspended Russia`s obligations under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and said it will continue to do so `until the US ends its violations of the treaty or until it terminates`.
• The US gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the INF a month ago, setting the stage for it to terminate in six months unless Moscow returns to compliance.
• Russia has denied any breaches, and accused the US of violating the pact. The US has accused Russia of developing and deploying a cruise missile that violates provisions of the pact that ban production, testing and deployment of land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500kms.
7. Egypt releases award-winning photojournalist after five years
• Egyptian authorities on March 4, 2019 released a photojournalist who spent more than five years in jail after covering a 2013 sit-in that ended with security forces killing hundreds of protesters.
• Mahmoud Abu Zeid, also known as Shawkan, was detained in 2013 while taking pictures as security forces broke up the sit-in by supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.
8. British rave music icon Keith Flint dies
• Keith Flint, the fiery front man of British dance-electronic band The Prodigy, was found dead on March 4, 2019 at his home near London, the band said. He was 49.
• Prodigy co-founder Liam Howlett said in an Instagram post that Flint killed himself over the weekend.
• Flint was the stage persona of the band, whose 1990s hits `Fire starter` and `Breathe` were an incendiary fusion of techno, break beat and acid house music. He was renowned for his manic stage energy and distinctive look: black eyeliner and hair spiked into two horns.
March 5, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
9. Kings stay in the hunt as Sultans exit
• Shoaib Malik-led Multan Sultans made an unceremonious exit from the HBL Pakistan Super League for the second straight season as Karachi Kings remained on course for the playoffs with a five-wicket win on March 4, 2019.
• Put in to bat by Imad Wasim, the Sultans never came to terms with a Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch that had earlier produced 371 runs in the top-of-the-table clash between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi.
• Hammad Azam and Malik himself were the only batsmen to make meaningful contributions as the Sultans limpe d to just 118-7.
10. Watson, Shehzad propel Gladiators into playoffs
• Riding on another blistering Shane Watson knock and Ahmed Shehzad finally striking form, Quetta Gladiators outplayed Peshawar Zalmi by a comprehensive eight wicket margin to become the first team to reach the playoffs of the HBL Pakistan Super League on March 4, 2019.
• The Gladiators were hardly challenged as they effortlessly chased down a target of 166 in the hrst PSL fixture to be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on the back of a magnificent second-wicket partnership between Watson and Shehzad, which yielded 129 run in just 88 balls.