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March 15, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan, India in `constructive` Kartarpur talks
• Pakistan and India on March 14, 2019 held `constructive` dialogue on the Kartarpur Corridor agreement in a `cordial environment` and agreed to make the passage operational at the earliest.
• The meeting of the Indian and Pakistani officials on the draft agreement at Attari (India) came at the end of a tense month in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack on Indian security forces exactly a month ago in which over 40 personnel were killed.
• S. C. L. Das, joint secretary in India`s Ministry of Home Affairs, and Dr Mohammad Faisal, director general (South Asia & Saarc) at the Foreign Office, led the Indian and Pakistani delegations, respectively.
• Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, a joint statement issued by the Foreign Office and India`s ministry of external affairs said.
2. PM unveils ambitious plan to boost tourism
• Prime Minister Imran Khan on March 14, 2019 unveiled ambitious plans to open up Pakistan for tourists and investors from around the globe, setting an eye on harnessing the immense potential to fetch multi-billion dollars for the national kitty.
• Launching the new visa policy under which foreign nationals from 175 countries will be issued three-month e-visas within seven to 10 working days.
• He termed the new visa policy a first step saying many more were in the pipeline, referring to the famous Chinese proverb `The journey of a thousand miles begins with first step.
3. Govt ends PKLI`s autonomy, assumes control
• The autonomy of the mega charity health project Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) & Research Centre ended after its control was handed over to the government after the passage of a bill by the Punjab Assembly.
• The multi-billion rupee mega health facility was to be run on the pattern of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH) and Research Centre, Lahore or the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), Karachi. Health experts fear the project may meet the same fate like that of many other mega public sector teaching hospitals of the province.
• While passing the bill on Wednesday, the Punjab Assembly abobshed the board of trustees of the 820-bed PKLI.
March 15, 2019: International Current Affairs
4. US plans to build six nuclear reactors in India
• The United States has assured India that it remains committed to strengthening bilateral civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi and wants to build six nuclear power plants in the country.
• The United States reiterated this assurance in a joint statement issued after the 9th round of the US-India Strategic Security Dialogue, held in Washington on March 13, 2019.
• Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson led their teams in the talks.
• `They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India,` said the joint statement issued after the talks. It gave no further details of the nuclear plant project.
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5. China saved Pakistan from defeat at UN
• China was the only member of the UN Security Council`s sanctions committee that objected to the proposal to declare Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief a UN-designated global terrorist on March 13, 2019.
• Three of the five permanent UNSC members the United States, Britain and France and a non-permanent member, Belgium, had jointly co-sponsored the proposal. They made the move on Feb 27, days after a JeM claimed suicide bombing in India-held Kashmir killed 40 Indian troops.
• The committee had 10 working days to raise any objections to the proposal.
• Just before the deadline, China put a `technical hold` on the proposal seeking `more time to examine` it.
• This was China`s fourth `technical hold` in a row.
6. ‘Google’s work benefiting Chinese military’
• The United States’ top general said on March 14, 2019 that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.
• “The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
7. Brussels to host EU-Turkey meeting today (March 15, 2019)
• The 54th meeting of the Turkey-EU Association Council will be held in Brussels on March 15, 2019 (today).
• The meeting of the highest decision-making body between Turkey and the EU will take place after an interval of almost four years, and is important for the continuation and diversification of the institutional dialogue with the EU.
• Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakci, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, the EU’s Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, will attend the meeting.
• “Turkish and EU sides are expected to meet at an unofficial format before the official session to address foreign policy issues and regional developments,” according to the statement.
8. Scientists reverse time on quantum computer
• Scientists have successfully returned the state of a quantum computer a fraction of a second earlier, moving a significant step closer to proving the reversal of “the arrow of time,” according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.
• “We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time,” the study’s lead author Gordey Lesovik, the head of the Laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information Technology at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), said in a report published on the website of MIPT.
• In the study, researchers from Russia, the United States and Switzerland sent a two-qubit quantum computer from a more complicated state back to a simpler one, violating the second law of thermodynamics which posits that an isolated system can only remain static or evolve with time toward a state of chaos, and experimentally demonstrating the reversal of time.
9. Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
• Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who has inspired an international movement to fight climate change, has been nominated as a candidate to receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
• She was nominated by three Norwegian MPs. If she were to win, she would be the youngest recipient since Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she received the prize. Ms Thunberg tweeted she was “honoured” to receive the nomination.
• On March 15, 2019, thousands of schoolchildren are expected to strike again against climate change in more than 100 countries around the world.
March 15, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. United deliver knockout punch as Kings bow out
• Islamabad United kept their title defence alive in the HBL Pakistan Super League after ruining Karachi Kings` aspirations of an extended hometown party by sealing a four-wicket victory in the Eliminator 1 clash at National Stadium on March 14, 2019 night.
• Islamabad United will now take on Peshawar Zalmi in March 15, 2019`s Eliminator 2 game to determine who will face Quetta Gladiators in the final.
• The United again provided glimpses of their uncanny ability to win crucial moments by restricting the Kings to 161-9 after they were cruising along at 100-1 at the midpoint of their innings. For only the second time in this PSL edition, Kings opted to bat after winning the toss.