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March 25, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Famous singer Shahnaz Begum passes away
• Eminent singer Shahnaz Rahmatullah known to most Pakistanis as Shahnaz Begum, who was loved for her flawless rendition of `Jeevay, Jeevay Pakistan` died of cardiac arrest early on March 24, 2019 morning at the age of 67.
• She was laid to rest at Dhaka`s Banani graveyard after Zuhr prayers.
• Lyricist Kabir Bokul told the newspaper the well known singer suffered a `major cardiac arrest` and passed away at her residence in the city.
• Shahnaz Begum emerged as a notable singer in Dhaka during the mid-1960s.
• She was born on Jan 2, 1952, in Dhaka city.
2. Ban on recruitment against BS-1 to 16 slots in varsities, BISEs relaxed
• The Punjab cabinet`s standing committee on finance and development has approved relaxation of ban on recruitment for BS-1 to BS-16 posts in the public sector universities and boards of intermediate and secondary education in the province.
• It has also allowed recruitment of professional and allied staff in BS-1 to 15in the provincial special education department, and against posts in development projects.
• The cabinet had on August 31, 2018 banned all recruitment from BS-1 to 16 in administrative departments.
3. Around 2,400 Pakistanis languishing in UAE jails
• Around 2,409 Pakistani nationals languishing in eight jails of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and facing imprisonment in different minor and major crimes.
• As per information officially shared by UAE side in November last year, there were approximately 2,800 Pakistani nationals imprisoned in jails of UAE on both minor and major offenses but on basis of interviews conducted by Community Welfare Attache (CWA) and other officials during their regular visits to jails and their interaction with jail authorities, it is estimated that at present, there are about 2,409 Pakistani nationals imprisoned in UAE jails.
• In Al Ain jail, the number of Pakistani prisoners was 247, out of which 148 were convicted, 89 under trial, seven waiting for deportation and seven female prisoners, a data issued here revealed. In Abu Dhabi jail, the number of Pakistani prisoners was 554, out of which 337 were convicted, 166 under trial and 51 were waiting for deportation.
• In Dubai jail, the number of Pakistani prisoners was 852, out of which 25 were females and 18 were waiting for deportation.
March 25, 2019: International Current Affairs
4. Lanka begins work on refinery near China-run port
• Sri Lanka began construction on March 24, 2019 of a nearly $4 billion oil refinery it hopes will revive foreign interest in its shipping facilities after Beijing`s takeover of a nearby port spooked international investors.
• Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Hambantota, a district in Sri Lanka`s south which lies on one of the world`s busiest shipping lanes, would become a global investment hub with the addition of the oil refinery and storage complex.
• The $3.85 billion project is the single largest foreign investment in Sri Lanka`s history.
• It is jointly funded by Oman and Singapore registered Silver Park International, a company owned by an Indian business family.
5. Xi visits Monaco as Macron seeks united EU front on China
• Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Monaco on the French Riviera on March 24, 2019 seeking to press ambitious commercial goals ahead of talks with France`s Emmanuel Macron who is trying to forge a united European front to contend with Beijing`s advances.
• Xi arrived at the airport of the resort city of Nice accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan to be welcomed by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and a guard of honour.
• Prior to meeting with Macron, Xi went to the nearby principality of Monaco, where he was received by Prince Albert II and where a government spokesman said bilateral talks would `address economic and environmental issues`.
• Xi, who has made establishing China as a global player central to his government, travelled from Italy, whose government became the first G7 state to sign up to his landmark new `Silk Road` infrastructure project, a massive undertaking to join Asia to Europe.
6. Thai junta`s party takes shock lead in election
• Thailand`s ruling junta took a stunning lead in the country`s first election since a 2014 coup with more than 90 per cent of ballots counted, putting it on course to return to power at the expense of the kingdom`s pro-democracy camp.
• March 24, 2019`s election was held under new laws written by the military to smooth its transformation into a civilian government.
• While it had set the rules of the game in its favour, analysts had not expected the party to win the popular vote, given mounting anger at junta rule and due to the enduring popularity of Pheu Thai, the party of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
7. Netanyahu visits US ally ahead of close Israeli election
• With Israel’s election only two weeks away, Benjamin Netanyahu will get to showcase his close ties with Donald Trump in a U.S. visit days after the president backed Israel’s hold over the occupied Golan Heights.
• The prime minister’s White House meeting with Trump on Monday could be overshadowed in the United States by the expected release of details from a confidential report into an investigation into possible collusion between the president and Russia in his 2016 U.S. election campaign.
• But Netanyahu, facing possible indictment in three corruption cases and denying any wrongdoing, will play to a domestic audience in highlighting what he hails as the strongest bond ever between an Israeli leader and an American president.
8. US clinches strategic port deal with Oman
• The United States clinched a strategic port deal with Oman on March 24, 2019 which US officials say will allow the US military better access the Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point off Iran.
• The US embassy in Oman said in a statement that the agreement governed US access to facilities and ports in Dugm as well as in Salalah and `reaf firms the commitment of both countries to promoting mutual security goals`.
• The accord is viewed through an economic prism by Oman, which wants to develop while preserving its Switzerland like neutral role in Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy.
• But it comes as the United States grows increasingly concerned about Iran`s expanding missile programmes, which have improved in recent years despite sanctions and diplomatic pressure by the United States.
9. Kenyan who gave earnings to poor wins $1m teacher prize
• A Kenyan science teacher from a remote village who gave away most of his earnings to the poor and tutored students on the weekends won a $1 million prize on March 24, 2019 that honours one exceptional educator from around the world.
• Peter Tabichi teaches in the semi-arid village of Pwani where almost a third of children are orphans or have only one parent, and where drought and famine are frequent.
• Classrooms are poorly equipped and the school, which teaches students between 11 and 16 years-old, has just one computer with intermittent Internet access.
• He was selected out of out 10,000 applicants for the Global Teacher Prize.
March 25, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Australia take 2-0 lead in ODI series
• Aaron Finch struck back-to-back centuries to lead Australia to another thumping eight wicket victory over a hapless Pakistan in the second one-day international in Sharjah on March 24, 2019.
• The Australian skipper smashed 143-ball 153 not out for his 13th ODI hundred also his highest score in ODIs to anchor Australia`s comfortable chase of a 285-run target in 47.5 overs which gave them a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.