May 2019

Day by Day Current Affairs (May 05, 2019) | MCQs for CSS, PMS


May 05, 2019: National Current Affairs

1. IMF economist appointed SBP governor

• In a notification, the finance division formally announced that Dr Reza Baqir of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been appointed governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to serve for a three-year term.
• For the post of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman, the guessing game continued over who the replacement will be.
• An Aitchison alumnus, Dr Baqir earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in Economics and has worked with the IMF for the last 16 years. He has been the chief of the IMF`s Debt Policy Division and worked on IMF policies on external debt sustainability and restructuring of member countries. He has also helped design debt and fiscal policies for crisis-hit countries like Greece and Ukraine, among others. Before the IMF, Dr Baqir worked at the World Bank, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Union Bank of Switzerland.
• Dr Baqir will be the second IMF staffer to head the central bank.

2. Punjab local govt law comes into force

• Governor Chaudhry Sarwar on May 4, 2019 signed the Punjab Local Government Bill 2019 following approval with a majority vote in the Punjab Assembly early this week.
• The signing of the law by the governor and consequent gazette notification has brought to an end the existing union councils dominated by the PML-N.
• The PML-N had moved the Lahore High Court against the Local Government Act 2019. However, the court dismissed the petition as not maintainable before the final assent of the Punjab governor.
• The new law envisages two-tier local government system under which panchayat and neighbourhood councils would be elected on a non-party basis. The governor says the new local bodies system will protect every penny of the nation and the accountability of local representatives will be ensured.

3. FCC approves incentive grant for provinces

• The Fiscal Coordination Committee (FCC) on May 4, 2019 approved the incentive grant for provinces as proposed by its sub-committee but asked for further refinement in consultation with the provinces.
• In a meeting chaired by Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, FCC considered the recommendations of FCC on public finance management reforms on incentive grant system to provinces under` Performance for Results Programme`.
• The FCC is a forum constituted by the Council of Common Interests for the purpose of ensuring cooperation and coordination among the federating units on fiscal matters. The federal government will provide grants to provinces through the incentive grants system, subject to fulfilment of certain baselines in the public finance management and social sector developments, particularly health and education.

May 5, 2019: International Current Affairs

4. US extends nuclear waivers for Iran

• US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced on May 4, 2019 that the Trump administration is extending waivers that allow certain countries to participate in civilian nuclear projects with Iran.
• `We are permitting the temporary continuation of certain ongoing non-proliferation projects that constrain Iran`s nuclear activities and that help maintain the nuclear status quo in Iran until we reach a comprehensive deal that resolves Iran`s proliferation threats,` a US State Department fact sheet said.
• The department announced that the waivers would allow certain pardes to the 2015 deal to conduct research and do non-proliferation work at three sites in Iran without fear of sanctions Arak, Fordow and Bushehr. In 2015, Iran signed a long-term nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of world powers the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.
• In May 2018, US President Donald Trump walked away from the deal concluded by his predecessor Barack Obama.

5. King Maha Vajiralongkorn crowned Rama X of Thailand

• King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Rama X of Thailand, was crowned on May 4, 2019 in a dazzling show of pageantry, laced with Hindu and Buddhist ritual, vowing to reign `with righteousness` on behalf of the Thai people.
• Starting at the auspicious time of 10:09am, the public was granted a rare window into the cloistered halls of Thai power as the key rituals of the three-day coronation began.
• King Vajiralongkorn is the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty, which has reigned since 1782.
• He ascended the throne over two years ago following the death of his beloved father, but waited until after a long mourning period before setting his coronation date.

6. North Korea fires `projectiles`, Seoul says stop raising tensions

• North Korea fired several `unidentified short range projectiles` into the sea off its east coast on May 4, 2019, prompting South Korea to call on its communist neighbour to `stop acts that escalate military tension on the Korean Peninsula`.
• The South Korean military initially described it as a missile launch, but subsequently gave a more vague description. The latest firing came after the North`s test of what it called a tactical guided weapons system in April.
• Analysts suspected the flurry of military activity by Pyongyang was an attempt to exert pressure on the United States to give ground in negotiations to end the North`s nuclear programme after a summit in February ended in failure.
• South Korea`s presidency urged North Korea to refrain from further action in one of the most stiffly-worded statements since the two Koreas embarked on reconciliation efforts early last year.

7. Turkmenistan airlines to resume flights to Europeag

• Turkmenistan’s national air carrier has scheduled flights to the United Kingdom and Germany again following a ban imposed in February by European Aviation Authorities.
• Flights to the English city of Birmingham and Germany’s Frankfurt beginning on June 1 appeared on Turkmenistan Airlines’ schedule.
• Flights were not listed to Paris, another destination the airline flew to regularly.

8. Egypt uncovers Old Kingdom cemetery

• Egypt`s antiquities ministry on May 4, 2019 unveiled a 4,500-year-old burial ground near the Giza pyramids containing colourful wooden coffins and limestone statues dating back to the Old Kingdom.
• The site on the southeastern side of Giza plateau contains tombs and burial shafts from various periods, but the oldest is a limestone family tomb from the fifth dynasty (around 2500 BC), the ministry said.
• A photographer who was allowed to access the burial shaft saw inscriptions on the walls, intricately painted wooden sarcophagi and sculptures of animals and humans.
• The ministry said the tomb was that of two people: Behnui-Ka, who had seven titles including the Priest and the Judge, and Nwi, also known as Chief of the Great State and `purifier` of the pharoah Khafre.

9. Japan’s private rocket reaches outer space for first time

• A Japanese aerospace startup funded by a former internet maverick successfully launched a small rocket into space on May 4, 2019, making it the first commercially developed Japanese rocket to reach orbit.
• Interstellar Technology Inc. said the unmanned MOMO-3 rocket exceeded 100 kilometres (60 miles) in altitude before falling into the Pacific Ocean. It was launched from the company’s test site in the town of Taiki on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido and flew about 10 minutes.
• “We proved that our rocket developed with a lot of commercially available parts is capable of reaching the space,” Interstellar Technologies CEO Takahiro Inagawa told a news conference from Hokkaido.
• The rocket, about 10 metres long and 50 centimetres (1.5 feet) in diameter, weighs about 1 ton. It is capable of carrying payloads as heavy as 20 kilograms (44 pounds) but currently lacks an ability to send them into orbit.

10. Space station to become carbon mapper

• Nasa has sent up an instrument to the International Space Station (ISS) to help track carbon dioxide on Earth. OCO-3, as the observer is called, was launched on a Falcon rocket from Florida in the early hours of May 4, 2019.
• The instrument is made from the spare components left over after the assembly of a satellite, OCO-2, which was put in orbit to do the same job in 2014. The data from two missions should give scientists a clearer idea of how CO2 moves through the atmosphere.
• One way this will be achieved is through the different perspectives OCO-2 and OCO-3 will get.
• The former flies around the entire globe in what’s termed a sun-synchronous polar orbit, which leads to it seeing any given location at the same time of day. The latter, on the other hand, because it will fly aboard the station, will only see locations up to 51 degrees North and South; and see them at many different times of day.

Day by Day Current Affairs (May 05, 2019) | MCQs for CSS, PMS

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Shahzad F. Malik

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