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May 08, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Uniform syllabus for education institutions, madressahs approved
• The federal cabinet on May 7, 2019 approved a uniform curriculum for all education institutions in the country, including 30,000 madressahs (religious seminaries).
• During a meeting, the cabinet vowed that there would be no power load-shedding during Ramazan. It also decided to renew licences of mobile cell phone companies for 15 years which will fetch $1.3 billion.
• The cabinet approved installation of automatic metering system to revamp power supply and distribution system and overcome the issue of circular debt forever.
• However, the expected approval for the appointment of Syed Shabbar Zaidi as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) was not given as the summary regarding his appointment was not presented before the cabinet.
2. Meals programme launched in 13 schools
• A school meals programme has been launched in 13 rural schools in the capital by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the World Food Programme (WFP).
• The pilot project was launched on May 7, 2019 at the Islamabad Model School for Boys Jhang Syedan, in the Nilor area, by Education Secretary Arshad Mirza.
• It aims to increase school attendance, improve dietary diversity and reduce hunger among schoolchildren.
• Under the project, 3,500 students will be provided dried fruit as a mid-morning snack, and they will be taught how to improve their eating habits, health and hygiene.
• Pakistan is home to 22.6 million children (12.1m girls and 10.5m boys) between the ages of five and 16 who do not currently attend school.
• `WFP`s vision is to eradicate hunger in our lifetime, a bold aim manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals.
3. Committee set up to end moon-sighting confusion
• Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on May 7, 2019 constituted a five-member committee to prepare lunar calendar for the next five years.
• According to a notification issued here by the Ministry, the committee comprised representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology, COMSATS University of Islamabad, two officials of Meteorology Department and Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).
• The committee would determine the exact dates of Ramazan, Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha and Muharram for the next five years with 100 percent accuracy through technology.
• The religious festivals are marred by controversy and confusion year after year in the country of 200 million.
• Fawad constitutes panel to prepare lunar calendar for next five years
4. Rs564.2b released for projects under PSDP
• The federal government has released Rs564.2 billion for various ongoing and new social sector uplift projects under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19 as against the total allocation of Rs675 billion.
• Under its development program, the government has released an amount of Rs22.66 billion for federal ministries, whereas Rs22.9 billion for corporations and Rs38.1 billion for special areas, according to a latest data released by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Out of these allocations, the government released Rs217.4 billion for National Highway Authority (NHA) out of its total allocation of Rs185.197 billion.
• Under annual development agenda, the government also released Rs11.61 billion for National Transmission and Despatch Company and Pakistan Electric Power Company for which an amount of Rs33.365 billion was allocated under PSDP 2018-19.
• Similarly, Rs10.13 billion released for Communication Division (other than NHA) as the government earmarked Rs13.977 billion in its PSDP 2018-19.
• Railways Division received Rs23.22 billion out of its total allocation of Rs28.06 billion whereas Aviation Division received Rs1.33 billion out of total allocation of Rs3.65 billion.
5. Punjab Government bans official Iftar parties
• Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on May 7, 2019 banned Iftar parties at official expense and this ban would be applicable to the ministers, secretaries and other government officials.
• In his direction, the CM said: `We are custodian of the national resources and austerity is fundamental part of government policies.
• We want to make people realise that their money will only be spent on public welfare programmes.
• The chief minister also conducted visits to far-flung areas of the province on the first day of Ramazan and inspected special bazaars, a hospital and wheat procurement centres. He suspended Chief Officer Corporation (Rahim Yar Khan) Qasim Manzoor and District Civil Defence Officer Latif Gull over dereliction of duties.
• He announced provision of funds for the construction of a flyover and said resources would be provided for the establishment of a cadet college.
May 8, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Iraq plans $53bn project with ExxonMobil, PetroChina
• Iraq is planning a $53 billion mega project with global energy giants ExxonMobil and PetroChina to use seawater from the Persian Gulf to boost oil production, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced on May 7, 2019.
• The 30-year project would boost output from Iraq`s southern oil fields, and includes designs to capture natural gas, which is lost to flaring under current practices, Abdel-Mahdi said at a press conference.
• Iraq is producing oil at record levels, but officials are targeting even higher output to meet budget projections and finance reconstruction projects after 16 years of war.
• Output averaged 4.5 million barrels per day in March, second only to Saudi Arabia in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, according to data from the global oil consortium.
7. Anti-military party leading in Thai polls: official results
• Thailand`s Election Commission on May 7, 2019 officially endorsed results from the country`s March 24 general election, declaring that the Pheu Thai party associated with fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra topped the field by winning 136 constituencies.
• The commission said the rival military-backed Palang Pracharath party ran second with 97 seats.
• It is still unclear who will form the next government, as both of the top two competitors are seeking partners to achieve a parliamentary majority.
• The Election Commission came under heavy criticism for releasing delayed and confusing preliminary vote totals, and has been accused of tilting in favour of the military.
• There are 500 seats in the House of Representatives, and the committee endorsed 349 of the 350 won by direct vote.
8. Chinese scientists develop new material to tackle oil pollution
• Chinese scientists have developed new biomimetic polypropylene foams for oil-water separation, which can be used to prevent and control oil pollution.
• Oil-water separation is a global challenge due to increasing industrial oil-containing waste water and frequent oil spills. Consequently, research on high-efficiency oil-water separation materials and technologies has scientific significance and application value.
• Some conventional methods for tackling oil pollution such as combustion and filtration have shortcomings including high energy consumption, long duration and possible secondary pollution. Scientists from the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering under the Chinese Academy of Sciences have designed new biomimetic polypropylene
May 8, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
9. Aleem Dar becomes third umpire to supervise 200 ODIs
• Pakistan`s Aleem Dar became the first umpire from the country to achieve the milestone of supervising 200 One-day International matches when he came to officiate the match between West Indies and Bangladesh in Dublin on May 7, 2019.
• Aleem is only the third man to achieve the feat after New Zealand`s Billy Bowden, and South Africa`s Rudi Kortzen.
• Aleem has also umpired in 125 Tests and is three short of Steve Bucknor`s record of 128 Tests. He is sitting on top of the tree in T20Is with 43 matches.
10. Former WI great Seymour Nurse dies
• Former West Indies batsman Seymour Nurse has died at the age of 85 after a long illness.
• Barbados-born Nurse made his Test debut against England in 1960 and was a powerful middle-order batsman and a top-class fielder.
• Nurse, who was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1967, scored 2,523 runs in 29 Tests at an average of 47.60.
• He finished his Test career by making 258 against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1969 the highest score by a cricketer in his final Test innings.