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May 10, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Govt appoints Shabbar Zaidi as FBR chairman on honorary basis for 2 years
• The federal government on May 9, 2019 appointed Shabbar Zaidi as chairman of Federal Board of Revenue on honorary basis for a period of two years.
• “The federal government has been pleased to appointment Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi as chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Islamabad on honorary basis/pro bono basis for a period of two years, with immediate effect and until further order,” said a notification issued by the Establishment Division. As a honorary chairman, he will have full authority and powers but he will work without any salary or privileges.
• A chartered accountant by profession, Zaidi has vowed to bring administrative reforms in the tax machinery. Syed Shabbar Zaidi, a member Board of Trustees Karachi Education Initiative, the parent body of KSBL, had served as Minister of Finance in the Sindh caretaker govt. Zaidi – a Chartered Accountant by profession and partner, A.F. Ferguson and Co. has a distinguished record of achievements to his credit.
• He was past president, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) and South Asian Federation of Accountants and former chairman, Professional Standard and Technical Advisory Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan.
2. Pakistan warns India against water halt
• Pakistan May 9, 2019 warned India against water terrorism and urged New Delhi to stop violating the Indus Water Treaty.
• Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the World Bank should fulfil its responsibility regarding empanelment of Court of Arbitration after India hinted at restricting the flow of water into Pakistan from its share of rivers.
• The spokesperson denounced the recent statements of Indian leadership on the Indus Water Treaty.
• India’s Minister of Water Resources and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said New Delhi will stop Pakistan’s share of water as allocated under the Indus Water Treaty.
• Minister Gadkari also announced that “India was not bound to follow the Treaty and had plans to divert the water flow to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan”.
• Under the Indus Water Treaty signed in 1960, Islamabad has unrestricted access to the western rivers – Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – while New Delhi enjoys the same authority over the eastern rivers – Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.
3. HED appoints VCs of two women universities
• The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) on May 9, 2019 appointed vice chancellors of two women universities -the Government College for Women University, Faisalabad, and the Government College for Women University, Sialkot.
• As many as 11 public sector varsities in the province were still functioning without regular VCs for the last one and a half years, causing administrative as well as academic problems.
• The process for appointment of VCs in all public sector universities in the province was on, and in this connection the interviews of the applicants for the slots in four varsities -GCWU, Faisalabad, GCWU, Sialkot, Women University Multan and University of Home Economics, Lahore, had been held. According to officials, around 30 candidates were interviewed for the slot in each women`s university.
• As per results, Women University, Swabi, VC Prof Dr Khanzadi Fatima Khattak, was appointed as VC of the GCWU, Faisalabad and Insutute of Administrative Sciences, University of the Punjab, Director Prof Dr Nasira Jabeen as VC of the GCWU, Sialkot. Both vice chancellors were appointed for a full term of four years.
4. US report calls Aasia Bibi`s acquittal a `landmark decision`
• An official US report calls the Pakistan Supreme Court`s order to release Aasia Bibi a `landmark decision` and notes that Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistani political leaders are also recognising the growing phenomena of false blasphemy accusations.
• The annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also urges Washington to encourage Islamabad to create the National Commission for Minorities` Rights as mandated by the Supreme Court`s 2014 decision.
• The report, which is distributed by the US State Department, was released days before Islamabad announced on Wednesday that Aasia Bibi has moved out of Pakistan to a country where she could not be harmed by religious extremists. The Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi a Christian woman and farm labourer of blasphemy charges in October 2018 after a lower court sentenced her to death in 2010.
• Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a high-level meeting on May 9, 2019 and announced that the government had initiated 36 social welfare projects in the country.
• He said Ehsas, the government`s flagship programme, would not only help fulfill the state`s responsibility to address issues like poverty, joblessness and health, but it would also ensure effective utilisation of government resources on welfare of the people.
• Heads of different departments briefed Imran Khan about the progress made on targets given to them regarding corporate Prime Minister Imran Khan receives briefing on development and public welfare initiative.
May 10, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Iran-US tensions escalate as Trump imposes new sanctions
• The United States announced harsh new sanctions on Iran as tensions surge between the decades-long rivals.
• President Donald Trump issued an executive order to sanction Iran’s steel, aluminium, copper and iron sectors, which provide crucial foreign currency earnings for its crippled economy. Trump also threatened further action unless Tehran “fundamentally” changed its behaviour.
• The move came after Tehran earlier said it was quitting parts of the 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, which Washington abandoned in 2018 and ignited the current crisis. The metals sector is the Islamic Republic’s largest non-petroleum-related source of export revenue and represents 10 percent of its export economy, a statement from the White House said.
7. North Korea fires two missiles in second test in a week
• North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles on May 9, 2019 in a likely protest by leader Kim Jong-un at the United States after he and President Donald Trump failed to reach an agreement on nuclear weapons and missiles at a February summit.
• US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who earlier cut short a European trip to return to Washington for meetings on Iran, would also have discussions on North Korea after learning of the launches, a senior US State Department official said.
• The launches came less than a week after Kim oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and a missile and coincided with a visit to the South Korean capital by US special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun.
• The two missiles fired on Thursday went in an easterly direction from the northwestern area of Kusong, South Korea`s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
• They covered distances of 420 km and 270 km and reached an altitude of about 50 km before falling into the sea.
8. Europe rejects Tehran`s `ultimatum`, but stands by nuclear deal
• European powers on May 9, 2019 denounced Tehran`s threat to resume nuclear work, drawing a sharp response from the Iranian foreign minister who accused them of caving in to US bullying.
• The three European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal urged the Islamic republic to stick to its commitments after it said it would stop respecting some limits imposed by the agreement.
• And they rejected an ultimatum from President Hassan Rouhani, who threatened to go further if they fail to deliver sanctions relief to counterbalance US President Donald Trump`s renewed assault on the Iranian economy within 60 days.
• EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and France, Germany and Britain the three European signatories to the dealvoiced `great concern` at President Hassan Rouhani`s dramatic intervention.
9. Chinese scientists discover bizarre winged dinosaur
• Chinese scientists have found the remains of a bizarre Jurassic dinosaur with membranous wings, showing a strange but unsuccessful attempt to fly in the evolution process from dinosaur to bird.
• The well-preserved fossil, discovered from northeast China’s Liaoning Province, dates back 163 million years and belongs to a new species of Jurassic non-avian the ropod dinosaur with associated feathers and membranous tissues.
• About 32 cm long and weighing about 306 grams, the new species has been named Ambopteryx longibrachium, meaning a mixture of a dinosaur and the membranous wings of the pterosaur.
10. Facebook ‘generated’ extremist video
• Facebook has been accused of “auto-generating” extremist content, including a celebratory jihadist video and a business page for al-Qaeda.
• The material was uncovered by an anonymous whistleblower who filed an official complaint to US regulators.
• Similar content for self-identified Nazis and white supremacist groups was also found online.
• Facebook said it had got better at deleting extreme content but its systems were not perfect.