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May 17, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Nine `militants` killed in Mastung operation
• At least nine suspected militants were killed and four security personnel injured in a gun battle between security forces and members of banned militant organisations during an operation in Qabo-Koh-i-Mehran area of Mastung district, 65km off here, on May 16, 2019.
• The Counter-Terrorism Department of police force along with other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the Qabo-Koh-i-Mehran after receiving information about the presence of a hideout of militants in the mountainous area.
• The militants opened fire on the security forces when they penetrated the area. The security forces took position and retaliated. A heavy exchange of brecondnued for several hours and culminated in the death of nine suspected terrorists and injuries to four personnel of security forces.
• A security official said that the terrorists, who died on the spot, belonged to different banned organisations that were involved in terror attacks in Quetta and other areas of Balochistan.
• The Islamic State militant group was using the hideout along with other terrorist outfits,` security sources said.
2. PM approves ambitious youth support programme
• Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 16, 2019 approved in principle an ambitious programme aimed at providing job opportunities, education, soft loans and professional skills to the youth of the country.
• The prime minister took the decision at a meeting held in connection with the programme called `Wazir-i-Azam Kamyab Naujawan Programme` (WAKNP).
• Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar briefed the meeting on the programme.
• `Under the programme, several schemes are being launched for the youth, including youth economic development economic scheme, PM`s green youth movement, PM startup Pakistan, internship programme, Hunarmand programme and Kamyab Naujawan employment exchange programme.
3. UN Women, WPC sign MOU for legislative reform to end child marriage
• The National Assembly Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) and UN Women Pakistan have decided to work together to raise awareness for legislative reforms to end child marriage and advance women empowerment and gender equality.
• These are also central to Pakistan`s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
• A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard by UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Kazi and WPC Secretary Munazza Hassan at the National Assembly on May 16, 2019.
• It was agreed that the issue of child marriage needs attention and efforts at all levels, and both UN Women and the WPC acknowledged the urgent need for consolidated and concerted action to curb child marriages in all parts of Pakistan through advocacy, awareness-raising and legislative reform.
4. External debt, liabilities shoot to $105.84 billion
• Pakistan’s external debt and liabilities surged to $105.84 billion by the end of March 2019 following the massive borrowings made by the successive governments.
• The country’s debt and liabilities had gone up by $10.6 billion in nine months (July to March) of the ongoing fiscal year, according to the latest figures of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The debt and liabilities had increased to $105.84 billion in March 2019 from $95.24 billion in June 2018, showing an increase of $10.6 billion
• The successive governments in Pakistan had massively borrowed from external as well internal sources to meet the twin deficits including budget and current account. The governments had failed to enhance the country’s exports, which stood at $23 billion only. The incumbent PTI government, which criticized previous governments for borrowing, had also made significant borrowing since coming into power. The government had borrowed $9 billion from three friendly countries in last few months. Pakistan had barrowed $4 billion from China, $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and $2 billion from United Arab Emirates (UAE).
5. CDWP approves five projects worth Rs124 billion
• Central Development Working Party (CDWP) May 16, 2019 approved five projects worth Rs 124 billion, including Karachi Yellow Line Bus Rapid Transit service and Gwadar East Bay Expressway.
• Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meeting was held under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar. The CDWP accorded approval to one project worth Rs. 385.135 million and recommended four projects worth Rs 123.6 billion to ECNEC for consideration.
• Government of Sindh presented project Karachi Urban Mobility Project, Yellow Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) worth Rs. 61.44 billion which was recommended by CDWP to ECNEC for consideration.
6. Veteran artist Jamil Naqsh dies
• Distinguished Pakistani artist Jamil Naqsh passed away in London on May 16, 2019. He was 80.
• He was admitted to a hospital in London on May 7 after contracting pneumonia.
• Naqsh was born in the city of Kairanain undivided India in 1939. After independence, his family came to Pakistan.
• In the early 1950s he joined the Mayo School of Industrial Arts (which was later named National School of Arts)in Lahore but left it citing the reason that he wanted to experience the world and art first-hand. He did, however, get trained as a miniaturist under Ustad Haji Sharif.
May 17, 2019: International Current Affairs
7. Women around the world unite against US abortion bill
• Celebrities revealed their abortion stories and ordinary Americans stood up to be counted as a backlash against tough new US abortion laws gathered pace on May 16, 2019 and a social media campaign went viral.
• The online campaign to protect access to abortion followed moves by Alabama and other US states to heavily restrict a woman`s right to end her pregnancy, a perennial battleground in US politics and touchstone of modern feminism.
• Galvanised by the threat, movie stars divulged their own painful stories, warning against any return to backstreet abortions or men legislating over women`s bodies.
• On social media, hundreds of ordinary Americans answered a call by talk show host Busy Philipps to share stories and `end the shame`. Philipps launched the hashtag #youknowme aimed at showing how common it is for women to end their pregnancies.
8. Bob Hawke, one of Australia`s most famous prime ministers, dies
• Bob Hawke, a transformative and charismatic left-wing lawmaker with a `larrikin` streak who served as Australian prime minister from 1983 to 1991, died on May 16, 2019 aged 89, his family said.
• While others may have struggled to dismiss a reputation for boisterous, if well-meaning, behaviour, silver-haired Hawke said it helped him win favour with working-class voters.
• Hawke`s death comes ahead of a Saturday general election, with his opposition Labour partyis narrowly ahead in the polls.
9. Oxford Dictionaries dragged into Indian poll
• Oxford Dictionaries was dragged into India’s bitter election on May 16, 2019 as it rubbished a claim that “Modilie” — referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is a recognised word.
• Rahul Gandhi, Modi’s main challenger in the election, tweeted what he said was a screen shot of an online dictionary entry for the word combining the words Modi and lie. “There’s a new word in the English Dictionary. Attached is a snapshot of the entry :),” the scion of India’s Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty wrote in a post forwarded almost 10,000 times.
• The image used a similar font, layout and logo to Oxford Dictionaries’ website, but did not use the word Oxford. Oxford Dictionaries replied on its verified Twitter account. “We can confirm that the image showing the entry ‘Modilie’ is fake and does not exist in any of our Oxford Dictionaries,” it said.
• Gandhi, 48, also tweeted a link to a website called www.modilies.in that he said “catalogues the best Modilies!
10. International cyber-crime gang busted
• An international crime gang which used malware to steal $100m (£77m) from more than 40,000 victims has been dismantled. A complex police operation conducted investigations in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
• The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts. The gang was put together from criminals who advertised their skills on online forums. The details of the operation were revealed at the headquarters of the European police agency Europol in The Hague.
• Five Russian nationals remain on the run, including one who developed the GozNym malware and oversaw its development and management, including leasing it to other cyber-criminals. Among the victims were small businesses, law firms, international corporations and non-profit organisations. One of the things that the operation has highlighted is how common the selling of nefarious cyber-skills has become, says Prof Alan Woodward, a computer scientist from University of Surrey. “The developers of this malware advertised their ‘product’ so that other criminals could use their service to conduct banking fraud.