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November 02, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Islamabad expects good economic package from Beijing
• Pakistan on November 1, 2018 said it would not seek rescheduling of about $2.7bn Chinese loans due for repayment this year but expected a good economic package, including expansion of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to a next level.
• China had made tremendous success in fighting corruption and white-collar crimes and some agreements were expected in this regard.
• Prime Minister Imran Khan told Chinese journalists that he hoped the scale of Chinese partnership would help Pakistan bridge current account deficit and build foreign exchange reserves. He said his government has been working on two paths, including an IMF programme and support from friendly countries.
• Pakistan expects bilateral cooperation to focus on the vertical increase in productivity of existing crops, transfer of knowledge and technologies, seed and plant protection as well disease control, value addition and marketing of agri-products, including dairy, livestock, and fisheries also through joint ventures in value addition, cold chain management for fruits and vegetables, marketing and branding.
2. India `likely to allow` dams inspection next month
• India is likely to fulfill its commitment of getting its two hydropower projects -1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal inspected by Pakistani experts next month after the local (Punchayat) elections in the held Kashmir end by Dec 15.
• On the other hand, Islamabad is also set to send a reminder in-writing to New Delhi in a day or two, urging it again to fulfill its promise of allowing Pakistani experts inspect the projects at Chenab and Jhelum basins.
• `We approached India`s Commissioner for Indus Waters Pradeep Kumar Saxena by phone a couple days ago and urged him to give us schedule for our tour to the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnal projects. He replied that it is not possible during first or second week of December due to local Punchayat elections in the state,` Pakistan`s Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehar Ali Shah told.
• According to the minutes of the 115th meeting of the PCIW held between the two countries in Lahore, Pakistan had also asked India to share information about potential projects at the planning stage for examination.
3. FO rejects Indian protest over CPEC bus service
• The Foreign Office on November 1, 2018 rejected Indian protest over the launch of a luxury bus service between Pakistan and China, saying the international community could not be misled.
• `We reject the Indian Ministry of External Affairs` (MEA) purported protest and statement regarding bus service through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). India`s repeated regurgitation of claims over India-held Kashmir can neither change the facts of history nor the legality of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,` an FO statement said.
• A new bus service called Pak-China CPEC Bus Service is being launched between Lahore and Tashkurgan (Kashgar China). The service would be operated by the North-South Transport Network a Lahore-based private company that on its website claims to be accredited with Indian Importers Association as a `life member` facilitating Indian importers through `logistic services and trade` India`s external affairs ministry in a statement said: `We have lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate through Jammu and Kashmir under.
4. Justice Hasnat named as chairman of 8th Wage Board
• The federal cabinet on November 1, 2018 approved the name of retired Justice Hasnat Ahmed as the chairman of the 8th Wage Board.
• In September, federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had told media that the federal cabinet had approved the appointment of retired Justice Abdul Rauf as chairman of the Wage Board which would finalise the award within 120 days to fulfil the longstanding demand of the journalist community.
5. GB Independence Day celebrated with zeal
• The 71st Independence Day of Gilgit-Baltistan celebrated on November 1, 2018 day across the region with traditional zeal and fervour.
• Different events were held in various parts of the region to mark the day. The government had announced official holiday in the region on the occasion.
• Rallies taken out and functions were organised by various political parties, educational institutions and civil society organisations in 10 districts of Gilgit-Baltistan on the occasion.
• National flags, banners and pictures of the heroes of independence war were displayed on buildings and roads to pay homage to them.
6. Zahid appointed DG Customs Intelligence
• The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has posted Member Customs Muhammad Zahid as Director General of Customs Intelligence and Investigation.
• The post fell vacant following the removal of Shaukat Ali, who is now posted as a member at FBR.
• Zahid has emerged as the only member of the FBR who not only achieved the assigned revenue collection target of the year 2017-18, but also exceeded the collection.
November 2, 2018: International Current Affairs
7. US, Turkey begin joint patrols in Syrian city
• Troops from Turkey and the United States launched joint patrols in the northern Syrian city of Manbij on November 1, 2018, the Turkish defence minister said, part of a bid to ease tensions between the NATO allies.
• The joint patrol in Manbij between Turkish armed forces and the US began. The city is controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People`s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Turkey considers a terrorist group.
• The patrol took place around the Sajur River that divides Manbij and the region of Jarabulus, which was captured by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels from the militant Islamic State group in 2016 during Ankara`s first offensive in northern Syria.
8. WB highlights Pakistan`s business reforms
• Karachi has improved the transparency of land registration process by publishing online the fee schedule and the list of documents necessary to complete any property registration, says a World Bank report.
• The report, released on November 1, 2018, also highlights various steps Pakistan has taken in the last 10 years to improve the business environment.
• The report includes a comparative study of business environment in Karachi and Lahore, underlining the reforms undertaken since 2008.
• The report notes that in 2018, Pakistan made starting a business easier by enhancing the online one-stop registration system, replacing several forms for incorporation with a single application and establishing information exchange between the registry and the tax authority. This change applied to both Karachi and Lahore.
• Lahore made registering property easier by streamlining and automating administrative procedures, and by increasing the transparency of its land administration system. Karachi made registering property easier byy increasing the transparency of the land registry.
9. South Korean court allows conscientious objection to military service in landmark ruling
• South Korea`s Supreme Court said on November 1, 2018 that conscientious objection is a valid reason to refuse mandatory military service, a landmark change in the court`s decades-long stance that is expected to impact about930 pending cases.
• The full-bench decision overturns about five decades of precedents that punished conscientious objectors for refusing mandatory military service and is in step with changing South Korean attitudes as relations with North Korea thaw.
• The court`s decision concerned only one defendant, a 34-year-old man surnamed Oh, a Jehovah`s Witness whose trial court guilty verdict was upheld at the appellate court.
• Through decisions in 1969 and 2004, South Korea`s Supreme Court had maintained that religious beliefs or conscience were not valid reasons to refuse mandatory military service.
November 2, 2018: Sports Current Affairs
10. Azhar quits ODIs, seeks to prolong Test career
• Expressing the desire to extend his Test career, veteran Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali on November 1, 2018 announced retirement from One-day Internationals.
• `Today, I want to announce an important decision: I feel the time is right for me to announce my retirement from ODIs so that I can focus with my full energy on Test cricket and serve Pakistan longer,` the 33-year-old Azhar said during a hurriedly-called press conference here at the Gaddafi Stadium on November 1, 2018.
• As batsman Azhar, who made his ODI debut in 2011 against Ireland at Belfast,aggregated 1,845 runs in one-dayers at an average of 36.90 with the help of three centuries and 12 half-centuries. He last represented Pakistan in an ODI against New Zealand in January this year at Dunedin. His highest ODI score is 102 which he amassed against Zimbabwe in 2015 at Lahore.