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November 09, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan, S. Korea to boost economic cooperation
• Pakistan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have agreed in principle on an exchange of high level visits between them to boost economic cooperation, regional peace and security.
• The agreement was reached during a meeting between Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and RoK Foreign Minister Kang KyungWha before the 10th round of Pakistan-Korea bilateral policy consultations held in Seoul on November 7, 2018.
• Both sides discussed cooperation in culture, education, forestry and climate change.
• Foreign Secretary Janjua led the Pakistani delegation, which included Ambassador of Pakistan to Korea Rahim Hayat Qureshi and Director General of East Asia Pacific Samina Mehtab, while First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Korea Cho Hyun led the South Korean team.
• The two sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and identified possibilities for deepening relations in education, culture and parliamentary exchanges.
• Discussions were also held on the regional security situation in South Asia and the Korean peninsula.
2. China, Pakistan sign treaty for transfer of prisoners
• A treaty for transfer of sentenced persons between Pakistan and China was signed in Beijing, providing legal grounds for cooperation in transfer of sentenced people.
• The treaty was signed by Chinese Minister of Justice Fu Zhenghua and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on behalf of their countries during Prime Minister Imran Khan`s recent visit to China, the Ghína Daily reponed on November 8, 2018.
• The agreement provides that sentenced persons having difficulties in language, habits, religions and visits would be allowed to return to their respective countries to finish their prison terms there.
• The pact will take effect after the two countries` legislative institutions give their approval.-
3. Thousands killed in drone strikes, terror attacks since 2004
• A total of 409 drone attacks have been conducted in Pakistan since January 2004, in which 2,714 people have been killed and 728injured.
• The majority of the strikes were carried out during the government of Pakistan Peoples Party between 2008 and 2012. Sources within the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) recently shared details, claiming that the period saw 336 aerial attacks, in which 2,282 people lost their lives and 658 received injuries. The officials added that 2010 alone saw 117 attacks that cost 775 people their lives and injured another 193. Between 2013 and 2018 during the government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz a total of 65 drone attacks occurred. A total of 301 people died and 70 were injured.
• In 2018, two drone attacks have been conducted so far.
• One person was killed and one was injured.
• It is however worth remembering that the top leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan has been killed in drone attacks.
• The attacks over the years have targeted the areas of Bajaur, Bannu, Hangu, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Nushki,Orakzai, and South Waziristan. The officials of Nacta added that 289 attacks were conducted in North Waziristan alone, in which 1,651 individuals were killed and 421 were injured. South Waziristan saw 91 attacks that killed 707 individuals and injured 215. There were 13 strikes in the Kurram Agency that killed 110 and injured 32, five in the Khyber Agency that killed 57 and injured 29, four in the Bajaur Agency that killed 129, two in Hangu that killed seven and injured two, one in the Mohmand Agency that killed 18 and injured 18 and one in Nushki that killed two.
4. Govt allows taking suspicious persons into custody
• The federal cabinet, on the recommendations of the ministry of interior, has approved taking several suspicious persons into protective custody.
• The federal cabinet, which met under the chair of Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 8, 2018, reviewed the law and order situation in the country. Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi briefed the cabinet on the losses incurred during the three-day long countrywide protests in the wake of the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Aasia Bibi.
• The federal cabinet also approved prisoners’ swap agreements with England and Northern Ireland.
• The cabinet approved a 21-point agenda and reviewed the implementation of decisions taken during cabinet meetings in the past.
5. Pakistani women less likely to own a mobile phone than men: study
• A new study shows majority of women, less educated and the poor in Pakistan do not own smartphones, lack awareness of and do not have access to the internet.
• The study Information Communication Technology access and use in Asia and the Global South notes that 37pc women between 15-65 years are less likely to own a mobile phone than men. In the same age group, 43pc women are less likely to use internet putting already disadvantaged women in a more vulnerable position than their male counterparts. These results put Pakistan alongside India and Bangladesh with the highest gender gap in Asia when it comes to internet and mobile phone accessibility.
• `This marginalization and lack of access is exacerbated in rural and social contexts limiting their access to technology.
• The report based on a survey of 2,000 households in Pakistan was undertaken to understand how users use or do not use ICT services.
• The 152 million active cellular subscribers mentioned on Pakistan Telecommunication Authority [PTA] website, despite a good SIM registration system, tell nothing about the subscribers, whether they are men or women, rich or poor and does not really help one understand access and usage gaps.
November 9, 2018: International Current Affairs
6. India agrees to attend Moscow Taliban talks
• In a departure from India`s stand on engaging the Taliban, New Delhi has announced it would participate at a `non-official` level, sending two former senior diplomats to attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held in Russia on November 8, 2018.
• The talks, known as the `Moscow format` will include a `high-level` delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan`s `High Peace Council`, along with twelve countries, including Pakistan, and will mark the first time an Indian delegation has been present at the table in talks with the Taliban representatives based in Doha.
• `India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country.
7. Trump dismisses attorney general
• President Donald Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions on November 7, 2018, a day after congressional elections, and vowed to fight if the US House of Representatives new Democratic majority launches probe into his administration.
• Sessions an early Trump supporter who ran afoul of the president by recusing himself from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 White House campaign said in a letter to Trump that he had submitted his resignation `at your request`.
• The 71-year-old former senator was informed on November 7, 2018 morning by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in a phone call that it was time to go, said an aide.
8. US bar shooting kills 13
• A mass shooting November 8, 2018 night in the city of Thousand Oaks in Southern California, has left 13 people dead including an officer and a gunman, and at least 11 injured.
• The gunman was identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former Marine.
• Dean said his department had several contacts with Long over the years, including a call to his home in April when it was believed he may have been suffering from poor mental health.
• According to witnesses at the scene, the shooter threw a smoke grenade into the bar before opening fire with a handgun.
9. World’s first AI news anchor makes his China debut
• The world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor made “his” debut at the ongoing fifth World Internet Conference in east China’s Zhejiang Province.
• The news anchor, based on the latest AI technology, has a male image with a voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person. “He” learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.
• The AI news anchor was jointly developed by Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run media outlet of China, and Chinese search engine company Sogou.com.
• According to Xinhua, “he” has become a member of its reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.
November 9, 2018: Sports Current Affairs
10. Army crowned National Taekwondo champions
• Pakistan Army were crowned the 13th Korean Ambassador National Taekwondo Championship 2018 senior Khyrougi/Poomsae categories champions as they won 22 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals on the last day of the events played at Liaqat Gymnasium Islamabad on November 8, 2018.
• Wapda won second place with 4 gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze medals while HEC bagged third place with 1 gold, 6 silver and 8 bronze medals. In Khyrougi/Poomsae competitions U-10, Khubaib TKD Academy (A) won first position with 11 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals, Khubaib TKD Academy (B) secured second spot with 2 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals and Sindh TKD Association remained third with 1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.