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November 16, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. AIIB keen to invest $1b in Pakistan
• The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has expressed willingness to invest $1 billion for the development of various projects in Pakistan, Laurel Ostfield, Head of Communications and Development at AIIB.
• AIIB, the multilateral development bank desired to bring countries together to address Asia’s daunting infrastructure funding gap estimated at $ 26 trillion through 2030.
• AIIB intends to improve economic and social development in Asia and beyond through a focus on sustainable infrastructure, cross-border connectivity and private capital mobilization.
• The bank has gained the strong support from diversified global shareholder base having $ 100 billion capital stock with 20% assigned to paid-in capital.
2. Waleed Iqbal and Seemi Aizdi captured on November 15, 2018 the two Punjab Senate seats
• Young Waleed is the grandson of Allama Muhammad Iqbal while Seemi is the sister of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf stalwart Jahangir Khan Tareen.
• They defeated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz contestants Saud Majeed and Saira Afzal Tarar with a slim margin of eight votes each.
• According to unofficial results Waleed Iqbal got 184 votes against 176 of Saud Majeed in the secret balloting. Seemi Aizdi received 183 votes against Saira Tarar’s 175 votes cast on the reserved seat.
• A total of 367 votes of the valid 369 votes were cast during the polling held at the Punjab Assembly. Seven and nine votes were rejected in Waleed-Majeed and Seemi-Saira contest respectively.
3. Pakistan welcomes Saudi action on Khashoggi
• Pakistan November 15, 2018 welcomed the announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to initiate the process of indictment of those responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
• A foreign ministry statement said: “Commencement of this process demonstrates the resolve and commitment of the Saudi authorities to hold the culprits and their associates to account and fulfill the imperatives of justice, as has been mutually reaffirmed by both Saudi Arabia and Turkey.”
4. Government launches road safety strategy
• The Ministry of Communications on November 15, 2018 launched the Pakistan National Road Safety Strategy (PNRSS) 2018-30 that aims to provide better facilities to commuters and cut the number of traffic accidents.
• The strategy was unveiled by Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed.
• The government hopes that by implementing the strategy, fatal accidents on major highways will rapidly decline.
• Road safety is a major public health issue in Pakistan. Every five minutes someone is killed or badly injured in a road traffic crash in Pakistan.
• The PNRSS had been devised by collaborating with UK-Aid and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
5. Faiz festival begins on November 16, 2018
• The three-day Faiz International Festival will kick off at the Alhamra Art Centre, on November 16, 2018.
• The festival being organised by the Faiz Foundation Trust (FFT) in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council will bring together a bouquet of performances, panel discussions, music, dance, a visual art exhibition and a lot more.
• On the inaugural day there will be a grand opening ceremony and also the opening of a visual art exhibition. Ajoka will stage its popular play `Kala Menda Bhais`and there will be a panel discussion titled `Kaifi and Faiz` featuring Shabana Azmi, Saleema Hashmi, Adeel Hashmi and Mira Hashmi.
• There will also be a musical evening titled `Yaad ki Rahguzar` in which Tahira Syed will sing.
November 16, 2018: International Current Affairs
6. Five Saudi officials face death penalty, crown prince exonerated
• Saudi Arabia November 15, 2018 called for the death penalty against five people accused of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, but absolved the crown prince of any blame.
• Khashoggi, the Washington Post contributor and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was drugged and his body dismembered, a spokesman for the public prosecutor said, in the first Saudi confirmation of how the journalist died.
• But spokesman Shaalan al-Shaalan denied Prince Mohammed had any knowledge of the killing. The journalist’s body parts were then handed over to an agent outside the consulate grounds, Shaalan said
7. Trump fires senior adviser at start of White House reshuffle
• An angry Donald Trump removed a senior adviser after First Lady Melania Trump demanded her sacking, with more heads set to roll in a White House reshuffle triggered by infighting and setbacks in the midterm elections.
• Melania Trump made the extremely rare demand for deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel to be fired on November 15, 2018, saying `she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House.` The protocol-busting move followed a falling out that press leaks say was partly linked to a dispute over seating arrangements on the plane that took the first lady for a tour of African countries in October. Ricardel was also reportedly blamed for negative news coverage of Melania Trump.
• The first lady got her way when presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders announced that Ricardel` departs the White House to transition to a new role within the Administration.` The start to the second half of Donald Trump`s first term is enveloped in gloom as the president surveys the damage from the midterms, tension with some of America`s closest allies, and now turmoil inside the administration.
8. Nepal’s first robot waiter is ready for orders
• “Please enjoy your meal,” says Nepal’s first robot waiter, Ginger, as she delivers a plate of steaming dumplings to a table of hungry customers.
• The poor Himalayan nation is better known for its soaring mountain peaks than technological prowess, but a group of self-taught young innovators are seeking to change that. Local start-up Paaila Technology built Ginger, a 1.5 metre (five-foot) tall robot, from scratch and programmed her to understand both English and Nepali. The bilingual humanoid robot – named Ginger after a common ingredient in Nepali cuisine – can even crack jokes like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Three ‘Gingers’ work at Naulo restaurant in the dusty capital Kathmandu, where pot-holed roads and crumbling buildings still bear the scars of a powerful earthquake that hit more than three years ago.
• The team of 25 young engineers – Raut is the oldest at 27 – worked for months to build the robot, welding and moulding the prototype by hand in their tiny three-roomed office.
9. Chinese artificial sun pushes past 100 million degrees
• The experimental advanced superconducting tokamak (EAST), or the ‘Chinese Artificial Sun’, achieved an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees in its core plasma, a key step towards the test running of fusion reactor
• The ultimate goal of EAST is to create nuclear fusion like the Sun using deuterium abound in the sea to provide a steady stream of clean energy.
• The four-month experiment shows China is making significant progress towards tokamak-based fusion energy production.
• The achieved temperature is about seven times more than the interior of the Sun, which is about 15 million degrees Celsius.
10. ‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting Sun’s nearest star
• A “super-Earth” has been discovered orbiting the closest single star to our Sun, scientists said on other day in a breakthrough that could shine a light on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbours.
• Astronomers studied Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf just six light years away – practically in our back garden, galactically speaking – and noticed the presence of a “frozen, dimly lit world” at least 3.2 times heavier than Earth.
• The planet, known for now as Barnard’s Star b, is the second nearest to Earth outside the solar system and orbits its host star once every 233 days.