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November 18, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan witnessed negative wage growth in 2015-16: ILO
• The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned that Asia-Pacific still faces structural weaknesses in its labour markets despite two decades of economic growth.
• In its `Asia-Pacific Employment` and `Social Outlook 2018`, released on November 16, 2018, ILO pointed out that although the regional unemployment rate is projected to remain 4.1 per cent through 2020, the vulnerable employment rate is expect to creep up towards 49pc, reversing a downward trend of at least two decades.
• The region`s future prospects will require that economic growth go hand in hand with a further expansion of decent work, it says.
• While real wage growth surpassed labour productivity growth between 2010 and 2016 in almost all countries, the increase in wages of employees looked especially strong in China, Thailand and Vietnam. However, negative wage growth was witnessed in Pakistan in 201516 at minus 4.7pc.
• In Pakistan`s education sector, 6.6pc of the total female employment in 2016 was well behind the 72.9pc share in agriculture and 12.7pc in manuf acturing.Pakistan stands out with 15.3pc of women working from their homes, and 37pc working on the land (in agriculture) in 2017.
2. Ready to fight terror on Pakistani soil: Iran
• Iran says it is prepared to carry out anti-terror operations on Pakistani soil under Islamabad’s supervision.
• “As the interior minister and the person responsible for the country’s internal security, I announce that we are prepared to conduct operations in areas where terrorists are present in Pakistan, under the Pakistani side’s supervision and with their permission,” Iran’s Interior Minister Abdol-Reza Rahmani-Fazli said on November 17, 2018.
• Fazli said such operations would take place “if the need arises, and they (the Pakistani side) would not possess the readiness to operate for any reason.”
• “If we have refused to operate on the other side of the border so far, it has been merely because we wanted to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty,” the minister said.
November 18, 2018: International Current Affairs
3. Pence vows no end to tariffs until China bows
• The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to US demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on November 17, 2018.
• In a bluntly worded speech at an Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea, Pence threw down the gauntlet to China on trade and security in the region.
• `We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China,` Pence declared.
• `We put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and we could more than double that number.
• `The United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways.
• The stark warning will likely be unwelcome news to financial markets which had hoped for a thaw in the Sino-US dispute and perhaps even some sort of deal at a G20 meeting later this month in Argentina.
4. Former militia leader of Central African Republic extradited to face ICC trial
• Central African Republic (CAR) lawmaker and former militia leader Alfred Yekatom was extradited to The Hague on November 17, 2018 to stand trial at the International Criminal Court probing war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first such move by the conflict-ridden country.
• A government source said the charges against Yekatom, a former militia leader within the so-called anti-balaka movement involved in sectarian bloodletting, were not specified.
• The ICC launched an investigation in September 2014 into crimes committed in the country since 2012.Yekatom`s militia operated in the south of the country. In 2015, he became the target of US sanctions for suspected attacks against Muslims, civilian deaths, and for using 153 child fighters.
5. Solih sworn in as Maldives president, replacing pro-China leader
• Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took office as the new Maldives president on November 17, 2018 and immediately warned of a `dire` economic crisis as he turned to India for help, signaling an end to the pro China stance of his predecessor.
• Solih, 54, emerged as a common candidate for the opposition that united to oust strongman leader Abdulla Yameen in a September election.
• Solih`s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has pledged to end what it called `China`s colonialism` and to resist a `land grab` in the country which straddles key East-West shipping routes.
• MDP leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed has vowed his party would reduce reliance on China and renegotiate loans taken from Beijing.
• More than 80 per cent of the Maldives` foreign debt is owed to China, he said.
6. Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi`s elimination: CIA
• The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the elimination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
• The Saudi government has rejected the claim as false, insisting that the de facto ruler was not involved.
• `In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince`s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi,` The Washington Post, which first broke the story, reported.
• The ambassador told Mr Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to the Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.
7. Excavators discover 15th-century indigenous tombs in Bolivia
• Archaeologists say they found tombs at a Bolivian quarry containing remains from more than 500 years ago that give an insight into the interaction of various peoples with the expanding Inca Empire.
• The remains, which were found about 20 kilometres from La Paz, belong to more than 100 individuals from an indigenous civilisation and were buried with more than 30 vessels used by the Incas for performing death rites, said an archaeologist involved in the excavation.
• The site near the modern day town of Vlacha also contained elongated skulls that may have been stretched to differentiate the social rank of individuals.
• The cemetery carved intolimestone appears to have been built by the Pacajes people, whose cities were conquered by the Incas toward the end of the 15th century. The Pacajes formed part of the Aymara kingdom and developed around the year 1200 after the decline of the Tiwanacu people in the Andean highlands.
8. Bulgaria’s vice premier resigns after outcry
• Bulgaria’s nationalist vice premier Valery Simeonov resigned on November 17, 2018 after weeks of street protests by insulted mothers of children with disabilities who pressed for him to go.
• “I tabled my resignation as vice premier in Bulgaria’s coalition government,” Simeonov told journalists.
• The government press service said it had been accepted by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Mothers of children with disabilities rallied in downtown Sofia every evening for the past 26 days demanding Simeonov’s resignation over a statement in mid-October in which he described them as “a bunch of shrill women who manipulate society by taking out in heat and rain these supposedly ill children for purely material gain”.
• Daycare centres are scarce and most mothers of disabled children cannot take up employment
9. Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman dies
• William Goldman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and “All the President’s Men,” has died.
• The 87-year-old passed away November 16, 2018 morning in New York City following complications from cancer and pneumonia.
• Born in Chicago, Goldman briefly served in the military and got into writing after graduating from university. He wrote a number of bestselling novels before he turned to scriptwriting.
• “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” his first original screenplay about a pair of outlaws – portrayed in the film by Paul Newman and Robert Redford – won him his first Oscar in 1970.
• He went on to win another Academy Award for Watergate thriller “All the President’s Men” in 1977.
10. Bangladesh gets ACC presidency
• The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) presidency has been handed over to Bangladesh with Nazmul Hassan (President Bangladesh Cricket Board) taking over from Ehsan Mani (Chairman PCB) for the term 2018-2020.
• The handing over took place at the Annual General Council Meeting (AGM) of the Asian Cricket Council on November 17, 2018 which was presided over by the outgoing president Mani.
• Delegates from ACC member countries and officials attended the meeting. This was the first AGM hosted by Pakistan in more than a decade.
• The Asian wing is right now the strongest as far as international cricket is concerned with as many as five Test playing nations and two countries with ODI status.