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November 2018

Day by Day Current Affairs (November 20, 2018) | MCQs for CSS, PMS, NTS

Written by Shahzad F. Malik

 November 20, 2018: National Current Affairs

1. Pak-US ties dip to new low after Trump`s rant

• Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 19, 2018 led the sharp reaction by political leaders to US President Donald Trump`s tirade against Pakistan by hinting at review of foreign policy options and asking the US president to introspect on the real reasons for America`s failure in Afghanistan.
• Mr Trump, however, looked unwilling to end the row that began with his interview and followed PM Khan`s rejoinder with more tweets in which he repeated the allegations and insisted that the US was no more in a giving mood.
• `Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140,000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,` Mr Khan said in one of his four tweets in response to Mr Trump`s interview to Fox News.
• President Trump, while talking about the reasons for ending the over a billion dollar annual aid for Pakistan, said the country didn`t do `a damn thing for us`. He raked up allegations of global terror kingpin having lived in Pakistan with relative ease. `But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,` Mr Trump said.
• `And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year . … [bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we`re supporting Pakistan, we`re giving them $1.3 billion a year which we don`t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it becausethey don`t do anything for us, they don`t do a damn thing for us.
• Although US aid for Pakistan had been on decline since the last years of President Barack Obama as the strategic misalignment of the two countries grew, but it was after Mr Trump`s New Year tweet accusing Pakistan of `lies and deceit` that the security aid was ended.

2. Japan pledges $4.6m for polio vaccines

• The Japanese government has announced providing $4.6 million grant to Pakistan to support the supply of essential polio vaccine for campaigns during 2018-19.
• Notes of grant were signed and exchanged here on Monday between the government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Children`s Fund (Unicef).
• The grant will support procurement of 25 million doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV)which would be sufficient to vaccinating children under the age of five in high-risk districts across the country thus enabling the programme to quickly close immunity gaps.
• With this latest grant aid, the Japanese government had contributed about $230 million towards polio eradication initiative since 1996. To achieve and maintain interruption in polio transmission, Japan believed that robust routine immunisation was required, and had provided technical assistance for the Expanded Immunisation Programme (EPI) in Pakistan since 2001.

3. $1bn received from Saudi Arabia

• Pakistan received $1 billion from Saudi Arabia on November 19, 2018 as part of the $3bn package promised by the kingdom during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
• State Bank of Pakistan`s Chief Spokesman confirmed the arrival of $1bn, taking the SBP reserves to $8.482bn, from $7.482bn.
• The new government has been struggling to plug the big hole on the external front as the current account deficit reached record $18bn in FY18.
• Estimates suggest the country needs $12bn additional inflow to meet the deficit in FY19.Khan visited Saudi Arabia last month and got promises of $3bn oil on deferred payments and $3bn cash to be placed in the SBP account.
• These dollars would not be used by Pakistan; they will simply support the foreign exchange reserves.

4. Khalid Mirza made head of SECP policy board

• The government has, for the first time, appointed a private sector expert to head the policy board at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
• Khalid Mirza, former chairman SECP and Competition Commission of Pakistan, has replaced the secretary finance who was working as the chairman SECP policy board.
• The government has also issued notification for appointment of six members from the private sector on the board including Sadiq Saeed (JS investments), Farrukh Khan (BMA Capital), Adnan Afridi (Ex-CEO KSE), Waqar ul Islam and Asad Ali Shah (Chartered Accountant).
• During his tenure at the SECP, Khalid Mirza spearheaded the implementation of major programmes for the capital markets and introduced corporate sector reforms.

5. Task forces set up to control population growth

• The Centre and the provinces on November 19, 2018 decided to form task forces within their jurisdictions to control rapid population growth.
• The meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan considered the figure of 207.8 million population in the last census as a benchmark to discuss the issue of population welfare and its control.
• Finance Minister Asad Umar, Law and Justice Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, Privatisation Minister Mohammadmian Soomro, Chief Ministers Usman Buzdar of Punjab, Murad Ali Shah of Sindh, Mahmood Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Jam Kamal Khan of Balochistan, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood, federal and provincial secretaries and other senior officials attended the meeting.
• The task forces will be headed by the prime minister at the national level and by the respective chief ministers at the provincial levels.

6. Krishna Kumari joins BBC list of 100 influential women

• Social activist Krishna Kumari, who made waves earlier this year by becoming the first Hindu Thari woman to make it to the Senate, once again did so on November 19, 2018 by joining 99 other women on the BBC`s 100 list of inspirational and influential women for 2018.
• The list includes the names of vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea Clinton, actress Jamila Jamil, FGM activist Nimco Ali and author Isabel Allende.
• The 40-year-old senator hails from the remote village of Dhana Gam in Nagarparkar. She was selected as a candidate on a reserved seat for women (from Sindh) by the Pakistan Peoples Party in March.
• Born on Feb 1, 1979, Ms Kumari had a tough childhood. She along with her family was held for three years as bonded labour in a private jail allegedly owned by a landlord in the Kunri area of Umerkot district.

November 20, 2018: International Current Affairs

7. British foreign minister visits Iran for talks on N-deal

• British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Iran for the first time on November 19, 2018 for talks about the nuclear deal and freeing UK nationals held in Iranian jails.
• Hunt met his counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, but neither side took questions from reporters.
• It was the first visit to Tehran by a Western foreign minister since the United States withdrew from the multi-nation nuclear deal in May. Britain is determined to keep Iran in the agreement by finding ways to work around renewed US sanctions.

8. Germany bans Khashoggi suspects from much of Europe

• Germany has issued entry bans for 18 Saudi citizens suspected of involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Riyadh`s Istanbul consulate, effectively banning them from the European Union`s passport-free Schengen zone.
• November 19, 2018`s move represents a sharpening of the position of Germany, which last month imposed a ban on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia until the circumstances of Khashoggi`s killing have been fully cleared up.
• It suggests Berlin is prepared to use its influence as the EU`s largest country to push for a tougher European line, given the ban will effectively apply across the 26-country Schengen zone.

9. EU ministers agree on terms of `painful` Brexit divorce

• European ministers signed off on Britain`s draft divorce deal on November 19, 2018 as they launched a `painful` final week of negotiations on future cross Channel ties.
• Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and the Union`s Austrian rotating presidency said the negotiated text would be presented to EU leaders at a signing summit on November 18, 2018.
• Meanwhile, detailed discussions continue on a parallel political statement setting out the bloc`s ambitions for future relations with post-Brexit Britain and on a possible extension to the transition period.

10. Pakistan implode as Patel seals improbable win for New Zealand

• Debutant spinner Ajaz Patel took five wickets to lead a never-say-die approach from New Zealand bowlers as they pulled off a thrilling four-run win over an indisciplined Pakistan in the first Test in Abu Dhabi on November 19, 2018.
• Defending a modest 176-run target, New Zealand bowlers led by slow left armed Patel (5-59), fast bowler Neil Wagner (2-27) and Ish Sodhi (2-37) bowled out Pakistan for 171 on a drama-packed fourth day at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
• It is the fifth smallest win in terms of runs in Test cricket history and gives New Zealand a 1-0 lead in the three match series.

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