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November 20, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. UK suspends agreement with Pakistan for exchange of prisoners
• The UK government has suspended an agreement with Pakistan for exchange of convicted prisoners because of lenient application of law and punishment handed down to drug smugglers in Pakistan, a parliamentary committee was informed on November 20, 2019.
• `On the other hand, China is reluctant and most likely will not enterin to Transfer of Offenders Agreement (TOA) with Pakistan because of similar reasons,` the Director Generalof Overseas Pakistanis Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shozab Abbas, told the National Assembly`s Subcommittee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.
• `The UK government does not want to continue the exchange of prisoners` agreement with Pakistan.
• The reason for this is that the UK government wants drug traffickers convicted in Britain and serving their sentences there, to continue serving their sentences in Pakistani jails after their transfer and their sentences should not be set aside by Pakistan.
2. PM`s special aide on media affairs steps down
• Special Assistant to the Prime Minister(SAPM) on Media Affairs Yousuf Baig Mirza resigned from his post on November 20, 2019.
• Mr Mirza said he had served the prime minister with full commitment and dedication, but now he wanted to resume working in the media industry.
• Prior to his appointment as SAPM over a year ago, Mr Mirza had served as managing director of the state-run PTV and other private TV channels.
• After Mr Mirza`s resignation and transfer of Iftikhar Durrani from the PM Office to tribal districts secretariat as its media coordinator, the prime minister now has two official spokespersons Firdous Ashig Awan and Nadeem Afzal Chan
3. Only officials of ASP rank and above can investigate child sexual abuse cases, IHC rules
• The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has set guidelines for the investigation of child sexual abuse cases and made it mandatory for such offences to be investigated by police officers of assistant superintendent of police (ASP) rank and above.
• While dismissing a petition seeking bail in a child sexual abuse case on November 20, 2019, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah criticised the police investigation and directed for the standards of such investigations to be improved.
• The petitioner, Mohammad Zeeshan, had sought post-arrest bail in a case registered on Aug 20 under sections 377 and 511 of the Pakistan Penal Code with the Bhara Kahu police.
• According to the details of the case, the child of the complainant was allegedly sexually abused by the petitioner at a seminary. The counsel for the petitioner claimedthat he was involved in the case with mala fide intentions and the complainant had ulterior motives.
4. FO launches cultural diplomacy initiative
• The Foreign Office has launched a cultural diplomacy initiative for promoting local culture.
• This was announced by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at a meeting of the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs. He said the step was being taken on instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
• He said the move would draw the world`s attention towards the country`s rich cultural heritage besides promoting tourism
5. Pakistan failing to improve labour rights despite GSP+
• The representatives of international bodies on November 20, 2019 decried that Pakistan is failing to improve human rights and workers conditions despite availing the benefits of GSP+ facility provide by the European Union (EU).
• Speaking at a national multi-stakeholder consultation on GSP+ organised by the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, (Piler), EU Ambassador in Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said that Pakistan was among eight countries of world enjoying this facility.
• `Pakistan entered the GSP+ scheme in 2014 which resulted in an increase in exports to European countries by over 50 per cent, with the textile sector being the main beneficiary,` Mrs Kaminara said.
• However, she noted that the situation of labour and human rights has not improved much.
6. Shahbaz Sharif resigns as public accounts committee chief
• National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has convened a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Nov 28 for the election of its new chairman, a position that fell vacant after resignation by Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif.
• In his resignation, which he submitted on Nov 18, a day before his departure to London with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) president nominated party MNA from Sheikhupura Rana Tanvir Hussain as his replacement.
7. Suu Kyi to lead Myanmar defence in ICJ case
• Myanmar`s civilian leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will head up a delegation to the UN`s top court to defend a case accusing the mainly Buddhist country of genocide against Rohingya Muslims, the government said on Wednesday, a decision that blind-sided observers.
• West African nation Gambia is due to open its case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December on behalf of the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
• The complaint accuses Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through its brutal military campaign in 2017, which targeted the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.
• In the opening hearings, the small, majority-Muslim African country is expected to ask the court to make an emergency injunction to protect the Rohingya, pending a decision on whether to deal with the wider case.
• But Suu Kyi will personally lead a team to The Hague to `defend the national interest of Myanmar,` her office said.
8. House Hitler was born in will become a police station
• The house where Adolf Hitler was born will be turned into a police station, Austria`s interior minister said, after years of debate over how best to prevent it becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis.
• Having recently carried out a compulsory purchase of the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the border with Germany, Austria will invite architects to submit plans for a redesign of the building. It will house the local police force`s offices, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on November 19, 2019.
• `The house`s future use by the police should send an unmistakable signal that this building will never again evoke the memory of National Socialism,` Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn, who serves in a provisional government of civil servants, said
9. Son of former German president stabbed to death in Berlin
• The son of former German president Richard von Weizsaecker was stabbed to death while he was giving a lecture at a hospital in Berlin where he worked as a head physician, police said on November 20, 2019.
• A 57-year-old German man is in custody after he jumped up from the audience at the Schlosspark-Klinik and attacked Fritz von Weizsaecker with a knife on Tuesday evening.
• An off-duty police officer in the audience who tried to stop the attack was seriously wounded and had to undergo surgery.
• Von Weizsaecker died at the scene despite immediate attention from colleagues.
• We cannot yet say anything about the attackers motive, said police spokesman Michael Gassen
10. Abe becomes Japan’s longest-serving prime minister
• Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made history on November 20, 2019 by becoming Japan’s longest-serving political leader, though he hasn’t achieved his biggest goal of revising the nation’s pacifist constitution.
• Abe marked his 2,887th day in office, surpassing Taro Katsura from the early 20th century.
• Following his disappointing 2006-2007 term, Abe returned to office in 2012 and has since bolstered Japan’s defence role but hasn’t yet been able to change the constitution and to allow a full-fledged military. Abe and his right-wing supporters have long seen the US-drafted war-renouncing constitution as a legacy of Japan’s World War II defeat and humiliation during US occupation
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