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October 09, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Govt to seek IMF bailout programme
- Ending long drawn-out uncertainty, the government on October 8, 2018 announced its decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for balance-of-payments support and enter into a stabilisation programme.
- Finance Minister Asad Umar left for Indonesia on October 8, 2018 night to participate in the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank at Bali, scheduled to run from Oct 9 to 12, and formally request a bailout programme.
- Other members of his team included State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa, Economic Affairs Secretary Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani and Special Finance Secretary Noor Ahmad.
- `The government has decided to approach the IMF for stabilisation and an economic recovery programme,` said the finance ministry in a statement after the stock market suffered an over 1,300-point plunge, losing almost Rs270 billion of its capitalization the highest single-day loss in a decade. The market capitalisation is estimated to have shrunk by almost half a trillion rupees during the current month as the 100-index dropped to a 10-month low.
2. PM announces Clean & Green Pakistan campaign
- Prime Minister Imran Khan on October 8, 2018 announced a countrywide cleanliness drive titled `Clean and Green Pakistan` aimed at provision of clean drinking water, clean environment, proper sanitation, a waste disposal system and construction of toilets at all public places in five years.
- The prime minister will formally inaugurate the campaign on Oct 13 that will also envisage a massive `waste-to-energy` programme.
- PM said over 500,000 children died in the country every year due to poor sanitation and unhygienic living conditions.
- Prime Minister Khan said neighbouring India also faced the same problems but it had overcome cleanliness issues over the past four years.
3. Army conducts training launch of Ghauri missile
- The Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC) on October 8, 2018 conducted the training launch of nuclear-capable Ghauri missile, the only liquid fuel ballistic missile in the country`s arsenal.
- The missile that can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads over a distance of 1300 kilometres is a road-mobile weapon system that was introduced in 1998. It has since then undergone significant technical improvements. The missile is known for its high accuracy.
- By conducting the training launch, analysts believe Pakistan`s strategic forces underscored that its 20-year-old liquid fuel missile was still operational although it looks that the focus of the missile development had shifted to solid fuelled systems because of operational advantages.
4. Two more inducted into Alyani-led Balochistan cabinet
- With the induction of two more ministers, the cabinet of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Khan Alyani is now complete.
- Governor retired Justice Amanullah Khan Yasinzai administered the oath to the two new ministers, Mir Omer Khan Jamali of PTI and Toor Haji Muhammad Khan Utamkhail of BAP, at Governor House on Monday.
- With the addition of two more ministers, the number has now reached to 14 in conformity with the 18th Amendment which mandates 14 ministers and five advisers out of the house of 65 members.
- However, the chief minister has appointed four advisers and has an authority to select one more.
- Portfolios to ministers are yet to be allocated.
5. FATF begins assessment of anti-money laundering steps
- Pakistan on October 8, 2018 reported strengthening of its legal and institutional framework to curb terror financing and money laundering when a visiting delegation of global experts began third `on-site inspection` of its commitment with Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- The nine-member team of the Asia/Pacific Group (APG) held question-answer sessions with three agencies Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and Anti-Narcotics on five of the 10-point action plan on first day of 12-day deliberations.
- It was reported that draft laws have been finalised under which FIA can access to individual accounts after tightening secrecy clauses. Also, punishments on account of illegal financial transactions at home and abroad are planned to be increased to a minimum of three years imprisonment and up to 10 years along with fines going up to Rs50 million each and attachment of properties for up to six months instead of 90 days.
- The delegation questioned the officials on how and which terror financing risks had been identified and assessed and supervision was applied to risks and how law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are identifying and investigating terror financing activities and prosecutions target designated persons and entities or those working on their behalf.
6. Senate delegation reaches Turkey
- A six-member delegation of Senate headed by Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla reached Turkey to attend a meeting of speakers of Eurasia countries’ parliaments.
- Deputy Speaker of Turkish Parliament, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey received the delegation.
7. PAS body elects Rabiya Agha first female president
- For the first time in its history, the PAS Officers Association has unanimously elected a female officer Rabiya Javeri Agha as its President.
- Her name was proposed by outgoing President Younus Dagha, keeping in line the service traditions of unanimity in decision.
- Rabiya Javeri Agha is currently posted as Federal Secretary Human Rights. An officer of 1986 batch of PAS, Agha belongs to Sindh and at BPS 22 is one of the senior most female officers of the Government of Pakistan. A graduate in Politics and Literature from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts USA, she entered the civil service in 1986.
- Ms Agha has served the government in several capacities. In her judicial assignments she was both ‘first class’ and juvenile magistrate. She has worked as Director General, Federal Ombudsman, Secretary Local Government Board, and Financial Advisor to the Mayor and City of Karachi from 1998 to 2000.
October 9, 2018: International Current Affairs
8. US in new global court showdown with Iran
- The United States accused Tehran on October 8, 2018 of having `unclean hands` as it fought an Iranian court bid to unfreeze billions of dollars earmarked by Washington for terror victims.
- Washington said Iran`s `support for international terrorism`, including bombings and airline hijackings, should rule out its case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
- Iran dragged Washington to the UN`s top court in 2016 over a US Supreme Court ruling that the $2 billion should go to victims of attacks blamed on the Islamic republic.
- Iran said the case breached a 1955 `Treaty of Amity` between Washington and Tehran signed before Iran`s Islamic revolution.
- Washington tore up that treaty last week after the ICJ in a separate case ordered the United States to ease sanctions re-imposed on Iran by US President Donald Trump after he pulled out of Iran`s 2015 international nuclear deal.
9. American duo win Nobel Economics Prize
- US economists William Nordhaus and Paul Romer on October 8, 2018 shared the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize for constructing `green growth` models that show how innovation and climate policies can be integrated with economic growth.
- Working independently, they have addressed `some of our time`s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable growth`, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
- The academy said their models, both developed in the 1990s, have `significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis`.
- The prize announcement came as the UN warned in a landmark report that an `unprecedented` transformation of society and the world economy was needed to avoid global climate chaos.
10. Spanish Flu holds lessons for next pandemic
- It was the disease to end all others, infecting a third of humanity, killing tens of millions in their beds and prompting panicked talk of the end of days across continents still reeling from war.
- One hundred years on from the influenza outbreak known as the Spanish Flu, scientists say that while lessons have been learned from the deadliest pandemic in history, the world is ill-prepared for the next global killer.
- In particular, they warn that shifting demographics, antibiotic resistance and climate change could all complicate any future outbreak.
- Scientists predict that the next influenza pandemic – most likely to be a strain of bird flu that infects humans and spreads rapidly across the world via air travel – could kill up to 150 million people.
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