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September 18, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan, UK agree to cooperate on return of looted wealth
- The governments of Pakistan and the United Kingdom have agreed for cooperation in the fields of justice and accountability under which efforts would be made for repatriation of illicit finances and recovery of stolen assets, besides putting a check on money-laundering. The UK government has also expressed willingness to revive the treaty for extradition of prisoners.
- Federal Minister for Law and Justice Dr Farogh Naseem announced this during a joint press conference with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the PM Office on September 17, 2018.
- The declaration titled `UK-Pakistan Justice and Accountability Partnership` would track corruption. Both sides also deliberated on formation of a joint fund on civil recovery of stolen assets, and appointment of a prosecution service at the British High Commission.
- It was agreed to ensure capacity-building of Pakistani law enforcement officials with the UK`s assistance.
- UK would ensure that no person could escape accountability
2. President Alvi sheds light on govt agenda in first speech
- In his first mandatory address to a joint session of parliament amid a boycott by most opposition parties, President Dr Arif Alvi expressed his satisfaction over the continuation of democratic process in the country.
- The new president delivered his nearly 30-minute speech in Urdu in a trouble-free atmosphere after members of the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz boycotted the sitting and staged a walkout from the house when NA Speaker Asad Qaiser refused to give the floor to firebrand PML-N MNA from Sialkot Khawaja Asif.
3. Prime Minister leaves for Saudi Arabia today (September 18, 2018)
- Prime Minister Imran Khan will embark on a two day visit to Saudi Arabia on September 18, 2018 (today) on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
- It will be the first visit of Mr Khan to a foreign country after taking charge of the office of Prime Minister.
- He will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood.
- Prime Minister Khan will call on King Salman and hold a bilateral meeting with the crown prince. The Saudi king will host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court. Accompanying ministers will meet their counterparts and discuss bilateral cooperation.
- During the visit, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) secretary general Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al Othaimeen will also call on the prime minister.
- Mr Khan will perform Umra and will also pay a visit to Madina.
- Later, Prime Minister Khan along with his delegation will reach Abu Dhabi on the evening of Sept 19 where they will be received by Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the UAE. The PM is visiting the UAE on the invitation of the crown prince.
4. Bajwa discusses security, CPEC with Chinese army chief
- Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the headquarters of People`s Liberation Army (PLA) and met PLA chief Gen Han Weiguo in Beijing on September 17, 2018.
- Both commanders discussed regional security environment, security of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and bilateral cooperation.
- He PLA chief appreciated and acknowledged high professional standing of Pakistan Army displayed while combating terrorism.
- He also appreciated the high degree of security being provided to CPEC by Pakistan Army. The Chinese expressed his keen desire to benefit from Pakistan Army`s combat experience and also expand bilateral cooperation.
5. Ali Muhammad Khan sworn in as state minister
- President Arif Alvi on September 17, 2018 administered the oath to Ali Muhammad Khan as minister of state.
- The induction of Mr Khan into the cabinet takes its strength to 28.
- Last week, six ministers were inducted into the federal cabinet.
- Out of the total 28 members of the present cabinet, eight belong to coalition parties. Under Article 92 of the Constitution, the total strength of the cabinet — including state ministers — could not exceed 11 per cent of the total members of parliament. The total membership of both the lower and upper houses is 446 and the cabinet size cannot exceed 49 members
6. Punjab signs $20m MoU with Chinese firm
- The Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) signed a $20 million memorandum of understanding (MoU) on September 17, 2018 with Norinco Group, for the establishment of state-of-the-art manufacturing unit near Faisalabad Industrial Estate.
- Norinco is a Fortune 500 company owned by the Chinese government with presence in Pakistan since 1971. Its subsidiary, Norinco Auxin, is engaged in manufacturing and global mining services. Norinco is also a partner of China Railways in its execution of the entire electrical and mechanical works of the Lahore Orange Line metro train project. The PBIT CEO Jahanzeb Burana, Norinco Auxin`s Won John and Faisalabad Industrial Estate Management Company`s (FIEDMC) chief operating officer Aamer Saleemi signed the MoU.
- Under the MoU, the PBIT and FIEDMC will also help Norinco Auxin acquire more than 50 acres of land close to the existing industrial hub.
September 18, 2018: International Current Affairs
7. Japan conducts first submarine drill in South China Sea
- Japan has carried out its first submarine drill in the South China Sea, 2018, a move that could provoke Beijing which claims most of the disputed waters.
- The anti-submarine drill was conducted on September 13, 2018 in the region to `improve strategic tech-niques`, Japan`s defence ministry said in a short statement.
- China claims most of the resource rich South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in shipping trade passes annually, despite competing claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
- Tensions have been high over the Scarborough Shoal since Beijing seized it from Manila in 2012.
8. US, Russia clash at UN over N Korea sanctions
- The United States on September 17, 2018 accused Russia of “cheating” on UN sanctions against North Korea with plans for a railway project, oil transfers and ongoing business dealings with Pyongyang.
- Russia shot back and charged that Washington was blocking steps to foster cooperation between North and South Korea and using a UN sanctions committee “as a select channel to punish” North Korea.
- US Ambassador Nikki Haley told a Security Council meeting that the United States has evidence of “consistent and wide-ranging Russian violations” of the tough economic penalties imposed on North Korea.
- Sanctions “cannot be an end in itself,” Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia responded. “You should, instead of creating roadblocks, promote the inter-Korean cooperation and dialogue,” he told Haley.
- The raucous meeting highlighted divisions between the United States, which is pushing for sanctions to be fully enforced on North Korea, and Russia, which argues that incentives must be offered to Pyongyang to move forward.
- Led by the United States, the council last year adopted three sets of wide-ranging sanctions aimed at cutting off revenue to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Haley said Russia had been “cheating” despite supporting UN sanctions resolutions.
9. Saudi sovereign fund invests $1bn in US electric car firm
- Saudi Arabia`s sovereign wealth fund invested over $1 billion September 17, 2018 in an American electric car manufacturer just weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier claimed the kingdom would help his own firm go private.
- Tesla stock dropped September 17, 2018 on reaction to the news, the same day that the Saudi fund announced it had taken its first loan, an $11bn borrowing from global banks as it tries to expand its investments.
- The Saudi Public Investment Fund said it would invest the over $1bn in Newark, California-based Lucid Motors.
September 18, 2018: Sports Current Affairs
10. Afghanistan knock Lanka out of Asia Cup after upset win
- Afghanistan continued their rise in international cricket with an upset 91-run win over Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi on September 17, 2018, knocking the former champions out of the Asia Cup.
- Sri Lanka needed to win the Group B match to stay in the tournament, but were outwitted by smart batting from Afghanistan who put up a fighting total of 249 all out at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
- The fighters then laid into Sri Lankan batting as spinner Rashid Khan (2-26), Mohammad Nabi (2-30) and Mujeebur Rahman (2-32) bowled out the five-time former winners for 158 in 41.2 overs.
- This was Afghanistan`s first-ever victory against Sri Lanka in three one-day internationals after losing in the 2014 Asia Cup and World Cup a year later.
- Sri Lanka, who now have lost 30 of their 40 matches since January last year, had lost to Bangladesh by 137 runs in Dubai on September 15, 2018.