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September 21, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistani, Indian FMs to hold rare meeting
- In response to a proposal by Prime Minister Imran Khan to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, India on September 20, 2018 announced that the foreign ministers of the two nuclear-armed nations would meet on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
- The communication from the Pakistani side was in response to the Indian premier`s letter to Mr Khan after he was sworn in as the country`s new chief executive last month.
PM Khan has sought resumption of dialogue between the two countries that were stalled in 2015.
- `Pakistan and India have an undeniably challenging relationship. We however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. Siachen and Sir Creek also need close attention to move towards resolution,` Mr Khan said, adding that Pakistan remained ready to discuss terrorism but discussion on trade, people-to-people contacts, religious tourism and humanitarian issues was also important.
2. Saudi Arabia set to become third partner in CPEC
- Saudi Arabia is set to become a third strategic partner in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and has reportedly agreed in principle to invest heavily in Pakistan after it was formally invited to join the Beijing sponsored mega venture.
- The landmark announcement by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry came in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan`s visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates apparently aimed at convincing Islamabad`s allies in the Middle East to help the government deal with a looming financial crisis.
- A high-level coordination committee has been constituted and it has the complete backing of the Saudi King, His Highness Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, as well as the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman] and PM Khan.
3. Pakistan elected IAEA board member, again
- Pakistan has once again been elected a member of the board of governors (BoG) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for two years.
- The IAEA elects 11 new members of the BoG every year for two-year term. And this year, Pakistan was among those countries which were elected new board members.
- PAEC Chairman Muhammad Naeem is currently leading the Pakistan delegation in the 62nd IAEA General Conference in Vienna, the capital of Austria.
- Of the 170 IAEA member states, 35 countries were members of its BoG.
4. Pakistan`s effort to end terrorist financing remains uneven: US
- As the new government in Islamabad starts work on addressing the concerns related to money laundering and terror financing, a US State Department report released on September 20, 2018 said that Pakistan criminalised terrorist financing through the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), but its implementation remained uneven.
- Pakistan is a member of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. In June, the Paris-based FATF placed Pakistan on its grey list of countries that could be marked out for economic sanctions if they failed to prevent terrorists from collecting funds within their domain.
- The official US report released with the State Department`s country reports on terrorism also highlights FATF`s concerns about Pakistan.
- `The FATF continued to note concern that Pakistan`s outstanding gaps in the implementation of the UN Security Council ISIL (Daesh) and Al Qaida sanctions regime have not been resolved, and that UN-listed entities including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its affiliates were not effectively prohibited from raising funds in Pakistan, nor being denied financial services,` the report points out.
5. Postage stamps portraying Burhan Wani issued
- Pakistan Post has issued special postage stamps to portray martyred Kashmiri youth leader, Burhan Wani, describing him a ‘Freedom Icon’.
- Pakistan Post had issued 20 special postage stamps on July 24, this year, to locally and internationally highlight the brutalities of Indian troops on the people of Occupied Kashmir engaged in a peaceful struggle to achieve freedom from India’s illegal occupation of their homeland.
- The stamps carry photos of Burhan Wani and his two associates killed in a fake encounter by Indian troops in Islamabad district of South Kashmir in July 2016.
- The commemorative stamps also portray the victims of pellet guns and destruction caused by the chemical weapons used by the Indian forces personnel in the occupied territory.
- It is to mention here that the extrajudicial killing of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016 triggered the ongoing mass uprising in the Occupied Kashmir
September 21, 2018: International Current Affairs
6. UK reaffirms commitment to work with Pakistan
- Britain`s Home Secretary Sajid Javid has reaffirmed the strong partnership reached between the UK and Pakistan during his two-day visit to Islamabad earlier this week.
- A statement issued by the British government said that Mr Javid stressed the importance of the historic and unique relationship as he ended his visit.
- In the first visit to Pakistan by a UK minister since the July 25 elections, Mr Javid called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.
- He also met government ministers, including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Afridi, and discussed with them cooperation to tackle organised crime, terrorismand corruption.
- During the visit, the government announced a new UK-Pakistan partnership on accountability to tackle illicit finance, a priority for the new government.
7. World ‘won’t rest’ on Rohingya crisis, UK’s Hunt tells Suu Kyi
- British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt on Thursday called for justice on the Rohingya crisis after his visit to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, telling embattled leader Aung San Suu Kyi the world “won’t let it rest”.
- Hunt’s rallying cry for accountability comes at the end of a busy two-day visit during which he visited Rakhine – the epicentre of a brutal military campaign that drove out more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims – and met with Suu Kyi. “Burma needs to know the international community won’t let it rest,” said Hunt using Myanmar’s former name.
- Myanmar has set up an “independent” commission to address the army’s crackdown against the Rohingya, rejecting the UN probe and calls for the International Criminal Court to investigate.
- The Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, where they joined about 300,000 already in cramped refugee camps, carrying accounts of extrajudicial killings, extreme sexual violence and arson. The evidence warrants the charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, UN investigators said.
8. US hits Chinese unit with sanctions for buying Russian jets, missiles
- The United States hit a Chinese military organization with punishing financial sanctions for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles as it stepped up pressure on Moscow over its “malign activities.”
- It was the first time the Trump administration targeted a third country with its CAATSA sanctions, designed to punish Russia for its seizure of Crimea and other activities.
- The State Department said it was applying the 2017 legislation against the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Ministry of Defense for its purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.
- At the same time, the State Department also announced it was placing 33 Russian intelligence and military-linked actors on its sanctions blacklist under the CAATSA rules.
- “The ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia,” a senior administration official told journalists, insisting on anonymity.
- “CAATSA sanctions in this context are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country. They are aimed at imposing costs on Russia in response to its malign activities.”
9. $60 million in virtual currency hacked in Japan
- Bitcoin and other digital currency worth around 6.7 billion yen ($60 million) has been stolen in Japan following a hacking attack, a virtual exchange operator said on September 20, 2018.
- Osaka-based Tech Bureau, which operates virtual currency exchange Zaif, said its server had been illegally accessed and money transfered.
- “We decline to comment on the details of how this illegal access occurred, as it is a crime and we’ve already asked the authorities to investigate,” Tech Bureau said in a statement. It added that the virtual currencies stolen were bitcoin, bitcoin cash and monacoin.
- “We will prepare measures so that customers’ assets will not be affected” by the hack, it said, adding it would receive financial support from major shareholder Fisco Group
September 21, 2018: Sports Current Affairs
10. Asia Cup 2018: Rashid stars as Afghanistan upset BD
- Talented Afghan spinner Rashid Khan celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring a half century and taking two wickets as his side upset Bangladesh by 136 runs in the Asia Cup on September 20, 2018.
- Rashid scored a rapid unbeaten 32-ball 57 with eight fours and a six to lift Afghanistan to an imposing 255-7 after their captain Asghar Afghan won the toss and decided to bat at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
- Rashid, who finished with 2-13 in nine overs and effected a run out, claimed the prized wickets of Shakib Al Hasan (32) and Mahmudullah Riyad (27) as Bangladesh were bundied out for 119 in 42.1 overs.
- It was Afghanistan`s second upset in the tournament following their 91-run win over Sri Lanka which sent the islanders crashing out in thenrstround.
- This was Bangladesh`s lowest total against Afghanistan by some distance their previous lowest against the Afghans was 208 in Dhaka two years ago.
- The whole Bangladesh innings had just five boundaries-two by Riyad and three by Mosaddek Hossain (26 not out).