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September 6, 2018: National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan, US agree to make fresh start
- Pakistan and the United States on September 5, 2018 sent out a clear message that they were ready to reset their bilateral relations, with Islamabad emphasising that finally after several years the diplomatic stalemate has been broken.
- Both sides agreed that it was time for them to begin to deliver on all joint commitments so as to build confidence and trust. Pakistan recognised the shift in the US Afghan policy where it now wants to go into direct talks with the Afghan Taliban and wants Pakistan to assist.
- The breakthrough came after two lengthy meetings at the Foreign Office and Prime Minister’s Secretariat, by the visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Junjua, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Bajwa and DG ISI Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.
- Secretary Pompeo welcomed the smooth transition of power to a new civilian government, stressing the importance of strong democratic institutions. Qureshi announced later in a press conference that he was invited by Pompeo to Washington to carry forward the discussion held Wednesday in Islamabad.
2. Task force formed to get ill-gotten money from abroad
- Taking a step forward to fulfil its promise of retrieving ill-gotten wealth of Pakistanis in foreign countries, the government has formed a high-powered task force comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau as well as intelligence agencies.
- In this regard, the government has decided to enforce an anti-corruption rule which offers informers 20 per cent of the looted wealth recovered through information provided by them. The rule exists in accountability laws but has seldom been enforced.
- The government also made another significant decision to introduce uniform curriculum not only in public and private schools but also in religious seminaries.
- These decisions were made in a federal cabinet meeting held at PM Office on Wednesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
3. Sarwar sworn in as 37th governor of Punjab
- Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Chaudhry Sarwar on September 5, 2018 took oath as the 37th governor of Punjab.
- Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali administered the oath at a ceremony held on the lawns of Governor House.
- Mr Sarwar was nominated as Punjab governor on Aug 10 but he continued holding his position as Senator because party wanted him to poll his vote for Dr Arif Ali, PTI`s presidential candidate.
- Soon after the president`s election process completed and results declared, Mr Sarwar resigned from his Senatorship on September 4, 2018 evening.
4. Shah Farman took oath as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor
- Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Farman took oath as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor
- Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth administered oath to Shah Farman at a ceremony held at the KP Governor’s House.
- Shah Farman resigned as MPA on September 4, 2018 after casting his vote in the presidential election. He had retained his seat in rural Peshawar in the July 25 general election after remaining an MPA for five years from 2013-2018.
- He also contested for the second provincial assembly seat, but lost by a narrow margin to Awami National Party (ANP)’s Khushdil Khan following recounting.
- Shah Farman, who was a lawyer but hadn’t practiced in law, remained provincial minister for public health engineering and information in the previous PTI-led government in the province.
- Shah Farman was nominated by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the position of KP governor last month. He has replaced Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, a nominee of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) who resigned after the defeat of the party in the recent general election.
5. Mobile app, website launched to promote tourism
- On the directives of Senior Minister Muhammad Atif Khan, the sports, tourism, archaeology, culture, museums and youth affairs department is launching a new mobile App and website to introduce Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a tourism brand to the world to attract more tourists and visitors to the province.
- This was told at a meeting held with department`s secretary Shahid Zaman in the chair on September 5, 2018. Additional secretary Babar Khan, officials of Management Information System and others attended the meeting, according to a press release.
- The MIS team briefed the participants on the launch of mobile App and new website.
- The meeting was told that all data of tour operators, hotels, restaurants booking, tracking, tourist resorts, lakes, weather in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be uploaded on the website and mobile App to help tourists get information about these facilities at home before leaving for a particular destination.
6. Pakistan could have up to 250 N-warheads by 2025: report
- Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could grow from an estimated 140–150 to between 220 and 250 warheads within the next seven years if the South Asian country continues expanding its nuclear weapon programme and delivery capabilities, according to a report published on August 31 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
- Authored by members of the Federation of American Scientists, the 12-page long report points out that the country is expanding its uranium-enrichment and plutonium production facilities, as well as developing several delivery systems, says Jane’s Defence Weekly.
- “Pakistan continues to expand its nuclear arsenal with more warheads, more delivery systems, and a growing fissile materials production industry … We estimate that the country’s stockpile could … grow to 220 to 250 warheads by 2025, if the current trend continues,” states the report, pointing out that this would make Pakistan the world’s fifth-largest “nuclear weapon state”
September 6, 2018: International Current Affairs
7. Black woman Democrat wins landmark vote
- An African American woman on September 4, 2018 pulled off an upset victory in a Democratic primary contest against a 10-term entrenched male incumbent in Boston, the latest sign that insurgent US candidates from the left are gaining ground.
- Ayanna Pressley, 44, won the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives in Massachusetts’s seventh district, one of the most left-leaning in America and which includes Harvard University.
- Pressley has long been identified as a rising star in the Democratic Party. In 2009, she was the first woman of color ever elected to the Boston City Council. She also worked for former senator John Kerry.
8. ‘No helmet, no fuel’ for Bangladesh bikers
- Motorcyclists without helmets have been barred from buying fuel in Dhaka, in an attempt to quell tensions after major protests for better road safety in the Bangladeshi capital last month.
- The announcement by Dhaka police came after tens of thousands of teenage protesters and students gridlocked Dhaka for nine days in late July and early August, in a major challenge to the authority of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government.
9. Climate action could add $26t to world economy
- Ambitious action on climate change could contribute an extra $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, international experts said on September 6, 2018, urging nations and businesses to step up their engagement.
- The economic benefits offered by a shift to a low-carbon economy have been “grossly” underestimated, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a think tank grouping former heads of government and top economic and business leaders.
- “Bold action could yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion through to 2030 compared with business-as-usual. And this is likely to be a conservative estimate,” the commission’s annual report found. Dynamic action on climate could also generate “over 65 million new low-carbon jobs” by 2030 and avoid over 700,000 premature deaths due to air pollution, it said.
10. Pompeo, Mattis arrive in Delhi for strategic talks
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived Delhi September 5, 2018 to hold the inaugural two-plus-two talks with their Indian counterparts, focus of which will be to deepen strategic ties and resolve differences over India’s defence engagement with Russia and crude oil import from Iran.
- Reflecting the importance of the talks to be held today (September 6, 2018), Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received Pompeo, while Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed her US counterpart Jim Mattis at the Palam airport.
- Swaraj and Sitharaman will hold the twice-postponed dialogue with Pompeo and Mattis. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford is also part of the US delegation.
- The external affairs minister will have a separate bilateral meeting with Pompeo while Sitharaman will have a one-on-one meeting with Mattis today (September 6, 2018) morning before the delegation-level two-plus-two talks.