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World in Focus Jan-Feb 2014

World in Focus Jan-Feb 2014

News from National & International Press

National
Jan 16: At least 10 people were killed in an explosion at a Tableeghi Markaz in Peshawar.

Jan 16
: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declared that operation launched in Karachi by law enforcement agencies would continue.

Jan 16: 17 schoolchildren, two teachers and a van driver perished in a road accident at Daulatpur near Nawabshah.

Jan 16: Akram Khan Durrani and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F and Abbas Afridi, a Fata legislator, were inducted into the federal cabinet, raising its strength to 36.

PML-N’s Khurram Dastagir, already in the cabinet as a minister of state, was sworn in as commerce minister.

Jan 16: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) restructured the Chartered Accountancy (CA) qualification by incorporating latest developments in curriculum and syllabus.

Jan 16: The national proficiency testing services were formally launched to strengthen the quality infrastructure and certification of export commodities and consumer items. Administered by the National Physical and Standard Laboratory (NPSL), the testing services will facilitate the export market and ensuring availability of safe food and consumer items in the local market.

Jan 16: A Lahore-based lawyer Salman Aslam Butt was appointed as the attorney general of Pakistan making him the fifth attorney general to have been appointed since March 2008 and the second to serve during the PML-N government.

Jan 16: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government bifurcated Kohistan district in Upper and Lower Kohistan, raising the number of districts in the province to 26.

Jan 17: An accountability court in Islamabad indicted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and nine others in a case relating to the rental power project scam.

Jan 17: The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Peshawar is the largest endemic poliovirus ‘reservoir’ in the world and more than 90 per cent of the current cases in the country are genetically linked to the city.

Jan 18: Objecting to the December 10 verdict of Supreme Court in the case of 35 missing persons, the ministry of defence filed a review petition pleading that holding the Pakistan Army responsible for enforced disappearances by the court would demoralise the troops engaged in combating terrorists in Swat and Malakand.

Jan 19: At least 20 soldiers were killed and 30 others sustained injuries in an explosion targeting a military convoy in Bannu city.

Jan 19: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled his visit to the Swiss city of Davos following a deadly attack on security forces in Bannu.

Jan 20: A suicide bomber killed 14 people and injured 34 others close to the army headquarters, Rawalpindi.

Jan 20: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia started talks on bilateral defence cooperation under the ‘New Era of Strategic Partnership’ between the two countries.

Jan 20: The federal cabinet allowed import of electricity from India despite internal opposition.

Jan 20: Ameer Bakhsh Bhutto, adviser to the prime minister, resigned from his post.

Jan 21: In a tit-for-tat response to the militant bombings in Bannu and Rawalpindi Pak Army’s air strikes in North Waziristan killed at least 40 people.

Jan 21: Rejecting compromise applications between the victim’s family and Rangers men, an appellate bench of the Sindh High Court upheld the conviction of five Rangers personnel in the 2011 Sarfraz Shah murder case.

Jan 21: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior approved the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) bill. A meeting of the committee, presided over by its chairman Rana Shamim Ahmed, approved the bill with majority votes.

Jan 21: Saeed Ahmad assumed the charge of the office of Deputy Governor (DG), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for three years.

Jan 22: The Interior Ministry, on the advice of FIA DG Saud Ahmad Mirza, replaced FIA Lahore Director Qudratullah Marwat with Dr Usman Anwar.

Jan 22: The government brought amendments, through another ordinance, to the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) that regulates detention for more than three months of suspects of terrorism and waging war against the country.

The new ordinance provides a legal cover for those persons who are in detention of the security agencies. Under the new provisions, these persons will not fall in the category of enforced disappearances. Besides this, the law has authorised the law enforcement agencies to detain a suspect for more than 90 days.

Jan 22: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed Hajj agreement 2014 at Hajj Ministry, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Jan 22
: The judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court of Sibi, Muhammad Nawaz Khan Barakzai, acquitted provincial Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, his father Mir Ghulam Qadir Bugti and chief of the Baloch Republican Party Nawabzada Brahmdagh Bugti in two separate cases because the prosecution failed to prove charges against them.

Jan 23: More Fulbright students from Pakistan studied in the United States in 2012 than from any other country except Chile, an official report said.

Chile sent 287 students to the United States in 2012, followed by Pakistan and Germany, 248, Indonesia, 205, Colombia, 176, Brazil, 172, and Russia, 114.

Jan 23
: President Mamnoon Hussain promulgated the Gas Theft Control and Recovery Ordinance 2014 which enunciates that any person tampering with gas supply lines will be liable to a punishment of between 5 and 10 years of imprisonment, and a fine of up to Rs 3 million. Those tampering with the main lines or installations may be awarded imprisonment of between 7 and 14 years, and a fine of up to Rs 10 million. Whereas those tampering with domestic meters can be awarded a punishment of up to 6 months or a fine which may extend to Rs 100,000, or both.

Jan 23
: Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) and Department for International Development (DFID) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which DFID will provide Rs 1.62 billion to PEEF to award 28,000 scholarships to meritorious and needy students in a period of five years.

Jan 26: National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz reached Washington for US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue — resumed after a three-year gap — to redraw a blueprint for a future relationship between the two allies. The Dialogue focussed, mainly, on economic and security cooperation between the two countries.

Jan 26: Former justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan was appointed as chairman Missing Persons Commission to take up the matters of missing persons of the country.

Jan 27: Irfan Siddiqui, a seasoned columnist, analyst and author was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Affairs. He would hold status of a federal minister.

Jan 27: A Lahore High Court division bench restrained the Punjab government from dispossessing the owners of the properties/land being acquired for establishing the Garments City on Sheikhupura Road.

Jan 27: At the 27th meeting of the Provincial Development Working Party of 2013-14 fiscal year, presided over by Punjab Planning and Development Board Chairman Irfan Elahi, the Punjab government approved establishment of a medical college at Gujrat besides 14 other development schemes with an estimated cost of Rs. 13.259 billion

Jan 27: Authorities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir refused to allow a bus from India to enter, thereby continuing the deadlock over the cross-LoC trade and the peace bus service in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jan 28: Punjab University’s Hailey College of Commerce launched PhD classes.

Jan 28: Pakistan released an important Afghan Taliban commander Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, according to the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP).

Jan 29: Announcing the much-awaited policy statement regarding dealing with terrorism in the National Assembly, the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif gave Taliban “another chance” for peace talks that each side has alternately offered the other. The gesture came as the prime minister made his first appearance in the National Assembly in more than seven months.

He constituted a four-member committee, headed by his Advisor on National Affairs, Irfan Siddiqui, to establish contact with the Taliban and pave the way for a dialogue.

Jan 30: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the authorities to form a committee for initiating a reconciliation process and negotiations with disgruntled Baloch nationalists.

Jan 30: The federal government accepted the resignation of the governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Yaseen Anwar, with effect from January 31.

Jan 30: The Supreme Court threw out a petition of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf seeking review of its judgement of July 31, 2009, on the grounds that it contained irrelevant precedence and was also time-barred.

Jan 30: The federal government notified MNAs Abdul Rehman Kanju and Shazia Marri as members of Press Council of Pakistan. They will replace Yasmin Rehman and Saira Afzal Tarar. They will hold office until October 17, 2014.

Jan 31: Ashraf Mahmood Wathra was appointed acting governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.

Jan 31: Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan took oath as Supreme Court judge. Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jillani, administered the oath.

Jan 31: The special court issued arrest warrants for former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case. The court also dismissed his application seeking cardiac treatment in the United States.

Jan 31: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari jointly performed the ground-breaking of a coal project in Islamkot, near Thar Coal Block-II.

An important part of the project is a 660MW coal-based power plant which is expected to be completed in 2017 at a cost of $1.60 billion.

Jan 31: Mohammad Ramzan Chaudhry won the election of vice chairman of the prestigious Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) for one-year term.

Feb 01: The Balochistan assembly passed six bills, three of which pertained to threefold increase in the salary, allowances and privileges of the chief minister, ministers and speaker, deputy speaker and members of the provincial assembly.

Feb 03: The Sindh Assembly unanimously passed the prevention of defacement of private and public property bill, making contravention of its provisions punishable with up to six-month imprisonment or a fine up to Rs. 5,000 or with both.

Feb 03: Inefficiency, clash of interests and vested interests of officials in the Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) and the Punjab Curriculum Authority (PCA) have fallen hard on class X students as they are studying Physics (English medium) textbook that is replete with conceptual and technical mistakes.

The PTB had identified 1,066 spelling, grammatical, technical, conceptual and illustrative mistakes in the manuscript of the physics X, which was approved by the PCA for publication.

Feb 03: The Supreme Court disqualified PML-N’s Swat MPA, Qaimoos Khan for his fake degree and rigging in 2013 general elections.

Feb 06: The government and Taliban negotiators held their first formal meeting at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House to pave the way for an agreement on ending violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Feb 06: The United States put Malik Ishaq, a co-founder of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, on its list of specially-designated global terrorists and maintained its ban on the organisation as well.

Feb 06: The Sindh police in collaboration with the United States designed ‘modern training curricula’ to enhance professional skills of the officers with main focus on criminal investigations.

Feb 06: The government pushed two anti-terror bills through the National Assembly in the first legislation of more than eight months of the life of the house.
The bills, seeking to amend the Anti Terrorism Act of 1997 to counter financing of terrorist organisations through money-laundering and providing for shoot-at-sight orders to law-enforcement agencies, were based on two of the three anti-terrorism presidential ordinances that the house also extended for further periods of 120 days each to save them from lapsing within the coming few days.

Feb 06: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) set aside the December 2 order of the federal government to suspend the supply of natural gas to the CNG filling stations in the winter.

Feb 06: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) started operating the state of the art Power Distribution Control Centre (PDCC) installed with technical and funding assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Feb 07: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Director General Irina Bokova and the Pakistan’s Minister of State for Education, Training and Standards in Higher Education Muhammad Baleeghur Rehman signed $7 million Malala Funds-in-Trust agreement to support better access, improved quality and safe learning environment for girls in the hard-to-reach areas of Pakistan.

Feb 07: The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) opened a Fulbright Centre at the Forman Christian College (FCC).

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The centre will offer advisory and counselling services, preparatory classes and prometric testing facilities for admissions to universities in the United States.

Feb 07: The Sindh government established its own Higher Education Commission (HEC) and appointed former petroleum minister, Dr Asim Hussain, as its chairman. The post of chairman is equivalent to a provincial minister.

Feb 08: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) included Pakistan in the list of 51 ‘Fragile States 2014’ report for mobilising less than 14 per cent of GDP in tax revenue and high level of security situation.

Feb 08: A Pakistani feature film Zinda Bhaag won the Special Jury Award at the closing ceremony of the Jaipur International Film Festival 2014.

Feb 09: The International Monetary Fund reported a “better-than-expected” GDP growth in the country. The IMF also pointed that Pakistan had met nearly all of its quantitative performance markers and its reform programme remained broadly on track.

Feb 09: The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa launched Green Growth Initiative (GGI) to end power outages in the province.

Feb 10: At the 25th meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and attended by the chief ministers of all the provinces, the government received approval from the four CMs to go ahead with privatisation of the power sector.

Feb 11: Girls’ access to basic education got an impetus with the opening of around 30 schools in six districts of Sindh with a Japanese grant of Rs 829 million.

Feb 11
: During the inter-provincial education ministers’ conference at Planning Commission Auditorium, Islamabad, the federal government and the provinces evolved consensus on establishing a National Curriculum Commission (NCC) to bring uniformity in education syllabi of all provinces.

Feb 11: The federal government, after due diligence and consultations with the provinces, decided to induct Provincial Management Service (PMS) officers into the prestigious Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), erstwhile District Management Group (DMG). The step dismantled over 40 years of patent anomaly in law and ad hoc practices pursued regarding the promotion of officers to senior policy and management positions in the provinces and the federation.

Feb 12: With the provision of $900 million by the Asian Development Bank for Jamshoro supercritical coal-fired power plant to produce 1200MW, Pakistan has stepped into the arena of producing low-cost energy and improving energy mix. Documents for the loan were signed and exchanged by Secretary of Economic Affairs Division Nargis Sethi and ADB Country Director Werner Liepach at the PM secretariat. The project is expected to be completed by December 2018.

Feb 12: The media watchdog group “Reporters Without Borders” said in a report that “Pakistan remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world” for working journalists.

Feb 12: The Punjab Assembly passed The Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2013.

The commission aims at empowering women, expanding opportunities for their socioeconomic development and eliminating all forms of discrimination against them.

Feb 13: Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan reaffirmed their resolve to continue collective efforts and enhanced cooperation to ensure sustainable peace and security in the region at the eighth trilateral summit, hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Leaders of the three countries expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the summit held in an environment of fraternity.

Feb 14: The Punjab government decided to do away with English as a medium for instruction from classes 1-3 after realising students can learn better in their mother and local languages.

The change will be implemented from the next academic session beginning April 1.

Feb 14: US Consul General Nina M. Fite formally inaugurated the Lincoln Corner Bahawalpur via digital video conference with Islamia University of Bahawalpur Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Mukhtar.

Feb 15: Country’s first “Parliamentarians Tax Directory”, was issued by the Federal Board of Revenue. Barring a few worthy exceptions, the sums paid as income tax by most of the elected representatives are laughably low. Of the 319 MNAs who filed their tax returns, 108 paid no tax at all. The MNAs who paid less than Rs. 100 as income tax include Asyia Naz Tanoli (Rs. 88), Tahir Bashir Cheema (Rs. 55) and Mohammad Zain Elahi (Rs. 72).

Feb 15
: The Punjab government decided to abolish the Frogh-i-Taleem Fund being charged from public school students. The government will itself fill the gap by providing Rs 2.5 billion additional funds to schools.

International

Jan 16
: The annual survey by Indian education research group Pratham showed that the standards of education in rural India have declined almost every year since 2009 despite huge government investments.

Jan 16
: Crime caper “American Hustle” and 3D space spectacular “Gravity” topped the Oscars nominations list with 10 each. Historical drama “12 Years a Slave” was close behind with nine nominations.

Jan 16
: The US lawmakers set condition that Pakistan will receive $33 million only after release of Dr Shakil Afridi. They also demanded withdrawal of the allegations levelled against him.

Jan 17
: President Barack Obama trimmed the powers of the US eavesdropping agency by calling for new privacy safeguards, but allowed bulk phone data sweeps to continue as an anti-terror tool.

Jan 18
: With a massive crowd gathering to pay last respects to Dawoodi Bohra community’s spiritual leader Syedna Burhanuddin, a stampede killed at least 18 people.

Jan 18
: President Barack Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that eases his budget conflicts with Congress but also puts conditions on the continuation of US aid to Pakistan.

Jan 20:
The world’s elite have rigged laws in their own favour undermining democracy and creating a chasm of inequality across the globe, Oxfam said in advance of the annual get together of the world’s most powerful at Davos.

Jan 20:
International tourist numbers surged to nearly 1.1 billion in 2013 with growth in the Asia-Pacific region leading the industry to a strong year despite global economic troubles, the Madrid-based World Tourism Organisation announced.

Jan 20:
In a statement issued by his office, the White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House had received a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, stating that Iran had taken the initial specific steps it committed to do by Jan 20 and now the United States was ready to ease its sanctions.

Jan 20:
India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable strategic missile Agni-IV, with a strike range of about 4,000 km, from a test range off the Odisha coast.

Jan 21:
Thailand declared a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas to tackle protests aimed at overthrowing the government.

Jan 21
: The United Nations barred Iran from the peace conference on Syria after it refused to back calls for a transitional government to end the country’s strife. The unprecedented diplomatic action averted a Syrian opposition boycott of the talks, which are scheduled to start in the Swiss town of Montreux.

Jan 21:
The New York-based Human Rights Watch, in its annual report, said that the United States is setting a dangerous example for the world with its sweeping surveillance programmes, giving governments an excuse for mass censorship of online communications.

Jan 23:
Australian police cracked a major global money-laundering ring with operatives in more than 20 countries and funds syphoned off to groups reported to include Hezbollah.

The Australian Crime Commission seized more than Aus$ 580 million (US$512m) of drugs and assets, including Aus$ 26 million in cash, in a year-long sting codenamed Eligo.

Jan 23:
A 20-year-old tribal woman was allegedly gang-raped in India’s West Bengal province by 13 persons on orders of a kangaroo court that opposed her affair with a man from a different community.

Jan 24:
Chinese president Xi Jinping was named as the head of a new national security commission, emphasising his firm grip on power.
Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, the head of China’s parliament, were appointed deputy heads of the new commission.

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Jan 24:
The United Nations called on Myanmar to investigate reports that dozens of men, women and children were killed in attacks on Rohingya Muslims with the alleged involvement of police.

Jan 25:
The Philippine government and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front completed talks on a deal to end four decades of fighting. The accord was signed at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and says that:

There will be Muslim self-rule in parts of the southern Philippines in exchange for the deactivation of the rebel force.

Military presence in the proposed autonomous region would be restricted.

The Philippine government will grant amnesty to Muslim guerrillas, who are facing or have been convicted on rebellion-related charges.

Jan 26:
Former UN chief Kofi Annan, head of a group of ex-global leaders known as the Elders, started a visit aimed at boosting dialogue between Iran and the international community.

Annan was accompanied by Martti Ahtisaari, a former president of Finland, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu and Mexican ex-president Ernesto Zedillo.

Jan 26:
India and Japan signed agreements on cooperation in areas including energy and telecommunications during Shinzo Abe’s visit to New Delhi.

Jan 27
: French electro duo Daft Punk won big at the Grammys and rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis honoured same-sex marriage as they were named best new artist at music’s version of the Oscars.

Jan 27
: Tunisia’s leaders signed the new constitution, a key goal of the revolution three years ago that touched off the Arab Spring.

The historic document, seen as one of the most modern in the Arab world, was signed by outgoing Islamist premier Ali Larayedh, Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar, and President Moncef Marzouki during a ceremony at the National Constituent Assembly.

Jan 27: British HR campaigner and well-known activist Peter Tatchell dedicated his receipt of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from De Montfort University to people of Balochistan and their struggle for human rights.

Jan 28
: Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, and his entire government resigned in a bid to defuse country’s deadly crisis.

Jan 29
: New online neighbourhoods opened when a US company started offering web addresses ending in “.guru,” “.bike” and even “.singles.”

Donuts Inc. plans to launch seven new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). In the mix initially are addresses ending in guru, bike, singles, as well as clothing, holdings, plumbing and ventures.

Jan 30
: The head of the main Bangladeshi Islamist opposition party was among 14 people sentenced to death on charges of smuggling weapons to a rebel group in neighbouring India.

Among those convicted and sentenced to death was Mati-ur-Rahman Nizami, head of the country’s main Islamist opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the former industries minister in the 2001-2006 cabinet of the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Jan 31: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded India after conducting an audit of the country’s aviation regulator that found 31 issues of safety concern.

Jan 31
: At an Anglo-French summit held at an airbase in Oxfordshire, west of London, French President Francois Hollande dealt a blow to Prime Minister David Cameron’s hopes of renegotiating Britain’s membership of the EU before a referendum in 2017, saying treaty change was “not a priority”.

Jan 31
: It was born at the end of the Great Depression and survived World War II – and an attack by youths – but “Greater,” the world’s oldest known flamingo, died at a zoo in Australia aged 83.

Jan 31
: President Obama nominated Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers as the new director of the National Security Agency (NSA). Major Rogers is a recognized expert in the art of designing cyber weapons, but someone with no public track record in addressing the kinds of privacy concerns that have put the agency under a harsh spotlight.

Feb 01
: A glimmer of hope surfaced in the effort to keep the Houston Astrodome _the world’s first multipurpose domed stadium from being torn down with its addition to the National Register of Historic Places.

Feb 03
: An opinion poll in the US showed that for the first time, the majority of people in the United States view war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan as failures.

Feb 03
: The US Treasury Department allowed the transfer of $550 million in Iran’s frozen oil revenues to the country under an interim nuclear deal.

Feb 03
: Corruption across the EU’s 28 countries costs some 120 billion euros ($162 bn) per year, the European Commission said, urging member states to do more to stamp out the problem.

Feb 04
: Shouting anti-Pakistan slogans, dozens of Shiv Sena activists disrupted the press conference of a Pakistani music band at the Mumbai Press Club.

Feb 05
: The United States added Saidullah Jan, Yahya Haqqani and Muhammad Omar Zadran, the three members of the Haqqani network to its list of “specially designated global terrorists”.

The US has already declared the Haqqani network a terrorist outfit.

Feb 06
: Syria reached a deal with the United Nations to allow civilians to leave the besieged rebel-held city of Homs, potentially the first positive result after deadlocked peace talks in Switzerland.

Feb 07: Thousands of Muslims fled for their lives from the capital of Central African Republic, with Christian crowds cheering as the truckloads of Muslim families made their way out of town. One man who fell off a truck was subsequently killed and his body mutilated, highlighting the savagery faced by those Muslims who stayed behind.

Feb 08: The International Criminal Court opened an initial probe into war crimes in the Central African Republic.

Feb 08: War took an increasing toll on Afghanistan’s civilians in 2013 as fighting intensified between the government and insurgents, the United Nations said in a report, with total casualties rising 14 per cent.

Feb 10
: Sushil Koirala was elected Nepal’s new prime minister with vows to steering the strife-torn country towards stability. Koirala, 75, is president of the country’s oldest party, the Nepali Congress. Three of his relatives have been prime minister in the past.

Feb 10
: Iran successfully test-fired two missiles, including a long-range ballistic weapon.
Iran already has surface-to-surface missiles with a range about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) capable of reaching Israel and the US military bases in the region.

Feb 11
: China and Taiwan held their first government-to-government talks since they split 65 years ago after a brutal civil war a symbolic yet historic move between the former bitter rivals.

Feb 11
: A military aircraft C-130 Hercules crashed in Algeria’s mountainous Oum El Bouaghi, some 380 kilometres east of the capital, Algiers, killing all 103 people on board.

Feb 11
: Indian leaders celebrated the eradication of polio, reminding doubters that something once thought impossible had been achieved and promising to tackle other diseases which still blight the country. In January, the country of 1.2 billion people marked three years without a new case of the crippling virus, which means it will soon be certified as having wiped out the scourge.

Feb 12
: The exodus of tens of thousands of Muslims from Central African Republic amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” a top UN official and Amnesty International said.

Feb 12
: The UN food agency launched one of its largest-ever emergency food airlifts. The World Food Programme’s first cargo aircraft, loaded with 80 tonnes of rice, landed in the Bangui the capital of Central African Republic.

Feb 12
: North and South Korea stared their highest-level government dialogue since the North’s nuclear test last year prompted fears of armed conflict on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom on the border between the two Koreas was suggested by the North, which has recently called for better ties.

Feb 13
: Twenty-seven countries announced the launch of The Global Health Security Agenda in an effort to improve the ability to prevent, detect, respond to and contain outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases.

Feb 14
: Rare talks between the rival Koreas ended on an even rarer note of agreement, allowing an under-threat reunion for divided families to go ahead and fuelling hopes of further constructive engagement.

The agreement pointed to a significant concession by North Korea which had strenuously objected to annual South Korean-US military drills that would overlap with the February 20-25 reunion for family members separated by the Korean War.

Feb 14
: Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigned in a fast-paced political drama in Rome that paves the way for 39-year-old centre-left leader Matteo Renzi to take his place.

Feb 14
: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal after a 49-day stint resigned after losing Congress party’s support over a key anti-corruption bill.

Feb 14
: A picture of African migrants standing on the shore of Djibouti City, their glimmering phones held aloft to catch a weak signal, won the World Press Photo prize for American photographer John Stanmeyer of the VII Photo Agency.

Feb 14
: The Belgium Parliament passed a bill, allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit. The law was backed by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions. When the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice.

In the Netherlands, Belgium’s northern neighbour, euthanasia is legal for children over the age of 12, if there is parental consent.

Feb 14
: US Secretary of State John Kerry warned China against unilateral moves to set up a new air defence zone, saying such a step could threaten regional stability at a time of heightened tensions.

After a day of talks with senior Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kerry stressed that he had also highlighted the need to ease concerns over Beijing’s territorial ambitions.

Feb 15: Turkey’s parliament passed a contested bill tightening the government’s grip on the judiciary.

Feb 15: The UN’s Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said he was “very, very sorry” as peace talks in Geneva broke off with no progress made and no date set for a third round.

Feb 15
:
Lebanon announced the formation of a compromise government after a 10-month political vacuum during which the war in neighbouring Syria exacerbated longstanding divisions.

The 24
-member government brings together the Hezbollah and its allies with the Sunni-led bloc of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri for the first time in three years.

SPORTS

Jan 24
: Pakistan women’s team outclassed their South African counterparts by seven wickets in the PCB Qatar Women’s T20 Tri-series final.

Jan 25
: Chinese ace Li Na won the Australian Open final by defeating Dominika Cibulkova. She is now the oldest women’s champion.

Jan 26
: Fancied filly Prosperity lived up to her star billing when she powered to victory in the 1000 Guineas of Pakistan during the Lahore Winter Meeting at the Racecourse Park, Lahore.

Jan 26
: Stanislas Wawrinka routed Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open, his maiden Grand Slam title.

Jan 26
: Australia beat England in the fifth ODI to win the five-match series 4-1.

Jan 26
: The pair of Daniel Nestor of Canada and Kristina Mladenovic of France won the Australian Open mixed doubles title with a win over sixth-seeded Sania Mirza of India and Horia Tecau of Romania.

Jan 27
: Team Puri comprising Yasser Rahim, Khaled Mohiuddin, Mirza Ziaullah Baig, Hamed Mohiuddin, Junaid Saeed and Mohammad Mubashir Puri won the 20th National Bridge Championship.

Jan 30
: Kenya lost One Day International (ODI) status after the national team’s three-wicket loss to Scotland in their World Cup qualifier.

Jan 30
: New Zealand umpire Kathy Cross became the first woman to be named in the ICC Associate and Affiliate panel of umpires.

Jan 31
: New Zealand crushed India in the fifth and final ODI to win the series 4-0.

Feb 02
: Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia set a world indoor record in running 1,500 metres in 3 minutes, 55.17 seconds at the Karlsruhe indoor meet.

Feb 02
: Libya won their first continental tournament after beating Ghana in the African Nations Championship final.

Feb 07
: Russia’s Winter Olympics officially got underway on the Black Sea coast in the resort town of Sochi, where a colourful show at the gleaming Fisht Stadium.

Feb 07
: Kumar Sangakkara became the second batsman in history to score a triple century and a hundred in the same match. Left-handed Sangakkara followed his 319 in the first innings with 105 in the second, joining former England captain Graham Gooch as the only batsmen to achieve the rare feat. Gooch made 333 and 123 against India at Lord’s in 1990.

Feb 08
: The International Cricket Council approved wide ranging changes to its structure after eight of the 10 Test nations voted for the proposals that put India, England and Australia in control of the world game and with it most of the money.

Feb 09
: India’s suspended Olympic body elected world squash chief N. Ramachandran, whose elder brother N. Srinivasan was picked to lead the International Cricket Council, as its president.

Feb 09
: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Scrutiny Committee Abdul Jalil Khan resigned.

Feb 10
: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif removed Zaka Ashraf from the post of PCB Chairman. He has been shown the door for the second time in eight months. Mr Ashraf served only for 25 days this time.

Feb 11
: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina, along with four other capped players, were declared guilty in the Mudgal Panel report.

Feb 11
: Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan was named Head Coach of Pakistan team and former Test cricketer Azhar Khan was appointed acting chief selector.

Feb 13
: Female martial art players from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won the title of the national junior women judo championship.

Feb 14
: Director General (DG) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Javed Miandad resigned.

Feb 15
: The 19-year-old Japanese prodigy, Yuzuru Hanyu, became the youngest Olympic men’s figure skating champion in 66 years when he won Japan’s first ever title in the discipline at the Sochi Games.

Economy

Jan 16
: The growing gulf between the rich and the poor represents the biggest global risk this year, the World Economic Forum declared ahead of the Davos summit.

Jan 17
: The Karachi Stock Exchange signed an agreement with Borsa Istanbul, the main bourse of Turkey. The MoU highlights ways to strengthen cooperation and mutual relationship between the two markets.

Jan 20
: The global energy share can reach and exceed 30 per cent by 2030, while energy efficiency and improved energy access can advance the share of renewables in the global energy mix to as much as 36 pc, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said in a report entitled “Remap 2030”.

Jan 21
: The government appointed Syed Ahmad Iqbal Ashraf as president of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

Jan 21
: Spain retook the number three spot in world tourism in 2013, overtaking China by luring a record 60.6 million international visitors. This has boosted the eurozone’s fourth largest economy after a long, job-wrecking recession.

Jan 23
: The government issued 50 provisional licences for exploration of oil and gas to eight local and two foreign firms having minimum investment commitment of $371 million.

Jan 24
: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government approved a fund valuing Rs 10 billion for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (KPOGDCL) with a plan to accelerate work on oil and gas exploration in the province.

Jan 27
: Mobilink received the Highest Taxpayer Award by the Pakistan Customs, Islamabad Directorate.

Jan 27
: China’s Export Import (EXIM) Bank provided the first installment of a $448 million loan to Pakistan for the Rs 278 billion Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project.
The bank will release further installments after receiving satisfactory reports on the construction of the powerhouse.

Jan 27
: Google and Samsung Electronics signed a broad agreement to cross-license a range of each other’s patents.

Jan 29
: The government raised liquidity more than the quarterly target through auction of Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIB), indicating that borrowings from the private sector are now a high priority.

Jan 30
: Pakistan was ranked second in the world in terms of business growth in a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

Jan 30
: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), the largest ICT service provider in Pakistan, is investing in one of the largest international submarine cable consortium system, in collaboration with the leading telecom operators of the world.

Jan 30
: Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim A.S (Karkey) the Turkish energy firm filed a claim at the World Bank’s International Centre for Investment Disputes (ICSID) seeking $2.1 billion damages against the Government of Pakistan.

Feb 06
: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) granted licence to Sindh Bank for the commencement of Islamic banking operations.

Feb 07
: The MCB received approval from the central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to open a wholesale banking branch in Dubai, UAE.

Feb 10
: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources signed petroleum concession agreements and exploration licences in 12 blocks with Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDCL) and Pakistan Petroleum (PPL) for exploration of hydrocarbon reserves.

The licences and petroleum concession agreements are for blocks in Ladhana, Fatehpur, Ranipur, Armala, Baratai, Rasmalan, Parkini, Nausherwani, Bela West, Karsal, Hisal and Sadiqabad with a minimum firm work commitment of $176 million covering the total area of 22619.3 square kilometres.

Feb 10
: A contract under which Pakistan will sell Super Mushshak Aircraft to Iraq was signed by General Anwer Hamad Ameen Ahmed, Commander Iraqi Air Force and Air Marshal Sohail Gul Khan, Chairman PAC Kamra.

Feb 11
: Pakistan received $352 million from the United States under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for the January-March quarter of 2013.

Feb 11
: Pakistan paid the 27th installment under IMF/SBA facility amounting to US$147 million.

Feb 12
: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government launched Rs 2 billion interest-free micro credit programme, aiming to reduce poverty through creation of self-employment and job opportunities. The ‘Khud Kifaalat’ (self-employment) scheme will be earmarked Rs2 billion annually for the next five years.

Feb 15
: The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was awarded “high-level laurels” at the 37th Annual FPCCI Export Awards.

Everyday Science

Jan 17
: A critically endangered species of marine turtle was found for the first time in Pakistan. The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) having a 47-centimetre-long carapace was caught in a tuna gillnet off Ormara, Balochistan.

Jan 23
: The dwarf planet Ceres, one of the most intriguing objects in the solar system, is gushing water vapour from its unusual ice-covered surface, scientists said in a finding that raises the question of whether it might be hospitable to life.

Using the European Space Agency’s Herschel infrared space telescope, researchers spotted plumes of water vapour periodically spewing from Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt residing between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Jan 23
: The “fastest ever” broadband speed was achieved in a test in London, raising hopes of more efficient data transfer via existing infrastructure. Alcatel-Lucent and BT said speeds of 1.4 terabits per second were achieved during their joint test – enough to send 44 uncompressed HD films a second.

Feb 11
: Researchers found a gene linking intelligence to the thickness of so-called “grey matter” in the brain. An international team of scientists analyzed DNA samples and brain scans from more than 1,500 healthy 14-year-olds and gave them a series of tests to establish their verbal and non-verbal intelligence during the test.

Feb 11
: Astronomers found an old and distant galaxy that is believed to date back to a time when the universe was just 650 million years old, a fraction of its current age.
The galaxy, known as Abell 2744_Y1, is about 30 times smaller than the Milky Way, but pumping out stars at a prodigious rate.

Obituaries

Jan 17
: The spiritual head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, died of a cardiac arrest.

Jan 17
: Suchitra Sen, Bengali cinema’s lifelong sweetheart and Dilip Kumar’s fabled Paro in the Hindi version of Devdas, died. The 82-year old legend had disappeared from public view three decades ago.

Jan 17
: Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a five-star hotel, a day after she had a flaming row in a series of tweets with a Pakistani journalist she accused of having an affair with her husband.

Jan 17
: Jose Sulaiman, who ran the World Boxing Council (WBC) for 38 years, died. He was 82.

Jan 29
: Professor Laiq Ahmed, an educationist, compare and host of a number of PTV programmes, was laid to rest. He was 80.

Jan 31
: Prof Dr Khawaja Amjad Saeed, the Founder Principal of Hailey College of Banking & Finance, University of the Punjab, and a notable economist died.
He was an M.Com, ACMA, MBA, FCA and PhD himself and became the first head of the Institute of Business Administration, Punjab University, at a very young age; the IBA Punjab was the second business school of Pakistan after the IBA Karachi.
He also served as President of the Association of Management Development Institutions, South Asia (AMDISA).

Feb 02
:
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment. He was 46.

Feb 02
: Maximilian Schell, the ruggedly handsome Austrian-born actor who won an Academy Award for his role in “Judgment at Nuremberg” died at 83.

Feb 05: Young politician Sardar Khurram Nawab Khan passed away. He was 41.

Feb 07: Veteran actor Ghayyur Akhtar passed away at 69.

Feb 09: AKM Yusuf, one of the top leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and its Naib Amir who was falsely charged with crimes against humanity committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 so-called liberation war against Pakistan, died in Dhaka where he was imprisoned and denied proper treatment after suffering cardiac stroke.

Feb 11: Shirley Temple, the Hollywood child star who captured hearts in Depression-era America with her trademark blond ringlets and dimpled smile, died at the age of 85.

Feb 12: Director General Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Ameer Hamza Gillani passed away.

Feb 13: Sid Caesar, who pioneered TV sketch comedy during the 1950s as the star and creative force of “Your Show of Shows,” a launch pad for the likes of Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen and an inspiration to generations of comedians, died. He was 91.

Places in News

Beijing
On Jan 16, China’s capital was shrouded in dangerous smog, cutting visibility down to a few hundred metres as a count of small particulate pollution reached more than 25 times recommended levels.

University of Agriculture Faisalabad
On Jan 16, a seminar titled “Climate Changes Adaptation Strategies to Ensure the Food Security” was organized by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad in collaboration with the Agriculture Model Inter-comparison and Improvement Project (AgMiP).

The experts were of the view that high resistant crops are need of the hour to fight climate changes as Pakistan is facing its worst impact and has been ranked eighth in climate change hit countries. The country’s temperature would rise by 2.8 degree Celsius in day timings by 2070 that will heighten the food insecurity threat.

Panama
On Jan 19, Panama earned a Guinness world record when 5,084 children painted a mural simultaneously for three and a half minutes as part of 100th anniversary celebrations for the Panama Canal. The previous record was held by a group in Saudi Arabia, when some 3,860 participants painted together.

Abu Dhabi
On Jan 20, the 2014 World Future Energy Summit opened at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Pretoria
Jan 21: A 29.6 carat blue diamond, one of the rarest and most coveted in the world with a possible price tag of tens of millions of dollars, was discovered at a South African mine by Petra Diamonds.

New Delhi
On Jan 21, South Asian business leaders recommended the ratification of the Saarc agreement on trade in services and up-gradation of south Asia free trade agreement into a comprehensive economic framework agreement in the joint declaration of the fifth Saarc business leaders conclave (SBLC) concluded in New Delhi.

Tongi
On Jan 26, Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims, concluded in Tongi, Bangladesh.

Islamabad
On Jan 28, the 5th meeting of Pakistan-Russia Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism was hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad. Pakistan delegation was led by Acting Secretary Imtiaz Tajwar. The Russian side was led by H.E. Alexander V. Zmeyevskiy, the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for International Cooperation in the Fight against Terrorism and Transnational Crime.

Venezuela
On Jan 29, a Guinness record for the place with the most lightning was won by an area of Venezuela with 20,000 dashes of it per hour.
The natural phenomenon in the western state of Zulia is called the Catatumbo Lightning, which generates myriad electrical storms from April to November at the mouth of the River Catatumbo, at the southern end of Lake Maracaibo. The numbers of lightning bolts are indeed staggering: an estimated 18 to 60 per minute, more than 20,000 per hour and 1.2 million a year, with each flash packing enough juice to light up 100 million light bulbs.

Addis Ababa
On Jan 31, the 22nd African Union summit was concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city.

Moenjodaro, Sindh
On Feb 01, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, inaugurated the Sindh Cultural Festival at Moenjodaro, associated with one of the world’s first urban societies, the Indus Valley civilisation. The festival aims to publicise the cultural heritage of the country’s south.

Islamabad
On Feb 06, the first ever two-day Pakistan-Finland Business Summit concluded in Islamabad. The summit was inaugurated by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi. Finnish Ambassador Rauli Suikannen complimented the government on its investor-friendly policies. The event was attended by prominent companies from Finland.

Karachi
On Feb 15, the official opening of Earth Hour 2014, a worldwide campaign aimed at creating awareness of protecting the environment, took place in Karachi.
Earth Hour 2014 Ambassadors include Humaima Malik, Faryal Ali Gauhar, Ahsan Khan, Sarmad Khosat and Zoe Viccaji.

People in News

Benjamin Netanyahu
On Jan 16, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to neighbouring Jordan for talks with King Abdullah II on the Middle East peace process.

Rafik Hariri
On Jan 16, nearly nine years after a truck bomb killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, the trial started for four Hezbollah suspects accused of plotting the assassination that turned a Beirut seaside street into a “manmade hell.”

Sports Journalist Qamar Ahmed
On Jan 16, a renowned sports journalist Qamar Ahmed achieved the unique distinction of covering 400 Test matches.

Mahela Jayawardene
On Jan 16, Mahela Jayawardene became the second Sri Lankan after Kumar Sangakkara and seventh batsman overall to hit 1300 or more fours in Tests.

Sylvia Day
On Jan 16, St. Martin’s Press agreed to pay an eye-popping eight-figure advance to Sylvia Day, a romance writer, for her next two books. The books, a series called “Blacklist,” are a follow-up to Ms Day’s “Crossfire” series, which has sold more than 13 million copies since its release began in 2012.

Lui Che-woo
On Jan 17, Macau’s gambling tycoon Lui Che-woo replaced Hong Kong multibillionaire Li Ka-shing as Asia’s richest man. Lui, the head of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment, saw his fortune rise $3.5 billion to $29.6 billion, about $100 million ahead of Li, whose fortune stood at $29.5 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Nawaz Sharif
On Jan 17, Nawaz Sharif was awarded an honorary degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in recognition of his services for the nation by the GCU, Lahore.

Glynn Reynolds
On Jan 23, the inventor Glynn Reynolds along with other researchers unveiled a new, safer system called Tri-Pin using colours and symbols as well as numbers that could cut ATM fraud dramatically.

Rai Haris Manzoor
On Jan 24, Rai Haris Manzoor, a student from Rawalpindi, made a new world record by passing the O-Level examination of the University of Cambridge at the age of only nine years.
He passed the exam in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics.

Troy Jenkins
On Jan 26, Troy Jenkins, a teenager, took the controls of a light plane for more than half an hour after the pilot passed out during a joy flight over rural Australia. The single-engine Cessna 150 was only 10 minutes into a flight from the New South Wales state farming town of Forbes when the pilot Derek Neville lost consciousness.

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
On Jan 31, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz took over as African Union chairman, replacing Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for the one-year post.

Dr Zenko Hrynkiw
On Jan 31, Dr Zenko Hrynkiw, a neurosurgeon, hit the news when he, beating all odds like snowstorm, traffic-jam and a daunting six-mile walk through fresh powder, got to the hospital where he was needed for emergency surgery.

Dr Zenko Hrynkiw had to travel from Birmingham’s Brookwood Medical Centre to Trinity Medical Center to perform the operation.

Dr Shamshad Akhtar
On Feb 03, Pakistan’s representation at the United Nations gained new heights when Dr Shamshad Akhtar, a former governor of the State Bank, assumed charge as executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap) at its headquarters in Bangkok.
Ms Akhtar is the second Pakistani civil servant to rise to the top position after Rafeeuddin Ahmed who served as head of Escap from 1992 to 1994.

Janet Yellen
On Feb 03, a respected economist Janet Yellen was sworn in as the first woman chair of the Federal Reserve. She inherits the mantle of the world’s most powerful central banker from Ben Bernanke.

Sachin Tendulkar
On Feb 04, retired cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, making him the first sportsperson and the youngest-ever Indian recipient to receive the honour.

Irina Bokova

On Feb 06, Irina Bokova, the director general of Unesco, was conferred Hilal-i-Pakistan award by President Mamnoon Hussain.

Shimon Peres
On Feb 06, Israel’s 90-year-old president Shimon Peres, who is also a Nobel Peace Prize winner, won a Guinness record when he taught the largest online civics class in the world. Peres reached out to 9,000 students nationwide.

Mohsin Ali
On Feb 08, Mohsin Ali, an eight-year-old Pakistani boy who is the grandson of Pakistan’s noted climber Rajab Ali, set a new world record by climbing the summit of a 6,050-metre high mountain in Hunza. Hailing from a small town of Shimshal in the Hunza valley, Mohsin became the world’s youngest mountaineer to achieve this amazing feat of climbing the Minglik Sar peak.

Traian Basescu
On Feb 10, an agency fined Romania’s president 600 lei ($185) for saying Roma avoid work and make a living by stealing. The National Council for Combating Discrimination first declined to take the case because President Traian Basescu had made his comments out of the country, during a 2010 news conference in Slovenia. But the Supreme Court ordered the autonomous body under the control of Parliament to take the case, and it fined Basescu for having said “very few of them (Roma) want to work” and “traditionally many of them live off stealing.”

Dr Atia Zafar
On Feb 12, Atia Zafar, a housewife who became a medical practitioner in the face of overwhelming odds, died at 88. She is survived by her three sons and six daughters — all medical professionals.
Born in Desna, a remote village in the Indian state of Bihar, in 1926, Ms Zafar lost her parents when she was barely eight and began to look after her four younger siblings.
She started her education from scratch on the insistence of her husband who was running a school in Lyari’s Atmaram Preetamdas Road area. Interestingly, when she made it to the final year of her MBBS in the Dow Medical College in 1962 her eldest son, now a prominent doctor, Dr Tipu Sultan, also got admission there.

Sidra Iqbal
On Feb 12, the GR8 Women Awards, for the first time, nominated a Pakistani woman, Sidra Iqbal, to receive one of their prestigious trophies. She is one of 16 women from across the Middle East region to be recognised and celebrated this year.

Munawar Mughal
On Feb 12, noted business leader Munawar Mughal assumed the charge of Vice President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for the year 2014.

Mirza Ali and Samina Baig
On Feb 12, Pakistani siblings Mirza Ali and Samina Baig reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m), Africa’s highest peak, in Tanzania.

MCQs National

1. On Jan 16, Akram Khan Durrani, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and ______ were inducted into the federal cabinet as federal ministers.
A. Tariq Malik     B. Abbas Afridi
C. Basit Cheema    D. Enver Baig

2. Pakistan’s federal cabinet consists of ______ members.
A. 32        B. 34
C. 36        D. 38

3. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) is headquartered at ______.
A. Karachi    B. Islamabad
C. Lahore    D. Hyderabad

4. On Jan 16, Salman Aslam Butt, was appointed as ______ of Pakistan
A. Auditor General
B. Attorney General
C. Accountant General
D. Federal Ombudsman

5. On Jan 16, the KP government created the Lower Kohistan district, raising the number of districts in the province to ______.
A. 24        B. 26
C. 30        D. 34

6. On Jan 17, a report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) termed ______ as the largest endemic poliovirus ‘reservoir’ in the world.
A. Peshawar    B. Kabul
C. New Delhi    D. Nairobi

7. On Jan 20, the federal cabinet allowed import of electricity from _____.
A. Iran        B. Qatar
C. India        D. China

8. Ameer Bakhsh Bhutto, who resigned from his post on Jan 20, was a(n)______.
A. Federal Minister
B. Minister of the State
C. Auditor General of Pakistan
D. Advisor to the Prime Minister

9. On Jan 21, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior presided over by ______, approved the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) bill.
A. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan
B. Javed Hashmi
C. Syed Khurshid Shah
D. Rana Shamim Ahmed

10. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed Hajj agreement 2014 on ______.
A. January 18    B. January 20
C. January 22    D. January 26

11. The ministerial-level US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue resumed after a three-year gap on ______.
A. January 22    B. January 24
C. January 26    D. January 28

12. The incumbent chairman of Punjab Planning and Development Board is ______.
A. Irfan Elahi    B. Shahbaz Sharif
C. Zaeem Qadri    D. Khwaja Sharif

13. On Jan 28, Prime Minister appointed renowned columnist Irfan Siddiqui as his Special Adviser on ______.
A. National Security
B. Antiterrorism
C. National Affairs
D. Regional Affairs

14. On Jan 31, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari jointly performed the ground-breaking of a coal project in_____, near Thar Coal Block-II.
A. Islamkot    B. Larkana
C. Umer Kot    D. Shahdadkot

15. The government and the Taliban negotiators held their first formal meeting at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House on ______.
A. Jan 28    B. Jan 31
C. Feb 4        D. Feb 6

16. On Feb 6, a state of the art Power Distribution Control Centre (PDCC) was installed at ______ with the help of USAID.
A. Faisalabad    B. Bahawalpur
C. Lahore    D. Gujranwala

17. On Feb 07, the Sindh government established its own Higher Education Commission (HEC) with ______, as its chairman.
A. Sharjeel Memon
B. Awais Muzaffar
C. Sharmila Farooqi
D. Dr Asim Hussain

18. On Feb 08, a Pakistani feature film ______ won the Special Jury Award at the Jaipur International Film Festival 2014.
A. Saving Face    B. Waar
C. Zinda Bhaag    D. Lamha

19. On Feb 9, the ______ government launched the “Green Growth Initiative” to end power outages in the province.
A. Punjab    B. Sindh
C. KP        D. Balochistan

20. The ex officio chairman of Pakistan’s Council of Common Interests is ______.
A. President    B. PM
C. Finance Minister
D. Chairman BISP

21. ______ is the Country Director at Asian Development Bank’s Pakistan Resident Mission.
A. Rune Stroem    B. Werner Liepach
C. Clare Wee    D. David Binns

22. On Feb 13, Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan held their ______ trilateral summit at Ankara.
A. Fifth        B. Sixth
C. Seventh    D. Eighth

23. Saadat Hassan Manto, the most renowned short story writer of the Urdu language died in ______.
A. 1955        B. 1967
C. 1973        D. 1979

24. Pakistan has the world’s ______ largest untapped cooper reserves.
A. 4th        B. 5th
C. 6th        D. 7th

25. Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi, a world-renowned Pakistani calligrapher and a______, died in 1987.
A. Painter    B. Poet
C. Sculptor    D. Prose Writer

26. On Feb 14, US Consul General Nina M. Fite formally inaugurated the Lincoln Corner at ______.
A. University of Gujrat
B. Sargodha University
C. University of the Punjab
D. Islamia University Bahawalpur
.
International

1. Oxfam International, a confederation of ____ organizations working in approximately 90 countries worldwide, is based at Oxford, UK.
A. 17        B. 18
C. 19        D. 20

2. On Jan 20, India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable strategic missile Agni-IV, with a strike range of about ______.
A. 3,000 km    B. 3,500 km
C. 4,000 km    D. 4,500 km

3. Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, is headquartered at ______.
A. Bonn        B. Geneva
C. Hague    D. New York

4. World Tourism Organisation is based at ______.
A. Canberra    B. Madrid
C. Brasilia    D. Santiago

5. On Jan 21, a report by the Human Rights Watch accused the _____ for setting a dangerous example for the world with its sweeping surveillance programmes.
A. United Nations
B. European Union
C. United States     D. Germany

6. On Jan 23, Australian police cracked a major global money-laundering ring with operatives in a year-long sting codenamed ______.
A. Syphon    B. Lucifer
C. Iago        D. Eligo

7. On Jan 24, the UN called on _____ to investigate reports of ethnic cleansing of Muslims with the alleged involvement of police.
A. India        B. Russia
C. Central African Republic
D. Myanmar

8. On Jan 25, the accord between Philippine government and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front to end four decades of fighting was signed at ______.
A. Kuala Lumpur    B. Manila
C. Istanbul    D. Beijing

9. The Elders is a group comprising ex-global leaders, headed by ______.
A. Desmond Tutu
B. Kofi Annan
C. Ernesto Zedillo
D. Martti Ahtisaari

10. Tunisia’s leaders signed the new constitution on ______, 2014.
A. Jan 24    B. Jan 25
C. Jan 26     D. Jan 27

11. Moncef Marzouki is the current President of ______.
A. Chad        B. Angola
C. Tunisia    D. Libya

12. On Jan 27, Peter Tatchell, a famous ______ HR campaigner, dedicated his receipt of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from De Montfort University to the people of Balochistan.
A. British    B. German
C. Canadian    D. Russian

13. The world’s oldest known flamingo, who died at a zoo in Australia on Jan 31 was named the ______.
A. Greater    B. Hornswoggle
C. Tara        D. Leonardo

14. On Jan 31, President Obama nominated Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers as the new director of the ______.
A. NSA        B. Pentagon
C. CIA        D. NASA

15. On Feb 03, the ______ Treasury allowed the transfer of $550 million in Iran’s frozen oil revenues to the country under an interim nuclear deal.
A. US        B. Germany
C. EU        D. Switzerland

16. On Feb 06, Syria reached a deal with the ______ to allow civilians to leave the besieged rebel-held city of Homs.
A. Israel        B. Rebels
C. Jordan    D. United Nations

17. The capital of Central African Republic is ______.
A. Monrovia    B. Bangui
C. Asmara    D. Tripoli

18. The International Criminal Court opened an initial probe into war crimes in the Central African Republic on ______.
A. Feb 2        B. Feb 4
C. Feb 6         D. Feb 8

19. On Feb 10, Sushil Koirala was elected as the new prime minister of ______.
A. Nepal     B. Bhutan
C. Maldives    D. Myanmar

20. On Feb 11, China and ______ held their first government-to-government talks since they split 65 years ago.
A. Singapore    B. Taiwan
C. Philippines    D. Thailand

21. Algiers is the capital of ______.
A. Angola    B. Algeria
C. Cambodia    D. Chad

22. On Feb 13, ______ countries launched The Global Health Security Agenda to improve the ability to prevent, detect, respond to and contain outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases.
A. 27        B. 65
C. 82        D. 136

23. On Feb 14, Chief Minister of India’s ______ state, Arvind Kejriwal, resigned after a 49-day stint.
A. Delhi        B. Bihar
C. Maharashtra    D. Orissa

24. Swayambhunath Stupa, aka the Monkey Temple is a holy shrine of Buddhists atop a hill in ______.
A. Thailand    B. Tibet
C. Philippines    D. Nepal

25. M K Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godes on January 30,
______.
A. 1948        B. 1949
C. 1950        D. 1951

26. The world’s ninth largest nation by area with a population of just 17 million, ______ is the largest economy of the post-Soviet region.

A. Azerbaijan    B. Kazakhstan
C. Turkmenistan    D. Kyrgyzstan

27. YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in ______.
A. 2002        B. 2003
C. 2004        D. 2005

Sports

1. On Jan 25, ______ ace Li Na became the oldest women’s champion when she won the Australian Open final.
A. Singaporean     B. Japanese
C. Thai        D. Chinese

2. On Jan 30, lost One-Day International (ODI) status after the national team’s three-wicket loss to Scotland in their World Cup qualifier.
A. Kenya        B. Ireland
C. Denmark    D. Afghanistan

3. Kathy Cross, the first woman to be named in the ICC Associate and Affiliate Panel of Umpires belongs to ______.
A. Australia    B. New Zealand
C. South Africa    D. England

4. On Feb 02, Genzebe Dibaba of ______ set a world indoor record in running 1,500 metres.
A. Kenya’s     B. Algeria’s
C. Nigeria’s    D. Ethiopia’s

5. The resort town of Sochi, where Russia’s Winter Olympics officially got underway on Feb 7 is situated on ______ coast.
A. Black Sea    B. Red Sea
C. Aral Sea    D. Atlantic Sea

6. On Feb 07, Kumar Sangakkara became the second batsman after ______ in history to score a triple century and a hundred in the same match.
A. Donald Bradman
B. Steve Waugh
C. Graham Gooch   
D. Tony Greig

7. The term “Big Three” in the International Cricket Council refers to India, England and ______.
A. New Zealand    B. South Africa
C. Sri Lanka    D. Australia

8. On Feb 15, the 19-year-old ______ prodigy, Yuzuru Hanyu, became the youngest Olympic men’s figure skating champion in 66 years.
A. Japanes      B. Thai
C. Serbian    D. Hong Konger

9. ______ of Pakistan is the ex officio Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
A. President     B. Prime Minister
C. POA Chief     D. Minister Sports



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