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World in Focus (Oct-Nov 2018)

World in Focus


Oct 16: The Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht unveiled Rs238 billion Annual Development Programme (ADP) for 2018-19, which is 62.51% down from Rs635bn set by the previous government for preceding fiscal year.

Oct 17: Pakistan slipped by one position in the Global Competitiveness Index 2018 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as compared to last year, ranking 107 out of 140 countries, with a score of 4.0.

With an overall ranking of 107 out of 140 countries, Pakistan was at 109 for institutions; 93 for infrastructure;127 for ICT adoption;103 for macroeconomic stability; 109 for health; 125 for skills; 122 for product market; 121 for labour market; 89 for financial system; 31 for market size; 56 for business dynamism; and 75 for innovation capacity.

Oct 17: As per the latest report titled “The Power of Choice: Reproductive Rights and the Demographic Transition,” published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world, with 208 million people and an annual population growth rate of 2.4pc.

Oct 17: Imran Ali, convicted of rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur, was hanged in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.

Oct 17: Supreme Court disqualified two PML-N senators, Haroon Akhtar and Saadia Abbasi, for having dual nationality.

Oct 17: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Italy where he called on the Italian defence minister, army chief and secretary general of defence, and discussed with them enhancement in bilateral defence and security cooperation, including potential joint initiatives.

On Oct 17, Anna Burns won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction for “Milkman,” becoming the first writer from Northern Ireland to win the 50,000-pound prize.

About the Novel

Milkman is set in 70s Northern Ireland in the middle of the troubles, although its nameless 18-year-old narrator is not especially interested in political turmoil. She reads 19th-century literature obsessively “because I did not like the 20th century” while avoiding the sinister local figure who has claimed her, in the community’s collective imagination, as his own. He is the Milkman of the title.

The story of the novel is set in an environment when sectarian violence flared between Catholic republicans, who wanted Northern Ireland to become part of a united Ireland, and Protestant loyalists and British security forces. Burns’ sentences are short and arresting. The novel is deceptively easy to read, initially. You feel instantly immersed in a world and absorbed by it. Sometimes it’s cosy, sometimes sharp and shocking. But the novel touches on something universal: what violence, unpredictable, persistent and brutal, does to a person’s mind. From the opening line—in which a death is announced and a gun put to middle sister’s breast—Ms Burns plunges the reader into her heroine’s thoughts. A cat’s head is packed neatly into a handkerchief. There are poisonings and car-bombs. Women must defer to men and “things were not gentle, not ever.”

For all the horror and uncertainty, there is tenderness and humour in “Milkman”, too. It is a hauntingly original tale of everyday life amid terror.

Oct 18: The Supreme Court (SC) dismissed review petition of PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi against its judgement declaring Prime Minister Imran Khan as honest.

Oct 18: Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Shaukat Hussain tendered his resignation.

Oct 19: An 11-member Pakistan Army team won gold medal for the fourth consecutive time in the world’s toughest Cambrian Patrol competition held in Wales, UK.

Read More: World in Focus (June-July 2018)

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