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World in Focus (Sep-Oct 2018)

World in Focus

NATIONAL 

Sep 16: British Pakistani boxer Muhammad Ali made history when he became the first boxer with type-one diabetes to win a professional fight. He defeated Andrej Cepur.

Sep 16: Competing with 12,000 other contestants, a Pakistani student Zahra Hussain won an essay competition organized by the British Royal Commonwealth Society. She wrote on the topic ‘Hues of Red’.

It is to be noted here that the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, managed by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883.

Sep 17: A two-day event titled “International Conference on Global Peace Amidst War and Conflict” was held in Islamabad. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat was the chief guest. The event was organized by the Center for Peace, Security and Development (CPSD).

Sep 17: During the visit of British Home Secretary Sajid Javid to Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Pakistan launched the ‘UK-Pakistan Justice and Accountability Partnership’ that would work towards repatriation of illicit finances, recovery of stolen assets and putting a check on money laundering. The new partnership would be headed by a special envoy.

Sep 17: PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan took oath as minister of state for parliamentary affairs.

Sep 17: Second seed Babar Masih defeated unseeded Mohammad Asif Toba to win the third national ranking snooker championship.

Sep 18: Partially reversing income tax relaxations and reducing the development budget, Finance Minister Asad Umar presented a supplementary budget of the PTI government with a total fiscal adjustment equal to 2.1 percent of GDP (roughly Rs805 billion), including Rs183bn worth of revenue measures.

Sep 18: The National Fighters FC defeated Gizri Star FC to win the inaugural Aik Awam Unity Cup in Gizri, Karachi.

Sep 18: Pakistan Navy Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi attended the 23rd International Seapower Symposium-2018 (ISS) held, from 18 to 21 Sep, at US Naval War College Newport.

Sep 19: The Supreme Court (SC) directed to remove former finance minister Ishaq Dar from the chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore.

Sep 19: The Hashoo Foundation and Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GB-DMA) signed an MoU for the capacity building of the latter in different aspects of environment, climate-compatible development, and disaster risk reduction and disaster management in its development projects in the context of vulnerable groups in Pakistan.

Sep 19: Punjab and Denmark agreed upon joint initiatives for the awareness and cure of diabetes in Punjab.

Sep 19: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa met the Chinese President Xi Jinping on a special invitation.

Sep 19: Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail and flown back to Lahore, after the Islamabad High Court suspended their sentences till a decision on their appeals in Panamagate case.

Global pharma companies dodging millions of dollar taxes in Pakistan: Oxfam

Sep 19: The UK-based charity Oxfam International (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) in its latest report ‘Prescription for Poverty,’ said that the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies enriched themselves by avoiding millions of dollars of taxes every year in Pakistan and other developing countries. The report found that these companies appeared to avoid an estimated $112 million in taxes every year in seven developing countries: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Peru and Thailand.

One multinational company alone allegedly avoided $1.7 million of taxes in Pakistan. It did not have access to data for the three other pharmaceutical giants. Almost a million children die of pneumonia every year – an estimated 91,000 of them in Pakistan. With the missing tax money, the seven developing countries studied by Oxfam could buy pneumonia vaccines for 8.9 million children.

If their governments invested the dodged tax revenue in healthcare, it could pay for 10 million girls to be vaccinated against pneumonia. The disease can cause cervical cancer, which is responsible for the death of one woman around the world every two minutes. Nearly 90 percent of these fatalities are women in developing countries, the report said.

Sep 20: Pakistan was once again elected as a member of board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the next two years.

About IAEA

1. The IAEA is an international organisation that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
2. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
3. The IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
4. IAEA’s board of governors consists of 35 out of agency’s 170 member countries.
5. Eleven (11) board members are elected to the IAEA’s board of governors every two years.
6. Pakistan is a founding member of the IAEA.
7. Pakistan has been elected 19 times to the board in the past.

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

Sep 20: Pakistan Post issued special postage stamps, of Rs 8 denomination, to portray martyred Kashmiri youth leader, Burhan Wani, describing him a ‘Freedom Icon’.

Sep 22: The federal government appointed senior bureaucrat Mumtaz Ali Shah Sindh chief secretary.

Sep 23: Pakistani women won three gold, four silver and three bronze medals at the Asian Power lifting and Bench Press Championship which was held in Dubai, UAE.

Sep 24: The new US diplomat to Pakistan Paul Jones began his assignment as the chargé d’affaires at the United States Embassy in Islamabad.

Sep 24: The Supreme Court (SC) approved a change in the name of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams fund which is now called Supreme Court and Prime Minister’s Fund for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams.

Sep 24: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Egypt, Mushtaq Ali Shah and other representatives from Egyptian and Pakistani ministries attended the summit that was organized in Cairo, Egypt, to explore economic opportunities emerging from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI).

Sep 25: As per a study “Measuring Human Capital: A systematic analysis of 195 countries and territories, 1990 to 2016” published in the international medical journal ‘The Lancet’, Pakistan ranked 164th in the world in terms of its investment in education and health care as measurement of its commitment to economic growth. The list of 195 countries placed Pakistan behind Rwanda (ranked 163rd) and just ahead of Tanzania (ranked 165th), with United States standing at 27th place and India at 158th. Shockingly, Pakistan has improved its ranking just two places from 166 in 1990 to 164 in 2016 in more than two and a half decades.

Sep 25: Kanwal Ahmed of Soul Sisters Pakistan (SSP) and Nadia Patel Gangjee of Sheops were selected for the Facebook leadership programme.

Sep 26: Pakistan’s Muhammad Bilal and Babar Masih bagged silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the Asian 6-Red Snooker Championship that was held in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Sep 26: Sarah Mehboob and Mehaq Khokhar outclassed the Sara Mansoor-Mahvish Chishtie duo to win the doubles title in the Subh-e-Nau Ladies National Tennis Championship.

Sep 27: Sarah Mahboob added yet another feather to her crowded cap when she defeated talented Sara Mansoor to clinch the Subh-e-Nau National Ladies Tennis title.

Sep 27: The Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected the petition filed by PTI stalwart Jahangir Khan Tareen, wherein he sought review of its verdict that had disqualified him on Dec 15 last year.

Sep 27: The federal cabinet approved appointment of Arshad Khan as chairman of the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV).

Sep 27: In order to signify the contributions of the maritime industry in the world’s economy and to focus on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security, and the marine environment, Pakistan Navy celebrated the World Maritime Day under the theme: ‘Our heritage — better shipping for a better future’.

Sep 27: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia signed three grants-in-aid agreements worth $16 million to furnish and equip university and hospital projects financed by Riyadh.

Sep 27: As a sign of increasing economic cooperation, Pakistan and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement to conduct feasibility study for building $10 billion offshore gas pipeline to supply gas from Russia to Pakistan. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed in Moscow.

Sep 27: The Punjab governor’s wife, Perveen Sarwar, initiated the Green Heritage Programme to beautify the heritage of the province.

Sep 28: Former PIA managing director/chairman Chaudhry Ahmad Saeed passed away. He was 80.

Mr Saeed remained PIA MD (2001-03) and chairman (2003-05) during the Musharraf regime. He was the brother of former defence minister Ahmad Mukhtar.

Sep 28: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed death sentence awarded to 11 hardcore terrorists.

Sep 28: Defence Minister Pervez Khattak was appointed to head a parliamentary committee constituted to probe alleged rigging in the July 25 general elections.

Sep 28: The Japanese government announced to donate $2.7 million to support the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees programme in Pakistan.

Sep 29: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressed the United Nations General Assembly. In his speech – delivered in Urdu – the FM said that Pakistan wanted to engage with “all countries and neighbours on the basis of peace and equality.”

Sep 29: The Punjab government replaced Deputy Prosecutor General Hafiz Asghar, Sheikh Saeed and Waqar Abid Bhatti with Abdul Rauf Watto, Imtiaz Supra and Azra Sultan as the prosecution team to “speed up proceedings” of the Model Town case.

Sep 30: PTI’s Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon took the oath as the sixth governor of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Sep 30: Senior journalist Jawad Nazir breathed his last.

Sep 30: The Sindh Assembly authorized expenditures for the remaining three quarters of the current financial year, 2018-19. The previous assembly passed the Rs1.445 trillion Sindh budget in May, but authorised an expenditure of Rs292.6 billion for the first quarters only.

Sep 30: The Indian army opened fire at the helicopter of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider from a post when he was travelling to a village near the volatile Line of Control.

Oct 02: The federal government appointed Mr Yousaf Naseem Khokher as the Punjab chief secretary.

Oct 02: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid an official visit to Jordan. He called on Jordanian King Abdullah Ibn Al Hussein and discussed with him regional security situation and bilateral cooperation.

Oct 03: The PTI candidate Dr Shahzad Waseem won the election for the Senate seat, which was vacated by Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar after his appointment as governor Punjab, with 181 votes. PML-N candidate Khawaja Ahmed Hassaan bagged 169 votes

Oct 03: The prestigious ICC World Cup Trophy, as part of its world tour, arrived in Lahore.

Oct 03: The National Assembly passed the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill 2018, generally known as minibudget, after the government agreed to continue with the policy of the previous regime of barring non-filers from purchasing properties and vehicles.

Oct 03: The PTI-led government revised up development allocations for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects to Rs193 billion for the current fiscal year.

Oct 03: The government removed Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Shaukat Hussain Abbasi over his illegal appointment.

Oct 05: The government inducted six more diehard political aides to Prime Minister Imran Khan into the cabinet, taking its total strength to 34. Muhammad Faisal Vawda, Senator Azam Khan Swati, Muhammadmian Soomro, Ali Amin Gandapur and Sahibzada Muhammad Meh­m­ood Sultan were sworn in as federal ministers, while Zartaj Gul Wazir was made minister of state.

The federal cabinet now has 24 ministers, six state ministers and four advisers. According to the Constitution, the maximum strength of the federal cabinet can be 49.

Oct 05: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police introduced Criminal Record Verification System (CRVS) to put an effective end to terrorism and other heinous crimes across the province.

Oct 05: The Supreme Court ordered the appointment of a judicial commission to investigate the 2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS), Peshawar. A three-judge bench headed by the CJP Mian Saqib Nisar instructed the CJ of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Waqar Ahmed Seth to nominate a senior judge to investigate the atrocity.

Oct 05: NAB arrested PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif in Rs14 billion Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Project scam.

Oct 05: President Arif Alvi constituted a 13-member National Economic Council which will be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The chief ministers of all four provinces will be the members of the NEC, which will also include Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister of Planning Khusro Bakhtiar, and PM’s advisor on commerce, textiles, industries and investment Abdul Razak Dawood and PM’s Advisor on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain.

Further, Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Minister for Food and Parliamentary Affairs Sindh Nisar Khuhro, Finance Minister KP Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Balochistan MPA Jan Jamali will represent their respective provinces.

Oct 07: National Bank of Pakistan won the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Hockey Championship trophy beating Wapda in the final at the National Hockey Stadium, Lahore.

Oct 07: Shaikh Aziz, a veteran journalist, author and scholar, died at the age of 79.

Oct 07: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced a $7.1 billion financial package for Pakistan, saying it would help the country “achieve inclusive and sustainable growth” over the next three years.

Oct 08: The Netherlands and Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) agreed to boost cooperation in the fields of agriculture, farming, livestock, food production methodologies, drip irrigation and hi-technology.

Oct 08: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a countrywide cleanliness drive titled ‘Clean and Green Pakistan’ aimed at provision of clean drinking water, clean environment, proper sanitation, a waste disposal system and construction of toilets at all public places in five years.

Oct 08: The Army Strategic Forces Command (ASFC) conducted the training launch of nuclear-capable Ghauri missile, the only liquid fuel ballistic missile in the country’s arsenal.

Oct 09: The mother of former state minister for water and power Abid Sher Ali and wife of ex-mayor Sher Ali passed away.

Oct 09: Pakistan ranked amongst the top seven countries with the highest number of diarrhoea cases and the increasing number of deaths associated with it.

Oct 09: The Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) Officers Association, for the first time in its history, unanimously elected a female officer – Rabiya Javeri Agha – as its president.

About Rabiya Javeri Agha

1. Rabiya is one of the senior female officers of the Pakistani government.
2. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, Rabiya entered the civil service in 1986.
3. She has served the government in several capacities.
4. In her judicial assignments, she was both ‘first class’ and juvenile magistrate.
5. She has also worked as Director General, Federal Ombudsman, Secretary Local Government Board, and Financial Advisor to the Mayor of Karachi from 1998 to 2000.
6. She was instrumental in instituting free legal aid facilities and shelters throughout Sindh for underprivileged women while serving as Secretary of the Women’s Development department.
7. She has also served as Secretary for the Energy department, Tourism department and Special Secretary to the Governor of Sindh.
8. She currently holds the post of Federal Secretary for Human Rights.
9. During her time in the human rights ministry, Rabiya was responsible for promulgation of the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Bill, 2017, the Hindu Marriage Act, 2017, the ICT Child Protection Bill and Juvenile Justice Ordinance System, 2018.
10. She has also has presented and defended five treaty reports at the United Nations.

Oct 10: Lt Gen Asim Munir was named as the new director general of premier spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He assumed office on the retirement of Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar on Oct 25.

The new ISI Director General has vast intelligence experience, and had served on various positions. He had also served as military attaché in Saudi Arabia as Lt Colonel and has the honour to have memorised Holy Quran during his posting. Lt Gen Munir’s previous appointment was as DG Military Intelligence. He received a Hilal-i-Imtiaz in March 2018.

He has also served as commander of the Force Command Northern Areas.

Other Appointments in Pak Army

Lt Gen Azhar Saleh Abbasi: Chief of Logistics Staff General Headquarters (GHQ)
Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki: Commander Mangla Corps
Lt Gen Shaheen Mazher: Commander Peshawar Corps
Lt Gen Abdul Aziz: Military Secretary General Headquarters
Lt Gen Muhammad Adnan: Vice Chief of General Staff
Lt Gen Waseem Ashraf: Inspector General (IG) Arms.

Oct 10: Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, a mega programme to construct five million affordable housing units in the country.

Oct 10: PTI leader Usman Dar was appointed the chairman of Prime Minister’s Youth Programme.

Oct 11: President Dr Arif Alvi removed senior puisne judge of the Islamabad High Court Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui on the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Oct 13: On the directive of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Peshawar High Court chief justice ordered constitution of a commission comprising Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan to probe the 2014 Army Public School carnage.

Oct 14: Pakistan closed its Friendship Gate with Afghanistan in Chaman.

Oct 14: By-elections on 11 national and 24 provincial assembly seats were held. Ruling PTI and the opposition PML-N managed to win most of the seats.

Oct 15: The government replaced Punjab Inspector General of Police (IGP) Muhammad Tahir with Amjad Javed Saleemi.

Saleemi’s career

Saleemi joined the civil services on November 1, 1986.
He belongs to the 14th Common and district of his domicile is Faisalabad.
He was previously a grade 22 officer of Police Service of Pakistan, serving as IG National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP).
He is due to retire on January 31, 2020.

Oct 15: The PTI government unveiled its sixth consecutive annual budget for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The 2018-19 budget with an outlay of Rs648 billion, which also includes the estimates for the first four months of the fiscal year already authorized by the last caretaker government, carried a surplus of Rs30 billion.

Oct 15: National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaisar announced a 30-member Parliamentary Committee to probe allegations of rigging in general election 2018. The committee comprised of 20 members from the National Assembly and 10 members from the Senate with equal members of the government and opposition from both the houses of Parliament.

China overtaking US in scientific research

Thirty years ago in December, the modern exchange of scholars between the US and China began. Since then, Chinese academics have become the most prolific global contributors to publications in physical sciences, engineering and math.

For decades, China’s growth was driven by shifting workers from agriculture to manufacturing. As the country started to approach the so-called Lewis turning point, when such shifts no longer raise overall productivity, the government made an increasingly concerted effort to build the scientific base to provide another vector for growth. The results of those efforts are showing up in both the rankings of Chinese universities (11 of the top 100 globally) and in scholarly output.

Qingnan Xie of Nanjing University of Science & Technology and Richard Freeman of Harvard University have studied China’s contribution to global scientific output. They document a rapid expansion between 2000 and 2016, as the Chinese share of global publications in physical sciences, engineering and math quadrupled. By 2016, the Chinese share exceeded that of the US.

The quality of Chinese research is also improving, though it currently remains below that of US academics. A recent analysis suggests that, measured not just by numbers of papers but also by citations from other academics, Chinese scholars could become the global leaders in the near future.

INTERNATIONAL

World in Focus Sep 16: Kenyan Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge set a new marathon world record by clocking a time of 2hr 1min 39sec. He smashed the previous record of 2hr 02min 57sec set by compatriot Dennis Kimetto in 2014.

Sep 16: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed the Jeddah Peace Agreement during a summit in Saudi Arabia.

The Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders also were awarded for their efforts the Order of Abdul Aziz Al Saud Medal, the kingdom’s highest civilian honour.

Sep 16: India conducted its first successful test-fire of a new indigenously designed and developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM).

Sep 17: Meredith Corp., the publisher of Time Magazine, sold this prestigious publication to Marc Benloff, a co-founder of Sales force, and his wife for $190 million.

Sep 17: Germany rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered trains that only emit steam and water.

Sep 18: South Africa’s top court ruled that private, personal use of cannabis was legal.

Sep 18: SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space transportation company, revealed the name of its first private passenger on a voyage around the moon. He is Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and chief executive of fashion retailer Zozo.

Sep 18: South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in met North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang. Both leaders discussed ways to reboot stalled denuclearization talks between the NK and the United States.

Sep 18: HBO’s record-breaking fantasy epic Game of Thrones won the coveted best drama series prize at the Emmys.

Sep 18: Angela Merkel’s government removed domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen from office.

Sep 18: A charismatic Japanese mixed martial artist Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto died at age 41.

Sep 19: The Indian government issued an executive order making the Islamic practice of “instant divorce” a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison.

Sep 19: At a summit with the South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un agreed to close a missile testing site in front of international inspectors.

Sep 20: Japanese cryptocurrency firm Tech Bureau Corp said that about $60 million in digital currencies were stolen from its exchange, highlighting the industry’s vulnerability despite recent efforts by authorities to make it more secure.

Sep 20: Afghanistan’s ambassador to India Dr Shaida Abdali stepped down from his role as envoy, shortly after the Afghan president paid a visit to India.

Sep 20: Daria Bilodid of Ukraine made judo history by becoming the youngest world champion at the age of 17 years and 345 days. He secured the world title in the under 48kg category.

Sep 20: India List A cricketer Shahbaz Nadeem produced the best ever bowling figures in List-A cricket when he got 8 wickets for only 10 runs (10-4-10-8). The previous best was Rahul Sanghvi’s 8 for 15, for Delhi against Himachal Pradesh back in 1997-98.

Sep 22: Militants shot dead at least 29 people including women and children in an attack on an Iranian military parade in Ahvaz.

Sep 22: Russia and Turkey agreed on borders of a demilitarized zone in northern Syria.

Sep 22: India cancelled a meeting between foreign ministers of Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session.

Sep 22: Women foreign ministers from around the world kicked off a first-of-its-kind meeting, bringing together more than half of the world’s top women diplomats, in Montreal, Canada.

Sep 23: An Egyptian court sentenced 66 people, including Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie, to life in prison over an August 2013 attack on a police station in Minya.

Sep 23: China announced to postpone joint military talks in protest against a US decision to sanction a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.

Sep 23: Former world number one Karolina Pliskova defeated Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka to win the Pan Pacific Open.

Sep 23: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s biggest health insurance scheme. The Ayushman Bharat programme, dubbed “Modicare” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, promises health cover worth 500,000 rupees ($6,900) to every poor family to treat serious ailments.

Sep 24: President Donald Trump’s tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports took effect.

Sep 24: Former President of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Biswanath Dutt, passed away at 93.

Sep 24: Google celebrated its 20th birthday.

Sep 24: Maldives strongman President Yameen Abdul Gayoom conceded defeat in country’s election. His challenger and a long-time lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, won with 58 percent of the vote while Yameen could garner 42 percent.

Sep 24: Renowned American golfer Tiger Woods won his first title since 2013 with a two-stroke triumph at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Sep 24: At the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, held in New York, Member States adopted the first resolution of the General Assembly’s 73rd session, “committing to demonstrate mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and reconciliation in [their] relations.”

Sep 24: A statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled at UN Headquarters by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres alongside Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, and María Fernanda Espinosa, the President of the current session of the General Assembly.

Sep 25: The European Union announced to set up a payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran.

Sep 25: Riksdagen, the parliament of Sweden, voted overwhelmingly against the Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in a vote of no-confidence.

About the Riksdag

1. The Riksdag is the national legislature and the supreme decision-making body of Sweden.
2. Since 1971, the Riksdag has been a unicameral legislature with 349 members.
3. Members of the Riksdag are elected proportionally and serving, from 1994 onwards, on fixed four-year terms.
4. The seat of the Riksdag is at Parliament House, on the island of Helgeandsholmen in the central parts of Stockholm.
5. The presidium consists of a speaker and three deputy speakers. They are elected for a 4-year term.

Sep 25: Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s decade-long domination of football’s individual awarded by being crowned FIFA’s best player of the year.

Sep 25: Evan Atar Adaha, a South Sudanese doctor who runs an overcrowded hospital with a dimly-lit surgical theatre and no regular supply of general anesthetics, won the UNHCR’s prestigious Nansen Refugee Award.

World in Focus

About the Award

1. The Nansen prize, awarded annually, is named after Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who served as the first high commissioner for refugees during the failed League of Nations.
2. It is awarded by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to an individual, group or organization in recognition of outstanding service to the cause of refugees, displaced or stateless people.
3. It was established in 1954.
4. Every year, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award is presented at a dignified ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, the “world’s humanitarian capital”.
5. Held at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, the ceremony coincides with the annual UNHCR Executive Committee (Excom) meeting.
6. Syed Munir Hussain (1988) and Aqeela Asifi (2015) are the only two Pakistanis conferred with this award.

Sep 26: Fashion house Michael Kors announced to buy Italian luxury giant Versace.

Sep 27: The UK is still home to the top two universities in the world, according to the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Oxford University was on top for the third consecutive year, while Cambridge kept its 2nd position for the second year in a row.

Sep 27: American F-35 stealth fighters were used in a combat operation for the first time, marking a major milestone for the most expensive plane in history.

Sep 27: Australia, for the first time, named two Test cricket vice-captains – all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.

Sep 27: India’s top court ruled that adultery is no longer a crime, striking down a 158-year-old colonial-era law.

Earlier this month, the court struck a ban on gay sex introduced by British rulers in 1861.

Where is adultery a criminal offence?

Adultery is considered illegal in 21 American states, including New York.

It is prohibited in Islamic Law, so it is a criminal offence in Islamic countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia.

Taiwan punishes adultery by up to a year in prison and it is also deemed a crime in Indonesia.

More than 60 countries around the world had done away with laws that made adultery a crime.

Sep 27: Germany beat Turkey in a two-horse contest to win the rights to host the Euro 2024 football tournament. Germany had previously staged the event as West Germany in 1988 and successfully held the 2006 World Cup.

Sep 28: India’s top court revoked a ban on women’s entry to India’s Supreme Court by ruling that “women can no longer be barred from entering the Sabarimala temple,” considered one of the holiest for Hindus. The Sabarimala temple in Kerala had banned women and girls of “menstruating age” – defined as from 10 to 50 – from entering the place of worship.

Sep 28: India retained the Asia Cup with a three-wicket win off the last ball against Bangladesh.

Sep 29: Common opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was declared president-elect of Maldives.

Sep 29: Britain’s Callum Smith knocked out his compatriot George Groves in Saudi Arabia to claim the World Boxing Association Super Middleweight title and the coveted Muhammad Ali Trophy.

Sep 30: Elon Musk agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine in a deal to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Oct 01: The International Court of Justice rejected a bid by landlocked Bolivia to force Chile to the negotiating table for access to the Pacific Ocean, in a row dating back to the 19th century.

Oct 01: Canada and the US reached a deadline deal on a new free trade pact that will also include Mexico.

Oct 01: Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research into how the body’s natural defences can fight cancer.

Oct 02: Three scientists – Arthur Ashkin, Frenchman Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland – won the Nobel Physics Prize. Strickland is the first female physics prize winner in 55 years and also the first female Nobel laureate in any field in three years – for inventing optical lasers that have paved the way for advanced precision instruments used in corrective eye surgery.

Oct 03: The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam nominated its general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as the sole candidate for the presidency, succeeding late President Tran Dai Quang. His nomination, later, was confirmed by the Southeast Asian nation’s parliament as the country’s and its own President. He is the first person to hold both titles since founding father Ho Chi Minh in the 1960s.

Oct 03: The International Court of Justice ordered the United States to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran. The ICJ’s order was an interim ruling on a broader case in which Iran has challenged the legality of the US sanctions.

Oct 03: The United States terminated the Treaty of Amity of 1955, which established its economic relations and consular rights with Iran, in response to the International Court of Justice ordering the United States to lift sanctions on Tehran involving medicine, food and airplane parts.

Oct 05: A Seoul court jailed former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for 15 years for corruption.

Oct 05: Switzerland, the world’s biggest center for managing offshore wealth, began automatically sharing client data with tax authorities in dozens of other countries.

Oct 05: Russia and India’s leaders announced a raft of deals worth billions of dollars including for an S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system, worth $5.2 billion.

Oct 05: Mandira Nayar, a granddaughter of famous Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar, scattered his ashes in the Ravi, near Lahore, in keeping with his will.

Oct 05: Denis Mukwege, a doctor who helps victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by the militant Islamic State (IS) group, won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Oct 06: The US Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh with a 50-48 vote.

Oct 07: Iran’s parliament approved a bill to counter terrorist financing. The bill aims to bring Iran’s laws in line with international standards and allow it to join the UN Terrorism Financing Convention.

Oct 07: Caroline Wozniacki defeated Anastasija Sevastova to win the China Open and her third WTA title of the year. Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia beat top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in the men’s final.

Oct 07: China informed the Interpol that the former Interpol president, Meng Hongwei, who is also China’s vice minister of public security, was being lawfully investigated for bribery and other crimes.

Oct 08: Bangladesh’s president signed a digital security act into law which carries heavy jail sentences for secretly recording government officials or spreading “negative propaganda” using a smartphone or computer.

Oct 08: US economists William Nordhaus and Paul Romer shared the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize for constructing ‘green growth’ models that shown how innovation and climate policies could be integrated with economic growth.

Oct 09: Former Guatemalan Vice President Roxana Baldetti was sentenced to 15½ years in prison for fraud, influence peddling and illicit association related to a government contract to clean up a polluted lake.

Oct 09: The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced her resignation.

Oct 10: Egyptian and Saudi forces started their joint military drills dubbed “Tabuk 4” in Egypt’s southern military region.

Oct 11: The world’s longest commercial flight took off from Singapore for New York.

Oct 13: India was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) by receiving 188 votes, out of UNGA 193 member states, in the Asia-Pacific category.

Oct 14: Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska crushed Chinese number one Wang Qiang to claim her first- ever WTA title.

Oct 14: Swiss IOC member Patrick Baumann, a central figure in the Olympic movement and the sport of basketball, died at the age of 51.

Oct 14: Slain Salvadoran archbishop Oscar Romero and pope Paul VI, Catholic giants who sparked controversy during their lifetimes, joined the church’s highest rank with an elevation to sainthood.

Oct 14: Novak Djokovic won the Shanghai Masters with a victory over Borna Coric.

Oct 15: Closed for years due to the civil war, Syria reopened a vital border post with Jordan as well as a crossing into the Israeli-controlled Golan.

Oct 15: India and China launched a programme to impart training to 10 Afghan diplomats.

Times Higher Education (THE) World Universities Rankings 2019

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 are one of the most accurate and well-respected rankings of universities around the world. Sadly for Pakistan though, the country’s presence on the list is shrinking, and shrinking fast. It should be worrying for the country that only a few Pakistani universities have made it to the list of top 1000 universities in the world for 2019.

This year, Pakistan only had three universities placed in the top 1000 universities on the list. Just three out of 192 universities that function across the country at present! The number of Pakistani universities placed in the top 1000 was seven for the THE rankings for 2017. It then dropped to four in last year’s ranking. And alarmingly, the number has come down to three in the 2019 rankings.

The three Pakistani universities in the top 1000 universities are COMSATS Institute of Information Technology in 601-800 band, University of Agriculture Faisalabad in the 801-1000 band and National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), also in the 600-801 band.

Other Pakistani universities named in the THE World University Rankings 2019, but in the 1000+ band, are Bahauddin Zakariya University, University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore, Government College University Lahore, University of Lahore, PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore.

On the other hand, India is making its presence more evident. From 30 universities in the THE top 1000 universities in 2017, the number has risen to 33 – 11 times more than that of Pakistan. Overall, India has 49 institutes named in the ranking that has been expanded to include more than 1250 top universities in the world – Pakistan has only 9.

World in Focus



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