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11, 12 October 2016, National & International Current Affairs

National

Oct 10: The name of Cyril Almeida was put on the Exit Control List (ECL) after his controversial report in Dawn newspaper on a recent meeting between civil and military leaders.

Oct 10: As per a report shared with the National Assembly, only two projects at a cost of $137 million under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have been completed so far out of 17 early harvest proposed projects at a total estimated cost of $18 billion.

Highlights of the Report

The two CPEC projects that have been completed are Quaid-e-Azam 100 megawatts Solar Park at a cost of $137 million and Digital Terrestrial Multiband Broadcast at a cost of $2 million.

Ten of the remaining 15 projects that are under implementation include:

  1. 10 energy projects at a total cost of $11.186 billion to generate around 4,460 megawatts electricity by 2018;
  2. two relating to transport infrastructure at a cost of $6.1 billion,
  3. two relating to Gwadar Port at a cost of $0.3706 billon and
  4. one Cross Border Optical Fiber Cable at an estimated cost of $0.044 billion.

Tentative completion deadline of two separate coal-fired projects is as follows:

  1. 660 megawatts of Port Qasim Electric Company Sindh at a projected cost of $1,980 million is scheduled for completion in 2017/2018; and Sahiwal Coal-Fired Power Plant with a generation capacity of 1,320 megawatts at a cost of $1,600 million will be completed in June 2017.
  2.  Four Engro Thar projects with a total generation capacity of 1320 megawatts (330 MW each) at a cost of $2 billion will be completed by 2018;
  3. surface mine in block-II of Thar coal field, 6.5mtpa, at a projected cost of $1,470 million is scheduled for completion in 2018;
  4. Dawood 50 megawatts wind farm, Bhambore, Sindh at an estimated cost of $125 million is to be completed by November 2016;
  5. UEP 100 megawatts wind farm, Jhimpir, Sindh, at a cost of $250 million will be completed by September 2017;
  6. Sachal 50 megawatts wind farm, Jhimpir, Sindh, at a projected cost of $134 million will be completed by July 2017;
  7. Suki Kinari Hydropower Station in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at an estimated cost of $1,802 million is scheduled for completion in 2021/2022; and
  8. Karo Hydropower Station, Azad Jammu Kashmir and Punjab at a cost of $1,420 will be completed in 2020/2021.

Two other projects under the CPEC-Transport Infrastructure Projects worth $6.1 billion are in the implementation stage.

  1. Karakorum Highway Phase-II (Raikot-Islamabad Section) worth $3,500 million will be completed in 2017/2018
  2. Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur Section) worth $2,600 million will be completed in 2018.

Two projects under the CPEC-Gwadar Port worth $0.3706 billion are also in the implementation stage and are scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Eastbay Expressway with a cost of $0.1406 billion and Gwadar International Airport with a cost of $0.230 billion would be completed in 2018.

Another project namely Cross Border Optical Fiber Cable with a cost of $0.044 billion will be completed in 2017/2018.

Oct 10: Pakistan has witnessed improvement by four notches from 126th to 122nd position in the corruption perception index 2016-17 as compared to previous year, says an annual Global Competitiveness report of WEF.

Oct 10: As per the 2016 Global Hunger Index, Pakistan has 22 per cent of its population undernourished, though it improved from a previous “alarming” hunger level among developing countries.

Key Facts

  1. Ranked 108 among 118 countries on the index, Pakistan remained on a “serious” level, scoring 33.4 against 35.1 in the 2008 index.
  2. The country performed worst than neighbours India and Bangladesh, which scored 28.5 and 27.1 respectively, but better than Afghanistan’s 34.8.
  3. Another 43 countries, including India, Nigeria and Indonesia, showed “serious” hunger levels.
  4. At the current rate of decline, more than 45 countries – including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan – will have “moderate” to “alarming” hunger scores in the year 2030.
  5. Nearly half the population in CAR and Zambia, and one in three people in Chad, are undernourished.

About GHI

  1. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a multidimensional statistical tool used to describe the state of countries’ hunger situation.
  2. It ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
  3. The Index was adopted and further developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and was first published in 2006 with the Welthungerhilfe, a German non-profit organization (NGO).
  4. The Index ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst.

Oct 11: CM Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the Punjab Safe City Project.

About the Project

  1. It is a unique project of its kind in Pakistan and the biggest project in Asia.
  2. The first phase of Safe City Project has completed in a record period of time.
  3. Punjab government is working on Safe City Project with the collaboration of a leading Chinese company Huawei.
  4. Some 8,000 surveillance cameras, costing Rs12 billion, will watch over the city under the phased Punjab Safe City Project.

Oct 11: The United States blacklisted four men — Obaid Khanani, Hozaifa Khanani, Javed Khanani and Atif Polani — and their companies based in Pakistan and the UAE, for purported ties to an organisation accused of laundering money for drug traffickers and Chinese, Colombian and Mexican crime groups.

Oct 12: Pakistan striker Shahlyla Ahmadzai Baloch passed away in a car accident.

Oct 12: Pakistan handed over a dossier on human rights violations in India-held Kashmir (IHK) to the United Nations General Assembly.

Oct 12: The Global Travel and Tourism Report by the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan as the fourth most dangerous country in the world.

Top 10 safest countries

  1. Finland
  2. Qatar
  3. UAE
  4. Iceland
  5. Austria
  6. Luxembourg
  7. New Zealand
  8. Singapore
  9. Oman
  10. Portugal

10 Least safe Countries

  1. Nigeria
  2. Columbia
  3. Yemen
  4. Pakistan
  5. Venezuela
  6. Egypt
  7. Guatemala
  8. El Salvador
  9. Hondurus
  10. Thailand

Oct 12: A Pakistani lawyer, Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffrey, filed a petition to ask the government to bring back a 5,000-year-old bronze statue called Dancing Girl from India.

About the Statue

A bronze statuette Dancing Girl is 10.5 centimetres (4.1 in) high and about 4,500 years old.

The statue was excavated from Moenjodaro in 1926.

It was found in the “HR area” of Mohenjodaro by Ernest Mackay.

It was taken to India around 60 years ago at the request of the National Arts Council, Delhi, and was never brought back.

Some of the most famous archaeologists in the world have described it as one of the most captivating pieces of art from the Indus site.

International

Oct 10: Renowned Polish Film director Andrzej Wajda died at 90.

Oct 10: Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in at Yildiz Palace in Istanbul.

Oct 10: Rap chart-topper Drake earned a record 13 nominations for the American Music Awards.

Oct 10: The Council of Europe awarded its Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Iraqi activist Nadia Murad.

About the Award

  1. The Award was launched on 25 March 2013 in Prague.
  2. The prize is awarded in memory of Václav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.
  3. It replaces the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Human Rights Prize, which was created in 2009 and awarded every two years.
  4. It is handed out at a session of the parliamentary assembly in Strasbourg each October.
  5. The prize is awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
  6. The award honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights.
  7. The Prize consists of a sum of €60 000, a trophy and a diploma.

Previous Awardees: Ales Bialiatski (2013); Anar Mammadli (2014) andLyudmila Alexeyeva (2015)

Oct 10: The World Mental Health Day (WMHD) was observed.

About WMHD

  1. It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) and is recognised by World Health Organisation (WHO).
  2. It was first celebrated in 1992.
  3. Depression is currently the No. 2 disability in the world. It is expected to rank No.1 by 2020.

2016 theme: “Psychological First Aid”.

Oct 10: Turkey and Russia signed the strategic Turkish Stream gas pipeline agreement.

Highlights

  1. The gas pipeline will be built under the Black Sea.
  2. The inter-governmental agreement had created the “legal basis” for the project after a previous memorandum of understanding from 2014.
  3. The annual capacity of each line is to be 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas (bcma), making a total capacity of over 30 bcma.
  4. The first line of the gas pipeline will be used to transport gas to Turkish consumers and the second to Europe.
  5. They should both be built by 2019.

Oct 10: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) detected Great Balls of Fire (GBF), mysterious super-hot blobs of gas seen near a dying star.

About Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

  1. HST was launched in 1990 by NASA in collaboration with European Space Agency.
  2. It is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble and is still in operation.
  3. It is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
  4. Its operations are conducted by Baltimore based Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).
  5. It is located in low Earth orbit outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere that allows it to take extremely high-resolution images.
  6. Its successor, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is scheduled for launch in 2018.

 Oct 11: The 4th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting was held at Jaipur, Rajastan.

Oct 11: The International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) was observed.

About the Day

  1. International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations.
  2. It was first celebrated on October 11, 2012.
  3. The Day began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates worldwide.
  4. The idea for an international day of observance and celebration grew out of Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign.
  5. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution adopting October 11, 2012 as the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child.
  6. The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender.

2016 Theme: “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls”.

Oct 11: In a report titled “Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases,” the World Health Organisation (WHO) asked governments to raise taxes on sugary drinks to fight global obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Highlights of the Report

  1. Obesity more than doubled worldwide between 1980 and 2014, with 11pc of men and 15pc of women classified as obese — more than 500 million people.
  2. An estimated 42m children under age 5 were overweight or obese in 2015. This was an increase of about 11m over the past 15 years. Additionally, some 422m adults across the world have diabetes.
  3. If retail prices of sugar-sweetened drinks are increased by 20 per cent through taxation, there is a proportional drop in consumption.
  4. There was increasingly clear evidence that taxes and subsidies influence purchasing behavior. This could be used to curb consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and hence fight obesity and diabetes.
  5. The United States has the world’s highest rates of obesity per population, but China also has similar absolute numbers among both men and women.
  6. WHO guidelines issued in March 2015 said that adults and children from the Americas to Western Europe and the Middle East need to roughly halve the amount of sugar they consume to lower risk of obesity and tooth decay.
  7. The guidelines mean people should reduce the amount to less than 10pc of their daily energy intake — or to about 50 grams or 12 teaspoons of sugar for adults — but 5pc is even better, it said.
  8. The WHO’s recommendations cover free sugars such as glucose and fructose, and sucrose or table sugar added to processed foods and drinks.

Oct 11: Ilham Tohti, a jailed scholar from China’s mostly-Muslim Uyghur minority, was awarded the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

About the Award

  1. The award is named after Martin Ennals, former secretary general of Amnesty International.
  2. The Award is sometimes called “the Nobel Prize for human rights”.
  3. It was created in 1993 to honour and protect individuals around the world who demonstrate exceptional courage in defending and promoting human rights.
  4. The award carries a cash prize of 20,000 Swiss francs to be used by the award winners to support their work in the field of human rights.
  5. The annual ceremony takes place in Geneva in October in association with the City of Geneva.
  6. Asma Jahangir is the only Pakistani to have won this Award.

About Ilham Tohti

  1. Ilham Tohti was born in Artush, a city in Xinjiang near China’s borders with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, in October 1969.
  2. Tohti is often called China’s Mandela.
  3. He is an economist and is currently serving a life sentence in China, on separatism-related charges.
  4. He is a vocal advocate for the implementation of regional autonomy laws in China.
  5. On April 1, 2014, Tohti was awarded the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, an American human rights award given to writers anywhere in the world who fight for freedom of expression.
  6. In September 2016 he was nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Oct 11: Indian skipper Virat Kohli was presented with the ICC Test Mace.

  1. India was guaranteed number-one spot on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings after it took a 2-0 lead against new Zealand in Kolkata.
  2. Since the Test team rankings are only updated at the end of the series, India formally replaced Pakistan at the top of the table at the end of the Indore Test which it won by 321 runs.
  3. Kohli is only the second India captain after Mahendra Singh Dhoni and 10th overall to receive the mace.

Other recipients of the mace: Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Steve Smith (all Australia), Andrew Strauss (England), Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla (both South Africa) and Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan).

ICC Test Rankings

(as of 11 October 2016)

Rank

Team

Points

1.

India

115

2.

Pakistan

111

3.

Australia

108

4.

England

108

5.

South Africa

96

6.

Sri Lanka

95

7.

New Zealand

91

8.

West Indies

67

9.

Bangladesh

57

10.

Zimbabwe

8

 Oct 11: Abdelilah Bekirane was re-appointed as the Prime Minister of Morocco for second term.

About Abdelilah Bekirane

  1. He was born in 1954 in Rabat, Morocco.
  2. He holds graduate degree in Physics.
  3. He is former Managing Editor of Al-Islah, Ar-Raya and Attajdid newspapers.
  4. In 2016, he was elected for a fifth term in Parliament and represents Salé constituency since November 1997.
  5. Since 2008, he is secretary-general of the Justice and Development Party of Morocco.
  6. Benkirane has been serving as Prime Minister since November 2011.
  7. In recently concluded general election, his PJD party emerged as the single largest party by winning 125 seats.

Oct 11: The NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has developed a new high-tech electroactive bandage that uses electricity to significantly promote healing of injured wounds.

Oct 12: Russia’s military conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Oct 12: Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the ailing chief minister of southern Tamil Nadu state, handed many of her responsibilities to her deputy.

Oct 12: A gunbattle, which lasted almost three days, in Indian-occupied Kashmir ended with the killing of two militants holed up inside a government building.

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