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World in Focus (April-May 2017)

World in Focus (April-May 2017)NATIONAL

Apr 17: Ehsanullah Ehsan, one of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar top leaders and former Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman, surrendered himself to the security forces.

Apr 17: The KP government signed 11 MoUs for five projects costing up to Rs. 60 billion with Chinese companies for development projects in the province under the CPEC.

Apr 17: In a first high-level visit by officials from the new Trump administration, US National Security Adviser, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster called on PM’s Adviser on Foreign Policy Sartaj Aziz to renew Trump administration’s commitment to work closely with Pakistan and to strengthen mutually-beneficial relations. Gen McMaster also met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Apr 18: Former provincial minister and senior leader of Pakistan Peoples Party Iftikhar Khan Jhagra passed away.

Apr 18: Former first class player and renowned organiser Iqbal Umar passed away. He was 74.

Apr 19: The National Assembly passed The Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill 2017, making the teachings of the Holy Quran compulsory in educational institutions owned and controlled by the federal government.

Apr 19: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated of a 717MW natural gas-fired power plant at Bhikki, near Sheikhupura.

Apr 19: District and Sessions Judge Ms Mahrukh Aziz was appointed the new DG of the Punjab Judicial Academy.

Apr 20: In Panama Case verdict, the Supreme Court ordered Mian Nawaz Sharif — the sitting prime minister — and his children to face further investigation by a specially-constituted six-man JIT.

The verdict was the culmination of months of hearings into Panama Papers case, the scandal that rocked the world in April 2016 with revelations about the murky dealings of some of the world’s most powerful people.

Apr 20: TIME magazine included Riz Ahmed, a British actor and rapper of Pakistani descent, in its list of 100 most influential people in all aspects of culture. Riz has not only made the cut in the Pioneers section, he’s on one of the covers of Time as well.

Apr 21: Former COAS Gen (Retd.) Raheel Sharif went to Riyadh to assume the command of the 41-nation Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT).

Apr 21: Federal Board of Revenue launched a customer relationship management (CRM) system to efficiently respond to complaints from taxpayers and the general public.

Apr 21: Eminent film editor and director Aman Mirza passed away. He was 89.

Apr 22: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) approved the first private equity and venture capital fund worth $100 million under Private Funds Regulations 2015. Ijara Capital Partners Ltd., a private equity firm licensed by the SECP in October 2016, was allowed to undertake private equity and venture capital fund management.

World in Focus (April-May 2017)Apr 22: Momin Saqib, a Pakistani student, who originates from Lahore, made history by becoming the first-ever Pakistani non-European national, in the 144-year-long history of the King’s College to become President of the College’s London Students’ Union for one year.

Momin, a student of BSc Computer Science & Management at the King’s College, will be representing 30,000 students in his role as President of the Union.

Apr 24: The Benazir Income Support Programme’s (BISP) Chairperson Marvi Memon was appointed to the World Bank Group’s Advisory Council on Gender and Development for two years.

Apr 24: The World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) awarded funds to a Pakistani team from The Urban Institute and Information Technology University to investigate the environment that perpetuates the harassment of women on public transit systems in the country.

The team is one of 10 teams from around the world awarded competitive funds totalling $1.14 million for innovations to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

Apr 24: The Asian Development Bank appointed Ms Xiaohong Yang as the first woman country director for Pakistan.

Apr 24: Celebrated writer Marghoob Ali Rahat, popularly known as M.A. Rahat, passed away. He was 76.

Rahat penned down some 1,500 or so suspense, crime stories and novels in different periodicals and magazines.

Apr 24: Raj Kumar, a Hindu youth from Pakistan, was selected for the prestigious Emerging Young Leaders Award given by the US State Department for the positive role played by youngsters in building sustainable peace.

Raj Kumar was among 10 youths from across the world who have been selected for the second edition of the ‘Emerging Young Leaders Award’ given by the State Department.

Apr 26: The chief of the Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA) Dr Ishtiaq A. Malik resigned.

Apr 26: Balochistan Agriculture Minister Sardar Muhammad Aslam Bizenjo inaugurated the Harabav dam in Khuzdar area of Balochistan. The dam has been completed at a cost of Rs150 million in three years.

Apr 26: The Punjab government launched free Internet service, Wi-Fi Hotspot, at over 200 places of five cities; Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Bahawalpur.

Apr 26: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that the government will set up Pakistan Infrastructure Bank with a paid-up capital of $1 billion, which will give financing to private investors for development projects.

Government of Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would have 20% shares each in the bank and the rest would be held by global organisations such as the International Finance Corporation.

Apr 27: Karachi’s Bahria University students’ team ‘Positive Zero’ won the Imagine Cup National Final — a technology competition held by the Microsoft in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and winners can earn up to $100,000 for their project.

Apr 27: A parliamentary panel confirmed the appointment of Justice Sh. Najamul Hassan as the Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court (FSC).

Apr 27: Hamid Mir returned the award given by Bangladeshi premier Hasina Wajid to honour his father Prof. Waris Mir.

Apr 28: JF-17B, a two-seat version of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, was successfully tested by Pakistan Air Force .

Apr 29: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued directives for the removal of Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and a senior information ministry official Rao Tehsin Ali in line with the recommendations of the committee set up to hold an inquiry into the Dawn Leaks.

Apr 29: Federal Areas won Pakistan Cup 2017 National One-day Cricket Championship, defeating Balochistan in final.

World in Focus (April-May 2017)May 01: Riaz Riazuddin was appointed the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Riaz holds the position of interim SBP chief after Ashraf Mehmood Wathra’s term ended.

May 02: The Supreme Court announced a three-judge bench, consisting of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan, to implement its judgement in the Panama Papers case.

May 02: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved drastic changes to a law to clip powers of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to independently determine electricity tariffs.

May 02: Pakistan and Iran agreed to restore hotline contact between the two countries and constitute operational committees at various levels to alleviate reservations.

May 03: Senior Officer of Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Director General Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications (DEMP) Muhammad Saleem assumed additional charge as Principal Information Officer (PIO), Press Information Department.

May 03: The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, was conferred with King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence, Saudi Arabis’s highest military award.

May 03: After the interior ministry turned down the security clearance of directors of Labbaik Pvt Ltd, the PEMRA cancelled the satellite TV licences of Bol News and Bol Entertainment. The Sindh High Court ordered the restoration of the licence the very next day.

May 03: Pakistan International Bulk Terminal (PIBT) – the country’s first coal and cement handling facility – started commercial operations at Port Qasim.

May 04: The KP government relieved provincial finance secretary Ali Reza Bhutta of his responsibilities and replaced him with Shakeel Qadir Khan, the erstwhile home and tribal affairs secretary.

May 04: Pakistan’s National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL) signed a 12-year operations and maintenance agreement with China’s state-owned company SEPCOIII for its 1,230MW Haveli Bahadur Shah Combined-Cycle Power Plant (Jhang).

May 04: The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training launched Curriculum for Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) for out-of-school children.

May 04: Noor-ul-Ain Ejaz and Noor-ul-Huda won the U-15 and U-19 titles, respectively, in the Nazim Peshawar National Junior Girls Squash Championship.

May 05: The Supreme Court formed the much-awaited six-member joint investigation team (JIT), headed by FIA’s Additional Director General Wajid Zia, to probe allegations stemming from the Panama Papers leaks about assets of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children.

Other members of the JIT are: Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, National Accountability Bureau Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed of the Inter Services Intelligence and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence.

May 05: The federal government has appointed Aurangzeb Haque chief secretary of Balochistan. He had replaced Saifullah Chattah who had served the province as chief secretary for three years.

May 06: Ustad Raees Khan, one of the most outstanding players of sitar, passed away. He was 77.

About Ustad Raees Khan

1. Ustad Raees was born in 1939 in Indore, India.
2. He belonged to Mewati Gharana of Indian classical music.
3. The great sitar player Ustad Vilayat Khan was his uncle.
4. He started playing sitar at a very young age. One account suggests his father gifted him a sitar when he was only 3.
5. He was also a vocalist of high merit. He would often sing a composition to illustrate the raga he was playing.

World in Focus (April-May 2017)May 08: Pakistan Stock Exchange achieved another milestone as the benchmark KSE-100 index closed at all-time high of 50,935.91 points with a healthy increase of 1084.78 points.

May 08: Pakistan and Afghanistan started a joint survey of the Killi Luqman and Killi Jahangir villages along their border.

May 10: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved a Constitution amendment bill, which was introduced by Senators Sassui Palijo and Mukhtiar Ahmad Dhamrah, to give the status of national language to Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto and Balochi.

May 10: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) launched its report, the State of Human Rights in 2016.

May 10: Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) announced the final result of competitive examination CSS 2016.

May 10: Turkey and Pakistan signed an MoU for the sale of four Turkish-made corvette warships and 52 Pakistan-made training planes for Ankara’s armed forces.

May 10: Eminent journalist and writer Anwar Mooraj passed away. He was 86.

May 11: A third Chinese-built maritime patrol ship PMSS Dasht — named after the Balochistan river — arrived at the Karachi Shipyard.

May 12: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly amended the West Pakistan Vaccination Ordinance, 1958, a decades-old law to make vaccination against all preventable diseases compulsory and establish a mechanism to persuade parents for the immunisation of their children.

May 12: The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a member of the World Bank Group, announced to provide $66 million and mobilise further $172m to build the largest wind farm in Sindh.

May 13: Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, 29, a junior doctor of Pakistani origin, won the UK’s leading culinary competition, Master-Chef 2017.

May 13: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued a banking licence to the Bank of China. The bank will initially bring $50 million to fulfil the minimum capital requirements of the SBP.

About the Bank of China

1. The bank is a subsidiary of China Central Huijin, investment arm of the Chinese government.
2. The bank also operates beyond the Chinese mainland, with footprints in as many as 50 countries.
3. Nineteen of those countries are located across the Chinese One-Belt, One-Road initiative.
4. At the end of 2015, the bank had a total of 11,633 institutions, including 644 in overseas markets.
5. It is the fourth and fifth largest global bank in terms of tier-1 capital and total assets, respectively.
6. It is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
7. It is the second Chinese bank to enter Pakistan.

May 14: Pakistan clinched a nail-biting victory in the third and final Test against the West Indies, recording their first-ever victory in a test series in the Caribbean.

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Roston Chase.

MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Yasir Shah.

INTERNATIONAL

Apr 16: The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the referendum on introducing presidential system in Turkey by securing 51.3 percent of the vote against 48.7 percent for ‘No’.

New Constitution
The draft of the new constitution has the following salient features:
1. Next presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on 3 November 2019;
2. It provides for a five-year tenure and maximum of two terms for the President;
3. The president will have powers to directly appoint top public officials, including ministers; President will also be able to assign one or several vice-presidents;
4. The job of prime minister would be scrapped; President will have power to intervene in the judiciary; and
5. The president will have power to decide whether or not to impose a state of emergency.

Apr 16: China and Nepal began their first-ever joint military exercises, a 10-day drill dubbed “Sagarmatha Friendship 2017” in Kathmandu.

Apr 16: Canada beat the US to win their maiden World Series Sevens title.

Apr 17: Australia has abolished the 457 Visa Programme used by thousands of temporary foreign workers.

Apr 17: Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails launched a hunger strike following a call from leader and prominent prisoner Marwan Barghouti.

Apr 18: British Prime Minister Theresa May called for an early election on June 8, saying she needed to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with the European Union by bolstering support for her Brexit plan.

Apr 19: India’s Supreme Court ordered the revival of criminal conspiracy charges in the destruction of the Babri Masjid against senior BJP leaders, L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.

Apr 19: West Indies batsman Chris Gayle became the first player to reach 10,000 runs in Twenty20 cricket.

Apr 19: The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) will feature video gaming as a full sport at the 2022 Asian Games.

About Asian Games

Asian Games, also known as Asiad, is a pan-continental multi-sport event, which is considered the second-biggest sporting competition in the world after the Olympics in terms of the number of athletes involved. The Asian Games are held every four years. The first Asian Games were held in 1951 in New Delhi, India. The last Asian Games were held in Incheon, South Korea in 2014. The next edition is slated to be held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia in 2018.

Apr 21: Cuba and Morocco signed an agreement to re-establish diplomatic ties after a time period of 37 years.

Background

Morocco severed its ties with Cuba in 1980 after Fidel Castro officially recognised Western Sahara as the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Morocco claims the territory as its own. The Cuba-Morocco relationship suffered several strains since 1960s due to Cuba’s decision to side with Algeria during the Morocco-Algerian military conflict of 1963 known as the “Sand War.” In 1970s, Cuba again decided to side with Algeria in its support for the independence of the Western Sahara from Morocco.

World in Focus (April-May 2017)April 23: A freight train connecting Russia with Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, reached the inland city, bringing Russian goods to the former revolutionary heartland of the Communist Party of China.

Apr 23: China successfully docked its first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 with the Tiangong-2 space lab, hailed as a major step towards China’s ambition of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022.

Apr 23: Saudi Arabia named Prince Khaled bin Salman, an air force pilot son of King Salman, as ambassador to the United States. He has replaced Prince Khaled bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Apr 24: India’s military expenditure grew around 8.5 per cent in 2016, making it the world’s fifth largest spender at $55.9 billion, figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Apr 24: Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson set a new space record by marking 534 days in orbit, and counting. He beat Nasa’s previous record-holder Jeff Williams, but remains still far short of the world title, which belongs to Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka with his 879 days.

Apr 24: The Afghan defence minister and his army chief resigned, days after what is believed to be one of the deadliest-ever Taliban attacks on a military base.

Apr 24: The 101-year-old Man Kaur, dubbed the ‘Miracle from Chandigarh’, won 100 metres sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland.

Apr 25: Israel appointed Hana Khatib, an attorney from the northern town of Tamra, as its first woman judge in its sharia court system. She is the first woman not only for sharia courts but for all the religious courts in Israel. No women serve as judges in the Jewish or Druze courts.

Apr 25: Scientists in the United States developed a fluid-filled womb-like bag known as an extra-uterine support device that could transform care for extremely premature babies, significantly improving chances of survival.

Apr 26: The 6th Moscow Conference on International Security was held in the Russian capital.

Apr 26: Reporters Without Borders issued its latest annual World Press Freedom Index which says that press freedom has never been as threatened as it is now, in the “new post-truth era of fake news” after the election of US President Donald Trump.

Apr 26: China launched its first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A ship.

Apr 26: The BJP-led government of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) scrapped more than a dozen public holidays, including those for Eid Milad-un-Nabi and Jumatul Wida.

Apr 26: The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) board voted to pass a new financial model that will reverse a 2014 decision that put India, England and Australia — the Big Three — in control of the game’s finances and administration.

Apr 26: Authorities in Indian-Occupied Kashmir ordered internet service providers to block popular social media services including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp after an upsurge in violence in the region.

Apr 27: Acclaimed Indian actor and an MP from Punjab, Vinod Khanna, died aged 70.

Apr 29: North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile, defying pressure from the US and its main ally, China. However, according to the US and South Korean officials, the test failed.

Apr 29: The one-day Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) leaders meeting was held in Manila, the Philippines.

Apr 29: European Union leaders unanimously adopted their Brexit strategy at a special summit in Brussels, Belgium.

Apr 30: Germany’s Laura Siegemund was the shock winner of the Porsche Grand Prix after her three-set win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the final.

Apr 30: The Dubai government announced the launch of “Dubai Font”, the first typeface developed by Microsoft for a city. It will be available in 23 languages.

May 02: Sodimedjo, a.k.a. Mbah Ghoto (grandpa Ghoto), the Indonesian man who claimed to be 146 years old — the longest living human ever — died.

May 03: Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas met the US President Donald Trump. The meeting was aimed at relaunching talks that have failed repeatedly to resolve the decades-old conflict.

May 04: A landmark Australian law on restrictive tobacco packaging was upheld at the World Trade Organisation after a five-year legal battle.

May 05: India successfully launched a new communications satellite for South Asia. The satellite, funded entirely by India, is aimed at helping regional countries boost their telecommunication and broadcasting services.

Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan will benefit from this satellite. But Pakistan has opted out from the initiative.

May 05: The first large made-in-China passenger plane, a narrow-body C919 jet — white with green and blue stripes — took off on its maiden test flight, marking a key milestone on the country’s ambitious journey to compete with the world’s leading aircraft makers.

May 05: Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa received the Order of Jose Marti, the highest distinction awarded by Cuba to distinguished foreigners.

May 06: Hamas elected its former chief in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, as overall head of the Palestinian group, succeeding Khaled Meshaal.

May 06: Justice Leila Seth, the first woman judge of the Delhi High Court, passed away. She was 86.

May 07: Boko Haram militants released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 whom they kidnapped from the town of Chibok 3 years ago, in exchange for prisoners.

May 07: Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron defeated the far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a pivotal presidential election in France.

May 08: India was unanimously elected the president of the UN-Habitat, an organ of the United Nations to promote sustainable human settlements across the globe.

About UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat, also known as United Nations Human Settlements Program is a UN agency responsible for sustainable urban development and human settlements. It was established in 1978 and has its headquarters in the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya. It is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is also a member of UNDP. UN-Habitat works in more than 70 countries in five continents focusing on seven areas: Urban Legislation, Land and Governance; Urban Planning and Design; Urban Economy; Urban Basic Services; Housing and Slum Upgrading; Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation; Urban Research and Capacity Development.

May 08: Amid uncertainties over future of the US participation in the Paris Agreement, climate negotiators from across the globe, initiated talks in Bonn, Germany to develop necessary guidelines needed to fully implement the global deal through their agreed post­2020 actions.

May 09: The Trump administration announced to provide heavier weapons to Syria’s Kurds as they and their allies move closer to an attack on the key IS stronghold of Raqqa.

May 09: Left-leaning former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-In won South Korea’s presidential election by a landslide.

About the New President

Moon Jae-in Moon was the son of refugees who fled North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. In 1975, Moon was jailed for staging anti-government protests. Later, he became a human rights lawyer and defended the rights of poor laborers and student activists. In 1972, Moon became a part of a pro-democracy movement to topple the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee. Park Chung-hee ruled South Korea for 18 years. He was the father of recently ousted President Park Geun-hye.

May 09: China tested a new type of guided missile in the Bohai Sea near the Korean peninsula.

May 10: India’s Jhulan Goswami set a new record for most wickets taken in Women’s One-day International cricket. She took her 181st wicket in India’s win against South Africa.

May 11: Vassilios Skouris of Greece, a former president of the European Court of Justice, was elected head of FIFA’s ethics committee.

World in Focus (April-May 2017)May 12: The WHO appointed Amitabh Bachchan as its Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is one of the common causes of liver damage but other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol, certain medicine, food contaminants, bad lifestyle and autoimmune diseases may also result in chronic hepatitis. Of the five hepatitis viruses, namely, types A, B, C, D and E, types B and C are the deadliest. These two types are mostly responsible for liver damage. Hepatitis viruses B, C and D spread by contact with contaminated blood or body fluids. Hepatitis A and E spread through unsafe food and drink. Symptoms of Hepatitis include yellowing of the skin and eyes, abdominal pain and swelling, yellow urine, pale or dark stools, chronic fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite. Hepatitis B vaccinations are administered at 0, 1, 2, and 6 months to children to protect them against the disease as well as to prevent its mother-to-child transmission.

May 12: Chelsea were crowned champions for the sixth time in their history as they won the Premier League with two games to spare.

May 13: Rugby World Cup hosts Japan wrapped up their 10th straight Asian title.

May 14: The two-day International Belt and Road forum kicked off in China. The forum was attended by 29 heads of state and government, besides delegates from around 130 countries.

May 14: North Korea fired a ballistic missile that flew more than 700 kilometres before landing in the Sea of Japan, in an apparent bid to test the South’s new liberal president and the US which have both signalled an interest in negotiations to ease months of tensions.

May 14: Emmanuel Macron took power as president of France, vowing to restore the country’s status in Europe and the world and heal divisions in society — a nod to the bitter campaign the pro-EU centrist fought to defeat a far-right leader.

May 15: President Emmanuel Macron of France appointed Edouard Philippe the new prime minister of the country.

May 15: Rebel authorities in Yemen’s capital sounded the alarm over a spreading cholera outbreak that has killed dozens in the war-torn country, calling for urgent international assistance.

May 15: Kara McCullough, an African-American chemist from the US capital, won the Miss USA title.

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