World in Focus (Oct-Nov 2013)

World in Focus Oct-Nov 2013

News From National & International Press

National

Oct 18: A little known shadowy group, Ansarul Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for suicide attack in which KP Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur was killed.

Oct 18: Malala Yousafzai met Queen Elizabeth II and gave the queen a copy of her book ‘I am Malala’.

Oct 19: Malala Yousufzai and her two friends, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan’ who were also injured along with her in a Taliban attack’ were the guests of honour at the launch of the Global Citizenship Commission, a body of leaders representing politics, religious institutions, law and philanthropy.

Oct 19: Malala was awarded an honorary master’s degree by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Carnegie Award for Wellbeing for her work in promoting education and women’s rights.

Oct 20: The government promulgated ‘Pakistan Protection Ordinance’ that provides for 10-year imprisonment as the minimum punishment for terrorists. Under the Ordinance, special police stations and federal courts would be established.

Oct 20: The new law secretary, Barrister Zafarullah, took over the charge of his office.

Oct 21: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad administered the oath to Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani as a minister to the Sindh cabinet.

Oct 21: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and top US officials led by Senator John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice agreed on a counter-terrorism strategy ahead of the summit with President Obama.

Oct 21: Amnesty International said new evidence indicates that the US has carried out unlawful killings in Pakistan through drone attacks, some of which could even amount to war crimes.

Oct 22: Aisha Gazdar’s short documentary on so-called honour killings ‘The Honour Deception’ won the best documentary Jury Award at the second Delhi Shorts International Film Festival.

Oct 22: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $430 million loan to expand and strengthen Pakistan’s social safety net programme. The $578m, 5-year project includes a contribution of more than $148m from the government.

Oct 22: Election commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan was given another year in extension.

Oct 23: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged US President Barack Obama to end drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Oct 24: Pakistan and Russia pledged to make joint efforts in controlling trafficking and production of drugs and narcotics, particularly in Asia. The two sides agreed to enhance their cooperation when director of the Federal Drugs Control Service of the Russian Federation, Viktor P. Ivanov, called on President Mamnoon Hussain.

Oct 24: The Supreme Court rejected Shahrukh Jatoi’s request to declare the anti-terrorism court’s decision to sentence him to death in the Shahzeb Khan murder case null and void.

Oct 25: The Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said that the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), signed in the dictatorial regime, was not in favour of Pakistan and the government should revisit it for greater interest of the country.

Pakistan is currently water-stressed and it is feared that in 10 to 15 years it will become a water-starved country, if it fails to develop water reservoirs on time.

Oct 26: Iran executed 16 ‘rebels’ in reprisal after gunmen killed 14 guards near the border with Pakistan.

Oct 26: The ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2013’ published by the World Economic Forum placed Pakistan 135th out of 136 countries while Yemen was placed at the 136th position.

Oct 28: Ms Sumaira Malik, a PML-N lawmaker who headed the Ministry of Women Development and Youth Affairs in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, was de-seated by the Supreme Court for possessing fake degree.

Oct 28: Engineer Amir Muqam was appointed adviser to prime minister with the status of a federal minister.

Oct 29: Pakistan and India agreed to suspend hostilities along the ‘Working Boundary’ which recently witnessed worst skirmishes since a ceasefire agreement reached nearly a decade ago.

Oct 29:
Cracker blasts rocked Karachi and several other cities of Sindh. According to Sindh police, at least 17 explosions were reported.

Oct 29: Commissioner Peshawar, who had suffered 100 per cent burn injuries when fire broke out at an apartment in F-10, died.

Oct 29: Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Tariq Bajwa appointed member Inland Revenue Service (IRS) Shahid Hussain Asad as spokesman for the FBR.

Oct 30: The Ministry of Defence claimed that US drone attacks over the past five years had resulted in 67 non-combatant deaths, while 2,160 terrorists were killed by the much-criticised America’s weapon of choice against terrorism.

Importantly, the defence ministry said in a written statement in Senate that the collateral damage caused by the drone strikes had reduced to nil since 2012.

Oct 30: The Indus Hospital Karachi opened the ‘Indus Hospital Blood Center (IHBC)’, Pakistan’s first centralised blood centre.

Oct 31: Kamran Murtaza of the Asma Jahangir-led Independent Group was elected president of the Supreme Court Bar Association for 2013-14.

Oct 31: The Punjab government reconstituted the Blood Transfusion Authority (BTA) and appointed Tahir Khalil Sindhu its chairman.

Nov 01: The Foreign Office denounced the latest US drone attack that killed TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, and said that such strikes severely affected efforts for peace and stability in the region.

Nov 01: A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Pakistan Broadcasting Association elected the following office-bearers for the year 2013-2014.

Shakeel Masud (Dawn News) Chairman; Salman Iqbal (ARY) Senior Vice-Chairman, Sultana Siddiqi (HUM) Vice Chairperson, Muhammad Aslam Kazi (KTN) Secretary General, Mir Ibrahim Rahman (GEO) Joint Secretary, and Sultan Ali Lakhani (Express News) Finance Secretary.

Nov 01: Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mahmood ordered to pay seven percent cost of living allowance to the retired employees of former district councils of Punjab province.

Nov 03: Pakistan was selected for the award for launching the ‘8300 SMS Service’ before the May general elections. Called the ‘Accessibility Award’, the prize has been introduced by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS).

Nov 04: Military field exercises codenamed Azm-i-Nau-4 (New Resolve-IV) ended with a display of conventional firepower near Khairpur Tameywali, Bahawalpur.

Nov 04: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan gave assent to the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill-2013 passed by the Sindh Assembly on October 31 and seven other bills.

Nov 04: The first concrete gravity dam in Sindh was completed at Nai Baran near Jhangri village in Jamshoro district by a Chinese company and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda).

Nov 04: Sindh local bodies minister Syed Owais Muzaffar resigned from his office.

Nov 04: A court granted bail to former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in the murder case of Lal Masjid cleric Abdul Rasheed Ghazi.

Nov 05: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman remarked that ‘even a dog killed by America is a martyr’. He was asked if Hakeemullah Mehsud, chief of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan killed in a US drone attack was a ‘martyr’.

Nov 05: The Sindh government notified Karachi’s new administrative boundaries when it created a sixth district as part of its plans to make the sprawling city manageable.

Nov 05: Pakistan conducted a successful test-fire of Short Range Surface-to-Surface Missile Hatf-IX (Nasr). The test-fire was conducted with successive launches of 4x missiles (Salvo) from a state of the art multi-tube launcher.

Nov 05: The European Union (EU) granted duty free market access to Pakistani made-ups under Generalised System of Preference (GSP) Plus status with effect from January 1, 2014.

Nov 05: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) declared human cloning and sex change un-Islamic while conditionally approved test tube babies.

Nov 06: After remaining in detention for more than six months in his sprawling farmhouse which had been turned into a sub-jail, former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf became a free man.

Nov 06: Political rivals made parliamentary history by holding parallel sessions of the Senate.

Nov 06: Malik Ibrar Ahmad and Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk were unanimously elected chairmen of Standing Committees on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and Law, Justice and Human Rights, respectively.

Nov 07: The ruling and opposition parties in the National Assembly joined forces to reject controversial schedules given by the Election Commission, on Supreme Court orders, for local government (LG) elections in three provinces.

Nov 07: The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan chose Mullah Fazlullah, a fugitive militant ensconced in Afghanistan, as its new leader.

Nov 07: The Lahore High Court declared that holding local government elections in Punjab on non-party basis will be a violation of the constitution and set aside Section 18 of the Punjab Local Government Act 2013.

Nov 07: PPP leader Raza Rabani presented an 11-point plan to the PML-N government for steering the nation out of the current complicated situation relating to talks with the Taliban.

Nov 07: On the advice of the prime minister, President Mamnoon Hussain appointed former senator Enver Baig as the chairman of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Nov 07: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government launched its multi-billion rupees poverty reduction and employment generation ‘Khud Kafalat Scheme’ to overcome rising unemployment in the province.

Nov 07: A British Pakistani, Muhammad Ashraf, became the oldest and the only Pakistani residing in the UK to have pursued and successfully completed a degree in law at the age of 62.

Nov 08: The International Monetary Fund expressed satisfaction over Pakistan’s economic progress and said that budget deficit is broadly satisfactory and the government borrowing has been within the target.

Nov 08: Federal Secretary Industries and Production Shafqat Husain Naghmi revealed that Pakistan is the 6th largest country with over 60 per cent of its population below the age of 30.

Nov 08: The Punjab government posted Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Zahid Pervaiz as Director General Health.

Nov 08: Education Minister Engr. Baleegh-ur-Rehman was given the additional charge of the Minister of State for Interior.

Nov 08: Pakistan finally announced the official appointment of Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani as ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America.

Nov 10: JI chief Munawar Hassan’s controversial statements giving the certificate of martyrdom to Hakeemullah Mehsud and deriding military personnel, who have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorists, drew strong ire of the army which asked him to tender an unconditional apology.

Nov 10: Investigative journalist Umar Cheema was honoured with the 2013 Knight International Journalism Award by ICFJ.

Nov 11: Nasiruddin Haqqani, elder son of Jalaluddin Haqqani the founder of Haqqani network, was killed in Bharakau, in the suburbs of Islamabad.

Nov 11: On a deadline set by the Supreme Court, the long headless Higher Education Commission (HEC) got Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani as its new ‘chairperson’ but only on a temporary assignment.

Nov 11: In the first cabinet reshuffle, Shahbaz Sharif withdrew portfolios from Khalil Tahir Sindhu and Chaudhry Sher Ali.

Nov 12: Pakistan and Great Britain agreed to enhance cooperation on counter-terrorism strategies. The agreement reached during a meeting of visiting British delegation, led by Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammonds, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Nov 12: Malala Yousafzai was awarded Glamour Women of the Year Award for her persuasion in Pakistan for education of girls. Glamour magazine usually waits until December to announce their 12 women of the year.

Nov 12: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz met Indian External Affairs Minister in New Delhi and discussed the situation arising out of recent tension at the Line of Control (LoC).

Nov 13: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan ended his party’s alliance with the Qaumi Watan Party after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak ‘dismissed’ two QWP ministers on corruption charges.

Nov 13: The Supreme Court acknowledged that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the provincial governments had demonstrated their commitment to the constitution with regard to local bodies’ elections.

Nov 13: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reshuffled his cabinet, choosing to himself hold the portfolio of energy. Social Welfare and Baitul Maal Minister Mian Atta Muhammad Maneka was made the Auqaf minister. Auqaf Minister Syed Haroon Sultan Bulchari was made the minister for social welfare and Baitul Maal. Salman Rafiq was made chief minister’s adviser on health.

Nov 13: The victims of workplace harassment can now electronically lodge complaints at the Federal Ombudsperson Secretariat’s website.

The Federal Ombudsperson Secretariat (FOS) for Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched a Grievance Redressal System, which is a webpage where complaints can be filed in English or Urdu and is backed by an SMS tracking system.

International

Oct 18: President Barack Obama named former Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson to run the Department of Homeland Security. He has served as general counsel at the Pentagon during Obama’s first term.

Oct 18: An estimated 30 million people worldwide are living in modern-day slavery, according to the inaugural Global Slavery Index that was compiled by the Walk Free Foundation.

Oct 19: The United States entered into an agreement with Romania for an airbase on the Black Sea as a transit point for its troops leaving Afghanistan.

Oct 21: French energy giant EDF clinched a deal worth 16 billion to build Britain’s first new nuclear plant for a generation, with Chinese backing.

EDF agreed to construct two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C, in south-western England, alongside French nuclear group Areva and Chinese nuclear firms CGNPC and CNNC.

Oct 22: Western and Arab powers built a consensus with Syrian opposition leaders at no role of President Bashar al-Assad in future.

Oct 22: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi finally received the EU’s Sakharov rights prize she won in 1990.

Oct 22: The Sultan of Brunei introduced tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, making his oil-rich realm the first East Asian country to do so at the national level.

Oct 23: The Vatican suspended indefinitely a German Catholic cleric, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who is dubbed as the ‘bling bishop’ for his luxury lifestyle.

Oct 23: China and India signed a deal aimed at soothing tension on their contested border, as the two nuclear-armed giants try to break a decades-old stalemate on overlapping claims to long remote stretches of the Himalayas. The agreement was signed in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People following a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Oct 27: Georgy Margvelashvili, an ally of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, won a landslide victory in a presidential election in Georgia.

Oct 27: The Gulf Emirate of Dubai opened passenger operations at its second airport, Al-Maktoum International, said to be the world’s largest once it is completed.

A Wizz Air plane from Budapest was the first passenger aircraft to land at the sprawling new facility.

Oct 28: Acclaimed Chinese pianist Lang Lang was named a UN messenger of peace.

Oct 29: Turkey opened the world’s first underwater rail link between two continents. The engineering feat spans 13 km (8 miles) to link Europe with Asia some 60 metres below the Bosphorus Strait. Called the Marmaray, it will carry subway commuters in Europe’s biggest city and eventually serve high-speed and freight trains.

Oct 29: Calling drone strikes ‘miniature acts of war’ US lawmakers called the Obama administration to reconsider the policy which had earned America new enemies in many nations at the first-ever appearance of the weapon’s victims on Capitol Hill.

Oct 30: Having outfoxed him on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pipped Barack Obama to the title of the world’s most powerful leader as ranked by Forbes.

Oct 31: Kenya’s presidency launched a website allowing users to report corruption directly to the head of state in a bid to tackle rampant graft and improve the country’s reputation.

Nov 01: Mexican and US authorities unearthed a sophisticated ‘supertunnel’ beneath the border between San Diego, USA and Mexico’s Tijuana state. It was used to smuggle drugs beneath their common border.

Nov 01: Thailand’s House of Representatives, in a majority vote, approved an amnesty bill that could allow former premier Thaksin Shinawatra to return home.

Nov 01: Germany became the first European country to allow babies born with characteristics of both sexes to be registered as neither male nor female. Under the new legislation, the field for gender can be left blank on birth certificates, effectively creating a category for indeterminate sex in the public register.

Nov 01: Four female lawmakers from Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) wore Islamic head scarves in parliament in a challenge to the country’s secular tradition.

Nov 04: Bangladesh has overtaken India on the prosperity index for the first time this year on the back of its successful development policies.

Nov 04: A court impounded a luxury villa and other properties belonging to Inaki Urdangarin, the son-in-law of Spanish King Juan Carlos in a corruption case.

Nov 04: Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi appeared in court on the first day of his trial, rejecting its legitimacy and demanding ‘coup’ leaders be prosecuted.

Nov 04: The Islamic Republic of Iran was elected as the new head of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). Mohammad Hossein Adeli, the former governor of Iran’s central bank and ambassador to London, was chosen as the 13-nation group’s secretary general for a two-year term.

Nov 05: China and India began a joint anti-terrorism drill, the first such exercise by the two countries for five years.

Nov 05: A Bangladeshi court sentenced more than 150 soldiers to death and jailed hundreds more, after a mass trial over a 2009 mutiny in which scores of top officers were massacred.

Nov 05: A street was named after AR Rahman in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Nov 06: Cameroonian author Leonora Miano scooped France’s Femina literary prize and used her acceptance speech to denounce racist insults directed at the country’s justice minister, who is a black.

Nov 06: Swiss scientists found evidence suggesting that Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned, adding fuel to longstanding allegations about the Palestinian leader’s death in 2004.

Nov 06: World carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere are accelerating and reached a record high in 2012, the UN weather agency said.

The heat-trapping gas, pumped into the air by cars and smokestacks, was measured at 393.1 parts per million last year, up 2.2 ppm from the previous year.

Nov 07: Twitter debuted on Wall Street as shares in the fast-growing social network soared amid investor frenzy over the most anticipated listing since Facebook.

Nov 07: The world’s most powerful typhoon of the year gained strength as it swirled towards the Philippines, forcing mass evacuations, flight cancellations and school suspensions across the disaster-weary nation.

Nov 08: American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow when the US automatically lost voting rights at the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) by missing a deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.

Nov 08: An insurance company would pay $1.2 million to a charity co-founded by ‘Three Cups of Tea’ author Greg Mortenson in a settlement over the legal costs of a lawsuit and an investigation into Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute.

Nov 08: The 50-member panel for rewriting Egypt’s constitution recommended abolishing the upper house of country’s parliament. The council took on a lawmaking role during the tenure of President Morsi.

Nov 08: India successfully test-fired an indigenously-developed nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni-I missile having a range of 700 kilometres.

Nov 10: The death toll from one of the most powerful typhoons in history, Haiyan, which decimated, with maximum sustained winds of around 315 kilometres an hour, entire towns in the Philippines reached well over 10,000, making it the country’s worst natural disaster.

Nov 10: A 25-year-old Venezuelan, Gabriela Isler, who appears on TV in her country and is an accomplished flamenco dancer, is the new Miss Universe. She was crowned in the pageant at a sprawling exhibition hall on Moscow’s outskirts.

Nov 11: The International Court of Justice, the UN’s top court, ruled that most of the area around a flashpoint ancient temple on the Thai border belongs to Cambodia and that any Thai security forces there should leave.

Nov 11: Bangladesh cabinet ministers submitted their resignations to allow Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to form an all-party government to prepare for polls.

Nov 12: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba won seats on the UN Human Rights Council, despite fierce criticism of their records from rights campaigners. The UN General Assembly elected 14 seats on the 47-member council.

Nov 13: Despite pleas from UN member states, Saudi Arabia formally turned down its seat at the UN Security Council.
Jordan, which in a deal swapped seat on the UN Human Rights Council with Saudi Arabia, will now seek election to the Council seat.

Sports

Oct 18: Stunning centuries by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli helped India produce the second-highest One-day International run chase of all time achieving the target of a mammoth 360 runs at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Oct 20: Pakistan’s Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Dutch tennis player Julien Rojer captured their second title of the season with a win in the men’s doubles title match of the ATP Stockholm Open.

Oct 20: Top-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet battled back from a set down to win his third title of the year, beating Kazakhstan qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin in the Kremlin Cup final.

Oct 23: Australian great Don Bradman was named captain of an all-time Test World XI to mark the 150th anniversary of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac.
Although Bradman played his last Test in 1948, no batsman before or since has come anywhere near his staggering Test batting average of 99.94.

Oct 23: David Warner smashed 197, the highest individual score by an Australian in a limited-over match.

Oct 25: South Africa were docked five penalty runs after Faf du Plessis was caught by camera while ball-tampering on the third day of the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

Oct 26: South Africa kept their seven-year unbeaten away record intact with an innings and 92-run win over Pakistan in the second and final Test.

Oct 28: Ch. Shujaat Hussain was unanimously elected president Pakistan Kabaddi Federation.

Oct 28: Top seed Juan Martin del Potro successfully defended his ATP Swiss Indoors title with a victory against home favourite Roger Federer.

Oct 28: Serena Williams successfully defended her WTA Championships title with a three set victory over Li Na in Istanbul.

Oct 30: Canada’s Dale McMann and Malaysia’s Dato Low Beng Choo were elected as the new president and secretary general respectively of the International Softball Federation.

Both the officials were elected for a four-year term in the ISF polls in which as many as 61 countries participated.

Oct 31: Tamim Iqbal became Bangladesh’s top run-scorer in one-day cricket as his team beat New Zealand by 40 runs in the second ODI and won the series.

Nov 01: Pakistan’s number one golfer Shabbir Iqbal won the Prime Minister Golf Open after a close contest with Pakistan number two Matloob Ahmed.

Nov 01: Misbah-ul-Haq became the 13th Pakistani and 87th batsman overall to score 4000 runs in one day internationals.

Nov 02: Opener Rohit Sharma blasted his way into the record books with a breathtaking 209 against Australia.

Nov 03: Novak Djokovic beat defending champion David Ferrer to win the Paris Masters.

Nov 07: Northern Ireland’s Tony McCoy became the first jump jockey to ride 4,000 winners when he rode Mountain Tunes to victory at Towcester, central England.

McCoy has been champion jockey of the United Kingdom for 18 times.

Nov 10: Spaniard Marc Marquez became the youngest Moto GP world champion at the age of 20 and its first rookie to win the title in 35 years as he finished third at the Valencia Grand Prix.

Nov 10: Defending champions Pakistan retained their Asian Champions Trophy title after defeating hosts Japan in the final.

Nov 12: Pakistan went down in the fifth and final ODI against South Africa, losing the series 4-1.

Nov 12: Novak Djokovic crushed world number one Rafael Nadal in the final for ATP World Tour Finals.

Economy

Oct 18: The European Union and Canada signed a free trade accord, a huge deal that both said will boost growth.

‘We have taken a crucial step forward in strengthening relations between the European Union and Canada, the European Commission said while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper hailed ‘the biggest (trade) deal our country has ever made’.

Oct 19: Shares of Internet search and advertising titan Google soared more than 13 per cent to pass the $1,000 mark for the first time after a strong earnings report.

Oct 19: The US has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan that was suspended when relations between the two countries disintegrated over the covert raid that killed Osama bin Laden and deadly US airstrikes against Pakistani soldiers.

Oct 22: Nokia, whose handset division is to be acquired by Microsoft, launched its first-ever tablet computer in Abu Dhabi. The Windows 10-inch screen tablet, Lumia 2520, was one of six new devices unveiled, including two so-called ‘phablets’ (large screen smartphones).

Oct 22: A joint commission has been formed to increase trade between France and Pakistan.
Under the commission, both the countries would improve investment links to strengthen economic relations.

Oct 22: Jakarta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) President Eddy Kuntadi and the president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Abdullah Zaki, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between both the chambers at the Mercantile Executive Club, World Trade Centre, Jakarta.

Oct 29: Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) launched €10 million multi-technology renewable energy projects, focusing on deprived and marginalisd communities in 10 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The 10 selected districts included Chitral, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Swat, Buner, Swabi, Karak, Bannu, Hangu and Lakki Marwat.

Nov 07: A joint trade council was established to promote trade and business between Pakistan and the UAE. The two countries have also resolved to enhance economic cooperation.

Nov 12: Russian firms Rosneft and Gazprom signed a raft of deals with Vietnam’s state energy firm Petrovietnam covering fuel supplies, joint exploration and shared investments in $3 billion Dung Quat refinery.

Everyday Science

Oct 20: Scientists developed the world’s first robot human, made entirely of prosthetic parts and he can walk, talk and even has a beating heart. Roboticists Rich Walker and Matthew Godden of Shadow Robot Co. in England put together the bionic man which cost almost USD 1 million to build.

Oct 24: Astronomers found the most distant galaxy yet, a discovery that pushes back scientists’ view of the universe to about 700 million years after it is thought to have come into existence.

Light from the galaxy, designated by scientists as z8_GND_5296, took about 13.1 billion years to reach the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Oct 30: A ghostly nebula shining about 5,000 light years from Earth is also the coldest known object in the universe. The dead star creating the Boomerang Nebula is sloughing off gas from its shell, which is producing the strangely shaped cosmic object, astronomers have discovered. The gas is cooling as it flows away from the white dwarf star in a process similar to how refrigerators stay cold by using expanding gas.

Nov 04: A rare solar eclipse allowing a view of the Sun that is totally or partially blocked by the Moon has taken place. It was first visible in the southern United States, before sweeping east across the Atlantic Ocean and the African continent.

Nov 05: Glaciers in Pakistan are continuously melting because of rising temperature, and by the year 2035, the country will no longer have water reserves in the shape of glaciers.

Nov 05: A study found that the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zon’ not too hot and not too cold for life.

Nov 06: The asteroid that smashed into the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk initially measured 19 metres (61 feet) across, packing the energy of dozens of Hiroshima bombs.

Nov 07: Palaeontologists unveiled a new dinosaur discovered in the US that proves giant tyrant dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex were around 10 million years earlier than previously believed.

Nov 10: A slowdown in global warming that climate sceptics cite in favour of their cause was partly induced by one of the world’s most successful environment treaties. It was revealed that the UN’s Montreal Protocol, designed to phase out industrial gases that destroy Earth’s protective ozone layer, coincidentally applied a small brake to the planet’s warming.

Nov 13: A clam named ‘Ming’ has been confirmed as the world’s oldest animal at 507 years old. Ming saw off Queen Elizabeth-I, the English Civil War, the entire Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and two World Wars.

Nov 13: Sea levels this year posted a record high, making low-lying coastal regions ever more vulnerable to extreme weather like super-storm Haiyan, the UN said.

In an interim report on the planet’s climate, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also estimated that 2013 was on course to be one of the hottest since records began.

Obituaries

Oct 19: Prolific singer and actress Zubaida Khanum passed away in Lahore. She was 78.

Oct 20: Jovanka Broz, former First Lady of Yugoslavia and wife of a great statesman ‘Tito’, died. She was 88.

Oct 21: Former Australia women’s player Marie McDonough died aged 95. McDonough was the second woman from Western Australia to represent Australia in Tests.

Oct 21: Jamalul Kiram III, a descendant of the sultan of Sulu who led a quixotic military effort to regain part of the island of Borneo for his family, died. He was 75.

Oct 22: British actor and singer Noel Harrison, who recorded the Oscar-winning song ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’, died at the age of 79.

Oct 22: Former Azad Kashmir IG Javed Noor passed away.

Oct 23: Singer Manna Dey, whose versatile voice charmed fans of Bollywood cinema for more than 60 years, died at the age of 94.

Oct 24: Lawrence R. Klein, who predicted the United States, economic boom after World War II and who was awarded the 1980 Nobel in economic science for developing statistical models that are used to analyze and predict global economic trends, died. He was 93.

Oct 28: Brig. Gen. Robinson Risner, one of the United States’ most decorated pilots in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, who spent seven and a half years in the infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison, died. He was 88.

Oct 30: Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who went from editing small Roman Catholic intellectual publications to becoming prime minister of Poland’ and the first non-Communist to head an Eastern bloc nation since the late 1940s’ died. He was 86.

Nov 01: Prolific spy novelist Gerard De Villiers, the creator of the top-selling SAS series died aged 83.

Nov 03: Reshman, one of the most popular folk singers of the country, died. She was 66.

Nov 6: Dan Lurie, whose chiselled physique and feats of strength earned him the title of America’s most muscular man and made him a cover model for fitness magazines and walking promoter for both the sport and the business of body building, died. He was 90.

Places in News

London
On Oct 29, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron held a trilateral meeting in London to discuss economic cooperation and the Afghan-led peace process.

Khairpur Tameywali, Bahawalpur
Military field exercises codenamed Azm-i-Nau-4 (New Resolve-IV) ended with a display of conventional firepower near Khairpur Tameywali.

Rjukan, Norway
On Oct 30, residents of the small Norwegian town of Rjukan finally saw the light. Tucked in between steep mountains, the town is shrouded in shadow for six months a year. However, faint rays from the winter sun for the first time reached the town’s market square, thanks to three 183-square-foot mirrors placed on a mountain.

Beijing
China’s ruling Communist Party held a key meeting, Nov 9-12, to dictate the direction of the world’s second biggest economy for the next decade. At the conclusion of the session, China unveiled a most ambitious reform plan.

Colombo
The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting was held in Colombo on November 13.

New York
On Nov 09, the UN General Assembly concluded a two-day debate on Security Council reforms in New York during which Pakistan forcefully opposed creation of new permanent seats in the 15-member body.

Baikonur, Kazakhstan
On Nov 07, Russia launched into space a trio of Russian, Japanese and US astronauts carrying an unlit Olympic torch that will for the first time be taken on a spacewalk to mark the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

On Nov 11, A Russian space capsule, The Soyuz capsule, carrying the Sochi Olympic torch and three astronauts returned to Earth from the International Space Station in a flawless landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

People in News

Vivian Schiller
On Oct 25, Twitter hired former NBC executive Vivian Schiller to head its news operations.

Pierre Lemaitre
On Nov 4, France’s top literary prize, the Goncourt, was awarded to Pierre Lemaitre for a fast-moving adventure-tragedy about the lost generation after World War-I. ‘Au revoir la-haut’ (Goodbye Up There) tells the story of two trench-weary veterans, Albert and Edouard, who struggle to reintegrate into French society after the horrors of war. Lemaitre, 62, was one of the favourites to take the prize, which can boost sales by 300,000 to 400,000 copies.

Jalil Abbas Jilani
On Nov 13, Pakistan’s foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas jilani, proposed the establishment of a Commonwealth Reserve Fund, to assist member states facing socio-economic vulnerabilities, lack of access to financing for development, high and escalating debt burden and natural disasters, at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting in Colombo ahead of the Commonwealth Summit.

Francis Bacon
On Nov 13, Bacon’s painting ‘Three Studies of Lucian Freud’ became the most expensive work of art ever sold when it fetched $142.4 million.

Bacon’s 1969 triptych, never before offered at auction and which carried a presale estimate of about $85m, easily eclipsed the $119.9m price of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’, achieved in May last year at Sotheby’s.

Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam
On Nov 12, the prime minister of Mauritius, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, said that he will stay away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, citing ‘grave concern’ over human rights violations by Sri Lanka during and after Eelam War IV.

Interesting News

On Oct 19, a violin believed to have been played on the Titanic before the doomed vessel sank beneath the waves has sold for 900,000 pounds (some $1.45 million) at auction.

On Nov 8, Jian Feng a Chinese man sued his wife over what he called ‘an extremely ugly baby girl’. Though Feng insisted that his wife had to have an affair because there is no way he could have proved that the girl and all of his kids were in fact his. Feng sued his ex-wife on the grounds of false pretenses, she had undergone over $100,000 in plastic surgery while in South Korea before they met and never told Feng about the procedures ‘duping him into thinking she was beautiful.’

On Nov 08, Dubai municipality dished out 2.8 million dirhams ($762,942) worth of gold in prizes to contestants in a weight-loss challenge, an initiative by the Gulf emirate to fight obesity.

On Nov 14, A plum-sized flawless 59.6-carat diamond known as the Pink Star was sold for a staggering USD 83 million at an auction, a record price for a gemstone.

On Oct 19, a survey revealed that the executives in the Asia Pacific region are earning the highest base salaries in the world, driven partly by employers in China. The base salary for senior executives in the region during the year ended Sept 30 was $243,642. The survey of 778 executives from around the world was carried out by the Association of Executive Search Consultants, an executive-consultant industry group.

On Nov 13, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report on Afghanistan that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan reached a record high in 2013 as farmers seek to ‘insure’ themselves before Nato forces withdraw next year. The area planted with poppy rose by 36 per cent in 2013.

While Apple and Google fans coo over the latest high-end smartphones, rival Al-catel is focussing its attention on the opposite end of the market by launching, on Nov 11, the world’s cheapest handset. The Alcatel 1010 costs just £5 and comes with a builtin MP3 player, 3MB of Memory and a wireless FM radio.

MCQs National

1. Malala Yousafzai met Queen Elizabeth II on ______.
A. October 16    B. October 18
C. October 20    D. October 22

2. On Oct 20, the government promulgated ‘Pakistan Protection Ordinance’ that provides for ______ imprisonment as the minimum punishment for terrorists.
A. 7-year    B. 9-year
C. 10-year    D. 15-year

3. On Oct 21, Amnesty International said that unlawful killings in ______ by the US could even amount to war crimes.
A. Pakistan     B. Yemen
C. Syria        D. Libya

4. The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on ______, 1960.
A. September 16    B. September 19
C. September 26    D. September 30

5. The ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2013’ published by the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan ______ among 136 countries.
A. 45th        B. 79th
C. 111th        D. 135th

6. A trilateral meeting of Pakistani, Afghan and British leadership was held in ______.
A. London    B. Brussels
C. New York    D. Bangkok

7. According to a report by the Ministry of Defence, US drone attacks over the past five-years killed —— non-combatants, and 2,160 terrorists.
A. 67         B. 670
C. 760        D. 1121

8. On Oct 28, the Supreme Court disqualified______, a PML-N lawmaker and a former federal minister.
A. Owais Leghari
B. Ashraf Bhatti
C. Khawaja Islam
D. Sumaira Malik

9. On Oct 31, Kamran Murtaza of the ______ Group was elected president of the Supreme Court Bar Association for 2013-14
A. Independent    B. Founders
C. Liberal    D. Hamid Khan

10. On Nov 1, the chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike near ______.
A. Miramshah    B. Khwazakhela
C. MIranshah    D. Kunnar

11. The current Chairman of the Pakistan Broadcasting Association is ______.
A. Shakeel Masud
B. Salman Iqbal
C. Sultana Siddiqi
D. Ibrahim Rahman

12. On Nov 03, Pakistan was selected for the ______ for launching the ‘8300 SMS Service’ before the May 2013 general elections.
A. Global Leadership Award
B. Beyond Borders Award
C. Accessibility Award    
D. Excellence Award

13. Military field exercises which ended on November 4 were codenamed ______.
A. Azm-i-Nau    B. Azm-i-Nau-1
C. Azm-i-Nau-3    D. Azm-i-Nau-4

14. On Nov 4, the first concrete gravity dam in Sindh was completed at Nai Baran, District ______.
A. Larkana    B. Dadu
C. Jamshoro    D. Thatta

15. Karachi consists of ______ districts.
A. 4        B. 5
C. 6        D. 7

16. On Nov 05, the European Union (EU) granted duty free market access to Pakistani made-ups under GSP Plus status with effect from ______.
A. Dec 1, 2013    B. Jan 1, 2014
C. April 1, 2014    D. July 1, 2014

17. GSP stands for ______.
A. General Sales Penalty
B. General System of Production
C. General Special Protection
D. Generalised System of Preferences

18. Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf was granted bail in last case on ______.
A. Nov 1        B. Nov 4
C. Nov 6        D. Nov 12

19. On Nov 7, ______ was appointed as the chairman of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
A. Imtiaz Sheikh    B. Enver Baig
C. Ameer Bhutto    D. Farzana Raja

20. On Nov 07, ______ government launched a multi-billion rupees poverty reduction and employment generation programme named ‘Khud Kafalat Scheme’.
A. KP        B. Sindh
C. Balochistan    D. Punjab

21. On Nov 07, a British Pakistani, Muhammad Ashraf, became the oldest and the only Pakistani residing in the ______ to have successfully completed a degree in law at the age of 62.
A. China        B. UK
C. Japan        D. USA

22. On Nov 8, ______ was announced as the next ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America.
A. Basit Ali Khan
B. Amir Muqam
C. Jalil Abbas Jilani
D. Najam Sethi

23. Nasiruddin Haqqani, who was killed in Bharakau on Nov 11, was the elder son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of ______.
A. Harkatul Ansar
B. Haqqani Network
C. Jaish-e-Muhammad
D. Northern Alliance

24. On Nov 11, Syed Imtiaz Hussain Gilani was appointed as a temporary head of ______.
A. HEC        B. NBP
C. ABL        D. OGDCL

25. Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz met Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi on ______.
A. Nov 10    B. Nov 12
C. Nov 14    D. Nov 16

26. On Oct 18, ______ became the first vessel from Pakistan Navy to call at a Russian naval base.
A. Aslat        B. Ghazi
C. Jari        D. Shujaat

International

1. There are ______ non-permanent members in United Nations Security Council.
A. 3        B. 4
C. 10        D. 12

2. On October 18, Saudi Arabia was elected to the non-permanent seat in UNSC, which it rejected, along with Nigeria, Lithuania, Chad and ______.
A. Chile        B. Ghana
C. Namibia    D. Pakistan

3. According to the inaugural Global Slavery Index, which was released on Oct 18, an estimated ______ people worldwide are living in modern-day slavery.
A. 10 million    B. 20 million
C. 25 million    D. 30 million

4. On Oct 19, the United States and ______ entered into an agreement for an airbase on the Black Sea as a transit point for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
A. Romania    B. Azerbaijan
C. Turkmenistan    D. Georgia

5. On Oct 22, Aung San Suu Kyi received the EU’s Sakharov rights prize which she won in ______.
A. 1985        B. 1990
C. 1997        D. 1999

6. On Oct 22, ______ became the first East Asian country to introduce tough Islamic punishments including death by stoning for adultery.
A. Indonesia    B. Malaysia
C. Maldives    D. Brunei

7. On Oct 28, a ______ pianist Lang Lang was named as a UN messenger of peace.
A. Singaporean    B. Taiwanese
C. Japanese    D. Chinese

8. On Oct 29, Turkey opened the world’s first underwater rail link connecting Asia and Europe namely ______.
A. Marmaray    B. Speed Star
C. Ottoman Dream D. Turkey to EU

9. An engineering feat, the Marmaray, spans 13 km (8 miles) to link Europe with Asia some 60 metres below the ______.
A. Strait of Hormuz
B. Malacca Strait
C. Bosphorus Strait
D. The Thames

10. According to a recent ranking by Forbes Magazine, Vladimir Putin replaced ______ as the world’s most powerful leader.
A. Shah Abdullah    B. Barack Obama
C. Angela Merkel D. Xi Jinping

11. On Oct 31, ______ presidency launched a website allowing users to report corruption directly to the head of state.
A. Kenya’s    B. France’s
C. India’s     D. China’s

12. On Nov 01, ______ became the first European country to allow babies born with characteristics of both sexes to be registered as neither male nor female.
A. Ireland    B. Italy
C. Greece    D. Germany

13. On Nov 04, ______ was elected as the new head of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
A. Iran        B. Qatar
C. Cambodia    D. Venezuela

14. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) consists of ______ members.
A. 10        B. 12
C. 13        D. 20

15. The mutiny in Bangladeshi Army, in which scores of top officers were massacred, broke out in ______.
A. 2005        B. 2007
C. 2009        D. 2010

16. On Nov 5, France’s Femina literary prize went to a ______ writer Leonora Miano.
A. British    B. French
C. German    D. Cameroonian

17. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the UN weather agency, carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere reached a record high in ______.
A. 2008        B. 2009
C. 2011        D. 2012

18. World Meteorological Organization is based in ______.
A. Geneva    B. New York
C. Rome     D. Bonn

19. On Nov 07, Twitter debuted on ______.
A. Shanghai Index
B. Wall Street
C. NFSD
D. Dow Jones

20. On Nov 5, ______ automatically lost voting rights at the Unesco as it missed a deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.
A. India        B. Afghanistan
C. USA        D. Israel

21. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is headquartered at ______.
A. Rome        B. Paris
C. London    D. Geneva

22. ‘Three Cups of Tea’ was authored by ______.
A. Asma Jahangir
B. Greg Mortenson
C. Mark Twain
D. Lydia Davis

23. One of the most powerful typhoons in history which decimated towns in the Philippines killing well over 10,000 people was named ______.
A. Sushi        B. Sara
C. Haiyan    D. Ambingo

24. Miss Universe 2013, Gabriela Isler, belongs to ______.
A. Venezuela    B. Russia
C. Italy        D. Belgium

25. On Nov, 12, China, Russia, ______and Cuba won seats on the UN Human Rights Council.
A. India        B. Pakistan
C. Saudi Arabia    D. Italy

26. The UN Human Rights Council consists of ______ members.
A. 43        B. 47
C. 48        D. 59

Sports

1. On Oct 18, India produced the second-highest ODI run chase of all time against ______ achieving the target of 360 runs.
A. England    B. West Indies
C. New Zealand    D. Australia

2. On Oct 2, Pakistan’s Aisamul Haq Qureshi and his ______ partner Julien Rojer captured second title of the season.
A. Dutch        B. Czech
C. Serb        D. French

3. On Oct 23, Australia’s great batsman ______ was named captain of an all-time Test World XI.
A. Steve Waugh    B. Don Bradman
C. David Boon    D. Mark Taylor

4. On Oct 31, ______ became Bangladesh’s top run scorer in one-day cricket.
A. Alok Kapali    B. Ashraful
C. M. Azad    D. Tamim Iqbal

5. Misbah-ul-Haq is the ______ Pakistani and 87th batsman overall to score 4000 runs in ODIs.
A. 13th        B. 16th
C. 18th        D. 19th

6. The IBSF International Snooker Team Championship 2013 that was won by Pakistan was held in Carlow, ______.
A. England    B. France
C. Ireland    D. Switzerland

7. The highest individual score in an ODI is ______ runs.
A. 194        B. 197
C. 209        D. 219

8. On Nov 07, Northern Ireland’s ______ became the first jump jockey to ride 4,000 winners.
A. Tony McCoy    
B. Dale McMann
C. David Warner
D. Marc Marquez

9. Marc Marquez, who on Nov 10, became the youngest Moto GP world champion at the age of 20 and its first rookie to win the title in 35 years belongs to _____.
A. Argentine
B. Czechoslovakia
C. Spain        
D. Belgium

Economy

1. On Oct 18, the European Union and ______ signed a free trade accord.
A. Japan        B. China
C. Georgia    D. Canada

2. Shares of Internet search and advertising titan Google soared to pass the ______ mark for the first time on October 19.
A. $1,000    B. $1,200
C. $1,800    D. $1,500

3. Oct 22, Nokia launched its first-ever tablet computer in ______.
A. London    B. Abu Dhabi
C. New York    D. Dubai

4. On Oct 22, Pakistan and ______ formed a joint commission to increase bilateral trade.
A. USA        B. Germany
C. UK        D. France

5. Gazprom is a ______ energy giant.
A. Russian    B. American
C. Armenian    D. Turk

Everyday Science

1. The world’s first robot human, made entirely of prosthetic parts, built by the roboticists Rich Walker and Matthew Godden cost US$ ______.
A. 1 million    B. 100 million
C. 500 million    D. 1 billion

2. A ghostly nebula shining about ______ light years from Earth is the coldest known object in the universe.
A. 5,000        B. 10,000
C. 30,000    D. 50,000

3. On Nov 05, ______ launched its first rocket to Mars.
A. China        B. India
C. Pakistan    D. Japan

4. Mars is also known as the ______.
A. Dead Planet    B. Blue Planet
C. Bright Planet    D. Red Planet

5. The asteroid that smashed into the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk initially measured ______.
A. 19 metres    B. 25 metres
C. 30 metres    D. 35 metres

Obituaries

1. On Oct 20, Jovanka Broz, former First Lady of ______ and wife of a great statesman ‘Tito”, died.
A. Indonesia    B. Serbia
C. Argentine    D. Yugoslavia

2. British actor and singer ______ who also recorded the Oscar-winning song died on Oct 22.
A. Noel Harrison    B. John Morris
C. Robin Hash    D. Elvis Johnson

3. Singer Manna Dey, whose versatile voice charmed fans of Bollywood cinema for more than 60 years, died on ______.
A. Oct 20    B. Oct 23
C. Oct 28    D. Oct 30

4. On Oct 28, Brig Gen Robinson Risner, one of the ______ most decorated pilots in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, died.
A. S. Korea’s     B. Vietnam’s
C. Germany’s    D. USA’s

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