Day by Day Current Affairs (August 29, 2018)

 August 29, 2018; National Current Affairs

  1. Cabinet forms six bodies to execute reforms agenda
  • In a move to implement its 100-day plan of `change`, the federal cabinet on August 28, 2018 set up six committees to introduce reforms in different sectors and to carve out a new province from Punjab, besides appointing the Intelligence Bureau (IB) director general and the head of National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta).
  • The cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, also decided to expedite the process of the merger of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
  • The cabinet decided to appoint Nacta chairman Dr Mohammad Suleman Khan (a grade-22 officer of the police service) as IB director general, while commandant of the National Police Academy Mehr Khalig Dad Lak, also a grade 22 officer, has been appointed as Nacta chairman in his place.
  • Another task force was formed on National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law reforms with main focus to retrieve national wealth laundered to other countries. Another task force constituted on Criminal Procedure Code reforms was asked to give its recommendations within 90 days to address the problems being faced by antiterrorism courts.
  • Other task forces were set up for introducing austerity measures, reforms in civil services /federal government restructuring, civil laws and the health sector.
  • One of the important decisions made in the meeting was that the government would not remove any official working on a contractual basis.
  1. Pakistan, India to begin talks on water disputes today
  • A nine-member delegation led by the Indian water commissioner arrived on August 28, 2018 for talks with their Pakistani counterparts on water disputes on the platform of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission.
  • Pakistan Water Commissioner Syed Mohammad Mehar Ali Shah welcomed the delegation, headed by Indian Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena, at the Wagah border.
  • The two-day deliberations on water disputes will begin on August 29, 2018 (today). The talks will be held at the offices of the National Engineering Services of Pakistan (Nespak) in Lahore.
  • The Indian team was earlier supposed to arrive here for talks in July but the visit was rescheduled in view of the July 25 general elections.
  • The water commissioners of the neighbouring countries are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects` sites and critical river headworks.
  • A government official said they would raise their concerns over the construction of 1,000MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnal hydroelectric projects on the River Chenab by New Delhi, ignoring Islamabad`s objections to their designs.
  1. Senate panel okays idea of criminalising enforced disappearances
  • A Senate committee on August 28, 2018 approved the idea of criminalising enforced disappearances.
  • Chairman of the Senate`s Functional Committee on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar gave the Ministry ofHuman Rights a month to engage all stakeholders to draft a bill for criminalising enforced disappearances and making it a punishable offence.
  • The directive came after the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, urged the committee to goforlegalsanctions torecover all missing persons. The meeting was informed that at presentallcases ofenforced disappearances were registered under Section 365 of the penal code which dealt with kidnapping.
  1. FBR gets new chief
  • The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government on August 28, 2018 posted a senior officer of Pakistan Administration Services (PAS), Dr Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, as chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
  • Mr Khan has also been given the additional post of secretary Revenue Division.
  • The outgoing FBR head, Ms Rukhsana Yasmin, who was posted as the first woman chairperson of the board on July 2 by the interim government, currently awaits directives on her new posting.
  • Dr Jehanzeb has served in Punjab for 10 years. He was serving as the secretary Board of Investment after being transferred by interim provincial government.
  • Previously, he has served as the chairman Planning and Development Board during the PML-N government.
  • PTI has emerged as the third consecutive party after PPP and PML-N to have posted non-tax officers from PAS to head FBR right at the start of their respective terms.
  • The PPP government had posted PAS officers including Sohail Ahmed, followed by Salman Siddique as chairmen FBR, while the PML-N government followed the previous government`s tradition when it posted Tariq Bajwa, a senior officer of PAS as chairman FBR.
  1. `2.2m abortions per year indicate unmet contraceptive demand`
  • A representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on August 28, 2018 said 2.2 million abortions were carried out in Pakistan every year which clearly showed that there was an unmet demand for contraceptives in the country.
  • `Imagine how difficult it would be for a woman in Pakistan to go for an abortion. It shows that she did not want pregnancy but we failed to provide her the contraceptive. It is not acceptable at all and we need to do something to avoid such pregnancies,` Dr Hassan Mohtashami said at the launch of Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS). The survey was conducted by the National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS).
  • Dr Mohtashami said though Pakistan maynot achieve the commitment of family planning by 2020 it was not about an international commitment rather about the health of women.
  • As many as 34pc women were using any kind of contraceptives. The use of modern contraceptives was highest in Islamabad and lowest in Balochistan. The trend of unmet need for family planning has decreased from 31pc (in 1990) to 17pc. Under-five mortality rate is 74 per 1,000 children and the infant mortality rate is 62 per 1,000 live births. Around 66pc children received all vaccines and only four per cent did not get any vaccine.
  1. `Education, health emergency` in Balochistan
  • The Balochis tan government has decided to impose health and education emergency in the province and bring maximum entities in tax net through widening the working of the Balochistan Revenue Authority to increase provincial financial resources for reducing deficit of the current budget.
  • These decisions were made in the maiden meeting of the six-party alliance coalition`s cabinet here on August 28, 2018, which lasted for several hours with Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani in the Chair.
  • The newly inducted minister, Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, announced the decisions after the cabinet meeting.

August 29, 2018; International Current Affairs

  1. Russia to hold biggest exercises since Cold War
  • Russia will next month hold its biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union, Defence Minister Sergei Sholgu said on August 28, 2018, a massive military exercise that will also involve the Chinese and Mongolian armies.
  • The exercise, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), will take place in central and eastern Russian military districts and involve almost 300,000 troops, more than 1,000 military aircraft, two of Russia`s naval fleets, and all of its airborne units, Shoigu said in a statement.
  • The manoeuvres will take place at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russia, which is concerned about what it says is an unjustified build-up of the Nato military alliance on its western flank.
  • Nato says it has beefed up its forces in eastern Europe to deter potential Russian military action after Moscow annexed Ukraine`s Crimea in 2014 and backed a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine.
  1. American poet Sonia Sanchez wins $100,000 prize
  • Poet and author Sonia Sanchez has won a $100,000 lifetime achievement prize. The Academy of American Poets announced on August 28, 2018 that Sanchez is this year’s winner of the Wallace Stevens Award. Sanchez, 83, is known for such collections as Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems.
  • Also on August 28, 2018, five young poets received fellowships worth more than $25,000 apiece.
  • On August 28, 2018, the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Magazine announced this year’s winners of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. The poets are Safia Elhillo, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Sam Sax, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, and Paul Tran. With prize money totaling $129,000, each will be given $25,800.
  • The fellowship was started in 1989. Winners must be between age 21 and 31 and the money is meant to give them time to write and study poetry. Work from each of the five winners will appear in the December issue of Poetry Magazine.

August 29, 2018; Sports Current Affairs

  1. Pakistan down arch-rivals India in volleyball, thrash BD in hockey
  • Of the three victories for Pakistan at the Asian Games on August 28, 2018, there was little doubt that the one by the volleyball team was the sweetest.
  • After all this was against arch-rivals India, even if it was a 9-12th place playoff.
  • On a day when the hockey team produced yet another commanding performance, recording their fifth straight win, and the squash team won its third consecutive match, it was the 3-1 volleyball victory over India that was most celebrated.
  • In a contest lasting 100 minutes, Pakistan came back from a set down to win 21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23 and will now face China in a 7-10th place playoff.
  • Pakistan closed their Pool `B` campaign in hockey with a perfect record after another big win, thrashing Bangladesh 5-0 to set up asemi-final against Japan on August 30, 2018. Atig Arshad and Mubashar Ali both scored two goals each while Ali Shan added the other goal.
  1. PCB unveils dates of Australia, NZ series in UAE
  • Australia will play their first Test since the infamous ball-tampering saga on the ill-fated tour of South Africa last March when Pakistan host them in the United Arab Emirates in a two-match series from Oct 7 besides three Twenty20 Internationals.
  • New Zealand then arrive in the UAE to take on Pakistan in three Tests, three One-day Internationals, and as many Twenty20 Internationals.
  • According to the schedule announced on August 28, 2018 by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Australia open their tour with a four-day first-class fixture against Pakistan `A` at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
  • Pakistan, who are currently the top ranked side in the shortest format, would be playing six T20 Internationals in the space of 12 days since they also host New Zealand in three matches from Oct 31 to Nov 4.
  • The forthcoming months are probably Pakistan`s busiest in the lead-up to the 2019 ICC World Cup in England because Sarfraz Ahmed`s men kickstart the international season with the Asia Cup in the UAE from Sept 15 before playing Australia and New Zealand.