March 30, 2019
National Current Affairs
1. Pakistan, China warns against politicizing UN anti-terrorism regime
• Pakistan has warned that politicising the UN counterterrorism machinery would only compromise the integrity of the regime, as China also warned against `forcefully moving` a resolution in the UN Security Council.
• Speaking in a Security Council debate on `Preventing and Combating the Financing of Terrorism` on March 29, 2019, Pakistan`s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that current structures like FATF and the 1267 Sanctions regimes should not be used as political tools by some to advance their geopolitical goals.
• `There is also a need to make these institutions more inclusive of the wider membership in their decision-making processes,` she added.
• On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing that `forcefully moving` a resolution directly in the UNSC undermined the authority of the UN anti-terrorism committee.
2. Ex-IB chief Ijaz made federal minister
• Former chief of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Brigadier (Retd) Ijaz Ahmed Shah MNA has been inducted as Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
• President Dr. Arif Alvi on March 29, 2019 accepted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request to appoint Ijaz as the federal minister for parliamentary affairs
• He was elected MNA on PTI ticket from NA-118, Nankana Sahib-II in the last general elections held last year.
• The national security adviser’s position has been lying vacant since the PTI came to power.
• Ijaz Shah had served as Director General of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) from 2004 to 2008 in the government of former President General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.
3. World Bank suspends water resource development project for Balochistan
• The World Bank on March 29, 2019 suspended the Integrated Water Resources Management and Development project for Balochistan over lack of progress in management and funds disbursement.
• In a statement, the WB offered to work with the Balochistan government over the next 30 days to restructure the scope and governance arrangements to more realistically deliver sustainable water management to the province.
• On June 28, 2016, the bank had approved a $200 million credit to strengthen the Balochistan government`s initiative for community-based water management for irrigation in the province.
• The project was designed to boost farmers` incomes through a new irrigation infrastructure and improved on-farm management and rangeland management. An associated objective was building the province`s capacity for long-term water resources planning.
4. Revised disaster response plan launched
• National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on March 29, 2019 launched National Disaster Response Plan in collaboration with Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre the under Pakistan Resilience Partnership.
• The target of NDRP 2019is to mitigate damages from natural disasters. Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Engineer Ali Mohammad Khan said the government was well cognisant of the threats and challenges posed by climate change and impending disasters.
5. Ex-CJP Jillani wins exceIIence award for promoting justice
• Former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who is officiating as an ad hoc judge at the International Court of Justice in The Haque, has been awarded `International Justice Excellence Award` for promoting justice at home and around the world.
• The ceremony to give the award was held at the International Institute for Justice, Netherlands. Mr Jillani was decorated for his outstanding contribution to the elevation of the principles of justice in Pakistan and the international community.
• Mr. Jillani came to prominence as the 21st chief justice of Pakistan for his landmark judgment on a Suo Motu notice on the Sept 22, 2013 bomb attack on a Peshawar church in which 81 people died.
March 30, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Fears of no-deal BREXIT rise as MPs sink May`s proposal
• Lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May`s BREXIT deal for a third time on March 29, 2019, sounding its probable death knell and leaving Britain`s withdrawal from the European Union in turmoil on the very day it was supposed to quit the bloc.
• The decision to reject a stripped-down version of May`s divorce deal has left it totally unclear how, when or even whether Britain will leave the EU, and plunges the three-year BREXIT crisis to a deeper level of uncertainty.
• Within minutes of the vote, European Council President and summit chair Donald Tusk said EU leaders would meet on April 10 to discuss Britain`s departure from the bloc.
• A succession of European leaders said there was a very real chance Britain would now leave without a deal, a scenario that businesses fear would cause chaos for the world`s fifth-biggest economy.
7. KSA frees three women’s rights activists
• Saudi Arabia has temporarily released three of the women’s rights activists held in custody for almost a year, state media has said, following a court hearing in which the detainees alleged torture and sexual harassment during interrogation.
• The announcement by the SPA news agency on March 29, 2019 did not identify the three women but several reports named them as blogger Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Youssef, a retired lecturer at King Saud University, and academic Rokaya al-Mohareb.
8. Chinese telescope collects more than 11M spectra
• China has released 11.25 million spectra of celestial objects acquired by the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) to astronomers worldwide, according to the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences March 29, 2019.
• As the world’s largest spectral survey telescope, LAMOST marks the world’s first spectral survey project to obtain more than 10 million spectra. Spectra are key for astronomers to read celestial bodies’ chemical compositions, densities, atmospheres and magnetism. Among the released spectra, there are 9.37 million high-quality spectra, which is twice the total number of other astronomic surveys internationally. There are also 6.36 million stellar spectra, creating the largest stellar parameter catalog in the world. Finished in 2008, LAMOST began regular surveys in 2012. The telescope is located in NAOC’s Xinglong Observatory, in north China’s Hebei Province.The telescope can observe about 4,000 celestial bodies at one time. It can also help calculate the age of more than a million stars, providing basic data to study the evolution of our galaxy
9. Earth Hour being marked today
• ‘Earth Hour’ being marked all over the world on 30th March (today).
• People are on the frontlines of climate change. The Earth Hour reminds us that individual and global community actions can prove to be a milestone to transform the climate challenges and protect the generations to come.
• The lights of the Parliament will be switched off between 8:30pm to 9:30pm to show Parliament’s commitment of joining hands with the world for energy conservation, combating climate change and global warming.
• Pakistan’s Vision 2025 considered climate change as one of the top national priorities and provided a sound basis to integrate climate change budgeting into national development planning.
March 30, 2019: Sports Current Affairs
10. Australia win fourth ODI by six runs
• Australia pulled off a sensational last-over, six-run win despite a debut hundred by Pakistan`s Abid Ali and second career century by Mohammad Rizwan in the fourth one-day international in Dubai on March 29, 2019.
• Needing 278 to win, Pakistan came close to their target through Ali`s 112 and Rizwan`s 104 but in the end, the two hundred were in vain as they failed to score the required 17 runs off Marcus Stoinis`s last over.
• The win gives Australia a 4-0 lead with the last match to be played in Dubai on March 31, 2019.