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- 1 February 07, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
- 1.1 1. Govt intends to borrow Rs1.9tr by July
- 1.2 2. SC orders removal of top Sindh building officials
- 1.3 3. Moody`s maintains stable outlook for five banks
- 1.4 4. Legendary tent pegging champion Malik Ata passes away
- 1.5 5. Wildlife expert Dr A.A. Quraishy dies of heart attack
- 1.6 6. Amnesty terms Saudi secret court `weapon of repression`
- 1.7 7. Israeli strikes near Damascus kill 23 Syrian, foreign fighters
- 1.8 8. In political triumph, Trump acquitted in impeachment trial
- 1.9 9. Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas dies at 103
- 1.10 10. Facebook plan to encrypt platforms risks child abuse
February 07, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. Govt intends to borrow Rs1.9tr by July
• With around40 percent increase in Pakistan`s public debt and liabilities in 15 months, the government on February 6, 2020 disclosed that it intended to borrow another Rs1.9 trillion for financing of its fiscal deficit from January to July 2020.
• The information was provided by the Ministry of Finance in a written reply to a question by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Afzal Khokhar in the National Assembly, which later witnessed another verbal clash between the treasury and opposition members on the issue of price hike.
• The information came almost a week after the government conceded major violations of the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act for massively exceeding debt acquisition limits.
• In its debt policy statement laid before parliament last week, the finance min-istry had noted that total debt and liabilities, which stood at Rs29.879tr at the end of fiscal year 2018, crossed Rs41.489tr at the end of September 2019, showing an increase of Rs11.6tr, or 39pc. At the end of the fiscal year 2019, the total debt and liabilities were reported to have increased by about35pc,or Rs10.344tr, to touch Rs40.223tr
2. SC orders removal of top Sindh building officials
• The Supreme Court on February 6, 2020 criticised the Sindh Building Control Authority over mushroom growth of unauthorised structures in the provincial metropolis and directed the chief minister to immediately remove the acting director general and other top officials of the SBCA.
• A three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, observed that apparently the SBCA had compromised on rules and pushed Karachi to the brink of a total disaster, adding that its director general had become a rubber stamp as he was unable to take decisions as per law. It said SBCA officials were allegedly involved in illegal activities and taking bribe and other government officials were also supporting them.
• The court directed the Sindh chief secretary to take over the affairs of the SBCA and produce before it on the next hearing all approvals given by the authority for construction of buildings, apart f rom gourd-plus-two-storey ones. It asked the chief minister to overhaul the SBCA and appoint a competent and honest director general and other senior officials who fully obey the law. The court made it clear that no exploitation would be allowed after it was informed that SBCA of icials were allegedly taking bribes and allowing construction of multi-storey buildings on small plots
3. Moody`s maintains stable outlook for five banks
• Moody`s Investors Service on February 6, 2020 maintained its forecast for stable outlook of five leading Pakistani banks over the next 12-18 months.
• The rating agency had changed outlook of these banks from negative to stable in December 2019 and had affirmed their B3 longterm local currency deposit ratings.
• The banks include Allied Bank Ltd (ABL), Habib Bank Ltd (HBL), MCB Bank (MCB), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and United Bank Ltd (UBL), according to an announcement by the New York-based rating agency.
• `Our outlook for Pakistan`s banking system is stable` said Moody`s in a statement, adding the inter-linkages with sovereign and robust funding drive stable outlook.
4. Legendary tent pegging champion Malik Ata passes away
• Legendary tent pegging champion and chief of the Kot Fateh Khan clan of Attock, Malik Ata Mohammad Khan, passed away on February 6, 2020.
• Born on Oct 25, 1941, Malik Ata was known for his equestrian hobbies. He was the first elected president of the Equestrian and Tent Pegging Federation of Pakistan.
• He was well-known in Pakistan for his attempts to promote tent pegging and bull races. He was one of the founders of the International Tent Pegging Federation which is recognised by International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).
• Malik Ata took part in tent pegging and other equestrian championships in Europe, South Africa, Australia, United States and India.
• In 1982, he participated in the Ninth Asian Games held in Delhi, winning a silver medal for Pakistan. Malik Ata with the Pakistan team also took part in Hyde Park Games in London in 1982. He led Pakistan tent pegging team at the annual Royal Adelaide Show 2010 held in Adelaide, South Australia.
5. Wildlife expert Dr A.A. Quraishy dies of heart attack
• Dr A.A. Quraishy, one of the pioneers of nature and animal conservation in Pakistan, passed away on February 6, 2020 night in a hospital where he was admitted following a heart attack three days back. He was 92.
• An extremely down-to-earth person, Dr Quraishy served the Karachi Zoological Gardens for three decades as its first director and played a key role in acquiring land for the Safari Park and later establishing this facility.
• He wrote extensively on wildlife and nature conservation for various newspapers and was associated with The Star, a sister publication of Dawn, for many years
6. Amnesty terms Saudi secret court `weapon of repression`
• Amnesty Internadonal accused Saudi Arabia on February 6, 2020 of using a secretive court established to try terrorism cases as `a weapon of repression` to imprison peaceful critics, activists, journalists, clerics and Shias, including some who were sentenced to death and executed.
• The London-based rights organisation examined court documents and spoke to activists and lawyers for its 53-page report, which sheds light on the secretive proceedings of the Specialised Criminal Court.
• The report found that trials before the court were a mockery of justice and its judges willing accomplices` in suppressing those who dare speak up
7. Israeli strikes near Damascus kill 23 Syrian, foreign fighters
• Israeli air strikes killed 23 Syrian and foreign fighters in Syria on February 6, 2020, a monitor said, the latest in a spate of raids Israel has said targeted an Iranian presence on its doorstep.
• Israel has pledged to prevent its main enemy from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, where it is backing President Bashar al-Assad`s government alongside Russia and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
• The pre-dawn raids killed three Iranians and seven Tehran-backed foreign fighters near Kisweh south of the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
• Eight Syrian air defence forces also lost their lives in both Mezzeh and Jisr Baghdad, west of the capital, the Britain-based war monitor said.
• Five Syrian members of pro-Iran group were killed in the Ezra area in the southern province of Daraa.
8. In political triumph, Trump acquitted in impeachment trial
• President Donald Trump was acquitted by the US Senate on February 5, 2020 following a historic impeachment trial that shone a harsh light on America`s divisions, without ever shaking the loyalty of his voter base.
• In a political triumph for the US leader, Trump drew on staunch Republican support to easily defeat a Democratic effort to expel him from office for pressuring Ukraine to help bolster his re-election effort.
• The president immediately claimed `victory` while the White House declared it a full `exoneration` and Democrats rejected the acquittal as the `valueless` outcome of an unfair trial.
9. Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas dies at 103
• Kirk Douglas, one of the last superstars of Hollywood’s golden age of cinema who was renowned for his intense, muscular performances in Spartacus and Paths of Glory, died on February 5, 2020 aged 103.
• The US leading man, producer and director came to prominence in the late 1940s and never lost his popularity, taking on nearly 100 movies over a six-decade career that endured beyond a severe stroke in his later years.
• Tributes poured in from across Hollywood and around the world on social media, with many declaring “I am Spartacus!” in a nod to Douglas’s legendary role as a rebellious Roman slave
10. Facebook plan to encrypt platforms risks child abuse
• More than 100 child protection organisations on February 6, 2020 urged Facebook to halt plans for strong encryption of all its platforms, saying that would allow predators to operate freely.
• The social network is working to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
• The groups said they were concerned that stronger encryption of online exchanges would facilitate the sharing of child pornography.
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