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- 1 January 23, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
- 1.1 1. PM wants UN, US to prevent tensions in South Asia
- 1.2 2. Trump to visit Pakistan soon, says Qureshi
- 1.3 3. Pakistan bans use of open-loop scrubbers to clean fuel in waters
- 1.4 4. UAE gave $68m grant to Pakistan last year
- 1.5 5. PM asks Facebook to support Pakistani startups
- 1.6 6. Beijing warns Washington against efforts to spoil Pak-China ties
- 1.7 7. US bars Iranian investors from certain types of visas
- 1.8 8. Greece elects first woman president for `new era`
- 1.9 9. South Korean army to discharge transgender soldier
- 1.10 10. Bangladesh cricket team arrives
January 23, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. PM wants UN, US to prevent tensions in South Asia
• A day after US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to mediate on the Kashmir dispute, Prime Minister Imran Khan on January 22, 2020 said the United Nations and the United States `must act` to prevent tensions between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India from reaching a point of no return.
• President Trump had, in a press talk before his meeting with Prime Minister Khan on Tuesday, reiterated his longstanding offer to mediate on the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum assembly in Davos.
• During an interview with the International Media Council on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting, Prime Minister Khan said that although Pakistan and India were currently not close to engaging in an all-out conflict, international powers, including the UN and US, must act to prevent tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries from reaching a point of no return
2. Trump to visit Pakistan soon, says Qureshi
• Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on January 22, 2020 said US President Donald Trump had promised that he would soon pay a visit to Pakistan.
• In a statement received here on Prime Minister Imran Khan`s ongoing visit to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum, the foreign minister said the meeting between the US president and PM Khan on Tuesday was very constructive which lasted about an hour in which the prime minister raised certain important issues.
• The foreign minister is among those accompanying the prime minister
3. Pakistan bans use of open-loop scrubbers to clean fuel in waters
• Pakistan has prohibited the use of open-loop scrubbers by ships in its waters, the latest country to tighten restrictions on the use of the cleaning devices which strip sulphur from marine fuel and empty the residue in the sea, a regulatory note showed.
• Since the start of this year, the United Nations shipping agency, International Maritime Organisation, has banned ships from using fuels with a sulphur content above 0.5 per cent, compared with 3.5pc previously, in the biggest shake up for the oil and shipping industries in decades.
• The regulations are aimed at improving human health by reducing air pollution.
• Only ships fitted with sulphur-cleaning devices known as scrubbers will be allowed to continue burning high-sulphur fuel. Ship owners can also opt for other sources of cleaner fuel such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
4. UAE gave $68m grant to Pakistan last year
• Pakistan has been a major beneficiary of aid provided by the United Arab Emirates, with a grant of Dh251 million [$68m approximately] provided to the country last year, data from a UAE government report showed.
• The UAE distributed more than Dh28 billion in international aid last year. Pakistan was the eighth most supported nation with a grant of Dh251.10m given to the country.
• Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said that the UAE was a time-tested friend of Pakistan and it was supporting the country in health and development sectors.
5. PM asks Facebook to support Pakistani startups
• Prime Minister Imran Khan on January 22, 2020 met several heads of digital and technology firms, including Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki.
• During the meetings held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the prime minister invited the tech firms to invest in Pakistan. He asked Facebook to consider investments to support Pakistani incubators and help in digital literacy initiatives.
• According to a press release, the premier said social media platforms should establish third-party fact checking services for more responsible digital journalism
6. Beijing warns Washington against efforts to spoil Pak-China ties
• The Chinese Embassy on Wednesday emphatically warned the US against meddling in Pak-China ties and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
• This was stated in an unusually strongly-worded rejoinder toall egations levelled by US diplomat Ambassador Alice Wells in her speech at a think tank in Islamabad.
• `We would be more than glad to see the US develop its relationship with Pakistan, but we strongly oppose the US interference in China-Pakistan relations and the CPEC…. we have to make our position clear and reject the negative propaganda by the US.
7. US bars Iranian investors from certain types of visas
• The Trump administration is barring Iranian investors and business people from entering or staying in the United States on certain types of visas.
• In new regulations published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security said Iranians and their families are no longer eligible to apply for or extend what are known as E-1 and E-2 visas.
• The ban will take effect on Thursday, according to the notice from US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
• Those visas allow foreign traders and substantial investors in US companies to live and work in the United States. CIS said the change is a result of the US withdrawal last year from a 1955 treaty with Iran that had sought to promote commercial and economic ties between the countries
8. Greece elects first woman president for `new era`
• Greece`s parliament on January 22, 2020 elected the first woman president in the country`s history, a senior judge with no party-political allegiance.
• A cross-party majority of 261 of the 294 MPs present at the session voted in favour of 63-year-old Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, parliament chief Costas Tassoulas said.
• `Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected president of the republic,` Tassoulas said.
9. South Korean army to discharge transgender soldier
• A transgender soldier who enlisted as a man and underwent a sex change last year will be discharged from South Korea’s army, with the military saying January 22, 2020 she had violated regulations.
• The country remains deeply conservative about matters of sexual identity and is less tolerant of LGBT rights than some other parts of Asia, with many gay and transgender Koreans living largely under the radar.
• The soldier — a staff sergeant in her 20s whose name has been withheld —voluntarily enlisted before having gender-reassignment surgery in November in Thailand.
• She had expressed her desire to remain in the army but a military panel ruled on Wednesday that she will be compulsorily discharged.
10. Bangladesh cricket team arrives
• Led by all-rounder Mahmudullah, the Bangladesh cricket team arrived in Lahore in a chartered flight late on January 22, 2020 to play a three-match T20 series at the Gaddafi Stadium, in the first phase of their tour.
• The matches will be played on Friday, Saturday and Monday, starting at 2pm.
• Under strict security measures, the visiting team reached the hotel from the airport. At the airport, it was welcomed by PCB officials. The visiting team will hold a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday (January 22, 2020) before addressing a press conference.
• In the second phase of the tour, the team will return to Pakistan to play first Test in Rawalpindi from Feb 7 to 12. In the last phase, it will come again and land in Karachi on April 1 to play one-off One-Day International on April 3 and the second Test from April 5.
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