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December 16, 2022: National Current Affairs MCQs
1. Border clashes erupt again days after Kabul `apology`
• Four days after Afghan authorities `apologised` to Islamabad over cross-border shelling that claimed the lives of eight people, armed clashes erupted between security forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan at the border in Chaman on December 15, 2022, leaving at least one dead and 15 others injured.
• In a statement, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) the military`s media wing said indiscriminate fire from inside Afghanistan on the civilian population of Chaman, that continued intermittently through the day, left many innocent civilians injured.
• `The injured include innocent women and children,` ISPR said. However, Kabul appeared to blame Pakistan for the act of aggression. In a post on Twitter, the Taliban ministry of defence claimed that Pakistani forces had opened fire first, and calle d for a resolution of the issue through negotiations
2. Govt devises plan to conserve energy, cut import bill
• The government has devised a national contingency energy-saving plan to stabilise the economy, conserve energy and cut the import bill because an `extraordinary situation` required `extraordinary measures`, the information minister said on December 15, 2022. The plan, prepared by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, was approved in a high-level meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday at the Prime Minister`s Office.
• Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted that the plan would be presented in the next cabinet meeting for final approval and all the chief ministers would also be invited so that it could be implemented in collaboration with the provinces.
• Under the plan, a crackdown on electricity theft would be launched and many private and government buildings would be converted to solar energy
3. 30pc air pollution in Punjab comes from India: WB
• A new World Bank report has identified six major airsheds in South Asia where spatial interdependence in air quality is high, and one of the airshed s identified in Pakistan is Punjab, which gets on average 30 per cent of the air pollution from the Indian state of Punjab under the predominant wind direction from the northwest to the southeast.
• An airshed is the volume over an area of land in which airborne chemicals travel to reach a particular river, lake, bay, or other body of water given the area of the land surface.
• Further airsheds in Pakistan where spatial interdependence in air quality ishigh are the northern/central Indus River plain and south Pakistan located in southern Indus plain
4. Ignoring PM`s audit direction, ECC allows sugar export
• Sidestepping Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif`s instructions for an independent stock audit, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on December 15, 2022 finally allowed the export of 100,000 tonnes of sugar with the condition that millers will ensure domestic prices at the existing level for 45 days.
• The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, took this decision on the recommendations of the Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) and the provincial governments.
• Informed sources said that despite variations over available stocks at the moment by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) and provincial governments, all of them projected more than 800,000 tonnes of surplus stocks as of Dec 2
5. SBP reserves fall by $11bn in 12 months
• The foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) continued its declining spree witnessing a minor outflow of $15 million to $6.70 billion during the week ending Dec 9 compared to a whopping $784m drop recorded in the preceding week, announced the central bank on December 15, 2022.
• The critical condition of SBP`s reserves was obvious from the fact it declined by $11bn during a year. In Dec 2021, the central bank`s reserves were $17.686bn which now stood at $6.7bn.
• According to the central bank data, the SBP reserves were last recorded below this level during the week ended on Jan 18, 2019, when it had some $6.64bn