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December 21, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. PIA moving head offices to Islamabad next month
• The head offices of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), including the flight services division, commercial department and human resource divisions, will be shifted from Karachi to Islamabad by the end of January as part of the restructuring plan of the national flag carrier.
• The airline`s other operations, including flights scheduling and medical division, corporate development department, works division and supply chain management will be shifted to the federal capital by the end of February, internal audit, corporate secretariat and finance departments by the end of March and engineering department by the end of June 2021
2. Visa curbs are temporary, UAE assures Pakistan
• Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri on December 20, 2020 said that authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had assured Islamabad that visa restrictions imposed on Pakistan due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic were `temporary in nature`
• In a statement issued here, Mr Chaudhri said that during his recent visit to the UAE, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in his meetings with the Emirati leadership raised the issues of visa restrictions on Pakistan nationals and welfare of Pakistani diaspora in the UAE
3. EU activist seeks legal action against India over fake news network
• Describing the EU Dis info Lab`s revelations about an Indian network involved in a fake news campaign as `enormously damaging`, a European Union-based human rights activist has called for institution of a lawsuit against the Indian government to prevent recurrence of such propaganda.
• `This should have consequences for Indian government that has the final responsibility. The Indian government should be held accountable for this in the court,` said Mr Vermaut, an official member of the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms, an NGO with participatory status to the United Nations ECOSOC committee
4. Roosevelt hotel shuts doors permanently in New York
• PIA-owned Roosevelt Hotel in New York City closed its doors permanently on December 18 due to a severe loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Patch.com, an American news and information platform, reported.
• The permanent closure was announced by the iconic hotel’s General Manager Marc Sternagel in an email sent to a local government official on Friday, according to Patch.com.
• The closure will cause at least 431 employees to lose their jobs after they were initially furloughed in March, according to a notice filed with the state of New York. Television footage show the front doors of the hotel boarded up
5. Nepal dissolves parliament after govt infighting
• Nepal`s president dissolved parliament on December 20, 2020 at the request of Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oll`s cabinet and announced that general elections would be held in April and May, more than a year ahead of schedule.
• The move plunges the Himalayan country, which has seen revolving-door governance since street protests restored multi-party democracy in 1990, into political turmoil as it battles the coronavirus pandemic
6. Christmas items go on sale publicly in S. Arabia
• Christmas trees and glittery ornaments are for sale at a Saudi gift shop, a once unthinkable sight in the kingdom where worship by non-Muslims in public is banned.
• In recent years, festive sales have gradually crept into the capital Riyadh, a sign of loosening social restrictions after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to steer the conservative Gulf kingdom towards an `open, moderate Islam`.
7. Kazakhstan bans New Year parties, other events over virus
• Kazakhstan has banned corporate parties and sporting events over the New Year holidays and tightened quarantine measures at a key oil field in a bid to contain the coronavirus.
• The new restrictions on the holding of mass gatherings and sports events will enter force on December 25 and last until January 5, said a statement released by the office of the prime minister.
8. After a long `collective punishment`, residents of Libyan town return home
• When Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi was toppled, people took revenge on those they saw as his supporters including the entire town of Tawergha, whose 40,000 residents were forced to flee.
• Now, almost a decade after militia forces rampaged through the town, torching homes, destroying buildings and leaving farms in ruins, the people of Tawergha are coming back home.
9. EU states ban flights as Britain says new virus strain is `out of control`
• European countries banned flights from the UK on December 20, 2020 and the WHO called for stronger containment measures as the British government warned that a highly infectious new strain of the virus was `out of control`
• As the World Health Organisation urged its European members to strengthen measures against a new variant of Covid-19 circulating in Britain, European nations including Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Romania, The Netherlands and Belgium said they were moving to block air travel
10. Seifert trumps Hafeez as NZ wrap up Pakistan T20 series
• Tim Seifert`s undefeated 84 not out trumped an unbeaten 99 by Mohammad Hafeez as New Zealand claimed the second Twenty20 International against Pakistan by nine wickets in Hamilton on December 20, 2020 to take the series with a game to spare.
• The Black Caps chased down Pakistan`s 163 for six with four balls to spare at Seddon Park, after winning the first game in Auckland by five wickets
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