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December 25, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Cabinet approves formation of Local Government Commission
• Amid a growing dispute between the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA), cabinet approved the formation of a Local Government Commission on December 24, 2019.
• The commission is a requirement under the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act 2015. Its formation was announced in a post-cabinet briefing by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashig Awan.
• The cabinet took up the matter of sanitation workers` delayed salaries. She said the CDA chairman told the cabinet that the MCI was responsible for paying sanitation workers but did not do so, and the CDA released the funds as a result.
2. Polio markers to be imported from India
• The federal cabinet on December 24, 2019 decided to give a one-time permission for import of polio markers from India and reduce prices of 89 medicines by 15 per cent.
• The markers, which are used to mark the fingers of children after administering them polio vaccine, are approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
• It is worth mentioning that after India`s Aug 5 annexation of occupied Kashmir, the Pakistan government had on Aug 9 decided to suspend all kinds of trade with India.
• However, since a large number of medicines and raw material are imported from India, the country`s pharmaceutical industry started demanding that the ban be lifted on them because otherwise Pakistan could face severe crisis of medicines, especially life-saving drugs, within a few weeks. Consequently, the government had in September lif ted the ban on import of medicines and raw material from India.
3. Dr Moeed Yusuf appointed as PM`s special assistant
• Prime Minister Imran Khan on December 24, 2019 appointed Dr Moeed Yusuf as his special assistant on national security and strategic policy planning.
• A notification issued by the Cabinet Division said that Dr Yusuf would hold the status of the minister of state.
• He would be the fourteenth special assistant to the prime minister.
• Prior to his appointment as special assistant, DrMoeed Yusuf was working as chairman of Strategic Policy Planning Cell a position that he held since Sept 26. The cell was based in Prime Minister`s Office and had been tasked to provide input on issues that fell under National Security Committee`s mandate
4. PSX appoints new chief
• Pakistan Stock Exchange has appointed Farrukh Hussain Khan as its chief executive officer, an internal memo released by the company secretary on December 24, 2019 said.
• The appointment had been made on the recommendation of the bourse`s board of directors and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
• `Khan will assume the charge of his office in due course of time,` the memo stated.
• Khan has been the Chief Investment Officer/ Executive Director at BMA Asset Management and has been serving for over 13 years.
5. China hosts Japan-S. Korea summit with eyes on North
• China hosted the leaders of squabbling neighbours South Korea and Japan for their first official meeting in over a year on December 24, 2019, flexing its diplomatic muscle with America`s two key Asian allies and seeking unity on how to deal with a belligerent North Korea.
• The gathering in the southwestern city of Chengdu was held with the clock ticking on a threatened `Christmas gift` from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that could reignite global tensions over its nuclear programme.
• Kim has promised the unidentified `gift` which analysts and American officials believe could be a provocative missile test if the US does not make concessions in their nuclear talks by the end of the year.
6. Putin claims Russia leads world in hypersonic weapons
• President Vladimir Putin said on December 24, 2019 that Russia has got a strong edge in designing new weapons and that it has become the only country in the world to deploy hypersonic weapons.
• Putin said that for the first time in history Russia is now leading the world in developing an entire new class of weapons unlike in the past when it was catching up with the United States.
• The Russian leader noted that during Cold War times, the Soviet Union was behind the United States in designing the atomic bomb and building strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
• Now we have a situation that is unique in modern history when they are trying to catch up to us, he said. Not a single country hashypersonic weapons, let alone hypersonic weapons of intercontinental range
7. Emirates` long-serving boss to hand over controls next year
• Tim Clark will retire as the president of Emirates Airline at the end of June 2020 after more than three decades at the state-controlled business that has helped to transform Dubai into one of the world`s major travel crossroads.
• Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said on December 24, 2019 in an internal memo to staff that Clark would stay on as an adviser to the company.
• `Through wars, economic recessions, disasters natural or manmade, and various industry upheavals, Tim has ably steered and grown Emirates to its standing today as the world`s largest international airline, and an eminent player in the global airline industry,` Sheikh Ahmed said in the memo
8. India approves funds for population survey amid protests over law
• India`s federal cabinet on December 24, 2019 approved funds for a census and population survey to be conducted next year amid fears that the database could be used to build a controversial citizens` register against which there have been widespread protests.
• Hundreds of thousands of Indians have taken to the streets to protest against a new citizenship law enacted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s Hindu nationalist government that provides non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who moved here before 2015 a pathway to Indian citizenship.
• Some of these protests have led to clashes between the police and demonstrators in which at least 21 people have been killed
9. Bahrain`s Bager gets 10-match ban for racist gesture
• FIFA has banned Bahrain defender Sayed Bager for 10 matches for `discriminatory behaviour` in a World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong, football`s world governing body has said.
• Bager, 25, formed a slanteyed gesture in the direction of Hong Kong supporters after a goalless draw in the city on November 14.
• The incident was captured on camera from the stands as the players left the field and the footage was posted on Twitter.
• FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Bager last month and announced that the player had also been fined 30,000 Swiss francs ($30,549.90) and warned over his conduct.
10. Cabinet approves PSB restructure
• The federal cabinet headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on December 24, 2019 approved restructuring of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and its executive committee, reducing the numbers of members.
• After discussing a summary moved by Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), the federal cabinet decided that PSB will be comprised of 11 members including two members from private sector.
• Well-placed sources informed that the PSB board currently comprises 37 members while the 16-member executive committee has now been reduced to five.
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