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December 27, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Annular solar eclipse wows skywatchers across Asia
• Skywatchers from Saudi Arabia and Oman to Pakistan and Singapore were treated to a rare `ring of fire` solar eclipse on December 26, 2019.
• Annular eclipses occur when the Moon is not close enough to the Earth to completely obscure the Sun, leaving a thin ring of the solar disc visible.
• While these types of eclipses occur every year or two, they are only visible from a narrow band of Earth each time and it can be decades before the same pattern is repeated.
• Depending on weather conditions, this year`s astronomical phenomenon was set to be visible from the Middle East across Pakistan, southern India and Southeast Asia before ending over the northern Pacific.
• Pakistan witnessed the penumbral eclipse from 07:30am till 13:06pm, partial eclipse from 08:34am till 12:01pm, total eclipse from 08:37am till 11:58am while the greatest eclipse was observed at 10:18am, assistant meteorologist Dawood Khan said
2. Two Pakistani soldiers martyred in Indian firing from across LoC
• Two Pakistan Army`s soldiers were martyred and two civilians injured along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in unrelenting ceasefire violations by Indian troops.
• A befitting response by Pakistani troops had left at least three Indian soldiers dead and some others injured, added the officials.
• `Indian CFVs (ceasefire violations) along [the] LoC [continued] during the last 36 hours. Responding to CFVs, in Haji Pir Sector Pakistan Army troops damaged [an] Indian post, killing 3 Indian soldiers including a Subedar, and injuring few others,` said Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), military`s media affairs wing, in a tweet posted at 9.25am.
• `In Dewa Sector, Naib Subedar Kandero and Sepoy Muhammad Ehsan of Pakistan Army [had] embraced shahadat,` he added.
3. Former CJP Jillani awarded Clifford Wallace prize
• Former chief justice of Pakistan Justice Tassadug Hussain Jillani has been awarded the 2020 J.
• Clifford Wallace Award by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society in recognition of his extraordinary career as a judge and a jurist.
• According to a press release, the decorated career of Justice Jillani spans thirty years (1994-2014).
• He has also served as Pakistan`s representative judge at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
• Justice Jillani is the co-chair of the World Justice Project, which works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.
4. Every fourth district in Punjab to have a metropolitan corporation
• Every fourth district of Punjab will have a metropolitan corporation, taking the number of such bodies to nine from one, according to the recently promulgated Punjab Local Government Act 2019.
• Previously, only the provincial headquarters of Lahore enjoyed the status of a metropolitan corporation.
• The eight other districts added to the list now include Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sahiwal and Sargodha.
• In addition, there will be 16 municipal corporations, 134 municipal committees, 160 town committees and 136 tehsil councils in the province.
• The minimum population benchmark for a city to be classified as metropolitan or municipality has been set at a quarter million.
• According to Section 9 (1) of the local government act, an area displaying distinct urban features may either be classified as metropolitan, municipality or a town. Under Section 9 (2) all areas comprising Lahore district and the areas comprising cities of another eight districts will have a metropolitan.
5. Riyadh plans OIC FMs meeting on Kashmir
• Saudi Arabia is planning to convene a meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for a discussion on the situation in India-held Kashmir.
• This was conveyed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office.
• Prince Faisal was on a daylong visit to Pakistan to convey the Saudi leadership`s gratitude for not participating in the recently held Kuala Lumpur summit in view of the kingdom`s reservations and dispelling the impression that Riyadh`s attitude towards Islamabad was patronising. Prince Faisal also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.
6. Actor Ashraf Rahi passes away
• Stage, film and TV actor Ashraf Rahi died of cardiac arrest here. He was 66.
• The actor had been facing multiple medical complications, including chronic diabetes and hepatitis C.
• Rahi was a contemporary of comedians such as Mastana and Babu Baral.
• Rahi performed in almost 3,000 stage productions, both in the country and aboard
7. Afghan consulate in Peshawar reopens today
• The Afghan consulate in Peshawar, which was closed in protest after raid by police on its property about two months ago, will reopen on December 27, 2019 (today).
• First Secretary Faridoon Khalil said in a brief statement issued here on Thursday that the consulate would start functioning from December 27, 2019 (today). He said that visa section would start issuing visas.
• The consulate was shut down in protest on October 11 when district administration along with police removed Afghanistan`s national flag from a disputed property in the city.
8. Japan executes first foreigner in 10 years in family murder
• Japan executed its first foreigner in 10 years on December 26, 2019, a Chinese man convicted in the 2003 murder and robbery of a family of four.
• Wei Wei, 40, was hanged on Thursday at a detention center in Fukuoka where he had been on death row for more than 16 years, Justice Minister Masako Mori said.
• Wei was convicted of robbing and killing a clothing store owner and his wife and two children at their home in Fukuoka. He and two Chinese accomplices dumped the bodies into the ocean after attaching weights to them, Mori said at a news conference.
• Japan has maintained the death penalty despite growing international criticism
9. Court rules Turkey violated freedoms by banning Wikipedia
• Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on December 26, 2019 that a more than two-year block on access to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia in the country is a violation of freedom of expression.
• The ruling opens the way for lifting the website ban, which has been in place since 2017 due to entries that accused Turkey of having links to terrorist organisations.
• On its website, the court said it had ruled “that freedom of expression, which is under the protection of the 26th clause of the Constitution, had been violated.”
• Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organisation that hosts Wikipedia, had applied to Turkey’s highest court to challenge the access block
10. Erdogan paves the way for troop deployment in Libya
• President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on December 26, 2019 opened the way for direct Turkish military intervention in Libya, announcing a parliamentary vote in early January on sending troops to support the UN-backed Tripoli government against strongman Khalif a Haftar.
• Sending Turkish troops will complicate the situation in an already fragile country torn by internal dissent since the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Qadhafi in 2011.
• `We will present the motion to send troops (to Libya) as soon as parliament resumes` on January 7, Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
• `God willing, we will pass it in parliament on January 8-9 and thus respond to an invitation` from the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), he said
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