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December 30, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Cap on maximum four attempts to clear MBBS courses lifted
• The Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) has repealed the cap of maximum four attempts to clear theoretical phases of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and empowered universities to decide about the number of attempts by students to clear their theoretical studies.
• But critics believe that it is a step to allow universities to have unlimited number of students without caring about the minimum number of faculty members.
• However, PMC President Dr Arshad Taqi claimed that the decision would help the commission keep a check on universities/ colleges violating rules.
• He said medical and dental colleges would have to retain a minimum number of faculty and cannot exceed the limit of maximum number of students.
2. Pak embassy in Kabul resumes visa services
• The Pakistan embassy in Kabul yesterday announced to resume its full consular services from December 29, 2019 after a gap of nearly two months. The embassy made this announcement over Twitter saying: “@PakEmbKabul is happy to announce that it would be resuming its full consular services with effect from Sunday, 29 December, 2019”.
• The embassy had suspended the services on November 4, citing concerns about safety and security of its staff after harassment of some Pakistani embassy personnel in Kabul and its sub-missions where embassy vehicles were hit by motorcycles.
• Afghanistan intelligence service’s officials had been harassing, and using abusive language with the Pakistani diplomats. However, a few days after suspending the consular operations, the embassy started issuing health visas as the closure had created problems for a large number of Afghans who needed to visit Pakistan for medical treatment.
3. PM to attend WEF in Davos
• Prime Minister Imran Khan would attend the 50th anniversary of World Economic Forum (WEF) to be held in Davos, Switzerland, from January 21-24.
• According to official sources, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will accompany him.
• On the sidelines of the event, the Prime Minister will also meet dignitaries to invite foreign investors to avail investment opportunities being offered by Pakistan.
• In July this year, WEF President Broge Brende had visited Pakistan and met the Prime Minister and had extended him invitation to attend the 50th anniversary of World Economic Forum.
4. Pakistan tops countries in performing Umrah
• Pakistan topped the list of countries whose citizens went to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage since the season started on August 31, 2019.
• According to official statistics by the Kingdom, the index showed that 495,270 Pakistanis performed their Umrah during the period, followed by 443,879 Indonesians and 262,887 Indians. Other countries on the list included Malaysia, Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
• Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Ministry Spokesman Imran Siddiqui talking to Arab News said that the Saudi Arabian government had always won the hearts of the Pakistani pilgrims through exceptional hospitality.
5. Rescue 1122 service launched in Bajaur
• The Rescue 1122 formally launched its services in Bajaur tribal district, an official said on December 29, 2019.
• District emergency officer Amjad Khan said that Rescue 1122 had officially stated its services in the district after establishing a station in Khar, the headquarters of the region.
• He said the station, which was established in a government building near the Khar Bazaar, would provide services to the people of the areas falling in the Khar tehsil.
• However, he said efforts were underway to establish a station in Nawagai town as well, which would help cover maximum areas of the region.
6. PM to break ground for industrial city in Faisalabad on Jan 3
• Prime Minister Imran Khan will perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the state-of-the-art Allama Iqbal Industrial City on Jan 3 to house foreign and local investors besides giving impetus to economic activities in the country.
• The industrial city is a mega project of the Special Economic Zone of Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
7. Skardu breaks 25-year-old record
• The 25-year-old record on December 29, 2019 has been broken in Skardu as the cold wave has continued to grip various parts of Pakistan.
• According to the weather office on December 29, 2019, Skardu remained the coldest place in Pakistan with record minus 21°C.
• According to details, the small canals and ponds in Skardu have been frozen due to severe low temperature while the intermittent snowfall has also blocked the main connecting roads.
• On the other hand, fog has been reported in most plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh while in few districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
8. Taliban council agrees to ceasefire in Afghanistan
• The Taliban said on December 29, 2019 they have agreed to a temporary ceasefire nationwide. It provides a window during which a peace agreement with the United States could be signed.
• A peace deal would allow Washington to bring home its troops from Afghanistan and end its 18-year military engagement there, America`s longest. The US wants any deal to include a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not used as a base by terrorist groups.
• The US currently has an estimated 12,000 troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban chief must approve the agreement but that is expected.
9. Missile attack kills 10 at military parade in Yemen
• A ballistic missile ripped through a military parade for a Yemeni southern separatist group that`s backed by the United Arab Emirates, killing at least six troops and four children.
• Maged al-Shoebi, a spokesman for the group, blamed Houthi rebels for the attack.
• The explosion took place while the separatists, known as the Resistance Forces, were finishing a parade for new recruits at a soccer field in the capital of Dhale province, al-Shoebi said.
• The group is part of the Southern Transitional Council or STC, which seeks the return of the independent state that existed in the south until 1990.
10. National Winter games conclude at Naltar
• National Winter games competitions including 18th Saadia Khan Cup (National Skiing Championship), Children`s Ski Cup, third Snowboarding Competition, third Ice Skating Competition and second Ice Hockey Competition concluded in Naltar on December 29*, 2019.
• The events were organised by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base Kalabagh and Winter Sports Federation Pakistan.
• Ten teams from all over Pakistan including Punjab, Sindh, Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and teams from Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, GB Scouts and various associations.
• Adventure Foundation, CAA and PLP Trust also featured in different disciplines.
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