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January 08, 2021: National / International Current Affairs
1. Pakistan tests multi-launch rocket system
• Pakistan on January 7, 2021 successfully tested an indigenously developed extended-range guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (MLRS).
• The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), while announcing the successful test flight of Fatah-1 (guided multi-launch rocket system), said the new weapon system would give the Army `capability of precision target engagement deep in enemy territory`.
• Fatah-1 can carry the conventional warhead and it has a range of 140 kilometres
2. 20.76m lost livelihood due to lockdowns: survey
• Pakistan`s 20.76 million workforce suffered livelihood losses due to coronavirus related lockdowns and a large majority of them got back to work after July 2020, an official survey reveals.
• The Planning Commission on Thursday said the country`s 35 per cent (about 55.74m) population of 10 years and older was working before the onset of Covid-19, but due to closure of activities after implementation of lockdowns, this declined to 22 pc (about 35.04m people). `This means almost 20.76m population was affected,` the commission said, citing the survey conducted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS)
3. Circular debt rose to Rs2.306tr in November
• The government confirmed on January 7, 2021 that power sector`s circular debt went past Rs2.306 trillion as of Nov 30, 2020, up by Rs156 billion over the first five months of the current fiscal year, at a rate of Rs31.2bn per month.
• With this on the table, a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) presided over by Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar was also informed by the Ministry of Information Technology that a meterless smart metering system successfully tested and proved on ground was not being adopted by power distribution companies
4. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Power Tabish resigns
• In an unceremonious exit, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Power (SAPM) Tabish Gohar dispatched his resignation to PM Imran Khan from Dubai, informed official sources confirmed.
• Gohar is the second technocrat to leave the post of SAPM on Power within a quarter as chronic power sector challenges continue to haunt the government. Earlier, Shahzad Qasim had resigned in the first week of November after he was sidelined from the Power Division and asked to focus only on mineral marketing
5. US Congress certifies Joe Biden as next US president
• Congress formally certified Joe Biden as the next US president on January 7, 2021, dealing a hammer blow to Donald Trump whose supporters stormed the Capitol hours earlier, triggering unprecedented scenes of mayhem in the seat of American democracy.
• Lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives successfully beat back Republican efforts to deny Biden the electoral votes needed to win, prompting loud cheers when the certification was announced
6. Member of Trump`s cabinet, deputy security aide resign
• Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced her resignation on January 7, 2021, the first cabinet minister to join a growing list of US President Donald Trump`s staff leaving over the storming of the Capitol by his supporters. Four people were killed in the clashes that followed.
• Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said the mob attack `has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside`. She said her resignation would take effect on Monday
7. WHO calls for intensified measures over ‘alarming’ virus variant
• The World Health Organization’s European branch on January 7, 2021 said more needed to be done to deal with the alarming situation brought on by a recently discovered variant of the novel coronavirus.
• Speaking at a press conference, the WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge, called the current situation “a tipping-point in the course of the pandemic,” as Europe was both challenged by surging cases and new strains of the virus causing Covid-19
8. Trump concedes Biden`s win
• President Donald Trump for the first time acknowledged his defeat in the Nov 3 election on January 7, 2021 and promised there would be an orderly transition` on Jan 20,after Congress concluded the electoral vote count certifying president elect Joe Biden`s victory.
• `Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the f acts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on Jan 20, Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter by his social media director
9. Scientists explain how crocodiles follow a pattern of evolution
• New research by scientists at the University of Bristol explains how a “stop-start” pattern of evolution, governed by environmental change, could explain why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs.
• Crocodiles today look very similar to ones from the Jurassic period some 200 million years ago.
10. Scientists discovered a Nubian giraffe in Uganda
• The average height of a giraffe is around 18 feet, but scientist stumbled upon two that are half the size.
• Conservation scientists discovered a Nubian giraffe in Uganda that is nine feet, four inches tall and then an Angolan giraffe that stood just eight and a half feet.
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