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January 22, 2021: National / International Current Affairs
1. China gifts 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine
• China on January 21, 2021 announced a gift of 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine for Pakistan.
• `China would provide 500,000 doses of vaccine by Jan 31,` Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said after a telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
• The first consignment of vaccines was being given as a `grant assistance` and goodwill gesture by China.
• The vaccine being provided by China is manufactured by the state-owned firm Sinopharm and is said to boast an efficacy of 79 per cent.
2. Punjab govt abruptly changes LG secretary
• The Punjab government has in a surprise move on January 21, 2021 posted a new secretary to the local government and community development (LG&CD) department and committed to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold the local government elections before Sept 30.
• LG&CD department secretary Dr Sajid Mahmood Chauhan who accompanied law minister Basharat Raja to hold a scheduled meeting with the ECP chairman and members, was transferred even before he could return to the provincial capital
3. Income Tax Amendment Ordinance 2021 promulgated
• The president has promulgated Income Tax Amendment Ordinance 2021 for extending the deadline for availing tax amnesty scheme for construction sector.
• The Income Tax Amendment Ordinance 2021 has been made effective from January 1, 2021. Under the Income Tax Amendment Ordinance 2021, the income computed and tax payable shall be on project-to-project basis which shall be computed and paid at the specified rates. The estimated project life for tax purposes will not exceed three and a half years
4. ECNEC approves Rs25.5 billion K-IV project
• The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on January 21, 2021 approved much-awaited Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) with an estimated cost of Rs25.5 billion.
• The ECNEC approved the project in a meeting chaired by Minister for Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh.
• The ECNEC considered and approved a summary regarding construction of Gwadar-Ratodero road project (M-8) sponsored by the ministry of communication and executed by National Highway Authority at a rationalised cost of Rs38 billion. The ECNEC approved the project in view of its strategic importance as it will facilitate connectivity for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects through improved road linkages
5. Biden removes Muslim ban on first day in office
• In his first order after taking the oath of his office on January 20, 2021, US President Joe Biden removed the travel ban on some Muslim and African nations placed by his predecessor Donald Trump.
• The order revokes the final version of a Trump-era executive order which blocked people from seven, mostly Muslim-majority, nations from entering the United States.
6. Biden revokes Trump report on `patriotic education`
• President Joe Biden has revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote patriotic education in schools, but that historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda.
• In an executive order signed on Wednesday in his first day in office, Biden disbanded Donald Trump`s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew a report it released on Monday
7. Passengers flying to US will need to quarantine on arrival
• In addition to requiring a test before they fly, travellers to the US will need to quarantine upon arrival, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday as he announced a raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.
• `In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America,` said Biden
8. US resumes WHO support, launches $1.9 trillion virus plan
• The United States on January 21, 2021 said it would resume its funding of the UN’s health agency as President Joe Biden shifts towards greater international cooperation in the fight against Covid-19, while also launching a $1.9 trillion plan to tackle the pandemic at home.
• On his first day in the job, Biden despatched his top expert Anthony Fauci to Switzerland and confirmed he had reversed the decision of former president Donald Trump to quit the World Health Organization (WHO)
9. China sanctions 28 Trump team members, including Pompeo
• The Chinese government has announced sanctions against outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo and 27 other high-ranking officials under former President Donald Trump, accusing them of “prejudice and hatred against China.”
• In a strongly-worded statement published after US President Joe Biden was sworn into office in the early hours of Thursday morning, Beijing time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the former Trump administration officials were “anti-China politicians” who had undermined the relationship between the US and China, reported international media
10. Russia committed HR violation in Georgia war
• Russia committed a series of human rights violations during its war with Georgia in 2008, the European court of human rights ruled on January 21, 2021, saying Moscow was responsible for the murder of Georgian civilians, and the looting and burning of their homes.
• In a landmark judgment, the court said the Kremlin was guilty of unlawfully rounding up ethnic Georgians and their subsequent “inhuman and degrading treatment”. This included the torture of Georgian prisoners of war and the expulsion of Georgian villagers from their homes in South Ossetia
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