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January 05, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. US Congress allows revival of military training for Pakistan
• The resumption of training and education facilities for Pakistani military officials has cleared the final Congressional hurdles, allowing the US administration to resume the programme.
• The US State Department announced on Dec 19 that the Trump administration has decided to resume the International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Pakistan after a two-year suspension.
• The announcement, however, required a Congressional approval to become effective.
• Congress was required to convey its objections, if any, to the State Department by Jan 3. Since Congress did not respond within the given period, the programme became effective.
2. NA panel to reconsider key bills tomorrow
• The bills empowering the prime minister to give extension to the three services chiefs and the chairman of joint chiefs of staff committee are set to be passed by the parliament on Jan 8 (Wednesday).
• A new timeline for the entire legislative process had been agreed upon under which the National Assembly`s standing committee on defence would reconsider on Monday (tomorrow) the three key bills after the Friday controversy over their approval at a meeting attended by members of the defence committees of the both houses of parliament.
3. PM inaugurates Attock Model Police Station and 28 other through video link
• Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Attock Model Police Station along with 28 other police stations of the Punjab through video link.
• The police station will have all modern facilities. On the occasion MPA Jamshed Altaf, Deputy Commissioner Ali Adnan Qamar, District Police Officer Syed Shahzad Nadeem Bokhari, PRO Police Taimoor Alizai and other police officers were also present.
• After the video link inauguration by Premier Imran Khan, District Police Officer Syed Shahzad Nadeem Bokhari told newsmen that purpose behind the establishment of the model police stations is to ensure provision of quick relief to the citizens and get rid of traditional “Thana Culture”.
• “These police stations will also strengthen the public trust in the police,” he expressed his hope, adding that in the Police Department police stations have a fundamental and vital role and steps are being taken to improve the working of all the police stations
4. Massive reshuffle in KP Cabinet
• Following poor performance and public complaints against some ministers, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government January 4, 2020 announced major reshuffle in the provincial cabinet changing portfolios of 14 ministers and inducting two new ones.
• Eight special assistants were also inducted in the provincial cabinet.
• Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had earlier hinted at changes in the cabinet in light of the performance of ministers. He had also indicated that new faces particularly from former tribal belt which has now been part of the KP province would also be inducted in the cabinet.
• The two new ministers included were Iqbal Shah and Shah Mohammad.
• Khaliqur Rehman has been inducted as special assistant on higher education, Arif Ahmad Zai has been given portfolio of mineral ministry and Ghazan Jamal of excise.
• Portfolio of Local Bodies Minister Shahram Tarkai has been changed and he has been given portfolio of health while Health Minister Hasham Inamullah has been made social welfare minister.
• 8 new special assistants and 2 ministers inducted
5. 2nd phase of CPEC starts with establishment of SEZs in various parts of country
• The second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative has started with the establishment of special economic zones in various parts of the country, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi said on January 4, 2020.
• “The second phase of CPEC has now started, which is actually the establishment of special economic zones in various parts of the country,” she said in an interview with China Economic Net.
• Ambassador Hashmi remarked that with the establishment of these special economic zones and the signing of agreements between the Chinese and Pakistani agricultural sectors and with increased cooperation, agriculture was a field with great potential for investment and re-export. She said that with the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement becoming operational, the price would in any way go down, because the import duties would not apply
6. First Pakistani climber summits Mont Blanc
• Renowned Pakistani mountaineer from Skardu Mohammad Ali Sadpara, along with French climber Marc Batard, scaled Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps and deadliest in the world, on January 53 2020.
• With this, the 44-year-old Sadpara has become the first Pakistani climber to scale the peak, which rises 4,808 metres above sea level. The expedition scaled the peak from the France side.
• Through satellite communication, Mr Sadpara told Dawn that he had been visiting Europe for the last four years to climb peaks and to work on training children in climbing.
7. Massive march in India to protest citizenship law
• Over one hundred thousand protesters, many carrying the Indian tricolour flag, took part in a peaceful march in the southern city of Hyderabad on January 4, 2020, chanting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s new citizenship law.
• The protest, dubbed the Million March, was organised by an umbrella group of Muslim and civil society organisations. More than 40 per cent of Hyderabad`s estimated population of nearly 7 million are Muslims.
• Demonstrators poured into the protest site, despite the police saying no march would be allowed and that permission had only been granted for a 1,000-person gathering. The Indian government has faced weeks of acrimonious and, at times, violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was passed by Modi`s government in December.
8. Russia resumes limited oil supplies to Belarus
• Belarus has reached an agreement with Russia for limited oil supplies after Moscow earlier this week stopped supplying crude amid stalled talks on strengthening economic ties between the neighbouring countries.
• Belarusian state-run oil company Belneftekhim said January 4, 2019 that the country`s refineries started receiving the first batch of crude oil, sufficient to ensure non-stop operation of the country`s refineries in January 2020.
• Russian pipeline operator Transneft confirmed earlier on Saturday it would transfer 133,000 tonnes of oil to Belarus. According to a statement from Belneftekhim, the oil would come at a discounted price while negotiations for resuming regular imports continue.
9. China replaces top envoy to crisis-hit Hong Kong
• China has replaced its top envoy to Hong Kong, state media reported on January 4, 2020, the most significant personnel change by Beijing since pro-democracy protests erupted in the city nearly seven months ago.
• The removal of the head of the Liaison Office, which represents the central government in semi-autonomous Hong Kong, comes as the city grapples with its biggest political crisis in decades.
• “Wang Zhimin has been dismissed from his position as head of the Liaison Office” and replaced by Luo Huining, state broadcaster CCTV said, without giving details
10. Rockets hit US airbase in Baghdad
• Several rockets fell in and around Baghdad on January 4, 2020 evening, including an attack targeting an airbase housing US troops, the Iraqi military said in the wake of the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
• Several rockets fell in the city’s Jadriya neighbourhood as well as the heavily fortified Green Zone which houses government buildings and several foreign missions, including the US Embassy.
• Blasts also targeted the Balad airbase, located 80 kilometres north of Baghdad, which is hosting US troops in Iraq. Surveillance drones were sent out above the base to locate the source of the rockets.
• Iraqi military added in their statement that there was “no loss of life.”
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