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January 27, 2020: National / International Current Affairs
1. Three KP ministers fired for `plotting` against CM
• While the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-iInsaf (PTI) is still struggling to keep the coalition governments intact at centre and in Punjab, cracks appeared in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet with the sacking of three key ministers in one go on January 26, 2020.
• Senior minister for tourism Mohammad Atif Khan, health minister Shahram Tarakai and revenue minister Shakeel Ahmad paid the price for `plotting` against KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, a day after CM`s meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.
• The KP governor, in exercise of powers conferred upon him under clause 3 of Article 132 read with clause 1 of Article 105 of the Constitution, was pleased to de-notify the three provincial ministers from their offices, said a notification issued by the administration department. `On their de-notification from their respective offices, they have ceased to hold the portfolios of provincial ministers with immediate effect,` said the notification.
2. Economic freedom in Pakistan has increased: report
• Pakistan`s overall economic freedom score has increased by 0.6 point, with higher scores for judicial effectiveness and property rights outpacing declines in monetary freedom and fiscal health, says a US think-tank report released on January 25, 2020.
• The Economic Freedom Index 2019, compiled by the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, gave Pakistan 55.0 on a scale of 0 to 100, making it the 131st freest economy on a list of 186.
• The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank with close link to the Trump administration, has been compiling this report for the last 25 years
3. Europe MPs to vote on India`s law, held Kashmir`s annexation
• The European Union Parliament is set to debate and vote on a scathing resolution against India`s annexation of held Kashmir in clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and the country`s enforcement of new citizenship laws which have been widely criticised for discriminating against Muslims.
• The resolution, which has been drafted and supported by lawmakers from the Renew Group, has called on the European Union and its member states `to promote the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir
4. China stiffens defences against epidemic as death toll hits 56
• China expanded drastic travel restrictions on Sunday to contain an epidemic that has killed 56 people and infected nearly 2,000, as the US, France and Japan prepared to evacuate their citizens from a quarantined city at the outbreak`s epi centre.
• China has locked down the hard-hit province of Hubei in the country`s centre in an unprecedented operation affecting tens of millions of people in a bid to slow the spread of the respiratory virus.
• Its ability to spread appears to be `getting stronger` though it is `not as powerful as SARS`, top Chinese health officials said at a press conference.
5. World`s largest twin-engine jetliner successfully completes maiden flight
• Boeing Co successfully staged the first flight of the world`s largest twin-engined jetliner on January 25, 2020 in a respite from the crisis over its smallest model, the grounded 737 MAX.
• The 777X, a larger version of the 777 mini-jumbo, touched down at the historic Boeing Field outside Seattle at 2pm after a debut which began almost four hours earlier at Boeing`s revamped wide-body assembly lines north of the city.
• The decision to take advantage of a gap in clouds to start the months of testing needed before the jet can carry pas-sengers came after two attempts had to be postponed due to high winds
6. France withdraws controversial grenade from police use
• France will withdraw from use an explosive tear gas grenade used by riot police and blamed for injuring numerous protesters, the interior minister said on January 26, 2020, amid growing anger at perceived police brutality.
• Sanctioned for use by French law enforcement since 2011, the GLI-F4 grenade explodes with a loud, powerful blast to release a cloud of tear gas. Each shell contains 26 grammes of TNT.
• The grenade is designed to help law enforcers under attack escape from a dangerous situation, but is blamed for maiming protesters in sometimes hairy confrontations with police in more than a year of anti-government `yellow vest` protests.
7. Israel formally allows citizens to visit Saudi Arabia
• Israel on January 26, 2020 officially gave its citizens the right to travel to Saudi Arabia for religious and business visits, in the latest sign of warming ties between the two states.
• The interior ministry`s announcement will have limited practical impact, as Israelis have been travelling to Saudi Arabia via third countries, especially Jordan. But Israel had never granted official approval for such travel by both Jewish and Muslim Israelis. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri `signed for the first time an order enabling an exit permit for Israelis to Saudi Arabia`, his office said.
• Israel has a peace deal with two Arab countries Jordan and Egypt but its occupation of Palestinian territories has long served as a major factor preventing similar accords with the rest of the Arab world
8. India decommissions historic British-era rifles
• Police in northern India on January 27, 2020 bid goodbye to the historic British-era bolt-action rifles after using them for one last salute during the annual Republic Day parade.
• The Lee-Enfield .303 rifle was the main firearm of British colonial military forces and, despite being designated “obsolete” around 25 years ago, it has been the main weapon used by police in Uttar Pradesh state over seven decades.
• The rifle — used by the British during the two World Wars — fires one shot at a time, after which the barrel needs to be reloaded by pulling the bolt.
• They have been in use since independence (from the British in 1947) and now they’ll be replaced by INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) and SLRs (Self-Loading Rifles.
9. Over and out: Britain readies to leave EU on 31st
• Britain calls time on almost half a century of European Union membership this week, striking out alone in a historic move that has bitterly divided the country.
• At 11pm on January 31, the UK will become the first country to leave the 28-nation EU, the world`s largest single market are at hat it joined in 1973.
• Nothing will immediately change, owing to a transition period negotiated between London and Brussels to allow both sides to agree a new future partnership.
• Britons will be able to work in and trade freely with EU nations until December 31, and vice versa, although they will no longer be represented in the bloc`s institutions.
10. Rockets land near US embassy in Baghdad
• A volley of rockets landed near the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 26, 2020, two security sources said, in the latest unclaimed attack on American installations in the country.
• Reporters heard loud thuds emanating from the western bank of the Tigris, where the US embassy and most other foreign diplomatic missions are located.
• One security source said three Katyusha rockets hit near the high-security compound while another said as many as five struck the area
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