December 2018

Day by Day Current Affairs (December 12, 2018) | MCQs for CSS, PMS, NTS

Important Current Affairs Daily Updates
Written by Shahzad F. Malik

December 12, 2018: National Current Affairs

1. Additional advocate general resigns

• A recently appointed provincial law officer tendered on December 11, 2018 his resignation citing personal reasons.
• Additional Advocate General Adeel Aqil Mirza sent his resignation to Advocate General of Punjab Ahmad Awais. The AGP would persuade Mr Mirza to take his resignation back.
• The Punjab government on December 7 appointed 18 new additional advocate generals and 42 assistant advocate generals. The government retained four law officers working since previous political regimes.
• Faisal Hussain Chaudhry, brother of Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, was also appointed additional advocate general.

2. Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan discuss drug control measures

• Counternarcotic officials from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan began brainstorming sessions here on December 11, 2018 to chart out measures for effectively combating the trafficking of Afghan opiates.
• The thirteenth `Triangular Initiative` meeting of senior officials from the three neighbouring countries will help find solutions to their common challenges by adhering to a comprehensive and balanced approach to improve the regional cooperation in countering drug trafficking, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
• The `Triangular Initiative` was brokered in 2007 by UNODC as complementary to peace-building efforts in the region, promoting information exchange and encouraging joint field operations among the three countries against drug trafficking networks and serious operatives.
• According to the latest survey of UNODC, the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan remained at very high levels despite a 20 per cent decrease compared to 2017.

3. `Mobile tax policy` for foreign visitors announced

• Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar on December 11, 2018 announced the `mobile tax policy` for foreign visitors after the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) released details of duties imposed on imported handsets.
• Listing the conditions for foreign visitors that will not require registration or duty charges, he said: `For benefit of people travelling into Pak from abroad, the mobile tax policy for you is: 1) One phone allowed to be registered as duty free 2) No Registration/Duty needed on any phone (s) using roaming 3) No Reg/Duty needed if phone(s) to be used in Pak for less than 30 days.
• Earlier, in order to curb illegal imports of handsets, the FBR and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had laid out new procedures for regularisation of unregistered mobile devices.

4. Five bills introduced in NA amid noisy protest by opposition

• The National Assembly on December 11, 2018 carried out some legislative business on a messy private members day as legislators managed to introduce five bills, including two constitution amendment bills, amid noisy proceedings due to inability of Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to maintain order in the house.
• The movers remained confused about the status of their bills after presenting them before the house and on two occasions, the deputy speaker ejected the bills on a voice vote and did not order a headcount despite repeated requests and challenge by the movers.
• The introduced bills, however, will remain in the cold storage as Speaker Asad Qaiser has not been able to constitute the house committees due to a stand-off between the government and the opposition over the issue of chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
• The deputy speaker kept on announcing that the bills stood introduced without referring them to the yet-to-be-formed committees, while Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan claimed that the committees would be constituted within a week or so.

5. Yousaf Baig Mirza named PM`s special assistant

• Prime Minister Imran Khan expanded his media team on December 11, 2018 by appointing Yousaf Baig Mirza, a former managing director of Pakistan Television, as his special assistant on media affairs. Mr Mirza is currently working as chief executive officer of a private TV channel.
• `The prime minister has been pleased to appoint Yousaf Baig Mirza as Special Assistant on media affairs with effect from Dec 7, ` said a notification issued by the cabinet secretariat.
• His appointment would be in an honorary capacity, the notification said, indicating that he will not get a salary, but will receive perks.
• Mr Baig`s appointment in the presence of Iftikhar Durrani, who is also working as special assistant to the prime minister on media affairs, came as a surprise even for some of the ministers.

6. PN vessel launched in China

• The launching ceremony of Pakistan Navy`s Survey Vessel was performed in China.
• The 3,000-tonne vessel is under construction at the Jiangsu DAJIN Heavy Industries Company Limited, China, and is the largest survey vessel to be built for Pakistan Navy under Sino-Pak collaboration.
• The ship is 80.8 metres in length and is equipped with modern survey equipment. It has the capacity to operate for 50 days at sea, said the statement.
• The ship will be commissioned and inducted into the PN Fleet in August 2019 after completion of harbour and sea acceptance trials, the navy said, adding `the new ship will be one of the most technologically advanced survey vessels of Pakistan Navy and will strengthen Pakistan`s marine scientific research capability while providing flexibility to carry out underwater search and localisation operations`.

7. Chinese investors given another extension for two CPEC projects

• The government on December 11, 2018 gave another extension to Chinese investors for achieving financial close of two major power sector projects worth $2.2 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
• The projects given extensions include 4000MW Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line and 300MW Gwadar Coal Power Project.
• At a meeting of the Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) presided over by Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan, the $1.7bn Matiari-Lahore line was given a three-month extension to achieve financial close with a fresh deadline of Feb 28, 2019.
• The contractors were earlier given a six month extension in financial close in March this year which ended on Dec 1. The new deadline was approved on assurance that commercial operation date (COD) of the project would remain unchanged at Mar 31, 2021. The delay was caused in firming up transmission line service agreement, finalisation of loan-related matters with the State Bank of Pakistan and problems in land leases.

December 12, 2018: International Current Affairs

8. Khashoggi, other journalists named Time ‘Person of the Year’

• Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in October at his country’s Istanbul consulate, was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” on December 11, 2018, an honour he shared with other targeted journalists recognised as “guardians” of the truth.
• Among those named with Khashoggi were Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo — currently imprisoned in Myanmar — and the workforce of the Capital Gazette in the US city of Annapolis, including five staff members killed in a June shooting.

9. Pakistan added to US list of violators of religious freedom

• US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced on December 11, 2018 that he had added Pakistan to a list of countries that violate religious freedom.
• Others on the list include Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, SaudiArabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. `I designated (these states) as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom,` Secretary Pompeo said.
• Last year, Mr Pompeo had placed Pakistan on a special watch list a step short of the designation which is used to persuade the targeted nation into introducing reforms suggested in annual US reports for religious freedom.
• The designation is based on these annual reports and opens the door for further actions, including US economic sanctions.
• The United States has already imposed strict economic sanctions on Pakistan for its alleged refusal to follow the Trump administration`s Afghan strategy.
• The US media insisted that Tuesday`s designation shows Washington`s concerns about the treatment of minorities in Pakistan, including Shias, Ahmadis and Christians.

10. Taliban attack on security team near Kabul kills 12

• The death toll from a suicide bombing targeting a security forces convoy outside Kabul early on December 11, 2018 jumped to 12, officials said, with eight civilians killed in the latest Taliban-claimed attack near the Afghan capital.
• The officials said it was a suicide attack on an operational team from the National Directorate for Security, but he gave no further details.
• The car bomb follows a wave of deadly violence against Afghan forces across a year in which insurgents have inflicted record-high casualties on security personnel in the war-torn country.
• The blast took place in Paghman district west of Kabul as the convoy was returning from an overnight operation, interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said.

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Shahzad F. Malik

Shahzad Faisal Malik is the administrator of and is responsible for managing the content, design, and overall direction of the blog. He has a strong background in Competitive Exams and is passionate and sharing information with others.
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