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December 2018

Day by Day Current Affairs (December 18, 2018) | MCQs for CSS, PMS, NTS

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December 18, 2018: National Current Affairs

1. First Pak-aided US-Taliban talks held in UAE

• United States diplomats and Taliban representatives met in the United Arab Emirates on December 17, 2018 for talks facilitated by Pakistan on finding a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan.
• The meeting in Abu Dhabi was also attended by officials from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
• There were no statements from the participating parties at the end of the daylong meeting, although Pakistan`s Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal officially announced the start of the talks through a tweet.
• `Talks are being held in UAE,` Dr Faisal tweeted as the meeting in the UAE got under way. He reiterated Pakistan`s commitment to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and expressed the hope that the engagement that began in the UAE would `end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region`.
• He closely echoed a recent statement by the Pakistan Army`s top brass in which it was said that the corps commanders meeting `hopes for success of ongoing Afghan reconciliation process while supporting all stakeholders to bring Afghan war to a peaceful logical conclusion`.

2. Pakistan, Egypt to boost defence cooperation

• Pakistan and Egypt have agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in multiple fields including joint ventures, defence production, training and intelligence.
• The agreement came during meetings of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa with the Egyptian military and political leadership in Cairo on December 17, 2018, according to a statement issued by the ISPR.
• Gen Bajwa had interaction with Commander in Chief of Egyptian Armed Forces General Mohamed Zaki, who is also Minister of Defence and Military Production, and Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Mohamed Farid Hegazy.
• During the meetings, matters of mutual interest, military to military relations, and defence and security cooperation were discussed. General Bajwa and General Zaki also agreed to improve cooperation for regional peace and stability.

3. Pakistan releases Indian spy Hamid Ansari

• Indian spy Hamid Nehal Ansari has been released from the prison upon completion of his sentence, Pakistan announced December 17, 2018.
• Ansari, a 33-year-old Mumbai resident, was lodged in Mardan Central Prison after being sentenced by a military court to three years’ imprisonment for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card on December 15, 2015. He was arrested in Kohat district in November 2012 for illegally entering the country from Afghanistan.
• Ansari had used a fake identity card in the name of ‘Hamza’ and he had entered Pakistan through Afghanistan without travel documents. He was charged for ‘espionage’ and ‘anti-state activities.’ India claimed Ansari had crossed the border to meet a Pakistani girl he met online.
• Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said: “Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents, is being released upon completion of his sentence and is being repatriated to India.”
• Ansari will not leave for his country immediately as the Peshawar High Court has granted the government a month to complete his repatriation process. He will be handed over to Indian authorities in January at Wagah Border. Till then, he will be kept at an internment centre.

4. COP24 ends with a watered down agreement

• The UN Climate Change Conference 2018 ended on a note of disappointment on December 15 after being extended a day, with a watered down rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement, leaving many decisions to further negotiations as time ran out.
• Climate finance, which is needed to help developing countries tackle climate change challenges, was also missing as developed countries backtracked on their commitment to provide finance.
• The Katowice decision was weak on ambition with no decision to raise ambition on cutting emissions in light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 C report that says the world has essentially 12 years left to cut carbon emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and avert catastrophic climate change.

• According to the official statement by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, “The approval of the Paris Agreement Work Programme is the basis for a transformative process which will require strengthened ambition from the international community. Science has clearly shown that we need enhanced ambition to defeat climate change. From now on, my 5 priorities will be: ambition, ambition, ambition, ambition and ambition. Ambition in mitigation.

December 18, 2018: International Current Affairs

5. OIC slams killing of Kashmiris amid Srinagar lockdown

• As Indian forces continued to fire tear-gas shells at Kashmiris protesting against the killing of innocent civilians on a third consecutive day amid a lockdown of the restive valley, the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the shooting at demonstrators by the Indian forces and called upon the international community to intervene.
• Businesses and schools across the India-held territory remained closed on December 17, 2018 when the protesters marched on India`s military headquarters against the December 15, 2018 killing of more than half a dozen Kashmiris in the Pulwama region.
• Expressing condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist act and wishing the wounded prompt recovery, the OIC general secretariat asked the international community to play its role in order to reach a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir conflict, in accordance with the international resolutions adopted by the OIC and the UN Security Council, and fulfil the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

6. Moscow to establish special cyber security dept

• A special department for information security will be established within the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organisations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov told Sputnik on December 17, 2018.
• The ministry has been actively engaged in this [issue of cybersecurity]. A special department for information security will be established in the ministry in the very near future as an administrative response to the emergence of this issue, which is becoming more and more urgent.

7. Effectiveness of Russian missile system ‘confirmed’

• This comes after Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced in September that Russia would take a spate of measures to enhance safety of its troops in Syria, including the deliveries of the S-300 systems to the Arab country.
• Russia’s Iskander-M mobile short-range ballistic missile system as well as the Tornado-G and Smerch multiple launch rocket systems have confirmed their effectiveness during fighting in Syria, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov.
• He said that “in general, the Russian weapons proved to be effective in the course of the Syrian campaign, confirming its advanced characteristics and traditional advantages, such as ease of use and reliability.”

8. Germany to compensate hundreds who fled Nazis as children

• Germany has agreed to one-time payments for survivors, primarily Jews, who were evacuated from Nazi Germany as children, many of whom never saw their parents again, the organisation that negotiates compensation with the German government said on December 17, 2018.
• The New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said the government had agreed to payments of 2,500 euros ($2,800) to those still alive from among the 10,000 people who fled on the so-called `Kinder transport.
• This year is the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the transport of the children to Britain from Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
• About 1,000 survivors are thought to be alive today, with about half living in Britain, and the payment is seen as a `symbolic recognition of their suffering,` Claims Conference negotiator Greg Schneider said.

9. Rocket Lab Launches 13 Cubesats on 1st Mission for NASA

• The spaceflight startup launched 13 tiny satellites on its first-ever mission for NASA early this morning just a month after acing its first commercial flight.
• A Rocket Lab Electron booster lifted off from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 1:33 a.m. EST (0633 GMT and 7:33 p.m. local New Zealand time), kicking off the ELaNa-19 mission for NASA. [In Photos: Rocket Lab and Its Electron Booster] • Fifty-three minutes later, all of the payloads had separated from the Electron’s “kick stage” and settled successfully into a circular orbit about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above Earth.
• A Rocket Lab Electron booster carrying 13 NASA satellites, including 10 cubesats for agency’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program, lifts off from the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island on Dec. 16, 2018 on the ElaNa-19 mission.

10. Miss Philippines becomes new Miss Universe

• Miss Philippines was crowned Miss Universe on December 17, 2018 in Bangkok after a trail blasing ceremony praised for featuring its first transgender candidate but marred by gaffes about the English-speaking ability of two Asian contestants.
• Catriona Gray, 24, finished first ahead of the South African and Venezuelan finalists in the glittering televised event hosted by American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham. In the final round, Gray earned applause describing her work in the slums of the Philippine capital Manila.
• Gray – a student of music theory – beat more than 90 contestants from around the globe in the 67th instalment of Miss Universe, which was held in the Thai capital’s Impact Arena.

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Aheylia Needhata Devi

The Author belongs from Mauritius - a small island known as the paradise island of the Indian Ocean. She is a social worker, a political scientist and study Political science specializing in International relations, media and communication and Public Administration. She loves sports and involved in many public speaking events as well as debates. She has been a delegate of the model United Nations representing Greece in the sports commission and delegate of Namibia in Model African Union. She has also studied many religious scriptures such as the Holy Quran, Bible, Bhagavad Geta. She believes in unity, Unity in diversity. She would like to grab the opportunity to help some CSS aspirants in International Relations and political science.

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