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January 2, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. Army shoots down Indian spy drone along LoC
• The Pakistan Army shot down an Indian `spy drone` along the restive Line of Control on January 1, 2019, a day after India`s ruthless shelling from across the LoC left a woman dead and nine others injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
• `Pakistan Army troops shot down Indian Spy Quad copter in Bagh sector along [the] Line of Control, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor announced in a tweet at 9.56pm.
• The tweet included picture of the spy drone, but the ISPR chief did not give any more details, at least immediately, as to how deep the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had intruded into Pakistani airspace. However, in the same tweet, he said: `Not even a quadcopter will be allowed to cross [the] LoC, In Shaa Allah.
• It was a clear reference to the claim made by the Indian government more than two years ago that their army commandos had carried out surgical strikes in AJK, on Sept 28, 2016, days after an attack on an army base in Uri in held Kashmir had left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
2. Four soldiers martyred as attack on FC compound foiled
• Four security personnel were martyred and four others injured while trying to prevent militants from entering a compound inside a training centre of the Frontier Corps (FC) in the cantonment area of Balochistan`s Loralai district on January 1, 2019. Four attackers, including a suicide bomber, were also killed in the clash.
• The target of the heavily armed attackers seemed to be the FC training centre adjacent to which many offices and residential compounds of security forcesare located.
• The attackers were challenged by the personnel at the entry point of the compound, said a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) in Rawalpindi.
• The sources said that after failing to enter the compound the attackers barged into another compound adjacent to a checkpost and opened fire on security personnel from there. The personnel cordoned off the compound and returned fire.
3. AJK to observe 2019 as year of tourism
• The AJK government here January 1, 2019 announced to observe new year of 2019 as the year of tourism with aim to turn the scenic state into a hub of tourism industry. And at the same time, the state government moves in to preserve archaeological sites in this part of the Himalayan state of Jammu & Kashmir.
• The AJK Departments of Tourism, Archaeology and Information are all set to jointly hold a grand three-day 1st Kashmir Conference on Archaeology from January 4, it was officially announced.
4. Shahrukh posted as Aviation Division secretary
• Squadron Leader (r) Shahrukh Nusrat, a BS-22 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service, presently posted as Secretary Climate Change Division, is transferred and posted as Secretary Aviation Division with immediate effect and until further orders. The notification was issued by Establishment Division
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January 2, 2019: International Current Affairs
5. US military apologises for tweet about dropping bombs
• US Strategic Command apologised on for a joke in `bad taste` after tweeting it was ready to drop something `much bigger` than the traditional Times Square crystal ball at New Year.
• In a message posted, and later deleted, on Twitter, the military force that controls the US nuclear arsenal released a video in which B-2 bombers drop bombs, with the message: `If ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger.
• Amid the jaw-dropping and eye-raising on social media that followed, STRATCOM whose slogan is `peace is our profession` then tweeted an apology.
6. US, Israel exit UN cultural agency
• The United States and Israel officially quit of the UN`s educational, scientific and cultural agency at the stroke of midnight, the culmination of a process triggered more than a year ago amid concerns that the organisation fosters anti-Israel bias.
• The withdrawal is mainly procedural yet serves a new blow to UNESCO, co-founded by the US after World War II to foster peace.
• The Trump administration filed its notice to withdraw in October 2017 and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu followed suit.
• The Paris-based organisation has been denounced by its critics as a crucible for anti-Israel bias: blasted for criticising Israel`s occupation of East Jerusalem, naming ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites and granting full membership to Palestine in 2011.
7. Far-right Bolsonaro sworn in as Brazil`s president
• Right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro, who has vowed to crack down on political corruption, violent crime and ignite a moribund economy with deregulation and fiscal discipline, was sworn in as Brazil`s president on January 1, 2019.
• The former Army captain and seven-term fringe congressman rode a wave of anti-establishment anger to became Brazil`s first far right president since a military dictatorship gave way to civilian rule three decades ago.
• Bolsonaro plans to realign Brazil internationally, moving away from developing nation allies and closer to the policies of Western leaders, particularly US President Donald Trump, who sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to his inauguration.
• As a clear sign of that diplomatic shift, Bolsonaro plans to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, breaking with Brazil`s traditional support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue.
8. US president signs bill encouraging arms sales to Taiwan
• President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation aimed at enhancing the United States’ influence in the Indo-Pacific region and reaffirming Washington’s commitment to Taiwan, particularly arms sales.
• Trump signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act and 12 other bills, the White House announced, though the U.S. president seemed eager to make clear he will not be constrained by the bill’s demands that the U.S. be more engaged in the region, according to Taiwan’s news agency CNA. “Several provisions of the Act … purport to dictate the policy of the United States in external military and foreign affairs, or to require the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives with international partners,” Trump said in a statement.
9. Egypt takes part in Red Sea’s joint naval drills
• Naval units from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Djibouti, Yemen and Sudan started on January 1, 2019 joint naval drills in the Red Sea, the armed forces reported on its website.
• The exercises, dubbed the “Red Wave-1” drills, included implementation of collective tasks, communication under water, supply ships with fuel, and means of protecting navel units while crossing dangerous areas, the statement added.
• The joint training also focused on several activities of sea combat for enhancing the skills of army personnel, it added. “The exercises aimed at boosting the combat capability and efficiency of the participating forces to carry out any mission under any circumstances,” the armed forces reiterated. The drills also will help exchange expertise and achieve more understanding and integration by the participant forces.
10. Bollywood Actor-writer Kader Khan dies
• Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan passed away after a long illness at the age of 81 in Toronto, Canada, on December 31, 2018.
• Born in Kabul, Khan made his acting debut in 1973 with Rajesh Khanna in Daag and went on to act in over 300 films.
• Before becoming an actor, he had written dialogues for Randhir Kapoor-Jaya Bachchan`s Jawani Diwani. He wrote dialogues for over 250 movies.
• As a screenwriter, he frequently collaborated with Manmohan Desai in movies such as Dharam Veer, Coolie, Suhaag and Amar Akbar Anthony. He also collaborated with director Prakash Mehra in films such as Sharaabi, Lawaaris and Muqaddar ka Sikandar.