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January 3, 2019: National Current Affairs
1. President approves Justice Khosa`s appointment as next CJP
• President Arif Alvi on January 2, 2019 approved the appointment of Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa as new Chief Justice of Pakistan with effect from Jan 18.
• Justice Khosa will assume charge of the office after the retirement of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Jan 17.
• Justice Khosa will remain chief justice for almost 11 months and will retire on Dec 21, 2019.
• Justice Gulzar Ahmad will hold the office of chief justice after the retirement of Justice Khosa and will retire on Feb 2, 2022.
• Born in 1954, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa got a Master of Laws degree from Queens` College, University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom in 1978 with specialisation in public international law with subjects law of peace, the law of war and armed conflict, the law of international institutions and the law of civil liberties.
• He was enrolled as an advocate of the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 1979 and in the Supreme Court in 1985.
2. Another Indian spy drone shot down in AJK
• The Pakistan Army shot down another Indian spy drone along the restive Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on a second consecutive day on January 2, 2019, the army`s media affairs wing said.
• `Pakistan Army troops shot down another Indian spy quad copter today in Satwal Sector on Line of Control, tweeted Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, director general of the InterServices Public Relations (ISPR) at 9:12pm.
• Satwal sector is located in Hajira, a subdivision in AJK`s Poonch division, which has frequently witnessed ceasefire violations by Indian army.
• The ISPR chief`s tweet included a picture of the spy drone but there were no further details.
• On January 1, 2019, army shooters had downed a similar reconnaissance drone along the LoC in Bagh sector, which is also located in Poonch division.
3. Chinese contractor to build warship for Pakistan: report
• China has started building an advanced warship that would be exported to Pakistan under a defence agreement between the two neighbouring countries.
• The newspaper, which quoted China State Shipbuilding Corp one of the largest state-owned defence contractors said the construction had started at the Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard in Shanghai. It is said to be a version of China`s most advanced warship.
• Though the Chinese corporation did not specify the type, China Daily quoted Pakistan Navy as saying the ship`s class was Type 054AP, which is based on China`s People`s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy`s Type 054A frigate. Pakistan has ordered four such ships, the newspaper said, quoting a statement by the Pakistan Navy.
• In June last year, Pakistan Navy had announced that it was purchasing two multirole Type 054A frigates from China for bolstering its warfighting capability.
• The navy had said that Pakistan`s fleet of Type054A warships would grow to four by 2021. The PLA Navy has about 30 of the Type 054A ships, each of which has a loaded displacement of 4,000 tonnes and is equipped with advanced radars and missiles.
4. KP gets first anti-harassment ombudsperson
• The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on January 2, 2019 approved appointment of prominent human rights activist Rukhshanda Naz as the first anti-harassment ombudsperson of the province.
• Briefing journalists following a meeting of the provincial cabinet, Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said that the cabinet approved appointment of Ms Naz as the province`s first anti-harassment ombudsperson.
• The government had failed to appoint an anti-harassment ombudsperson in the province since the enforcement of Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace Act in 2010 that prompted a non-governmental organisation to move Peshawar High Court for the purpose. The court ordered appointment on the position in September 2017.
• In November 2017, the then cabinet had approved amendments to the Act to pave way for the appointment of ombudsperson to hear cases of harassment against women at workplaces.
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5. Country’s first electronic grave introduced in Karachi
• The first electronic grave has been introduced in the country which is comprised of QR Code scan technology.
• The electronic grave has been introduced at Gora Cemetery in Karachi and the grave belongs to late German-born philanthropist Dr Ruth Pfau, who dedicated her life to fight against leprosy in Pakistan.
• The smart electronic grave comes with a QR bar code that visitors can scan on their phones to access information about the late humanitarian and the lifelong services she rendered in helping out lepers
January 3, 2019: International Current Affairs
6. Ex-Boeing executive replaces Mattis at Pentagon
• An acting defence chief, Patrick M. Shanahan, replaced US Secretary of Defence James Mattis at the Pentagon on January 2, 2019 and pledged to work with President Donald Trump to carry out his vision.
• The former defence secretary left his office on January 1, 2019 night but Acting Secretary Shanahan took charge of his new office on January 2, 2019 as January 1, 2019 was a holiday. Mattis resigned on Dec 20 following a disagreement with Trump over his plan to withdraw American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
• Since the resignation, Trump has indicated flexibility on his withdrawal schedule but has also made it clear that he did not intend to keep US troops in `unending wars` for long.
• Mattis had planned to stay as Pentagon chief through Feb 28 to ensure a smooth transition but Trump announced on Dec 23 that he will have a new secretary by Jan 1.
• Although on Dec 20, Trump released a glowing tweet announcing that Mattis was retiring `with distinction` at the end of February, he later changed his mind.
7. Qatar Airways buys 5pc stake in Chinese airline
• Qatar Airways said on January 2, 2019 that it had acquired a five per cent stake in China Southern Airlines, as it seeks to establish itself in the Asian aviation market.
• The state-owned airline said in a statement the deal was part of its `strategy to invest in the strongest airlines around the world`, but did not specify the cost of the transaction.
• China Southern Airlines is one of China`s `big three` carriers.
• Qatar Airways also owns a 20pc stake in International Airlines Group which holds British Airways under its umbrella as well as shares in LATAM Airlines Group, Italy`s Meridiana and Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific.
• The latest deal comes as Qatar seeks new partners and routes for the national airline due to an ongoing diplomatic dispute in the Gulf.
• Since June 2017, Qatar has been politically and economically isolated regionally by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
8. Norway`s electric cars zip to new record
• Almost a third of new cars sold in Norway last year were pure electric, a new world record as the country strives to end sales of fossil-fueled vehicles by 2025.
• In a bid to cut carbon emissions and air pollution, Norway exempts battery driven cars from most taxes and offers benents such as free parking and charging points to hasten a shift from diesel and petrol engines.
9. US scientists invent new device to treat Parkinson’s disease
• Scientists from University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) on the western US coast have invented a wireless controlled neuro stimulator that could provide fine-tuned treatments to patients with diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
• UC Berkeley researchers worked out a wireless artifact-free neuromodulation device (WAND) that is able to listen and stimulate with an electric current in the brain at the same time, said a study that was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering on Monday. The closed-loop device works like a “pacemaker for the brain” by automatically monitoring the brain’s electrical activity and delivering electrical stimulation if it detects something gone awry.
• With the ability to stimulate and record simultaneously, WAND can prevent the unwanted movements of brain current by adjusting in real time the stimulation parameters on its own if it detects signs of a tremor or a seizure.
10. Indian women make history by entering temple
• Two Indian women in their 40s have made history by entering a prominent Hindu shrine in the southern state of Kerala, after months of protests against women getting in.
• The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of “menstruating age” – defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court overturned that ban but protesters then attacked women and stopped them from entering the shrine.
• Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanaka Durga, 44 entered the shrine around dawn. The two women had also tried entering the temple on 24 December but they had to turn back because of protesters.
• Temple officials, who say the women have “defiled” the temple, closed the sanctum for an hour in order to perform “purification rituals”.