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December 2018

Day by Day Current Affairs (December 15, 2018) | MCQs for CSS, PMS, NTS

Important Current Affairs Daily Updates
Written by Shahzad F. Malik
WELCOME TO CSS TIMES DAY BY  DAY CURRENT AFFAIRS, YOUR BEST SOURCE FOR UP-TO-DATE AND DAILY TOP CURRENT AFFAIRS 2018 FOR PREPARATION OF CSS, PMS, BANKING, NTS, RAILWAYS AND ALL COMPETITIVE EXAMS.  “DAY TO DAY CURRENT AFFAIRS” BASICALLY IS TOP 10 NEWS SUMMARY ON CURRENT HAPPENINGS OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE FOR ALL EXAMINATIONS

December 15, 2018: National Current Affairs

1. Pakistan`s long-term debt rating downgraded

• Fitch Ratings, one of the three major global rating agencies, on December 14, 2018 downgraded Pakistan`s long-term debt rating to `B-Negative` owing to high debt repayment obligations, low foreign exchange reserves and fragile fiscal situation. The outlook, however, remains stable.
• The New York-based agency said the downgrading of the rating from `B` to `B-` reflected heightened external financing risk from low reserves and elevated external debt repayments, as well as continued deterioration in the fiscal position, with a rising debt-to-GDP ratio. It said that a successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on IMF support could help stabilise external mances, but the programme would then face significant implementation risk.
• Pakistan`s liquid reserves have continued to fall, reaching $7.3 billion as of Dec 6equivalent to 1.5 months of imports despite significant stabilisation efforts by the State Bank of Pakistan and the new government.

2. Second $1bn Saudi deposit arrives in SBP account

• The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has received second tranche of $1 billion from Saudi Arabia, which will support the country`s dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
• The central bank confirmed on December 14, 2018 that it has received $1bn from the kingdom as part of the promised $3bn package.
• On December 13, 2018, a press release issued by the SBP showed its reserves at $7.2bn during the week ended on Dec 7. Accounting for the latest inflow, the new figure should be around $8.2bn.
• The first tranche of $3bn promised aid from Saudi Arabia landed on Nov 9, which pushed up the SBP dollar holdings to $8.062bn. The third and final instalment of $1bnisexpectedinJanuary2019.
• During Prime Minister Imran Khan`s visit to Saudi Arabia for the Future Investment Initiative, the kingdom pledged $3bn in cash injections to support SBP`s foreign exchange reserves, which have continuously been falling.

3. KP Govt unveils five-year development plan

• The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on December 14, 2018 unveiled a five-year ambitious development plan but said it didn`t know where the Rs4 trillion funds required for its execution would come from.
• The five-year plan and the prime minister`s vision required a huge sum of amount to be invested in multiple sectors across the province. However, the prime minister told the minister that the real issue was focus on better governance and not the money.
• Peshawar would get Rs5 billion under the plan to become a modern city

4. Six FC men martyred, 4 terrorists killed in Turbat clash

• Six security officials were martyred in an intelligence based operation conducted on a terrorists’ hideout in Wakai area near Buleda, Turbat on December 14, 2018. The operation also resulted in killing of four terrorists as they attacked a convoy of security personnel with heavy fire near Iran’s border.
• Terrorists targeted one of the vehicles of security forces through improvised explosive device (IED) and as a result six security personnel embraced Shahadat (martyrdom), said a press release issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). In exchange of fire four terrorists were killed.
• Balochistan Information Minister Zahoor Ahmed Buledi told newsmen six members of the Frontier Corps were martyred in the attack. Fourteen others were wounded.
• No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

December 15, 2018: International Current Affairs

5. US firm`s tourism plane reaches space for first time

• Virgin Galactic`s Space Ship Two, VSS Unity, flew higher than it ever has before on December 13, 2018, surpassing what the US Air Force considers the boundary of space, and marking the first manned flight to space from US soil since 2011.
• The brief, suborbital flight with two pilots on board was a key milestone for the company headed by British tycoon Richard Branson, who is striving to send tourists to space at a cost of $250,000 per seat.
• No spacecraft with people on board has taken off from US soil since the American space shuttle program ended, as scheduled, seven years ago.
• Since then, the world`s space agencies have relied on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.
• In the meantime, a burgeoning commercial space industry is rushing to close the gap, as companies hurry to complete spacecraft that can carry astronauts and tourists into microgravity.

6. Pentagon demands $331m from KSA, UAE

• The United States is seeking reimbursements from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) after the Pentagon failed to charge them for fuel and refueling services.
• The oversight was reported by The Atlantic last week, and now the U.S. is requesting $331 million from the two countries.
• US Central Command reviewed its record and is seeking $37 million for fuel and $294 million for mid-air refueling services conducted by American forces.
• “Our partners have been individually notified about our intent to seek reimbursement, and have been given estimates as to how much they owe,” Pentagon spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich said in a statement.
• Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country and the crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition, with support of the U.S., launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

7. Robot turns out to be man in suit

• A robot on show at a Russian state-sponsored event has turned out to be a man dressed in a costume.
• Robot Boris featured on Russian TV and was apparently able to walk, talk and dance. But soon after its appearance journalists began to question the bot’s authenticity.
• In a picture published afterwards on social media, the neck of a person was clearly visible. The robot is in fact a 250,000 rouble costume called Alyosha the Robot, made by a company called Show Robots. While the organisers of the Proyektoria technology forum – which was aimed at youngsters – had not claimed the robot was real, the TV coverage on Russia-24 suggested it was

December 15, 2018: Sports Current Affairs

8. Pakistan to host 2020 Asia Cup

• The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has awarded the hosting rights for the 2020 Asia Cup to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). However, the final venue for the tournament remains unclear over whether it will be played in Pakistan or the UAE.
• The decision was made in the Bangladesh capital on December 13, 2018.
• `The next Asia Cup will be hosted by Pakistan, and the hosting right belongs to them. Where they will host the tournament, it`s up to them,` ACC president Nazmul Hassan Papon was quoted as saying by The Dhaka Tribune. The tournament is scheduled to be played in September 2020, and will be played in the T20 format. It is set to precede the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup.
• The UAE has served as Pakistan`s adopted home for their bilateral series since 2010 after international cricket stopped in the country following the March 2009 terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.
• Furthermore, Pakistan hosted group `B` matches of the 2018 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup.
• The 50-overs-a-side 2018 Asia Cup was scheduled to be played in India, but was shifted to the UAE with India triumphing over Bangladesh in the final by three wickets.

9. Karachi to host five matches, Lahore three in PSL 4

• Karachi and Lahore will play host to eight Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in the fourth season as the countdown to the glitzy Twenty20 league began on Friday with the announcement it`s the schedule.
• Five matches will be played at Karachi`s National Stadium, including the March 17 final, while Lahore`s Gaddafi Stadium will play host to three matches as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues to increase the number of matches in the country with every edition. Lahore hosted the final in the second edition of the league before hosting two matches last season when Karachi hosted the final.
• The fourth edition begins in Dubai on Feb 14 when defending champions Islamabad United take on Lahore Qalandars.

10. Bangladesh cruise to series triumph over West Indies

• Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar slammed half centuries as Bangladesh cruised to an eight-wicket win over the West Indies in the third and final One-day International to take the three-match series 2-1 here at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on December 14, 2018.
• Tamim hit an unbeaten 81 while Soumya added 80 off 81 balls to guide Bangladesh to202-2 in 38.3 overs after Mehidy Hasan`s career best 4-29 helped the home side restrict the West Indies to 198-8 in 50 overs.

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