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December 2018

Day by Day Current Affairs (December 24, 2018) | MCQs for CSS, PMS

Important Current Affairs Daily Updates
Written by Shahzad F. Malik

December 24, 2018: National Current Affairs

1. Qureshi embarks on four-nation tour on December 24, 2018

• Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will leave for a visit to four countries on Monday (December 24, 2018) as part of the government`s policy of outreach to the neighbourhood. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and senior officials from the ministry of foreign affairs will accompany him.
• The foreign minister will visit Afghanistan, Iran, China and Russia from Dec 24 to 26, says a Foreign Office press statement issued in Islamabad on Sunday.
• During the visit, Mr Qureshi will discuss Pakistan`s bilateral relations with the leadership of these countries to strengthen cooperationin various areas.
• The visit is part of promoting various initiatives and ideas for regional cooperation, especially for promoting economic and people-to-people contacts.

2. NIH starts vaccine production after long break

• The National Institute of Health (NIH) has finally started focusing on vaccine manufacturing, which is its key responsibility.
• It is expected that the institute will be able to meet half the country`s requirement for anti-venom for snake bites by June 2019 via local production.
• One of the key functions of the institute is to manufacture vaccines. During the 80s and 90s, NIH was producing enough vaccines to meet the country`s requirements and was also looking to export them. The institute stopped producing vaccines after that.

3. International Hindko moot on Jan 5

• The 7th International Hindko Conference will be arranged in the provincial metropolis from Jan 5 to 6, next year.
• Literary and cultural organisations, Gandhara Hindko Board, and Gandhara Hindko Academy, are organising the two-day moot.
• The theme is ‘achieving national unity through the promotion of Hindko and Indo-Aryan languages’.
• The Hindko Board’s chairman Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi will oversee all the arrangements for the literary and cultural event

4. PPSC launches probe into `merit violations` in filling AP slots

• The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), after allegations of merit violations in selection of doctors against regular slots of assistant professors in various specialties, has launched a high level probe into the matter.
• The issue surfaced when some affected aspirants for the slots came up with `evidences` of violation of rules of both the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) and the PPSC, in the selection of candidates.
• The PPSC launched the probe after many aspirants for the slots in various specialties went into litigation, while some other directly took up the issue with the senior hierarchy of the commission.

December 24, 2018: International Current Affairs

5. Ghani names Pakistan opponents to two top posts

• Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has appointed hardline opponents of Pakistan to two top security posts, potentially complicating US efforts to revive peace tallks with the Taliban before next summer`s withdrawal of 7,000 American troops.
• Ashraf Ghani announced on December 23, 2018 that Amrullah Saleh will be the new Interior Minister and Asadullah Khaled Defence Minister.
• Both are former intelligence chiefs who have blamed Pakistan for the Taliban`s resurgence in recent years and have even called for it to be declared a state sponsor of terror. Both men will serve as acting ministers until the parliament approves their appointments.
• The reshuffle comes four months after President Ghani rejected the resignations of former interior minister Wais Ahmad Barmak and Defence Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami following criticism over an increasingly deadly insurgency.

6. Pentagon opposes Trump’s troop withdrawal plan

• The US Department of Defence has informed Congress that it wants to continue to apply direct and indirect military pressure on the Taliban, while supporting nascent efforts for peace in war-ravaged Afghanistan.
• The Pentagon’s strategy paper, submitted to Congress this week, clearly differs with President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw roughly half of the more than 14,000 of US troops stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2019.
• Defence Secretary James Mattis also disagreed with the Trump plan and resigned earlier this week when the president rejected his advice to keep troops in Syria and Afghanistan. Pakistan has welcomed the Trump plan, calling it “good” for the ongoing peace process.

7. China mulls over `new foreign investment law`

• China`s legislature is considering a new law governing foreign investment that will streamline existing rules and prevent the forced transfer of technology.
• The new `unified law` will replace three existing laws on Chinese and foreign equity joint ventures, non-equity joint ventures and wholly foreign-owned enterprises, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
• A draft of the proposed legislation was presented at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People`s Congress (NPC) which began on Sunday. When in place, the new law would bar local governments from restricting market access for foreign firms and from forcing them to transfer technology.

8. Egypt appoints new chief of military intelligence

• Egypt has appointed Major General Khaled Megawer to serve as the head of the country`s military intelligence service, replacing Mohamed al-Shahat, two security on December 23, 2018.
• Egypt`s military and intelligence services play a leading role in top level decision making, taking a more public role since current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the 2013 military overthrow of Egypt`s first freely-elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
• The sources did not give a reason for al-Shahat`s dismissal, but Sisi has replaced several high-ranking security officials in the military, interior ministry and the general intelligence service over the last couple of years.

9. First female speaker of Fijian parliament dies at 72

• Dr Jiko Luveni, the first female speaker of Fiji`s Parliament, has died in office at the age of 72.
• Luveni first served for eight years as minister for women, social welfare and poverty alleviation in the interim government of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 coup.
• She won formal election to Parliament in 2014 and became Fiji`s first female speaker in October that year. She was re-elected in last month`s general election and retained the role of speaker. Luveni was also the first woman to graduate in dentistry from the Fiji School of Medicine.-

10. SpaceX launches first security mission for US military

• A Spacex rocket carrying a US military navigation satellite blasted off from Florida`s Cape Canaveral on December 23, 2018, marking the space transportation company`s first national security space mission for the United States.
• The Falcon 9 rocket carrying a roughly $500 million GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp lifted off from Cape Canaveral at 8:51am local time (1351 GMT). Four previous scheduled launches in the last week, including one on Saturday, were cancelled due to weather and technical issues.
• The successful launch is a significant victory for billionaire Elon Musk`s privately held rocket company, which has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co.

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