·India’s Supreme Court condemns Kashmir internet ban as unlawful
India’s Supreme Court ruled that the five-month digital lockdown imposed on the Kashmir region by Narendra Modi’s government is unlawful and gave the administration seven days to justify its continued use. In a judgment on the constitutionality of internet restrictions, India’s highest court said on 10th Jan that an indefinite internet suspension was “impermissible” and should only be enforced in “unavoidable” situations. The three-judge bench also criticized the use of section 144, a colonial-era law banning public gatherings, used repeatedly over the past month by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to stifle nationwide protests against a divisive new citizenship law.
· Ukrainian Airlines plane on fire before crash, Iranian report finds
A Ukrainian airliner was on fire immediately before it crashed southwest of Tehran killing all 176 on board, according to an initial report by Iranian investigators. Meanwhile, Ukraine said on 9th Jan, its investigators wanted to search the crash site for possible Russian missile debris.
The Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800, flying to Kiev and carrying mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians, crashed shortly after taking off on Wednesday from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport. The report by Iran’s civil aviation organization cited witnesses on the ground and in a passing aircraft flying at high altitude as saying the plane was on fire while still aloft.
The three-year-old airliner, which had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday, encountered a technical problem shortly after take-off and started to head toward a nearby airport before it crashed, the report said.
· 2019 was second hottest year on record
All-time temperature records were broken in France, Germany and elsewhere; the Greenland ice sheet experienced exceptional melting; and, as 2019 came to a close, broiling temperatures contributed to devastating wildfires that continue in Australia. Now European scientists have confirmed what had been suspected: 2019 was a very hot year, with global average temperatures the second-highest on record. Only 2016 was hotter, and not by much. The finding, by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an intergovernmental agency supported by the European Union, continues an unrelenting upward trend in temperatures as emissions of greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and change the climate.
·Trump pulls back from war with Iran but instability to continue
For a period of approximately two hours on 7th Jan night, Washington seemed as though it was on the brink of war. Speculation abounded that Donald Trump would address the nation. House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office confirmed she had been briefed by the vice president on developments in Iran. Mobile phone footage of Iranian ballistic missiles hitting Iraqi air bases housing US soldiers began to beam onto TV screens, frightening in their raw, unedited immediacy. But by 10pm local time, the mood music had changed. A tweet by Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gave grounds for optimism. Iran did not seek “escalation or war”, it said, suggesting that Iran had “concluded” its retaliatory measure for the US killing of its top commander – a crucial point given speculation about a possible second wave of attacks.
· White House targets Iran with raft of new sanctions
The Trump administration unveiled new sanctions against Iran on 10th Jan, targeting eight senior government officials in addition to key parts of the country’s metals industry. The new restrictions – flagged by President Donald Trump this week as retaliation for the Iranian attack on military bases housing US soldiers in Iraq – will place significant pressure on the country’s already struggling economy.
·Untested Conservative-Green coalition takes office in Austria
Austrian voters watched with interest on 7th Jan as a new government took office comprising the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Greens. 7th Jan swearing in at Vienna’s Hofburg palace marked the comeback of ÖVP leader Sebastian Kurz as chancellor. The 33-year-old wins back for Austria the title of youngest head of government from Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (34), who took office last month. The new Viennese alliance marks two firsts: the first time the Greens have joined an Austrian federal government; and the first Austrian cabinet, of 15 members, to have a majority of women.
·Russian patriarch blames West for church rows in Balkans and Ukraine
The Russian Orthodox Church has accused the West of political meddling in religious affairs, as tension soared in Montenegro over a new law and Ukraine marked one year since its historic spiritual split from Moscow. Police in Montenegro kept watch over followers of the rival Serbian and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches on Monday night as they celebrated Christmas Eve according to their calendar, amid a wave of street protests and fears of clashes.
·Pedro Sanchez wins vote to form new Spanish government
Spain’s Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez has won a parliamentary investiture vote, allowing him to form the country’s first-ever coalition government of the modern era and opening the way to negotiations aimed at solving the Catalonia crisis. Mr. Sanchez’s candidacy secured a simple majority on 7th January, receiving 167 votes in favor and 165 against, with 18 abstentions.
·Rebel Libyan general rejects Putin and Erdogan call for ceasefire
Libyan rebel general Khalifa Haftar has rejected a joint Russian and Turkish appeal for a ceasefire, advanced on the western city of Misrata, and announced he will continue his campaign to oust the United Nations-recognised government in Tripoli. By dismissing the truce, Haftar has snubbed his ally, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and his main external antagonist, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met in Istanbul on Wednesday. In Libya, as in Syria, Moscow and Ankara are on opposite
·At least 56 killed in stampede at Iranian general’s funeral
At least 56 people were killed in a stampede as tens of thousands of mourners packed streets for the funeral of a slain Iranian military commander in his hometown on 7th Jan, forcing his burial to be delayed by several hours, state media said. Gen Qassem Suleimani’s burial began in the early evening in the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman, four days after his killing in a US drone strike in Iraq that plunged the region into a new crisis and raised fears of broader conflict.
·At least four people were killed, including a senior government official, when a car bomb exploded close to a checkpoint near Somalia’s parliament in the capital Mogadishu on 8th Jan, police said.
A plume of thick black smoke was seen over the city and witnesses said a number of vehicles were on fire. Islamist group Al Shabaab claimed the attack, after a rise in activity in recent days by the Al Qaeda linked group which has seen it inflict mass casualties in Somalia and attack a US military base in Kenya.
· It will be “basically impossible” to negotiate all aspects of the future relationship between the European Union and Britain by the end of this year, the head of the European Commission said on 8th Jan, adding that both sides must pick priorities.
Speaking at the London School of Economics before meeting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Ursula von der Leyen cast doubt on his timetable for an agreement defining the long-term post-Brexit relationship by the end of 2020. “The transition time is very, very tight […] so it is basically impossible to negotiate all that I have been mentioning, so we will have to prioritise,” she said. Johnson has said that Britain will not extend the transition period, and will not seek a deal based on close alignment with EU rules, although his spokesman said trade talks did not need to be completed all at once. Von der Leyen’s views are widely shared in the EU. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the bloc, told reporters that Britain had to be sensible.
·Ex-Nissan CEO: Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan
Ex-Nissan chief and Carlos Ghosn protege Hiroto Saikawa is slamming his former mentor’s brazen escape from Japan, calling it a betrayal. Ghosn fled because he was afraid he would be found guilty at trial, Saikawa told reporters in Tokyo on 9th January. “I feel like I have been betrayed again,” he said. Ghosn spoke with international media in Lebanon for more than two hours on Wednesday, his first public press conference since fleeing Japan last week. He slammed Japan’s criminal justice system, which he said “violates the most basic principles of humanity.” He also named Saikawa as one of the Nissan executives who he claims plotted with Japanese prosecutors to oust Ghosn from the automotive empire he had built between Nissan (NSANF), Renault (RNLSY) and Mitsubishi Motors.
GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 12th January 2020
As compared to 4th January 2020
|Global indices as of 12th January 2020|
|NASDAQ (Jan 10)||9,178.86||9203.43|
|FTSE (Jan 10)||7,587.85||7598.12|
|CAC (Jan 10)||6,037.11||6042.55|
|DAX (Jan 10)||13,483.31||13495.06|
|SGX NIFTY (Jan 11)||12,305.50||12291.00|
|NIKKEI 225 (Jan 10)||23,850.57||23739.87|
|STRAITS TIMES (Jan 10)||3,255.95||3247.48|
|HANG SENG (Jan 10)||28,638.20||28561.00|
|TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jan 10)||12,024.65||11970.63|
|KOSPI (Jan 10)||2,206.39||2186.45|
|SET COMPOSITE (Jan 10)||1,580.63||1579.64|
|JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jan 10)||6,274.94||6274.49|
|SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jan 10)||3,092.29||3094.88|
|Global indices as of 4th January 2020|
|NASDAQ (Jan 03)||9,020.77||9092.19|
|FTSE (Jan 03)||7,622.40||7604.30|
|CAC (Jan 03)||6,044.16||6041.50|
|DAX (Jan 03)||13,219.14||13385.93|
|SGX NIFTY (Jan 04)||12,238.00||12248.50|
|NIKKEI 225 (Dec 30)||23,656.62||23837.72|
|STRAITS TIMES (Jan 03)||3,238.82||3252.00|
|HANG SENG (Jan 03)||28,451.50||28543.52|
|TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jan 03)||12,110.43||12100.48|
|KOSPI (Jan 03)||2,176.46||2175.17|
|SET COMPOSITE (Jan 03)||1,594.97||1595.82|
|JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jan 03)||6,323.47||6283.58|
|SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jan 03)||3,083.79||3085.20|
- A blast inside a mosque in Quetta’s Satellite Town area during 10th Jan evening prayers claimed 15 lives and left 19 people injured, Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove confirmed.
According to Quetta Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema and hospital sources, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Amanullah and the mosque’s imam were among the deceased. A spokesman for the Balochistan government, Liaqat Shahwani, also confirmed to AFP that a suicide bomber was to blame.
- Three children were killed when the wall of a primary school building fell on them in village Bhooro Sand, near Nagarparkar town in Sindh, on 10th january.
The victims, identified as six-year-old Ambreen, five-year-old Muqeema and her brother, Ali Raza, were playing near the wall when it fell on them. The victims’ relatives and villagers, who retrieved the bodies from the debris, told local journalists that the building of the government primary school was in a very dangerous condition and they had time and again requested the relevant authorities to demolish it, but to no avail.
- Prime Minister Imran Khan on 9th Jan inaugurated Pakistan’s largest skills development program titled ‘Hunarmand Jawan’.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Imran said that this program will put Pakistan on the road to success.”I need you all to understand that there is no such thing as ‘happily ever after’ that only exists in fairy tales. In real life, there are ups and downs and smart people make sure that they use the time when they are in difficulty to propel themselves towards success later,” the prime minister said while explaining the basis on which the program was created.”I believe, barkat has not come to this country because a small number of people kept becoming richer while everyone else suffered. This is not how enlightened societies work. In such societies equal opportunities are given to everyone. What is the American dream model? It ensures that anyone who works hard will be able to lift themselves up and create a better future for themselves.
- The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on 9th Jan termed some sections of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, as going against the Shariah.
Addressing a press conference on 9th Jan, chairman of the CII, Dr Qibla Ayaz, said the council held a two-day-long meeting during which it concluded that sections 14-D, 15-A and 26 of the NAO were un-Islamic. Section 14 of the law pertains to presumption against accused accepting illegal gratification, Section 15 pertains to disqualification to contest elections (or to hold public office) and Section 26 pertains to the tender of pardon. Ayaz said that according to the council, handcuffing suspects and airing footage of the arrest on media is un-Islamic. Additionally, the council said that it was not the suspects’ responsibility to prove their guilt and keeping a suspect in custody for long periods without a case also went against Islamic principles. As per the CII, plea bargains and turning of suspects into approvers is also against the Shariah. Ayaz said with the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, the accountability law will become further discriminatory. “NAB law is not compatible with Islamic laws on crime and punishment,” Dr Ayaz said, adding that the council will also review amendments to the law.
- Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Azakhel dry port in Nowshera district on 10th The dry port has been completed at a cost of Rs 510 million and is expected to boost trade and economic activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Imran congratulated Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on the completion of the project. “Now let me tell you why no government has ever invested money on railways … it is because railways is the medium of travel for the poor, not the rich. Money was always poured into things and projects that will benefit the rich elite of the country,” the prime minister said.
- A biopic on Malala Yousafzai has been in the works since 2017 and before its release at the end of the month, we’ve now gotten a trailer.
The Bolly wood production titled Gul Makai stars Reem Shaikh as the young Pakistani activist.
- Amid an ongoing controversy over gas shortages, the federal government on 8th Jan said the shortfall would almost double next year unless infrastructure constraints were phased out through cooperation of the stakeholders concerned, particularly Sind.
At a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) presided over by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the ministry of energy reported that gas shortfall was increasing due to about 7 per cent decline in domestic gas production and 5pc growth in consumption when compared with last year, effectively creating a 12pc gap between the demand and supply.
- Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar on 8th Jan expressed concern that Pakistan, which used to export food items, has now been transformed into a food-importing country.
Presiding over a meeting of the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council board, the minister said that the situation was very serious and the threat of climate change was showing signs by creating a colossal damage. He said that currently the country faced degradation and depletion of natural resources, including water, climate change, resource conflicts, rapid urbanisation, malnutrition and hunger and poverty. “Being an agriculture country there is a need to improve the performance of the farm sector,” said Mr. Bakhtiar, who is also president of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council’s Board of Governors.
- The World Bank on 8th Jan slightly lowered country’s growth rate projections for the current fiscal year and next two years owing to continuation of tight monetary policy and fiscal consolidation coupled with external factors.
In its latest report “2020 Global Economic Prospects” released on Wednesday, the bank forecast Pakistan’s current year growth rate at 2.4 per cent — about 0.3pc lower than its estimates of June 2019 — before touching 3pc next fiscal year and 3.9pc in FY2022. “Pakistan’s growth is expected to rise to 3pc in the next fiscal year after bottoming out at 2.4pc in FY2019-20, which ends June 30”, said the bank adding that macroeconomic adjustment in the country including a continuation of tight monetary policy and fiscal consolidation is expected to continue. The lower growth rate forecast is generally in line with a similar (0.2pc) decline in global growth rate during the current year and 1.5pc decline in the South Asian region.
|F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 12th January 2020 as compared to 4th January 2020|
|Countries||PKR rate as of 4th January 2020||PKR rate as of 12thJanuary 2020|
|Saudi Arabia Rial||41.30||41.55|
Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices
As of 12th January 2020 2019 As Compared
To 4th January 2020
|Position as of 12th January 2020|
|Symbols||KSE100 Index||PSX-KMI All Shares Index|
|Advance 219 (Curr)||Current 43207.05||Current 20332.46|
|Decline 118 (High)||High 43241.78||High 20343.24|
|Unchanged (Low) 18||Low 42523.07||Low 19994.45|
|Total change 355||683.98||338.01|
|Position as of 4th January 2020|
|Symbols||KSE100 Index||PSX-KMI All Shares Index|
|Advance 126 Curr)||Current 42323.30||Current 20035.58|
|Decline 213 (High)||High 42835.08||High 20237.11|
|Unchanged 17 (Low)||Low 42077.45||Low 19958.16|
|Total Change 356||-157.46||-41.67|