⦁ Impeachment managers appointed amid turns for worse for Trump
It was a historic day in Washington on 16th Jan as the 100 members of the US Senate were sworn in for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Shortly after midday, the seven impeachment managers appointed by House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi to represent House Democrats in the trial, walked to the Senate where they read the articles of impeachment. Earlier The US House of Representatives voted to send articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate on 15th Jan, paving the way for only the third presidential impeachment trial in US history. In a historic vote in the House of Representatives on 15th Jan afternoon, the 435-member chamber approved a resolution to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. It was approved by 228 to 193, broadly on party lines.
⦁ Russia installs new PM as Putin launches political shake-up
Tax official Mikhail Mishustin has become Russia’s prime minister as a government shake-up marked the start of a bid by President Vladimir Putin to change the nation’s power balance and prepare for his own political future. Mr. Putin signed a decree on 16th Jan to appoint Mr. Mishustin as premier after his candidacy was approved overwhelmingly by the state Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament that acts as a rubber stamp for Kremlin initiatives.
⦁ French pensions protests the longest since May 1968 ‘revolution’
French protest strikes against president Emmanuel Macron’s reform of the pension system will enter their seventh week on 17th Jan, a record since the May 1968 “revolution”. The movement appears to be fizzling out, but the denouement of the crisis, which has cost the RATP transport and SNCF railway companies more than €1 billion, is messy and inconclusive.
⦁ Venezuelan opposition barred from congress as convoy attacked
Armed civilians attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying Venezuelan opposition politicians to congress on 15t Jan, backing recent efforts under President Nicolás Maduro to bar opposition leader Juan Guaidó from presiding over parliament. A crowd of men hit the cars with traffic cones and crowbars, breaking one car’s back window, according to a video recorded by an opposition member from inside the vehicle. The convoy then sped away, tailed by several individuals on motorbikes.
⦁ Bollywood turns on Modi after protests at citizenship law
When a Bollywood superstar joined students protesting against a mob attack at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, India’s film industry set up an unlikely clash with Narendra Modi’s government. Deepika Padukone’s appearance marked the most dramatic, decisive and risky intervention yet by Bollywood after weeks of protest in India. A wave of actors and directors have recently joined or supported demonstrations against what critics say is an anti-Muslim citizenship law and violence against students.
⦁ Iranians’ anger at shooting down of plane mirrors wider frustrations
Iranians have been horrified and infuriated by the shooting down of a Ukrainian civilian airliner in their country. They blame the authorities for failing to halt commercial air traffic at Tehran’s international airport in the hours after Iranian ballistic missiles struck bases in Iraq hosting US troops. Iranians do not understand why their military did not identify the aircraft as a passenger jet, nor why they failed to promptly assume blame for shooting it down. Criticism deepened after a senior military commander declared that he told the government the day of the incident that the aircraft had been brought down by misunderstanding.
⦁ Spain: Death toll rises to two in Tarragona chemical plant blast
Firefighters have found the body of a second victim following a massive explosion and fire at a chemical factory in Tarragona in northeastern Spain, they said on 15th Jan. The blast on Tuesday left another eight injured, rescue officials said, and on 15th Jan the fire continued to burn at the factory, operated by petrochemicals firm Industrias Químicas del Óxido de Etileno (IQOXE).
⦁ Robert Abela sworn in as Malta’s new prime minister
Lawyer Robert Abela (42) was sworn in as Malta’s prime minister on 13th Jan, succeeding Joseph Muscat who resigned over his handling of investigations into the murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Mr Abela was elected leader of the ruling Labor Party in a vote among the party members on Saturday. The son of a former Maltese president, he was first elected to parliament in 2017 and has little political experience.
⦁ Thailand reports case of Sars-like virus from China
A Chinese visitor to Thailand has been confirmed to be infected with a new strain of corona virus that has been linked to a pneumonia outbreak in central China, health officials said. The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) said Thai officials have reported that a traveler from the Chinese city of Wuhan has been taken to hospital in Thailand with the virus.
⦁ Prince Harry’s wife Meghan could face her father in court over the publication of a letter she wrote to him, British media said on Wednesday, as she made a first public appearance in Canada after the couple’s shock decision to quit as full-time royals.
Meghan launched legal action against The Mail on Sunday’s publishers in October after the tabloid printed a handwritten letter it had been shown by Thomas Markle. The weekly newspaper has now issued its defense, leading to the possibility that Meghan and her father could be called to testify against each another. Harry and Meghan are in the eye of a storm after their bombshell announcement last week — before they had discussed the plans with Queen Elizabeth II. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as they are titled, are now in talks with other senior royals about how their wished-for new roles could work. Final details are due in the coming days. The prospect of a high court showdown only adds to the pressure on the couple.
⦁ China’s birth rate falls to lowest level in 70 years
China’s birth rate fell to its lowest last year since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, posing a long-term challenge for its government. The country’s birth rate stood at 10.48 per thousand, the lowest since 1949, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday. The number of babies born in 2019 dropped by about 580,000 to 14.65 million.
⦁ China said on 17th Jan, its economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, meeting expectations even amid a ⦁ trade dispute with the U.S.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected China’s economy to have grown 6.1% in 2019, compared with 6.6% in 2018. Still, China’s GDP growth last year was the slowest since 1990, according to Reuter’s records. Although Beijing’s official GDP figures are tracked as an indicator of the health of the world’s second-largest economy, many outside experts have long expressed skepticism about the veracity of China’s reports. Beijing’s official growth target for 2019 was 6% to 6.5%, but Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Wednesday that GDP growth in 2019 was estimated to have grown more than 6%, Reuters reported.
|Global indices as of 19th January 2020|
|NASDAQ (Jan 17)||9,388.94||9357.13|
|FTSE (Jan 17)||7,674.56||7609.81|
|CAC (Jan 17)||6,100.72||6039.03|
|DAX (Jan 17)||13,526.13||13429.43|
|SGX NIFTY (Jan 18)||12,397.00||12382.50|
|NIKKEI 225 (Jan 17)||24,041.26||23933.13|
|STRAITS TIMES (Jan 17)||3,281.03||3278.00|
|HANG SENG (Jan 17)||29,056.42||28883.04|
|TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jan 17)||12,090.29||12066.93|
|KOSPI (Jan 17)||2,250.57||2248.05|
|SET COMPOSITE (Jan 17)||1,600.48||1595.87|
|JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jan 17)||6,291.66||6286.05|
|SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jan 17)||3,075.50||3074.08|
|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|
⦁ Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar will replace Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor as the new head of the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) confirmed in a statement on 16th Jan.
Maj Gen Ghafoor’s new assignment will be as the General Officer Commanding Okara. The announcement comes as Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. During the meeting, professional matters relating to the military were discussed.
⦁ Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has banned the broadcast of anchorperson Kashif Abbasi’s program ‘Off the Record’ on ARY News for 60 days following Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) minister Faisal Vawda’s outlandish stunt on the show. Now this decision has been reversed.
On 14th Jan night, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda appeared on Abbasi’s show alongside senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi, during which he used a boot to heap scorn on the PPP and PML-N for voting in favor of the recently passed Army Act in parliament. The next day, as criticism poured in from opposition leaders as well as people on social media, Vawda said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was “not happy” over his action. While appearing in a Geo TV program in the evening, he took responsibility of the incident but made it clear to anchor Hamid Mir that he would not apologize for bringing the boot to a live TV show.
⦁ An accountability court on 15th Jan extended the remand of two detained builders for 14 more days in connection with a probe into reports of fraud in the Fazaia Housing Scheme Karachi (FHSK).
During the hearing the court was informed about how the land was acquired in the name of ‘shuhada (martyrs) and war heroes’, but hardly any units were allotted to the same. The investigation officer also highlighted how some Pakistan Air Force (PAF) officials had lured their own peers into purchasing housing units and made millions in the process. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Tanveer Ahmed and Bilal Tanveer, said to be associated with Maxim Properties, for allegedly depriving the public of Rs18 billion through investments in the FHSK. On 15th Jan, the investigating officer of the case, Aslam Pervez Abro, produced both the suspects before the administrative judge of the accountability courts, Fariq Anwar Qazi, and sought extension in their physical custody for further interrogation and investigation.
⦁ At least 15 more people, including five army soldiers, were killed by avalanches in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as the death toll during the current spell of snowfall and showers across the country surged to more than 109.
On 15th Jan, Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived at Muzaffarabad where he was briefed by AJK chief secretary Mathar Niaz Rana on the losses and rescue efforts being undertaken in the snowbound valley. While the Neelum Valley has been reportedly the worst-hit area so far with 74 killings, the land and phone communications of upper areas of Gilgit-Baltistan region remained disconnected on a fourth consecutive day. In Astore district, officials said, avalanches killed five soldiers, a woman and a child in two different areas besides injuring several people.
⦁ The National Accountability Bureau on 15th Jan filed a reference against real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and many others for illegal allotment of an amenity plot in Karachi’s Clifton area where the Bahria Town built Pakistan’s tallest building, Bahria Icon Tower.
The reference is said to be an offshoot of the fake accounts case against former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. It is also a first reference in which Malik Riaz, the chairman of the Bahria Town, is nominated. NAB also nominated his son-in-law Zain Malik as one of the suspects. Other suspects are former Pakistan People’s Party Senator Yousaf Baloch, former adviser to Sindh chief minister Dr Dinshaw Anklesaria, former Sindh chief secretary Abdul Subhan Memon, former director general-parks Liaquat Qaimkhani, Waqas Raffat, Ghulam Arif, Khawaja Shafique, Jamil Baloch, Afzal Aziz, Syed Mohammad Shah, Khurram Arif, Abdul Karim Paleejo, Khawaja Badee uz Zaman and others.
⦁ The Executive Board Meeting (EBM) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on 16th Jan authorized filing fresh corruption references against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and former President Asif Ali Zardari for allegedly causing losses worth billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
The meeting also authorized closing the inquiry against Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari due to lack of evidence. The meeting, chaired by NAB Chairman Justice (Retd) Javed Iqbal, authorized filing three corruption references against Gilani, Sharif, Zardari, Khawaja Anwer Majeed and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed in the fake bank accounts case. The suspects have been accused of receiving gifts and vehicles from the government in violation of rules and regulations which inflicted losses to the national exchequer, said a press release issued by the accountability watchdog on 16th Jan.
⦁ Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again suggested three names for the position of Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan, it emerged on 17th Jan.
In a letter dated January 15 and addressed to PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister suggested the names of former federal secretaries Jamil Ahmed, Fazal Abbas Maken and Sikandar Sultan Raja for the post.
⦁ An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi slapped 86 workers and supporters of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) with a prison sentence of 55 years each in a case pertaining to rioting and resisting against the police.
Those convicted include TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s brother Ameer Hussain Rizvi and nephew Mohammad Ali. Additionally, the court ordered the convicts to collectively submit Rs12, 925,000 and directed authorities to seize their moveable and immoveable assets.
⦁ Pakistan’s economy is expected to recover slightly from 2021 onward as increased government revenues from a tax hike allow expanded public investment and as other government reforms required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) begin to bear fruit says the latest United Nations report on the state of the world economy.
Pakistan has been struggling with a balance-of-payments crisis and the burden of high public debt, which have led to an arrangement with the IMF and corresponding fiscal tightening. High inflation and security concerns have hurt domestic demand and private investment, and the government’s ability to address the slowdown has been severely curtailed by the fiscal tightening, said the report launched on Thursday. It noted that export growth has fallen to 0.4 per cent owing to “disappointing sales of textiles”, which constitute 60pc of the country’s goods exports. “GDP growth has remained weak at 3.3pc in both 2018 and 2019 – well below the 4 to 6pc range of previous years,” it said.
|F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 19th January 2020 as compared to 12th January 2020|
|Countries||PKR rate as of 12th January 2020||PKR rate as of 19thJanuary 2020|
|Saudi Arabia Rial||41.55||41.40|
Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices
As of 19th January 2020 As Compared
To 12th January 2020
|Position as of 19th January 2020|
|Symbols||KSE100 Index||PSX-KMI All Shares Index|
|Advance 172 (Curr)||Current 43167.77||Current 20240.95|
|Decline 152 (High)||High 43246.61||High 20272.38|
|Unchanged (Low) 26||Low 43017.50||Low 20151.60|
|Total change 350||102.68||68.78|
|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|
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