·Himalayas’ rapid glacier melt threatens drought.
The glaciers of the Himalayas are melting at an accelerating rate, according to a study that underscores the impact of climate change on an area that is a critical source of water supply for India and China. The glaciers have been losing the equivalent of 50cm (20 inches) of ice vertically each year since 2000, melting twice as fast as they were during the 1975-2000 period, according to a forthcoming study in Science Advances that surveys 40 years of satellite data.
· India’s widespread drought affects over 600 million people.
More than 600 million people dependent on agriculture have been adversely affected by drought conditions across swathes of India. Soaring temperatures since early June, averaging about 45 degrees, have stifled most of the country, while the progress of the annual monsoon rains, which normally bring relief from the searing heat and are a vital source of water, has been the slowest in 12 years. An estimated 43 per cent of the country is affected by drought. According to countrywide news reports, hundreds of villages and small towns in states including Uttar Pradesh in the east, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in the west and Andhra Pradesh in southern India are surrounded by parched farmland and have been deserted. The country’s meteorological department predicts a deficient monsoon that in all likelihood may not be able to resuscitate some 91 life-sustaining reservoirs across India, where water levels in some cases are hovering at about 30 per cent capacity.
· Former Egypt president Mohamed Morsi dies in court.
Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who rose to office in the country’s first free elections in 2012 and was ousted a year later by the military, has collapsed in court during a trial and died, state TV and his family said. The 67-year-old had just addressed the court, speaking from the glass cage he is kept in during sessions and warning that he had “many secrets” he could reveal, a judicial official said. A few minutes afterwards he collapsed, the official said. State TV said Mr. Morsi died before he could be taken to hospital. Mr. Morsi has been in prison undergoing multiple trials ever since the military ousted him in July 2013 and launched a massive crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Monday’s session was part of a retrial, being held inside Cairo’s Tura Prison, on charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas militant group. Mohammed Sudan, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Mr Morsi’s death as “premeditated murder”, saying that the former president was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition. He has been placed behind a glass cage (during trials). No one can hear him or know what is happening to him. He hasn’t received any visits for a month’s or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn’t get his medicine. This is premeditated murder. This is slow death.”
· Two potentially life-friendly planets found orbiting a nearby star.
A tiny, old star just 12 light-years away might host two temperate, rocky planets, astronomers announced Tuesday. If they’re confirmed, both of the newly spotted worlds are nearly identical to Earth in mass, and both planets are in orbits that could allow liquid water to trickle and puddle on their surfaces. Scientists estimate that the stellar host, known as Teegarden’s star, is at least eight billion years old or nearly twice the sun’s age. That means any planets orbiting it are presumably as ancient, so life as we know it has had more than enough time to evolve. And for now, the star is remarkably quiet, with few indications of the tumultuous stellar quakes and flares that tend to erupt from such objects. These factors, plus the system’s relative proximity, makes the system an intriguing target for astronomers seeking to train next-generation telescopes on other worlds and scan for signs of life beyond Earth.
· Khaleda Zia gets bail in 2 defamation cases.
The High Court on 18th June granted bail for six months to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in two cases filed on defamation charges. The HC bench of Justice Muhammad Abdul Hafiz and Justice Ahmed Sohel passed the order after hearing separate petitions.
·Tory MP suspended over physically removing protester from event
Tory MP Mark Field has been suspended as a foreign office minister after he was seen physically removing a climate change protester from a dinner in the City of London. UK Prime Minister Theresa May made the decision after viewing footage of the incident, which she found “very concerning”. City of London Police said they were looking into a “small number” of third-party reports of an assault at the Mansion House event. Greenpeace protesters disrupted the black-tie event, where Chancellor Philip Hammond was speaking, to demand action to tackle the climate emergency. Mr Field was seen manhandling the female protester at the event in scenes described as “horrific” by Labor. A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The prime minister has seen the footage and she found it very concerning.
· Hong Kong protesters block roads over new extradition Bill.
Tensions escalated in Hong Kong on 21st June night as thousands of mainly student protesters angry at a proposed extradition Bill laid siege to the police headquarters, barricading the 12 entrances to the complex and blocking all the main thoroughfares in the area. Inside the police headquarters hundreds of officers lined up behind the main gates and protected themselves with shields as eggs were thrown over the walls. A banner taped to the egg-spattered wall read: “Never give in”. Student groups had vowed to escalate their actions if authorities did not respond to their demands by 20th June evening. Aside from the scrapping of the bill, the protesters also called for chief executive Carrie Lam’s resignation, the release of people arrested during clashes with police last week, and an investigation into alleged excessive use of force by the police.
· Georgians stage renewed protests after trying to storm parliament.
Georgians protested again on 21st June after earlier trying to storm their parliament to stop a visit by a deputy from Russia, which defeated the pro-western Black Sea state in a 2008 war and backs two separatist-run regions of the country. More than 240 people were injured on 20th June night when riot police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters who were enraged by the sight of a Russian politician occupying the speaker’s chair in Georgia’s parliament in Tbilisi. Sergei Gavrilov, from Russia’s Communist Party, was addressing a forum of Orthodox Christian deputies from around Europe, and insisted later that he sat in the speaker’s chair at the invitation of his Georgian hosts. Mr Gavrilov and other delegates were ushered out as Georgian opposition deputies blocked the speaker’s rostrum and demanded high-level government resignations, as outside parliament about 10,000 people tried to force their way in, while waving Georgian and European Union flags and denouncing Moscow. “Russia is our enemy and occupier. The fifth column it manages [in Georgia] may be more dangerous than open aggression,” Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili wrote on Face book after the clashes between protesters and police.
· US Fed holds rates but points to possible cuts in the future.
The Federal Reserve held interest rates steady but shifted towards a more dovish stance and pointed to possible interest rate cuts in the future, citing rising “uncertainties” about the economic outlook. At the end of a two-day meeting marked by concerns about slowing growth and rising trade tensions, the Fed said it would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” and would “closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook”. This marked a change compared with previous language in which the Fed said it would simply be “patient” in determining changes to interest rate policy. The Fed also downgraded its description of the health of the US economy, saying activity was rising at a “moderate rate” – a less rosy picture than the “solid rate” of expansion it saw in May – and noted that inflation continued to run below its 2 per cent target. Yet even as the Fed set the stage for possible monetary stimulus, economic projections released by the US central bank along with its statement suggested that interest rate cuts could take time to happen – and may not occur before next year. The median interest rate forecast of Fed officials showed no change for the rest of 2019, but a 25 basis point reduction next year compared with their previous projection of a 25 basis point increase in 2020.
GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 21st and 22nd June 2019
As compared to 14th and 15th June 2019
|Global indices as of 21st and 22nd June 2019|
|NASDAQ (Jun 21)||8,031.71||8028.69
|FTSE (Jun 21)||7,407.50||7424.44
|CAC (Jun 21)||5,528.33||5534.43
|DAX (Jun 21)||12,339.92||12351.98
|SGX NIFTY (Jun 22)||11,757.00||11771.00
|NIKKEI 225 (Jun 21)||21,258.64||21487.67
|STRAITS TIMES (Jun 21)||3,321.40||3314.28
|HANG SENG (Jun 21)||28,473.71||28581.51
|TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jun 21)||10,803.77||10817.71
|KOSPI (Jun 21)||2,125.62||2132.38
|SET COMPOSITE (Jun 21)||1,717.14||1722.60
|JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jun 21)||6,315.44||6343.48
|SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jun 21)||3,001.98||2990.37
|Global indices as of 14th and 15th June 2019|
|NASDAQ (Jun 14)||7,796.66||7807.19
|FTSE (Jun 14)||7,345.78||7368.57
|CAC (Jun 14)||5,367.62||5367.10
|DAX (Jun 14)||12,096.40||12124.36
|SGX NIFTY (Jun 15)||11,797.50||11826.00
|NIKKEI 225 (Jun 14)||21,116.89||21049.41
|STRAITS TIMES (Jun 14)||3,222.63||3214.68
|HANG SENG (Jun 14)||27,118.35||27180.74
|TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jun 14)||10,524.67||10546.42
|KOSPI (Jun 14)||2,095.41||2096.32
|SET COMPOSITE (Jun 14)||1,672.33||1673.55
|JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jun 14)||6,250.26||6278.03
|SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jun 14)||2,881.97||2913.00
- Clashes in parliament disappoint CJP Khosa.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa on 19th June expressed disappointment over the prolonged commotion in the National Assembly on the issue of budget. While addressing judicial officers of the Islamabad model court, Chief Justice Khosa said that it is depressing to see PM Imran and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif not being able to deliver their speeches due to the attitude of fellow parliamentarians. “I turn the channel to escape this ordeal but then another one waits in the form of [IND VS PAK] World Cup,” said the chief justice hinting at Pakistan’s poor performance in the tournament. Justice Khosa also expressed disappointment over the situation of the economy and said, “Mixed news about the economy is reaching one’s ear, whether it is in ICU or out of it, now people want to hear some good news.” He claimed that the only institution helpful to people is the judiciary. “It’s the priority of judiciary to provide swift justice. The model courts have given decisions of 5,800 cases in 45 days.”
· UK wants Pakistan to take back thousands of migrants
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Britain wants Pakistan to take back thousands of Pakistanis who have overstayed their visit visa in the UK and have no status but cannot be sent back to Pakistan without a proper treaty. At a press conference in Pakistan High Commission here, the Foreign Minister said that the UK Govt wants Pakistan to sign re-admission treaty so that the overstayers and others living illegally could be sent back to Pakistan.
- The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on 21st June rejected Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, not the anti-corruption watchdog, deserved credit for accountability.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry in a June 19 appearance on Geo News show Capital Talk had said: “We had promised accountability. All those who had to be held accountable, we held them accountable successfully,” he said. Senior journalist Hamid Mir, who was hosting the show, interrupted the minister and asked, “Are you responsible for accountability, or is it NAB?” The minister replied, “No, we are [responsible]. Where was NAB before?” The same day, the minster took to twitter to clarify his stance on the issue in response to a tweet shared by Mir of the video clip in which Chaudhry made the remarks. Mir’s tweet stated: “If anyone has the impression that NAB is performing important accountability duties, then please dispel this impression, because Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry says ‘We are responsible for accountability,’ and that everyone knows who ‘we’ refers to.”
- The country’s trade deficit during first 11 months of the current fiscal year fell by 13.62 per cent to $29.207 billion compared to $33.812bn during the same period last year.
The decline in deficit comes on the back of significant fall in the country’s imports as the exports have shown no improvement from the previous fiscal year despite massive devaluation of the rupee and a range of subsidies and incentives offered by the government to the export-oriented sectors. The $4.605bn decline in trade deficit during the July-May is expected to reach $5-6bn at the end of ongoing fiscal year in July as the government’s interventions have helped curb imports of non-essential items meanwhile exports have remained unchanged. The government has taken several measures including the imposition of regulatory duties on almost 1,900 tariff lines mostly luxury items and restricting imports of used cars in order to reverse the rising import bill to narrow the trade deficit which had risen to over $38bn during the last fiscal year. Data for May show the trade deficit during the month dipped by 19.31pc to $2.94bn compared to $3.644bn during the same period last fiscal year. The declining trade deficit during the month was mainly due to a 12.8pc turn down in imports which fell to $5.042bn compared to $5.782bn in the same month last year.
- The banks have finally shared the details of accounts having more than Rs5 million in deposits with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) as the tax machinery puts together multiple data sources to nab maximum tax evaders.
Reporting this to the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue by FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi on 18th June said the assets declaration scheme (tax amnesty) could not be extended beyond June 30 at any cost because the government was constrained by the IMF program. “We are constrained by a regime of a new [IMF] program. Extension of date (for declaration of assets) is not viable,” he said in response to various questions from members of the national assembly. He declined to share the details of amounts so far collected under the scheme or the number of declarations. He said most of such declarations are normally filed by the people in the last week.
- The foreign direct investment (FDI) sharply declined by 49 per cent during the first 11 months of the current fiscal year reflecting the uncertain macroeconomic conditions, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on Tuesday.
According to data released by the central bank, the total FDI fell to $1.606 billion during the July-May period of the outgoing fiscal year compared to $3.161bn in the same period last year. The government’s tough measures to control the widening current account deficit have caused economic uncertainty during the year pushing foreign investors away from the country. The FDI in May further declined to $230 million compared to $312m in the same month last year. Both government and the SBP claimed that the economy is slowly but surely getting out of the difficult situation, however, the declining FDI numbers do not support their claims. Country-wise, declining foreign investment from China has become a major concern for the government which has increasingly relied on the northern neighbor to invest in the country under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
|F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 22nd June 2019 as compared to 15th June 2019|
|Countries||PKR rate as of 15th June 2019||PKR rate as of 22nd June 2019|
Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices
As of 21st June 2019 As Compared
To 14th June 2019
|Position as of 21st June 2019|
|Symbols||KSE100 Index||PSX-KMI All Shares Index|
|Current 35125.25||Current 16550.97|
|Decline(High) 160||High 35207.59||High 16573.37|
|Unchanged (Low) 23||Low 34995.91||Low 16459.74|
|Total Change 302||129.34||91.23|
|Position as of 14th June 2019|
|Symbols||KSE100 Index||PSX-KMI All Shares Index|
|Current 35572.95||Current 16682.02|
|Decline (High) 160||High 35659.35||High 16754.63|
|Unchanged Low 23||Low 35295.64||Low 16557.26|
|Total change 332||169.88||99.79|