Economic & Political Weekly 24-02-2019

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World

Politics-

·         At least 81 killed and many injured in Bangladesh fire

A devastating fire that raced through densely packed buildings in a centuries-old shopping district in Bangladesh’s capital has killed at least 81 people.The fire in Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area was mostly under control after more than 10 hours of frantic firefighting efforts. Some of about 50 people who were injured were critically burned.The district, dating to the Mughal era 400 years ago, is crammed with buildings separated by narrow alleys, with residences commonly above shops, restaurants or warehouses on the ground floors.

·         Here’s what you need to know India’s most important election in decades

India is just months away from general elections, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party facing what looks like an increasingly close contest. An official date is yet to be  Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are seeking re-election after a landslide victory in 2014. The main national opposition party is the Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, the scion of India’s most influential political dynasty. Gandhi is the son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. His grandmother Indira was India’s first female leader, and his grandfather, Jawarhlal Nehru, was the country’s founding Prime Minister. But numerous other regional parties also wield significant influence across the country, with some for and others against Modi — all of which can help define the outcome.

In the 2014 contest, there were a total of 464 political parties and more than 8,000 candidates courting voters across the nation. There are 543 seats at stake. An additional two seats are filled by nominees from the Anglo Indian community — or those of mixed Indian and European descent. Framed to protect the rights of Anglo Indians when British colonial rule ended, the rule gives the President the power to nominate two members of the community if he/she feels they aren’t adequately represented in the legislature. Whichever party wins the majority of seats gets to choose the prime minister. How long does it take to complete polling? Several weeks. To ensure the integrity of the process, and allow for election and security resources to be moved around the country, polling unfolds in phases covering different regions.

Voting is spread across India’s 29 states and seven additional, smaller territories, known as union territories. Some areas carry more weight than others because of the number of Lok Sabha constituencies in each state or union territory, something that’s based on how populous they are. The bigger the state, the more seats it has. And the biggest battleground by many miles is the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It’s India’s most populous state, with about 200 million inhabitants — if it was a country, it would be the fifth largest on the planet. Uttar Pradesh accounts for 80 seats in the Lok Sabha, making it critical to the formation of any Indian government. Other key regions to watch will be western state of Maharashtra, which accounts for 48 Lok Sabha seats; West Bengal in the east with 42 seats; Bihar in the north, which accounts for 40; and in the south, Tamil Nadu, which has 39 seats.

·         Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will run for re-election in 2020

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says she will run for re-election as the island’s leader in 2020, despite her flagging popularity and growing hostility from Beijing.Tsai revealed her plans 19th Feb in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Matt Rivers while aboard her presidential plane, saying she wanted to “complete” her vision for Taiwan.”It’s natural that any sitting president wants to do more for the country and wants to finish things on his or her agenda,” Tsai said. Tsai was the first woman to be elected leader of the self-governed democratic island in 2016, sweeping to power amid promises to overhaul the economy and lessen Taiwan’s reliance on mainland China. But two years later, her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered bruising losses during local elections in 2018, prompting her to resign as chairwoman of the party. Across the island, her party lost by almost 10% of the vote. Since then, she has faced calls from senior members of her own party to not seek re-election. But despite the criticism, Tsai told CNN she is “confident” in her ability to win.”This is something I have prepared for,” said Tsai. “It’s again another challenge. Being president, you’re not short of challenges. At good times you have challenges of one sort, and in bad times you have challenges of another sort.”

·         UK Home Office to revoke citizenship of Islamic State schoolgirl 

Islamic State schoolgirl Shamima Begum’s British citizenship is to be revoked by the UK Home Office; her family’s lawyer has said. Lawmakers in the UK will seek an order “depriving” the 19-year-old Londoner of her citizenship, solicitor Tasnime Akunjee said. Ms Begum fled her east London home in 2015 to travel to Syria to support the terror group, but wishes to return to the UK for the sake of her newly born child as the so-called caliphate crumbles. In a statement, Mr. Akunjee said her “family are very disappointed with the Home Office’s intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship”.

·         Europe confronts problem of returning Isis fighters

Security, political and legal difficulties are putting clutch on European governments as they debate whether and how to take back hundreds of former Islamic State (also known as Isis) fighters and their supporters. The tensions over how big western European countries deal with Islamist radicals who joined Syria’s civil war are long-standing, but they are being brought to a head in the UK, France and Germany. The catalyst is an offensive by US-backed forces on Isis’s last stronghold in northeastern Syria.

  • Saudi crown prince builds ties with Asian powers in an effort to improve image

 

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has signed agreements worth $20 billion with Pakistan at the start of an Asian tour widely seen as an attempt to bolster ties and improve the kingdom’s image after a troubling year. The two-day visit to Pakistan which began Sunday is the first by bin Salman, His tour has been planned to take him to India and China this week. The crown prince has struggled to rehabilitate his international reputation following the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. The crown prince has denied any connection to the killing.

·         China’s desire for close Iran ties unchanged, Xi says ahead of Saudi prince’s visit

China’s desire to develop close ties with Iran will remain unchanged, regardless of the international situation, President Xi Jinping told the speaker of Iran’s parliament; ahead of 21st Feb visit to Beijing by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite relying on the region for oil, with Iran its fourth largest supplier last year, but has been trying to raise its profile, especially in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman visited Beijing in 2017, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives on 21st Feb for a two-day visit. However, China has had to walk a fine line, as it also has close ties with Saudi Arabia’s regional foe, Iran.

·         Vladimir Putin says Russia will target US if it places missiles in Europe

Vladimir Putin has said Russia will target the US with new nuclear weapons if it deploys missiles to Europe following the demise of a major arms control treaty. In an annual speech to the federal assembly, the Russian leader on 20th Feb accused Washington of planning to deploy intermediate-range missiles to the continent following its withdrawal from a bilateral agreement banning those weapons. This would put the missiles within a 10-minute flight from Moscow, creating a serious threat to Russia and compelling it to consider “symmetrical and asymmetrical actions” in response, he said. “Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons that can be used not only against those territories posing a direct threat to us, but also against those territories where the decision-making centres are,” Mr Putin said, referring to the United States. 

·         Israeli parties form election alliance in bid to oust Netanyah

Israel’s two biggest centrist parties have agreed to run in the April 9th election on a joint list called Blue and White, mounting a serious challenge to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ahead of the poll. The first polls after the merger showed a dramatic turnaround in predictions for the election. Channel 13 forecasts a massive 10-seat lead for the new grouping over Mr. Netanyahu’s ruling Likud – 36 seats to 26 in the 120-seat Knesset. Other TV polls showed a gap of three or six seats for Blue and White over Likud.

·         Alabama woman who joined Isis can’t return home, US say.

Return to the United States with her toddler son is not acceptable because she is not an American citizen, the US has said. Her lawyer is challenging that claim. In a brief statement, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo gave no details as to how the administration had made its determination. “Ms Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” he said

·         Egypt executes nine over public prosecutor’s killing

Egyptian authorities executed nine men convicted over the 2015 killing of the country’s chief prosecutor on 13th Feb amid a surge in the number of death sentences carried out this month, lawyers, activists and officials said. The men were among a group of 28 who were sentenced to death in the case in 2017. Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb attack on his convoy in the capital, Cairo.

  • Chinese ‘Queen of Ivory’ jailed for 15 years in Tanzania

 

A Chinese woman, nicknamed the ‘Queen of Ivory’ and thought to be one of Africa’s most notorious traffickers, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, Tanzanian authorities told .On19th Feb, a Tanzanian court found Yang Feng Glan, 70, guilty of smuggling 860 elephant tusks that authorities say are worth $6.45 million. Yang Feng Glan, was sentenced along with her Tanzanian co-accused Salivius Francis Matembo and Manase Julius Philemon. They were also sentenced to an additional two years in prison under Tanzania’s Wildlife Protection Act, which they can convert into a fine amounting to twice the value of the ivory they are charged with smuggling. Authorities put this value at $12.9 million dollars.

  • For many, the experience in Rwanda is worth to see, largely due to the country’s hassle-free visa-on-arrival service, stellar safety record, luxury accommodation options and excellent roads, which mean the journey from the capital Kigali to Volcanoes National Park is less than three hours by car.

Travelers can also fly directly to Kigali from a number of major international European cities, including London, Amsterdam and Brussels. Rwandair is planning to launch a direct flight from New York in early 2019. Many travelers make quick visits in and out of the country, getting their gorilla snaps, before heading home or onto the next leg of a pan-African trip that perhaps includes a safari in Kenya or a beach holiday in Tanzania.To encourage longer stays and visits to the country’s other spectacular natural sites, gorilla permits are being discounted by $450 during low season for anyone booking an activity in Akagera or Nyungwe National Parks via the main government Irembo platform. A range of new high-end hotel options gives jetsetters other reasons to stay longer in this beautiful country.

·         Extreme weather shatters records around the world

It’s only one month into 2019 and meteorologists are already talking in superlatives as extreme weather patterns have brought cities and towns across the globe to a standstill. In the United States this week, some 200 million Americans experienced a historic deep freeze that saw temperatures plummet below -32 degrees Celsius (-26 Fahrenheit), killed at least 23 people and led to the cancellation of more than 2,300 flights. On Thursday, temperatures in 11 states in the continental US saw temperatures lower than the one recorded in Utqiagvik, Alaska’s northernmost city, situated north of the Arctic Circle. Across the pond, the United Kingdom recorded record lows this week as frosty weather pounded parts of England, Scotland and Wales. Heavy snow has created roadblocks for travelers across the country. Some flights at London’s Heathrow Airport were canceled Friday; passengers were stuck on snow-covered runways at airports in Manchester and Liverpool earlier in the week. But as parts of the US and Europe saw record lows, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology announced it had been the country’s hottest January on record. The “unprecedented” heat wave that burned its way through all of the country’s melted roads saw infrastructure fail and killed thousands of animals. In the Northern Territory, the bodies of dozens of wild horses were found strewn along a dried-up water hole. In Victoria, more than 2,000 flying foxes died from heat stress, in what local media described as a “nightmare” event. Similar mass flying fox deaths have been recorded in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. In the southern state of Tasmania, dozens of bushfires broke out, destroying homes and wilderness as hundreds of firefighters sought to get the blazes under control. On January 24, residents in the southern city of Adelaide experienced the hottest day on record for their city, with temperatures peaking at 46.6 C (116 F). Throughout the country, health warnings have been issued, advising people to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, minimize physical activity and keep hydrated.

  • Five meters below the surface of the North Sea, near the southernmost tip of Norway, Europe’s first underwater restaurant is nearing completion.

The 110-foot long structure, an oblique concrete slab that looks like a sunken periscope, was submerged in July 2018 and work is now underway to complete the interiors, in anticipation of the public opening in spring 2019.The restaurant, called Under, is the design of Norwegian outfit Snøhetta, which has made a name for itself with projects such as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, the Oslo Opera House, the National September 11 Memorial Pavilion and the renovation of Times Square in New York. When finished, the structure will accommodate about 100 guests with a total internal area of about 500 square meters (5,300 square feet) set over three levels, offering unique underwater views of the surrounding marine environment through a 11-meter (36 feet) wide panoramic window.

  • Villagers have no choice but to obey when the Taliban come knocking on their doors demanding food, shelter or a slice of his hard-earned harvest to fund their insurgency.

   

“The Taliban run a dictatorship here. They have their own laws. We have some security, but no freedom,” the farmer told AFP by telephone from a militant-controlled district of Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province. As momentum for peace talks builds, with a fresh round of negotiations between the Taliban and Washington set to begin in Doha on 25t Feb, testimonies from Afghans like him paint a picture of what life might be like should the militants return to power if the US exits its longest war.

·         Bootleg alcohol kills at least 84 in northeast India, 200 hospitalized

At least 84 people have died from drinking toxic bootleg alcohol in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, and around 200 others have been hospitalized, a government minister said on23rd Feb. The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died from drinking tainted alcohol in northern India.

·         Venezuelan forces kill ‘at least two protesters’ on Brazilian border

The political showdown convulsing Venezuela escalated into deadly violence at the border with Brazil on 22nd Feb, as security forces fired on a group of indigenous Venezuelans protesting against the government’s refusal to allow in aid deliveries from outside the country. Witnesses and local officials reported the confrontation a day after Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, facing the biggest challenge of his political career, ordered all crossings at the Brazil border closed.

·         Nigeria prepares to go to polls again after last-minute delay

Nigerians are preparing to go to the polls again, hoping the presidential election will go ahead on 23rd Feb morning after last weekend’s 11th-hour postponement. The incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, and his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar, resumed campaigning this week after the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission at 3am last Saturday, five hours before polling stations were due to open, that the vote was being pushed back.

·         ISIS now controls just half a square kilometer in Syria, says SDF

ISIS now controls an area of Syria measuring just half a square kilometer, a commander with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said on 23rd Feb. The SDF launched an offensive last weekend to oust ISIS from its last enclave in Syria, in the small town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani in the country’s east. Its fighters have the terror group’s final foothold surrounded but have slowed their advance to avoid harming thousands of civilians who are being held by ISIS as human shields, Commander Chia Kobani, head of operations for the SDF, told a press briefing. The SDF is also acting with care in order to liberate prisoners held by ISIS, he said, adding that they had been able to free 10 captives in recent days.

·         Catholic Church’s problems with abuse are playing out in India amid summit

As more than 200 leaders from the Roman Catholic Church meet in Rome for an unprecedented summit to address clergy sexual abuse, a crisis is being renewed in India. In the southern Indian state of Kerala, accusations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church have demonstrated the challenges of holding some members of the clergy to account, and the clerical pressures victims face to remain silent. Last Saturday, a senior Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indian court for raping a 16-year-old girl in Kerala. The incident came to light only after the victim gave birth in February, 2017.

·         Refugee detained in offshore camp wins Australia’s richest literary prize

A refugee currently held in a detention camp in Papua New Guinea has won two of Australia’s richest literary prizes, netting him 125,000 Australian dollars (approximately $90,000). Winner Behrouz Boochani could not attend 21st Feb ceremony for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, where he took the Victorian Prize for Literature — the country’s most lucrative prize — and the Non-Fiction Prize. Australia detained the Kurdish-Iranian journalist on the island of Manus in 2013 for attempting to enter Australia without a valid visa. Boochani is among 600 refugees who remain in camps on the island despite Australia having closed its “regional processing center” there in 2017.While in detention, Boochani used his cell phone to write the book titled “No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison.” Publisher Picador Australia received the transcript from him piecemeal, via text message. The award committee referred to the book as a “voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait of five years of incarceration and exile.”

  • Holy cabbage! Australian couple grows giant vegetable

An Australian couple staved off pests for more than nine months to grow a giant cabbage almost as big as a person. Rosemary Norwood and her husband, Sean Cadman, who live in the Tasmanian valley of Jackeys Marsh, began growing the giant vegetable in April last year at their eco-tourism guesthouse. After months of plucking away less-successful surrounding cabbages, the couple left the savoy to grow undisturbed until late January.”It doesn’t always work out like this,” Norwood told, attributing the success to “a good, wet spring, good rainfall and hot weather in the early summer.”

Economy-

·         Huawei is growing in Canada despite pressure there

China’s Huawei is growing its presence in Canada, despite intense pressure on the company from the United States and geopolitical tensions between Ottawa and Beijing. The phone and telecom equipment maker said Thursday that it will add 200 new research and development jobs in Canada, a 20% increase. It will also up its research and development spending there by 15%. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in Canada — a country with one of the most innovative technology communities in the world,” said Eric Li, president of Huawei Technologies Canada, in a statement. The decision comes as the United States tries to persuade its allies to shut out Huawei products from next-generation 5G wireless networks. US authorities claim that the Chinese government could use Huawei equipment to spy on other nations. Huawei denies that any of its products pose a national security risk. It says it would refuse any request from Beijing to conduct espionage.

  • Countries with higher wages than U.S.

·         There’s a $6.3 trillion elephant in the room. And it just might cause the next recession

  

The last downturn was triggered by Wall Street and Americans accumulating too much debt — particularly in the sizzling housing market. A decade later, it’s Corporate America borrowing with gusto. Egged on by extremely low rates, US companies have piled on a record-setting $6.3 trillion of debt, according to S&P Global Ratings. All that debt is easy to ignore right now. Default rates are minuscule. Companies are sitting on tons of cash, and their coffers are growing thanks to the soaring US economy and corporate tax cuts. But eventually, both the economy and corporate profits will slow, leaving companies less firepower to pay down debt. And it won’t be as easy to roll over the debt that’s due. Debt-laden companies would be vulnerable to rising borrowing costs caused by the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes. If companies are stuck in a credit crunch, they will have to pull back on hiring and investment. That could be a recipe for a recession. “Corporate, not consumers or banks, will cause [the] next recession,” Michael Hartnett, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s chief investment strategist, wrote to clients on 21st Feb Corporate America’s debt binge has helped finance the recovery. Companies have borrowed to open factories, buy equipment and develop products. A chunk of that debt has also gone to reward Wall Street with massive stock buybacks. After a decade of low rates, companies have taken on more debt relative to the size of the economy than ever before. Total US business debt as a percentage of GDP is at a record high, according to David Ader of Informal Financial Intelligence. The riskiest category of borrowers has never been more leveraged. Companies with junk credit ratings are holding a record low $8 of debt for every $1 of cash, according to S&P. And then there are so-called zombie companies — which can’t even afford interest payments, despite the strong economy and low rates. Ben Breitholtz, data scientist at Bianco Research, found that 14% of the companies in the S&P 1500 don’t have enough earnings before interest and taxes to cover interest expenses. That’s above the world average of 10%. Those zombie companies are probably cringing as central bankers slowly end the easy-money days. The Fed is expected to lift rates on Wednesday, the eighth hike since late 2015. Four more moves before the end of 2019 may be in the cards. At the same time, the Fed is trimming its $4.5 trillion balance sheet — an experiment that could contribute to higher borrowing costs as foreign central banks follow suit and unload bonds.

 Bank of America’s Hartnett warned that an “aggressive” Fed in 2019 could trigger a “credit crunch” — not just in emerging markets, but in Corporate America.

  • Global indices as of 22nd February 2019 as compared to 15th February, 2019.

Global indices as of 22nd February 2019
Name Current Value Prev. Close
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Feb 22) 7,527.54 7459.71     
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Feb 22) 7,178.60 7167.39     
 CAC (Feb 22) 5,215.85 5196.11     
 DAX (Feb 22) 11,457.70 11423.28     
ASIAN MARKETS
 NIKKEI 225 (Feb 22) 21,425.51 21464.23     
 STRAITS TIMES (Feb 22) 3,269.90 3277.91     
 HANG SENG (Feb 22) 28,816.30 28629.92     
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Feb 22) 10,322.92 10319.53     
 KOSPI (Feb 22) 2,230.50 2228.66     
 SET COMPOSITE (Feb 22) 1,659.20 1647.32     
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Feb 22) 6,501.38 6537.77     
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Feb 22) 2,804.23 2751.80     
 SGX NIFTY (Feb 23) 10,809.50 10807.00    
Global indices as of 15th February 2019
Name Current Value Prev. Close
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Feb 15) 7,472.41 7426.96
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Feb 15) 7,236.68 7197.01
 CAC (Feb 15) 5,153.19 5062.52
 DAX (Feb 15) 11,299.80 11089.79
ASIAN MARKETS
 NIKKEI 225 (Feb 15) 20,900.63 21139.71
 STRAITS TIMES (Feb 15) 3,239.74 3253.16
 HANG SENG (Feb 15) 27,900.84 28432.05
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Feb 15) 10,064.78 10089.01
 KOSPI (Feb 15) 2,196.09 2225.85
 SET COMPOSITE (Feb 15) 1,636.94 1652.64
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Feb 15) 6,389.08 6420.02
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Feb 15) 2,682.38 2719.70
 SGX NIFTY (Feb 16) 10,762.50 10754.50

Pakistan

Politics

·         Imran Khan warns India of retaliation if it carries out attack

Prime minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan would retaliate if India attacked in response to last week’s bombing in the disputed Kashmir region, which India blamed on its neighbor. Mr. Khan said on 19th Feb that he wanted to co-operate in investigating the suicide bombing last Thursday, in which 40 Indian paramilitary police were killed in an attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group. Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors have risen sharply over the attack in the Indian-controlled part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Pakistani authorities have denied any involvement in the attack and called for United Nations intervention.

 

  • The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on 20th Feb arrested Speaker Sind Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani,.

Last year in July, NAB had approved an inquiry against Sind Assembly speaker Agha Siraj Durrani over various allegations of corruption. NAB’s regional board had sanctioned three separate inquiries against the PPP leader: the first inquiry pertains to an allegation of accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income by Durrani; the second relates to 352 illegal appointments made by him; and the third pertains to embezzlement of funds for the construction of the MPA Hostel and construction of the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as in the appointment of project directors for the said projects.

·         Pakistan bans groups linked to Mumbai attack suspects 

JuD and FIF are considered by the UN to be fronts for the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused by Washington and New Delhi of carrying out the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Pakistan on 21st Feb banned two groups believed to be fronts for the group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, amid heightened pressure on Islamabad to act against militants. Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation were designated “proscribed organizations”, the interior ministry said in a statement, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered officials to accelerate action against banned groups. The statement did not provide further details. JuD and FIF are considered by the UN to be fronts for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group accused by Washington and New Delhi of carrying out the Mumbai attack, which killed 166 people and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. The latest move against JuD and FIF comes amid heightened tensions in South Asia. New Delhi has blamed Pakistan-based militants of carrying out a deadly suicide bomb attack in Kashmir that killed more than 40 Indian paramilitaries, and renewed pressure on Islamabad to take action. Washington and New Delhi have long urged Pakistan to take action against LeT, which was banned by Islamabad in 2002 but re-branded itself as JuD and FIF, two groups that say they are charities and deny links to militants. The US placed a $10-million bounty on JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, but despite that, he has largely operated freely in Pakistan. He has denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks. Islamabad, long under pressure to act against JuD and other militant groups, began seizing the group’s assets last year after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — a global anti-money laundering watchdog — listed Pakistan on a watch list of countries not doing enough to combat terror financing.

  • The interior ministry on 22nd Feb announced that the Punjab government has taken administrative control of a mosque-and-seminary complex in Bahawalpur that is believed to have been the headquarters of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

The campus has a 70-strong faculty and 600 students enrolled. The Government of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur. Reportedly they are the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and appointed an administrator to manage its affairs.” Punjab police has taken over security of the campus, the spokesperson added.

  • Five siblings who diedafter allegedly consuming toxic food in Karachi were buried in the Khanozai area of Baluchistan’s northern district Pishin on 23rd

According to Superintendent of Police the siblings — between the ages of 1.5 years and 10 — their parents, and their paternal aunt had consumed food from Naubahar restaurant in the Saddar area. The children passed away on 22nd Feb. Their aunt who was in a critical condition died on 23rd Feb morning. “I have been told that my sister has also passed away,” father of the deceased children Faisal Akhundzada Kakar told media before the funeral. SSP South Pir Mohammed Shah confirmed the news of her death. Naubahar and another restaurant — Student Biryani — which supplied food to the eatery have been sealed for investigation, said SSP South Pir Mohammad Shah.

Economy –

  • The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) for the week ended February 21, 2019 registered a rise of 0.34% for the combined income group, going up from 244.14 points in the prior week to 244.97 in the week under review.

However, the SPI for the combined income group surged 10.44% compared to the corresponding week of previous year. The SPI for the lowest income group also increased 0.34% compared to the previous week. The index for the group stood at 224.92 points against 222.15 in the previous week, according to provisional figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). During the week, average prices of 16 items rose in a selected basket of goods, prices of six items fell and rates of remaining 31 goods recorded no change.  

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 23rd February 2019 as compared to 16th February 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 16th February 2019 PKR rate as of 23rd February 2019
U.S.A. 139.10 139.00
U.K. 179.40 180.50
Euro 157.50 157.30
Japan 1.2700 1.2700
Saudi Arabia 37.00 36.95
U.A.E. 38.00 37.90

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices as of 22nd February 2019 As Compared To 15 th February 2019

 

Position as of 22nd February 2019
Symbols             KSE100          PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 130
40016.13
19578.40
Declined (High) 155
40082.21
19636.63
Unchanged (Low) 20
39799.93
19495.99
Total (Change) 305
-54.58
23.97

 

 

Position as of 15th February 2019
Symbols             KSE100       PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 117
40474.88
19693.51
Declined (High) 158
40646.39
19815.92
Unchanged (Low) 17
40361.03
19654.62
Total (Change) 292
-32.10
-51.26

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