·Strong earthquake in eastern Turkey leaves 18 dead
A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey on 24th Jan, killing four people and damaging buildings near the epicenter of the tremor, which was also felt in neighboring countries. The magnitude 6.8 quake hit Elazig province, about 550km east of the capital, Ankara, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.
Six killed, suspect detained following shooting in Germany
Six people have been killed and another two wounded in a shooting in Germany that appears to have resulted from a family dispute, police said. A man called police shortly after 11.45am Irish time and told them he had killed several people in the south-western town of Rot am See, regional police chief Reiner Moeller said.
·Tens of thousands march in Baghdad to demand US expulsion
Tens of thousands of men, women and children poured into Baghdad on 24th Jan for a “million man” march demanding the expulsion of the 5,000 US troops from Iraq. Marchers brandished Iraqi flags and signs in Arabic and English proclaiming “Leave to Live”, “Stop Stealing our National Wealth”, and “No doubt, no doubt, US gonna go out”. Main roads were barricaded and cement blocks surrounded the fortified Green Zone hosting the US and other embassies, parliament and government offices.
·Days after nearly 200 homes were demolished in an informal settlement in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, human rights groups and slum dwellers said they expected more such evictions as a new citizenship law is enforced in the country.
Police and municipal officials said the homes were built illegally on state land, and that residents were undocumented migrants from Bangladesh. The residents said they were migrants from other Indian states, and that they were evicted without any notice. The Karnataka state high court has prohibited further evictions, and asked the municipal corporation and the police to respond to its queries on the eviction by Jan. 29.
·Top UN court orders Myanmar to take urgent steps to protect Rohingya
In a resounding rebuff to the personal assurances offered last month by Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered a series of emergency measures aimed at protecting the country’s Rohingya minority from the threat of genocide. In a unanimous judgment lasting just over an hour, the UN’s highest court directed Myanmar’s government to actively prevent genocidal violence against the Rohingya, to ensure its military did likewise, to prevent the physical destruction of evidence, and to report regularly on its compliance. The hard-hitting verdict – delivered by ICJ president Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, without once referring to the Nobel laureate who twice gave evidence last month – concluded that the 600,000 Rohingya still living in Myanmar were “extremely vulnerable” to continuing violence by the country’s military.
·Isabel dos Santos: Africa’s richest woman accused of money-laundering
Prosecutors in Angola have accused Africa’s richest woman, billionaire Isabel dos Santos, of money-laundering and mismanagement linked to her time as chairwoman of the country’s state-run oil company, Sonangol. Prosecutor general Helder Pitta Grós told reporters on Wednesday that Ms dos Santos (46) was among five suspects the authorities were seeking over the looting of hundreds of millions of euro in taxpayers’ money, all of whom live abroad. Documents leaked online this week alleged the eldest daughter of Angola’s ex-president José Eduardo dos Santos plundered state coffers to build her fortune, which Forbes Magazine estimated at $2.1 billion in 2013. Mr. Grós called on Ms dos Santos, who has resided in the UK in recent years and has significant business interests in Portugal, to voluntarily return to the southern African country where she will potentially face criminal charges.
· Storm Gloria leaves 13 dead and large swathes of Spain flooded
Several days of storm conditions in Spain have claimed at least 13 lives and left large swathes of the country flooded. Storm Gloria hit Spain last weekend and since then it has brought torrential rain, hurricane-force gales, tidal swells and snowstorms. On 23rd Jan, the most recent fatality caused by the storm was confirmed, when the body of a man who had drowned while fishing in the sea was recovered in the northeastern region of Catalonia. Earlier, another man’s body was found in a car, also in Catalonia, where a total of four deaths have been registered due to the conditions. Another body was recovered on 23rd Jan evening in Catalonia, although it was not clear if the death was attributable to the storm. Four people were still declared missing on 23rd Jan night.
·Lebanon forms government with backing of Hezbollah and allies
Lebanon formed a new government on Tuesday under Prime Minister Hassan Diab after the Shia group Hezbollah and its allies agreed on a cabinet that must address urgently the economic crisis and ensuing protests that toppled its predecessor. The heavily indebted country has been without effective government since Saad al-Hariri resigned as premier in October, prompted by protests against a political elite seen as having caused the crisis through state corruption. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah and allies including President Michel Aoun nominated Mr Diab as premier last month after efforts failed to strike a deal with Mr Hariri, Lebanon’s main Sunni leader and an ally of the west and Gulf Arab states. Weeks of wrangling over portfolios among Hezbollah’s allies held up an agreement until Tuesday, when the heavily armed group delivered an ultimatum to its allies to make a deal or suffer the consequences, sources familiar with the talks said. The cabinet is made up of 20 specialist ministers backed by parties. Economist Ghazi Wazni was nominated finance minister with the backing of parliament speaker Nabih Berri. Nassif Hitti, a former ambassador to the Arab League, was named foreign minister with the backing of Mr. Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement.
·Six Iraqis including two police officers were killed and scores were wounded in Baghdad and other cities on 20th Jan in clashes with security forces, medical and security sources said, as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.
Three protesters succumbed to their wounds in a Baghdad hospital after police fired live rounds in Tayaran Square, security and medical sources said. Two protesters were shot by live bullets while a third was hit by a tear gas canister, they said. A fourth demonstrator was shot dead by police in Kerbala, the sources added. Protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, witnesses said.
·The death toll from a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a government military camp climbed to at least 111 troops, a military spokesman said on 20th Jan, making it one of the deadliest rebel assaults since the beginning of the country’s bloody civil war.
Ballistic missiles smashed into a mosque in the training camp in the central province of Marib over the weekend, wounding at least 68 other troops, said Abdu Abdullah Magli, spokesman for the Yemeni armed forces. The oil-rich province of Marib is about 115 kilometers east of the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa. The attack came amid a barrage of assaults by Saudi-backed government forces on rebel targets east of the capital. In recent months, Saudi Arabia started backchannel negotiations with the Houthis in the neighbouring country of Oman, after the rebels claimed an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure that threatened global oil supplies. The United States blamed the attack on Iran, which denied involvement.
· Greek parliament elects country’s first female president
A high court judge and ardent human rights advocate has been elected Greece’s first female president in a historic vote by parliament. Inaugurating a new era for one of Europe’s more traditional nations, MPs overwhelmingly endorsed the nomination of Katerina Sakellaropoulou as head of state. No woman has held the post in the nearly 200 years since Greece proclaimed independence. “Our country enters, with more optimism, into a new decade,” said the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after 261 deputies in the 300-seat House voted in favor of the French-educated jurist assuming the role. “This [vote] opens a window to the future.
- The number of reported deaths from the new strain of corona virus that has gripped China rose to 26 with more than 540 cases confirmed.
The previously unknown, flu-like corona virus strain is believed to have emerged from an animal market in central Wuhan city, with cases now detected as far away as the United States. In Pakistan, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), Regulations and Coordination on 22nd Jan alerted the Disease Surveillance Division and Central Health Establishment to the possible spread of the corona virus. According to the NHS, the notification has been issued in response to the international alert on the virus, which has spread from seafood and animals to humans.
· Saudi Arabia will pump the proceeds from last month’s listing of oil giant Saudi Aram co into the local economy over several years, including building up the domestic defense industry amid tensions with Iran, its finance minister said on Tuesday.
Mohammed al-Jadaan told Reuters there were “serious efforts” to reduce antagonism between Washington and Tehran after a top Iranian general was killed in a US airstrike and Iran retaliated with missile attacks against American bases in Iraq. “If you look at history, we in this region have managed to weather through worse geopolitical situations, including actual, real wars,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. “We in Saudi have to focus on the economy and reform […] we firmly believe the disputes can only be resolved by dialogue.”
GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 26th January 2020
As compared to 19th January 2020
Global indices as of 26th January 2020
|NASDAQ (Jan 24)||9,314.91||9402.48|
|FTSE (Jan 24)||7,585.98||7507.67|
|CAC (Jan 24)||6,024.26||5971.79|
|DAX (Jan 24)||13,576.68||13388.42|
|SGX NIFTY (Jan 25)||12,229.00||12272.50|
|NIKKEI 225 (Jan 24)||23,827.18||23795.44|
|STRAITS TIMES (Jan 24)||3,240.02||3234.56|
|HANG SENG (Jan 24)||27,949.64||27909.12|
|TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jan 20)||12,118.71||12090.29|
|KOSPI (Jan 23)||2,246.13||2267.25|
|SET COMPOSITE (Jan 24)||1,569.55||1573.70|
|JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jan 24)||6,244.11||6249.21|
|SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jan 23)||2,976.53||3060.75|
|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|
- Pakistan ranked 120 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2019 released by Transparency International on 23rd Jan, slipping by three spots from the previous year’s ranking despite increased anti-corruption efforts.
On a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), Pakistan was assigned a score of 32, a point lower than its score of 33 on the 2018 index and well below the global average of 43. The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.
- It is inexplicable how the state appears discomfited by human rights activists. After all, they ask for nothing more than what the Constitution guarantees — rights to security of person, due process, freedom of speech, etc. So what can explain the humiliating treatment meted out to human rights activist Jalila Haider at the Lahore airport on Monday?
Ms Haider was travelling to the UK to participate in a women’s coalition conference when she was detained for seven hours by the FIA who told her she had to wait for some individuals who “were coming with documents on” her. That visit never materialized — possibly because the negative publicity prompted a rethink. Her travel documents were then returned to her, with permission to board the next flight to her intended destination. Ms Haider is the first female lawyer from Baluchistan’s Hazara community, a Shia ethnic group which has suffered horrendous levels of sectarian violence over the years. The courageous and outspoken young advocate, who works for the rights of vulnerable women and children, came to public attention when she went on a hunger strike in 2018 to protest against the targeted killings of Hazaras in Quetta. In 2019, her activism earned her a place among the BBC’s list of 100 most inspiring and influential women around the world.
- The Supreme Court rejected on Tuesday Air Marshal Arshad Malik’s appeal to remain the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) while raising suspicions on increased fares and appointment of ten officers of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in the national carrier.
The three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, called into question the appointments of four air vice marshals, two air commodores, three wing commanders and one flight lieutenant in the national airline. “How can Arshad Malik make such appointments when he himself is appointed on deputation?” questioned the top judge. The bench also noted that another case pertaining to the PIA chief’s appointment was already being heard in the Supreme Court.
- After several months of back and forth about key appointments to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the government and opposition have decided to name Sikandar Sultan Raja as the new Chief Election Commissioner, confirmed Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on 21st January .
The minister added that the parliamentary committee had also reached a consensus on the remaining appointments to the ECP and had agreed on Nisar Durrani and Shah Mohammad Jatoi as members from Sind and Baluchistan, respectively.
- THE current crisis had been in the making for quite some time. Wheat flour shortages were looming large as the gaps appeared obvious. There were clear signs that warned of disruptions to supply in several parts of the country; once the projections proved correct, the increase in the price of wheat flour was inevitable.
Yet, the authorities concerned remained silent, showing little inclination to take steps to protect the consumers from the rising cost of the staple food. Reports of growing shortages in major cities were dismissed nonchalantly by the very people who were supposed to take action to remedy the situation. No surprise then that a full-blown crisis has gripped the entire country. The government woke up at the prodding of the media which showed images of people queuing up outside shops to buy wheat flour at exorbitant rates. Since then, we’ve been told that wheat in large quantities was being released from the federal stocks and urgently dispatched to Sind, KP and Baluchistan — the areas that officials say face an acute shortage. The Economic Coordination Committee has also allowed the import of 0.3m tonnes of grain by the end of March to cover the shortages and manage market sentiments until the next harvest. A debate has ensued on the reasons that might have led to the crisis. The government and the opposition blame each other, while the consumers continue to suffer as a consequence of poor governance. In fact, no single factor or actor can be blamed entirely for the crisis, which originated in Sind and spilled over to the rest of the country.
- Shoaib Malik smashed a solid half-century to anchor Pakistan’s five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 international in Lahore on 24th Jan .
Malik’s 45-ball 58 not out for his eighth Twenty20 fifty was instrumental as Pakistan overhauled a modest 142-run target in 19.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Bangladesh had managed 141-5 in their 20 overs with openers Mohammad Naim scoring a 41-ball 43 and Tamim Iqbal hitting a 34-ball 39 as Pakistan’s three-man pace attack kept them in check on a flat Gaddafi Stadium pitch.
- The government has increased development spending to about 55 per cent of its budgetary allocations, significantly higher than last year’s 35pc during the corresponding period.
The data released by the Planning Commission shows that it has approved Rs384 billion disbursements for development projects as of January 17 against a budgetary allocation of Rs701bn, accounting for 55pc. Exactly during the same period last year, the Planning Commission had approved release of Rs233bn for development schemes against a budgetary allocation of Rs675bn, accounting for 35pc. As part of the accelerated disbursements, the government has so far released Rs18.6bn for the development schemes of its parliamentarians under the account of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) against an allocation of Rs24bn for the full year, showing a 78pc spending in just six months.
|F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 26th January 2020 as compared to 19th January 2020|
|Countries||PKR rate as of 19th January 2020||PKR rate as of 26thJanuary 2020|
|Saudi Arabia Rial||41.40||41.45|
Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices
As of 26th January 2020 As Compared
To 19th January 2020
|Position as of 26th January 2020|
|Symbols||KSE100 Index||PSX-KMI All Shares Index|
|Advance 168||Current 42633.03||Current 19995.40|
|Decline 148||High 42707.43||High 20048.95|
|Unchange 22||Low 42250.56||Low 19804.87|
|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|