World

Politics

· Venezuela’s Guaidó calls for ‘largest march in history’ in uprising effort whereas Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has claimed his troops have defeated a “coup” attempt

Venezuela’s embattled President Nicolas Maduro has claimed his troops have defeated a “coup” attempt amid calls by opposition leader Juan Guaido for protesters to return to the streets on IST May.

Venezuelans were expected to take to the streets on ist May for what opposition leader Juan Guaidó pledged would be the “largest march” in the country’s history a day after he called for the military to oust President Nicolas Maduro. In his boldest effort yet to gain the support of the armed forces, Mr Guaidó appeared early 30th April morning outside a Caracas air force base with dozens of National Guard members. That triggered a day of violent protests, leaving more than 100 injured but without any concrete signs of defection from the armed forces leadership.

“We know that Maduro does not have the backing or the respect of the armed forces,” Mr Guaidó said in a video message posted to his social media accounts on Tuesday evening. “We have seen that protest yields results. We should keep up the pressure.” Whether the protest turnout meets those lofty hopes will provide a key test for Mr Guaidó, as some supporters grow frustrated that Mr Maduro remains in office more than three months after Mr Guaidó – who leads the opposition-controlled National Assembly – invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Mr Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate. While Mr Guaidó earned the backing of the United States and most Western countries, the armed forces have stood by Mr Maduro, who retains the support of allies like Russia, China and Cuba.

·  Isis chief’s video designed to buttress role as global jihadi leader

The reappearance of Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a video released on 29th April was undoubtedly timed to demonstrate he has survived the disintegration of his territorial caliphate and remains “commander of the faithful”. By recording his second-ever video at this time, the shadowy Iraqi also seeks to re-energise his troops and demonstrate to his chief rival, the al-Qaeda-linked group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which controls Syria’s northwest Idlib province, that Islamic State (also known as Isis) remains the leading global jihadi movement despite its losses.

·  Two dead after gunman opens fire at North Carolina University

A gunman reported to have been a student opened fire in a building at the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus on 30th April, killing two people and wounding four others, three of them critically. Details of the early evening violence remained hazy hours later but campus Police Chief Jeff Baker said his emergency dispatch office first received a call about an individual armed with a pistol who had shot several students. Two or three campus police officers responding to the call entered the building, disarmed the gunman and took him into custody, Mr Baker said. The accused shooter was identified late 30th April as Trystan Andrew Terrell (22), who is in custody with charges pending. No other information was released.

· Police in Paris fire tear gas to repel protesters on May Day rally

Dozens of masked and hooded anarchists clashed with riot police in Paris on ist May, burning bins, smashing property and hurling bottles and rocks, hijacking a May Day rally that was focused on protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies. Tens of thousands of labour union and “yellow vest” protesters were on the streets across France, days after Mr. Macron outlined a response to months of street protests including tax cuts worth around €5 billion.

· UK defense secretary sacked after Huawei leak inquiry

Gavin Williamson has been summarily sacked as the UK’s defense secretary following an inquiry into an unprecedented leak from the National Security Council over Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network.

·  Hard-line Indian group allied with Modi calls for ban on the veil

An Indian Hindu nationalist group allied with Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on Ist May for a ban on veils after Sri Lanka prohibited the garments worn by some Muslim women following militant bomb attacks there. Sri Lanka imposed its ban on 29th April to help security forces identify people under an emergency law put in place after Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks in churches and hotels killed more than 250 people. “We welcome this decision and demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows in Sri Lanka’s footsteps and bans the burqa and niqab in India,” the Mumbai-based Shiv Sena party wrote in an editorial in the Saamana newspaper. A burqa is a loose all-enveloping garment worn by some Muslim women when they go outside. A niqab is a veil that covers the face, apart from the eyes. The hardline Hindu group said the burqa had nothing to do with Islam and Indian Muslim women who wore it were only following the tradition of the Arab world, where women wear it outside to protect themselves from the sun. The Ministry of Home Affairs declined to comment.

·  Seeds of hate in Sri Lanka: Fiery leader, wealthy followers

April 23, 2019, purports to show Mohammed Zahran, a.k.a. Zahran Hashmi, center, the man Sri Lanka says led the Easter attack that killed over 300 people, as well as other attackers. Sri Lankan authorities have blamed the militant Muslim group National Thowfeek Jamaath for the attack. The Islamic State group released the photo 30th April to assert its claim on the assault. An impatient little girl in a pretty dress pulls on the hand of a man, possibly her grandfather, as they cross a brick courtyard outside St. Sebastian’s Church on Easter Sunday. Directly in her path a slightly built, bearded man, bent beneath the weight of a large backpack, slows down so he doesn’t bump into the girl, his fingers seeming to touch her hair for just an instant as she passes. And then, CCTV cameras show, they both go about their day, the girl continuing across the courtyard, the man with the pack marching with purpose toward the main church building — a common, almost mundane interaction made chilling only by what happens next. The man walks into the church packed with worshippers, a ceiling fan whirring above, and, according to authorities, detonates the bomb in his bag, part of a coordinated set of attacks on churches and luxury hotels across Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people. Officials are now hunting for clues that might explain how a little-known Islamic radical group went from defacing Buddhist statues and posting online screeds to pulling off one of the most stunning and brutal attacks in recent years.

  • Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has wed his royal consort, Gen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya,and declared her queen just days before his coronation.

Thailand’s king Maha Vajiralongkorn has appointed his consort as the country’s queen ahead of his official coronation on 4th May.  A royal statement released on ist May said the 66-year-old monarch “has decided to promote Gen. Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya, his royal consort, to become Queen Suthida and she will hold royal title and status as part of the royal family.” The pair officially married May 1 at the Ampornsathan Throne Hall in Bangkok’s Dusit Palace. The King’s younger sister, Princess Sirindhorn, and Chairman to Privy Council, Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, signed the marriage document as witnesses. Junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha also attended the ceremony. Vajiralongkorn assumed the throne following the death of his father in 2016, becoming King Rama X. He is the 10th member of the Chakri dynasty, which has ruled Thailand since Rama I took the throne in 1782.

  • Japan celebrated the beginning of the new imperial era of Reiwa or “beautiful harmony” on ist May as new Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne a day after his father Akihito abdicated.

Japan’s new emperor once famously railed against the pressures that had driven his wife from public life. In 2004 Naruhito, then a prince, said Masako “had completely exhausted herself” trying to adapt to life in the imperial household, where her “individuality” had been stifled. The criticism was like an earthquake under the manicured lawns of the Imperial Palace, said one observer. Naruhito’s fleeting rebellion was widely interpreted as a sign of tension between the demands of the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy and the modern values of its younger members. Now, Empress Masako and Emperor Naruhito (59), who formally ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, are charged with upholding its ancient traditions.

·   Spain’s Socialists win general election amid far-right surge

Spain’s governing Socialists won their first general election since 2008 on Sunday but fell short of a majority as the conservative opposition suffered a disastrous night and the far-right made gains. The Socialists of prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had won 123 seats, a vast improvement on the 85 seats they secured in 2016. However, they are likely to need the support of leftist and possibly nationalist parties in order to secure the 176-seat majority they need to govern.

· 100 million people were on path of India’s worst cyclone in five years however 7 killed as Tropical Cyclone Fani hits India

The strongest tropical cyclone to hit India in 20 years made landfall Friday, killing seven people and lashing the country’s east coast with ferocious winds and torrential downpours. Tropical Cyclone Fani struck near the city of Puri, in Odisha state, as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane — packing sustained winds of 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour). The storm weakened to a tropical depression as it entered Bangladesh on 4th May morning, the India Meteorological Department said. There have been no casualties or significant damage in Bangladesh, according to disaster management minister Enamur Rahman. The seven people who died in Odisha were killed by falling trees and collapsed walls, police spokesman Sanjeev Panda said.

Economy-

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 3rd and 4th May 2019

As compared to 27th and 28th April 2019 

Global indices as of 3rd and 4th May 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (May 03) 8,164.00 8036.77     
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (May 03) 7,380.64 7351.31     
 CAC (May 03) 5,548.84 5538.86     
 DAX (May 03) 12,412.75 12345.42     
ASIAN MARKETS
 NIKKEI 225 (Apr 26) 22,258.73 22307.58     
 STRAITS TIMES (May 03) 3,392.29 3393.33     
 HANG SENG (May 03) 30,081.55 29944.18     
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (May 03) 11,096.30 11004.49     
 KOSPI (May 03) 2,196.32 2212.75     
 SET COMPOSITE (May 03) 1,679.05 1679.17     
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (May 03) 6,319.46 6374.42     
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Apr 30) 3,078.34 3062.50     
 SGX NIFTY (May 04) 11,808.00 11760.50

 

Global indices as of 26th and 27th April 2019
Name Current Value Prev. Close
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Apr 26) 8,146.40 8118.68     
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Apr 26) 7,428.19 7434.13     
 CAC (Apr 26) 5,569.36 5557.67     
 DAX (Apr 26) 12,315.18 12282.60     
ASIAN MARKETS
 NIKKEI 225 (Apr 26) 22,258.73 22307.58     
 STRAITS TIMES (Apr 26) 3,356.95 3350.28     
 HANG SENG (Apr 26) 29,605.01 29549.80     
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Apr 26) 10,952.47 11039.86     
 KOSPI (Apr 26) 2,179.31 2190.50     
 SET COMPOSITE (Apr 26) 1,667.15 1673.32     
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Apr 26) 6,401.08 6372.79

             

    
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Apr 26) 3,086.40 3123.83     
 SGX NIFTY (Apr 27) 11,854.00 11814.00     

 

Pakistan

Politics

  • Three soldiers were martyred and seven others injured when a group of 60 to 70 terrorists from bases in Afghanistan attacked Pakistan Army troops undertaking fencing efforts along the Pak-Afghan border in Alwara, North Waziristan, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

According to a statement issued by the ISPR, the troops effectively responded and repulsed the attack, killing and injuring scores of terrorists. The three Pakistan Army soldiers — Lance Naik Ali, Lance Naik Nazeer and Sepoy Imdadullah — were martyred in the exchange of fire and seven others were injured. “While Pakistan security forces are solidifying border security through fencing and construction of forts to deny liberty of action to the terrorists, Afghan Security Forces and the authorities need to have more effective control in [the] border region to support Pakistan’s efforts as well as deny use of Afghan soil against Pakistan,” the statement read. Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that the Afghan charge d’affaires was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and “Pakistan’s strong protest was lodged” over the incident.

· Army Generals didn’t help PTI come to power: Imran

 Prime Minister Imran Khan on 1st May hit out at the opposition saying that his party, the (PTI), came into power through its own performance rather than help from any army general.
“No general Jilani brought the PTI up,” he said, while addressing a convention to mark 22nd anniversary of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the federal capital. The PTI chief said it was shameful to see PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif not bringing the country’s health sector up to international standards. “That is why he wants to go overseas for treatment,” he said. The premier reiterated that under no circumstances would a deal be struck with opposition parties, saying accountability proceedings against its leadership shall continue. “There are ups and downs in life just like politics… party leaders have left but I never lost my resolve to bring change in Pakistan,” he said, referring to his 23-year-old struggle, adding that, faith is extremely important to achieve anything in life.

  • Masood Azhar, the head of the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), was designated a global terrorist by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 1st May after a long legal and political battle among the permanent members of the international body.

Since 2008, the US attempted four times to list Masood under the UNSC Resolution 1267, but every time its move was thwarted by China. The latest resolution was moved soon after the Pulwama attack, which India claimed was carried out by the JeM. In March, China once again put a technical hold on the proposal seeking the designation of Masood as a global terrorist. But now as under international laws he has been designated as a global terrorist.

  • The Supreme Court on 2nd May disposed of a suo motu case concerning the affairs of Lal Masjid after receiving an assurance from the attorney general that the Jamia Hafsa seminary will be reconstructed.

Firebrand Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz had in 2015 petitioned the court to ensure that the families of those killed in the July 2007 military operation was paid blood money. After the operation, the government and the mosque administration, led by Maulana Aziz, had reached an agreement under which the Capital Development Authority would provide an alternative site for the reconstruction of the Jamia Hafsa seminary. The petition, among other demands, had also called for the CDA to build a new madressah in place of the seminary for women that had been damaged in the 2007 operation and later razed to the ground. Aziz had also asked the court to order the federal government to implement its October 2, 2007 judgement in the case.

·         PM performs groundbreaking of much-awaited Mohmand Dam

Prime Minister Imran Khan on 2nd May asserted that the country could not prosper unless the restoration of peace in the society. While addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the much-awaited Mohmand Dam at the project site on Swat River about five kilometers upstream of Munda Head works in Mohmand district, the PM outlined significance of peace for investment in the country, and stated: “Investment is impossible unless peace is restored.” He considered it vital to eradicate unemployment and poverty. The premier lashed out at political rivals and said those who were inflicting damage to the system were saying that they are saving democracy. “In 1960s, we [Pakistan] were far ahead of many other states in the world, however after that even countries in the subcontinent moved ahead of us,” he added.
He praised measures of development adopted by China, and said there is no example alike China as it has already prepared for the next 20 years. “China doesn’t think merely of elections,” he continued. He said that China has about 5,000 dams as big as Tarbela and Mangla in Pakistan, and that there is a reason why China has been building so many dams. He maintained that China has decided to help Pakistan, and with the use of advanced technology and techniques, the dam could be built in less than five years of time.
He stated that we [the government] have to build five million houses in the country, and not one city but the entire state would be uplifted. For Mohmand district, he said Rs4.5 billion has been allocated for the development of the region.

· Few PTM elements playing in foreign hands, says COAS

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on 2nd May that Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) issues being highlighted are genuine and natural in post-operation environment as PTM itself is not an issue. Few elements of the organization are playing in foreign hands to exploit the sentiments of victims who have actually suffered at the hands of terrorism and now need care, he added. “We shall fail all inimical forces and their conspiracies trying to undo our gains”, he expressed. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army chief met different students of various universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) at the Corps Auditorium of Peshawar Headquarters. On this occasion, he expressed that Pakistan is enriched with intelligent and skilled youngsters. Nation and the armed forces succeeded against the terrorism in Pakistan, he said. He further said that the fruit of these sacrifices will be achieved through socio-economic development of the country by most important element, education. Qamar Javed Bajwa asserted that the priority is to establish a lasting peace for socio-economic development and to make enemy’s every move unsuccessful. Government and security forces are working to address genuine issues of the tribal people regardless of where they come from, he added. Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa determinedly expressed that students will not yield to any misguided propaganda and contributes to fruitful prospect of the nation. On this occasion, students assured full support to the armed forces.

  • SC rejects Sharif plea for medical treatment from United Kingdom

While turning down review plea of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on 3rd May seeking extension in six week bail in Al-Aziza Steel Mills case the top court declined to entertain Sharif request for medical treatment from United Kingdom. Supreme Court had granted six-week bail facility to Nawaz Sharif on medical ground on March 26 which will expire on May 07, however, Sharif filed review petition in the matter on April 25 seeking a permanent bail. Announcing its short order in the matter, a three-member bench of the Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that petitioner was granted six-week medical bail, but it seems like he spent most of the time doing tests. Chief Justice Khosa was of the view that Nawaz was given bail facility on medical grounds after a medical board recommended angiography saying the petitioner has exceeded the scope by asking to travel abroad. Representing Sharif before the bench, Khawaja Harris Ahmed contended that according to written order of the top court, his client cannot apply for bail before surrendering himself to the authorities. Haris further argued that it would be ideal situation for Nawaz Sharif to get medical treatment from his doctors in UK who were well aware of medical condition of his client. It is worth mentioning that earlier all medical reports of Nawaz Sharif were submitted to the Supreme Court along with the application for bail extension. Later, the top court dismissed review plea of Nawaz Sharif in the matter. –

Economy

· Foreign exchange reserves deplete by $251 million to $15.743 billion

The total liquid foreign exchange reserves of the country have depleted by $251 million to $15.743 billion by week ended April 26, 2019 as against $15.994 billion in the previous week, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on 2nd May. The official reserves of the central bank fell by $219 million to $8,805 billion for the week under review as against $9.024 billion by week ended April 19, 2019. The central bank said that the official reserves were declined due to external debt servicing and other official payments. The foreign exchange reserves with the commercial banks also declined by $33 million to $6.937 billion for the week ended April 26, 2019 as compared with $6.97 billion a week ago.

· Inflation increases by 8.8 percent in April 2019

The headline inflation has surged by 8.8 percent on year on year (YoY) in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 9.4 percent in previous month and 3.7 percent in April 2018, said Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on 2nd May. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation on month-on-month basis, it increased by 1.3 percent in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 1.4 percent in the previous month and an increase of 1.8 percent in corresponding month i.e. April 2018. Core inflation measured by non-food non-energy CPI (Core NFNE) increased by 7.0 percent on (YoY) basis in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 8.5 percent in the previous month and 7.0 percent in April 2018. On (MoM) basis, it increased by 1.0 percent in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 0.5 percent in previous month, and an increase of 2.5 percent in corresponding month of last year i.e. April 2018. Core inflation, measured by 20 percent weighted trimmed mean CPI (Core Trimmed) increased by 7.2 percent on (YoY) basis in April 2019 as compared to 7.9 percent in the previous month and by 5.0 percent in April 2018. On (MoM) basis, it increased by 0.9 percent in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 0.4 percent in the previous month and an increase of 1.6 percent in corresponding month of last year i.e. April 2018. The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) inflation on YoY basis increased by 9.3 percent in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 8.8 percent a month earlier and a decrease of 0.5 percent in April 2018. On MoM basis, it increased by 0.9 percent as compared to an increase of 1.6 percent in the previous month and an increase of 0.4 percent in corresponding month of last year i.e. April 2018. Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation on YoY basis increased by 13.8 percent in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 12.6 percent a month earlier and an increase of 4.0 percent in April 2018. WPI inflation on MoM basis increased by 2.3 percent in April 2019 as compared to an increase of 1.7 percent a month earlier and an increase of 1.3 percent in corresponding month of last year i.e. April 2018. 

·Bailout talks with IMF far from conclusion but in progress

The IMF mission to Pakistan led by Ernesto Ramirez Rigo was heartened by the “shared thinking at the federal and provincial levels” as views were exchanged on 4th May between the mission and senior government officials on the existing fiscal situation of the country, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, and the finance ministers of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan participated in the discussions with the IMF team in Islamabad within the context of the Fund bailout programme currently under negotiations. “The mission was apprised that the federal and provincial governments were constantly engaged on fiscal matters and the National Finance Commission (NFC) and the Fiscal Coordination Committee (FCC) forums were being used for ensuring maximum cooperation and coordination among the federal and provincial fiscal authorities,” read the finance ministry statement. “They (the ministers) assured the mission that the provincial governments would support and complement the efforts of the federal government to adhere to the fiscal framework being discussed with the Fund,” .

However Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have yet to bridge their differences in three major policy areas, as the global lender seeks upfront monetary tightening and elimination of the flow of circular debt from the first year of the program. The IMF staff-level team is in the country from April 29 to May 10 with an aim to finalize the three-year Extended Fund Facility program, valuing nearly $6.5 billion. Without an IMF umbrella, Pakistan’s external sector position remains extremely fragile. The deal with the IMF will open doors for borrowings from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and launch of sovereign bonds. On his return from Washington last month, former finance minister Asad Umar said Pakistan and the IMF had reached an agreement in principle and the technical details would be finalized during the visit of the global lender’s team to the country.

  • President Arif Alvi has approved the appointment of Dr Reza Baqir, a long-time economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for a period of three years, on 4th May.

The senior economist of Pakistani origin will replace Tariq Bajwa, who was unexpectedly removed from the post on 3rd May along with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman. A notification said the federal government in pursuance of a federal cabinet decision had accepted the resignation tendered by Bajwa as the central bank’s governor on May 03 “with immediate effect”. Before this Dr Reza Baqir, has remained with IMF on different projects in different countries.

                                                                                                         

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 4th May 2019 as compared to 26th April 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 26th April 2019 PKR rate as of 4thth May 2019
U.S.A. 142.20 142.00
U.K. 184.25 184.80
Euro 158.50 158.80
Japan 1.2900 1.2800
Saudi Arabia 37.85 37.80
U.A.E. 38.80 38.75

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 3rd May 2019 As Compared

To 26th April 2019  

Position as of 3rd May 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 84 (curr) Current 36122.95 Current 17216.96
Declined High 211 High 36556.42 High 17439.47
Unchanged Low 18 Low 36071.10 Low 17191.70
Total Change 313  -424.68  -222.51
 

Position as of 26th April 2019
Symbols KSE100 PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 218
37130.63
17739.88
Declined (High) 82
37158.35
17753.90
Unchanged (Low) 21
36787.44
17540.71
Total (Change) 321
334.60
196.00

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