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August, 2018


Overseas Pakistanis iVoting Could Herald Change in Polls Calculus

AUG 31, 2018: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday okayed the use of i-voting system by overseas Pakistanis in the upcoming by-polls after the Supreme Court ruled that the system was ready for use. According to the ECP, the by-polls will be held on National Assembly’s 11 and provincial assemblies’ 26 constituencies. If successful, the system could be implemented in local government polls also next year. The voter registration process will start on September 1 and overseas Pakistanis will be given 15 days to register themselves to voteRead More

Indian Rupee Hits Record Low Vs. Dollar On Rising Oil Prices

A cheaper rupee could increase India’s crude oil bill by as much as US$26 billion in the financial year 2018/19, ending March 2019 AUG 31, 2018: India’s currency, the rupee, hit a new record low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday on the back of rising oil prices, end-month demand for dollars, and concerns about the health of the emerging markets after the Turkey crisis. The rupee slumped to an all-time low of 70.81 against the dollar, beating the previous record low from just yesterday—70.475, for a total 11 percentRead More

Turkey Rushes to Buy Russia’s Highly-Sophisticated Air Defense System

AUG 31, 2018: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey will buy some of Russia’s highly-sophisticated air defense systems “in the shortest time” – a purchase that has alarmed Ankara’s NATO partners — including the US. “Turkey needs S-400s and its deal has been done,” Erdogan said in the western city of Balikesir. “God willing, we will buy them in the shortest time.” The S-400, touted by experts to be one of the most advanced systems in the world, can engage multiple aerial targets within a 400 kilometer range.Read More

Held Kashmir Shuts Down Ahead of Indian Supreme Court Hearing on Region’s Autonomy

AUG 30, 2018: A general strike and curfew brought Indian-occupied Kashmir to a standstill Thursday ahead of a landmark Indian Supreme Court hearing centered on the region’s autonomy. Separatist leaders have threatened major protests if the Supreme Court annuls a constitutional provision that bars Indians from outside occupied-Kashmir from buying land or seeking government jobs in the territory. Businesses, schools and public transport across Kashmir followed demands to stay closed while government forces rolled out razor wire and spiked steel barriers across deserted roads in the main city Srinagar toRead More

Russia to Supply Radar for Protecting Karachi Nuclear Plant

AUG 30, 2018: Russia will supply a civilian radar station to Pakistan to protect facilities of the nuclear power plant in Karachi, report TASS News Agency quoting the press office of RTI hi-tech company on Thursday. “A memorandum of cooperation in the field of organizing the delivery of the civilian radar Surok was signed at the Army-2018 international military and technical forum between RTI Group and the Pakistani company TechWin Enterprise. The radar is set to control and protect the Karachi NPP’s facilities, and also some other installations of Pakistan’sRead More

President Mamnoon Hussain Says Can’t Provide Relief to Nawaz Sharif

AUG 30, 2018: President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday said he can’t provide the desired “relief” to former premier Nawaz Sharif and can only meet him in Adiala jail after retirement, reports Pakistan Defence website citing local TV outlet ARY News. Talking to reporters in London, the president said people can object if they want but he will meet the incarcerated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lifelong leader for the bond he shares with the latter. When asked if he will use his power to provide “relief” to members of Sharif family,Read More

Secret Service Against Bribery, Not Whistleblowers

SYED SAADAT: BRIBERY is the building block of corruption, and sadly, in purana Pakistan it prevails at all levels, from a peon to the highest office in a government department. The bigger the office, the higher the bribe. Any posting that involves disbursement of money to a service provider is considered a blessing by a majority of civil servants. ‘Everyday bribes’, such as those you pay a clerk to get your file signed more quickly, or to a peon to move the file a little higher up the stack ofRead More

India’s Oil Appetite is Growing, And Its Refineries Can’t Keep Up

AUG 28, 2018 (BE2C2): India will pass China by the middle of the next decade as the country with the biggest appetite for oil and its refineries can’t keep up, Wood Mackenzie found. The world renowned energy consulting group expects India will pass China as the country with the largest demand for oil by 2024, accounting for about 30 percent of total oil demand growth worldwide. India has already surpassed Japan to become the world’s third largest oil consumer on a monthly basis. For domestic capacity, that growth is aRead More

NAB Probing 70 Politicians For Alleged ‘Corruption, Misuse of Authority, Living Beyond Known Means’

AUG 28, 2018: The country’s premier investigation agency against corruption, misuse of authority and living beyond known means is currently holding inquiries and investigations against hundreds of people including 70 politicians, 121 businessmen and 210 government officers of grade-20 and above, the Senate was told on Tuesday. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is conducting the probe which comprises three phases: Inquiry, investigation, followed by filing of references against any individual or individuals against whom it has substantial evidences to withstand due process of law. The initial phase of probe isRead More

Dr. Shireen Mazari Reminds Human Rights Watch Of Their ‘Selective’ Oversight

AUG 28, 2018: Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Tuesday issued a strong rebuke to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) for writing to Prime Minister Imran Khan and asking him to address “serious human rights challenges” faced by Pakistan. In a letter made public on Monday, HRW Asia Director Brad Adams had asked PM Khan to make human rights a “key focus” of his government. The letter urged the PTI-led coalition government to begin by reversing “abusive laws and policies” and demonstrating “genuine commitment to the rule ofRead More

Rs35Bn Money Laundering Probe Yields 400 Beneficiaries From Fake Accounts Transactions

AUG 28, 2018: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) report on money laundering probe submitted to Supreme Court of Pakistan today lists over 400 individuals including politicians and bureaucrats having benefited from the the scam including former President and PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his siter Faryal Talpur. According to local media outlet Geo, the agency has suggested the top court form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the multi-billion rupees scandal. The probe has already led to the arrest of Hussain Lawai, the chairman of the Pakistan StockRead More

Israel Developing Precision Missiles to Hit Anywhere in the Middle East

AUG 28, 2018: Israel is working on a new missile system capable of hitting targets anywhere in the Middle East, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday. State-owned arms manufacturer Israel Military Industries (IMI) would deliver “within a few years” an advanced integrated system “allowing precise hits by remote launching”, he said in a statement. Lieberman added that the contract with IMI was budgeted at “hundreds of millions of shekels”. The Israeli shekel is currently trading at 3.63 to the US dollar. “The project for setting up a precision rocketRead More

Dubai Is Now Buyer’s and Tenant’s Market, Property Stats Show

AUG 28, 2018 (BE2C2 Report): Dubai has seen prices softening since 2015. As a result, we believe we must be close to the bottom of the market, therefore this is an excellent time to invest. What seems to have dragged down the property selling and renting prices are a mixed bag of local and international trends impacting the Dubai property market. Imposition of VAT on sale and purchase (other than properties) is one of them, besides global currency fluctuations. Rents are down 30 per cent since 2016 and it willRead More

Nepal Plane Crash That Killed 51 People Caused By ‘Emotionally Disturbed’ Captain

Abid Sultan was smoking, crying and talking continuously before crash that killed 51, leaked official report finds AUG 28, 2018: A plane crash at Nepal’s international airport that killed 51 people happened because the captain suffered an “emotional breakdown”, a leaked draft of the official investigation has found. Investigators said the captain, Abid Sultan, wept during the flight after his skills had been questioned by a co-worker. “This mistrust and stress led him to continuously smoke in the cockpit and also suffer an emotional breakdown several times during the flight,”Read More

11 Pakistani Companies Participating in Foodex Saudi 2018

AUG 27, 2018 (BE2C2): Jeddah will host on Nov. 12-15 the 6th edition of ‘Foodex Saudi’, in which 11 Pakistani companies will showcase their products among 600 international brands from more than 32 countries to attract influential Saudi food importers, distributors, and investors. Shahzad Ahmad Khan, commercial consul in Jeddah of the Republic of Pakistan, said the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) will participate in Foodex Exhibition under Pakistan Pavilion. Foodex Saudi is Kingdom’s leading international trade exhibition dedicated to the food and drink industry which last year attractedRead More

Air Pollution Is ‘Reducing Life Expectancy In South Asia –By More Than 1.5 Yrs’

AUG 27, 2018 (BE2C2 Report): For the first time scientists have analyzed the effects of air pollution on life expectancy across Earth’s entire human population. The new research suggests particulate emissions shorten human lives by more than a year. The research on impact of air pollution — both outside and inside houses — on life expectancy comes a little over a year after a WHO study indicated that only 8 percent of us are breathing safe air in Asia, Middle East and Africa. South Asia’s air pollution map in theRead More

Austerity Drive Continues: No First-Class Air Travel Luxury For PM, President, Govt. Officials

AUG 26, 2018: The newly-elected PTI-led coalition government at the Center has banned the discretionary use of state funds and first-class air travel by officials and leaders, including the president and the prime minister. The decisions were taken at a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. “It has been decided that all the top government officials, including the president, prime minister, chief justice, senate chairman, speaker national assembly and the chief ministers will travel in club/business class,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told media. He said the discretionary allocationRead More

China, Russia to Hold Nuclear War Games For First Time

AUG 25, 2018: Russia and China will hold a large-scale military exercise next month that will include simulated nuclear weapons attacks, according to FreeBeacon citing American defense officials. Separately, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is conducting a mega anti-terror drill in Russia aimed at expanding cooperation among the member countries to deal with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism in the region. At least 3,000 soldiers from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan are participating in the drill being conducted by the Central Military Commission of RussiaRead More

Erdogan Calls For Turks to Unite Against Attacks on Economy

AUG 25, 2018: The commitment and determination of Turks is the guarantee needed to combat attacks on Turkey’s economy, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, while casting the currency crisis as no different from attacks on Turkey’s flag or call to prayer. It was Erdogan’s first comments on the currency crisis in days. Turkey’s lira has tumbled around 40 percent this year as investor concerns over Erdogan’s grip on monetary policy and a growing dispute with the United States put pressure on the currency. Erdogan has cast the rapid deteriorationRead More

Saudi Aramco IPO Plan Halted, Oil Giant Disbands Advisors

Saudi economy overall has turned a corner due to higher oil revenue and other reforms that involve boosting non-oil revenue AUG 24, 2018: Saudi Arabia has called off both the domestic and international stock listing of state oil giant Aramco, billed as the biggest such deal in history, four senior industry sources told Reuters. The financial advisors working on the proposed listing have been disbanded. “The decision to call off the IPO was taken some time ago, but no-one can disclose this, so statements are gradually going that way –Read More