Posted on

Trade war with China to hit US economy: Russian expert

Monitoring Desk

MOSCOW: The U.S. economy will lose because of its actions against China, the chairman of the government spending watchdog, the Russian Accounts Chamber, Alexey Kudrin said on Wednesday.

Although the trade war between China and the U.S. will not hit severely the Chinese economy and the volume of world trade, actions by U.S. President Donald Trump undermine the World Trade Organization (WTO) system, create uncertainty and mistrust of the investors, the former Russian finance minister wrote on Twitter.

On the horizon of 10-15 years this will cause the decline of the U.S. economy, Kudrin predicted.

The economist said it was not correct to compare U.S. tariffs against China with the U.S. sanctions against Russia.

“Trade measures against China are easily reversible — it is enough for Trump to cancel several decrees. And sanctions against Russia are initiated by the Congress, it will be very difficult to get rid of them,” Kudrin wrote.

Washington said Monday it would begin imposing 10 percent tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion starting next week, adding the rate of tariffs will rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1.

Beijing quickly retaliated by announcing it would implement 5-10 percent tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods, which also will go take effect next week.

China said it has filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S.

Beijing will look for permission from the WTO to impose additional sanctions against the U.S. on Friday. (AA)

Posted on

Protectionism harmful in long term: Vakif bank CEO

Monitoring Desk

ISTANBUL: Protectionist trade policies may seem lucrative in the short term, but in the long run, they are damaging, Mehmet Emin Ozcan, the CEO of state lender Vakif Bank, warned on Wednesday.

“It is not conflicts that enhance the welfare of humanity, but cooperation,” he told the 9th Istanbul Finance Summit’s (IFS’18) opening session.

“The best example of this cooperation is international trade, which is not only trade in goods, but also cultural exchanges,” he added.

He also underlined that unilateral determinations on international trade are contrary to its nature.

“I hope all parties, especially the U.S., will end the process called trade wars,” he said.

Meliksah Utku, the CEO of private participation bank Albaraka Turk, stressed that trade wars are expected to affect he U.S. and China hardest.

Turkey will not be affected by them due to its flexible and wide-ranging export structure, he stressed.

“Some studies show that trade wars may even affect Turkey positively,” he added.

Touching on currency fluctuations in Turkey, Utku said the bad effects of this would be temporary due to the wise economic course of the country’s administration.

Ali Fuat Taskesenlioglu, the head of Turkey’s Capital Markets Board (SPK), said that unfortunately, the top issue this year is the problem of trade wars.

“History has seen several trade wars, and currently, there is a global trade war with diplomatic and economic effects,” he stated.

Trade wars raise of local firms’ input costs, and Turkey needs to develop domestic industry and provide sustainable growth, he underlined.

During the two-day IFS’18, which kicked off on Wednesday, 19 sessions will be held on a range of issues under the general theme “Trade Wars and Financing Industries.”

The summit will be attended by a host of officials, economists, businesspeople, bankers, and academics. (AA)


Posted on

Govt may levy custom duty on luxury items: FPCCI

F.P. Report

Lahore: “The increase in customs duty on more than 5,000 items and in regulatory duty of over 900 items should have been levied on luxury items and not on imported raw materials and capital goods which are not produced locally”.

This was said by Regional Chairman and Vice President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Ch. ArfanYousaf in his reaction to the amended Finance Bill 2018 for remaining months of the financial year,

He urged that corrective measures may be taken against the smuggling of those items to safeguard the local industry against the influx of smuggled items.

He said that the massive increase in the gas tariff would hurt the exports as it would the jack-up cost of doing business manifold and expel the Pakistani products from the international export market. Such anti-business measures would hamper the growth of the manufacturing sector, he added.

He termed it a moderate budget as it would generate additional revenue for the cash-starved country for economic recovery.

He argued that the reduction in public sector development programme from Rs725 billion to Rs 475 billion would hurt the development of infrastructure projects, a pre-requisite of industrialization.

In his mixed reaction, he also appreciated the government moves to ensure uninterrupted supply of fertilizer to the farmers at an affordable rate for which a subsidy of Rs 6 to 7 billion has also been approved.

Arfan hailed the decision of the government to absorb the impact increase in petroleum levy from Rs185 billion to Rs300 billion and not passing the same to the masses.



Posted on

Govt to protect country’s interest at any cost: Afridi

F.P. Report

GILGIT: Minister of State for Interior, Shahryar Khan Afridi here Wednesday said that government would protect interest of the country at any cost come what may and would give all respect and honour to the people they deserved. Addressing a high-level meeting in connection with Moharram-ul-Haram security arrangements here on Wednesday, he said there era of ‘Do More’ has gone rather its period of ‘No More’.

He made it clear that we will not hand over our rights and security for our personal gains to the aliens as the previous regimes used to do so. “We are the citizens of this country which has been bestowed with God gifted natural resources in abundance,” he said, adding our main focus is strengthening of the federal units and economic empowerment of people and assured that the government which was in GB would be given full respect and honor as given to others federating units. “I came here to listen problems of people of this beautiful province and not to dictate any things to GB Government.”

“Our Government was focusing on development and progress of hitherto neglected areas like GB and will make every endeavor to provide all basic amenities of life to people of this province at their doorsteps.” Unfortunately, he said the previous successive governments had ignored the remote and backward areas of the country. Earlier, the Minister was given detailed briefing on the security arrangements made for peaceful observance of Ashura Moharram. He assured full support of the federal government to GB in the maintenance of public order.

Meanwhile, the interior minister for state visited Imamia Masjid and Central Mosque Gilgit and met the people of the occasion. The meeting was attended by Law Minister GB Aurangzaib Advocate, Chief Secretary, IGP, DG Rangers, DG GB scouts and representatives of other security agencies. Later, in a brief chat with media men, Afridi said the government was taking steps to remove sense of deprivation of the people of GB.

To a question he said, all stakeholders were on same page viz a viz national security. He held categorical assurance that Federal Govt would continue support to the GB govt which has been elected through democratic process. He said protection to life and properties was the sole responsibilities of the government and no comprise would be made in this regard. “All are equal before us whether they are in majority or in minority in Pakistan,” the minister concluded.


Posted on

PTI MPA defends mini budget as balanced

F.P. Report

MARDAN: PTI’s Member Provincial Assembly Iftikhar Ali Mashwani has defended the mini budget presented by the Federal Finance Minister Asad Umer as balanced in the present difficult economic scenario.

In a statement here the PTI MPA said that though certain tough decisions have been taken but it could not be avoided in order to get rid of the economic mess of the previous regimes. Had we not taken these decisions today we would have been in more difficult economic situation tomorrow, he explained. He was optimistic that this difficult time would be ended soon and the country would prosper and flourish in the PTI government in the days to come. We congratulate Asad Umer for presenting a people friendly and balanced mini budget.

The lootmar, plunder of the national wealth and other illegal practices continued for last thirty years by the previous successive regimes, put the economy of the country under huge debts of Rs30,000 billion and stress. With all such debts, it was not an easy task to make a friendly budget, he added.

He said that trading and business circles of the country were happy over the budgetary proposals. The exports of the country will increase which were on the downward trend for the last five-six years. He maintained neither gas tariff has been increased by 46 percent nor any additional tax levied on people having more than 1.2 million annual incomes, no compromise on CPEC and instead pension rate enhanced and farmers provided with subsidy. The opponents were criticizing the budget for the sake of opposition.

The merit, and justice based government has been established under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan in the country. The Prime Minister was making every endeavor to establish a transparent system in the country cleansed of nepotism and corruption. The destiny of the nation would be changed towards better if support and cooperation of the people of the country remained with PTI, he concluded.



Posted on

Dir people reject hike in gas prices

F.P. Report

TIMERGARA: Political workers of various parties here on Wednesday rejected the recent increase in the price of gas and imposition of taxes in utility bills of consumers of Malakand division.

In their written statement issued the media the ANP activist Buzarg Ahmad Jan, JI Syed Musharaf Shah Jan, PPP Aman Khan and others have said that people had voted to the PTI for ending their miseries and hardships. They said the PTI government had been bombing the nation with price hike, taxing the low income class and joblessness. They said the government first increased the price of electricity and then fertilizers and gas. They said the PTI had proved it was not capable to run the state smoothly. The activists threatened to bring people on the roads if the government did not stop teasing the general public.

Also in the day the former nazim union council Samar Bagh advocate Abdul Rehman said that Malakand division was a tax free zone but the government had included different kinds of taxes in utility bills. Condemning the taxes in utility bills he said the government wanted to indirectly tax the people of Malakand.

He said that Malakand division was the worst affected region of militancy, earth quakes and floods and the government should have announced special package for it rather putting the people in the fire. He demanded of the government to end taxing the people of Malakand. Otherwise; he said the people would start agitation and the responsibility of any untoward incidents would fall on the government.




Posted on

DPO suspends 2 policemen over poor performance

Ghulam Mursalin Marwat

LAKKI MARWAT: District Police Officer (DPO) Asif Gohar suspended from service two police officials on poor performance and directed them to report to police lines at district headquarters complex Tajazai.

During a surprise visit to police stations in Naurang and Dadiwala areas, the district police chief expressed anguish over poor cleanliness condition and not updating record of different sections of police stations. He inspected Moharar rooms, offices of station house officers, lockups, barracks and storerooms and found the record incomplete.

The hygiene condition was also not up to the mark in both police stations. The Moharars on duty could not cite any solid reason for not updating record and keeping police stations clean and beautiful. Mr Asif suspended from service Khamdullah Jan, Moharar at Dadiwala police station and Osman, additional Moharar posted in Shaheed Asmatullah Khan Khattak police station of Naurang town.

He said that Moharars were the backbone of police stations and that any negligence and slackness on their part was intolerable. He directed the station house officers to complete the record of relevant sections and record entries of arrests in relevant registers.



Posted on

Death toll from Philippines typhoon climbs to 81

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Death toll from Philippines typhoon named “Mangkhut” rose to 81 on Wednesday, according to local media. The typhoon affected northern shores of the Philippines on Saturday. Philippine police said 71 people were injured in several incidents, with 70 others still missing.

Earlier, Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police (PNP) director, had said that most of the casualties occurred due to landslides caused by the typhoon. Albayalde added nearly 250,000 people have been affected by the typhoon, while 100,000 people have been evacuated to safe places.

Meanwhile, the death toll from a landslide in northern Philippines has risen to 46, local media reported Wednesday.

The landslide occurred Saturday as an aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut in a goldmine in Benguet province’s Itogon town, according to Rappler, a Philippine-based online news portal. Authorities fear the death toll to rise further as more people are thought to be trapped under the soil. Rescuers are trying to reach the missing miners. (AA)


Posted on

Boko Haram violence spikes in Nigeria

Monitoring Desk

LAGOS: In August, a report came out that appeared aligned with the official Nigerian narrative that says Boko Haram militants have been “technically defeated” in most parts of Nigeria’s northeast region. “In a survey encompassing sites in the Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, 85 percent of respondents reported witnessing a reduction in the level of violence in their communities,” the prominent West African civic group Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) said in the report.

“Nearly 90 percent said they believe the insurgency is subsiding or effectively over.” But developments in the region in the past few weeks now appear to suggest otherwise as reports emerged of militants ambushing government troops. Some have alleged a few of those reports have been promoted by the opposition for political capital. Cited are the attacks last week in the towns of Gudumbali and Damasak, the bombing of Alau Dam which supplies water to the Borno capital Maiduguri, as well as repeated attacks in the neighboring Yobe State, or raids on different communities on the fringe of Lake Chad.

Some 21 civilians were also recently abducted in the Borno state, but were since freed by Nigerian troops. “On a daily basis, we get reports of Boko Haram killing one or two farmers cultivating land less than 10 kilometers [a little over 6 miles] from Maiduguri without any corresponding measures,” Baba Gana Imam, a community leader, told Anadolu Agency. “These attacks […] show that they are very much resilient and bent on proving that their forces have not been routed,” added Fred Onuoha, a security analyst and professor at the political science department at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka.

Apart from the seasonal rains that make the roads inaccessible to troops while militants hit remote communities, Onuoha said there are other factors to consider for the surge. The ransom the militants receive in exchange for releasing abductees enables them to restock key supplies like drugs, food, weapons and recruits, according to the analyst. “Second, and as a corollary to the above, is access to sophisticated weapons likely purchased from ransom money and routinely acquired from raiding of security armory,” he added. Troop fatigue has also been fingered for the recent surge in Boko Haram attacks.

Operatives of the Special Operation forces (SOF), an elite unit of the military credited with curtailing the militants between 2014 and 2015, have recently protested the long deployment in the region, underscoring the low morale within their ranks. “It is not unlikely that the insurgents may be taking advantage of this morale deficit to launch attacks on mostly military targets,” Onuoha said. Beegeagles, the preeminent defense website in West Africa, agreed.

“There are continuing issues with provisioning and low morale, the latter stemming from inordinately extended tours of duty. Also, the number of troops in the region is clearly inadequate to hold territory and to go on the offensive in tandem,” the website administrator, who asked not to be named, told Anadolu Agency. Militants may also be targeting military installations to access weapons and this could mean that Daesh is planning a major attack and possible territorial raid on one or two towns in rural Borno, Ryan Cummings, a pan-African security analyst based in Johannesburg, told Anadolu Agency. He said the redeployment of Nigerian and regional military assets to other flash points may also explain the surge.

The Nigerian army has dismissed claims of a resurgence. Instead, its spokesman Texas Chukwu said in a statement last week that troops have continued to clear militants from their camps, resulting in massive casualties among militants. Fears of Boko Haram overrunning communities persist nonetheless a possible throwback to the events of 2013 and 2014 when militants effectively established a caliphate covering a large area of land. With a number of major roads still not safe and the inkling that the two factions of the insurgency may be papering over their differences to face a “common enemy”, analysts said nobody should rule out a surge.

Said this should involve identifying potential new strengths of the Boko Haram factions in the area of funding streams, weapons upgrade and acquisition, membership strength and recruitment drive, and operational and attack patterns. Onuoha called for heavy investments on air assets as veritable force multiplier for sustained intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, rapid close air support for ground troops in situation of surprised attacks, and for precision pursuit and neutralizing of Boko Haram camps and highly mobile fighters. “There must be comprehensive revaluation of the psychological state of troops, especially the SOFs, to ascertain readiness posture and addressing trauma or fatigue. This would inform the kind of treatment needed and nature of measured redeployment,” said security analyst Onuoha. “And there is equally the need for troop surge, if not saturation, in the northeast to conduct coordinated all-season offensive operations against the factions of Boko Haram.” (AA)


Posted on

Tensions intensify between govt, parliament over security pact review

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Tensions have intensified among the government and the parliament leaders over the requests for the review of the bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States. Deputy House Speaker of the Lower House, Wolesi Jirga, Humayoun Humayoun says the parliament has the authority to review the security pact as per the constitution of the country and considering its legislative authority.

Speaking during the general session of the parliament, Humayou said a number of the lawmakers have voted to review the security pact considering the deteriorating security situation of Afghanistan. Humayoun further added that the relevant special commissions have been tasked to review the articles of the security pact and present a report to the parliament session.

He said the Second Vice President should refrain from the remarks against the parliament and must apologize from the lawmakers for his yesterday’s remarks. The Second Vice President Sarwar Danish has said the lawmakers should consider the national interests of the country over their personal interests while voting on key national issues.

Speaking during a gathering in Kabul on Tuesday, Danish further added that a number of the lawmakers have voted to review the security pact with the US because of their personal interests.