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ADB, IFC to Help Extend Mobile Telecom Services Across Myanmar

YANGON, MYANMAR – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Finance Corporation—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group—are providing loans of $300 million to Ooredoo Myanmar for the rollout of a mobile telecommunication network across Myanmar, which will help extend affordable telecom services across the country, boosting economic growth and job creation. ADB and IFC are extending a loan of $150 million each to Ooredoo Myanmar, a fully owned subsidiary of Ooredoo Q.S.C, to expand a nationwide “greenfield” mobile telecom network using advanced 3G technology. “Myanmar has one of the lowest rates of telecom connectivity in Southeast Asia, with poor communities and women the least likely to have access to these inc...

February 8, 2016 at 11:47 am | News Desk

Weaknesses in agriculture structure a threat to GDP

President Society Watch Khalid Mehmood on Saturday said weaknesses in the structure of agriculture is keeping this sector fragile which is a threat to GDP growth rate. Masses continue to pay extra for food in the name of national interest which has not improved lives of the farmers but that of rural elite, he said. In a statement issued here today, he said that masses are forced to buy wheat at 40 percent inflated price as compare to rates in the international market while they pay 20 percent extra for rice and 30 percent additional money while buying milk. Khalid Mehmood said that despite getting heavy price the agriculture sector is in doldrums due to distortions which must be tacked to streamline things. He said that prices...

February 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm | News Desk

HEC Reviews Governance & Quality Assurance Mechanism of 100 Universities

  The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has constituted several Panels of Experts to review Higher Education Institutions across the country, with an aim to ensure adherence of universities’ policies and practices to the defined Quality Assurance criteria and guidelines for Good Governance. Complying with the special directive of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, HEC has so far reviewed quality assurance and governance mechanism of 100 universities, both in public and private sector, while 50 more universities will be reviewed in the coming week. It is hoped that current phase of this whole review will be completed by the end of March 2016. The initiative will not only improve quality of teaching and research in th...

February 6, 2016 at 2:38 pm | News Desk

Business community supports sale of PIA

Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and honorary Consul General of Ghana Shahid Rasheed Butt on Saturday said incumbent government has improved the economic situation which has bolstered the confidence of investors. Law and order situation has improved which has enhanced image of the country while bold steps aimed at reforms is being supported by the business community and the majority of the masses, he said. Talking to ambassadors and high commissioners of various countries and others during a recent reception, he said that Pakistan is progressing on fast pace and this country is becoming darling of the investors. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that business community unconditionally supports the right decision of the government t...

February 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm | News Desk

IMF Completes Review Mission to Pakistan

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission, led by Harald Finger, visited Dubai during January 26-February 4, 2016 to conduct discussions on the tenth review of Pakistan’s economic program supported by a three-year IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement (see Press Release No. 13/322). The staff team met with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Ashraf Wathra, and other senior officials. At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Finger issued the following statement: “After constructive discussions, the mission and the Pakistani authorities have reached staff-level agreement on the completion of the tenth review under the EFF arrangement. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Management...

February 6, 2016 at 2:13 pm | News Desk

SECP notifies Licensed Persons Regulation 2016

ISLAMABAD, February 6: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has accorded its approval to the Licensed Persons (Obligations under voluntary winding up) Regulation 2016. The new regulations are in line with its efforts to strengthen the capital market and to safeguard the interest of investors. The Regulations prescribe the minimum requirements to be complied with by a licensed person prior to filing voluntary winding up petition. The requirements inter alia include settlement of investors’ claims and obtaining approval of the Commission. The new regulations are available on the SECP’s website www.secp.gov.pk .

February 6, 2016 at 12:22 pm | News Desk

UWatch – Stay Connected With Your Child

Ufone, Pakistan’s premier telecom operator, is primed to launch a first of its kind product that will bring parents some much needed peace of mind – the UWatch. UWatch keeps families connected in the way they want to be without the need to buy a young child a smartphone. UWatch is a wearable mobile watch designed specifically for kids in order for parents to keep in touch with their loved ones. This watch provides two way voice calling functionality i.e. the parent can dial into the watch and also the child can dial from the watch to the parent’s mobile number. Additionally UWatch also provides real-time location capability via GSM/GPS positioning so that parents can be aware of their child’s location. UWatch is securely c...

February 6, 2016 at 12:01 pm | News Desk

Appointments in OGDC made at hefty packages

Top management of Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) has made appointments on higher slots at hefty packages, which may spark controversy in coming days. According to officials, the hiring on top posts includes the chief financial officer and general manager security. They are said to be close relatives of the chairman board of directors and a member of the board. Now, officials said, the OGDC management is under pressure of the board chairman to appoint a blue-eyed boy as the external communication manager, but he had no relevant experience, which was in violation of the criteria set in the advertisement. The Pakistan Peoples Party has already come in for a lot of criticism for making questionable appointments during its tenur...

February 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm | News Desk

IMF approves $497m loan for Pakistan after bailout review

ISLAMABAD: The International Monetary Fund said on February 4 it had agreed to release a $497 million tranche for Pakistan after the latest review of a bailout package awarded in 2013, though the disbursement still requires IMF board approval. Once the latest disbursement is made the IMF will still have to release $1.1 billion of the total $6.7 billion loan agreed three years ago. IMF agrees to delay PIA sell-off for six months “After constructive discussions, the mission and the Pakistani authorities have reached stafflevel agreement on the completion of the tenth review under the EFF (Extended Fund Facility) arrangement,” the IMF said in a statement. Pakistan has shelved plans to privatise its power supply companies and wi...

February 4, 2016 at 7:08 pm | News Desk

Concern over delay in disbursement of US Coalition Support Fund

ISLAMABAD: The defence ministry has expressed concern over the delay in release of the $350 million tranche of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) by the US Congress for want of a certification by the American defence secretary that Pakistani counter-terrorism operations were disrupting the Haqqani Network’s sanctuaries on its soil. “The issues of the decrease in Coalition Support Fund and the economic difficulties in dealing with the crises of North Waziristan’s internally displaced persons also came under discussion,” a defence ministry statement said, after a meeting between defence secretary, retired Lt Gen Muhammad Alam Khattak, and US Ambassador David Hale. Under the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for the fisc...

February 4, 2016 at 11:36 am | News Desk

Saudi Arabia fiscal reserves touch four-year low

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s fiscal reserves dropped to a four-year low last year as the government sought to finance a budget deficit cau­sed by plunging oil revenues, a report said on Tuesday. The reserves of the wor­ld’s largest crude exporter dropped to $611.9 billion at the end of 2015, the lowest level since 2011, down from $732bn a year before, the Saudi Jadwa Investment said in an economic report. Jadwa said it expected reserves to fall to around $500bn by the end of 2016, after oil prices fell by three quarters since mid-2014. The kingdom, the second largest crude producer after Russia, posted a record budget deficit of $98bn last year after oil income dived by 60 per cent to just $118bn. Riyadh also projected an $87bn ...

February 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm | News Desk

Obama makes first visit to US mosque

WASHINGTON: Seven years into his presidency, Barack Obama will make his first trip to an American mosque on Wednesday, offering a symbolic rebuttal of harsh Republican election rhetoric against Muslims. Obama, whose grandfather converted to Islam, will make the short helicopter ride to the Islamic Society of Baltimore mosque, where he will meet community leaders and deliver remarks. He has visited mosques from Malaysia, to Indonesia and Egypt as president, but has yet to visit one of America's 2,000-plus mosques. In 2009, a freshly elected Obama travelled to the Egyptian capital to call for a "new beginning" with the Muslim world. Much of Obama's foreign policy agenda has focused on improving ties with Muslim nations, from makin...

February 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm | News Desk

Protesting PIA employees will be fired, warns PM Nawaz

KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said protesting employees of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will be fired from service and can be sent to jail for a year, media reported. Talking to reporters during his visit to a coal power plant in Sahiwal, the premier went on to say that airline employees working during the strike will be given special rewards for their service. Nawaz accused PIA workers of politicising the privatisation issue by resorting to strikes, adding that such acts were costing PIA Rs100 million per day. In a move to stall the strike, Nawaz had already enforced the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1952 for six months, barring protesting members of the PIA from participating in any union activit...

February 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm | News Desk

Asian Development Bank Institute Ranked Second Among World’s Government-Affliated Think Tanks

TOKYO, JAPAN — The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) was ranked second among the world’s government-affiliated think tanks, after the World Bank’s Development Research Group. The2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, produced by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP), is the result of a survey of 6,846 think tanks and 4,750 journalists, policy makers, public and private donors, and functional and regional area specialists. ADBI also ranked second in 2014. ADBI has been improving in the rankings over time and is now recognized as a leading think tank in several categories. ADBI is ranked the 29th best think tank in the world, 20th best non-US think tank, 6th best international de...

February 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm | News Desk

Pakistan disrupted terror plots against US, says Obama

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Thursday appreciated Pakistan’s on-going efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, noting that it had disrupted terror plots against the US homeland as the two sides renewed their resolve to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism in the region. During a bilateral meeting between a high-powered delegation led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Obama at the White House on Thursday, the two discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, particularly terrorism in South Asia. According to a joint statement of the meeting, Obama, while acknowledging the sacrifices rendered by Pakistani security forces in the region, noted how it had degraded the ability ...

October 23, 2015 at 10:06 am | News Desk

 America’s Afghanistan adventure is a disaster

    By Atul Singh In 52 BC, Vercingetorix threw down his arms at the feet of Julius Caesar. This marked the Roman victory over Gaul. Caesar went on to write Commentarii de Bello Gallico, while Vercingetorix was paraded as a prisoner in Rome and then strangled to death. Caesar claimed he had to invade Gaul to protect Rome. In reality, he was deep in debt. His overriding motive was to pay back his debt by conquering and plundering Gaul. Yet over time, Romans built roads and aqueducts in Gaul and other conquered lands. The civil law systems used by much of the world have their roots in Roman law. This article itself is written in the Roman alphabet. The United States is the Rome of our times. It fashioned the exist...

October 17, 2015 at 10:37 pm | News Desk

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