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India likens cryptocurrencies to Ponzi scheme, cautions investors

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s finance ministry on Friday cautioned investors about the risks of trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, saying digital currency investments are like “Ponzi schemes.” Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and have no regulatory permission or protection in the country, the finance ministry said in a statement, but stopped short of announcing an outright ban or imposing any curbs. Investors and other participants dealing with such digital currencies are doing so “entirely at their risk and should best avoid participating therein,” the statement said. “There is a real and heightened risk of investment bubble of the type seen in Ponzi schemes”, with investors risking a sudden and prolon...

January 1, 2018 at 12:56 pm | News Desk

Rising prevalence of ATM fraud

THE recent ATM card skimming incident is a wake-up call for banks in Pakistan to ensure their customer’s data security against all possible threats. The central bank, on its part, has reminded banks of their responsibility to implement all regulations of Payments Card Security (PCS) that it introduced back in June 2016. Habib Bank Ltd, the bank whose depositors’ ATM cards were skimmed, has started compensating the affected customers. And the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is now investigating the matter. Customer data security is one of the biggest challenges that banks the world over face. And all central banks continue to strengthen regulations aimed at preventing a security breach. But Pakistani banks have now become ...

December 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm | News Desk

ANALYSIS: Jerusalem and the remaining naysayers

Pakistan has been upright and principled in slamming US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. What happens next, however, given history’s amazing somersaults? What if the way ahead becomes less conducive to its best interests or, as they say, the political ground shifts from under its feet? Consider a quick glance at how some seemingly fundamental beliefs have mutated in South Asia and the Middle East. There was a time when the mere announcement of a US arms sale to Saudi Arabia would send Isra­eli and Indian diplomats heading to the State Department to lodge their protests. Giora Becher, Israel’s first envoy to India in 1992, wondered why the two didn’t share a cab. There was a time when...

December 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm | News Desk

Pakistan allows Indian spy Jadhav’s wife, mother to visit on Dec 25

The Foreign Office announced on Friday that the mother and wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav have been given permission to visit the Indian spy in Pakistan. During the weekly briefing at the FO, spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that India has been notified of Islamabad's decision to allow Jadhav's wife and mother to visit him. The spokesperson said that the visit will take place on December 25. He added that an official of the Indian High Commission will be allowed to be present during the visit and complete security will be provided to the visitors. Jadhav was handed a death sentence by a Pakistani Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in April after trial for involvement in espionage and sabotage activities in Karachi and Balochistan...

December 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm | News Desk

No Brexit deal worst-case scenario for Britain: Lords committee

LONDON: Britain will fail to agree on a free trade deal with the EU before it plans to leave the bloc in 2019 and should seek a transition period to avoid a worst-case scenario of crashing out without an agreement, lawmakers from parliament’s upper house said. The House of Lords EU committee’s report “Brexit: deal or no deal” said on Thursday Britain should consider extending membership of the European Union or set a later date for leaving to give the government longer to negotiate a trade deal. “The overwhelming weight of evidence suggests that ‘no deal’ would be the worst possible outcome for the UK, in terms of the economy, security, the environment and citizens’ rights,” said Michael Jay, a member of the Lords EU...

December 7, 2017 at 3:58 pm | News Desk

ADB Provides $330 Million to Afghanistan to Complete National Ring Road

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (6 December 2017) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved $330 million in grant financing to support the completion of Afghanistan's national Ring Road, a vital national strategic corridor and a critical part of the country’s regional integration agenda. ADB’s financing will support the construction of 151 kilometers (km) of road connecting the towns of Qaisar and Dari Bum in northwestern Afghanistan. The road is the last section of the 2,200-km Ring Road that connects Afghanistan's major cities and is also a key corridor under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program. The Ring Road is ranked first among the investment priorities of the road improvement master...

December 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm | News Desk

Synchronized Global Upswing Underpins Higher Asian Bond Yields

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (24 November 2017) — Bond yields in emerging East Asian markets rose between 1 September and end-October as the global economy entered its most robust period of synchronized growth since the Global Financial Crisis, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In the latest quarterly issue of the Asia Bond Monitor, ADB cites strong macroeconomic fundamentals and tightening liquidity as the main sources for rising yields across most emerging East Asian bond markets, but noted that further monetary tightening by advanced-economy central banks will require vigilance by the region’s financial market regulators. “Emerging East Asia currently enjoys strong growth and relative financial stabilit...

November 24, 2017 at 11:29 am | News Desk

Oil prices slide after IEA casts doubt over demand outlook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday, continuing Tuesday’s slide after the International Energy Agency cast doubts over the past few months’ narrative of tightening fuel markets. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $61.33 per barrel at 0515 GMT, down 88 cents, or 1.4 percent from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55 per barrel, down 70 cents, or 1.3 percent. The price falls mean that crude prices are now down by around 5 percent since hitting 2015 highs last week, ending a 40-percent rally between June and early November. “Crude prices dropped dramatically after the IEA forecast a gloomy outlook for the near future ... The drop was arguably exacerbated b...

November 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm | News Desk

Zimbabwe crisis: Army seizes broadcaster but denies coup

Zimbabwe's military has read out a statement after taking over the national broadcaster, ZBC, saying it has taken action to "target criminals". However, it said this was not "a military takeover of government" and President Robert Mugabe was safe. Heavy gunfire and artillery were heard in northern suburbs of the capital, Harare, early on Wednesday. Zimbabwe's envoy to South Africa, Isaac Moyo, earlier dismissed talk of a coup, saying the government was "intact". The statement read out by Maj Gen Sibusiso Moyo came hours after soldiers overran the headquarters of ZBC. He said: "We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed." The statement ad...

November 15, 2017 at 11:40 am | News Desk

No change in Pakistan’s behaviour: Top US general in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS: The commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, US Army Gen. John Nicholson, said Thursday that Pakistan had not changed its behaviour since President Donald Trump announced his new policy for Afghanistan. When asked whether he had seen any increased cooperation from Pakistan with regards to eliminating Taliban sanctuaries, Nicholson said "No, I haven't seen any change yet in their behavior." He was speaking to the reporters on the margins of a gathering of NATO defence ministers in Brussels this week. "You've heard the public statements from President Trump, from (Defense Secretary James) Mattis, from (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford) from (Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson, so we are engaging at the ve...

November 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm | News Desk

Saudi graft inquiry spreads beyond borders as UAE examines bank accounts

ABU DHABI/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption has spread beyond its borders as regulators in the United Arab Emirates ask UAE banks for information about Saudi citizens detained in the investigation, a possible prelude to freezing their accounts. The UAE central bank has requested commercial banks and finance companies in the UAE to provide details of the accounts of 19 Saudis, commercial bankers told Reuters on Thursday, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. Almost all of the 19, including billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former National Guard chief Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, are known to be among dozens of senior officials and businessmen detained in the corruption inquiry. ...

November 9, 2017 at 4:49 pm | News Desk

IMF, BoJ member say Japan needs to keep stimulus running

TOKYO/MIYAZAKI: The IMF urged Japan to maintain its massive monetary stimulus to boost consumer prices, a view echoed by a central bank board member, reinforcing expectations policy will remain accommodative. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda was doing the right thing by committing to keep the money spigot wide open until inflation hit his 2 percent target. “One of the strengths of central bankers is to be very clear in their communication and determined in their resolve, which clearly Governor Kuroda has demonstrated,” Lagarde told Reuters on Wednesday. The BOJ has faced mounting criticism that its huge asset purchases are distorting markets and pushing ...

November 9, 2017 at 4:18 pm | News Desk

Putin, Trump to meet Friday in Vietnam

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump will meet Friday in Vietnam, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told Russian news agencies on Thursday. The meeting “will be on November 10,” but the exact time is being decided, Ushakov told the official TASS agency. Both leaders will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang. The pair last met at the G20 summit in Germany in July. On Sunday Trump said he thinks “it’s expected we’ll meet with Putin” to discuss North Korea. Relations between Moscow and Washington have plummeted as a US probe has accused Trump’s former campaign aides of secretly meeting Kremlin-connected officials. Russia has vehement...

November 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm | News Desk

Afghan defence minister, army chief resign after Taliban attack

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani accepted on Monday the resignation of the defence minister and army chief of staff after more than 140 government soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on an army base last week, the president´s office said. "Defence Minister Abdullah Habibi and Army Chief of Staff Qadam Shah Shahim stepped down with immediate effect," the presidential palace announced in a post on its Twitter account. Shah Hussain Murtazawi, acting spokesman for Ghani, told Reuters the resignations were because of Friday´s attack in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. At least 140 soldiers were killed and many wounded, an official in the city said on Saturday. Other officials said the toll was likely to be even higher.

April 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm | News Desk

Cost of Brexit: The impact on business and the economy so far

Brexit negotiations have yet to begin but already the prospect of the UK splitting from the rest of the European Union has roiled the world of business, sending shockwaves through a slew of sectors. Thousands of jobs look set to move and while it’s impossible to attach a price tag to Brexit, industry bodies, consultants, economists and accountants have already published dozens of reports on the possible impact of new tariffs and a restriction on the movement of people. Here’s an overview of what we know. The broader economy  The most dramatic and salient economic impact of the Brexit decision came on the night of the decision itself. The pound suffered its biggest one-day fall against the dollar on record as currency trade...

April 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm | News Desk

Arrest of Wikileaks founder is top “priority” says US Attorney General

WASHINGTON: The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a US “priority,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday, as media reports indicated his office was preparing charges against the fugitive anti-hero. “We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” Sessions, America’s top cop, said at a news conference in response to a reporter’s question about a US priority to arrest Assange. The Justice Department chief said a rash of leaks of sensitive secrets appeared unprecedented. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number ...

April 21, 2017 at 11:48 am | News Desk

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