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US OKs sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan

Washington: The US government said on Friday it had approved the sale to Pakistan of up to eight F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp, radar and other equipment in a deal valued at $699 million (Dh2.5 billion). The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said it had notified lawmakers about the possible deal. The agency said the F-16s would allow Pakistan’s Air Force to operate in all-weather environments and at night, while improving its self-defence capability and bolstering its ability to conduct counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. Lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are well-vetted before any formal notifica...

February 14, 2016 at 9:06 am | News Desk

Trump wins in New Hampshire, Sanders defeats Clinton

MANCHESTER: Bernie Sanders won a commanding victory over Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, and Donald Trump also scored a big win in a triumph of two candidates who have seized on Americans' anger at the Washington political establishment. Both outcomes would have been nearly unthinkable not long ago. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, beat a former secretary of state and first lady once seen as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee. While Clinton remains the favourite in national race for the Democratic nomination, the win by the Vermont senator could be a springboard into a competitive, drawn-out primary campaign. For Trump, the brash real estate magnate and television personality who has neve...

February 10, 2016 at 4:26 pm | News Desk

ADB provides $400 million to support Philippines CCT program

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $400 million loan to help the Government of the Philippines further expand its flagship conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, which provides regular health and education grants to millions of the country’s poorest households. “The support, which builds on ADB’s initial loan to the project of the same amount, will help the government support more families, now also including high school students,” said Karin Schelzig, Senior Social Sector Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “This is important, as impact evaluation shows that the CCTs are keeping vulnerable young people at school, opening the door to a better future.” The CCT program, kno...

February 9, 2016 at 2:44 pm | News Desk

ADB President Nakao Signs Partnership Framework with Australia

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Minister for International Development and the Pacific Steven Ciobo, and other high-level officials in Canberra. He signed a new framework for cooperation to reinforce ADB’s partnership with Australia to reduce poverty and achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Asia and the Pacific. “I am delighted to be signing this partnership agreement with Australia. The country has been a strong partner in tackling the region’s development challenges over the last 50 years,” Mr. Nakao said. “In particular, Australia has strongly supported, through contributions to trust funds and cofinancing, A...

February 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm | News Desk

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

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

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

India turns to Israel for armed drones as Pakistan, China build fleets

NEW DELHI:  India has accelerated plans to buy drones from Israel that can be armed and can allow the military to carry out strikes overseas with less risk to personnel, defence sources have said. The news comes weeks after Pakistan reported using a home made drone in combat when it attacked militants on its soil, raising the prospect of a new front in the nuclear-armed neighbors' standoff over Kashmir that has twice spilled into war. The plan to acquire Israeli Herons was first conceived three years ago, but in January the military wrote to the government asking for speedy delivery, the sources said, as Pakistan and China develop their own drone warfare capabilities. India has already deployed Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (U...

September 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm | News Desk

Saudi Electricity gets a nod to set up a Sukuk Programme worth $1.5bn

DUBAI: Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) has received approval from its executive committee to negotiate for loan financing worth $2.3 billion and to set up a Sukuk Programme worth as much as $1.5 billion, the Gulf's largest utility said on Monday. The two-part loan, to serve as a back-up facility for the company, would be structured as a revolving credit facility and have a lifespan of between three and five years. One tranche would be worth up to 3 billion riyals ($800 million) and the other would not exceed $1.5 billion. The Sukuk Programme would be used to fund capital projects, the statement added without elaborating. Sources told Reuters in July that the kingdom's monopoly utility was in talks with local and international banks t...

August 31, 2015 at 2:46 pm | News Desk

Pakistan on track to become third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons

Farhan Bokhari High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Pakistan could have the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons after the US and Russia within a decade if it continues to build up to 20 nuclear warheads annually, a new report warns. The report, written by two respected US analysts and published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, concluded that Pakistan is outpacing India, with its neighbour and rival appearing to produce just five warheads annually. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this articl...

August 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm | News Desk

Putin is playing with fire

Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing a very dangerous game. On July 4, while Americans celebrated Independence Day, a cinematic, tension-filled drama unfolded along America's western skies. In two separate incidents, U.S. fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian bombers approaching the country's airspace; first near the California coast, then just outside U.S. airspace over Alaska. [caption id="attachment_6360" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Russia's President Vladimir Putin gestures as he chairs a government meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, June 25, 2014. The Russian parliament on Wednesday revoked the right it had granted Putin in March to order a military intervention in Ukraine, where...

August 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm | News Desk

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