March, 2018


ADB to Loan $260 Million for Upgrading Pakistan’s Power Transmission Network

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a $260 million loan to the Government of Pakistan to improve the country’s power transmission network and help offtake of power from new and renewable energy power projects being financed and constructed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor and other offgrid private-power initiatives. Pakistan is said to be on the verge of signing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from utility-scale solar breaching grid parity, while the province of Sindh is due to start tariff-based competitive solar auctions this year. As the country inches towardsRead More

FDI Seen Surging in Pakistan, But Some Western Investors Fret Over Chinese Influence

Pakistan expects net foreign direct investment (FDI) to jump about 60 percent in 2017/2018, the chairman of Pakistan’s Board of Investment said, but some Western investors appear to be put off by China’s growing influence in the country. Chinese companies are building roads, power stations and a deep-water port in Pakistan after Beijing offered more than $60 billion in funding for Pakistani infrastructure as part of China’s vast Belt and Road initiative (BRI). The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is BRI’s flagship project that will provide China the shortest routeRead More

China Provides Pakistan Highly Sophisticated Missile Tracking System

China has sold Pakistan a powerful missile tracking system in an unprecedented deal that could speed up Pakistan military’s development of multi-warhead missiles, the South China Morning Post reports. News of the sale – and evidence that China is supporting Pakistan’s rapidly developing missile program – comes two months after India tested its most advanced nuclear-ready intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range long enough to hit Beijing or Shanghai. India dubs Pakistan and China– close allies, as its rivals and seeks to Chinese authorities declassified information about the dealRead More

Armed groups in Libya torturing migrants, selling slaves, U.N. says

Seven years after the U.S. and NATO-led effort to remove Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, armed groups are committing human rights abuses and people are being sold in slave markets, according to United Nations officials. Andrew Gilmour, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said the situation in Libya has not improved since Gaddafi was toppled and killed in 2011. Armed groups with no connection to the government have proliferated throughout the country and are detaining people arbitrarily and subjecting them to torture and murder. “Extrajudicial and unlawful killings are rampant,”Read More

U.S. Expresses Clear Opposition to Russian Gas Pipeline

Russia wants to twin its Nord Stream gas network running through the Baltic Sea to Germany, but faces stiff opposition. Building the second leg of the Russian gas pipeline running through the Baltic Sea would threaten European energy security, the U.S. government said. A bipartisan group of 39 senators sent a letter last week to the U.S. Treasury Department expressing opposition to Russian plans to twin the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany. If built, it would leave U.S. allies in Europe more exposed to the Kremlin’s “malign influence,” the letterRead More

Wall Street Starts to Trim Facebook Targets as Shares Fall Due to Cambridge Analytica Data Use Row

DZ Bank was the third Wall Street brokerage this week to make a rare cut in price targets for Facebook Inc on Wednesday as the social network’s shares slid for a third day in response to a row over data use by Cambridge Analytica. The brokerage cut its target for the California-based firm by $20 to $210, still way above the current share price of $165 but adding to signs that Wall Street analysts are waking up to the risks to the company. A 1.6 percent fall in Facebook sharesRead More

FBI Catches Students Selling Drugs in Bitcoins on Dark Web’s Underground Marketplace

Five Manchester University students are facing jail after the FBI caught them selling $1million in Ecstasy, ketamine and LSD to dark web users in New Zealand and across the globe. The group, led by a former grammar school pupil, sold the drugs in Bitcoin in a bid to cover their tracks and make it harder for their crime to be uncovered. The geology, computer science and pharmacology students then enjoyed a “lifestyle far above that of typical students” – partying and selling illegal drugs while in New Zealand, Jamaica, theRead More

Clean Belt and Road: China Establishes New Super Anti-Graft Agency

IRSHAD SALIM: China’s National People’s Congress on Tuesday wrapped up a historic legislative session that voted to amend the constitution, scrap presidential term limits and grant President Xi Jinping a mandate to rule indefinitely– his new term ends in 2023. The two-week annual session also paved the way for Xi to become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong as he pushes through his vision of guiding the country through a “new era” of unrivaled global economic supremacy with his signature Belt and Road initiative. Xi’s trusted allies have beenRead More

Typhoid Superbug Spreading in Pakistan, Says a Study

Infectious disease experts say Pakistan is in the grip of the world’s first outbreak of XDR typhoid, and they suspect the country’s abysmal sewage and water systems are the root cause for its spread. Pakistan is one of the few places where typhoid– the bacterial infection, remains endemic. Just over half a million people a year contract it here, often by consuming feces-contaminated food or water. Its hallmark symptom is a persistently high fever, and when left untreated it can cause intestinal perforation and fatal sepsis. “I remember having typhoidRead More

Scientists Studied 1,825 Trump Supporters and Found Something Disturbing: They Desire Power Over Other People

A groundbreaking new study has confirmed that Donald Trump supporters are, in fact, supporters of Trump and everything he stands for. In other words, they seek power over others, have little interest in altruism and are motivated by wealth. Despite Trump dismissing journalists criticizing him as “fake news”, despite him mocking a disabled reporter, despite his apparent obsession with money, despite the countless scandals rocking his Presidency – these people still support Trump. The online survey of 1,825 American adults also found that Trump supporters tended to agree with statementsRead More

Pak Rupee Weakens in Second Likely Devaluation in 3 Months

KARACHI: Pakistan’s rupee weakened sharply against the dollar on Tuesday in what appeared to be a currency devaluation by the central bank, traders said, the second such intervention in the last three months. The rupee plunged to about 115.5 per dollar in early interbank trading from 110.5 at Monday’s close, traders said. The State Bank of Pakistan devalued the local currency by about 5 percent in December amid balance of payments pressures due to a widening current account deficit and dwindling foreign reserves. The market was broadly expecting another devaluationRead More

“China Giving Loans to Pakistan Under CPEC, It’s Not a Giveaway”

The money being poured in the 62 billion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is “a loan not a giveaway from China” to Pakistan. “It is a loan to Pakistan and Pakistan is using it to increase its infrastructure and address its energy issues. This is something that is (also) misunderstood abroad that China is somehow giving money to Pakistan. It isn’t the case,” said Mr Bruno Olierhoek, the president of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) that represents nearly 200 foreign companies operating in Pakistan, in anRead More