South Asia Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Thu, 26 May 2016 20:25:10 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Japan's Abe points to 2008 crisis as G7 leaders debate global risk imageISE-SHIMA: Group of Seven leaders voiced concern about emerging economies at a summit in Japan on Thursday as their host, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, made a pointed comparison to the 2008 global financial crisis but not all his G7 partners appeared to agree.

The G7 leaders did agree on the need for flexible spending to spur world growth but the timing and amount depended on each country, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters, adding some countries saw no need for such spending.

Britain and Germany have been resisting calls for fiscal stimulus.

"G7 leaders voiced the view that emerging economies are in a severe situation, although there were views that the current economic situation is not a crisis," Seko said after the first day of a two-day G7 summit in Ise-Shima, central Japan.

Abe presented data showing global commodities prices fell 55 percent from June 2014 to January 2016, the same margin as from July 2008 to February 2009, after the Lehman collapse.

Lehman had been Wall Street's fourth-largest investment bank when it filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sept. 15, 2008, making its bankruptcy by far the biggest in U.S. history. Its failure triggered the global financial crisis.

Abe hopes, some political insiders say, to use a G7 statement on the global economy as cover for a domestic fiscal package including the possible delay of a rise in the nation's sales tax to 10 percent from 8 percent planned for next April.

Obama told a news conference that he stressed the importance of pushing back against competitive currency devaluations, which some countries might be tempted to use to boost exports.

Other summit topics include terrorism, cyber security and maritime security, especially China's increasing assertiveness in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian nations.

G7 leaders agreed that it was important to send a clear signal on the South and East China Seas, Seko told reporters, adding China was mentioned in discussions on maritime matters on Thursday.

At a news conference late on Wednesday, Abe said Japan welcomed China's peaceful rise while repeating Tokyo's opposition to acts that try to change the status quo by force and urging respect of the rule of law - principles expected to be mentioned in a statement after the summit.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the South China Sea issue had "nothing to do" with the G7 or any of its member states.

"China is resolutely opposed to individual countries hyping up the South China Sea for personal gain," Hua said.

Obama pointed to the threat from North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, saying the isolated state was "hell bent" on getting atomic weapons. But he said there had been improved responses from countries in the region like China that could reduce the risk of Pyongyang selling nuclear material.

G7 leaders were rattled by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Obama said, adding Trump's statements displayed ignorance and were aimed at getting headlines, not what was needed to keep America safe and the world on an even keel.

Summit pageantry began when Abe escorted G7 leaders to the Shinto religion's holiest site, the Ise Grand Shrine in central Japan, dedicated to sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, mythical ancestress of the emperor.

Abe has said he hopes the shrine visit will provide an insight to the heart of Japanese culture. Critics say he's catering to a conservative base that wants to put religion back in politics and revive traditional values.

On Wednesday night, Abe met Obama for talks dominated by the arrest of a U.S. military base civilian worker in connection with the killing of a young woman on Japan's southern Okinawa island, reluctant host to the bulk of the U.S. military in Japan.

The attack has marred Obama's hopes of keeping his Japan trip strictly focused on his visit on Friday to Hiroshima, site of the world's first atomic bombing, to highlight reconciliation between the two former World War Two foes and his nuclear anti-proliferation agenda.

The G7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Thu, 26 May 2016 13:36:11 +0000
Iran's Khamenei calls for vigilance against West's 'soft war': state TV imageANKARA: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for vigilance against what he called a "soft war" mounted by the West and aimed at weakening the clerical establishment, state television reported on Thursday.

"Our officials and all parts of the establishment should be vigilant about the West's continued soft war against Iran ... the enemies want to weaken the system from inside," Khamenei said.

In a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts, with authority to appoint and dismiss the supreme Leader, Khamenei told Iranian officials:

"By impairing centres of powers in Iran, it will be easy to harm the establishment from inside," Khamenei told members of the Assembly of Experts.

The 88-member assembly, consisting mostly of elderly clerics, is expected to choose any successor to Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters.

"The only way to materialise the (1979 Islamic) revolution's goals is national unity and not to obey the enemy," Khameni said.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Thu, 26 May 2016 13:34:46 +0000
After two years, India's Modi says huge task ahead: report imageNEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended his record of reforming India's stuttering economy after two years in power, but conceded that his right-wing government faced "an enormous task ahead".

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Thursday, his second anniversary in office, Modi said he had set a path for faster growth, including opening up the economy to foreign investment and curbing corruption.

But Modi also said he needed India's 29 states to take up the challenge of reforming land purchasing and rigid labour laws, which businesses have long complained hamper manufacturing and development.

"I have actually undertaken the maximum reforms," Modi said. But, he added, "I have an enormous task ahead for myself."

The Hindu nationalist premier swept to power at elections in May 2014 with the biggest mandate in 30 years, promising to reform and revive the struggling economy.

Growth has since risen to 7.60 percent in the year ending March, sky-high inflation has dropped, the budget deficit has narrowed and foreign direct investment has soared.

But some investors are disappointed with a lack of "big bang" fundamental reforms to overhaul the economy that would further help pull tens of millions of Indians out of poverty.

Investors were left deflated after Modi's government failed to push a bill through India's gridlocked parliament to make it easier to buy land for infrastructure and other development.

"When I came to the government, I used to sit down with all the experts and ask them to define for me what is the 'big bang' for them," Modi said. "Nobody could tell me."

Modi, who has formed a close relationship with US President Barack Obama, is set to address a joint meeting of the US Congress next month during a trip to Washington.

Modi said the invitation "is a matter of pride for me" adding that it was an "opportunity for me to address the American people".

Although ties between New Delhi and Washington have strengthened, Modi played down any friction with rival China, pointing to increasing trade and diplomatic exchanges between Beijing and India.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) South Asia Thu, 26 May 2016 07:43:10 +0000
India allows accused Italian marine to go home imageNEW DELHI: India's top court Thursday allowed an Italian marine accused of killing two fishermen to return home pending a ruling on where he should be tried in a long-running case that has soured ties between the two countries.

Salvatore Girone and fellow marine Massimiliano Latorre are accused of shooting the fishermen while protecting an Italian oil tanker as part of an anti-piracy mission off India's southern Kerala coast in 2012.

Latorre was allowed to travel back to Italy in 2014 for treatment after suffering a stroke.

But Girone has been barred from leaving India pending the resolution of a dispute between New Delhi and Rome over who has jurisdiction in the case.

Girone, who has been living in Italy's embassy in New Delhi, will be home next Thursday, Italy's Republic Day, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said in a tweet.

"We confirm our friendship with India, its people and its government," said Renzi, who has been under pressure domestically to secure the provisional liberty of both marines.

"And we see welcome back to seaman Girone who will be with us on June 2."

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to alter Girone's bail conditions allowing him to return, after a tribunal in The Hague ruled this month he should be free to go, pending the final outcome of arbitration.

"Having considered submissions of the parties, subject to conditions, the Italian marine Salvatore Girone's bail conditions are modified," Justices PC Pant and DY Chandrachud said in a written judgement read out in court.

Italy initiated international arbitration proceedings in the case last year, referring the row to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague and asking it to rule on where the men should be tried.

Under his new bail conditions, Girone must return to Delhi within one month if the PCA rules that he face trial in India.

The Indian government's lawyers did not object to the marine's request to go home and the Italian foreign ministry issued a statement "confirming our commitment to the conditions and formalities established by the Indian Supreme Court".

The detention of the marines, the murder charges and the long wait for the case to be resolved are sore subjects in Italy, with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi regularly flayed by opposition leaders for failing to get both men home.

Italy insists the oil tanker, the MV Enrica Lexie, was in international waters at the time of the incident.

India argues the case is not a maritime dispute but "a double murder at sea", in which one fisherman was shot in the head and the other in the stomach.

In December 2014, Rome threatened to withdraw its ambassador from India after a court rejected Latorre's original request for medical leave.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) South Asia Thu, 26 May 2016 07:33:05 +0000
Japan's Abe visits Shinto holy site before G7 summit imageISE: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday made a pilgrimage to the Ise Grand Shrine, the holiest site in Japan's Shinto religion, a day before he hosts a Group of Seven (G7) summit nearby.

Abe is expected to escort other G7 leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama to the expansive grounds of the shrine in central Japan on Thursday before they gather for the two-day annual meeting.

Abe, who like other Japanese leaders pays his respects at the shrine every January to mark the new year, has said the grounds are a good place to get a sense of the true Japanese spirit and culture.

Japanese wartime leaders used state Shinto ideology to mobilise the masses to fight World War Two in the name of a divine emperor, but Japan's post-war constitution established the separation of church and state.

Abe sparked outrage in China and South Korea for his December 2013 visit to Yasukuni Shrine for war dead in Tokyo, seen in those neighbouring countries as a symbol of Japan's past militarism.

Far less attention was paid to what some see as his equally symbolic participation in October that year in a ceremony at Ise Shrine.

The ritual is held every 20 years, when Ise Shrine is rebuilt and sacred objects representing the emperor's mythical Sun Goddess ancestress are moved to a new shrine on the same grounds.

Abe became only the second premier to take part in the centuries-old ritual, and the first since World War Two, drawing attention to a conservative base that wants him to steer the nation back toward a traditional ethos mixing Shinto myth, patriotism and pride in an ancient imperial line.

"He's making these associations between his administration and sacred sites," said John Breen, a professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto.

"Ise is particularly important to him."

The shrine is made up of two main sets of buildings, the Inner and Outer Shrines. Abe will show the G7 leaders the Inner Shrine, dedicated to sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami.

Ordinary citizens can only view the buildings, said to hold religious articles such as a sacred mirror, from behind fences that leave only the rooftops visible.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Wed, 25 May 2016 09:26:05 +0000
Sri Lanka seeking to borrow $3.5bn through foreign debt$35bn-through-foreign-debt.html$35bn-through-foreign-debt.html imageCOLOMBO: Sri Lanka is in the process of borrowing up to $3.5 billion from foreign sources via syndicated loans, sovereign bonds, and sukuk, the country's finance minister said on Wednesday.

"A $500 million syndicated loan is almost done with Credit Suisse. Once that is done, we will be going for another $500 million syndicated loan," Ravi Karunanayake told a Foreign Correspondents Association forum.

"Then we will go for the sovereign bond within two to three weeks. We will also go for a sukuk."

Karunanayake also said the government has appointed eight banks and four non-banking institutions as the lead managers for the upcoming sovereign bond and that the government may also sell bonds in China and Japan.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Wed, 25 May 2016 07:34:22 +0000
China's Li says reducing excess capacity is key task in supply-side reform imageBEIJING: China's Premier Li Keqiang said that reducing excess capacity in industry remains the key task in carrying out supply-side reform.

The government is looking at multiple ways of effectively lowering leverage levels and debt burdens at firms in sectors with excess capacity, Li said according to a statement published on the government's website on Tuesday.

China will ensure that workers whose jobs will be affected by restructuring in those sectors will not be left unemployed, he added.

China has vowed to tackle price-sapping supply gluts in major industrial sectors, and said in February that it would close 100 million-150 million tonnes of steel capacity and 500 million tonnes of coal production in the coming three to five years.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Tue, 24 May 2016 13:52:08 +0000
Iran denies killed Taliban leader was in country imageTEHRAN: Iran on Monday denied reports that Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour entered Pakistan from the Islamic republic before being killed in a US drone strike, state media reported.

Pakistani security officials told AFP on Sunday that the man killed on Saturday in the southwestern province of Balochistan, believed at the time to be Mansour, had just returned from Iran when his vehicle was attacked.

US President Barack Obama on Monday confirmed that Mansour had been killed in a US air strike, hailing his death as an "important milestone" in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Senior Taliban sources have also confirmed the killing to AFP, adding that a shura (council) was under way to select a new leader.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari was quoted by the official IRNA news agency on Monday as denying Mansour had been in the country before the attack.

"The competent authorities of the Islamic republic deny that this person on this date crossed Iran's border and into Pakistan," he said.

"Iran welcomes any positive action leading to peace and stability in Afghanistan," he added, without elaborating.

Pakistani identity documents found on the body of the man now known to be Mansour named him as Muhammad Wali, and showed he had left for Iran on March 28 and returned the day he was killed.

Iran supports the Afghan government in its fight against the Taliban group.

President Ashraf Ghani meanwhile arrived in Tehran on Monday for the signing of a tripartite agreement between Iran, India and Afghanistan to turn Iran's southeastern port of Chabahar into a transit hub between the three countries, bypassing Pakistan.

Islamabad, which says it hosts many of the Afghan Taliban's top leadership to exert influence over them and bring them back to peace talks with Kabul, called the US drone attack a violation of its sovereignty.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Mon, 23 May 2016 14:52:13 +0000
India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub imageTEHRAN: India is to open a $500-million line of credit to develop Iran's Chabahar port into a regional trading hub, visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday in Tehran.

"The bilateral agreement to develop the Chabahar port and related infrastructure, and availability of about $500 million from India for this purpose, is an important milestone," Modi said.

"We are committed to take steps for early implementation of the agreements signed today," he said at a televised news conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also flew in to Tehran on Monday for the signing of a tripartite agreement between Iran, India and his country to turn Chabahar into a transit hub, bypassing Pakistan.

Rouhani said Iran and India had decided to transform their trading links to the level of "comprehensive economic relations".

He and Modi witnessed the signing of 12 memorandums of understanding, two of them on Chabahar port, on the Gulf of Oman.

They include a deal between Iran's Maritime and Ports Organisation and India's EXIM bank to work out the details of a line of credit to develop Chabahar.

"With India's investment in the development and equipping of Chabahar port and also the credits intended from this country for Chabahar, this port can turn into a great symbol of cooperation between Iran and India," Rouhani said.

Modi arrived in Iran on Sunday on a visit aimed at boosting trade following the lifting of international sanctions under Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

On the first visit to Iran in 15 years by an Indian premier, he is also to meet the Islamic republic's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and invited Rouhani to India.

The volume of trade between the two countries over the past nine months reached $9 billion, according to Iran's official IRNA news agency.

Iranian media say India is now seeking to double its imports of oil from Iran.

Tehran was New Delhi's second largest supplier of oil until 2011-12, when economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme forced India to cut its dependence on Iranian oil.

India still owes Iran $6.5 billion that Tehran was unable to recover because of the international sanctions.

Iranian media said a first tranche of this debt, the equivalent of $750 million, has been paid into accounts held by Iran's central bank in Turkey.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Mon, 23 May 2016 14:42:24 +0000
India bans nationals from travelling to Libya imageNEW DELHI: India on Monday banned its nationals from travelling to Libya for any reason, citing potentially deadly security threats.

A foreign ministry statement announced the indefinite travel ban.

Some 18,000 Indians worked in Libya before the country descended into chaos in 2011, in local hospitals, teaching institutions and construction.

Thousands were evacuated after the conflict began.

Monday's decision was apparently dictated by recent weeks of increased violence, with the Islamic State group looking to expand its footprint beyond its coastal stronghold at Sirte.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Mon, 23 May 2016 14:29:34 +0000
Sri Lanka floods expected to cost at least $1.5 billion$15-billion.html$15-billion.html imageCOLOMBO: The cost of Sri Lanka's landslides and floods will be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion at the minimum, the government said on Monday, as the Indian Ocean island struggles to recover from its worst natural disaster since the 2004 Asia tsunami.

The official death toll has risen to 92 but 109 people are feared to have been buried in landslides.

Days of torrential rain forced more than 350,000 people from their homes, though many were returning on Monday.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said more than 125,000 houses and more than 300,000 small and medium businesses were destroyed or damaged.

"This minimum damage cost does not include damaged vehicles, equipment and machinery. We urge foreign donors to channel their relief efforts through the government," he told Reuters.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) South Asia Mon, 23 May 2016 13:42:14 +0000