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Oil prices sink over 5pc, weighed down by China Covid lockdowns

Crude imports by China in the first four months of 2022 fell 4.8% from a year ago, but April imports were up nearly 7%

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Oil prices sink over 5pc, weighed down by China Covid lockdowns
GNN Media: Representational Photo

New York: Oil prices sank over 5% on Monday alongside equities, as continued coronavirus lockdowns in China, the top oil importer, fed worries about the demand outlook.

Brent crude fell $5.92, or 5.3%, to $106.47 a barrel at 1:06 p.m. EDT (1706 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell $6.16, or 5.6%, to $103.61 a barrel. Both contracts have gained over 35% so far this year.

Global financial markets have been spooked by concerns over interest rate hikes and recession worries as tighter and wider COVID-19 lockdowns in China led to slower export growth in the world's No. 2 economy in April. read more

 "The COVID lockdowns in China are negatively impacting the oil market, which is selling off in conjunction with equities," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associated in Houston.

Crude imports by China in the first four months of 2022 fell 4.8% from a year ago, but April imports were up nearly 7%.

China's Iranian oil imports in April came off peak volumes seen in late 2021 and early 2022 as demand from independent refiners weakened after COVID-19 lockdowns pummelled fuel margins and on growing imports of lower-priced Russian oil. read more

Wall Street stock indexes fell and the dollar hit a two-decade high , making oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, lowered crude prices for Asia and Europe for June. read more

In Russia, oil output rose in early May from April and production has stabilized, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was cited as saying, after output fell in April as Western countries imposed sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

-- EU RUSSIA OIL EMBARGO --

Last week, the European Commission proposed a phased embargo on Russian oil, boosting Brent and WTI prices for the second straight week. The proposal needs a unanimous vote by EU members this week to pass.

The European Commission is considering offering landlocked eastern European Union states more money to upgrade oil infrastructure in a bid to convince them to agree, an EU source told Reuters. read more

Japan, top five crude importer, will ban Russian crude imports "in principle", Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, adding this would take time. read more

German officials are quietly preparing for any sudden halt in Russian gas supplies with an emergency package that could include taking control of critical firms, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

SOURCE: REUTERS

Faisal Ali Ghumman

Mr. Ghumman is a seasoned journalist who has 19 years of diversified experience in print, electronic and digital media. He has worked with 92 News HD, Daily Pakistan Today, Daily The Business, Daily Dawn, Daily Times and Pakistan Observer as News Reporter, Feature Writer, Editor, Web Content Editor and Article Writer. Mr Ghumman has graduated from the Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan and is currently enrolled in M.Phil in Mass Communication at the University of Punjab.

Pakistan

NA passes election amendment bill; scraps electronic voting

Law Minister rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

Published by Mehak Javed

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NA passes election amendment bill; scraps electronic voting

Islamabad: The National Assembly on Thursday passed "The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022" to conduct pilot projects in bye-elections before using I-Voting and Electronic Voting Machines in the general elections.

Speaking on the occasion in the House, the Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar rejected the impression that the amendment is aimed at depriving overseas Pakistanis of their right to vote.

He said overseas Pakistanis are precious asset of the country and the government does not believe in snatching their right to vote.

Regarding use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), the Law Minister said we are not against use of technology, but we have concerns about misuse of technology as Results Transmission System had failed in last general elections to favour a particular political party.

He said the Election Commission of Pakistan had also expressed its inability to hold elections through I-Voting and EVMs in a short span of time and without proper homework.

He said two amendments are being brought to revive the Elections Act 2017, enabling the ECP to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.

Under the amendment in Section 94 of the Election Act, 2017, the Commission may conduct pilot projects for voting by Overseas Pakistanis in bye-elections to ascertain the technical efficacy, secrecy, security, and financial feasibility of such voting and shall share the results with the government, which shall, within 15 days from the commencement of a session of a House after the receipt of the report, lay the same before both Houses of the Parliament.

Under Amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, the ECP may conduct pilot projects for utilization of EVMs and biometric verification system in the bye-elections.

Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz Ahmed has said the Assembly should complete its tenure and elections should be held on time.

Responding to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's remarks, he assured that the opposition will play its positive and constructive role in running affairs of the House.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking on the floor of the House, congratulated Raja Riaz Ahmed for becoming Leader of the Opposition.

He assured the Leader of the Opposition of his government's full cooperation in running business of the House in an amicable manner.

The Prime Minister said the treasury benches will pay utmost attention to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition by burying the bad traditions of the past.

Responding to a Calling Attention Notice, Minister of State for Interior, Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju assured the House to make every possible effort for the maintenance of government accommodations in Sector G-6 and F-6 of Islamabad.

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Pakistan

Interior Minister responds to Imran Khan's six-day ultimatum to government 

"Police did not even fire a single rubber bullet"

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Interior Minister responds to Imran Khan's six-day ultimatum to government 

Islamabad: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday responded to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's six-day ultimatum to the government to dissolve assemblies and announce elections. 

According to details, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that people have outrightly rejected PTI's march of chaos and anarchy. “Imran Niazi reneged on his promise with the Supreme Court to hold a rally at a designated place, and he broke his word by announcing to march towards D-Chowk”

In a statement, he said PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in complete violation of the Supreme Court's orders, entered Islamabad's D Chowk.

The Minister said PTI's armed protesters kept on burning and destroying public properties the whole last night.

He said police did not even fire a single rubber bullet, but eighteen police and Rangers personnel got injured in the turmoil created by PTI hooligans.

Paying rich tribute to the police and Rangers, the Interior Minister said security forces will continue protecting the lives and properties of the people.

It is pertinent to remember that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has called off his most anticipated long march, giving a six-day ultimatum to the government to dissolve assemblies and announce elections. 

While addressing the participants of the ‘Azadi March’ at Jinnah Avenue, Imran Khan said he had reached Islamabad after 30 hours of traveling from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

He warned the government that if an announcement of elections will not be made, he will return to Islamabad-- demanding assemblies be dissolved forthwith.

Khan and the top party leaders left the container soon after the speech while the party workers managed to enter the Red Zone despite heavy security.

Before the arrival of PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the designated area, the PTI MNAs and workers gathered at D-Chowk where a clash broke out between them and anti-riot police and law-enforcement agencies. 

Police baton-charged and tear-gased the protesters.

The D-Chowk turned into a battlefield between the Islamabad police and the PTI leaders and activists on early Thursday. 

PTI MNA Zartaj Gul got fainted. Many women and children got affected by tear gas shelling.  

Some officials of police and Rangers also suffered injuries in the clashes. The protesters set some trees and vehicles ablaze. 

In a statement released on Twitter, the police noted that when the fire brigade doused the blazes, the protestors once again set fire the Express Chowrangi on fire. 

Since being removed from power through a no-confidence vote in April, the cricketer-turned-politician heaped pressure on Pakistan's fragile new coalition rulers by staging mass rallies, touting a claim he was turned out from office in a "foreign conspiracy". 

In a centerpiece showdown with his rivals, Khan had called for supporters of his party to gather in Islamabad and stage a sit-in until fresh elections are called.

The government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has pledged to stop the convoy from entering the city, calling the rally an attempt to "divide the nation and promote chaos".

All major roads surrounding Islamabad, where a heavy security presence is in place, were blocked off with shipping containers while entry and exit points of major nearby cities were also cut off.

Sporadic clashes broke out between police and protesters who have tried to clear the roads, with tear gas fired in several cities.

Khan joined the march in dramatic fashion, arriving in a helicopter that touched down on a motorway clogged with supporters outside the city of Mardan.

The convoy later crossed a bridge that straddles PTI-run Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and government-run Punjab province, where shipping containers blocking the route were pushed to the side of the road by protesters.

Earlier, soldiers were deployed at the Prime Minister's Office and the Parliament to avoid any untoward incident in the wake of PTI's long march and the presence of charged workers.

"Pakistan Army has been called in for the security of government’s offices located in the Red Zone," the notification read. 

As the situation turned chaotic after the police clashed with the PTI workers ahead of former Prime Minister Imran Khan's political rally in Islamabad, the government has sought the help of the army to control the situation. 

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Pakistan

SC dismisses govt’s contempt of court plea against Imran Khan

The government filed the plea against PTI this morning

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SC dismisses govt’s contempt of court plea against Imran Khan

Islamabad: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has refused to take contempt of court action against PTI Chairman Imran Khan for violating the apex court’s orders during ‘Azadi March’.

The government filed the plea this morning after the PTI openly defied the apex court’s directives, announcing to hold a rally at D-Chowk in Islamabad’s prohibited Red Zone.

The SC formed a five-member larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, to hear the contempt of court plea At the outset of the hearing, Attorney-General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf read out the SC verdict before the court.

The court dismissed a petition filed by the federal government, saying that activists were not responsible as they act on the directives of party leadership. It also ordered the release of 20 activists who were booked for rioting and violence.

However, following the reports of violence and mayhem during the protest brought before the Court, the Court has now decided to issue a comprehensive order after pondering over the matter keeping in view the nature of assembly and association so that it can serve as a guideline to the practice of constitutional rights in future.

The Court observed that fundamental rights of assembly, association, and movement are not unlimited, but there are certain limits to them.     

At the outset of the hearing today, Attorney-General of Pakistan, Ashtar Ausaf Ali presented his submissions before the Court pointing out the violations of the Court's order by PTI.

He also mentioned before the court the breach of allowed venue and entering the D-Chowk by PTI workers, burning public property and trees, injuring the security forces personnel, and creating turmoil in the federal capital.

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