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Chinese consortium inks $2.3 bln refinancing agreement with Pakistan: finance minister

Miftah Ismail says the inflow is expected within a couple of days

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Chinese consortium inks $2.3 bln refinancing agreement with Pakistan: finance minister
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Islamabad: Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Wednesday said a consortium of Chinese banks had inked the $2.3-billion loan facility with Pakistan.

The development comes as the South Asian economy battles a widening current account deficit and dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

“The Chinese consortium of banks has today signed the RMB 15 billion (~$2.3 billion) loan facility agreement after it was signed by the Pakistani side yesterday,” said Miftah in a tweet.

The finance minister said that the inflow is expected within a couple of days.

“We thank the Chinese government for facilitating this transaction,” he added.

Earlier this month, Miftah had announced that the the terms and conditions of the refinancing agreement had been reached but some "routine approvals from both sides" were pending.

At the time he had said the deal would "help shore up our foreign exchange reserves."

 

World

Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water"

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Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

Kabul: Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.

At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in Wednesday s earthquake, after which the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern. 

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water," Afghanistan s health ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman told Reuters, adding officials had managed medicines for now but handling those who had lost their homes would be a challenge.

"We ask the international community, humanitarian organisations to help us for food and medicine, the survivor might catch diseases because they don’t have proper houses and shelters for living," he said.

The disaster is a major test for Afghanistan s hardline Taliban rulers, who have been shunned by many foreign governments due to concerns about human rights since they seized control of the country last year.

Helping thousands of Afghans is also a challenge for countries that had imposed sanctions on Afghan government bodies and banks, cutting off direct assistance, leading to a humanitarian crisis even before the earthquake.

The United Nations and several other countries have rushed aid to the affected areas, with more due to arrive over the coming days.

Afghanistan s Taliban administration called for a rolling back of sanctions and lifting a freeze on billions of dollars in central bank assets stashed in Western financial institutions. read more

In Kabul, hospitals more used to treating victims of war have opened their wards to earthquake victims, but a majority of people remain in the areas destroyed by the earthquake.

"Our houses were destroyed, we have no tent... there are lots of children with us. We have nothing. Our food and clothes...everything is under rubble," Hazrat Ali, 18, told a Reuters team in Wor Kali, a village of the hardest-hit Barmal district.

"I have lost my brothers, my heart is broken. Now we are just two. I loved them a lot," he said.

SOURCE: Reuters

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World

Morocco: 27 migrants die in stampede to enter Spain’s Melilla

The incident at the border crossing was the first since Spain and Morocco boosted their bilateral cooperation after Madrid decided to support Rabat’s position on the independence of Western Sahara. 

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Morocco: 27 migrants die in stampede to enter Spain’s Melilla

Moroccan authorities said that 27 migrants were killed and dozens of migrants and police officers were injured in a “stampede” of people trying to cross into the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla.

According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the death toll of migrants who died trying to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla rose to 27 today (June 25). 

On Friday, around 2,000 migrants—many from Sudan—tried to cross the militarized border fence.

At first, five people were reported dead, but later, Moroccan authorities raised the figure to 18. 

“The victims of the tragedy in Melilla agonized for hours under the cruel gaze of those who were supposed to help them and did not do so,” tweeted founder of Walking Borders Helena Maleno Garzon, who also confirmed the report of 27 dead.

Spanish officials said 49 Civil Guards sustained minor injuries while four police vehicles were damaged by rocks thrown by some migrants. 

Videos from the Moroccan side of the border show what appear to be dead bodies and people with severe injuries strewn out on the ground without receiving medical attention. 

Other images show hundreds of people, some with clear injuries, lying in a pile on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.

Moroccan police used tear gas to disperse those trying to climb the border fence.

Following the horrific incident, several NGOs are calling for an immediate investigation into the treatment of migrants. 

The incident at the border crossing was the first since Spain and Morocco boosted their bilateral cooperation after Madrid decided to support Rabat’s position on the independence of Western Sahara. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday applauded the “extraordinary work of the Moroccan government in coordination with Spain to try to stop a violent assault, which was, in this case, well resolved.”

Last year, Moroccan authorities stood passively by as thousands swam into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta amid a diplomatic spat over Spain treating the separatist leader of Western Sahara for coronavirus.

According to Spanish authorities, just 133 people managed to reach Spain during Friday’s border crossing attempt. 

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Pakistan

PM resolves to equip youth with latest education, skills

Pakistan would host 10th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Islamabad in January next year.

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PM resolves to equip youth with latest education, skills

Islamabad: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Saturday expressed the resolve to take all such measures that could help in increasing the digital transformation and promote literacy and skills of the Pakistani youth in all forms of education and learning.

In a virtual address at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held in Kigali, Rwanda, the prime minister said that about more than sixty percent of the total population of the Commonwealth countries comprised of the youth who held the future of their countries in their hands.

“Further with increased role of technology and use of digital medium, we have come to realize that digital transformation is a key to achieve innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth,” he added.

About the CHOGM, the prime minister said that it gave him immense pleasure that they had gathered to think about their nations.

He appreciated the impacts of such a multilateral forum which could create on their shared goals, values, and principles as per Commonwealth charter.

He also reiterated that Pakistan was ready to contribute to the collective endeavours for the development of Commonwealth youth.

The prime minister also announced that Pakistan would host 10th Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting in Islamabad in January next year and invited the Commonwealth youth ministers to visit Pakistan and explore the beauty and diversity of the beautiful country.

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