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Miftah announces SBP receives $2.3 billion from Chinese banks

Miftah announces SBP receives $2.3 billion from Chinese banks

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Miftah announces SBP receives $2.3 billion from Chinese banks
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: A Chinese consortium loan of RMB 15 billion (roughly $2.3 billion) has been credited into the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) account, increasing Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail Friday announced.

Earlier, Pakistan had signed a loan facility agreement with a Chinese consortium of banks to aid the depleting foreign exchange reserves and depreciation of the local currency.

“We thank the Chinese government for facilitating this transaction,” the finance minister wrote in a tweet after the signing of the agreement.

The agreement with Chinese banks is expected to bolster the country's reserves and enable it to make import payments while lending some support to the rupee as well which has lost over 34% since the start of the outgoing fiscal year 2021-22.

The development came as a massive relief to economic policymakers after foreign exchange reserves held by the SBP fell below $9 billion as of June 10, with the level staying at less than six weeks of import cover.

World

Egypt: Hotel guest dies after falling from 9th floor

Hotel workers found the body of the deceased lying on the street.

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Egypt: Hotel guest dies after falling from 9th floor

Cairo: An elderly man has been killed after falling from the balcony of his room on the ninth floor of a hotel in the Cleopatra area on the Alexandria Corniche, Egypt.  

As per reports, hotel workers found the body of the deceased lying on the street in the early hours of Friday. 

The police, however, were informed and the deceased was taken to the Kom El Dikka morgue. 

Reports quoting sources said that the security forces are intensifying their efforts to uncover the circumstances of the incident— to find out whether there is a criminal suspicion or not.

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Business

Brazil records trade surplus of $8.8 billion in June

The exports grew 15.6% from June last year, to $32.7 billion, while imports jumped 33.7% to $23.9 billion

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Brazil records trade surplus of $8.8 billion in June

Brazil's trade surplus reached $8.814 in June, official figures showed on Friday, below market expectations.

Economists polled by Reuters had projected a $9.994 billion surplus for the month.

The reading was the second best for the month of June, after last year, since the figures were recorded in 1989.

According to the Economy Ministry, exports grew 15.6% from June last year, to $32.7 billion, while imports jumped 33.7% to $23.9 billion.

Global inflationary pressures have been boosting the value of tradable goods, amid rising food and energy prices and disrupted supply chains with the Russia-Ukraine war.

But Brazilian imports have increased faster, which has prompted the ministry to revise its projections for the year.

The first half of 2022 ended with a $34.2 billion surplus, down from $37.0 billion in the year-ago period. The government now expects to end 2022 with a $81.5 billion surplus.

The number represents a major cut from the $111.6 billion 2022 surplus estimate made in April.

The outlook for exports was revised slightly up to $349.4 billion in 2022, from $348.8 billion. Imports are now expected to reach $268.0 billion this year, up from the previous $237.2 billion estimate.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Sports

US basketball star goes on trial in Russia on drug charges

Brittney Griner was formally told at this first hearing that she was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia

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US basketball star goes on trial in Russia on drug charges

US basketball star Brittney Griner went on trial in a court on the outskirts of Moscow on Friday to hear drug charges that could see her serve up to 10 years in a Russian jail.

Griner, 31, was formally told at this first hearing that she was charged with intentionally importing narcotics into Russia. She spoke to say she understood the charges. The judge set the next hearing for July 7.

Griner, who has played regularly in Russia as well as in the U.S. Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), was arrested at a Moscow airport in February, allegedly with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage.

The case takes place against a backdrop of high tension between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Ukraine. U.S. officials say Griner has been detained wrongfully.

Griner arrived at Khimki City Court, near Sheremetyevo Airport, in handcuffs shortly after noon (0900 GMT), wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt and sneakers without laces.

Three employees of the U.S. embassy, including deputy chief of mission Elizabeth Rood, were present in the courtroom. Griner sat in the defendant's cage with a plastic bag of cookies and a bottle of mineral water.

Griner told a Reuters reporter she was finding detention hard because she could not speak Russian, and that she was unable to keep up her fitness because she could do only general exercises such as stretching.

Her lawyers declined to say how she planned to plead.

'TOUGH LADY'

"She is a bit worried because she has the trial and the sentencing in the close future. But she is a tough lady. I think that she will manage," lawyer Alexander Boykov said after the hearing.

Rood said the United States was working very hard to bring Griner home: "She asked me to convey that she is in good spirits and is keeping up the faith."

Asked about the case, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied it was politically motivated. 
 
"I can only operate with known facts, and the facts indicate that the eminent athlete was detained with illegal drugs that contained narcotic substances. There are articles in Russian legislation that provide for punishment for such crimes," he told reporters. "Only the court can pass a verdict."

U.S. officials and numerous athletes have called for the release of Griner - or "BG" as she is known to basketball fans.

Some have expressed concerns that Moscow could use the two-time Olympic gold medallist to negotiate the release of a high-profile Russian in U.S. custody.

Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury, had played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women's Basketball Premier League to boost her income during the WNBA off-season, like several other U.S. players.

Some have left the Russian league since Griner's detention and Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, while the WNBA regular season kicked off in May.

Reached by email on Friday, the WNBA said it did not have an immediate statement.

Griner's wife, Cherelle Griner, told CNN in an interview on Thursday that she hoped for a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, saying: "I would love for him to tell me he cares."

"The rhetoric and the actions don't match," she said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that he had "no higher priority" than bringing home Griner and other "wrongfully detained Americans."

"We won't stop working until they are reunited with their loved ones," he said.

U.S. Representative Colin Allred, a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has met with State Department staff handling Griner's case, told CNN it was important for Griner's supporters to continue public pleas for her release.

"At one point the best thing to do was to try to keep this out of the headlines," he said. "Now we are at the point where outside political pressure, outside global pressure... hoping that every single kind of pressure can help."

The U.S. government has warned citizens against travelling to Russia in light of the "potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials".

SOURCE: REUTERS

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