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Sri Lanka, IMF fail to reach a deal for bailout package

Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million people, is facing its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948

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Sri Lanka, IMF fail to reach a deal for bailout package
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The International Monetary Fund has ended talks with Sri Lanka, failing to conclude a deal for a bailout package for the near-bankrupt nation after 10 days.

Nevertheless, in a statement released around noon Sri Lanka time on Thursday, the IMF promised to keep up the talks, which began on June 20. “The discussions will continue virtually with a view to reaching a staff-level agreement on the extended fund facility or EFF arrangement,” it said.

The EFF was established to assist countries with “serious payment imbalances,” according to the IMF. In addition, it provides support for policies “needed to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.”

Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million people, is facing its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948, which has left it struggling to pay for fuel and forced it to default on some foreign debt.

Left with just enough fuel for about a week and fresh shipments at least two weeks away, Sri Lanka has imposed restrictions on supplies, limiting them for use for public services like trains and buses and those relating to the health sector, Reuters reported. The ban is scheduled to last two weeks.

Noting that public debt is assessed as unsustainable, the IMF said executive board approval of a package would require “adequate financing assurances from Sri Lanka’s creditors that debt sustainability will be restored.”
 
People have been killed; there have been some shootouts. So this is a very dangerous situation to be in.

“In this context, discussions focused on designing a comprehensive economic program to correct the macroeconomic imbalances, restore public debt sustainability, and realize Sri Lanka’s growth potential,” the press release said. 

‘Fragile state’

The lack of a bailout package defied the expectations of an expert CNBC spoke to earlier in the day.

Georgetown University professor Shanta Devarajan said Sri Lanka was close to reaching an agreement with the IMF.

″[Sri Lanka is] very close to reaching what is called a staff level agreement [with] the Fund [on] the set of policies and programs that Sri Lanka would undertake in order to bring down the fiscal deficit and make the fiscal debt sustainable,” Devarajan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.
 
He traced the genesis of the current problem to tax cuts three years ago. “We are in this mess at the moment...because in November 2019, the government cut taxes substantially. The value added tax rate went from 15% to 8%,” Devarajan said. 

He added that the country is on the verge of becoming a “fragile state.”

“It has all the characteristics [of a fragile state] at the moment. It’s not just the protests in the streets, but … the queues for fuel,” he said, adding that there are now confrontations with the army and the police in various places. 

“People have been killed; there have been some shootouts. So this is a very dangerous situation to be in,” Devarajan said.

Sri Lanka has closed schools in urban areas and officials have urged the country’s residents to work from home.

SOURCE: CNBC

Business

PM stresses for further strengthening of trade ties between Pak-Italy   

The Prime Minister termed Italy a close friend of Pakistan and a reliable partner, both bilaterally and in the EU context.

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PM stresses for further strengthening of trade ties between Pak-Italy   

Islamabad: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need to further harness the existing potential to enhance trade and investment relations between Pakistan and Italy.

Talking to Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese in Islamabad, the Prime Minister termed Italy a close friend of Pakistan and a reliable partner, both bilaterally and in the EU context.

The Prime Minister further observed that Pakistan-Italy relations are marked by growing bilateral cooperation as well as commonality of views on a whole range of regional and global issues.

He highlighted the immense cooperation that Pakistan continued to extend to the international community in the wake of the situation in Afghanistan, particularly since August last year.

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Sports

Real Madrid defeat Eintracht Frankfurt to win fifth UEFA Super Cup

"It wasn't an easy game"

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Real Madrid defeat Eintracht Frankfurt to win fifth UEFA Super Cup

Helsinki: Goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt and a fifth UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.

While Frankfurt were dangerous, particularly in the first half, Madrid’s experience and individual quality saw them through, as it did so often in their victorious 2021-22 Champions League campaign.

“It wasn’t an easy game, they were entrenched in their own half, but we managed to score and we controlled it well afterwards,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told Movistar TV.

“At the start of the season, you can’t expect the team to be already at 100 percent, but we won and we have started the season well. I believe it can help us achieve better results and winning helps motivate the players.”

It was a particularly memorable evening for veteran French striker Benzema whose goal took him to 324 for the Spanish side, one more than Raul.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 450, has more Real goals than Benzema.

“Now he’s in line for the Ballon d’Or. Is there any doubt? For me, no,” added Ancelotti.

Frankfurt had the best of the early stages, with Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois forced into a stunning anticipation save when one-on-one with Daichi Kamada in the 14th minute.

Madrid almost got their first, when Benzema released Vinicius to curl past Kevin Trapp in the penalty box, only for Tuta to clear the ball off the line.

With Madrid dominating possession, Frankfurt mounted several counter-attacks until Madrid launched a counter of their own in the 37th minute.

A diving Trapp got his fingertips to a goal-bound shot by Vinicius, pushing the ball out for a corner.

From the ensuing play, Benzema linked with Casemiro just next to the right post.

The Brazilian sucked in several Frankfurt defenders and a diving Trapp, before heading back to an unmarked Alaba who scored from close range.

After the goal, Madrid stepped it up a gear and should have gone 2-0 up, with Benzema uncharacteristically dragging the ball wide with the goal begging in the 41st minute.

Vinicius, Benzema connect

Madrid’s quality became more obvious in the second half, with Trapp saving a deflected Vinicius shot in the 54th minute and Casemiro hitting the crossbar with 61 minutes gone.

Borussia Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff had a chance saved just minutes later, before Vinicius and Benzema combined to put Madrid 2-0 up.

Vinicius skated down the left before slicing the ball back seemingly unsighted for the Frenchman to hammer home from the edge of the box.

Frankfurt fought hard in the closing stages but Madrid were able to dominate the game to win their fifth Super Cup from eight attempts.

Alaba praised his team’s determination to continue their stellar form from last season.

“We were here to win and to collect the next title… We want to pick up where we left off last season,” Alaba told RTL.

“It’s always nice to score goals – it doesn’t happen so often for me.”

Frankfurt captain Sebastian Rode lamented his side’s failures to take their opportunities.

“Against the Champions League winners you have to take your chances. We didn’t take ours in the decisive moments,” he told broadcaster DAZN.

The clash, in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, was the first time these two sides had met in a European decider since 1960, when Madrid dismantled Frankfurt 7-3 through four goals to Ferenc Puskas and three to Alfredo di Stefano in the European Cup final.

The match also highlighted the growing gap between the Champions League and Europa League competitions, with Madrid being the ninth Champions League team to win the competition in the past 10 years.

Only city rivals Atletico Madrid have won the Super Cup when qualifying via a Europa League win in the past decade, having done so by beating Real in the 2018 edition.

SOURCE: AFP

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Pakistan

National Minority Day being observed 

The day was basically dedicated to the minorities, who played their constructive role in the Pakistan movement.

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National Minority Day being observed 

National Minority Day is observed on Wednesday (today) to commemorate the contribution of minorities in the progress of Pakistan. 

On August 11, the day is observed every year to recall the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and to reaffirm the commitment that despite belonging to different faiths we are one nation.

The Government of Pakistan had declared 11 August as National Minority Day in 2009.

Events, seminars, and social gatherings are arranged across the country on the day by members of various religious minorities.

The day was basically dedicated to the minorities, who played their constructive role in the Pakistan movement.

Pakistan was the first country in the world which reassured its minorities about their future rights by specifically allocating a portion of the national flag.

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