RSS Feed for Voice Of Indonesia Sat, 03 Jun 2023 02:39:44 +0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Pakistan's Khan gets bail on new charge of abetting violence - lawyer




Pakistani former prime minister Imran Khan was on Tuesday granted bail on a new charge of abetting violence against the military by his protesting supporters after he was arrested and detained on May 9 in a corruption case, his lawyer said.

The embattled Khan, who says the corruption charges have been concocted, is embroiled in a confrontation with the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan directly or overseen civilian governments throughout its history.


His May 9 arrest sparked widespread protests by his supporters who ransacked various military facilities, raising new worries about the stability of the nuclear-armed country as it struggles with its worst economic crisis in decades.

Khan, 70, was later freed on the orders of a court.

His lawyer, Intezar Hussain Punjotha, said an anti-terrorism court confirmed the bail on the new charge after the former premier appeared before it and submitted surety bonds.


Khan has denied the charge saying he was in detention when the violence took place.

The bail until June 2 on the new charge means he will not be detained on that charge.

The former international cricket star became prime minister in 2018 with the tacit support of the military, though both sides denied it at the time.

He later fell out with generals and was ousted as prime minister after losing a confidence vote in 2022.

Khan has since then been campaigning for a snap election, with rallies with his supporters across the country, but the prime minister who replaced him, Shahbaz Sharif, has rejected the call for an election before it is due late this year.

The turmoil has exacerbated Pakistan's economic crisis with inflation at record highs, growth is anaemic amid fears of a sovereign default on external debts unless the International Monetary Fund (IMF) unlocks delayed disbursements.


Dozens of Khan's supporters have been handed over to army authorities for trial in military courts.

A team of investigators looking into the May 9 violence summoned Khan on Tuesday for questioning but Punjotha said a member of his legal team would go instead.

Khan has appealed for talks to end the crisis. The government has rejected his call. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Tue, 30 May 2023 17:30:12 +0700
China declines US request for a meeting between defense chiefs





China has declined a request from the United States for a meeting between their defense chiefs at an annual security forum in Singapore this weekend, media reported on Monday, a new sign of strain between the powers.

"Overnight, the PRC informed the U.S. that they have declined our early May invitation for Secretary (Lloyd) Austin to meet with PRC Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu in Singapore," the Pentagon said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, referring to China by the initials of its official name, the People's Republic of China.


Li has been under U.S. sanctions since 2018 over the purchase of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia's main arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.

The Pentagon said it believed in open communication "to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict."

Last week, White House spokesman John Kirby said there were discussions by the Defense Department to get talks going between Austin and his Chinese counterpart, who was named defense minister in March.


The prospect of a meeting was being closely watched given regional security tensions and trade disputes that have derailed plans for re-engagement by the world's two largest economies.

China's foreign ministry on Tuesday blamed the United States for its decision, claiming that Washington was "well aware" of the reasons behind the lack of military communication.

"The U.S. side should ... immediately correct its wrong practices, show sincerity, and create the necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries," foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters at a briefing.

Last week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao traded barbs on trade, investment and export policies in a meeting in Washington that marked the first U.S.-China cabinet-level exchange in months.


Singapore-based security analyst Ian Storey said China's decision to shun Austin did not bode well.

"At a time of rising U.S.-China tensions, General Li's refusal to meet his American counterpart will fray regional nerves even further," Storey said.

Austin and Li will be in Singapore to attend the annual Shangri-la Dialogue that opens on Friday, an informal gathering of defense officials and analysts that also plays host to a string of side meetings.

Both are expected to hold bilateral meetings with counterparts from around the region.

Li, who security scholars say is a veteran of the People's Liberation Army modernisation effort, is a member of the Central Military Commission, China's top defense body that is commanded by President Xi Jinping. (reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Tue, 30 May 2023 16:29:08 +0700
S.Korea April factory output falls, retail sales drop most in 5 months





South Korea's factory production and retail sales fell in April, underscoring another tough quarter after the economy narrowly averted a recession in the first three months of the year.

Factory production in April fell 1.2% from March, on a seasonally adjusted basis, official data showed on Wednesday, slightly softer than a 1.6% loss tipped in a Reuters survey.

In March, output rose by 5.3% month-on-month, which was the fastest gain since June 2020, according to Statistics Korea.


Output in April was down 8.9% from the same month a year earlier, compared with a decline of 7.6% in March and a year-on-year drop of 7.9% expected by economists. It was the biggest annual loss in three months.

The all-industry output index, which includes the manufacturing as well as services sectors, fell 1.4% in April over a month, marking the first monthly decline since November and the biggest drop in 14 months.

On the consumption side, retail sales dropped 2.3% from a month earlier, after a 0.1% gain in the previous month, marking the first monthly fall since January and the biggest in five months.


"The latest data show that producers are on a roller coaster ride that will probably last for a few more months," said economist Heron Lim at Moody's Analytics.

"A recovery in industrial production is contingent on a stronger export market," Lim said, adding that "easing inflation and the pause on monetary tightening will offer limited support to domestic demand."

The finance ministry said data showed the economy went through a "moderate correction from the recovery in the first quarter".

The ministry said both upside and downside factors are likely to affect the economic trend, such as spill-over effects from China's reopening and high inventory levels in the semiconductor industry, respectively.

The weak economic activity in April follows the country's slim growth in the first quarter of this year, which was just enough to prevent Asia's fourth-largest economy from falling into a recession. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Tue, 30 May 2023 16:28:22 +0700
New Zealand-UK free trade agreement to start benefiting exporters -NZ PM





New Zealand companies will start to benefit from the country’s new free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom with the pact now in force, the government said on Wednesday.

“The benefits which begin flowing from the FTA today, provide a further big boost to our economy,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins a statement.

New Zealand forecasts the deal with its seventh-largest trading partner will add NZ$1 billion ($634.40 million) to GDP each year and save NZ$37 million in tariffs annually. The UK estimates the deal will add 800 million pounds to its GDP.


The agreement comes as London seeks to pivot towards the Indo-Pacific in light of its departure from the European Union. It has also signed a FTA with Australia.

“This is a major delivery milestone and sits alongside the seven new or upgraded FTAs secured since 2017, which is helping to contribute to record earnings for our exporters,” said Trade Minister Damien O'Connor.

Britain has also agreed with New Zealand to increase the age of eligibility for working holiday visas to 35 from 30, letting people stay for up to three years at a time. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Tue, 30 May 2023 16:27:18 +0700
Rapid changes in cryosphere demand urgent, coordinated action

Ice melted in Antarctica 

Geneva, WMO - The World Meteorological Organization will elevate the cryosphere to one of its top priorities, given the increasing impacts of diminishing sea ice, melting glaciers, ice sheets, permafrost and snow on sea level rise, water-related hazards and water security, economies and ecosystems.

According to a release received by Voice of Indonesia on Monday, the World Meteorological Congress, WMO’s top decision-making body, endorsed a new resolution calling for more coordinated observations and predictions, data exchange, research and services. It proposes to ramp up activities, with a proposed increased in funding from the regular budget and extrabudgetary funding.

Delegates from around the world voiced concern that what happens in Polar and high mountain areas affects the whole globe, in particular small island states and densely populated coastal zones.

“The cryosphere issue is a hot topic not just for the Arctic and Antarctic, but it is a global issue,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

Sue Barrell (Australia) and Diane Campbell (Canada) who are co-chairs of the WMO’s, Executive Council’s Panel on Polar and High Mountains Observations, Research, and Services, outlined the challenges and the need for urgent action.

Well over a billion people rely on water from snow and glacier melt, carried downstream by the major river basins of the world. The irreversible changes in the global cryosphere will therefore affect adaptation strategies and access to water resources.

Arctic permafrost is melting and is a “sleeping giant” of greenhouse gases. Arctic permafrost stores twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere today. Thawing mountains and Arctic permafrost creases increased risk of natural cascading hazards.

Glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica ice sheet melt accounts for about 50 percent of sea level rise, which is accelerating. This is having growing and cascading impacts on small island developing states and densely populated coastal areas.

Cryosphere changes in mountain areas are leading to an increased risk of hazards such as rockslides, glacier detachments and floods. For example, Pakistan has surveyed more than 3000 glacial lakes, of which 36 were potentially dangerous and at high risk for outburst. It suffered numerous glacial lake outbursts and flash floods in 2022 – a year which saw extreme and prolonged heat in March and April and devastating floods in September and October.

There is a need for coordination of activities in Antarctic carried out by Members to meet needs for meteorological data and services and for environmental monitoring and climate research. 

The resolution calls for greater investment and mobilization of activities well beyond the WMO community. It sets out the high-level priorities and proposed actions, which are linked to WMO’s Long-Term Goal. 

The urgency of global and regional emerging risks from the changing cryosphere in a changing climate, is understood and reflected in the workplans of WMO bodies and in global frameworks.

Collaborative and coordinated technical mechanisms are optimized to support advancing service delivery by Members, to address relevant gaps in polar and high mountain regions, at all scales.

Earth system predictions are enhanced through closing gaps in polar and high mountain observations; improving data sharing; and improved numerical models integrating research on cryospheric processes.

Partnerships and collaboration with research and external stakeholders advance knowledge sharing and amplify the existing capacity to deliver services, in a regional relevant manner.

Antarctica: Members’ collaboration in collecting and sharing observations, conducting research, and developing and providing services, is enhanced.

Sea level rise, ice and glaciers are among the climate indicators monitored by WMO and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The WMO State of the Global Climate 2022 report highlighted the rapid change//VOI

]]> (nuke) International News Mon, 29 May 2023 22:27:35 +0700
Pakistan says to share budget details with IMF to unlock funds





Pakistan will share its upcoming budget details with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to unlock stalled funds, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Sunday.

Hopes for a resumption of an IMF deal are diminishing, analysts say, with a bailout programme agreed in 2019 due to expire on June 30 at the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Dar said he would like the IMF to clear its 9th review before the budget, which is due to be presented in early June, as all the conditions for that had already been met.


The IMF funding is crucial for the $350 billion South Asian country, which faces an acute balance of payments crisis. This has raised concerns of a sovereign default, something which the minister dismissed.

The central bank's foreign reserves have fallen as low as to cover barely a month of controlled imports. Pakistan's economy has slowed, with an estimated 0.29% GDP growth for 2022-2023.

"They have asked for some more things again, we are ready to give that too, they say that give us budget details, we will give it to them," Dar said in an interview with local Geo TV.


He said it would not work for Pakistan if the IMF combined the 9th and 10th review of the bailout, adding, "We will not do it, (we) see this is (as) unfair."

The IMF's $1.1 billion funding to Pakistan, which is part of the $6.5 billion Extended Fund Facility agreed in 2019, has been held up since November.

Islamabad hosted the IMF mission in February to negotiate a series of fiscal policy measures to clear the 9th review.

Pakistan had to complete a series of prior actions demanded by the IMF, which included reversing subsidies, a hike in energy and fuel prices, jacking up its key policy rate, a market-based exchange rate, arranging for external financing and raising over 170 billion rupees ($613 million) in new taxation.

The fiscal adjustments have already fuelled Pakistan's highest ever inflation, which hit 36.5% year-on-year in April. (Reuters)

]]> (Nur Yasmin) International News Mon, 29 May 2023 17:31:14 +0700