Monthly Archives: December 2016

PPF urges Bahrain to end prosecution of rights’ activist

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) has written a letter to His HM Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Kingdom of Bahrain to express its concern over the continued persecution of human rights and free speech defender Najeeb Rajab.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali, in his letter, urged the king of Bahrain to end the continued detention of Najeeb Rajab, president for Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

According to Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), a Bahraini court ordered the provisional release of Rajab on bail on December 28. However, the Public Prosecution subsequently ordered his continued detention for seven days, citing further investigation into another case in which Rajab is accused of “spreading false news,” likely to be related to letters published in the New York Times and most recently in Le Monde newspapers.

Bahraini authorities arrested Rajab on 13 June, 2016, on charges of “spreading false news and rumors about the internal situation in a bid to discredit Bahrain.”

Since his arrest, multiple charges have been brought against him, each following the publication of his columns in international media like the New York Times and Le Monde.

PPF urged the authorities in Bahrain to end the prosecution of Rajab and to allow him to perform his professional duties without threat or intimidation. This, PPF added, would help create a thriving climate for free expression.

China Opens World’s Highest Bridge

Beijing, China has opened the Beipan River Bridge that links Southwest China’s Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bridge is the world’s highest, standing at 565 meters and extending for 1.34 km as it crosses a gorge between the two provinces.

The four-lane bridge reportedly cost over 1 billion yuan to build and took four years to complete.

Source: Qatar News Agency

Turkey’s Constitutional Amendment Bill Headed for Parliament Vote

Ankara, The Turkish parliament’s constitutional committee has approved a bill proposing a set of constitutional amendments, including a switch to a presidential system of governance in Turkey.

Backed by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s 316 lawmakers, the bill is now expected to be put to vote in the parliament.

The proposed amendments “give executive powers to the president and vice presidents while abolishing the post of prime minister, lowering the age of candidacy for parliament from 25 to 18, and increasing the number of parliamentarians from 550 to 600 in accordance with the country’s growing population,” Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.

The bill also proposes to hold general elections every five years instead of four, with the presidential vote taking place on the same day.

Source: Qatar News Agency

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Source: Qatar News Agency

Venezuela president extends date to use 100-bolivar bills

Venezuela president extends date to use 100-bolivar bills

الجمعه 1438/4/1 هـ الموافق 2016/12/30 م واس

CARACAS, Venezuela, Rabi’II 01, 1438, December 30, 2016, SPA — President Nicolas Maduro has again extended the deadline for Venezuelans to stop using their old 100-bolivar bills, according to AP.
Maduro said in a television and radio broadcast address on Thursday that people now have until Jan. 20 to stop using the old bills.
The decision comes almost two weeks after violent protests and looting erupted when an earlier date to stop using the old bills came and went before new bills to replace them were distributed.
Government officials have blamed “sabotage” for the ongoing delay in the distribution of the new bills.
Venezuela faces a severe economic crisis that includes galloping inflation and shortages of food, medicine and other goods.
00:24 LOCAL TIME 21:24 GMT

Brazil could simplify oil tax rules as part of broad reform- source

Brazil could simplify oil tax rules as part of broad reform- source

Friday 1438/4/1 – 2016/12/30

BRASILIA, Rabi’II 01, 1438, December 30, 2016, SPA — Brazil’s government is considering simplifying the tax regime of the oil and gas industry as well as changes to levies on the financial system as part of a broad tax reform in 2017, a government source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. “These are the general ideas of what should be done. It is still in embryonic stages,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he is not allowed to speak publicly.
He also said the government could consider simplifying the PIS-COFINS social security taxes, cutting red tape on the tax system, and restructuring the finance’s ministry tax appeals tribunal, known as CARF.
00:21 LOCAL TIME 21:21 GMT

EU commission approves support measures for Italy’s Monte Paschi bank

Brussels, Rabi’I 30, 1438, December 29, 2016, SPA — The Italian government has received the green light
from European Union authorities to provide liquidity measures for its
ailing lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), according to dpa.
The European Commission approved Rome’s request for the use of liquidity support for MPS, a commission spokeswoman said Thursday.
Banks with a capital shortfall are not allowed to benefit from liquidity schemes, according to EU rules, forcing Italy to file the request for MPS.
The spokeswoman stressed that approval of the measures doesn’t affect any recapitalization plans for the bank.
MPS has been dragged down over the past years by bad loans on its books and the overpriced takeover of an industry rival.
The Italian bank said Monday the European Central Bank has requested that MPS prop up its capital base by 8.8 billion euros (9.2 billion dollars), more than the previously announced 5 billion euros.
Even for the smaller sum, MPS failed to find private investors, paving the way for a state rescue and de-facto nationalization.
Recapitalization plans for MPS are still being discussed with Italy and European supervisory authorities, the commission spokeswoman said.
The government in Rome has already agreed to create a fund containing 20 billion euros for the country’s embattled financial sector.
22:12 LOCAL TIME 19:12 GMT