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Malawi seeks international help after plane carrying Vice President goes missing

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Lilongwe, June 11 (IANS) Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has appealed to the international community for help in the search and rescue efforts after the plane with Vice President Saulos Chilima on board went missing.

On Monday evening, in a televised address to the nation, Chakwera said that he has sought assistance from neighbouring countries and other countries, including the United States, Britain, Norway and Israel.

He said that the international community has committed to supporting the country’s security agencies with high-tech search and rescue technology until the plane is found, reports Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, Chakwera said he has ordered continued search and rescue operations as the country awaits international support.

The Malawi Defense Force plane failed to land at its intended destination at Mzuzu Airport in northern Malawi due to adverse weather conditions, and the pilot was advised to return to Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe before the aircraft went off the radar around 10 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) Monday, according to Chakwera.

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The president appealed to all Malawians to pray for the lives of those on board and their families, saying that he is “holding on to every fibre of hope that there could be survivors.”

The search and rescue operation is concentrated in the country’s man-made forest, Chikangawa, on the outskirts of Mzuzu City. According to the president, this is where the plane’s tracking has indicated its location.

Meanwhile, Chakwera has directed the Malawi Defense Force to keep the public informed of the ongoing developments as the operation continues.

The vice president was travelling to a funeral of the country’s former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara, who was found dead in a room at a lodge in Lilongwe on Friday.

–IANS

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International

Sri Lanka to implement national tariff policy next January

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Colombo, June 13 (IANS) Sri Lanka Cabinet approved a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to implement the national tariff policy in three phases from January 2025, the government’s Information department said.

The competitive environment for investment in Sri Lanka has been adversely affected due to the revision of the tariff policy following the various policies introduced from time to time by the existing governments, the department added on Wednesday as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

It said considering the situation, a technical committee has been appointed to formulate a national tariff policy.

–IANS

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International

Russia fires missiles, drones at Ukraine

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Kiev, June 13 (IANS) Powerful explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital and other cities across the country as Russia launched an attack with missiles and drones, Ukrainian authorities and media outlets reported.

Russian forces fired 24 Shahed combat drones, four cruise missiles from Tu-95MC bombers, an aeroballistic missile Kinzhal and a ballistic missile Iskander-M at Ukraine during the attack, said the Ukrainian Air Force on Wednesday.

All the projectiles, except for the Iskander-M missile, were shot down, the Air Force said in a post on Telegram, adding that the air defence was operating in the six regions in central, southern, northern and eastern Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the Kiev region, a man was injured by the debris of the intercepted missile and a fire erupted in an industrial enterprise following the attack, which also caused damage to a petrol station and a private house, said the Kiev Regional Military Administration.

In the central Dnipropetrovsk region, three people were hurt and nine private houses were damaged, regional governor Sergii Lysak said on Telegram.

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–IANS

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IMF approves 2nd financial review, releases $330 mn to crisis-hit Sri Lanka

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Colombo, June 13 (IANS) The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Sri Lanka’s second review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) paving the way for the crisis-hit Indian Ocean Island to receive the third tranche of around $330 million.

“This achievement is a testament to our dedication to driving forward economic reforms and securing a prosperous future for all Sri Lankans. Onward and upward!” announcing the IMF’s financial approval, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry said in a post on social media platform X.

The third IMF tranche out of a $2.9-billion bailout package to recover from the worst-ever economic crisis since Independence followed the release of a second tranche of $337 million last December.

Gradually recovering from the crisis, Sri Lanka has been progressing toward debt sustainability, raising revenue, rebuilding its reserves, reducing inflation and safeguarding financial stability.

The IMF approved the bailout package in March 2023, a year after the 22 million people in the island nation were plunged into turmoil as it grappled with crippling shortages of essential food, fuel and medicines.

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The crisis triggered massive street protests which forced the powerful President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and topple the government.

India played a major role in Sri Lanka to secure the IMF deal as the powerful neighbour issued the required guarantees sought by the Washington-based lender.

India’s Finance Ministry went on to the extent of issuing a letter to the IMF to confirm its support to Sri Lanka on the issue of debt restructuring.

Additionally, India also provided much-needed financial and humanitarian assistance of more than $4 billion.

–IANS

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US Fed keeps interest rate unchanged (Ld)

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Washington, June 12 (IANS) The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept the interest rate unchanged but hinted that there could be one cut between now and the end of the year as they continue the fight against inflation.

The Fed announcement came after a two-day meeting of its top officials.

They will meet four more times this year — July, September, November and December.

Fed’s interest rates determine interest on home and auto loans and credit cards.

Rate hikes are aimed at slowing down the economy by curbing spending, which is a tool used by Central banks around the world to battle inflation.

The Fed increased interest rate multiple times starting in early 2022 when inflation hit a four-decade high and took it up to 5.3 per cent in July where it has been kept since.

The Fed expected to announce three cuts in 2024 as inflations showed signs of coming down, but decided against it every time as inflation stayed stubbornly high.

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Inflation has cooled down notably since May and the Fed predicted that inflation could be more stubborn than expected and the overall rate could bottom out at 2.6 per cent by the end of the year instead of the 2.4 per cent they had estimated earlier.

The Fed aims to bring inflation under two per cent.

“We’ve made pretty good progress on inflation,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference.

But to cut rates, he added, “we’ll need to see more good data.”

A report by the US Labour Department released just hours before the Fed announcement showed that the consumer price index — a measure of goods and services — remained unchanged from June and at 3.3 per cent over June last year.

In April the number stood at 3.4 per cent.

–IANS

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International

US Fed keeps interest rate unchanged

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Washington, June 13 (IANS) The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept the interest rate unchanged but hinted that there could be one cut between now and the end of the year as they continue the fight against inflation.

The Fed announcement came after a two-day meeting of its top officials.

They will meet four more times this year — July, September, November and December.

The Fed increased interest rate multiple times starting in early 2022 when inflation hit a four-decade high and took it up to 5.3 per cent in July where it has been kept since.

The Fed expected to announce three cuts in 2024 as inflation showed signs of coming down, but decided against it every time as inflation stayed stubbornly high.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will address a news conference shortly.

Inflation has cooled down notably since May and the Fed predicted that inflation could be more stubborn than expected and the overall rate could end bottom out at 2.6 per cent by the end of the year instead of the 2.4 per cent they had estimated earlier.

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–IANS

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