Pakistan morgues run out of space as heat wave kills more than 1,000
The worst heat wave to hit Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi in 35 years has killed more than 1,000 people. Morgues ran out of space and residents rushed to supply over-stretched public hospitals. Tents offering iced water and rehydration salts have mushroomed on street corners, run by rival political parties and the military. The heat wave in the city of 20 million people coincided with severe electricity cuts, leaving many without fans, water or light at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. Temperatures shot up to 44 degrees Celsius, the hottest since 1981. Forecasters have been predicting rain for days, but there has been no significant fall.
Surprisingly strong rains in the El Nino year, typically marked by droughts in parts of Asia, have eased concerns of a lower crop output in the region. But weather forecasters are not convinced, warning of severe dryness in the autumn months. There is relief for corn, oilseed and cotton output in India, and for palm supply from Indonesia and Malaysia.
Asian stocks fell on Friday as Greece failed to reach an agreement with its creditors and fell towards a default, while major currencies like the euro and dollar drifted in narrow ranges as the debt sidelined investors. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain’s FTSE 100 to open down 0.3 per cent, Germany’s DAX as much as 0.2 percent lower and France’s CAC 40 at 0.4 percent lower. Athens has to repay the International Monetary Fund.
Saudi Arabia lost its spot last month as India’s top oil supplier to Nigeria for the first time in last four years, according to ship tracking data compiled by Reuters. It comes at a time when the world’s top crude exporter struggles to maintain market share in Asia. The OPEC kingpin also fell behind Russia and Angola as the biggest crude supplier to China last month. The Middle East country’s failure to maintain its position in some markets comes despite its leading strategy to keep output high to drive out competitors. In India, refiners have been switching out of long-term contracts with Middle East suppliers in favour of spot purchases, often African oil.
North Korea held a mass rally to mark the 65th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War on June 25 in Pyongyang. In video provided by North Korea’s state news agency KCNA, thousands gathered at Kim Il Sung stadium, marching and chanting anti-US slogans.
China stocks fell more than 4 per cent as investors dumped shares as regulators cracked down on risky margin trading and on mounting uncertainty over the direction of Beijing’s monetary policy. The CSI300 index was down 3.8 per cent at 4,525.76 points, while the SC Index tanked 4.1 per cent to 4,344.06 points.
Islamic State fighters have launched simultaneous attacks against Syrian government and Kurdish militia forces. The attacks by Islamic State follow a rapid advance by Kurdish-led forces deep into the group’s territory, to within 50 km of its de facto capital Raqqa.
Privately owned OneWeb announced the world’s largest commercial rocket deal after raising $500 million from a group of global investors to support its plans to bring broadband to billions via satellite.The fund-raising attracted backing from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Europe’s Airbus Group which will also build 900 “micro-satellites” designed to extend the reach of the Internet to remote corners of the world.
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apologised for the deadly 2013 attack at a hearing before a U.S. judge formally sentenced him to death for killing four people and injuring 264 in the bombing and its aftermath. The 21 year old ethnic Chechen, referred to Allah and admitted that he and his now-dead older brother carried out one of the highest- profile attacks on U.S. soil. ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken, for the suffering that I have caused you, for the damage I have done, irreparable damage,’ said Tsarnaev standing at the defence table.
Britain’s government is considering border reinforcements after what the prime minister’s calling unacceptable scenes of chaos involving migrants trying to reach the UK. A strike by French ferry workers which also led to the closure of the Channel Tunnel prompted these scenes. Migrants are seen trying to board UK-bound trucks forced to queue because of the stoppage. More than 750 rescued from packed boats trying to cross the Mediterranean arrived at the Italian port of Palermo. They’re from African nations like Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan.
Earthquake-hit Nepal received pledges of aid worth $4.4 billion, or two-thirds of the amount needed over five years for reconstruction after a devastating earthquake that killed 8,832 people, two months ago. Half of the money pledged at an international conference in Kathmandu is in the form of grants and the rest is in the form of concessional loans. India and China alone pledged nearly $1.5 billion for impoverished Nepal.
A Japanese surveillance plane circled over disputed parts of the South China Sea at the start of a joint military exercise with the Philippines. The plane flew over an energy- rich area claimed by both Beijing and Manila – prompting a warning from China’s foreign ministry. Japan, has no claims in the hotly contested waters, but is concerned by China’s expanding maritime domination. Its cooperation with the Philippines could be considered symbolic of tacit support for their territorial claims. But for some in the Philippines, Japanese involvement brings back reminders of the past that are far from happy.
Pressure is growing on the foreign minister and a top member of the ruling party over help they gave to a disgraced cricket tycoon. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has faced days of scrutiny for her ties to Lalit Modi, scion of an industrial family who almost singlehandedly turned the Indian Premier League into the world’s richest. ‘This is war,’ declares Modi, who is not related to the Prime Minister. He has used Twitter to attack opponents, such as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and members of the opposition. Dissent bubbled up in BJP with one MP saying Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje were wrong to have helped the tycoon in his bid for British travel papers.