China to invest $50bn in Pakistan by 2017

ISLAMABAD: China intends to invest as many as $50 billion by 2017 in various sectors of Pakistan’s economy, particularly in energy sector to help the country overcome power crisis and help sustainable economic growth, President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shah Faisal Afridi said.
“China has planned to replicate the model of Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) by investing $50 billion into a number of projects including coal, solar and wind energy till 2017 under Early Harvest Programme,” Faisal said.
These projects would enable Gawadar to create a nexus between Pakistan, Iran, China and Central Asian States that would ultimately generate billions of dollars in revenues along with huge job opportunities in the region.
Afridi said that SFTZ is a perfect model to be implemented at Gwadar, asserting, the SFTZ was first used as a testing ground for a number of economic sectors.
The zone, he said, incorporated numerous relaxations in different sectors, under the FTZ’s new capital registration system, foreign investors were no longer required to contribute 15 percent capital within three months and full capital within two years of the establishment of a foreign invested enterprise (FIE).
Meanwhile, official sources said that in addition to invest in power projects, China was also interested in already working in various projects of motorways and railways.
On energy front, Pakistan has been already working to generate about 10400 megawatt electricity with the help of Chinese investment and several projects were already underway to overcome energy crisis.
Beijing has designated three banks including Exim Bank that will provide loans to Chinese companies for investment in power, railway and transport sectors in Pakistan.

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The rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer

Britain’s divided decade: the rich are 64% richer than before the recession, while the poor are 57% poorer

By NIGEL MORRIS

The gap between richest and poorest has dramatically widened in the past decade as wealthy households paid off their debts and piled up savings following the financial crisis, a report warns today.

By contrast, the worst-off families are far less financially secure than before the recession triggered by the near- collapse of several major banks. They have an average of less than a week’s pay set aside and are more often in the red.

Younger workers have fallen behind older people while homeowners – particularly those who have paid off their mortgages – have become increasingly affluent compared with their neighbours who are paying rent.

Evidence of Britain’s rapidly growing wealth gap was revealed by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), which analysed the changing incomes and savings of thousands of people. Its findings will be seized on by Labour as evidence that any recovery from the downturn is uneven and not shared across all income groups. However, the trends uncovered by the SMF began before the Coalition came to power, underlining the huge impact of the credit crunch on levels of affluence.

It found that the average wealth of the best-off one-fifth of families rose by 64 per cent between 2005 and 2012-13 as they put more money aside as a buffer against future shocks. They have average savings and investments of around £10,000 compared with £6,000 seven years earlier.

The proportion of people in this group with debts (apart from mortgages) dropped from 43 per cent to less than one-third. However, the SMF found the poorest 20 per cent are less financially secure than they were in 2005, with their net wealth falling by 57 per cent and levels of debt and use of overdrafts increasing.

Read more » The Independent
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-divided-decade-the-rich-are-64-richer-than-before-the-recessionwhile-the-poor-are-57-poorer-10097038.html

Former girlfriend ‘forgives’ Bangladesh hero Rubel in rape case

By AFP

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi actress who filed a rape case against cricket star Rubel Hossain said Tuesday she was withdrawing the charges against the fast bowler, a day after his match-winning heroics at the World Cup.

Naznin Akter Happy, 19, made the rape allegation earlier this year after claiming 25-year-old Rubel had reneged on a promise of marriage that he made while they were having an “intimate affair”.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1168651/

Rafale deadlock gives thrust to Russian 5th-gen jet project

By , TNN

NEW DELHI: Faced with continuing deadlock in the mega deal to acquire 126 French Rafale fighters, India is now pressing the throttle to seal the even bigger project with Russia for the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).

India has told Russia it wants deliveries of the FGFA to begin in 36 months after the main contract is inked, instead of the 94 months envisaged earlier, top defence sources said.

With this “accelerated delivery timeframe” becoming the main objective, India is ready to forego the earlier plan for a 50:50 design and work-share agreement with Russia on its under-development FGFA called PAK-FA or Sukhoi T-50.

India is also no longer insisting that all the single-seat stealth fighters required by IAF be built in India by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics at its Ozar facility. “We have agreed to a lesser work-share for a realistic contract, with the initial lot of the FGFA being imported and the rest being made here under technology transfer,” said a source.

“Like for the Russian Sukhoi-30MKI fighters (majority of the 272 Sukhois contracted for $12 billion are being made by HAL), the curve in technology absorption will also be steep in the FGFA project,” he added.

Faced with a sharp decline in the number of fighter squadrons in IAF, India wants to fast-track the FGFA project under which its “perspective multi-role fighter” will be based on PAK-FA but tweaked to its requirements.

The final FGFA design contract has been hanging fire since India and Russia completed their initial work under the $295 million preliminary design contract signed in December 2010. India will overall spend around $25 billion on the FGFA project if it goes ahead with its plan to induct 127 such fighters, as earlier reported by TOI.

All this has gained urgency since India feels French aviation major Dassault is being needlessly intransigent over the pricing mechanism in the final negotiations for the over $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project. Under it, the first 18 Rafale fighters were to be delivered off-the-shelf, with the remaining 108 being produced in India.

“But Dassault’s costing for the 108 Rafales to be built by HAL has undergone a major hike. It amounts to changing the price line that led to Rafale’s selection over Eurofighter Typhoon as the L-1 (lowest bidder) in the MMRCA competition,” said the source.

“The MoD simply cannot sign the contract if the L-1 price is altered. Dassault should relent and stick to its commercial bid submitted in response to the original RFP (request for proposal),” he added.

Both sides are furiously working to break the deadlock since India wants to take a final call on the MMRCA project before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits France in early-April, as earlier reported by TOI.

News courtesy: The Times of India
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rafale-deadlock-gives-thrust-to-Russian-5th-gen-jet-project/articleshow/46497247.cms