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Bank of Japan gloomier on economy but maintains policy

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exhibition opens in Tokyo

TOKYO: The Bank of Japan issued a more downbeat assessment of the world’s third-biggest economy today, as a broader global slowdown impacts exports and production.
The central bank kept its ultra-loose monetary policy in place after a two-day policy board meeting, as it battles to safeguard fragile growth and kindle inflation that is stuck stubbornly below its two-percent target.
The bank added to its monetary policy statement the view that “exports and production have been affected by the slowdown in overseas economies”.
But the BoJ also argued that “Japan’s economy is expanding moderately” and maintained its aim of keeping the short-term policy interest rate around minus 0.1 percent and the yield on 10-year bonds around zero.
BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will meet the press later in the day to discuss his decision.
“The central bank’s stated goal remains two-percent inflation and current price levels are not high enough to justify tightening,” said Katsunori Kitakura, lead strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management, before the decision.
“While the risk of a global economic slowdown exists, monetary policy in Japan has gradually shifted from ‘normalization’ to ‘further relaxation’.”
Kuroda has come under fire over the effectiveness of his monetary easing programme and how he intends to return the bank’s policy to normal.
In January, the governor was forced to revise down the BoJ’s inflation forecasts, a step is seen as further evidence that authorities are unable to boost prices.
The bank wants to achieve stable growth with prices rising two percent a year, but it expects inflation for the fiscal year ending next March of 0.9 percent.
The central bank’s measured downgrade of the Japanese economy comes as economists are increasingly viewing China with caution.

 

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Rakhine leader incarcerated for 20 years

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SITTWE (MYANMAR): A Myanmar court today sentenced a prominent ethnic Rakhine leader to 20 years in jail for treason, a verdict likely to intensify anger amid fighting between the ethnic group and the army.
Security forces tried to calm hundreds of supporters outside the court in Rakhine state capital Sittwe as Aye Maung was escorted to a waiting police van following the verdict. Aye Maung, the former chairman of the Arakan National Party – which is renowned for hardline views against the Rohingya Muslim minority – was sentenced for treason and defamation over an allegedly inflammatory speech in January 2018, a day before deadly riots. State-backed media at the time said he railed against the central government for treating the ethnic Rakhine as “slaves” and said it was the “right time” for the community to launch an armed struggle.
The following evening, Rakhine protesters briefly seized a government building and police opened fire, killing seven people. Aye Maung and a fellow detainee – writer Wai Hin Aung, who also gave a speech at the same rally  – were detained days later. “Both Dr. Aye Maung and writer Wai Hin Aung were sentenced to 20 years each… for the charge of high treason and two years each for defamation of the state,” Wai Hin Aung’s defense lawyer Aye Nu Sein told the Media. Myanmar’s Rakhine state is cut by violence and hatred.
A brutal military crackdown in 2017 forced some 740,000 Rohingya Muslims over the border into Bangladesh. Yet the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist population, some of whom are accused of aiding soldiers in the anti-Rohingya campaign, also feels marginalized by the state. The lawyer said they were discussing whether to appeal. Treason can carry the death sentence. Supporters of the pair were enraged by the perceived persecution of two prominent Rakhine figures.
“This is not fair. This is oppression and bullying of ethnic Rakhine people,” one woman shouted in front of the court, as the protesters spread to the center of the town. In recent weeks, the military has waged war on the Arakan Army (AA), an armed group claiming to represent the ethnic Rakhine. The group launched a brazen attack on police posts in early January that killed 13 officers and killed nine more policemen earlier this month.
The violence has spread to the ancient temple city of Mrauk U, the former capital of the Rakhine kingdom and a popular tourist site – the same town where Aye Maung gave his controversial speech last year. Support for the AA has grown with the fighting, even though several thousand Rakhine have been forced from their homes by the violence. A further 600,000 Rohingya remain in Rakhine without citizenship, restricted to either camps or their villages, many unable to access medical care. Much of northern Rakhine is in lockdown and information is difficult to verify independently.

 

 

 

 

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Tokyo stocks open higher!

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: Stocks opened here higher today, tracking gains on Wall Street due to optimism over US-China trade talks, with investors closely eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week.
The Nikkei 225 index added 0.65 percent, or 139.64 points, to 21,590.49 in early trade, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.43 percent, or 6.82 points, to 1,609.45.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indian troops launch CASOs in Pulwama

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ISLAMABAD: Indian troops launched cordon and search operations (CASOs) in different areas of Pulwama district in occupied Kashmir on Monday.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Indian troops launched door-to-door searches in Drabgam and Beighpora and Aripal areas of the district.

The troops comprising Rashtriya Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force and Special Operation Group cordoned off Beighpora early in the morning and conducted searches.

Door-to-door searches were carried out many times in the village after all the entry and exit routes were blocked with heavy deployment of Indian soldiers.

“People from many adjoining villages could not move out due to heavy deployment of Indian forces present in the area,” a resident said.

 

 

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