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Moon holds dinner with ministers amid speculation over Cabinet reshuffle

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SEOUL: President Moon Jae-in has hosted a dinner for nine ministers who double as lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), his office said Friday, amid speculation over a Cabinet reshuffle.

Moon invited the ministers, including Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae and Interior Minister Kim Boo-kyum, to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae for dinner Thursday. He held his new year press conference earlier that day.

Noh Young-min, Moon’s new chief of staff, and Kang Gi-jung, the new top presidential secretary for political affairs, also joined the occasion.

Speculation is ripe that Moon may carry out a Cabinet reshuffle around the Lunar New Year holiday in early February.

The president could replace ministers who double as DP lawmakers and were named as Cabinet members right after Moon took office in May 2017, given that the country’s parliamentary elections will be held in 2020.

Six ministers, including Interior Minister Kim and Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan, fall into this category.

“The dinner was not planned because of a Cabinet reshuffle,” presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

He said that it was part of Moon’s efforts to increase communication among officials from Cheong Wa Dae, the government and the DP.

“There was no talk about a Cabinet reshuffle and the participants had serious discussions over economic issues and state affairs,” Kim added.

Economy

Pakistan seeks greater partnership with WB: PM

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ISLAMABAD:  Imran Khan has told WB that Pakistan looked forward to greater partnership with World Bank (WB) in critical areas including eco-tourism, mountain, and religious tourism.

Talking to a delegation of World Bank headed by Vice President South Asia Hartwig Schafer in Islamabad today Imran Khan said that these sectors which have a huge potential towards the uplift of the poor and poverty alleviation. He highlighted various steps being taken by the government towards economic stability, poverty alleviation and improving ease of doing business in the country. The delegation comprised of Vice President Human Development Annete Dixon, Country Director Illangovan Patchamuthu, Operations Manager Melinda Good and Senior Country Manager IFC Nadeem Siddiqui. Special Assistant of Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeem-ul-Haq, Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan and others were also present in the meeting.

The delegation appreciated Prime Minister’s vision on the economic stability of the country, human development and addressing the issue of stunted growth due to malnutrition. It briefed the Prime Minister about various ongoing projects of the World Bank in various sectors including water supply, sewerage and waste management, transportation and connectivity, capacity building and ease of doing business in the country.  It also offered WB’s assistance in attracting foreign investments, analytics, sharing of expertise and technical knowledge in various sectors to help the Government translate its vision into reality. Welcoming the offer, the Prime Minister appreciated World Bank’s continued engagement with Pakistan and its support towards capacity building, infrastructure development and economic growth.

 

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World

NATO condemns Russian ‘build-up’ in Crimea

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BRUSSELS: NATO today condemned what it called Russia’s “ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea” on the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
As Russia celebrated what it terms its “reunification” with Crimea, NATO hit out at Moscow over its plans to further militarise the Black Sea.
The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict sent ties between NATO and Moscow plunging to post-Cold War lows. NATO said there would be no return to “business as usual” with Moscow until there was “a clear, constructive change in Russia’s actions.
“We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region,” NATO’s ruling North Atlantic Council said in a statement. NATO holds that it would never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and urged Moscow to return the territory to Ukraine.

 

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Asia

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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