World Inside

Turkey’s inflation raised to 24-year high of 79.6 percent

Publish: 11:22 AM, 04 Aug, 2022


Turkish inflation rose to a fresh 24-year high of 79.6 percent in July, data showed on Wednesday as the lira’s continued weakness and global energy and commodity costs pushed prices higher, though the price rises came out below forecasts.

Inflation began to surge last autumn, when the lira slumped after the central bank gradually cut its policy rate by 500 basis points to 14 percent in an easing cycle sought by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Month-on-month, consumer prices rose 2.37 percent in July, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) said, below a Reuters news agency poll forecast of 2.9 percent. Annually, consumer price inflation was forecast to be 80.5 percent.

Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, said annual inflation may be approaching a peak, with energy inflation falling sharply and food inflation appearing close to topping out.

“Even if inflation is close to a peak, it will remain close to its current very high rates for several more months,” Tuvey said in a note.

“Sharp and disorderly falls in the lira remain a key risk,” he said.

The biggest annual rise in consumer prices was in the transportation sector, up 119.11 percent, while food and non-alcoholic drinks prices climbed 94.65 percent.

Inflation this year has been fuelled further by the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the lira’s continued decline. The currency weakened 44 percent against the United States dollar last year, and is down another 27 percent this year.

The lira was trading flat after the data at 17.9560 against the dollar. It touched a record low of 18.4 in December.

Annual inflation is now at the highest level since September 1998, when it reached 80.4 percent and Turkey was battling to end a decade of chronically high inflation.

Last week’s Reuters news poll showed annual inflation was seen declining to some 70 percent by end-2022, easing from current levels as base effects from last year’s price surge take effect.

The domestic producer price index climbed 5.17 percent month-on-month in July for an annual rise of 144.61 percent.

The government has said inflation will fall as a result of its economic programme, which prioritises low rates to boost production and exports and aims to achieve a current account surplus.

Erdogan has said that he expects inflation to come down to “appropriate” levels by February-March next year, while the central bank raised its end-2022 forecast to 60.4 percent last Thursday from 42.8 percent previously.

The bank’s inflation report showed the estimated range of inflation reaching nearly 90 percent this autumn before easing.

Opposition lawmakers and economists have questioned the reliability of the TUIK figures, claims TUIK has dismissed. Polls show Turks believe inflation is far higher than official data.

Turkey   Inflation  


World Inside

Myanmar court sentences Suu Kyi to 6 years prison in corruption cases

Publish: 04:21 PM, 15 Aug, 2022


A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to six years in prison on Monday after finding her guilty in four corruption cases, a source with knowledge of the proceedings said.

Suu Kyi, 77, was convicted of misusing funds from the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation - an organisation she founded promoting health and education - to build a home, and leasing government-owned land at a discounted rate.

- Reuters


World Inside

Russian forces pound Ukraine's Donetsk region

Publish: 10:07 AM, 15 Aug, 2022


Ukrainian forces reported heavy Russian shelling and attempts to advance on several towns in the eastern region of Donetsk that have become a key focus of the near six-month war, but said they had repelled many of the attacks.

The General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces also reported Russian shelling of more than a dozen towns on the southern front - particularly the Kherson region, mainly controlled by Russian forces, but where Ukrainian troops are steadily capturing territory.

Much attention has been focused on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine amid fears of a catastrophe over renewed shelling in recent days that Russia and Ukraine blame on each other.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned Russian soldiers who shoot at Europe's largest nuclear power station or use it as a base to shoot from that they will become a "special target" of Ukrainian forces.

The Zaporizhzhia plant dominates the south bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces controlling the towns and cities on the opposite bank have come under intense bombardment from the Russian-held side.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which seeks to inspect the plant, has warned of a nuclear disaster unless the fighting stops. Nuclear experts fear fighting might damage the plant's spent fuel pools or reactors.

Zelenskiy said Ukraine had many times proposed different formats to the Russian leadership for peace talks, without progress.

"So we have to defend ourselves, we have to answer every form of terror, every instance of shelling - the fierce shelling which does not let up for a single day," he said in video remarks late on Sunday.

Fighting in east, south

Kyiv has said for weeks it is planning a counteroffensive to recapture Zaporizhzhia and neighbouring Kherson province, the largest part of the territory Russia seized after its Feb 24 invasion and still holds.

Ukraine's military command said early on Sunday that Russian soldiers had continued unsuccessfully to attack Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka, which, since 2014, has become one of the outposts of Ukrainian forces near Donetsk. 

Ukrainian Military Expert Oleg Zhdanov said the situation was particularly difficult in Avdiivka and nearby towns, such as Pisky.

"We have insufficient artillery power in place and our forces are asking for more support to defend Pisky. But the town is basically under Ukrainian control," he said in a video posted online.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield accounts.

Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a "special military operation" to demilitarize and "denazify" its smaller neighbour. The war has pushed Moscow-Washington relations to a low point, with Russia warning it may sever ties.

While Russia has been largely isolated on the global diplomatic stage, North Korean state media on Monday said Russian President Vladimir Putin told leader Kim Jong Un the two countries would expand "comprehensive and constructive" ties. 

In July, North Korea recognized as independent states the Russian-backed breakaway "people's republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk, and officials raised the prospect of its workers being sent there to help in construction and other labour.

Ukraine immediately severed ties with Pyongyang over the move.

Grain ships

Amid the fighting, more ships carrying Ukrainian grain left or prepared to do so as part of a late July deal to ease a global food crisis.

An Ethiopia-bound cargo, the first since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, was getting ready to leave in the next few days, while sources said the first grain ship to leave Ukraine under a UN deal was nearing Syria. 

"The world needs the food of Ukraine," Marianne Ward, the deputy country director of the World Food Program, told reporters. "This is the beginning of what we hope are normal operations for the hungry people of the world," she added.

The relief agency bought more than 800,000 tons of grain in Ukraine last year.

- Reuters


World Inside

More US lawmakers visit Taiwan 12 days after Pelosi trip

Publish: 09:27 AM, 15 Aug, 2022


A delegation of American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, just 12 days after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that prompted China to launch days of threatening military drills around the self-governing island that Beijing says must come under its control.

The five-member delegation, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials, as well as members of the private sector, to discuss shared interests including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and investments in semiconductors.

China responded to Pelosi’s Aug. 2 visit by sending missiles, warships and warplanes into the seas and skies around Taiwan for several days afterward. The Chinese government objects to Taiwan having any official contact with foreign governments, particularly with a high-ranking congressional leader like Pelosi.

A Taiwanese broadcaster showed video of a U.S. government plane landing about 7 p.m. Sunday at Songshan Airport in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital. Four members of the delegation were on the plane.

Markey met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol earlier Sunday in South Korea before arriving in Taiwan on a separate flight at Taoyuan International Airport, which also serves Taipei. Markey, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia, Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee, and members of the delegation will reaffirm the United States’ support for Taiwan.

The other members of the delegation are Republican Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa, and Democratic House members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal from California and Don Beyer from Virginia.

Chinese warplanes have continued crossing the midpoint of the Taiwan Strait on a daily basis even after the conclusion of the military exercises last Wednesday, with at least 10 doing so on Sunday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.

The 10 fighter jets were among 22 Chinese military aircraft and six naval ships detected in the area around Taiwan by 5 p.m. on Sunday, the ministry said on its Twitter account.

A senior White House official on Asia policy said late last week that China had used Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to launch an intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan, jeopardizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region.

“China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing, and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell, a deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, said on a call with reporters.

“It has sought to disregard the centerline between the P.R.C. and Taiwan, which has been respected by both sides for more than 60 years as a stabilizing feature,” he said, using the acronym for the country’s full name, the People’s Republic of China.

China accuses the U.S. of encouraging independence forces in Taiwan through its sale of military equipment to the island and engaging with its officials. The U.S. says it does not support independence for Taiwan but that its differences with China should be resolved by peaceful means.

China’s ruling Communist Party has long said that it favors Taiwan joining China peacefully but that it will not rule out force if necessary. The two split in 1949 during a civil war in which the Communists took control of China and the losing Nationalists retreated to the island of Taiwan.

Campbell, speaking on Friday, said the U.S. would send warships and planes through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks and is developing a roadmap for trade talks with Taiwan that he said the U.S. intends to announce in the coming days.



World Inside

Salman Rushdie on ventilator, may lose eye

Publish: 03:27 PM, 13 Aug, 2022


Booker-winning author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed on stage during a lecture, has been put on ventilator support. He is unable speak.

Salman Rushdie's official Andrew Wylie said in a statement that his health condition is not very well and Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, may lose an eye.

Earlier, Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the US. He was speaking at an event at the Shitokoya Institute in New York on Friday (August 12). An attacker stabbed him in the neck during his speech. He was later rushed to the hospital by air ambulance. The local police arrested a suspect named Hadi Matar (24) in connection with the stabbing.

Police say the assailant climbed onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and his interviewer. Rushdie was stabbed several times in the neck. Later, the police caught the attacker and took them into custody.

Andrew Wylie said, 'Salman may lose an eye. The nerve in his arm was severed and his stomach was damaged.'

The then supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini, issued a death warrant in the name of this novelist on February 14, 1989 for writing the book 'The Satanic Verses'. He had to stay in hiding for 9 years for this book.

Rushdie was attacked in Milan, Italy in the 1990s because of the same book. Not only that, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of 'The Satanic Verses', was stabbed to death in a university in Tokyo.

The Indian-origin novelist rose to fame with Midnight's Children in 1981. It sold over a million copies in the UK alone.

Salman Rushdie   Author   Attack   The Satanic Verse  


World Inside

FBI recovers ‘top secret’ documents from Trump’s house

Publish: 02:26 PM, 13 Aug, 2022


The FBI has seized 11 sets of documents that were labeled as ‘top-secret’ documents after raiding former US president Donald Trump's Florida home.

Regarding the seizure of documents, the former president said he did not commit any crime. There is nothing hidden in the documents. He would have willingly given anything if they asked him.

The documents were recovered during a search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach on Friday (August 12). A list of documents is provided.

A federal judge released the seven-page document Friday afternoon. Then the list of documents was published.

Earlier on Thursday (August 4), the United States Department of Justice requested the judge to disclose the contents of the search warrant. Based on that warrant, the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago last Monday (August 8).

The media said that the operation of the FBI in the house of a former president in the United States is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, sees this search operation as political revenge. In a statement on his Truth social platform, he said the recovered items were "all declassified" and stored safely.

Donald Trump   Search   Secret Documents   FBI   US