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UN agrees peacekeeping budget of $6.7 billion: sources

UN member countries on Sunday agreed to a peacekeeping budget of just under $6.7 billion, according to diplomatic sources. Two sources confirmed to AFP an agreement had been reached for $6.689 billion, about $122 million less than what had been recommended by a panel of experts. It is also about $600 million less than last year's final figure of $7.3 billion. Last year's budget was initially set at $6.8 billion but was boosted in December by an additional $500 million for missions in Haiti and Sudan's Darfur. The…

Uber agrees to buy electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes

SAN FRANCISCO: Ride-hailing company Uber said on Monday it has agreed to buy electric bicycle service JUMP Bikes, allowing Uber to offer US passengers an alternative to cars and further consolidating the crowded bike-sharing industry. JUMP is a dockless electric bike service that has rolled out in San Francisco, where it has 250 bikes, and Washington. About 100 JUMP employees will join Uber, an Uber spokeswoman said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal furthers Uber’s goal of offering “the fastest or most…

India agrees to open waterways, rail link to Nepal capital

KATHMANDU: India agreed on Saturday to construct a rail link to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and to open up inland waterways in the landlocked Himalayan nation that has also been courted by China with transport deals. The agreement emerged at the end of talks in New Delhi between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli, making his first foreign visit to India after returning to power earlier this year. During his earlier tenure, Oli sealed deals with Beijing in 2016 to use Chinese…

China agrees to accommodate Pakistan’s demands in amended FTA

ISLAMABAD: China has agreed to accommodate Pakistan's demands in the amended Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to be signed next month. The Chinese side conveyed the willingness during the ninth round of negotiations on the FTA in Beijing. During talks, Pakistani delegation led by Secretary Commerce Mohammad Younus Dagha presented the demands of Pakistani exporters and industries for accommodating in the final draft of the FTA. Read More: China urges Pakistan to solve Chinese citizen’s killing The demands included providing…

North Korea agrees to talks after US, South Korea postpone military drills

SEOUL: North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with the South next week, the first in more than two years, hours after the United States and South Korea delayed a military exercise amid a standoff over the North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. South Korea said North Korea had sent its consent for the talks to be held on Tuesday. The last time the two Koreas engaged in official talks was in December 2015. The meeting will take place at the border truce village of Panmunjom where officials from both…

Sanjay Bhansali agrees to prescreen ‘Padmavati’

Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has finally acceded to the will of local extremist group's demand of prescreening 'Padmavati' before releasing it nationwide. Viewing growing tension among people, cast and crew of the movie because of serious threats issued by fringe groups of Rajasthan, the director has buckled under pressure and wrote to the Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) seeking permission for prescreening of the flick to the extremist goons. He took this decision in an attempt to…

Italy agrees on grant of duty free access to Pakistani products

ISLAMABAD: Italy has agreed to grant duty free access to Pakistani products for stimulating an impressive growth in bilateral trade. Ministry of Commerce, in a statement, said that this was agreed during two days visit of Secretary Commerce Muhammad Younas Dhaga to Italy. High level meetings between officials of ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of economy of Italy also held. Read More: Govt offers duty-free concession to woo new carmakers Both sides agreed that bilateral trade could be enhanced beyond the…

Indonesia agrees to give concession on major imports from Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Under Preferential Trade Agreement, Indonesia has agreed to give concession on major imports from Pakistan including rice, textile, ethanol, Kinnow and mangoes. This was stated by a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce in Islamabad on Sunday, Radio Pakistan reported. He said the agreement was reached during bilateral negotiation between the  Indonesia and Pakistan is under the Preferential Trade Agreement. The official said both sides discussed 20 tariff lines and Indonesia agreed on concession for…

Asian Development Bank agrees to finance Red Line BRT project in Karachi

KARACHI: Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday agreed to support and finance Red Line, a route of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system project, starting from Manghopir to Numaish in Karachi. In a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, a delegation of ADB led by its country director Werner E. Liepach agreed to the request of the Sindh government to finance and support the Red Line BRT project. A committee was constituted to shape up the financial and technical support. The ADB country director said that funds have…

US agrees to provide $81m for construction of dam in North Waziristan

ISLAMABAD: The United States has agreed to provide a grant of 81 million dollars for the construction of Kurram Tangi Dam in North Waziristan Agency. According to official sources, an agreement for this purpose has already been signed between the US Agency for International Development and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). The Kurram Tangi Dam on completion will have a gross water storage capacity of 1.2 million acre feet (MAF) and produce 83.4 megawatts electricity. It will also irrigate 362,000 acres…