Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday announced a huge relief package aimed at providing financial support to the different sectors of economy affected by the economic slowdown unleashed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) all over the globe.
During an interaction with media persons, the prime minister said the government had decided to allocate Rs 200 billion for the labour class, which had been hit hard in the difficult times.
To help the industrial sector and especially the export sector, it was decided to release tax refunds amounting to Rs100 billion, besides, deferring of the interest payment to bolster this sector, he added.
For the small and medium industry, and agriculture sector, another amount of Rs 100 billion was set aside with deferred interest payment, the prime minister said, adding concessional loans would also being extended to the sectors. The government wanted to bring down the input costs for the farmers.
Other packages, he said, included additional amount of 50 billion for the Utility Stores, Rs 280 billion for the wheat procurement, slashing of petrol and diesel prices by Rs15 per liter for which the government would have to bear the burden of Rs75 billion. An amount of Rs100 billion was allocated separately for the emergency situation, he added.
The prime minister said power consumers using 300 units and gas users with Rs 2,000 monthly bills would be facilitated to deposit their bills through three monthly installments. A sum of Rs 50 billion was also allocated for the medical staff. The National Disaster Management Authority would get Rs 25 billion for purchase and procuring of kits, he announced.
Imran Khan said for the vulnerable families who were bearing the brunt of the difficult time, it was decided to allocate an amount of Rs 150 billion for a period of four months.
He said they were also expanding the network of Panagah (shelter houses) where the precautionary measures had been strictly practised.
Besides, he said, it was decided to either completely cut taxes or reduce them on different edible items.
For the construction industry, the government would announce a separate package within days, which, he promised, had never been witnessed in the country’s history. Reiterating that the country could not afford a complete lockdown with the imposition of curfew, the prime minister said the situation in the country so far did not warrant for resorting to that last step.
However, he added, the government would review the situation after a couple of weeks. The provincial governments after the 18th Constitutional Amendment could take their decisions while the role of the Federal Government was only that of an advisory, he replied to a query.
The Federal Government, he said, could only give guidelines but could not direct the provinces against their decisions. The provincial governments could react to a situation, but should also give consideration to the evolving situation.
“God forbids, nobody knows the evolving situation, which might also compel us for the imposition of curfew after two weeks,” he added.
Advisor to the PM on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Food Security Khusru Bakhtiar, Advisor to the PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, and NDMA Chairman Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal were also present on the occasion.
Comparing the situation in Spain, Italy, France and other European countries, the prime minister said with about 900 cases in Pakistan, the government team had been taking cognizance of the evolving situation regularly.
Enforcing a curfew would lead to complete halting of transport, which could badly affect the food and medical supplies.
__PM Imran Khan
Such steps could have strong damaging effects upon the society and economy, especially on the downtrodden or the poor class, who had been living in clusters in the Katchi Abadis.
The prime minister differentiating between the lockdown and curfew also shared his concerns that the evolving situation of the COVID 19 outbreak could stretch over to six months.
“Whatever decisions the government take, I am fully responsible for them. All the economic decisions are being taken with the consensus of my economic team,” he added.
To another question, he regretted that the economic situation had been improving in the country as the macroeconomic indicators witnessed rising, but the COVID 19 outbreak cast unintended consequences upon the economy. The year 2019 had been the most difficult time of his life, he added.
The prime minister, to a question, replied that in case of emergency, the country would require a volunteer force comprising the youth, besides creation of funds. The youth and overseas Pakistanis would be tapped in such like scenario.
Dilating upon the issue of complete lockdown, he further regretted that confusion and impression had been created in the country. Taking wrong decisions at the current critical stage was more dangerous than the spread of coronavirus, he warned.
The prime minister said the government was extra cautious in taking certain steps, which should benefit the country and the nation. During the first National Security Committee meeting, when the country had reported just 21 cases, the gradual lockdown started with the closure of the schools, besides stoppage of public gatherings.
In the past, decisions were taken for the interests of the selected elite class and there were different systems for different classes, he said and regretted that the same response was being also witnessed in the country over the coronavirus.
The prime minister said it was a collective fight of humanity and a single government could not fight it alone.
The public response to the government’s measures like those witnessed in China was vital for achieving the objectives, he stressed and urged the nation to fully cooperate with the government’s calls to control the spread of the Pandemic .
Western Moves to Contain China’s Rise and The New Global Order!
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Many Western countries are actively working to limit China’s rise to power on the global stage. Their approach involves utilizing international law and norms to create a narrative that portrays China as a potential threat to the current world order. This strategy aims to curb China’s influence and prevent it from becoming a dominant force in the international community. By constructing this narrative, Western countries hope to gain support from other nations and strengthen their positions in the global arena. However, this approach may also lead to increased tensions and conflict between China and the West.
II. Western Countries’ Efforts to Contain China’s Rise
A. Use of International Law and Norms
Western nations have strategically harnessed international law and norms to impede China’s rise. This involves leveraging their diplomatic and economic influence to mould a narrative that portrays China as a disruptor of the established global equilibrium.
B. Creation of a Narrative Portraying China as a Threat to the World Order
The West, through its geopolitical manoeuvring, has meticulously crafted a narrative painting China as a menace to the prevailing world order. This narrative, however, raises questions about its veracity, as it seems detached from objective facts and is utilized to rationalize Western aggression against China.
C. Lack of Factual Basis for the Narrative
Scrutinizing the narrative reveals a notable absence of a factual foundation. The depiction of China as a global threat appears to be a strategic fabrication, a tool wielded to legitimize Western actions against China and rally international support.
D. Use of the Narrative to Justify Western Aggression Against China
The narrative portraying China as a threat serves as a pretext for Western aggression against the emerging global power. This aggressive stance, built on a shaky foundation, not only distorts the reality of China’s peaceful rise but also contributes to an increasingly precarious global situation.
III. China’s Response to These Challenges
A. Efforts to Create a New World Order
In response to the challenges posed by Western containment strategies, China is actively engaged in creating a new world order that prioritizes equity and inclusivity. This involves a departure from the traditional power dynamics and a quest for a more balanced and fair global system.
B. Focus on Equity and Inclusivity
China’s approach to reshaping the world order underscores a commitment to equity and inclusivity. By advocating for a fair and just global environment, China aims to foster cooperation, mutual respect, and understanding among nations.
A. Recap of the Main Points
The central theme revolves around Western attempts to stifle China’s ascent, deploying international law and norms to construct a narrative that casts China as a global threat. tIt also analyses China’s response, emphasizing its pursuit of a new world order marked by equity and inclusivity.
B. Final Thoughts
The Western endeavours to contain China’s rise carry significant implications for global stability. Recognizing China’s ascendancy and engaging in collaborative efforts to construct a more equitable and just world order is not only prudent but essential for fostering a harmonious and cooperative international community. As we navigate these complex geopolitical waters, the imperative is to move beyond adversarial narratives and embrace a shared vision for a better future.
Fidelity National Financial Hacked: Real Estate Industry in Chaos
In a significant setback to the real estate and mortgage industry, Fidelity National Financial (FNF), a Fortune 500 company that provides title insurance and settlement services, was forced to take down its entire network on November 22, 2023, following a cybersecurity incident. The attack, which is still under investigation, involved the unauthorized access of FNF systems using exfiltrated credentials.
The shutdown of FNF’s systems has had a widespread impact on the real estate industry, causing significant disruptions to title insurance, escrow, and mortgage transactions across the United States. The company’s customers, which include lenders, real estate agents, and homeowners, have been left scrambling to find alternative solutions to complete their transactions.
The Scope of the Attack
Details about the nature of the attack remain limited, but FNF has acknowledged that the cyberattack involved the unauthorized access of its systems and the potential theft of sensitive data. The company has not confirmed whether the attack was ransomware-based, but the fact that it took down its entire network suggests that it may have been a sophisticated attack.
The impact of the attack has been felt throughout the real estate industry. Lenders have been unable to issue title insurance, which is required for most home purchases. Real estate agents have been unable to close deals, and homeowners have been left in limbo, unable to finalize their home purchases or refinance their mortgages.
FNF’s Response to the Attack
In response to the attack, FNF has taken a number of steps to mitigate the damage and restore its systems. The company has brought in cybersecurity experts to investigate the attack and implement corrective measures. It has also been working to restore its systems and services as quickly as possible.
FNF has also been communicating with its customers about the attack and the steps it is taking to address the situation. The company has set up a dedicated website to provide updates on the progress of the investigation and restoration efforts.
The Impact on the Real Estate Industry
The cyberattack on FNF is a stark reminder of the growing threat of cyberattacks in the real estate industry. As more and more businesses rely on technology to conduct their operations, they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
The attack on FNF is likely to have a lasting impact on the real estate industry. Businesses will need to invest more in cybersecurity measures to protect their systems and data. They will also need to be more vigilant in detecting and responding to cyberattacks.
Recommendations for Real Estate Businesses
In light of the cyberattack on FNF, here are some recommendations for real estate businesses:
- Implement strong cybersecurity measures. This includes using strong passwords, firewalls, and antivirus software. Businesses should also regularly back up their data.
- Educate employees about cybersecurity. Employees should be trained to identify and avoid phishing scams and other social engineering attacks. They should also be aware of the company’s cybersecurity policies and procedures.
- Have a plan for responding to cyberattacks. This includes having a team in place to investigate and respond to attacks. Businesses should also have a plan for communicating with customers about cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks are a growing threat to businesses of all sizes, including those in the real estate industry. By taking proactive measures to protect their systems and data, businesses can help to reduce their risk of being attacked.
The Aftermath of the Cyberattack
The cyberattack on Fidelity National Financial (FNF) has had a significant impact on the real estate and mortgage industry. The attack has caused widespread disruptions to title insurance, escrow, and mortgage transactions, and it has left businesses and consumers scrambling to find alternative solutions.
Impact on Title Insurance
Title insurance is a crucial part of the real estate closing process. It protects lenders and homeowners from financial losses caused by defects in the title to a property. The cyberattack on FNF has made it difficult or impossible for lenders to issue title insurance, which has caused delays in closings and has left some homeowners unable to finalize their purchases.
Impact on Escrow
Escrow is a process in which a third party holds funds and documents for the benefit of two or more parties involved in a real estate transaction. The cyberattack on FNF has disrupted escrow services, causing delays in the transfer of funds and documents. This has made it difficult for buyers to pay for their homes and for sellers to receive their proceeds from the sale.
Impact on Mortgage Transactions
The cyberattack on FNF has also had an impact on mortgage transactions. The company’s systems are used to process mortgage applications and to verify loan documents. The shutdown of these systems has made it difficult for lenders to process mortgages, which has caused delays in loan closings.
Impact on Consumers
The cyberattack on FNF has also had a direct impact on consumers. Homebuyers and sellers have been left in limbo, unable to finalize their transactions due to the disruptions caused by the attack. This has caused financial hardship and frustration for many consumers.
The Road to Recovery
FNF is working to restore its systems and services as quickly as possible. The company has brought in cybersecurity experts to investigate the attack and implement corrective measures. It is also working to communicate with its customers about the attack and the steps it is taking to address the situation.
However, it is unclear how long it will take for FNF to fully recover from the attack. The company’s customers are likely to face continued disruptions in the coming weeks and months.
The cyberattack on FNF is a stark reminder of the growing threat of cyberattacks in the real estate industry. Businesses need to take proactive measures to protect their systems and data. They should also be prepared to respond to cyberattacks quickly and effectively.
Here are some lessons that can be learned from the cyberattack on FNF:
- Cyberattacks are a real threat to businesses of all sizes.
- Businesses need to invest in strong cybersecurity measures.
- Businesses need to educate their employees about cybersecurity.
- Businesses need to have a plan for responding to cyberattacks.
By taking these steps, businesses can help to reduce their risk of being attacked and can minimize the impact of an attack if it does occur.
The cyberattack on Fidelity National Financial is a major setback for the real estate and mortgage industry. The attack has caused widespread disruptions and has left businesses and consumers scrambling to find alternative solutions. It is a stark reminder of the growing threat of cyberattacks and the need for businesses to take proactive measures to protect themselves.
Unveiling the Megacities: A Comprehensive Look at the World’s Urban Giants
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In the vast canvas of global urbanization, megacities emerge as the epicentres of human civilization, shaping the narrative of our collective existence. This meticulously crafted exploration aims to peel back the layers of the top ten largest cities worldwide, offering an intricate tapestry of insights that go beyond mere statistics.
From the pulsating energy of Tokyo’s technological marvels to the historical grandeur of Istanbul’s dual-continent embrace, each city becomes a chapter in the dynamic saga of urban life. Join us on this journey as we dissect the unique characteristics that propel these megacities into the forefront of global attention, transcending borders and unlocking the essence of modern living.
1. Tokyo: A Technological Wonderland
Tokyo, the pulsating heart of Japan, emerges as a seamless blend of tradition and innovation. Boasting a skyline that mirrors its technological prowess, the cityscape is punctuated by iconic landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower and the Shibuya Crossing. With a population density that defies expectations, Tokyo’s efficient public transport system intertwines the fabric of this sprawling metropolis.
2. Delhi: The Cultural Melting Pot
In the vibrant tapestry of India, Delhi stands tall as a cultural melting pot. From the historic Red Fort to the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, every corner whispers tales of a bygone era. The city’s rich history, coupled with its contemporary vigor, makes it a fascinating subject of exploration for locals and tourists alike.
3. Shanghai: The Economic Powerhouse
Shanghai, a beacon of China’s economic ascent, commands attention with its glittering skyline along the Huangpu River. As a global financial hub, Shanghai epitomizes the rapid evolution of China’s economic landscape. The juxtaposition of colonial architecture in the Bund and futuristic skyscrapers in Pudong paints a vivid picture of the city’s dynamic identity.
4. São Paulo: Latin America’s Megacity
São Paulo, the sprawling megalopolis of Brazil, pulsates with a rhythm uniquely its own. Nestled within the lush landscape, this city is a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of Latin American culture. From the bustling Paulista Avenue to the tranquillity of Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo captivates with its diverse offerings.
5. Mumbai: The Maximum City
Mumbai, India’s financial powerhouse, unfolds as a narrative of contrasts. The city’s iconic skyline, adorned with skyscrapers, stands in stark contrast to the serene shores of the Arabian Sea. With Bollywood at its heart and the Dabbawalas weaving through its streets, Mumbai encapsulates the essence of India’s cultural diversity.
6. Beijing: Where Tradition Meets Modernity
Beijing, China’s ancient capital, showcases a kaleidoscope of history and innovation. From the Forbidden City, a testament to imperial grandeur, to the avant-garde architecture of the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Beijing seamlessly intertwines its rich heritage with a vision for the future.
7. Istanbul: Bridging Continents
Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia, unfolds as a city where history and geography converge. The Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are timeless witnesses to the city’s imperial past. The Bosphorus Strait, a natural masterpiece, not only divides but also unites this city of two continents.
8. Lahore: Pakistan’s Cultural Gem
Lahore, a jewel in Pakistan’s crown, resonates with an aura of cultural grandeur. Standing as architectural marvels, the Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque reflect the city’s Mughal legacy. The bustling streets of the Walled City exude an old-world charm, inviting exploration into the heart of Pakistan’s cultural heritage.
9. Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Asia
Shenzhen, a testament to China’s technological prowess, emerges as the Silicon Valley of Asia. With a skyline dominated by sleek skyscrapers, the city is a breeding ground for innovation. From the vibrant electronics markets to the avant-garde architecture, Shenzhen epitomizes the fusion of technology and commerce.
10. Jakarta: Southeast Asia’s Megacity
Jakarta, the vibrant capital of Indonesia, unfolds as a sprawling metropolis between the Java Sea and the Bogor Highlands. From the historic remnants of the Old Town to the modernity of the National Monument, Jakarta encapsulates the diversity and dynamism of Southeast Asia.
By dissecting the stories of these megacities, we are able to see beyond national borders and gain insight into the global pulse of urban life. Every city adds to the rich tapestry of human civilization with its own fusion of modernity and tradition, providing a mosaic of experiences that capture the spirit of urban life and pique the imagination.
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