Cash-strapped Pak may not get IMF bailout by January 15
Images of dozens of high school pupils kneeling with their hands behind their heads during mass roundups sparked an outcry on Friday as France braces for more violence at “yellow vest” protests this weekend.
Left wing politicians have expressed outrage at the videos, which have gone viral on social media, showing the teenagers kneeling as riot police barked orders at them. “Whatever wrong was done, nothing justifies this filmed humiliation of minors,” Socialist leader, Olivier Faure tweeted. “There is no need to pour even more oil on the flames.”
The students were detained on Thursday in the Paris suburb of Mantes-laJolie, in an unrest that has spread to dozens of schools during the three weeks of anti-government demonstrations. A total of 146 people were arrested outside the town’s Saint-Exupery high school after protesters clashed with police and burned two cars.
Laurent Saint-Martin, a senior member of the ruling Republic On The Move (LREM) party, said around 40 of the students were masked and carrying equipment to be used in vandalism and arson. But he too described the videos as “shocking”, telling Franceinfo radio, “It’s right to be angry, looking at these images.” Protests at some 280 schools against stricter university entrance requirements have added to a sense of general revolt in France as the “yellow vest” protests rumble on.
Paris set for lockdown The “yellow vest” protests, named after the safety jackets worn by demonstrators,
came to a head in Paris last weekend with the worst rioting the capital has seen in decades.
The protests began on November 17 in opposition to rising fuel taxes, but have since swollen into a broad movement against Emmanuel
Macron and the biggest challenge of his presidency.
The protesters are furious at rising costs of living blamed on high taxes, and accuse former investment banker Macron of favouring the rich with his policies. Islamabad: Cash-strapped Pakistan’s quest for a USD 8 billion IMF bailout package by January 15 may not realise as the global lender wants the government to adopt tougher measures to address the external sector imbalances before sending the country’s case to its Executive Board, a media report said on Friday.
Pakistan is seeking USD 8 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country’s economy.
The Express Tribune, quoting sources in the ministry of finance, said that the two sides made their first contact on Thursday for the first time since November 20 when they concluded their first round of talks for the bailout package. Finance Minister Asad Umar and the IMF’s Washington-based mission chief Harald Finger made contact through a video link, the report said. The two sides discussed the developments that took place during three weeks.
Talks between Pakistan and the IMF remained inconclusive last month after both sides could not bridge the gulf on issues like the increase in electricity prices, hike in interest rate, rupee devaluation and tax collection targets.
At that time, Pakistani officials had claimed that the staff-level agreement could be reached before Christmas holidays and Pakistan could request the IMF to send its case to the next board meeting, tentatively scheduled for January 15, the report said.