ISLAMABAD – Pakistan took a major step toward averting an economic crisis Thursday, reaching an initial deal with the International Monetary Fund on a bailout of at least $5.3 billion to help shore up the country’s rapidly diminishing foreign reserves.
The announcement should help calm fears of financial instability in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people that is also grappling with rampant violence by Islamic militants. But the deal mandates economic reforms that may be unpopular with Pakistanis.
The agreement comes less than six years after Pakistan’s last IMF bailout, and the driving need for the money this time was to repay the institution nearly $5 billion that Islamabad still owes.
Pakistan’s previous government failed to implement many of the requirements of the last loan, including reducing the deficit and improving tax collection, and ended the program early. That left the new government, which took over at the beginning of June, with the difficult task of convincing the IMF that this time would be different.
Lawmakers propose refuge for Snowden
LONDON – Some Icelandic lawmakers have introduced a proposal in Parliament to grant citizenship to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who admits to revealing key details of U.S. surveillance activities.
But the idea has received minimal support.
Snowden is believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from more than a dozen countries. But to apply for asylum in Iceland, Snowden would have to reach the nation’s soil.
Granting Snowden citizenship would circumvent that issue.
However, the bill to grant Snowden citizenship received limited support Thursday. Six members of minority parties were in favor out of Parliament’s 63 members.
Calgary mayor lifts state of emergency
CALGARY, Alberta – Calgary has ended a state of emergency after extensive flooding turned parts of the western Canadian city into a lake and forced up to 100,000 Albertans from their homes.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi lifted the state of emergency Thursday, two weeks after the floods began.
Premier Alison Redford called the floods the worst in Alberta’s history and said rebuilding could take 10 years.