Rape crimes by unemployed persons increase by 425% in Jordan

The number of known crimes committed by unemployed persons in Jordan has increased by 32 per cent, a new report by the Criminal Information Department has revealed. There were such 2,678 crimes in 2017 compared with 2,030 crimes in 2016.

According to the country’s Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI), sex crimes including rape committed by unemployed people have increased by 425 per cent, with 42 incidents last year compared with 8 in the previous year.

According to the statement, unemployed people committed 29 kidnappings in 2016 and 2017. So-called “honour crimes” by the unemployed fell to 190 in 2017, whereas the figure was 249 in 2016. Rape was committed by 29 unemployed people; there were 145 reported rapes in Jordan last year.

The Institute noted that the figures do not necessarily reflect the reality of the number of crimes since some of them are still under investigation.

According to the report, unemployment in Jordan has reached 18.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 0.2 percentage points over the first quarter of 2017.

Read: Jordan gets £500m for reforms from World Bank

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DAX ticks lower as investors look for cues

The DAX index has ticked lower in the Monday session. Currently, the DAX is at 12,521, down 0.12% on the day. On the release front, there are no major German or eurozone events. In economic news, the eurozone trade surplus slipped to EUR 16.9 billion, short of the estimate of EUR 17.6 billion. This marked the lowest surplus since January 2017.

European equity markets showed little change last week and the DAX continues to trade quietly on Monday. Still, the trading tensions hovering in the air have many investors wondering if this is the calm before the storm. On Tuesday, the Trump administration said it was considering imposing tariffs on some $200 billion in Chinese goods, which would be a significant escalation in the trade war between the two economic giants. China has promised to respond with “firm and forceful measures”, but hasn’t provided any details. With neither side showing any flexibility, the markets could be heading for stormy waters if China retaliates.

Trade policy is not part of the Federal Reserve’s mandate, but Fed policymakers continue to voice concern about the escalating trade war between the U.S and its major trading partners, particularly China. On Friday, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he would have to downgrade his outlook if the tariff battle continues. Kaplan said that U.S tariffs on steel and aluminum imports had dampened capital expenditures plans and further trade tensions could lead to currency fluctuations and geopolitical instability.


Economic Calendar

Monday (July 16)

  • 5:00 Eurozone Trade Balance. Estimate 17.6B. Actual 16.9B

*All release times are DST

*Key events are in bold


DAX, Monday, July 16 at 7:40 DST

Previous Close: 12,540 Open: 12,534 Low: 12,523 High: 12,605 Close: 12,525

Trump arrives to go 1-on-1 with Putin at Helsinki summit

Mon, 2018-07-16 (All day)

HELSINKI: President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit, hours after Trump blamed the United States, and not Russian election meddling or its annexation of Crimea, for a low-point in US-Russia relations
The drama was playing out against a backdrop of fraying Western alliances, a new peak in the Russia investigation and fears that Moscow’s aggression may go unchallenged.
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse,” Trump tweeted Monday morning, blaming “many years of US foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!“
The summit, which was being closely watched by rattled world capitals, was condemned in advance by members of Congress from both parties after the US indictment last week of 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking Democrats in the 2016 election to help Trump’s presidential campaign. Undeterred, the American president was set to go face to face with Putin, the authoritarian leader for whom he has expressed admiration.
Trump was greeted at the palace by Finland’s president. The summit was starting later than scheduled because Putin arrived in Helsinki about a half hour late in another display of the Russian’s leader famous lack of punctuality. Trump seemed to return the favor by waiting until Putin had arrived at the palace before leaving his hotel. Putin has been late for past meetings with the pope and British Queen, among many others.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly tried to lower expectations about what the summit will achieve. He told CBS News that he didn’t “expect anything” from Putin, while his national security adviser said the US wasn’t looking for any “concrete deliverables.” Trump told reporters during a breakfast Monday with Finland’s president that he thought the summit would go “fine.”
The meeting comes as questions swirl about whether Trump will sharply and publicly rebuke his Russian counterpart for the election meddling that prompted a special counsel probe that Trump has repeatedly labeled a “witch hunt.”
In his tweets, Trump continued to undermine the investigation and blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for failing to stop Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. He claimed Obama “was informed by the FBI about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about it.”
The Obama administration did, in fact, take action, including confronting Putin in person as well as expelling nearly three dozen Russian diplomats the US said were actually intelligence operatives and imposing new sanctions.
While Trump was eager for a made-for-TV moment that will dominate headlines like his sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, the Kremlin’s primary mission was simply to have the summit happen. Putin hopes the meeting, mere hours after he presided over the World Cup finals, will help him forge good personal ties with Trump and focus on areas where Moscow and Washington may be able to find common ground, such as Syria.
The two leaders first meet one on one in the Finnish presidential palace’s opulent Gothic Hall, then continue their discussions with an expanded group of aides and over lunch in the Hall of Mirrors, once the emperor’s throne room. The leaders will conclude by taking questions at a joint news conference.
Observers have raised concerns about the fact that the leaders will be alone during their first meeting, but for a pair of interpreters, meaning there will be no corroborating witnesses to accurately represent what was said during the conversation.
Putin will likely not be shooting for official recognition of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea or easing of the crippling US sanctions, aware that the US Congress would never allow such action. But he would welcome a symbolic end to Western protests over Crimea and Moscow’s attempts to destabilize elections and traditional Western alliances and norms.
Trump unleashed his own attacks on those very institutions before arriving in Finland.
In an interview with CBS News that aired Sunday, Trump described the European Union, a bloc of nations that includes many of America’s closest allies, as a “foe.”
That attack on the alliance came on the heels of Trump’s jarring appearance at a NATO summit in Brussels, where he harshly criticized traditional allies over “delinquent” defense spending only to later confirm his commitment to the military alliance that has long been a bulwark against Russian aggression.
“NATO is now strong & rich!” Trump wrote in a celebratory tweet Monday morning. During his breakfast, he said NATO had “never been more together” and said the summit had been “a little bit tough at the beginning, but it turned out to be love.”
Prior to meeting Putin, who has cracked down on the free press, Trump unleashed fresh attacks on the news media, including from aboard Air Force One as it descended into Helsinki.
“Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough — that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!” Trump tweeted. “Much of our news media is indeed the enemy of the people and all the Dems know how to do is resist and obstruct!“
“Russia has done nothing to deserve us meeting them in this way,” said Nina Jankowicz, a global fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute who specializes in Russia, Ukraine and disinformation. For Putin, she added, “not only is this a P.R. coup no matter what happens, Trump could say nothing and it would help to legitimize his regime.”
Hovering over Helsinki is the specter of the 2016 election interference and ongoing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
Trump said in Britain last week — another chaotic stop on his European tour — that he would raise the issue of election meddling with Putin even as he played down its impact.
“I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it. I did it. You got me,’” said Trump, invoking a television detective. “There won’t be a Perry Mason here, I don’t think. But you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely firmly ask the question.”
Trump also said in the CBS interview that he had given no thought to asking Putin to extradite the dozen Russian military intelligence officers indicted this past week in on charges related to the hacking of Democratic targets.
But after being asked about that by his interviewer, Trump said “certainly I’ll be asking about it” although extradition is highly unlikely. The US doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Moscow and can’t force the Russians to hand over citizens. Russia’s constitution also prohibits turning over citizens to foreign governments.
Putin is likely to strongly reaffirm his denial of any meddling and cast the US charges as unfounded.
The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected last week’s indictment as part of a “shameful comedy” staged by those in the US who try to prevent the normalization of Russia-US ties, arguing that it doesn’t contain evidence to back the accusations.
On Syria, a possible deal could see Moscow helping mediate the withdrawal of Iranian forces and their Hezbollah proxies from the areas alongside Syria’s border with Israel — a diplomatic coup that would reflect Russia’s carefully cultivated ties with both Israel and Iran.
While both Putin and Trump spoke about the need to discuss arms control issues, they are unlikely to make any quick deals. They may underline the importance of continuing the discussions, setting the stage for discussions on expert level.

Main category: 

Trump blames bad Russia ties on FBI ‘witch hunt’Trump arrives in Finland for closely watched Putin summitUS senators on rare visit to Moscow ahead of Putin-Trump summit

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EU, embassies write to Sri Lankan leader on executions

Associated Press
Mon, 2018-07-16 (All day)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The European Union and other diplomatic missions on Monday sought verification from the Sri Lankan government on its stand to resume executions after a rise in crime.
In a joint statement, the EU delegation and the embassies of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Canada and Norway said they have written to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the issue.
There is a rising crime wave in Sri Lanka, including gang-related killings, narcotics, robberies and sex crimes, leading to a public outcry demanding executions. The government has responded by saying it will execute prisoners who have allegedly taken advantage of a moratorium on executions to continue their drug trade from prison.
Sri Lanka last executed a prisoner in 1976 and has since maintained a moratorium.
“The mentioned diplomatic missions have made known in their letter that they strongly and unequivocally oppose capital punishment in all circumstances and in all cases,” the joint statement said.
“The death penalty is incompatible with human dignity, does not have any proven deterrent effect, and allows judicial errors to become fatal and irreversible,” it said, requesting that Sri Lanka’s government maintain the moratorium.

Main category: 

Wanted: Two hangmen in Sri LankaSri Lanka’s Lakmal replaces banned Chandimal as skipper

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EUR/USD – Euro gains ground despite soft eurozone surplus

EUR/USD has posted gains in the Monday session. Currently, the pair is trading at 1.1707, up 0.18% on the day. In economic news, the eurozone trade surplus slipped to EUR 16.9 billion, short of the estimate of EUR 17.6 billion. This marked the lowest surplus since January 2017. In the U.S, the focus is on consumer spending reports, with both retail sales and core retail sales expected to drop to 0.4%. On the manufacturing front, Empire State Manufacturing Index is forecast to drop to 20.3 points. On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair will testify before the Senate Banking Committee.

The U.S economy continues to perform well in 2018, and received a vote of confidence from the head of the Federal Reserve. On Thursday, Powell said that the economy is “in a really good place”, pointing to President Trump’s massive tax cut scheme and increased spending as key factors in boosting economic growth. Powell did not address monetary policy and said he was uncertain as to the effects of the current trade disputes which has embroiled the U.S and its trading partners. The Fed will likely press the rate trigger in the second half of the year, but it is an open question as to whether we’ll see one hike over the next six months. The Fed is projecting growth of 2.8% in 2018, compared to 2.3% in 2017. Powell will be in the spotlight next week when he appears for his semi-annual testimony before Congress.

Trade policy is not part of the Federal Reserve’s mandate, but Fed policymakers continue to voice concern about the escalating trade war between the U.S and its major trading partners, particularly China. On Friday, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he would have to downgrade his outlook if the tariff battle continues. Kaplan said that U.S tariffs on steel and aluminum imports had dampened capital expenditures plans and further trade tensions could lead to currency fluctuations and geopolitcal instability.

  Trade ,earnings ,teapots and the US dollar

China Q2 GDP growth as expected, though lower than Q1


EUR/USD Fundamentals

Monday (July 16)

  • 4:04 Italian Trade Balance. Estimate 3.25B Actual 3.38B
  • 5:00 Eurozone Trade Balance. Estimate 17.6B. Actual 16.9B
  • 8:30 US Core Retail Sales. Estimate 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Retail Sales. Estimate 0.4%
  • 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 20.3
  • 10:00 US Business Inventories. Estimate 0.4%

Tuesday (July 17)

  • 9:15 US Capacity Utilization Rate. Estimate 78.4%
  • 9:15 US Industrial Production. Estimate 0.5%
  • 10:00 US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell Testifies
  • 10:00 US NAHB Housing Market Index. Estimate 69
  • 16:00 US TIC Long-Term Purchases. Estimate 34.3B

*All release times are DST

*Key events are in bold


EUR/USD for Monday, July 16, 2018

EUR/USD for July 16 at 7:05 DST

Open: 1.1686 High: 1.1722 Low: 1.1676 Close: 1.1721

EUR/USD Technical

S1 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1.1434 1.1553 1.1637 1.1728 1.1829 1.1916

EUR/USD was flat in the Asian session and has edged higher in European trade

  • 1.1637 is providing support
  • 1.1728 is a weak resistance line

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1.1637, 1.1553, 1.1434 and 1.1312
  • Above: 1.1728, 1.1829 and 1.1910
  • Current range: 1.1637 to 1.1728

Qatar’s economic outlook ‘stable’

Qatar is able to weather the economic, financial and diplomatic boycott and its economic outlook is stable, according to Moody’s Investor Service, Mubasher reported yesterday. The service has given the small Gulf State an official “Aa3” rating thirteen months after a land, sea and air blockade was imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. The rating covers Qatar’s long-term issuer and foreign currency unsecured debt ratings, which clearly undermines the boycott.

The so-called quartet accuses Qatar of terrorism and extremism. It made 13 demands of the government in Doha, including the closure of Al-Jazeera Network. Qatar, however, denies the allegations and describes them as baseless, and took the issue to the International Court of Justice last month.

“This assessment is in part based on evidence of broad resilience of Qatar’s credit metrics to the economic and financial blockade over the past 13 months,” the New York-based Investor Service said. “The rapid recovery in imports, with initial levels restored in less than four months, illustrates the economy’s flexibility and policy effectiveness in rerouting supplies.”

Qatar’s credit profile is supported by its exceptionally high levels of per-capital income, petroleum reserve levels and low fiscal and breakeven prices for oil. Since the start of the blockade, Qatar has refocused its Gulf investments towards South East Asia and European countries.

The economic impact of the boycott has been modest, and largely temporary. The tourism, aviation and real estate sector has taken the brunt of the impact. Qatar has continued to beef up its spending on security and defence, though. Last week, it sought a loan to purchase Typhoon fighter jets around $4 billion. It is unclear why these are being bought, but Doha plans to involve itself in America’s longest-running conflict to date, in Afghanistan, alongside NATO countries by next year.

Read: Iran Revolutionary Guard leader says US cannot fight us

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Algeria continues to abandon hundreds of migrants in the desert

Algeria is continuing to abandon hundreds of African migrants in the Sahara Desert, despite the expulsions seeming to cease since a shocking Associated Press report last month.

Giuseppe Loprete, the head of the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Niger, took to Twitter on Saturday to confirm the arrival of at least 391 migrants on the Algerian border from over 16 countries. Other rescue officials put the number closer to 600.

Loprete added that migrants told of being prevented from working in numerous Algerian cities, and instead were escorted to the border by bus, with many of their possessions confiscated, including their mobile phones. With little food and water, they were then instructed to walk to the border with Niger.

After a report last month revealed that Algeria had systematically ousted more than 13,000 people over the past 14 months, the expulsions seemed to have ceased, with officials in Mali reporting that the Algiers had made an effort to coordinate the movement of migrants, some of whom were also believed to have been sent to detention centres.

However, the latest arrivals indicate the policy has not changed.

Read: Europe’s migrant crisis is the coloniser’s karma

The Algerian government has consistently denied expelling migrants and slammed last month’s report as an attempt to tarnish Algeria’s name, with Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui denouncing UN concerns as “a campaign of non-constructive and unfounded criticism” against his government.

“[Algeria] has always supported African migrants and spared no effort, including humanitarian, to lend them aid and assistance,” he said.

Algiers subsequently sent local journalists to cover the deportations, claiming their reports were proof of the humane treatment of migrants. However reporters were not permitted to travel beyond the detention centres where the migrants are held prior to their expulsion.

Since the beginning of the year, the IOM has conducted at least 18 rescue operations involving 3,000 people in the area. Untold numbers go missing in the desert, with many collapsing from exhaustion or thirst, as they walk in temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius.

The IOM has estimated that for every person known to have died crossing the Mediterranean, as many as two people are lost in the Sahara, amounting to more than 30,000 people since 2014.

Algeria has faced increasing pressure from the EU to build centres to detain illegal immigrants and prevent their further travel to Europe, but has repeatedly rejected the proposal.

Read: Egypt refuses to build refugee camps for migrants deported from Europe

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Philippine army arrests wife of top Islamist militant in south

Mon, 2018-07-16 10:44

MANILA: Philippine soldiers arrested the wife of a top leader of a pro-Daesh militant group, and killed a suspected bomber in separate raids in a southern city, the army said on Monday.
Nafisa Pundog, who had been in hiding for two years since her escape from prison, was arrested in General Santos City, said army spokesman Major Ezra Balagtey.
Her husband Human Abdul Najib, alias Abu Dar, is the new leader of the pro-Daesh Maute group, which seized the lakeside town of Marawi for five months last year, he added.
“She did not resist arrest,” Balagtey told reporters, adding that materials to make improvised bombs were seized from her hideout.
Before the arrest, soldiers killed Najib Pundog, a suspected bomb maker, not far from the hideout. “He chose to shoot it out with soldiers who tracked him down in his safe house,” Balagtey said.
Both individuals, who are not related, despite a shared surname, were on a list of those President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to be arrested when he imposed martial law on the southern island of Mindanao after the Marawi attack in May 2017.
More than 1,100 people died in the five-month conflict in Marawi, which ended days after soldiers killed the militant leaders, Omarkhayam Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the Southeast Asian militant group.

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