World Bank lends Philippines $500 million to counter coronavirus impact

The World Bank last month approved two sets of loans totaling $600 million to support the Philippines’ emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak. Above, president Rodrigo Duterte in one of the meetings on the coronvirus task force. (Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
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Updated 29 May 2020

World Bank lends Philippines $500 million to counter coronavirus impact

  • Philippine government will begin easing from June 1 one of the world’s longest lockdowns
  • Loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers

MANILA: The World Bank Group approved a $500 million loan for the Philippines to help it cope with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Bank said on Friday.
The Philippine government will begin easing from June 1 one of the world’s toughest and longest lockdowns for residents in the capital and other key cities, restoring much-needed activity to an economy facing its deepest contraction in nearly three decades.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has badly hurt millions of poor and vulnerable Filipino families, particularly daily wage earners,” said Achim Fock, World Bank acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.
The loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers who have lost their jobs during the lockdown since mid-March, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.
The World Bank last month approved two sets of loans totaling $600 million to support the Philippines’ emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 15,000 and killed more than 900 in the Philippines.


Four in Daniel Pearl case to remain jailed in Pakistan for now

Updated 41 min 47 sec ago

Four in Daniel Pearl case to remain jailed in Pakistan for now

  • A Karachi court sparked outrage when it acquitted British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other men who had been convicted of Pearl’s murder
  • The men were kept in custody following their acquittals, under a law allowing authorities to detain high-profile militants for three months

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities renewed the detention orders Thursday for four men whose convictions in the kidnapping and killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl had been overturned, meaning they will remain jailed at least three more months, an official said.
A Karachi court sparked outrage in April when it acquitted British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other men convicted in Pearl’s 2002 kidnapping and beheading.
The men were kept in custody following their acquittals, under a law allowing authorities to detain high-profile militants for three months.
“We have received orders from the (provincial) government for them to be detained for a further three months,” a prisons official in Karachi’s Sindh province told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Pakistan’s supreme court is expected to hear an appeal of the acquittal cases in September.
Pearl, 38, was South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story on extremists.
A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate in the city nearly a month later.
Observers at the time said the killers were acting out of revenge for Pakistan’s support of the US-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.