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Indian Asst Secy Gen quit for ‘family reasons’: UN spokesperson

Dujarric said that Guazo will start “first thing Wednesday morning at the end of Mr Rajkumar’s tenure”.

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Sudhir Rajkumar

United Nations, March 30 : An Indian Assistant Secretary General dealing with the UN pension fund investments resigned for “personal and family reasons,” a spokesperson said on Monday.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for Secretary General Antonio Guterres, giving the reason for Sudhir Rajkumar’s sudden resignation, said Guterres has accepted his resignation during “a unique and difficult time in the financial markets”.

Rajkumar also held the title of Representative of the Secretary-General for the Investment of the Assets of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund.

The resignation is to be effective Tuesday, Dujarric said

Asked about the sudden announcement of the resignation that was made on a Sunday, Dujarric said: “It’s clearly a volatile time for the global markets and the Secretary General fully recognises that this is a unique and difficult time in the financial markets as we all know and he thought it necessary to act quickly and decisively to appoint an interim representative”.

The world financial markets have fallen precipitously following the Covid-19 outbreak, with the Dow Jones index, for example, falling 25 per cent from its high in February.

Pedro Guazo, the director of the Finance Division in the Office of Programme Planning, Finance and Budget, was given the interim appointment.

Dujarric said that Guazo will start “first thing Wednesday morning at the end of Mr Rajkumar’s tenure”.

He said that Guterres has confidence in Guazo’s ability to run the fund immediately and has asked him to review the fund’s assets and brief him on the position of the fund within the next within the next week.

“I will leave it at that for now,” he said.

In the unusual announcement on a Sunday, Dujarric said: “The Secretary General has accepted the resignation and thanks Mr Rajkumar for his service in managing the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. The Secretary-General wishes Mr Rajkumar the very best in his future endeavours.”

Rajkumar was appointed to the position in 2017.

He had earlier been the head of the global pension advisory programme at the World Bank Treasury, providing advisory services to pension funds for several countries, according to the UN.

He had also been a member on the External Advisory Committee on Investments of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Investment Committee of the United Nations Office for Project Services, and as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Pension Management.

Before joining the World Bank in East Africa he worked in a managerial capacity with Shriram Group in India.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] followed on Twitter @arulouis)

World

24 killed in attack on drug rehab centre in Mexico

Guanajuato state governor says drug gangs appear to have been involved

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Mexico Rehab Attack

Mexico City, July 2 : At least 24 people were killed and seven others injured after armed assailants attack a rehabilitation center in Mexico”s Guanajuato state, authorities said.

The Wednesday afternoon attack targeted the centre for young drug addicts in the community of Arandas, near Irapuato town, Xinhua news agency quoted a senior police official as saying.

An investigation has been launched into the attack.

According to Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue, drug gangs appeared to have been involved in the attack.

The last attack on a rehab centre took place in 2010 in Chihuahua city which claimed the lives of 19 people.

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Pakistan’s inflation rises to 8-year-high in FY20

Last month, the State Bank of Pakistan said in a report that Pakistan witnessed highest inflation in many years.

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wholesale inflation

Islamabad, July 2 : Pakistan”s inflation rose to an eight-year-high inflation rate of 10.74 per cent in FY20 (July 2019-June 2020) due to multiple factors, according to official figures.

Surge in the consumer price index (CPI) was witnessed by monitoring the prices of different commodities and services including cost of education, house rent, utility bills and food and beverages, Xinhua news agency quoted the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) as saying.

Inflation remained in an upward trajectory since the beginning of FY20 as the government had to hike prices of many things including gas and electricity tariffs to meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund to win a bailout package for meeting budget deficit.

The country”s currency also saw about 25 per cent devaluation in FY20, making the inflation even worse.

Last month, the State Bank of Pakistan said in a report that Pakistan witnessed highest inflation in many years.

According to the report, the inflation rate in January reached 14.6 per cent, but later the decrease in petroleum prices and cut in interest rate by the bank, following the COVID-19 outbreak, has lowered the inflation.

Earlier in FY12, the inflation in the country was at 11.0 per cent due to multiple factors including a sharp spike in global commodity prices which exerted strong upward pressure on domestic prices, and excessive public sector borrowing.

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Australians refusing COVID-19 tests could face fines: PM

“And so I thank the New South Wales and Victorian governments for doing that heavy-lifting on behalf of all other states and territories.

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Scott Morrison

Canberra, July 1 : Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Wednesday that people could be fined if they refuse to be tested for coronavirus.

He said that the “stick will have to be put about” in order to contain new COVID-19 outbreaks, reports Xinhua news agency.

It comes after the announcement on Tuesday that from 11.59 p.m. Wednesday night, 10 areas linked to new outbreaks in Victoria state will go into local lockdown amid a spike in cases.

These “hot zones” will be required to return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions – until at least July 29.

In making the announcement, Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews revealed that more than a thousand people, when asked, refused to be tested.

“We”re doing this in an Australian way. We”re looking to do it through incentive, through the use of carrot, not stick. But occasionally the stick will have to be put about, whether it”s fines or other sanctions that are in place to ensure that we keep everybody safe,” Morrison told TV program Today on Wednesday.

He said that the uptick in cases in Victoria, which has confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than the rest of the country combined recently, was not “surprising” because Melbourne, along with Sydney, has taken the most recently returned travellers.

“Both of those states have been running those quarantines, they”ve been paying for them themselves, and that means their risks have been greater,” he said.

“And so I thank the New South Wales and Victorian governments for doing that heavy-lifting on behalf of all other states and territories.

“We always knew there would be outbreaks. The issue is not whether they occur, but how you deal with them, and we are dealing with it in concert with the Victorian government.”

Australia has so far reported 7,920 COVID-19 cases, with 104 deaths.

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