Russian passenger jet makes emergency landing in Baku over bomb threat

This March 3, 2006 file photo, shows oil derricks in the background beyond the Bibi Heybat Mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. (AP)
Updated 11 March 2019
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Russian passenger jet makes emergency landing in Baku over bomb threat

BAKU/MOSCOW: A Russian Ural Airlines jet bound for Moscow from Bahrain with 225 people aboard made an emergency landing in Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday because of a suspected bomb on board the plane, Baku airport said.
Flight U6-1116 was en route to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport when the crew “received information about possible restricted items” on board, a spokeswoman for Ural Airlines said.
The crew of the Airbus A-321 plane requested an emergency landing at the nearest airport to have checks carried out and it landed in Baku, she said.
A source at the airport told Reuters nothing suspicious had been found on the plane and that a passenger had been detained.


Pakistan bracing for austere budget under IMF, finance chief says

Updated 11 min 57 sec ago
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Pakistan bracing for austere budget under IMF, finance chief says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is preparing a belt-tightening budget to tame its fiscal deficit, the de facto finance minister said on Saturday, adding that both civilian and military rulers agreed austerity measures were needed to stabilise the economy.
But Hafeez Shaikh, Prime Minister Imran Khan's top finance adviser, declined to say whether the military's hefty budget would be cut following last week's agreement in principle with the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion loan.
The IMF has said the primary budget deficit should be trimmed by the equivalent of $5 billion, but previous civilian rulers have rarely dared to trim defence spending for fear of stoking tensions with the military.
Unlike some other civilian leaders in Pakistan's fragile democracy, Khan appears to have good relations with the country's powerful generals.
More than half of state spending currently goes on the military and debt-servicing costs, however, limiting the government's options for reducing expenditure.
"The budget that is coming will have austerity, that means that the government's expenditures will be put at a minimum level," Shaikh told a news conference in the capital Islamabad on Saturday, a few weeks before the budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year ending in June is due to be presented.
"We are all standing together in it whether civilians or our military," said Shaikh, a former finance minister appointed by Khan as part of a wider shake-up of his economic team in the last two months.
In the days since last week's agreement with the IMF, the rupee currency dropped 5% against the dollar and has lost a third of its value in the past year.
Under the IMF's terms, the government is expected to let the rupee fall to help correct an unsustainable current account deficit and cut its debt while trying to expand the tax base in a country where only 1% of people file returns.
Shaikh has been told by the IMF that the primary budget deficit -- excluding interest payments -- should be cut to 0.6% of GDP, implying a $5 billion reduction from the current projection for a deficit of 2.2% of GDP.
The next fiscal year's revenue collection target will be 5.55 trillion rupees ($36.88 billion), Shaikh told the news conference, highlighting the need for tough steps to broaden the tax base.