The US dollar has been on a one-way path -- upwards -- against the Pakistani rupee since the past week, and the trend continued Thursday when it finally breached the Rs 200-mark in the interbank trading, Samaa TV reported.

The value of the dollar appreciated by Rs 1.81, or 0.91 per cent and was trading at Rs 200.20 at 11 a.m. during intraday trade.

The greenback closed at Rs 198.39 Wednesday, after gaining Rs 2.65 from its closing value of Rs 195.74 on Tuesday.

In the open market, the US dollar already breached the Rs 200-mark two days ago.

Since the new government took power April 11, the greenback has appreciated by Rs 18.09 in the interbank market. In the open market, the foreign currency rose by Rs 15.50 during the same period, Samaa TV reported.

Experts have said the economic and political uncertainty was fuelling the dollar's rise and hurting the rupee's value.

The market was looking towards ongoing talks between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan in Qatar.

During the first rounds of talks that concluded Wednesday, Pakistan assured the Fund that it is ready to take tough decisions like revoking the subsidy on fuel and controlling the rising current account deficit.

The talks were being held to resume the $6 billion IMF program for Pakistan with a possibility of extending it by $2 billion.


 Google's Russia subsidiary is set to file for bankruptcy after its bank accounts were seized by Vladimir Putin's government in the wake of the Ukraine war. The company said it is unable to pay salaries of over 100 employees as well as other bills.

The tech giant, however, said that it will continue to keep free services such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android and Play available in the country.

Google's Russia operation generated $2 billion in revenue last year.

"Russian authorities' seizure of Google Russia's bank account has made it untenable for our Russia office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based employees, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial obligations,a the company said in a statement to The Registrar on Thursday.

"Google Russia has published a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy," the company spokesperson added.

Most employees have opted to move to Dubai as Google began relocating workers in March, just after Russia launched a full invasion on Ukraine.

The war has worsened already tense relations between Russia and the search giant.

Google suspended its ad operations in Russia and halted advertising booked globally by Russian organisations.

Russian Android users can no longer purchase any apps and services via the Google Play Store.

"We previously announced that we paused the vast majority of our commercial operations in Russia," the Google spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Alphabet, Google's parent company, has been under tremendous pressure in Russia for failing to delete alleged illegal content after the Ukraine war began on February 24.


 Russia's invasion of Ukraine could soon cause a global food crisis that may last for years, the UN has warned, BBC reported.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the war had worsened food insecurity in poorer nations due to rising prices.

Some countries could face long-term famines if Ukraine's exports are not restored to pre-war levels, he added, BBC reported.

The conflict has cut-off supplies from Ukraine's ports, which once exported vast amounts of cooking oil as well as cereals such as maize and wheat.

This has reduced the global supply and caused the price of alternatives to soar. Global food prices are almost 30 per cent higher than the same time last year, according to the UN.

Guterres said the conflict -- combined with the effects of climate change and the pandemic -- "threatens to tip tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine".

"There is enough food in our world now if we act together. But unless we solve this problem today, we face the spectre of global food shortage in the coming months," he added, BBC reported.

He warned that the only effective solution to the crisis was reintegrating Ukraine's food production, as well as fertiliser produced by both Russia and Belarus, back into the global market.

Russia and Ukraine produce 30 per cent of the world's wheat supply and -- prior to the war -- Ukraine was seen as the world's bread basket, exporting 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce per month through its ports.

But since Russia launched its invasion in February, exports have collapsed and prices have skyrocketed. They climbed even further after India banned wheat exports on Saturday.

The UN says around 20 million tonnes of grain are currently stuck in Ukraine from the previous harvest which, if released, could ease pressure on global markets, BBC reported.


More than eight out of 10 people who reported sexual harassment at the workplace said they suffered from some form of retaliation, a civic group reported Thursday.

Gapjil 119, which campaigns against workplace abuses, announced its analysis of the 205 reports it received from abuse victims between January 2021 and March 2022, Yonhap news agency reported.

About 100 of the reports were from those who had filed complaints about sexual harassment to either their employer or other institutions.

About 90 per cent of them said they did not receive due protection after speaking out about sexual harassment, and 83 percent said they experienced retaliation, the group said.'

About 64 per cent of the victims identified their supervisors as harassers, while 30 percent of the cases involved their employers, according to the group's survey, which allowed multiple responses.

The study showed 79 per cent of sexual harassment victims were also bullied at the workplace.

Verbal sexual harassment was the most common type of offence, experienced by 76.1 per cent of the victims. It was followed by physical sexual harassment at 43.4 percent and visual sexual harassment at 6.3 per cent.

Gapjil 119 also pointed out still prevalent gender discrimination in hiring, wage and promotion.

A total of 542 complaints about gender discrimination in employment were filed with the labour ministry between January 2021 and March 2022, but there were no cases in which the ministry conducted labour supervision at the workplace, the group said, citing government data provided by an opposition lawmaker.

A revised law took effect Thursday with enhanced measures against workplace gender discrimination and sexual misconduct.

Under the amendment, employees can report such incidents to the Regional Labour Relations Commission. The government agency can order corrective measures after deliberation, and employers who fail to comply without proper reasons can be fined up to 100 million won (US$78,294).


Pakistani officials remain pessimistic about the militant outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) permanently giving up its violent campaign, RFE/RL reported.

Attacks by the group and military operations in response have killed thousands of civilians and soldiers since small Pakistani Taliban groups first emerged along the country's western border with Afghanistan in 2003.

A Pakistani official said that Islamabad was hoping for "temporary relief" from the attacks as the talks with the TTP continue, though it remains to be seen if the jihadist group can be fully reconciled with the country's mainstream, RFE/RL reported.

"There will, however, be cracks, which will substantially weaken the TTP," he said of the optimistic assessment within Islamabad of what the negotiations could eventually achieve.

Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, the officer in-charge of all Pakistani troops in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is leading a Pakistani delegation in talks with the leaders of the TTP in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul.

The official added that the Afghan Taliban's interior minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, and intelligence chief Abdul Haq Qasiq had been mediating the talks, which are part of Islamabad's ongoing efforts to stem rising violence from the outlawed fugitive group, whose attacks have killed dozens of Pakistani soldiers this year, RFE/RL reported.

Hameed, a former head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, has guided Islamabad's efforts to address the rising threat from the TTP through talks and military operations, including air strikes inside Afghanistan last month.

Clouding the outlook is also Islamabad's checkered history of talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistani officials concluded several agreements with the Taliban groups that formally united into the TTP in 2007. But none delivered peace, which eventually forced Islamabad to push the group into Afghanistan after a major military operation in 2014.

Building on its organisational and ideological links with the Afghan Taliban, the TTP eventually recovered and has reabsorbed some of its splinter factions over the past two years.

TTP attacks have spiked sharply since the Taliban seized Kabul in August 2021.

In a sign that an agreement with the TTP might not deliver the temporary respite the Pakistani officials hope for, a suicide attack on a military vehicle killed six people in the restive North Waziristan district late on May 14.