US President Donald Trump was set to nominate senior Treasury official David Malpass to lead the World Bank, moving to place at its helm a critic of the development lender and its internationalist principles. The announcement would likely be made after Trump delivers his State of the Union address, after Dhaka Courier goes to press this week. Bloomberg reported that the administration had started reaching out to World Bank member countries to rally support for Malpass’s nomination.
Malpass has in the past portrayed the World Bank as too big, too inefficient and too reluctant to wean developing countries that have become engines of growth. His public record suggests Malpass may scale back the bank’s ambitions. The post fell vacant after Group President Jim Yong Kim handed in his resignation in January with more than 3 years left on his contract, reportedly amid differences with the Trump administration over climate change and the need for more development resources.
After three days of high drama, Chief Minister of the Indian state of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee called off a sit-in protest against the BJP government in Delhi amid a full blown political standoff that saw a host of opposition leaders extending support to the Trinamool Congress chief. The Central Bureau of Investigation, whose move to barge into the house of the Kolkata police chief and question him triggered the mega row, moved the Supreme Court, which heard the evidence and ruled that he cannot be arrested, and that his questioning will be done in Shillong.
The CBI has accused Rajeev Kumar of being a "potential accused" in the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi schemes -- cases he investigated -- and said it was possible that he might have tried to destroy evidence.
Pope Francis became the first pontiff to set foot in the Arabian Peninsula this week, delivering mass to more than 140,000 faithful from Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City Stadium. The hour-and-a-half long mass was delivered in a combination of Arabic, English and Latin. The pope also took part in a multi-religious conference sponsored by the UAE-based Muslim Council of Elders, an organization aimed at promoting a moderate brand of Islam.
The invitation by the UAE government to Pope Francis also drew attention to the comparative religious freedom enjoyed by its residents, who span more than 200 nationalities. There are an estimated 1 million Catholics living in the UAE, but attendees streamed in from all over the region. Helen Henry came with a group of 14 that included his siblings, parents and relatives from Erbil in Iraq just to attend the historic mass, reported the Khaleej Times.
The situation in Venezuela continued to polarize the international community, as news surfaced of the cash-strapped country’s embattled leader striking a deal with the UAE to sell off a significant portion of its bullion assets. According to a count maintained by Al Jazeera, the Qatari broadcaster, there are now 8 countries supporting Nicolas Maduro’s incumbent administration, including Russia, China, Iran and Turkey.
Following the addition of 6 European countries who had earlier provided an ultimatum to the Maduro government to announce fresh elections, there are now said to be 25 countries openly supporting opposition leader Juan Guaido, who earlier anointed himself the acting president. It may be mentioned that many of these countries are EU members and together would count as one within the bloc, if such a count ever came to pass.