The center-right New Unity party of Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins won Saturday’s election, according to provisional results, with its 19pc of the vote putting him in a position to head another coalition government.
The results – with 91% of districts counted – mean Latvia should remain a leading voice alongside its Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia in pushing the European Union for a decisive stance against Russia.
Karins’ party was again the party with the most support following the election. Members of the current coalition were on track to receive 42 seats in the 100-seat parliament, so Karins needs to draft additional allies to stay as a prime minister.
As many as nine parties won sufficient votes to gain seats in parliament.
After a campaign dominated by security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Karins told he will be working to craft a coalition of like-minded parties.
“I am convinced that we will be able to find such a solution,” he said early on Sunday.
“First and foremost on everyone’s minds is how we all get through the winter, not only in Latvia but throughout the EU, and that we all remain united behind Ukraine, and do not waiver in the face of difficulties for us”, said Karins.
The first Latvian head of government to serve through a full four-year term, Karins, a 57-year-old dual U.S. and Latvian citizen, has benefited from his Moscow policy, which included restricting the entry of Russian citizens traveling from Russia and Belarus.
“I see no chance that any government in Latvia will stop supporting Ukraine – this is not a view of a small group of politicians, this is the view of our society”, said Karins.
But his victory could widen a rift between the country’s Latvian majority and its Russian-speaking minority over their place in society, amid widespread national anger over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
Bangladesh Triumphs in IMO Council Election-2023
Bangladesh has emerged victorious in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) council election 2023 in category C, securing 128 votes out of the 175-member council. This marks the first time Bangladesh has won in the highly competitive category C of the IMO, as reported by the Bangladesh mission in London.
Following the election results, Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK and Permanent Representative to the IMO, Saida Muna Tasneem, expressed gratitude to IMO members for electing Bangladesh as a Council member. She reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to the IMO’s charter of actions for dealing with maritime affairs. Tasneem extended thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Shipping in Bangladesh, specifically acknowledging Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her decision to participate in the IMO council election in 2023.
“Bangladesh’s election to the International Maritime Organisation’s elite 40-member council is a testimony of the confidence and trust that the IMO member states and the International Maritime Community place in Bangladesh’s leadership as a maritime nation, led by the prudent leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” stated the Bangladesh envoy.
Previously, Tasneem was elected by consensus as the Vice President of the 33rd assembly of the IMO during which the election took place.
The IMO, as the only UN specialized body, regulates global shipping standards that impact ship-operating flag states, seafarers, and maritime safety, security, and marine pollution.
Bangladesh, heavily reliant on international trade, with 90 percent conducted via the sea, aims to address key issues such as the transition of maritime ports into green and digitalized entities and compliance with the Hong Kong convention on ship recycling and the use of greener fuels. These matters will be on Dhaka’s negotiation agenda at the IMO council during the term 2024-25.
BGMEA Urges Gloria Jeans to Boost Garment Sourcing from Bangladesh
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan has encouraged Gloria Jeans, a prominent Russian high street retail giant, to explore increased sourcing of garments from Bangladesh, particularly focusing on high-value and non-cotton items. The plea was made during a courtesy meeting between Faruque Hassan and Moyeen Ahmed, the regional general manager for Bangladesh and India at Gloria Jeans, held at the BGMEA head office in the capital.
In the meeting, discussions revolved around mutual interests and efforts to strengthen the collaborative relationship between Gloria Jeans and the Bangladeshi garment industry. Faruque Hassan provided insights into Bangladesh’s garment industry initiatives aimed at enhancing manufacturing capabilities, emphasizing the production of high-end products like manmade fiber and technical textile-based garments. Additionally, he highlighted BGMEA’s ongoing endeavors to promote eco-friendly processes and the adoption of a circular economy model in Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) industry.
Dollar Slides as Traders Bet on Fed Rate Cuts Amid Inflation Battle
The US dollar continued its decline on Wednesday as traders increased bets on the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates in the coming year, fueled by optimistic statements from officials regarding the battle against inflation. Meanwhile, equity markets showed a mixed performance after another subdued day on Wall Street, with attention turning to the central bank’s preferred gauge of prices, set to be released later in the week.
Recent indicators have suggested a softening in the US job market and a slowing economy, though not at a pace that raises significant concerns about a recession. This has led investors to shift back into risk assets, although profit-taking has restrained the latest gains in anticipation of a potential “Santa rally.”
Market data indicates that traders are now anticipating a Fed rate cut in June, with an 80 percent likelihood of such a move in May. Billionaire investor Bill Ackman has even suggested the possibility of a rate cut as early as the first quarter. The dovish comments from Fed officials, falling yields, and adjusted rate expectations have weighed on the dollar, causing it to reach its weakest level since September against the yen, near a four-month low versus the euro and sterling, and lower against various other currencies.
Fed Governor Christopher Waller expressed confidence in the current policy’s ability to slow the economy and bring inflation back to the target, signaling a positive shift. Michelle Bowman, his counterpart, supported potential rate hikes but remained conditional in her assessment. The market’s reaction to these comments has been significant, leading to a decline in the dollar’s value.
Despite the dovish turn, some analysts noted the potential challenge posed by falling yields, which may limit the effectiveness of higher Treasury yields as a substitute for further rate hikes. Equity markets struggled for direction as investors awaited the release of the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data, the Fed’s preferred guide for inflation.
In Asian markets, Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, Wellington, Taipei, and Jakarta saw gains, while Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, and Manila experienced declines. The subdued performance on Wall Street persisted, even as reports indicated an increase in US consumer confidence and healthy sales over the recent shopping weekend.
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