Initial jobless claims drop unexpectedly

May 28, 2009
WASHINGTON – The tally of newly laid-off people requesting jobless benefits fell last week, the government said Thursday, a sign that companies are cutting fewer workers.

But the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits rose to 6.78 million — the largest total on records dating back to 1967 and the 17th straight record week. The figures for continuing claims lag behind initial claims by one week.

The Labor Department said the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to a seasonally adjusted 623,000, from a revised figure of 636,000 in the previous week. It was below analysts' estimates of 635,000.

In a separate report, the government said demand for big-ticket manufactured goods soared by the largest amount in 16 months in April, the second increase in the past three months. New orders have risen in two of the past three months, which may be signaling that the deep recession in manufacturing is bottoming out.

The government also said new U.S. home sales were almost flat last month, indicating the housing market's recovery will likely be slow and gradual. And an industry report said a record 12 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were behind on their payments or in foreclosure.

Stocks gave up early gains after the two disappointing housing reports. The Dow Jones industrial average fell about 35 points.

Auto-related layoffs elevated the jobless claims numbers in recent weeks, but a Labor Department analyst said no states said their claims figures were affected by job cuts in that sector last week.

The four-week average of initial jobless claims, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped slightly to 626,750. That figure is about 30,000 below the peak for the recession reached in early April. Some economists say the drop is a sign the recession is bottoming out. Jobless claims reflect the number of job cuts by companies.

Still, claims remain far above levels in a healthier economy. Weekly initial claims were 378,000 a year ago.

And the relentless rise in continuing claims for jobless benefit means the unemployment rate, which reached 8.9 percent in April, will rise in May, economists said. Many economists expect the rate to approach 10 percent by the end of this year.

Even if layoffs are slowing, jobs remain scarce. A net total of more than 5.7 million jobs have been lost since the recession — the longest since World War II — began in December 2007.

More job cuts have been announced in the past week. Cleveland-based bank KeyCorp said it will cut 300 jobs during the second quarter, while Japanese camera maker Nikon Corp. said it will lay off 1,000 workers, including some in the United States.

Among the states, California reported the largest increase in claims of 5,447, which it attributed to layoffs in the construction, trade, and service industries. State data also lags initial claims data by a week.

The next largest increases were in North Carolina, Georgia, Washington and Florida.

Michigan reported the largest decrease in claims, a drop of 9,758, which it said was due to fewer layoffs in the auto industry. The next largest decreases were in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
 

Bombs, gun battle, rock Pakistan's Peshawar

May 28, 2009


PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Two bombs exploded in a market in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Thursday, killing six people, and gunmen on rooftops ambushed police as they arrived at the scene, police said.

A short while later, a suicide bomber attacked a paramilitary checkpost in another part of the city, killing five soldiers, a wounded soldier said.

"He was on foot and as we saw him, he ran and blew himself up when he got close to us," Wasiullah, a paramilitary soldier wou...
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Government

May 24, 2009
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides for a Federal Parliamentary System of government, with President as the Head of State and the popularly elected Prime Minister as Head of government. The Federal Legislature is a bicameral Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), composed of the National Assembly and the Senate. The Constitution also provides for the President to address the two Houses assembled together at the commencement of the first session after General Elections:



Federal...
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Investment

May 24, 2009
In order to streamline and co-ordinate the process of investment and to create an investor friendly culture in the country, the government established the Board of Investment (BOI) as the central investment promotion and facilitation agency. The Board of Investment is chaired by the Head of the Government, and overseen by the Minister for Industries and Production. See the present Organizational Chart of BOI.

PAKISTAN'S INVESTMENT POLICY AT A GLANCE
1. Liberal Investment Policy
2. Equal treatmen...
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Civil Society

May 24, 2009
Population
144 millions 2002, Population growth rate 2.06% (2002 est.)
 
Ethnic Groups
In general percentages of population similar to linguistic groups: Punjabis:66percent, Sindhis:13 percent, Pakhtuns:10 percent, Baloch: 3 percent, Muhajirs: 7 percent, and other ethnic groups: 1 percent.
 
Language
Urdu official language, but English in general use in government,military, business, and higher education. Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Bra...
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District Profiles

May 24, 2009
Pakistan has four provinces North West Frontier, Sindh, Punjab, Province and Balochistan.

Each Province is further divided into districts. There are 34 districts in punjab, 16 in Sindh, 26 in Balochistan and 24 in NWFP.
 

Districts Of NWFP
1. Peshawar
2. Charsada
3. Mardan
4. Swabi
5. Bunner
6. Swat
7. Shangla
8. Malakand
9. Kohistan     10. Batagram
11. Mansehra
12. Abbottabad
13. Haripur
14. Chitral
15. Upper Dir
16. Lower Dir     17. Nowshera
18. Kohat
19. Hangu
20. Karak
21. Bannu
22. Lakki Marwat
23. D.I. Khan
2...
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Pakistan recently underwent significant political and structural reforms

May 18, 2009

Pakistan recently underwent significant political and structural reforms, moving towards macro-economic stability, debt management, revival of the democratic process with increased women’s representation, major institutional reforms with emphasis on devolution and decentralization, significant progress in information technology, reduction in population growth, and food grain self-sufficiency, which has been maintained for the past several years. Efforts to combat corruption and improve law ...

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People

May 18, 2009
Predominantly Muslims, the people of Pakistan are culturally homogeneous. Other religious groups include the Christians, Buddhist, Hindus and Parsees. All belong to a composite racial stock although the majority belongs to an Aryan extraction. While Urdu, the national language, is spoken throughout Pakistan, English is extensively used in official and commercial circles, and in the cities. The regional languages are Sindhi in Sindh, Balochi in Balochistan.

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Art And Culture

May 17, 2009
Pakistan has every reason to be proud of the thousands of years old and rich tradition of its arts and crafts. In the post-independence period, the successive governments have been providing substantial state help and initiative for the uplift of arts and crafts in the country. A wider recognition of the accomplishments of crafts-people has been facilitated by the activities of the National Crafts Council and promotional plans of organizations such as the Export Promotion Bureau and Small Ind...
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Pakistan: List of Pakistanis

May 17, 2009
Pakistan is the sixth most populous nation in the world. Below is a list of such people who belong or relate in some way to this nation.


 
Heads of State or Government

    * Muhammed Ali Jinnah
    * Ghulam Mohammed
    * Liaqat Ali Khan
    * Sir Feroz Khan Noon
    * Chaudhury Mohammad Ali
    * Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
    * Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
    * Muhammad Khan Junejo
    * Benazir Bhutto
    * Zafarullah Khan Jamali
    * Ghulam Ishaq Khan
    * Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi
    * Iskander Mirza
    * Moeen Qu...
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