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Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media        Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback        Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"        Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award        Supreme Court sees no wrongdoing in Rafale deal, rules out probe        India bowled a little bit short, Australia pacers could benefit: Border        ISL: FC Goa thrash NorthEast United 5-1        BWF World Tour Finals: PV Sindhu, Sameer Verma Register Easy Wins To Enter Semifinals        Diving legend says HIV-contracted friend inspired him to Olympic gold        India beat Pakistan to reach final of Emerging Teams Asia Cup        Boosting exports key to make India $5-tn economy by 2025: Kant        Prabhu, US Commerce Secretary to discuss trade issues on Feb 14        Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN        Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU        Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha        Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace        Rahul tweets pic with Kamal Nath, Scindia as race for CM moves to Bhopal        Aussies will fight back, but India has upper hand: Ghavri        World Tour Finals: Tough road ahead for Sindhu; Sameer too eyes knockout berth        Govt should consider 100% FDI in multi-brand retail trade: CII report        
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International News
Haiti prime minister resigns after deadly unrest
 
(Port-au-Prince, July 15, 2018):Embattled Haiti Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant HAS resigned following deadly violence and looting sparked by a now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices.

"I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic," who has "accepted my resignation," Lafontant said in the lower house of Haiti's legislature yesterday.

Lafontant had faced a potential vote of no confidence had he not resigned. Last week, the government in the impoverished Caribbean country announced plans for major fuel price hikes -- 38 per cent for gasoline, 47 per cent for diesel and 51 per cent for kerosene.

The announcement sparked mass protests, with streets in the capital Port-au-Prince and other cities blocked with barricades of debris and burning tires. Dozens of shops were looted and burned and cars were set ablaze. At least four people were killed. The government quickly did an about-face and called off the planned price increases.

Lafontant, a physician who had little political experience before taking office in February last year, had faced widespread criticism even before the spasm of violence.

Haiti is desperately poor: around 60 per cent of its people live on less than two dollars a day, and they are extremely sensitive to even minor increases in prices of just about anything.

In February, Haiti signed an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the Washington-based global crisis lender, in which the country committed to carrying out economic and structural reforms to promote growth.

One of those conditions was the elimination of petroleum product subsidies, prompting the doomed price hike proposal. The accord also called on the government to keep inflation under 10 per cent.

Since 2015, inflation has been running at 13 to 14 per cent annually. The budget blueprint submitted to the legislature in late June still foresaw a rate of 13.6 per cent.

On Thursday, the IMF suggested "a more gradual approach" to ending fuel subsidies, paired with "compensatory and mitigating measures to protect the most vulnerable people." "We will continue to support Haiti... as they develop a revised reform strategy," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said, noting that ending subsidies would free up funds for other programs like education.

Crafting a revised strategy -- and divvying up Haiti's meagre budget resources -- will be a delicate task. The decision to scrap the price hikes means the government will have to find another way to come up with the USD 300 million the move would have generated.

It is not an insignificant amount -- the total is more than 11 per cent of the 2018-2019 budget presented to parliament in June for debate. Now, the government of President Jovenel Moise has to find a way to appease all sides -- angry and impatient consumers, politicians with varying interests and IMF economists.

Haiti's deep levels of inequality are often cited by protesters who want to see not just Lafontant but Moise out of office. More than 200 years after gaining independence from France, Haiti is still ranked by the World Bank as having one of earth's most unjust societies.


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
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NATIONAL NEWS
Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"
 (New Delhi, Dec 14, 2018):Hours after the Supreme Court's clean chit to the government on the
Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award
Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha
Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace
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