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An earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed more than 1,000 people yesterday, with the toll expected to rise as the disaster compounds an existing economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.
The 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck the eastern provinces of Paktika and Khost, along the Pakistan border. Tremors were felt in both Kabul and Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. Afghanistan’s state news agency and local media said the death toll had risen to more than 1,000 people with 1,500 injured. Officials and aid agencies said they expected casualties to continue rising as authorities and rescue personnel reached the worst-affected areas.
The earthquake came as Afghanistan struggles through an economic collapse and it threatens to overwhelm the Taliban government’s already limited ability to govern. With strained resources and a lack of expertise of their own, the Islamist group called on aid agencies to help with the response.
Afghanistan has long suffered from violent earthquakes, but a combination of economic insecurity and conflict has left poor, rural communities ill-prepared to cope.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here is the rest of the day’s news — Emily
Five more stories in the news
1. Philippines’ economic tsar brushes aside fears of ‘cronyism’ Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s economic policy chief has dismissed concerns that the new administration in the Philippines will be prone to the corruption and mismanagement that proliferated under the president-elect’s father.
Do you think corruption and mismanagement will plague the Philippines’ new administration? Tell us in our poll below.
2. Fed chair warns US recession is ‘certainly a possibility’ Jay Powell said that avoiding a downturn now largely depends on factors outside the Federal Reserve’s control. In testimony to the Senate banking committee, the Fed chair acknowledged it was now more challenging for the central bank to root out soaring inflation while maintaining a strong jobs market.
3. Former manager at crypto exchange Huobi accused of illicit trading Chen Boliang, a former senior manager at one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, is being prosecuted in Hong Kong after accusations that he made $5mn by secretly trading against a company account he controlled.
4. UK weighs move to force London IPO for Arm The UK government has debated using national security legislation to convince SoftBank to list Arm in London, as the Japanese investor reconsiders holding an IPO for the chip designer exclusively in the US.
5. ‘Kamikaze’ drone strike hits oil refinery in southern Russia A fire broke out at an oil refinery in southern Russia’s Rostov region after a drone attack, state media said on Wednesday, in what military experts suggest could be part of apparent Ukraine-backed strikes behind enemy lines.
More from the war in Ukraine
Energy: The International Energy Agency has warned that Europe must prepare for the complete severance of Russian gas exports this winter.
Nato: Estonia would be wiped off the map under current Nato plans to defend the country from any Russian attack, according to its prime minister.
International relations: The German chancellor has ruled out a return to any kind of normal relationship with Russia in the wake of its war of aggression against Ukraine.
The day ahead
Taipei Film Festival The festival will begin today and run through to July 9. The writer, director and producer Kevin Chu will be honoured as the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award. (Variety)
UK by-elections Votes will be held in two former Conservative seats, Wakefield plus Tiverton and Honiton, seen as a litmus test of the extent of disapproval of British prime minister Boris Johnson after the partygate revelations.
British rail strikes continue The second of three one-day rail strikes across Britain will go ahead today, the union at the heart of the dispute said, after talks to resolve the dispute broke down.
Federal Reserve publishes bank stress tests results The test, which runs through a series of doomsday scenarios for 34 banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, is a crucial gauge of financial strength and helps determine how much capital lenders will be able to put towards dividends or share buybacks.
What else we’re reading
Delhi’s heatwaves carry a warning for the rest of the world Escaping the intense heat is a luxury. Just 5 per cent of Indian households had air conditioning in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency, compared to 90 per cent in the US. The extreme weather has severe economic and health-related consequences.
China’s Alibaba targets South Asia Daraz, an ecommerce company that Alibaba acquired in 2018, has proved a promising avenue into a tricky region for the Hangzhou-based company, which has effectively been shut out of India. Through Daraz, Alibaba has expanded its reach as the Pakistan-based group spread to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar.
The big mistakes of anti-globalisers Globalisation is not dead. It may not even be dying. But it is changing, writes Martin Wolf. From treating trade as optional to overstating the merits of self-sufficiency, Martin outlines the anti-globalisers’ big mistakes.
Biotechs face ‘funding Sahara’ as easy money runs dry While the rupture with the era of easy money has hit almost every sector, few are as exposed as the early-stage drug companies that rely on capital markets to fund long and risky development cycles. Almost 200 listed biotechs globally are trading below the value of their cash reserves, according to investment bank Torreya Capital.
A corporate feud over satellites pits the west against China In February, European financiers and entrepreneurs gathered for a late-night online meeting to resolve a boardroom dispute over prized satellite permits. At its core was the question: who controls an asset in orbit? Here’s how a clash of cultures and geostrategic interests sank a German-Chinese joint venture.
Work & Careers
In this week’s Working It podcast, senior business writer Andrew Hill talks to the bestselling author Daniel Pink. In The Power of Regret, Pink urges us to think differently about our workplace regrets and reframe our past to show us the path to a better future. For a deeper dive into workplace trends, sign up for our Working It newsletter.
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