The International Monetary Fund sharply lowered its forecast for global growth this year because it envisions far more severe economic damage from the coronavirus than it did just two months ago. The IMF predicts that the global economy will shrink 4.9% this year, significantly worse than the 3% drop it had estimated in its previous report in April. The IMF said that the global economic damage from the recession will be worse than from any other downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
For the United States, it predicts that the nation’s gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced in the United States — will plummet 8% this year, even more than its April estimate of a 5.9% drop. Earlier this month, for example, the World Bank projected that the global economy would shrink 5.2% this year.
Polls opened in Russia for a week-long vote on constitutional changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036. The vote on a slew of constitutional amendments, proposed by Putin in January, was initially scheduled for April 22, but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was later rescheduled for July 1, with polling stations opening a week earlier and staying open for seven days in an effort to avoid crowds on the main voting day.
The proposed amendments include a change in the constitution that would allow the 67-year-old Putin, who has ruled Russia for over two decades, to run for two more six-year terms after his current one expires in 2024. Other amendments talk about improving social benefits, define marriage as a union of a man and and a woman and redistribute executive powers within the government, strengthening the presidency.
The pilots of a plane that crashed last month in Pakistan, killing 98 people, were pre-occupied by the coronavirus crisis and tried to land with the aircraft’s wheels still up, according to initial official reports. The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crashed into a crowded residential area on 22 May after both engines failed as it approached Karachi airport for a second landing attempt, killing all but two people on board, and a child on the ground.
The preliminary report outlines the flight’s chaotic final minutes and a bizarre series of errors compounded by communication failures with air traffic control. Investigators found the plane was at more than twice the correct altitude when it first approached the runway, and the tower advised the pilots to circle for a more gradual descent, the report states.
A Tanzanian subsistence miner has hit the jackpot after the government handed him a cheque for 7.74bn Tanzanian shillings ($3.35m) for the two largest tanzanite gemstones ever found. The two dark violet-blue gemstones, each about the dimensions of a forearm, were discovered by Saniniu Laizer in one of the tanzanite mines in the north of the country which are surrounded by a wall to control cross-border smuggling of the gemstones.
“There will be a big party tomorrow,” the small-scale miner from Simanjiro district in Manyara, told the BBC. The first gemstone weighed 9.27kg, while the second weighed 5.103kg, a mines ministry spokesperson said. Tanzanite is a gemstone found only in a small northern region of the east African nation. Tanzania last year set up trading centres around the country to allow artisanal miners to sell their gems and gold to the government. Artisanal miners are not officially employed by any mining companies and usually mine by hand.