Aust market finishes week up 2.6pc


Australian shares have finished higher for a fourth straight day, in a mostly quiet session that served as a break from recent extreme volatility.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday up 25.2 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 6,057.9 points, while the All Ordinaries index gained 21.4 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 6,163.7.

“A little uneventful, a relatively quiet day,” said CommSec market analyst James Tao.

“Of course there is the US public holiday, the Fourth of July, which takes a little bit out of our market today,” Mr Tao said.

Wall Street, where the S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent overnight, won’t resume trading until Monday.

For the week the ASX200 closed up 153.8 points, or 2.6 per cent, with Monday’s losses followed by four days of gains.

The index has only had four losing sessions in the past three weeks.

Energy, industrials and property collectively declined, while health care and telecom shares led gainers, both collectively rising over two per cent. 

CSL rose 2.7 per cent to $297.46 and Cochlear advanced 5.9 per cent to a three-month high of $204 after announcing the US Food and Drug Administration had approved four new hearing implant products for US

Covid-19 impact: Direct tax refunds down 16% to Rs 64,428 crore in Q1


refunds fell 16 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (Q1FY21), despite the government having fast-tracked the process. Refunds, or cash outflow from the income tax department, stood at Rs 64,428 crore at the end of June 2020, compared to Rs 76,575 crore at end-June 2019.

Tax officials have attributed the decline to slim attendance (caused by the lockdown), which, according to them, led to a delay in clearance of large refunds that require officers’ approval. To fight the economic fallout of Covid, the government had expedited refunds of up to Rs 5 lakh. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), in a statement on Friday, said tax refunds had been issued at a speed of 76 cases per minute between April 8 and June 30. “During this period, the CBDT issued refunds amounting to more than Rs 62,361 crore.”

refunds stood at Rs 40,482 crore, while income tax refunds stood at Rs 23,828 crore in Q1FY21.

“Taxpayers are experiencing this facet of the I-T department, which is not just taxpayer-friendly but also one of a facilitator providing liquidity in such

IOC’s special winter-grade diesel powers Indian soldiers in Ladakh


With the coming winter likely to be one of the most tense for Indian soldiers in Ladakh, (IOC) has launched, only for the region, a special winter-grade diesel, to be used by the armed forces.

This fuel can withstand extremely low temperatures of around minus 33 degree Celsius.

“With army movements increasing, the demand for this fuel is expected to increase multifold from 350 metric tonnes last winter — November, December, and January,” said a company source.

Upping the ante against Chinese aggression, Prime Minister made a surprise visit at a forward position of Nimu in Ladakh on Friday, with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief M M Naravane.

In a violent clash between soldiers of the two countries at Galwan on June 15, at least 20 Army persons died.

On Friday, Modi, addressing the soldiers, said: “The enemy has seen your fire and fury as well.”

The IndianOil executive said looking into the current situation, the company had ensured and stoked up enough winter-grade fuel for the region.

“Last year, the demand from armed forces was less than this,” he added.

On November 19 last year,

Turkey’s Erdogan Rejects Criticism Over Hagia Sophia Landmark


Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday rejected criticism over his willingness to convert Istanbul’s famed Hagia Sophia landmark into a mosque despite international and domestic concern.

“Charges against our country over Hagia Sophia are a direct attack on our right to sovereignty,” Erdogan said.

Turkey’s highest administrative court is considering whether the emblematic site and former cathedral can be redesignated as a mosque, prompting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to urge Turkey to keep the site in its current status as a museum.

The Council of State convened on Thursday to evaluate the case brought by an association to change the museum’s status.

The court, known as Danistay in Turkish, must announce its decision within 15 days.

Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire in the sixth century but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Transforming it into a museum was a key reform of the post-Ottoman authorities under the modern republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

But calls for it to serve again as a mosque have led to anger among Christians and tensions between historic foes and uneasy NATO allies Ankara and

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