NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018
India notified retaliatory tariffs on 30 products worth $240 million imported from the US to counter the unilateral hike in duties on steel and aluminium by Washington.
However, the increase in duties, which does not include motorcycles above 800cc such as Harley Davidson, will come into effect from August 4. This would give the government enough space to draw some concessions during trade talks with US officials next week. The US assistant trade representative (USTR) Mark Linscott is slated to visit India in the last week of June to begin the negotiations.
Analysts said the retaliatory tariffs could have come into effect immediately, but India seems to have given some more time to the US as the upcoming negotiations with Washington could include a trade package.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s allegation of horse-trading has triggered a war of words between him and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.
Omar had on Wednesday called for the dissolution of the Assembly, saying it would thwart alleged plans and attempts by the BJP to lure away rival party legislators.
The National Conference vice-president had reacted to remarks of senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta that the party was “working on something”, indicating that the BJP was exploring alternatives for government formation in the state.
“Why is he (Omar) so scared? I’m sure his partymen are loyal to him,” Madhav said yesterday.
Madhav, the BJP in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, said there was no question of horse-trading by his party and accused the National Conference of resorting to the practice in the past, without citing instances.
Omar hit back, saying he had no doubt about his MLAs and referred to the BJP’s alleged horse-trading bids in Jammu and Kashmir. “We all know what happened in the PDP after Mufti Sb died & the sort of pressure that was applied to Mehbooba Mufti,” he tweeted.
Omar asked that if the BJP was against horse-trading, why was the Assembly not being dissolved. Governor N.N. Vohra had on Wednesday placed the Assembly under suspended animation.
To mark the international Yoga Day, PM Narendra Modi yesterday led over 50,000 enthusiasts from India and abroad at picturesque Forest Research Institute in Dehradun. In his address, Modi highlighted how after India’s initiative the proposal for yoga day at the UN was accepted in a record time. “The world has embraced yoga and glimpses of it can be seen in the manner in which all over the world people are adopting yoga,” he said.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has forced out in the open a question that was being whispered in the corridors of power: who is the finance minister of India?
“Either you are the finance minister or you are not the finance minister,” Swamy told BloombergQuint in an interview on Wednesday, referring to newspaper reports describing Piyush Goyal as “interim Union finance minister”.
Swamy went on to flag the confusion in the government. “The website of the Prime Minister’s Office says Piyush Goyal is the finance minister, and (Arun) Jaitley is minister without portfolio. However, the finance ministry’s website says Jaitley is the finance minister,” he said.
Goyal was “temporarily assigned” additional charge of the finance ministry on May 14, the day Jaitley underwent a kidney transplant. “During the period of indisposition of Shri Arun Jaitley, minister; the portfolios of minister of finance and minister of corporate affairs held by him be temporarily assigned to Shri Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios,” a communiqué from the President’s office had said.
Swamy’s comments come in the backdrop of Jaitley, who is minister without portfolio, announcing the resignation of chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian through a Facebook post, holding a video-conference with finance ministry officials and churning out blogs on politics and the economy.
Jaitley’s strenuous efforts to show he remains engaged with the affairs of the ministry and the party even as he recuperates have led many to wonder whether the 65-year-old leader was feeling jittery.
Importance given to next-generation leaders, such as Goyal and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, has further fuelled such talk.
The Janata Dal (United) wants a comprehensive agreement among NDA partners that would determine the seat share of each party in the Lok Sabha (2019) and Bihar Assembly (2020) polls. Sources in the JD(U) said they expected the BJP, the lead partner in the alliance, to take an initiative to seal the deal well in time. There was no proposal from the BJP yet, they added.
When asked to spell out the number of seats the party wished to contest in both elections, they said the JD(U) was not fixated on the number. “We want all sides to sit together and fix the shares of parties, which are just and fair and take current ground realities in account,” they said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed measures to bolster “strategic and tactical” cooperation between the two countries in a second meeting on Wednesday, the North’s state media said on Thursday.
The meeting between Kim and Xi came on the North Korean leader’s second and last day of his latest visit to Beijing, where he briefed the Chinese president on his summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last week.
North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping came to an understanding on the results of the summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore, including the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, according to the North’s state media.
The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday ties between the two countries have “radiated new vitality”, and that Kim’s visits to the agricultural and traffic control centres showed the economy was a priority for him.
“Kim’s latest talks with Xi will have reassured him that China stands behind the DPRK as it switches its focus to economic development,” the paper said, using North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives on Thursday delayed at least until next week votes on an immigration bill that was painstakingly negotiated over the last several weeks but has failed to attract enough support for passage.
Debate on a so-called compromise Republican plan had earlier been delayed to Friday to allow members additional time to review it. It was pushed back again after lawmakers said they failed to resolve differences on key issues in a Thursday evening meeting.
While Republicans called the measure a compromise, it has been crafted without any Democratic input and was supposed to be a compromise between warring conservatives and moderates in the party.
Meanwhile, it remained unclear how and when more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents under President Donald Trump’s immigration policy would be reunited.
Claiming that former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s assessment over a decade ago that Kashmiris will “prefer to be independent” if they are given a chance to “exercise their free will” seems to be “correct even today”, Congress veteran Saifuddin Soz, Union Minister in the UPA-I government, has argued in his forthcoming book that the central government should first open dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference before moving to mainstream parties to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.
He also makes the claim that “blunders” committed by various central governments since 1953 — a period that also covers governments headed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi — alienated Kashmiris from India’s heartland. In his book Kashmir: Glimpses of History and the Story of Struggle, which will be released next week, Soz says the primary responsibility to find a solution to Kashmir lies with the Centre, which has to show “a gesture of compassion for creating a situation of relief in the minds of Kashmiris” and initiate a dialogue with the people.
Soz talks about the “so-called Musharraf-Vajpayee-Manmohan formula” which he says had envisaged same borders but free movement across the region, autonomy on both the sides and demilitarisation. Quoting credible sources, he says Musharraf had convinced his top colleagues, both in the army and outside, that it was the only possible solution.
“He (Musharraf) had also convinced his colleagues that the resolutions of the UN on Kashmir had constituted a redundant situation as these meant a tight-jacket for Kashmiris whether they wanted to go with India or to Pakistan. Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today!” he writes.
The Indian Express yesterday published details of a new set of Panama Papers linking Indians to offshore entities in tax havens. The tax authorities in India responded immediately, promising “prompt investigations” into revelations and leads from the tranche of 11.2 million documents connected to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Sushil Chandra, Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), heading the joint team probing the Panama Papers, said that within hours of the fresh revelations, “initial verification” of the new names and details had already begun.
He said that in a large number of cases of persons named as owners or officers of offshore companies incorporated by Mossack Fonseca, the probe team found that assets owned by these companies, or investments made via them, had not been declared or surrendered during the period of the black money amnesty scheme announced by the NDA government.
The CBDT also issued a statement Thursday in which it pegged the detection of undisclosed foreign investments at Rs 1,140 crore.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday called the BJP a “militant organisation” and slammed state party president Dilip Ghosh for threatening her party leaders with “direct encounter”.
“We are not a militant organisation like the BJP. They are arrogant and intolerant. They are religiously biased. They don’t like Muslims, Christians, Sikhs — they are even differentiating between the upper caste and the lower caste Hindus. They are threatening to carry out encounters. Just because they are in power in Delhi, they are talking about hurling bombs. I dare them to come and touch us. We will show them their place,” Mamata said.
“Someone is saying that they will encounter us. Let them try. What happened during the panchayat polls? Where were they? We are a democratic party. They (BJP) always give provocative speeches and use such language. Those are hollow words. When polls come, they start fleeing. They are using divisive tactics and money power to influence people. They are against the people,” she said while speaking at an extended core committee meeting of TMC.
While addressing party workers in Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday, Ghosh had said, “A lot of TMC leaders are flexing muscles and threatening our workers. Either they will go to jail or there will be direct encounters.”
Parshuram Waghmore — the 26-year-old who is linked to a Hindutva group and was arrested in connection with the shooting of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017 — used the same gun that was used to kill Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, 77, and Leftist thinker Govind Pansare, 81, in 2015, but was not involved in shootings prior to the Lankesh murder, the Karnataka Police SIT has found.
Waghmore, who is linked to Sri Rama Sene, was arrested on June 11 by the SIT from his home in Sindhagi in Vijayapura in north Karnataka after information gleaned from four arrested men — linked to Sanatan Sanstha and its affiliate Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) — revealed the identity of Waghmore.
Since his arrest, Waghmore has admitted that he shot Lankesh at the instance of a group of men who recruited and trained him in usage of guns. On Thursday, Waghmore led investigators to a forest near Belgaum where he was allegedly trained last year in usage of firearms by Amol Kale, 37, a former convenor of HJS in preparation for the Lankesh murder.
The investigations have led the SIT to believe that the secretive Hindutva group allegedly used different shooters, but only two 7.65 mm country made pistols, to kill Lankesh, Kalburgi, Pansare and Maharashtra rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, 69, since August 2013 in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Kerala High Court on plea against breastfeeding woman on magazine cover: “As the beauty lies in the beholder’s eye, so does obscenity” Actress and writer Gilu Joseph on the cover of Grihalxmi’ Malayalam edition.
The Kerala High Court refused to identify a Malayalam magazine cover of a woman breastfeeding a child as ‘obscene’, stating sternly that ‘what may be obscene to some may be artistic to other; one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric.’
Dismissing a writ petition filed by Felix MA, the bench of justice Antony Dominic and Dama Seshadri Naidu, said in its order that the court does not see obscenity in the picture or find anything objectionable in the caption for men. “We looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. As the beauty lies in the beholder’s eye, so does, obscenity perhaps,” the bench observed.
“May we observe, Indian psyche has been so mature for ages that it could see the sensuous even in the sacred. The paintings in Ajanta and the temple architecture are cases in point,” it said.
A passport office official in Lucknow who insulted an interfaith couple was yesterday transferred to another location.
The ministry of external affairs has also sought a report from the Lucknow office about Wednesdaya’s unsavoury episode that involved the official, Vikas Mishra, asking a Muslim to convert to Hinduism if he wanted his passport renewed. The official also asked a woman to “change her name as is the duty of all girls after marriage”. A show cause notice has also been issued to Misra.
In addition, the couple’s passport renewals – that were beings stalled – have been approved.
“We regret the incident and will ensure it is not repeated,” said Lucknow’s regional passport officer.
The incident came to light when Lucknow woman Tanvi Seth tweeted to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj about the mistreatment she and her husband Anas Siddiqui faced from the official, Mishra, at the Passport Sewa Kendra.
The SEBI has relaxed IPO norms to allow companies to announce the price band two days before an offering.
Firms coming out with a maiden float or a rights issue can now also provide the financial statements for the previous three years instead of the current requirement of five years.
These and other changes in the takeover and buyback norms were taken at a board meeting on Thursday. The Sebi board approved the proposed Sebi (Issue of Capital And Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, (ICDR Regulations) 2018.
After considering the recommendations made by the Primary Market Advisory Committee (PMAC), the board decided to tone down the requirement of announcing the price band five working days before the opening of an issue to two working days.
In the case of public and rights issues, financial disclosures can be made for three years against the current norm of five years.
Second-half goals from Ante Rebic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic sealed a well deserved victory for Croatia as a poor Argentina were left on the brink of a humiliating first round exit.
The Group D defeat means Argentina have just one point from two games, meaning they will probably have to beat Nigeria in their last game and hope other results go their way to avoid elimination.
The result left Argentinian fans in tears inside the Nizhny Novgorod stadium, while Diego Maradona watched from the stands in stunned disbelief.
And throughout it all Messi, arguably the world’s best player, remained a peripheral and largely ponderous figure, briefly flashing to life on too few occasions. The 30-year-old’s dream of winning the World Cup now look remote.
With all the pre-match attention on Messi it was his Real Madrid counterpart Luka Modric who provided the game’s true flashes of genius. The Croatian was the one player to find space and time in a bruising encounter and it was his moment of magic in the second half which settled the encounter.
In the other matches yesterday, Denmark drew 1-1 against Australia while France beat Peru 1-0.
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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant., – RL Stevenson
Ten year old Mikey, was asked by his mother what he had learned in Vacation Bible School.
“Well, Mommy, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead His Chosen People out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely.
Then he used his cell phone to call headquarters for reinforcements. They called in an air strike of the Israeli Air Defense to take out the bridge and all the Israelites were saved.”
“Now, Mikey, is that really what your teacher taught you?” his mother asked.
“Well, no, Mom. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you’d never believe it!”
Newsletter 22nd June, 2018
June 22, 2018