NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2018
The government and the Opposition struck dissonant notes on Monday, signalling a stormy start to the monsoon session of Parliament that commences on Wednesday.
An Urdu daily has reported that Rahul Gandhi, at a meeting with Muslim intellectuals last week, said, “The Congress is a party for Muslims.” While the BJP has been attacking him for what it calls “communal remarks”, Congress minority cell chief Nadeem Javed said Gandhi did not say the Congress was exclusively for Muslims and that he simply had “highlighted the inclusive approach of the Congress”.
By Monday evening, both sides were at daggers drawn with the Opposition even mulling backing a pending no-confidence motion by BJP’s estranged ally TDP in the Lok Sabha. A meeting of Opposition leaders this evening discussed the matter as the TDP reached out to the Opposition.
The Opposition has drawn up the agenda to be discussed in Parliament with lynchings topping the list along with the agrarian distress, unemployment, fuel cost rise, dilution of quota for the marginalised in universities and attacks on Dalits, minorities and tribals.
The Opposition also dared the government to hold elections to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, asking why it was delaying the notification on the same.
Mounting a scathing attack on the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee and her government in West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said they were running a “syndicate raj” in the state. He urged “people of Bengal” to “be united and hopeful” like people of Tripura — where BJP ended Left rule this March — to “uproot the syndicate raj”.
Addressing crowds at the Krishak Kalyan Samabesh in Midnapore, Modi said: “The TMC uses the syndicate to extort, kill Opposition cadres, snatch farmer produce, and for vote-bank politics, appeasement politics. The syndicate gets to decide where farmers will sell their crops and at what rate, where bags of cements, sand and tin will be brought from. One even needs its permission to get admitted to colleges.”
The present state government, the PM said, was “worse” than the previous Left Front government. “Did you get freedom from Leftists to choose a worse government? The Left Front destroyed the industrial growth of Bengal, and the Mamata government has dragged it down further,” he said.
“Be it starting a new business or floating a new company or even opening a new school or hospital, nothing moves ahead unless the ruling party-controlled syndicates are taken into confidence…
Responding to the Prime Minister’s remarks, the TMC hit back, accusing the BJP of running a syndicate of “corruption” and “lynching”.
At the PM’s rally, a shamiana collapse injured 90 people.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “rise above party politics” by passing the women’s reservation Bill, saying all the Bill needs to become a law is BJP support.
“Given the fact that the BJP and its allies have a majority in the Lok Sabha, all this landmark legislation requires to become a reality is your support. I am sure it will not be withheld… You have Congress’ unconditional support,” Gandhi said in a letter to the PM, asking him to walk his talk having promised the Bill in BJP’s 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto.
Gandhi was responding close on the heels of the PM accusing Congress of being anti-Muslim women by opposing the scrapping of the instant triple talaq practice.
The Bill which seeks to reserve 33 per cent seats in Parliament and state legislatures for women was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 8, 2010, but could not clear the LS hurdle. It lapsed subsequently and will now have to be pushed afresh.
Citing Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s public statements over troubled ties with the Congress, Union Minister Arun Jaitley has said that a federal front is a “failed idea”, as coalitions for a country as large as India should have a stable nucleus.
“To rule a large country like India through coalitions is possible but the nucleus of a coalition has to be stable,” Jaitley wrote in a Facebook post. “It must have a large size, an ideologically defined position and a vested interest in honest governance. A federal front is a failed idea.”
The senior BJP leader’s comments come in the midst of opposition parties making attempts to cobble up a coalition against the BJP for the next General Election.
Jailtey also wrote that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has clearly demonstrated the advantages of a decisive leadership. “India’s Prime Minister and his Government has to overcome the challenges that India faces today. He cannot be seen like the CM of Karnataka as a tragedy king. If such a coalition is a cup of poison, why even dream of inflicting it on the nation? The leader of the world’s fastest growing economy cannot be a ‘Bechara’,” he wrote.
Jaitley wrote: “The country has been watching with keen interest the developments in Karnataka in the past two months. It is a repeat of what the Congress did to Chaudhary Charan Singh, Chandrasekhar, H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral? …The basis of the negative agenda is ‘Keep Modi Out’.”
Following his much-anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump on Monday virtually gave a clean chit to Kremlin, saying he saw no reason to believe they meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Trump said Putin “was extremely strong and powerful” in denying it.
Trump’s remarks come days after a special prosecutor in the United States indicted 12 Russian agents for stealing Democratic Party documents to help him win the vote.
When asked if he trusted US intelligence agencies, which concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Trump said he had been told by the CIA chief that Russia was to blame but he was not certain. “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Before the summit even began, Trump blamed his own country for the deterioration in relations. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”
The Russian foreign ministry “liked” his words and tweeted back: “We agree”. At the news conference Trump was invited by reporters to offer even a single criticism of Russia but repeatedly declined. Asked if Russia was at all to blame for the poor ties, he said: “I hold both countries responsible. I think the U.S. has been foolish. We’ve all been foolish,” he said, before veering into a discussion about his election victory.
British Prime Minister Theresa May bowed to pressure from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party on Monday, accepting their changes to a customs Bill that underpins Britain’s departure from the European Union.
May, vulnerable in Parliament after losing her party’s majority at an ill-judged election last year, has come under fire from both wings of her party over a hard-won Brexit plan.
Eurosceptic lawmakers had targeted her government’s customs legislation to try to toughen up her plans to leave the EU, but instead of facing them down and fuelling tensions, her spokesman said the government would accept their four amendments.
It was not clear the move would fundamentally change her plans — the changes do little more than to put government policy into law, her spokesman said — but it was a victory of sorts for those lawmakers who say May has betrayed them on Brexit.
Less than a fortnight after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced the signing of an agreement that would repatriate displaced Bru families living in Tripura since 1997 to Mizoram before September 30, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) withdrew from the deal, saying the terms agreed upon between the governments of Mizoram, Tripura and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were not acceptable to the Bru community.
“We have informed the MHA that the terms are not acceptable to our community. They (the Bru) want permission to construct temples in Mizoram, cluster housing and land for cultivation. These demands are not acceptable to the Mizoram government,” says MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha.
Officials said more than 5,000 displaced Bru surrounded the MBDPF office in Tripura and demanded immediate withdrawal from the agreement. They threatened to physically harm the MBDPF leaders, prompting police and the state administration to rush in.
BJP youth activists vandalised Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s constituency office at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Monday, apparently in protest at his comment that another term for the BJP at the Centre would transform India into a “Hindu Pakistan”.
Tharoor, who had made the comment at an event on Wednesday, was elsewhere in the Kerala capital when Yuva Morcha members barged into his office and ordered local people waiting to meet their MP to leave.
The intruders smeared waste engine oil on the gate, doors and signboards, put up a banner that read “Hindu Pakistan Office”- with the “Hindu” crossed out- and chanted slogans asking Tharoor to go to Pakistan.
Tharoor later filed a complaint with the district police commissioner, and the Congress demanded the vandals be arrested. “What we have seen today is their answer to a question which they are otherwise unable to answer,” Tharoor told reporters.
In an attempt to address two issues — excess sugar production by farmers in western Uttar Pradesh, and the yellowing of the Taj Mahal due to air pollution — with one solution, the Centre on Monday announced plans to put in place steps to convert Agra into a city that relies only on biofuel.
“In UP, there is a lot of sugar. So, instead of sugar, ethanol will be produced,” Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said. “Ethanol is produced by fermentation of sugar. “This will be cost-effective, pollution-free and indigenous,” he added.
Five days after the Supreme Court told the Centre that the Taj Mahal should either be restored or demolished, three Union ministers and the UP chief minister met on Monday to discuss plans to address pollution sources. Gadkari, who also holds the Water Resources portfolio, said the entire stretch of the Yamuna needs to be cleaned to see the effects in Taj Mahal’s backyard. Gadkari set a December deadline for putting in place solutions to address water pollution that affects the monument.
The number of bank officers who have either been booked by law enforcement agencies or are facing charges over their involvement in extending loans that have subsequently turned bad has surged over the last four months to over 50. Until the end of March, just 10 officers were officially recorded as being under CBI investigation in five cases of bank fraud.
This has predictably ruffled feathers in the beleaguered banking sector, with bankers predicting that the mild revival in credit growth visible since late last year could get impacted as officers have started slamming the brakes on fresh lending in light of the panic over the arrests.
In a move with far-reaching ramifications, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday said users owned their data, while entities in the digital ecosystem storing or processing such data were mere custodians. The authority said it was limiting its recommendations to telecom service providers as the larger issues on data protection for all sectors would be addressed by the committee headed by Justice B N Srikrishna.
These recommendations, when accepted by the govet, will mean that entities like browsers, mobile applications, devices, operating systems and service providers, among others, will not be able to share personal data with third parties without getting the consent of customers. The current rules regarding data protection under the IT Act are not sufficient.
Facebook has deleted the page of Postcard.news. In response to questions about the account, a Facebook spokesperson said, “Facebook’s Terms of Service do not allow people to post content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark.” The spokesperson refused to respond to inquiries about the exact violation the account committed and the number of reports the company received.
Hegde alleged that a “concerted effort” by “websites like Altnews.in” led to this development. “They have ganged up to mass-report our page. We are a pro-Modi and pro-nationalist website, we spread the news of good work done by the government. But they have spread the lie that we do fake news. So, in some respect, this action is against Modi, against the government and nationalists. I have written to everyone in the government— from PMO to (Minister for Information Technology) Ravi Shankar Prasad and (Home Minister) Rajnath Singh. Government ke log kuch karenge. unko karna chahiye. (The government will do something, they should),” he said. He said he has not received any response from the government so far.
The Facebook page had over 5 lakh followers.
Hegde was arrested in March by Karnataka police for a post on Postcard.news Facebook page, which claimed that a Jain monk had been attacked by a Muslim youth. He claimed it was not their report and only a post on the FB page. He denied that Facebook’s action had anything to do with “fake news”. “Of the 12,800 stories we have published, Altnews and others have pointed out 12 as fake. What percentage is that? Every media outlet makes mistakes.”
Altnews founder Pratik Sinha said, “I am not in the business of reporting Postcard.news’s misinformation. Even if someone reported a page, it is Facebook’s discretion to take action or not. So, if Hegde believes FB’s actions are unjust, he should blame the platform, not those who have reported it.”
Life Insurance Corporation’s (LIC) board has approved a plan to raise its shareholding in IDBI Bank to 51 per cent from around 7.5 per cent at present, Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said on Monday after attending the board meeting. IDBI Bank will make a preferential allotment of shares to LIC that will ensure that the lender gets the capital. Preferential allotment is a process by which allotment of shares is done in bulk by the company to a select group of investors.
“LIC board today approved to acquire 51 per cent shareholding in IDBI Bank, they already have 7.0-7.5 per cent. Remaining they will acquire…The IDBI Bank needs capital they will issue preferential shares, that should be the method. The other one is that they can buy from the government but that doesn’t provide capital to IDBI Bank and therefore that is the preferable mode to do it,” Garg, who is on the 12-member LIC board, said.
The government owns 85.96 per cent stake in IDBI Bank, while LIC has 7.98 per cent shareholding in the lender, as per the June-end shareholding details.
Going by the current market price, LIC will have to shell out over Rs 12,000 crore to invest in IDBI Bank. However, a section of experts say that the government may have to amend the LIC Act. “How can LIC take over a bank? LIC had bought 26 per cent stake in Corporation Bank several years ago. They brought it down below 13 per cent over the years,” said an insurance sector official. IRDAI had asked LIC to bring down its stake in Larsen & Toubro from 17.58 per cent to 15 per cent by December 2018. It also holds over 15 per cent stake in ITC.
The Amazon.com Inc. founder’s net worth broke $150 billion in New York on Monday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s about $55 billion more than Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest person.
Bezos, 54, has now also topped Gates in inflation-adjusted terms. The $100 billion mark that Gates hit briefly in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom would be worth about $149 billion in today’s dollars. That makes the Amazon chief executive officer richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking.
Following an uncharacteristically slow 59-ball 37 in the second ODI at Lord’s, where he was jeered by Indian fans, MS Dhoni must be under some pressure going into the deciding ODI here tomorrow. The team, though, is standing steadfastly behind the veteran match-winner. After skipper Virat Kohli defended Dhoni the other day, India’s assistant coach Sanjay Bangar threw his weight behind Dhoni today. “He (Dhoni) was hoping someone would bat with him. We were hoping for him to stay there till the 40th over and then take on the bowlers,” said Bangar. “But every time he looked to do that, we lost wickets. First Raina got out, and then Hardik (Pandya), and then there was no support for him to do the usual stuff he does.”
Notwithstanding the envy it evokes among the opposing teams, Bangar said India’s batting was still a work in progress, with the middle-order still not settled.
“The way our top-order is batting, the middle-order hasn’t got the opportunities. Mind you, not all of them are playing all the formats, so you have to factor in that as well,” said Bangar.
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Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine. – Jack Ma
A waiter brings the customer the steak he ordered with his thumb over the meat. “Are you crazy?” yelled the customer, “with your hand on my steak?”
“What” answers the waiter, “You want it to fall on the floor again?”
Newsletter July 17 2018
July 17, 2018