NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2018
GOOD WISHES ON INDIA’S 72nd INDEPENDENCE DAY
- LET CONTENTIOUS ISSUES, EXTRANEOUS DEBATES NOT DISTRACT US: PREZ KOVIND
In his televised address to the nation on the eve of country’s 72nd Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s “most noble mantra” on the power of ‘ahinsa’ (non-violence) being far greater than the power of ‘hinsa’ (violence), remarks that come against the backdrop of incidents of lynching and mob violence in some parts of the country.
“The power to stay your hand is far greater than the power to strike with your hand and ‘hinsa’ has no place in the society”.
“We are at a juncture in our history that is very different from any period we have so far experienced. We are at the cusp of achieving many of our long-awaited goals.
Universal access to electricity, the elimination of open defecation, the elimination of homelessness, the very elimination of extreme poverty is achievable and attainable. We are at a pivotal moment. Let contentious issues and extraneous debates not distract us,” Kovind said.
The President said every Indian who does not jump the queue and respects the civic space and rights of those ahead in the line lives up to the principles of the country’s freedom struggle. He said every Indian who does his or her job with sincerity and commitment is upholding the principles of our freedom struggle.
- PM MODI CALLING IMRAN KHAN A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT, SAYS PAKISTAN ENVOY
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to congratulate him for winning the elections is a positive development, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood said on Tuesday and expressed hope that such steps could lead to betterment of ties. He said this during an event at the Pakistan High Commission to mark the country’s 72nd independence day.
According to a statement issued by Pakistan High Commission, the Pakistan High Commissioner pointed out that the peculiar trajectory of India-Pakistan relations over the past 71 years had often led to political and military tension and prevented the two countries from realising their optimal potential in socio-economic development. “Our next generations deserve a better future – one marked by peace and opportunities for progress and prosperity,” he said.
He also hoped that South Asia would “turn a corner” and be known in the world “not for confrontation, but for cooperation”.
- AT MOST, EIGHT STATES CAN VOTE WITH LOK SABHA: CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER
The Election Commission, if need be, is equipped to conduct polls simultaneously in eight states, at the most, along with the Lok Sabha elections next year, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat said Tuesday.
His clarification has a direct bearing on the debate and speculation over 12 states going to poll with the general elections next year.
In 2019, according to Rawat, EC will have just enough voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) units to hold elections in Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh (whose Assembly terms are already in sync with the Parliament) and another three states, at the most. Anything more than this will have to deal with logistical challenges.
“We need about 14 lakh (VVPAT) machines for Lok Sabha (elections) plus five states, whereas we have ordered 17.4 lakh (VVPAT) machines. There will be a cushion of 2.4 lakh units, which is enough to cover three large states.
Rawat ruled out the possibility of any delay in holding elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, which are due this year. “The (Election) Commission has already moved ahead and is reviewing the preparedness for polling in four states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. And most likely these elections will be delivered before December 15. It’s quite hypothetical to think that these (four elections) are getting postponed,” he said.
Elections in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand are due in the latter half of 2019.
When asked what if President’s rule is imposed in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, as suggested by some BJP leaders yesterday, to synchronise their elections with those due in 2019, Rawat said, “We don’t visualise such a situation because President’s rule can’t be applied like this.”
On Monday, BJP chief Amit Shah wrote to the Law Commission expressing support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “One nation one election” idea. According to him, the Opposition’s objections to the idea were “politically motivated and inappropriate”.
- CONGRESS DARES PM MODI TO ADVANCE LOK SABHA ELECTIONS
Amid speculation that the BJP is discussing the possibility of deferring state elections due this year end and holding them along with general elections in early 2019, the Congress on Tuesday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to dissolve Lok Sabha now and hold general elections along with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.
The Congress said postponing elections to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh requires an amendment to the Constitution and made it clear that it would approach the court if elections to these states are postponed.
The BJP is said to be discussing the possibility of postponing Assembly elections, due later this year, and advancing those slated in the second half of 2019 and holding all of them along with Lok Sabha polls. When asked about this, AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot said, “That is not possible without a Constitutional amendment… there is only one way of holding elections together. The PM should dissolve the Lok Sabha and advance the polls.”
Gehlot said the Congress was prepared if the Lok Sabha elections were advanced and held along with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh polls. He said it would be in the “best interest of the country to dissolve the Lok Sabha early, given the all-pervasive atmosphere of fear, intolerance and intimidation”. The Congress, he said, will not only welcome an early Lok Sabha election, “we are all geared to fight the BJP and finish it,” he said.
- INDIA MAY CUT 50% OF IRAN OIL IMPORTS TO SECURE US WAIVER FOR SHIPMENTS
India, the second biggest crude customer for Iran, may cut its imports from the Islamic republic by half to secure a waiver from the US to continue with shipments, people familiar with the matter said.
Officials from the US had discussed the issue of a conditional waiver on sanctions in talks last month in New Delhi, the people said, requesting not to be identified as the discussion was private. India has expressed its inability to scrap oil imports from Iran completely as its supplies are being offered at competitive rates, the people said. New Delhi expects a response as early as next month when talks resume.
President Donald Trump’s administration has been forced to reconsider its plan to choke off all of Iran’s oil exports after countries including China and India — which together comprise about half of Iran’s oil exports — expressed their inability to halt shipments. Washington is now said to project a 50 per cent cut in exports when it reimposes energy sanctions in early November.
After initial success in persuading allies Japan and South Korea, US is finding it tough to convince even European Union nations. These push backs are forcing the US to consider waivers to countries on a case-by-case basis as it feels even a significant reduction would be a blow to Iran’s battered economy.
- CORBYN, NETANYAHU TRADE BARBS OVER ‘WREATH-LAYING’ GESTURE
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn were locked in a row on Tuesday over the Labour MP’s attendance of an event that honoured suspects of the Munich Olympics massacre.
Mr. Corbyn has been accused of joining in a ceremony which included tributes to members of Black September, the group responsible for the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
Mr. Netanyahu tweeted on Monday that “the laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre… deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone…”
Mr. Corbyn tweeted back that Mr. Netanyahu’s “claims about my actions and words are false”, saying earlier that he “didn’t think” he was involved in the wreath-laying. “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children,” he added.
The latest scandal erupted after a picture emerged of Mr. Corbyn holding a wreath at the Cemetery of the Martyrs of Palestine, in Tunisia, in 2014. Atef Bseiso, who is buried at the site, was regarded as one of the ringleaders.
- PAK EC SHOULD LOOK INTO RIGGING ALLEGATIONS: PREZ
In an unusual move, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain in his Independence Day address, raised the issue of alleged rigging in the July 25 elections and asked the election commission to look into the complaints of political parties to make the poll process “fully transparent”.
Addressing an official function held at the Jinnah Convention centre here to commemorate the country’s 72nd Independence Day, Hussain said it is crucial for the country to make state institutions powerful and independent.
Various political parties have alleged that elections won by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan were not fair and demanded a probe. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif on Monday alleged that “historical rigging” took place during the July 25 elections.
- TRUMP SLAMS FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE OMAROSA AS ‘DOG’
President Donald Trump lashed out at his former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman in especially angry terms, slamming her as a “dog” and “crazed” as their mud-slinging match escalated. Trump had already branded “Omarosa” a “lowlife” after she released a recording of her firing by chief of staff John Kelly, seemingly recorded in the White House Situation Room. But on Tuesday, he ratcheted up the war of words to a level of nastiness rarely seen, even from a president who has shown he doesn’t pull punches when insulting his critics.
- MAJOR ADITYA, RIFLEMAN AURANGZEB TO GET SHAURYA CHAKRA
Major Aditya Kumar, against whom the Jammu and Kashmir Police had registered a case in connection with an operation in January this year, is among the 131 gallantry awardees of the armed and paramilitary forces whose names were announced by the government on the Independence Day eve.
Major Aditya has been awarded the Shaurya Chakra — the third highest peacetime gallantry award. The honour comes for a separate operation that he undertook in Budgam in November 2017.
The Army had defended the January operation, in connection with which Major Aditya was booked, saying an Army convoy was attacked by a group of 100-200 stone-pelters, three of whom were killed in retaliatory fire. Later, a petition was filed by the father of Major Aditya in the Supreme Court, urging that the name of his son be removed from the FIR.
Among the awardees is Rifleman Aurangzeb. He was part of the operation to kill Hizbul Mujahideen “commander” Sameer Tiger in April. He was later abducted by militants from Pulwama and killed. He has also been awarded the Shaurya Chakra for an operation in November 2017 at Algar village in south Kashmir.
For the same operation, Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh has been awarded the Kirti Chakra — the second highest peacetime gallantry award.
- EXPLOSION ABOARD INDIAN VLCC LEAVES THREE MISSING, ONE INJURED
The Shipping Corporation of India reports that the VLCC Desh Vaibhav has suffered a cargo tank explosion while under way off the coast of Oman. The blast left one crew member injured and at least three missing.
“As per latest status, the fire has subsided and a fire fighting vessel is expected to reach the vessel shortly to cool down the tanks,” the firm said in a statement.
The injured crewmember was evacuated by helicopter, and the vessel remains manned and operational, SCI said. The Vaibhav has requested assistance from the Omani Navy and from other nearby vessels.
The tanker is reportedly in ballast and was under way for Fujairah at the time of the explosion.
There’s news about another SCI vessel too. Authorities have concluded that the VLCC Desh Shakti was likely the vessel involved in a hit-and-run collision with a fishing boat off Kerala last week. The two crewmembers and the master are reported to have been detained.
In the early hours of August 7, a merchant vessel ran down the fishing boat Oceanic off the coast of Kochi, India, killing at least four people, injuring two and leaving eight missing. According to a survivor, the ship did not stop to render assistance.
Desh Shakti was one of four suspect vessels that were in the vicinity at the time of the collision. In the hours after the incident, the tanker continued on her commercial voyage to the Middle East, but Indian authorities directed her to berth in Mangalore Port on August 9 for an investigation. Divers found scratches on her hull, and paint samples reportedly suggested contact with the fishing vessel. Investigators considered AIS records, the ship’s charts and logs, the estimated location of the collision, and the results of the dive inspection in reaching their preliminary finding.
- WOULD HAVE DIED IF HC ORDER ON KALAIGNAR BURIAL WAS NEGATIVE: MK STALIN
Had the Madras High Court’s decision on M Karunanidhi’s burial space gone against the DMK’s plea, his son and party’s working president M K Stalin on Tuesday said he would also have died there and preferred to be “buried next to Kalaignar”.
Addressing the first high-level executive council meeting of the party to condole the death of his leader, an emotional and grief-stricken Stalin said his party was forced to move the Madras High Court on the day of Karunanidhi’s death. The situation, he said, developed after his visit to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, and pleading with him to fulfil Karunanidhi’s dream of being buried next to his mentor, DMK founder C N Annadurai, on Chennai’s Marina Beach failed to elicit a favourable response.
At Tuesday’s party meeting, senior DMK leaders declared Stalin as the undisputed chief of the party. This came a day after Stalin’s elder brother M K Alagiri, who has been suspended from the party, had claimed that all Karunanidhi followers are with him.
- SC TO HEAR PLEA OF ARMYMEN CHALLENGING FIRs IN AFSPA AREAS
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to take up a petition filed by over 350 army personnel challenging the CBI probe against security forces in disturbed areas.
Challenging dilution of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the petitioners contended that military operations against insurgency would be adversely affected by such probe against Armymen.
CJI Dipak Misra posted it for hearing on Monday after advocate Aishwarya Bhati, representing the petitioners, told the Bench headed by Justice Misra that “military operations in border areas will suffer” if dilution of AFSPA in disturbed areas was allowed as it exposed security forces to unnecessary risks.
The petitioners have demanded laying down of specific guidelines “to protect the bona fide action of soldiers under AFSPA, so that no soldier is harassed by initiation of criminal proceedings for actions done in good faith in exercise of their duties, as mandated by the Union of India, in protection of sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the country”.
The petition demanded “adequate compensation” for the affected serving personnel and their families who had been unnecessarily embroiled in mala fide criminal proceedings for discharging their bona fide duties.
- PROBING ATTACK, DELHI POLICE LOOK AT THOSE WHO TROLLED UMAR KHALID
A day after JNU student leader Umar Khalid survived an attack by an unidentified armed man outside the Constitution Club in New Delhi, the Special Cell of Delhi Police was handed charge of the investigation. The probe will also focus on those who trolled and threatened Khalid online, including on Twitter and Facebook.
Hours after the case was transferred, a specialist cyber team started scanning Khalid’s social media profiles.
Initial investigation has revealed that the man tried to fire the pistol, but the weapon “jammed” and he started running. “He fell down outside the INS building after he crossed the road, where the pistol fell from his hand. We are probing if it fired,” a senior police officer said.
- PICTORIAL WARNING MUST ON 85% SPACE OF TOBACCO PACKETS, SAYS SC
Tobacco products will continue to carry pictorial warning covering 85 per cent of the packaging space, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said.
The apex court, on January 8, had stayed the Karnataka High Court order quashing the 2014 government regulation that packets of tobacco products must carry pictorial warning covering 85 per cent of the packaging space.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar on Tuesday made “absolute” its earlier interim order by which it had stayed the High Court order.
- RUPEE TOUCHES 70, RBI STEPS IN AS GOVERNMENT SAYS NO NEED TO WORRY YET
The Indian rupee Tuesday plunged below the 70 level to hit a record low of 70.08/09 against the dollar as the currencies of emerging markets witnessed a rout, triggered by the crash in the Turkish lira. The rupee, however, recovered later to close at 69.89/90 after heavy intervention by the RBI.
The rupee which has lost over 8.5 per cent this year is one of the worst performing emerging market currencies.
The Sensex, however, ignored the rupee’s fall and gained 207 points at 37,852.00 on sustained buying support.
Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg attributed the fall in the rupee to “external factors” and said there is nothing to worry about it as long as the depreciation is in line with other currencies.
Sensex 37,852 (+207), Nifty 11,435 (+79), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 31,003
Nasdaq 7,871 (+51) Dow 25,300 (+112), S&P 2,840 (+18)
US$-Rs. 69.84 GBP-Rs. 89.07, Euro-Rs. 79.49, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.01, Can$-Rs. 53.34, Aus$- Rs. 50.67
GBP 0.78 /US$, Euro 0.87 /US$, Jap.Yen 110.98 /US$, Aus$ 1.37 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.37 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 4.09 /US$,
Pak Re 123.16 /US$, Phil Peso 53.44 /US$, Russian Rouble 66.84 /US$, NZ$ 1.51 /US$, Thai Baht 33.24 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.28 /US$
Bitcoin – USD 6,039
Dollar Index 96.60 Brent Crude 72.28 BDI 1709
Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,189 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 2930 / 2842, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 40,900
- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Progress is man’s indifference to the lessons of history. – Len Deighton
- OFF TRACK
I found a Leaflet in my newspaper this morning which read, ‘ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC? CALL NOW. WE CAN HELP!!!’
My wife insisted I make a call.
I Called up. It Was A Liquor Shop Offer: ‘Buy 3 & Get 1 Free’