NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2018
- WON’T ENGAGE OPPN ON RAFALE: SITHARAMAN
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has ruled out any engagement with the Opposition on issues relating to the multi-billion dollar Rafale fighter jet deal, saying they do not deserve to be involved after throwing muck on a very sensitive issue concerning India’s defence preparedness.
Sitharaman said the government decided to go for procuring only two squadrons of Rafale jets as an emergency measure in the wake of China and Pakistan significantly ramping up their air power by inducting stealth fighters.
“Is there any point of calling them and explaining? They are misleading the country with something which was not even agreed to during the UPA government. You are throwing an allegation saying there is a fraud. You did not care for operational preparedness of the air force,” she told PTI in an interview.
The Defence Minister was asked whether the government will engage with Opposition parties the way the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 had taken the Opposition into confidence and addressed their apprehensions to pave way for finalising the nuclear deal with the US.
- GOVT TAKES STEPS TO CHECK CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT AND REIN IN RUPEE
To contain the widening current account deficit (CAD) and check the fall of the rupee, the government on Friday announced specific steps to attract dollars and said that more measures are being planned to smoothen volatility in the financial markets.
After a meeting last evening where Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the economic situation with top Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank of India officials, the government eased overseas borrowing norms for manufacturing companies; removed restrictions on foreign portfolio investors (FPI) investment in corporate bonds and provided tax benefits on Masala bonds.
Masala bonds are rupee-denominated debt securities issued outside India by Indian companies.
India’s CAD jumped to 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2018-19, from 1.9 per cent in March 2018.
Ahead of the meeting after market hours, both the currency and the stock markets witnessed a relief rally on Friday drawing comfort from the fact that the government is looking to address these.
Latest RBI data showed that the forex reserves fell below the $400 billion mark for the first time over the last one year. It stood at $399.2 billion for the week ended September 7, 2018.
- CONG, BJP CONTINUE TO TRADE CHARGES, OVER VIJAY MALLYA
After seeking the resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Vijay Mallya, saying the lookout circular issued by the CBI against the businessman three years ago could not have been downgraded from “detain” at immigration to merely “inform” without the approval of the Prime Minister.
“Why is the Prime Minister shying away from ordering an independent probe in the matter and sacking Jaitley until a probe is completed? Prime Minister Modi’s credibility is at stake today. If the Prime Minister does not act, it will be proved that the chowkidar (watchman) is not just bhagidar (partner) but a gunahgar (culprit) as well,” Congress communication department chief Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
The BJP hit back, saying the Congress’s proximity to Mallya during its regime had already been proved. Alleging that the Congress was close to Mallya, Anil Baluni, the head of the media cell of the BJP, cited several instances including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement in February 2011 that the UPA government would look into ways to salvage Kingfisher Airlines from its crisis.
The BJP alleged the Congress government had eased rules to give relief to Mallya’s Kingfisher company and that Mallya had written to Singh thanking him for what the UPA government had done for him. It also asked whether it was not a fact that both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi had been given first class passenger facilities by Kingfisher. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a victim of ideological bankruptcy,” the statement said.
- INDIA PUSHES US FOR GREEN SIGNAL TO SIGN MISSILE DEAL WITH RUSSIA
India is pushing the Donald Trump administration to execute the certification of the S-400 deal before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India on October 4 and 5, so that New Delhi can go ahead with the signing of the deal without attracting economic sanctions from the United States.
India and Russia are discussing the purchase of S-400 Triumf — NATO calls it SA-21 Growler — which is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.
It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM in the world, considered much ahead of US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
- MANAFORT, TRUMP’S EX-AIDE, PLEADS GUILTY
U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has agreed to plead guilty to two criminal counts as part of a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to federal court documents released on September 14.
Manafort will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Manafort’s decision could be a blow to Mr. Trump, who in August praised his former aide for not entering into an agreement with prosecutors, as the President’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen had.
Writing on Twitter on August 22, Mr. Trump said, “Unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to ‘break’ – make up stories in order to get a ‘deal.’ Such respect for a brave man!”
- ‘ABSURD FOR U.K. TO ACCUSE RUSSIA OF LYING’
The Kremlin on Friday said it was “absurd” for Britain to dismiss as unconvincing an interview with two suspects in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal on British soil.
The comments came a day after Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov denied any involvement in the poisoning of Mr. Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March, telling Russian state TV they had visited as tourists.
British security services had named the two men as main suspects in the case. “Accusing Russia of lying after the declarations of two Russian citizens is… absurd,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“These are ordinary citizens. They have nothing to do with the Russian state,” he added.
The Kremlin responded after Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said the interview contained “lies and blatant fabrications” and called it “an insult to the public’s intelligence”.
- MANOHAR PARRIKAR ILL, BJP MOVES TO GET NEW CM IN GOA
Goa seemed headed for a change of guard with the BJP central leadership expected to send central observers and leaders to the state to monitor political developments and address the leadership issue, BJP sources confirmed Friday, after concerns over Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s health.
Since his return from the US on September 6, Parrikar has not attended office and has been recovering at home, with regular visits to a clinic at Candolim in north Goa. His family admitted him to the clinic Thursday night after he complained of a fever.
Parrikar Friday also called state BJP leaders and alliance ministers to the clinic for a meeting. By evening, ministers were seen walking into the clinic where they were huddled for at least an hour. Parrikar also made efforts to quell rumours of his health concerns by taking a break and visiting his ancestral house in Parra, for Ganesh Chaturthi.
Yesterday’s developments follow allegations by the Congress that they see “difficult times” ahead with a weak leadership affecting the state’s administrative and economic decisions. “He is holding over 90 departments including those of ministries held by other ailing and hospitalised Cabinet ministers. How can this be allowed? We sympathise his health, but this is absolute power. He should be resting, but instead, he is holding charge over everything, refusing to share responsibilities with his own ministers,” said Ramakant Khalap, former union minister of state for law and senior Congress leader.
- KERALA RAPE CASE: CHURCH OUTS PHOTO OF VICTIM WHO ACCUSED BISHOP OF RAPE
KERALA POLICE Friday registered a case against Jalandhar-based Missionaries of Jesus after it issued a media release with a photograph of the nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape.
Kottayam SP Hari Sankar said police registered the case on a complaint from the nun’s brother under Section 228 (A) of the IPC, which deals with disclosure of a rape victim’s identity. Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine said legal action should be taken against those who circulated the photo. “Exemplary action should be taken against those who tried to insult the victim. The commission will also look into this matter,” she said.
The release and the photograph, which shows the complainant sitting beside the bishop and some others at a function three years ago, was issued by the congregation’s public relations officer, Sister Amala. The release stated that the photograph should be published without revealing the complainant’s face and identity, and that the congregation would not be responsible for media violating rules. Sister Amala was not available for comment.
In its press release, the congregation claimed its internal probe had revealed that the allegation against the Bishop was baseless and that the complainant had entered into a “conspiracy with atheists”.
- ‘ON 35A, SEPARATISTS & MAINSTREAM TOGETHER’
Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today said there was “no dividing line between separatists and the mainstream” on the issue of Article 35A.
“We all stand for its protection. There is no line separating anyone from anyone in Kashmir on the issue,” Mehbooba said, a day after an all-party meeting chaired by National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah resolved that the issue be left to an elected government.
The PDP did not take part because “we had already made our stand clear — to stay away from elections as it has been linked to Article 35A. That was avoidable, the government could have taken any other plea”, she said. Article 35A grants special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of the state. “We cannot brook any challenge to it. We don’t want even a comma and full stop to be changed in it. This is part of the agreements between the Centre and the state and now the Centre cannot backtrack from it,” she said emphatically.
The legal challenge to Article 35A, she remarked, has “hurt sentiments of all the people, so where does the question of the separatist line or mainstream line arise? We all are on the same page”.
“When it was linked to the holding of elections, it created a worse situation out of an already bad one,” the former CM added.
- A MAHARASHTRA COURT ORDERS ARREST OF ANDHRA CM IN 2010 CASE
A local magistrate in Nanded distrct of Maharashtra has ordered the arrest of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, a move that has triggered protests by his supporters.
NR Gajbhiye, the Judicial Magistrate from Dharmabad town, issued non-bailable warrants against Naidu and his associates, including several cabinet colleagues. As per the warrant, they are to be produced before the court by Sep 21.
The arrest warrant pertains to a case filed against them in 2010 when Naidu and his associates were holding protests against the Babli project on the Godavari river.
The leaders from the then undivided state of Andhra Pradesh had alleged that the construction of the barrage on the river upstream at Babli in Maharashtra would result in reduction in water supply to areas downstream in the neighbouring state.
Apart from the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, state Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Social Welfare Minister N Anand Babu and former MLA G Kamalakar, who is now with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi have been named in the warrant.
The Telugu Desam Party on Friday alleged that the non-bailable warrant against Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu by a Maharashtra court is ‘politically motivated’ and a ‘conspiracy by the BJP to intimidate the TDP’
Andhra Information Technology Minister and Naidu’s son N Lokesh said his father and the other TDP leaders would appear in the court and would not be cowed down by any ‘antics’
- SC AWARDS RS 50 LAKH TO ISRO EX-SCIENTIST WRONGLY FRAMED IN 1994 SPY SCANDAL
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Kerala Government to pay within eight weeks a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to former ISRO scientist S Nambi Narayanan whose life got ruined after he was falsely implicated in the 1994 ISRO spy scandal.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra set up a three-member panel “to find out ways and means to take appropriate steps against the erring (Kerala Police) officials.” The panel will have one officer each from the Centre and Kerala.
The Bench said the rocket scientist was free to file a civil suit against the state government to claim more compensation.
“The entire prosecution initiated by the state police was malicious and it has caused tremendous harassment and immeasurable anguish to the appellant, said the Bench which had reserved its verdict on July 10 on his petition seeking action against former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews and other police officers who allegedly falsely implicated him in the case.
“The liberty and dignity of the appellant which are basic to his human rights were jeopardized as he was taken into custody and, eventually, despite all the glory of the past, he was compelled to face cynical abhorrence,” the Bench said granting him compensation for “the suffering, anxiety and the treatment” meted out to him that withered away his fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Narayanan (76) had challenged a Kerala High Court verdict that said no action was needed against former DGP Mathews and two retired Superintendents of Police, K K Joshua and S Vijayan for his illegal arrest.
- MILLIONS OUT OF POVERTY BUT GLARING INEQUALITIES IN INDIA: A UN REPORT
India ranks a low 130 out of 189 countries in the latest human development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Programme Friday, with the findings indicating a glaring inequality in the country though “millions have been lifted out of poverty”.
The UNDP report stated that with an HDI value of 0.64 compared to last year’s 0.636, India is categorised as a medium human development and that its rank rose one spot compared to the 2017 HDI.
According to the 2018 findings, between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value increased from 0.427 to 0.640, an almost 50 per cent increase, which is “an indicator that millions have been lifted out of poverty”.
The HDI is the composite measure of every country’s attainment in three basic dimensions: standard of living measured by the gross national income (GNI) per capita, health measured by the life expectancy at birth, and education levels calculated by mean years of education among the adult population and the expected years of schooling for children.
The report states that on an average, people are living longer, are more educated, and have greater income today as is evident in the rise in average HDI levels since 1990 at 22 per cent globally. The least developed countries registered a 51 per cent increase. In keeping with the global trend, in the last 17 years since 1990, India registered a 50 per cent increase.
In this period, life expectancy at birth in the country has increased by 11 years and children have been predicted to stay in school for 4.7 years longer than in 1990. The highest leap has been in India’s GNI per capita which registered a 266 per cent increase between 1990 and 2017.
However, despite the strides made overall, inequality manifests in the “massive differences across the world in people’s well-being” with a child born in a low HDI country expected to live just over 60 years as compared to a very high HDI country where a child could live up to 80 years. Likewise, children in low HDI countries are expected to be in school seven years fewer than children in very high HDI countries.
In what signals the glaring inequality in the country, the HDI value declines by more than a fourth when adjusted for inequality. The value of India’s Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) falls to 0.468, a 26.8 per cent decrease, far worse than the global average decrease in the global HDI value due to inequality at 20 per cent.
- ASIA CUP 2018 KICKS OFF TODAY
Team India under the leadership of their stand-in captain Rohit Sharma has left for Dubai for the upcoming Asia Cup 2018. India are the defending champions of the Asia Cup, which they won in Bangladesh under the leadership of the then captain MS Dhoni. This time around, Dhoni is accompanying the team but only as a member of the squad.
Virat Kohli has been rested by the selectors after the hectic England tour. The Asia Cup 2018, which is back to its 50-overs format this year will be played between six countries namely, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong (qualifier). All the matches, even Hong Kong’s, have been granted one-day international status by the ICC.
The schedule and format of the tournament was announced on 24 July 2018, with the six teams split into two groups of three. The matches will be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Group A – India, Pakistan, Hong Kong
Group B – Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan
The top two teams from each of the groups will then progress to the Super Four section of the tournament.
From there, the top two teams of the Super Four section will then play each other in the final.
Bangladesh will take on Sri Lanka in the opening game of the tournament at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium today.
India take on Hong Kong on Sep 18 and Pakistan on Sep 19. All matches start at 1700 IST
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- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. – Pearl S. Buck
- OFF TRACK
A 16-year-old girl bought herself a very tiny bikini. Very proud she came home and put it on. She then showed her mother how she looked in it. “What do you think mom?” she asked.
Her mother replied, “If I wore that when I was your age, you would have been 5 years older.”