NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2018
- NO FUEL TAX CUT, GOVT TO STICK TO FISCAL DEFICIT TARGET
The government is determined to keep fiscal deficit at 3.3 per cent of GDP on the back of buoyant tax revenues and expectations of surpassing the disinvestment target, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said yesterday, but remained non-committal on cutting tax on petrol and diesel.
A day after steps to contain the widening current account deficit (CAD) and check fall of the rupee were announced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued his two-day review of the economy as he took stock of tax collections and macro-economic indicators in analysing performance of different wings of the Finance Ministry.
Jaitley exuded confidence of surpassing the 7-7.5 per cent GDP growth projected in the Budget, meeting capital expenditure targets, surpassing tax collection projections and exceeding the Rs 1 lakh crore target from stake sale in PSUs.
- PM’S BLUE-EYED CBI MAN LET MALLYA ESCAPE: RAHUL
Congress president Rahul Gandhi today attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of Vijay Mallya escape and alleged the PM’s blue-eyed man in the CBI, AK Sharma, let the fugitive off.
In a caustic tweet, Gandhi wrote: “CBI Jt Director, AK Sharma, weakened Mallya’s “Look Out” (sic) notice, allowing Mallya to escape. “The same officer was in charge of Nirav Modi & Mehul Choksi’s escape plans. Ooops…investigation!”
Gandhi alleged that Sharma, a Gujarat-cadre officer, is the Prime Minister’s blue-eyed-boy in the CBI.
The Congress later alleged that BJP was more loyal to fraudsters than common people and demanded a thorough probe into the escape of 23 fugitives “who fled under PM Modi’s watch”. Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill alleged the government organised the escapes Mallya, Nirav and Choksi.
Defending Sharma, its number three in command, the CBI said the decision to alter the circular was taken at the appropriate level as a part of process and not individually by the officer as alleged.
- J&K: DESPITE BOYCOTT BY NC, PDP, CIVIC POLL DATES OUT
Five days after the PDP said it would not contest the municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Electoral Officer of the state Saturday announced the schedule for the elections.
The National Conference had said earlier on September 5 that it would not participate unless the Centre cleared its position on Article 35A, which extends constitutional protection to Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Voting for the municipal elections, which will take place in the state after 13 years, will be held in four phases, on October 8, 10, 13 and 16, Chief Electoral Officer Shaleen Kabra told a news conference Saturday evening. Votes will be counted on October 20, and the election process will be completed on October 27. With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into place, Kabra said.
The dates for the panchayat elections, scheduled for November, will be announced today. The State Election Commission was keen to separate the urban local body elections from the panchayat polls to allow for the security structure to switch from the urban to the rural areas.
- GOA CM PARRIKAR IN AIIMS, ALLY MGP SAYS TIME HE HANDS OVER CHARGE
As Goa CM Manohar Parrikar took a special chartered flight for Delhi to be admitted at AIIMS for treatment after a meeting with Assembly Speaker Pramod Sawant and Dy Speaker Michael Lobo on Saturday morning, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), an ally in the BJP-led government in the state, said it is “high time” he hands over charge to the senior most minister.
After meeting Parrikar, Lobo told the media, “Portfolios will be distributed today to existing ministers so that the administration can run smoothly and ministers can take decisions on any files. He (Parrikar) will distribute 48 portfolios, but will keep two or three like Home, Finance, GAD for himself.”
But stating that the government has not been able to function smoothly in the last eight months, MGP president Deepak Dhavalikar said, “It is high time Parrikar hands over charge to the seniormost minister for smooth functioning of the government.”
But Goa Forward Party chief and state Agriculture minister Vijai Sardesai counterterned Dhavalikar. “Everything that MGP wants need not happen. In an alliance, decisions are taken collectively…. Why should charge be given now? Parrikar is running the govt, and there is no vacancy,” he said.
- US CALLS UN MEETING ON NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
The US has called an urgent meeting of the UNSC for Monday in response to what it says are efforts by some nations “to undermine and obstruct” sanctions against North Korea.
The US Mission announced that the meeting will “discuss the implementation and enforcement of UN sanctions on North Korea.” The mission didn’t name any countries, but US Ambassador Nikki Haley has accused Russia of pressuring an independent panel of UN experts to alter a report on North Korea sanctions that included alleged violations “implicating Russian actors”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said talks with North Korea over the country’s potential denuclearisation are going on . “We are continuing to have many conversations with the DPRK about how to effectuate achieving commitments made at the Singapore summit.”
- POPE FRANCIS EXPELS CHILEAN PRIEST ACCUSED OF CHILD SEX ABUSE
Pope Francis on Saturday expelled a Chilean priest under investigation in a case involving the sexual abuse of children, according to a report by local media on Saturday, amid a growing global abuse scandal that has shaken the Roman Catholic Church. The Archdiocese of Santiago said the Pope had decided to defrock the Reverend Cristian Precht, local daily El Mercurio reported.
Precht was a former head of the Church’s Vicariate of Solidarity human rights group that in the 1980s had challenged ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet to end the practice of torture in Chile.
The well-known Chilean religious leader has since been accused of sexual abuse as part of the investigation into allegations against members of the Marist Brothers religious community.
- PARIS, BRUSSELS CALL FOR CAR-FREE DAY IN EUROPE
Europe should hold an annual car-free day in a bid to ease air pollution, the mayors of Paris and Brussels said on Saturday on the eve of a vehicle-free day in their cities.
The call came in a joint statement by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her counterpart in Brussels, Philippe Close, in which the two pointed to “the urgency of climate issues and the health impact of pollution”.
Both capitals will on Sunday hold their annual car-free day as part of the European Heritage Days 2018, a weekend of cultural events staged every year in countries throughout the bloc.
- J&K: FIVE MILITANTS KILLED IN SOUTH KASHMIR, CIVILIAN SHOT DURING PROTESTS
The Jammu and Kashmir Police and Army killed five militants in a joint operation in south Kashmir Saturday. Later, a civilian was killed after the forces fired on youths protesting the killing of the militants.
J&K Police said the militants were involved in the killing of policemen in South Kashmir, and described the operation as a “huge success for the police and security forces”. The operation began Friday night, when a joint team of the police, Army and paramilitary forces cordoned off Chowgam village of Kulgam after inputs about the presence of militants.
Soon after the killing of the militants, people took to the streets in Chowgam and its adjoining villages, and clashed with police and paramilitary forces. A civilian was killed and over 20 were injured after the joint forces opened fire and fired pellets at the protesters.
- BJP TO GO IT ALONE IN TELANGANA POLLS
Sounding the poll bugle, BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday said, “The party will contest all 119 Telangana state Assembly seats on its own.”
In Hyderabad to formally launch the party’s poll campaign at a public meeting in Mahabubnagar, 110 km from here, he said, “The TRS has forced an early election after supporting the one nation, one election concept. The BJP will now contest the polls on its own with full force.”
- GUJARAT GOVT BRINGS MOB LYNCHING UNDER IPC SECTION 153(A)
The Gujarat govt on Saturday announced that mob lynching would be considered a “serious offence” and any action that provokes such killings would be covered under Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, entailing a jail term of three years. Police commissioners and superintendents of police would be made nodal officers in such cases in their respective area “and it would be their responsibility to control incidents of this nature”, a release issued by the government stated.
The release also stated that the IPC section 153 (A) would also cover spread of fake news on social media or any other channel/medium, provocative speeches, provocative or objectionable literature/writings that could hurt sentiments.
The BJP government also said it was acting on the July 17 directive of the Supreme Court order in the Tehseen Poonawala vs Union of India case in which the apex court stated that nobody has the right to take law in their hands in the name of cow protection or compassion to animals or any other reason. The three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud had also asked Parliament to frame a special law to tackle the problems posed by vigilante squads.
Gujarat has witnessed one case of mob lynching in recent months when a woman, suspected to be a child lifter, was beaten to death on June 26 in Ahmedabad.
- RAPE-ACCUSED BISHOP HANDS OVER CHARGE, TO JOIN KERALA POLICE PROBE
On September 13, the day the Kerala Police issued a notice to Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal to appear before it for questioning on September 19, he issued a circular, delegating administrative responsibility of the Jalandhar diocese in his absence to a senior priest in Amritsar.
Confirming the circular issued to all the churches under the diocese, Father Peter Kavumpuram, the Public Relations Officer of the Jalandhar diocese, however, said it was a “routine practice” to “hand over charge of diocese to any senior father whenever the bishop goes out”.
“The Bishop has neither resigned from his post nor has he appointed anyone as Bishop. He has just handed over the charge in his absence to the senior-most father, Monsignor Mathew Kokkandum, who is First Vicar General under the Diocese of Jalandhar and director of the St. Francis School of Amritsar,” said Kavumpuram.
The circular issued by the Bishop reads: “As you have probably come to know from the media the investigation into the allegations raised against me there are several contradictions in the evidences collected against me as per the report of the police. It is reported that I am likely to be called for further clarifications by the Investigating Officer in Kerala. In my absence, Msgr. Mathew Kokkandam will administer the diocese as in the normal practice when I am away from the diocese. I request you to continue to pray for me and for the alleged victim and her supporters who have come out against me so that divine intervention may bring about change of heart and the truth of the matter may be revealed…”
- A NIGHT OF TENSION IN JNU, COUNTING DELAYED, POLICE AT GATE
At the end of a day marked by allegations of rigging in the JNU students’ polls, which led to the counting of votes being stalled for over 14 hours, the campus remained on the boil till late in the night, with the area DCP, three ACPs, five inspectors and two companies of the CRPF being stationed at the gate.
Earlier in the day, the ABVP had alleged that the Election Committee was attempting to “rig” the polls. Late at night, messages started doing the rounds that a student outfit had rounded up its activists from Delhi University and was heading to JNU with “lathis and weapons”. Police, however, asked the public to “resist rumours”.
There were more WhatsApp messages, asking JNU students to gather outside different Schools on the campus to ward off any possible violence. Former JNUSU general secretary Satarupa Chakraborty alleged she and three others were beaten up by unidentified men, after they went to file a police complaint at Vasant Kunj North police station. She had gone to file a complaint over a clash between the SFI and ABVP earlier in the day.
- J&J TELLS COURT: DAMAGES CLAIMS BY INDIA VICTIMS ‘UNDUE’, FILED ONLY AFTER $2.5-BN US SETTLEMENT
While the lawsuits filed in the country’s top consumer court against Johnson & Johnson for its faulty hip implants drag on, the firm’s main defence in at least two such cases has been that the demands of Indian patients are “unreasonable and undue” as they approached the forum after getting to know of a $2.5 billion settlement by the firm in the United States a year earlier.
In the US, the hip implant class action law suit against the pharma major began in 2011. Two years later, in 2013, the firm agreed to pay an estimated $2.5 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits from affected patients.
In response to a petition filed by 52-year-old Jyoti Sharma, who moved the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in 2016 suing Johnson & Johnson for Rs 2 crore in damages, the firm filed an affidavit in July 2016 before the consumer court saying, “On failing to approach this honourable commission in time, the complainant has sought to now approach this forum as afterthought and with a view to make unreasonable, undue and wrongful windfall gains probably after getting to know about the USA settlement programme of Johnson & Johnson,” states the affidavit filed by the company in India.
- WAS ALI CALLED ‘OSAMA’ BY OZ CRICKETER?
After the revelation by England cricketer Moeen Ali that an Australian player called him “Osama” during the Ashes series in 2015, Cricket Australia is set to follow up on the allegation.
Ali made the allegation in his autobiography, which is being serialised in London’s Times newspaper. Ali wrote of the apparent reference to Osama bin Laden: “It was a great first Ashes Test in terms of my personal performance. However there was one incident which had distracted me.”
“An Australian player… turned to me on the field and said, ‘Take that, Osama’,” Ali wrote. “I could not believe what I had heard. I remember going really red. I have never been so angry on a cricket field. I told a couple of the guys what the player had said to me and I think (England coach) Trevor Bayliss must have raised it with Darren Lehmann, the Australians’ coach.”
“Lehmann asked the player, ‘Did you call Moeen ‘Osama’? He denied it, saying, ‘No, I said: ‘Take that, you part-timer’,” Ali’s book says, according to the excerpt. “… obviously I had to take the player’s word for it, though for the rest of the match I was angry,” writes Ali.
Ali, who scored 92 runs and took five wickets as England won the match on their way to a series triumph, said he spoke to the Australian player at the end of the series and received another denial that he had used the word “Osama”.
A Cricket Australia official said today that the body would seek “further clarification” from the England and Wales Cricket Board “as a matter of urgency”. “Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and have no place in our sport, or in society,” the official told Cricket Australia’s website. “We have a clear set of values and behaviours that comes with representing our country. We take this matter very seriously…”
- AUS READY TO DISCUSS INDIA’S REQUEST FOR EXTRA WARM-UP GAMES
Cricket Australia has responded positively to India coach Ravi Shastri’s request for more warm-up matches ahead of their Test series Down Under later this year.
India only had one practice match ahead of their recent Test series against England — which they lost 1-4 — and Shastri believes his side would be better prepared to tackle Australia if more red-ball cricket was scheduled prior to the first Test in Adelaide starting December 6.
India are slated to tour Australia for three T20Is, four Test matches and three ODIs from November 21 to January 18. India were beaten 2-0 in the four-Test series on their last tour of Australia in 2014-15.
- ERRATIC INDIA SHOCKED 2-1 BY MALDIVES, LOSE SAFF FOOTBALL CROWN
Poor finishing and scrappy defending put paid to India’s quest for an eighth South Asian Football Federation Cup title as they suffered a 1-2 defeat against Maldives in the summit clash.
India, the defending champions, largely dominated the match with better ball possession and more shots at the opposition goal but the Maldives team scored from the few chances it got to lift the winners’ trophy for the second time. Maldives had also won the title in 2008 edition which they co-hosted.
Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain and Ali Fasir scored in the 19th and 66th minutes, respectively, for Maldives against the run of play. Sumeet Passi (90+2 minute) pulled one back for India in the second minute of the injury time at the Bangabandhu Stadium, in Dhaka.
India, fielding an U-23 side except for one player, were chasing their 8th triumph in 12 editions and their third back-to-back title.
- ASIA CUP OPENER: BANGLADESH THRASH SRI LANKA
Mushfiqur Rahim’s superb hundred complemented by a collective effort from the bowlers saw Bangladesh thrash Sri Lanka by 137 runs despite Lasith Malinga’s brilliant comeback in the Asia Cup opener on Saturday.
Mushfiqur scored a career-best 144 off 150 balls for his sixth ODI hundred as Bangladesh scored 261 in 49.3 overs after opting to bat. Save the 133-run stand with Mohammed Mithun (63) for the third wicket, the former skipper didn’t get any assistance whatsoever from other Bangladesh batsmen as the wily Malinga showed that he is still a force to reckon with.
Malinga, whose last ODI was against India in a home series in September 2017, took 4/ 23 on his return.
Chasing 262 for victory, Sri Lanka suffered a batting collapse with none of their batsmen showing intent to stay at the crease as they were all out for 124 in 35.2 overs. This was Sri Lanka’s lowest ODI total versus Bangladesh.
- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. – Khalil Gibran
- OFF TRACK
An annoyingly self-righteous man went to the doctor for a check-up. He said, “I feel terrible. Please examine me and tell me what’s wrong with me.”
“Let’s begin with a few questions,” said the doctor. “Do you drink much?”
“Alcohol?” said the man. “I’m a teetotaller. Never touch a drop.”
“How about smoking?” asked the doctor.
“Never,” replied the man. “Tobacco is bad and I have strong principles against it.”
“Well, uh,” asked the doctor, “do you have much of a sex life?”
“Oh, no,” said the man. “Sex is sin. I’m in bed by 10:30 every night… always have been.”
The doctor paused, looked at the man hard, and asked, “Well, do you have pains in your head?”
“Yes,” said the man. “I have terrible pains in my head.”
“OK,” said the doctor. “That’s your trouble. Your halo is on too tight.”