NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2018
- INDIA, PAK AGREE TO FOLLOW CEASEFIRE ON LoC IN LETTER AND SPIRIT
Signalling a significant step forward in the thawing of relations between India and Pakistan, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two armies spoke on the hotline and “agreed to fully implement the Ceasefire Understanding of 2003 in letter and spirit forthwith” on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
As per nearly identical statements issued by both sides, the two top military officials Pakistani DGMO Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and his Indian counterpart Lt General Anil Chauhan spoke at 6 pm Tuesday and agreed “to ensure that henceforth the Ceasefire will not be violated by both sides.” And “in case of any issue, restraint will be exercised and the matter will be resolved through utilisation of existing mechanisms of Hotline Contacts and Border Flag Meetings at Local Commanders’ Level.”
The announcement reinstating the ceasefire on the LoC follows recent “signs of positivity” between the two countries, as mentioned last week, by Ajay Bisaria, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.
The LoC ceasefire was first announced by Pakistan on November 26, 2003 and immediately reciprocated by India. With minor violations, the ceasefire had largely held on until the situation on the LoC worsened in the winter of 2016, following the surgical strikes by Indian Army on terror launch pads across the LoC.
In the last hotline talks held between the two DGMOs on April 27, Lt General Chauhan had told his counterpart that firing by Indian troops is only carried out on the LoC in response to support given by the Pakistan Army to armed terrorists, who infiltrate across the border and target Indian Army posts. “The onus of de-escalation along the LoC rests with Pakistan Army provided they stop supporting terrorists and put an end to unprovoked ceasefire violations to abet infiltration,” the Indian DGMO had then said as per an official MoD statement.
- SEPARATISTS: READY FOR DIALOGUE IF PAKISTAN IS PART OF PROCESS
Joint separatist leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik Tuesday expressed their willingness to join a dialogue on Kashmir if Pakistan was involved in the process. In a joint statement, the separatist leadership said: “…this dispute has three stakeholders — India, Pakistan and people of this land (J&K). The meaningful talks, based on a clear agenda, (and) underlined by sincerity among all the three stakeholders, is an assured and peaceful way to resolve the conflict of Kashmir.” “Absence of any one stake holder in the process will not yield any solution.”
This comes just days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was ready to hold dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference if the separatists come forward for talks.
This time, the separatist amalgam have not demanded declaration of Kashmir as “disputed” and withdrawal of troops, as a pre-condition for talks.
The separatists have, however, called the Centre’s offer for talks as “unclear and ambiguous”. “Let the Government of India give clarity on what it wants to talk about and speak in one language, we are ready to join the process,” the joint statement said.
Terming the statements from New Delhi “contradictory”, it said: “A few days back Rajnath Singh said that they are ready to talks to Pakistan and Hurriyat, to which (External Affairs Minister) Suhsma Swaraj added riders and caveats. Then Amit Shah put out his clarifications… All this ambiguity leaves little room to consider the talk seriously.”
- BJP’S AMBITIOUS MASS CONTACT PROGRAM
BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday knocked on the doors of former army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag and former Lok Sabha secretary-general Subhash Kashyap, launching the party’s ambitious contact programme for the 2019 parliamentary polls.
Shah first met Suhag at his home in Delhi Cantonment and handed him a booklet and a pen drive outlining the achievements of the Narendra Modi government. The BJP leader then drove to Gurgaon to meet Kashyap, regarded as a constitutional expert.
The drive named “Sampark for Samarthan (contact for support)” is a door-to-door campaign to seek support for Modi’s re-election. Shah said the plan was to approach every voter before the Lok Sabha polls next year.
“Four thousand elected representatives of the BJP will contact 1 lakh eminent personalities from various fields such as art and culture, retired defence personnel, religious leaders, etc. Apart from this, 50 lakh elected representatives of the BJP will knock at every house in the country,” Shah said after meeting Kashyap.
- RE-POLL AT 123 STATIONS TODAY
The Election Commission has ordered re-polling at 73 polling stations in Kairana (UP) and 49 in Bhandara-Gondiya (Maharashtra) parliamentary constituencies on Wednesday. Fresh voting at one polling station for the Nagaland parliamentary seat will also take place today.
The move comes after a controversy over alleged faulty EVMs and VVPAT machines during bypolls to Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies across 10 states on Monday.
- INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
- MH370 FAMILIES AWAIT REPORT AS SEARCH ENDS FOR MISSING PLANE
Malaysia’s new government has promised to release a long-awaited report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as a privately funded underwater search ended on Tuesday.
Flight MH370, carrying 239 persons, vanished en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, becoming one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
The government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last week that US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity, which had scoured the southern Indian Ocean for the aircraft since January, would end its hunt on Tuesday.
Malaysia’s transport minister, Anthony Loke, said a full report into MH370’s disappearance would be published in the near future, but he did not give a date. “I can assure you the final report will be published with full disclosure. There will not be any edits, or anything hidden,” he told reporters late on Monday. Asked whether the report would refer to controversial elements of the MH370 case, he said: “To me, whatever elements, we will just publish it”.
- KIM’S TOP NEGOTIATOR TO VISIT US TO DISCUSS SUMMIT
A senior North Korean official is headed to New York for talks with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, the latest indication that an on-again-offagain meet between President Trump and Kim Jong-un may go ahead next month.
“We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea,” Trump said in a Twitter post on Tuesday. “Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young (sic) Chol, the vice chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!”
Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee and former head of a top North Korean military intelligence agency, will meet with Pompeo later this week, the White House said.
The North Korean envoy was scheduled to fly to the US on Wednesday after speaking to Chinese officials in Beijing. The talks show that planning for the summit is moving ahead after Trump called it off last week.
- THE REST
- NITISH SPRINGS SPECIAL STATUS ACHE ON BJP
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday revived the demand for special status for his state while his party colleagues made it clear they shouldn’t be taken for granted, indicating a churn in Janata Dal United-BJP ties ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections.
The JDU leaders said they would launch a protest and spoke of “disagreements” and “frustration” with the big brother, but rejected any suggestion of quitting the National Democratic Alliance.
“We will remain with the NDA. We will not do a Chandrababu Naidu,” JDU secretary-general K.C. Tyagi said.
“But our demand should be considered. The BJP had supported this demand in the past and now the Narendra Modi government should fulfil it,” Tyagi added, asked if the fresh demand now indicated his party’s restiveness in the run-up to the polls.
Earlier in the day, Nitish had set the tone with a two-page note on Twitter addressed to the 15th Finance Commission, arguing why Bihar needed “special and differentiated treatment”.
The tweet came days after RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav accused the chief minister of forgetting the issue of special status after rejoining the NDA. Tejashwi said Nitish had made special status his “pet political mileage cow”.
- PRESIDENT RAM NATH KOVIND REJECTS FIRST MERCY PLEA
President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the mercy petition of murder convict Jagat Rai whose death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court almost five years ago.
This is the first mercy petition to be decided by President Kovind.
Along with his accomplices, Jagat Rai was convicted of killing five children and the wife of one Vijendra Mahato by setting their house on fire while they were fast asleep on the night of January 1, 2006 at Rampur Shyamchand village in Vaishali district of Bihar.
In September 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Rai, ruling that the gravity of offence was such that this case fell into the category of “rarest of rare” cases.
Rai’s mercy petition was sent last year to then President Pranab Mukherjee who could not, however, take any decision since the process to elect the 14th President had been initiated.
By the time he demitted office last July, President Mukherjee had decided on 34 mercy pleas — he rejected 30 and, in four cases, granted pardon. His record of rejecting mercy pleas is second only to President R Venkataraman (1987-92) who declined 45 mercy pleas.
- NO CANTT ROAD CLOSURE WITHOUT MOD APPROVAL
In a fresh turn of events on the issue of closure of roads within military cantonments, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has told the armed forces that no road can be closed for civilian use without sanction from the ministry.
Ex-servicemen have flayed Defence Minister’s directions to open all roads in cantonments across the country, saying it poses a major security risk to sensitive installations.
“After the Sunjuwan attack, the minister had set a 10-month deadline for improving security in military stations and sanctioned Rs 1,487 cr for perimeter security. Now she has authored removal of perimeter itself,” said Brig KS Kahlon (retd), president, All India Defence Brotherhood, Punjab.
- NIRAV MODI JEWELLERY ESTIMATED AT LESS THAN 30 PER CENT OF BOOK VALUE
An independent valuation of the jewellery and pearls seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from the firms and residence of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi has pegged its value at over Rs 485 crore, which is just 27 per cent of the book value of about Rs 1,780 crore declared by Modi’s firms.
The investigative agencies probing Modi for the alleged Rs 6,498 crore fraudulent transactions at the state-owned PNB are now of the view that the firms owned by the jeweller may have inflated the value of jewellery in their account books.
With the completion of the independent valuation of the jewellery, the total assets attached by ED in the case of Modi alone stands at about Rs 1,175 crore. This includes attached immovable properties and funds in bank accounts adding up to Rs 690 crore.
- CBI BOOKS AIR ASIA CEO FOR CORRUPTION
The CBI has booked Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get international licence for its Indian venture Air Asia India Ltd.
Along with Fernandes, Tharumalingam Kanagalingam also known as Bo Lingam, former Deputy Group CEO of Malaysia-based Air Asia Berhad, and R Venkataramanan, Director Air Asia India Ltd, Bengaluru, besides companies Air Asia India Pvt Ltd and Air Asia Berhad, have also been named as accused in the case.
- SOME BEGIN TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST STERLITE CLOSURE
The scientific community has slammed as a “knee-jerk reaction” the Tamil Nadu government’s order on Monday to “permanently” close Vedanta’s 22-year-old copper plant at Tuticorin, following last week’s protests that left over a dozen people dead in police firing.
Almost all political parties have, however, welcomed the closure.
Dr. Sridhar Ramamurthy, a senior scientist at Canada’s Ontario University who is originally from Tamil Nadu, says that the Sterlite agitation was a “broad plot” against Tamil Nadu’s development.
N.P. Iyer, an 82-year-old metallurgist, pointed out that copper was a very important metal and India produced only 5 per cent of the global requirement from three of its plants, including Sterlite. “Already, we have been importing substantially and we will be forced to import more now, thanks to the Sterlite closure,” he said, adding he was certain that the decision to close the plant had been taken “in haste”.
- ALL EYES ON CASH AS BANKS STRIKE BEGINS
A two-day nation-wide bank strike which kicked off this morning could trigger a country-wide cash crunch, said C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). “People will start withdrawing money, creating a panic situation and many ATMs could go dry,” he said.
Of the around 2.20 lakh ATMs in the country, some are outsourced. Though there may be cash in the ATMs, customers tend to panic in the event of strike and withdraw large sums of money. Banking operations, intra-government transactions, transaction clearances, import bills, among other transactions will be impacted over the 48-hour period.
Those who bank with ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, YES Bank and IndusInd Bank will not be impacted by the strike. These five banks have no trade unions and hence won’t participate in the two-day strike called by around nine bank unions.
- BLOCKCHAIN TECH TO CURB PESKY CALLS, TEXTS, SAY TRAI DRAFT NORMS
Telecom regulator Trai on Tuesday issued new draft norms to curb pesky calls and SMSes by using blockchain technology to ensure that telemarketing messages are sent only to those who have subscribed to them, and that too by authorised entities.
“Blockchain will ensure two things — non-repudiative and confidentiality. Only those authorised to access details will be able to access subscriber details and only when they need to deliver service… Trai will become first organisation to implement this kind of regulation,” TRAI Chairman RS Sharma told reporters.
The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2018 draft will be open for public comment till June 11. The new technology-based norms will record all communication between subscribers and entities, capturing customer consent for information and authorised telemarketing agencies.
Trai Secretary SK Gupta said: “It is learnt that many telemarketing firms get registered with telecom companies to obtain subscriber details. The new system will give access to only authorised agencies at the time they need to deliver service and details of only those subscribers who have agreed to receive the message. “The digital record will show entire communication between entries involved.”
- FRENCH OPEN, DAY 3: NEW MUM SERENA GETS INTO THE GROOVE; NADAL FIGHTS PAST AGGRESSIVE BOLELLI
Dressed in a skintight, all-in-one black bodysuit, broken up by a vivid scarlet belt, Serena Williams yesterday captivated the French crowd during her first match in this French Open. She beat Krystina Pliskova 7-6(4) 6-4.
The last time the American had appeared in a Grand Slam tournament was at the Australian Open in 2017, when she won it while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia.
This time there was a little rust to shake off — she only gave birth in September — and she didn’t quite move as when at her best. But Serena was too strong, too good, simply too Serena for her world 70-ranked opponent.
It was a match-up that, in some respects, made a mockery of statistics. The American started the match ranked 9,999th in the race to the annual season-ender. Pliskova sits 52nd. But in the data that counts, Serena is a giant of the tennis court. Her haul of 23 Grand Slam singles crowns beats Steffi Graf’s total by one, and is just one shy of Margaret Court’s record 24.
Rafa Nadal resisted a spirited show of aggressive groundstroke hitting by lucky loser Simone Bolelli as he launched his campaign for an eleventh crown on the terre battue of Roland Garros with 6-4 6-3 7-6(9) victory.
- TOSS STAYS
Toss will remain the fundamental starting point of a Test match as the Anil Kumble-led Cricket Committee of the ICC decided against abolishing the spin of coin in the game’s traditional format, calling it an “integral part of the narrative”, here on Tuesday. Led by the former India captain, the committee made a slew of recommendations with regards to poor player behaviour, and urged ICC to take tough measures and restore the “culture of respect” among competing teams and its players. It also called for greater sanctions for indulging in ball tampering.
However, one of the primary points of discussion was whether to do away with the toss (visiting team getting the right to choose) in order to minimise the home advantage during Test matches. “The committee discussed whether the toss should be automatically awarded to the visiting team but felt that it was an integral part of Test cricket which forms part of the narrative of the game,” ICC said in a press release.
However, the committee, also comprising former international captains such as Mike Gatting, Mahela Jayawardene, current international coach Mike Hesson (New Zealand) and former Australia opener and match referee David Boon, agreed that host nations should prepare quality pitches.
Sensex 34,949 (-216), Nifty 10,633 (-56), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 30,346
Nasdaq 7,397 (-37) Dow 24,361 (-392), S&P 2,690 (-31)
US$-Rs. 67.72 GBP-Rs. 89.87, Euro-Rs. 78.36, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.43, Can$-Rs. 52.05, Aus$- Rs. 50.92
GBP 0.75 /US$, Euro 0.86 /US$, Jap.Yen 108.80 /US$, Aus$ 1.32 /US$, Sing 1.34 /US$, Bang Taka 83.42 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 3.98 /US$,
Pak Re 115.46 /US$, Phil Peso 52.61 /US$, Russian Rouble 62.58 /US$, NZ$ 1.44 /US$, Thai Baht 32.03 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.00 /US$
Bitcoin – USD 7,283
Dollar Index 94.78 Brent Crude 74.94 BDI 1077
Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,299 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3170 / 2990, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,100
- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it. – Seneca
- OFF TRACK
With all the new technology regarding fertility recently, a 65-year-old woman was able to give birth. When she was discharged from the hospital and went home, a friend went to visit her.
“May I see the new baby?” the friend asked
“Not yet,” the new mother said. ‘I’ll make coffee first.”
Thirty minutes had passed, and the friend asked, “May I see the new baby now?”
“No, not yet,” She said.
Growing impatient, the friend asked, “Well, when can I see the baby?”
“WHEN HE CRIES!” she said.
“WHEN HE CRIES?’ the friend demanded. ‘Why do I have to wait until he CRIES?”
“BECAUSE I FORGOT WHERE I PUT HIM, OK?!!!”