Newsletter 11th June, 2018





More than a year after boycotting the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, India Sunday again refused to endorse the ambitious Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). New Delhi was the lone dissenting voice against the project in the joint declaration that was signed Sunday following the conclusion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Qingdao, China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the ground for India’s opposition to the project during his plenary speech when he said that India welcomed connectivity projects that respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.

After the two-day SCO summit, the eight full members signed the Qingdao joint declaration but India was missing from the section that referred to the BRI. “The Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan reaffirm their support for the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ proposed by China and affirm that all parties should implement the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ to promote the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative,” stated the declaration.

The BRI, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes. India has staunchly opposed the project citing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – an important part of the BRI – that goes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Citing its opposition to the CPEC, India had skipped the Belt and Road Forum in May last year, which 29 state heads had attended.





Paving the way for private sector professionals to take part in policy making and implementation of government programmes, the Centre on Sunday invited applications for 10 joint secretary-level posts in several departments through lateral entry. The joint secretary post is usually filled through exams conducted by the UPSC.

An advertisement published in leading newspapers on Sunday mentioned the government was looking for 10 “outstanding individuals”, even from the private sector, with expertise in the areas of revenue, financial services, economic affairs, agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, road transport and highway, SHIPPING, environment, forests and climate change, new and renewable energy, civil aviation and commerce.

However, the move has come under severe criticism from the opposition, with Congress leader PL Punia calling it a ploy to induct people with RSS leanings who would then influence government decisions.

Bihar Leader of Opposition and RJD member Tejashwi Yadav said the government had made a joke out of the Constitution and slammed the moved as a violation of the statute. “”How can this Manuvadi government sideline the UPSC and appoint whoever they like to important posts like joint secretaries without conducting exams? This is a violation of the constitution and reservation. Tomorrow they will appoint a PM and cabinet without conducting elections. They have made a joke out of the constitutions,” Tejashwi tweeted.

Seconding Punia, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the move was an attempt to include ‘sanghis’ in the administrative ranks. “Why are time-tested UPSC and SSC being sought to be undermined? To fill IAS ranks with Sanghis and undermine reservation too, in the BJP’s last few months in office,” Yechury tweeted.

Countering the charges, Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said the decision was an endeavour to get the best from whichever source available.





Congress’ attempts at forging new anti-BJP alliances in states are beginning to cause anxiety among various sections in the party.

At a time when the party is pursuing a pre-election pact with BSP chief Mayawati in Madhya Pradesh, veteran Congress leader Anil Shastri has cautioned against the move.

“Allying with the BSP in Madhya Pradesh will be suicidal for the Congress. It will only benefit the BSP at our cost. We will gain nothing out of it. The move will damage us immensely,” Shastri said.

Shastri said the Congress should seek alliances only in states where it could not go alone.  There should be no alliance in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, he said. “These are the states where the Congress is strong by itself and must go alone in a bipolar contest with the BJP,” he said.

Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot has also spoken of the need for the party to go it alone in the year-end state elections though some party leaders are advocating a pact with the BSP in Rajasthan also.

In Kerala, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has bartered the lone party seat in the Rajya Sabha with Kerala Congress (Mani) in return for the latter’s promise to return to the UDF fold in the state. Local Congress leaders are fretting over the move.

In Karnataka, where the Congress and the JDS managed to form a government and even declare a pre-LS poll tie-up, dissensions are brewing among Congress ranks over portfolio allocation. This has made local Congress MLAs vulnerable to BJP’s machinations.

AICC in charge of Punjab Asha Kumari and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Makan have already openly rejected AAP as the party’s alliance partner saying the Congress is strong by itself in both states.

In Haryana, where the INLD and the BSP have reached an understanding for the General Election, veteran Congress MLA Kuldeep Sharma says the party can never ever ally with the INLD.

History shows the party was jutted out by the very outfits it propped in major states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.





BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday asserted that the SC/ST Act and the reservation in jobs would remain in force till the party-led government was in power.

He said the election season would kick in soon and the Congress would use the opportunity to spread “lies” about the Modi government. “In the coming days, the Congress will spread lies to mislead people. Sometimes they will say the SC/ST Act is being abolished; on other occasions, they will say the reservation (system) is being scrapped.

The BJP chief was addressing a public rally in Chhattisgarh, which goes to the polls by the year-end.

He hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for seeking an account of the work done by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in the past four years, but not speaking about the 55 years the Congress ruled the country.








Having left the Group of Seven summit in Canada early, US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was backing out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on the trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” Trump tweeted.

In his press conference, Trudeau had spoken of retaliatory measures that Canada would take next month in response to Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the EU. “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau, the host of the two-day summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, told reporters.

Germany continued to support the “jointly agreed communique” despite Trump’s decision to back away, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement on Sunday. In Paris, a French presidency official said France and Europe stood by the G7 communique and anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their “incoherence and inconsistency”.

Trump’s salvo capped a dizzying two days of controversies that began with his suggestion Russia be readmitted to the G7, then what a French official described as a “rant” full of “recriminations” against US trading partners, followed by Trump’s denial of any contention with leaders at the summit and his description of their relationship as a “10.”

By ordering his representatives to back out of the communique, Trump appeared to be asserting his oft-stated aim of upsetting the status quo whether by pulling out of the climate accord or the nuclear deal with Iran or threats to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement.

US President “destroyed” Washington’s trusting relationship with Europe by pulling out of a joint communique, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted “You can destroy an incredible amount of trust very quickly in a tweet. That makes it all the more important that Europe stands together and defends its interests. “Europe United is the answer to America First,” Maas posted









Days after former President Pranab Mukherjee made his maiden address at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the organisation may project Mukherjee as a prime ministerial candidate in case the BJP falls short of a majority in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

While claiming that the motive behind the RSS inviting the former president would be clear only after next year’s general elections, Raut said, “The scenario prevalent in the country is such that the BJP will not win a majority in 2019. If there is a fractured mandate and other parties do not support Modi, Mukherjee will be projected as a prime ministerial candidate who will be acceptable to all.”

Reacting to the Shiv Sena leader’s remarks, Congress veteran’s daughter, Sharmistha Mukherjee posted on Twitter: “Mr. Raut, after retiring as President of India, my father is NOT going to enter into active politics again.”





Fifteen people have been arrested overnight for the lynching of two young sightseers in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district on Friday, 10 more for allegedly spreading hate messages and a teenaged boy over “fake news” about child kidnappers on Facebook. The arrests came amid violent protests against the lynchings – which were triggered apparently by suspicion that the duo were child kidnapers – in various parts of the state and the “exodus” of Karbi Anglong natives from neighbouring Nagaon district, fearing attacks.

Seventeen people, including seven policemen, were injured in Guwahati on Sunday as a march by 2,000 people protesting the lynchings erupted in violence.

A mob of 200 to 250 people in Panijuri village had allegedly beaten to death Nilotpal Das, 29, and Abhijit Nath, 30, who had arrived from Guwahati to see a nearby waterfall, on Friday night. Officers have blamed the killings on “fake news” circulating across social media for the past few days about child kidnappers from outside Assam being on the prowl across the state.





After drawing flak for two decisions — a proposed cut in award money for Gold Coast CWG medallists and asking sportspersons employed with state government to deposit one-third of their income from professional sports or commercial endorsements with the State Sports Council — the BJP government in Haryana is all set to take a U-turn.

State Sports and Youth Affairs minister Anil Vij Sunday said all 22 CWG medallists will be given cash prizes without any deduction. In another bid to placate the sports fraternity, he announced that Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has cleared the file pertaining to “out-of-turn appointments” to be given to 207 sportspersons who won medals in international competitions during the tenure of previous as well as the present state government.

After the government proposed a cut in the award money for CWG medallists employed with units like Railways and Services, several of the athletes had threatened to boycott a mega function the state government had planned in April to award the medallists. Fearing boycott and further embarrassment, the state government cancelled the felicitation ceremony.





A panel headed by a former Kerala High Court Judge has indicted the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, for various “defects” and “imperfections” in conducting CLAT-2018 but recommended against holding the test afresh.

In its report submitted to the court, the Grievance Redressal Committee headed by Justice MR Hariharan Nair said majority of complaints related to failure of initial login which “must have arisen from the hardware, software and network deficiencies”.

However, the committee did not recommend cancellation of CLAT-2018 and re-conducting the entire test, “considering the magnitude of the requirements and the need to ensure smooth education of the successful candidates during the current academic year”.

Instead, it suggested that the candidates who suffered due to technical glitches and mismanagement should be compensated.





Quantico actor Priyanka Chopra has issued an apology post the controversy around the recent episode from the American series that showed Indians planning a terrorist attack. The actor took to Twitter and wrote, “I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico. That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise.”

She added, “I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.”

The apology came after a statement issued by the US television studio ABC against the outrage from Indian audiences after the episode titled ‘The Blood of Romeo’ aired on the television. “The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it,” the Walt Disney-owned company said.

“The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case, we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone,” the statement further read.

The episode ‘The Blood of Romeo’, sparked outrage among Indians for its storyline on Indians planning a terrorist attack in Manhattan and blaming Pakistan, days before a summit on Kashmir.





India captain Sunil Chhetri scored a brace on Sunday to lead the home side to Intercontinental Cup title as the Blue Tigers beat Kenya 2-0 in the final at Mumbai Football Arena. Chhetri’s tally of 64 goals made him the joint second highest active international goalscorer along with Lionel Messi.

Chhetri, who had come into the match with 62 goals, now stands only second to Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who leads the table with 81 goals. The Indian captain scored in the eighth and the 29th minute to hand his side the trophy in front of a packed stadium.

Assisted by Anirudh Thapa, the first goal came after seven minutes when India were awarded a free-kick. Taking the free kick just outside the box, Thapa lined it low into the box as Chhetri smashed it into the left-corner of the net.

Sunil Chhetri then doubled the lead for hosts in the first half with a fabulous first touch. Chhetri chested the ball down with a long diagonal from Sandesh Jhingan and slot it home with his left foot.

Hero of the match Chhetri was presented with a cheque of $2500. He says, “Extremely happy. This is one tournament we really worked hard. We fought really hard. Thannk you Mumbai fans. This really means a lot.”





Rafael Nadal bagged a record-extending 11th French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 thrashing of Dominic Thiem even as he faced injury scare late in the final. Nadal has now won 17 Grand Slam titles – three lesser than great rival Roger Federer – and matched the all-time record of most titles won at the same Grand Slam event set by Margaret Court at the Australian Open during the 1960s and 70s.

Nadal now stands at 86-2 at French Open and continues to remain unbeaten in finals in Paris. In the earlier 10 finals, Nadal had dropped just six sets but at no stage in the final on Sunday did it look like the number could rise further. Thiem had been the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the last two years – in Rome last year and Madrid this year – but at no stage did he pose a real threat to Nadal who went from strength to strength as the match went on.

The result also marks the sixth consecutive Grand Slam won by either Nadal or Federer.

In the third set, Nadal suffered a blip as he called for the trainer for a cramp in his left hand. The trainer massaged Nadal’s forearms twice but it was still not good enough to halt the Spaniard and the job was complete when Thiem’s backhand sailed long. This time, there were no trademark celebrations of going down on the clay post the win while that of biting the trophy continued to remain alive.

Nadal began each set in similar fashion – by breaking Thiem – and that meant the Austrian would continue to play catch up throughout.

Nadal also applauded the 24-year-old Thiem for being aggressive through the course of the tournament. “He’s very aggressive, with big shots. I want to say well played to Dominic. He played a great two weeks. He’s a good friend, one of these players that the tour needs. I am sure you’ll win here in the next couple of years,” added Rafa.





Sebastian Vettel capped an emotional weekend for Ferrari with a clinical pole-to-flag win at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday to regain the lead in the Formula One world championship from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by a single point.

The victory – the 50th of the German’s career – also put Ferrari back on top in Canada for the first time since Michael Schumacher claimed the last of his record seven wins on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2004.

Vettel powered into the lead and was never challenged as he charged home seven seconds clear of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. It was the German’s third win of the season and second in Canada, the first coming in 2013 with Red Bull.

The win put Vettel on 121 points to Hamilton’s 120 after seven races.





A leader or a man of action in a crisis almost always acts subconsciously and then thinks of the reasons for his action. – Jawaharlal Nehru





A man gifted his wife a diamond necklace for their anniversary and wife didn’t speak to him for 6 months.

Was the necklace FAKE?

Nooooo! That was the deal!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar