Newsletter 9th June, 2018



Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Qingdao in China today, for a two-day visit to attend the annual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, besides holding a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said, “On 9th and 10th June, I will be in Qingdao, China to take part in the annual SCO Summit. This will be India’s first SCO Summit as a full member. Will be interacting with leaders of SCO nations and discussing a wide range of subjects with them.”

“I am excited to lead the Indian delegation for our first-ever meeting of the Council as a full member,” he said in a Facebook post.

While Modi is expected to hold nearly half a dozen bilateral meetings with leaders of other SCO countries, there is no official word on whether there will be any interaction with Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.




Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said India does not view its relations with China through the prism of China-Pakistan ties. She, however, ruled out the possibility of New Delhi reviewing its stand on CPEC project, a major stumbling block in Sino-Indian relationship.

She was speaking at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of ‘Chennai Centre for China Studies’.

The defence minister also mentioned that New Delhi is alert to the economic assistance provided by China to India’s neighbours and ramifications it could have for the country. She also brought up the issue of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and made it clear that India will not “entertain any thought” of reviewing its stand on it, as it concerned its sovereignty. “It is an issue of sovereignty, and we shall not entertain any thought (other than the stated Indian position) on that matter,” she said.

“The kind of economic assistance being extended to many of our neighbours are all very clearly impacting the economies there, probably helping to bond a relationship with those countries. As a result, even a strategic presence could be enabled. I see a linkage. This is something which I think all of us, you (Chennai Centre for China Studies) as a think tank, and we as a government, constantly be alert to and understand its ramifications,” she said.





Amid Pune police’s claim of a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the government was serious about the security of the PM. “We are always serious about the PM’s security. The Maoists are fighting a lost battle. They are now active only in 10 districts in the country,” Singh, who was in Jammu and Kashmir for a two-day visit, told reporters.

Pune police on Thursday claimed to have seized an email from one of the five people arrested for having alleged Maoist links. The email, police said, hinted at plans to assassinate Modi in “another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident” by “targeting his roadshows”.

Raising doubts over the Pune police’s findings, the Congress, however, said such stories are planted when the PM’s popularity takes a hit. “I am not saying this is completely untrue but it has been PM Modi’s old tactic since he was chief minister. Whenever his popularity declines, news of an assassination plot is planted. So it should be probed how much truth is in it this time,” Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said.


Just when the issue of former President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to RSS headquarters seemed closed for the Congress with most leaders hailing his speech at Nagpur, former minister Manish Tewari brought it to life again. He compared Mukherjee’s visit to Nagpur with concessions the European nations granted to Hitler under the 1938 Munich Pact, hoping to avert a war.

“Whatever the motivation (of your Nagpur visit) was, it will be seen as just an attempt to mainstream RSS in secular and pluralistic consciousness. History tells us when Nazis were strutting around Europe in black berets, Chamberlain through the Munich Pact 1938 thought he had bought the ‘peace of our times’. What a false dawn it was,” Tewari said in the most caustic remarks against Mukherjee yet. His reference was to then British PM NevileChamberlain, who believed appeasing Hitler would help.

“May I ask you a question that you still have not answered that is bothering millions of secularists and pluralists. Why did you choose to go to the RSS headquarters and deliver homilies on nationalism? Your generation cautioned mine in training camp after training camp through ’80s and ’90s about the intent and designs of RSS. You were a part of the Government that banned RSS in 1975 and again in 1992. Don’t you think you should tell us what was evil about RSS then that has become virtuous now? (sic)” Tewari asked Mukherjee in a tweet.

The Congress leader also said “either what we were told then was wrong, or your lending respectability if not legitimacy to RSS by the act of association is not kosher, given your stature in public life”.


Morphed images of Pranab Mukherjee wearing the black cap and giving the Sangh salute that began circulating on social media shortly after his Nagpur visit on Thursday caused both his daughter and his hosts to cry “dirty tricks”.

“See, this is exactly what I was fearing & warned my father about. Not even (a) few hours have passed, but BJP/RSS dirty tricks dept is at work in full swing!” Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted.

She posted a doctored image along with a real one from the event where Mukherjee had stood through the Sangh Prarthana minus black cap or salute.

Sharmistha had told her father on Twitter that by going to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur, he was “giving BJP/RSS full handle” to “plant false stories, spread false rumours”. Former Union minister Shakeel Ahmad too noted that “apprehensions of Sharmistha… about RSS” had proved correct.

As the Sangh’s name was dragged into the controversy over the image, the organisation’s joint general secretary, Manmohan Vaidya, issued a statement indicating that those opposed to Mukherjee’s visit were engaging in dirty tricks to “defame” the Sangh.

“Some divisive political forces have posted a morphed photo of former President of Bharat, Dr Pranab Mukherjee, standing in a prayer position with a folded hand during the recitation of the Sangha Prarthana at yesterday’s RSS function at Nagpur,” the statement said.

“These forces initially tried to create an opposition to make Dr Mukherjee refrain from attending this function. And now these frustrated forces are doing all such dirty tricks to defame RSS.”







Donald Trump made a shock call yesterday for Russia to be readmitted into the G7 as he headed for a showdown with America’s closest allies at a summit set to be dominated by a roiling trade dispute.

Trump was to be the last Group of Seven leader to arrive in Canada for the two-day summit, and today he will probably be the first to leave, in a hurry to move on to his nuclear summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

But battlelines were drawn even before he arrived, in a series of dueling tweets and statements between Trump and his former friend President Emmanuel Macron of France over Washington’s imposition of tariffs on imports from US allies.

And Trump caused more eyebrows to be raised by telling reporters that he wanted Russia-which was expelled from the group of the world’s most industrialised nations after annexing Crimea-to be brought back into the fold.

“They threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he said before boarding Air Force One.

With unmistakable symbolism, the fractious Western democracies were meeting on the same day that China’s President Xi Jinping welcomed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to Beijing and awarded him a friendship medal.

Three decades after the end of the Cold War, the G7 nations are split over trade, climate and multilateral engagements such as the Iran nuclear deal, and the US president seems more at home with autocrats than with Washington’s traditional allies.

“All of these countries have been taking advantage of the United States on trade,” Trump said before flying out. “We have massive trade deficits with almost every country. We will straighten that out. And I’ll tell you what, it’s what I do.




German prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for a top Syrian intelligence officer accused of overseeing the torture and murder of hundreds of detainees, a media report said on Friday.

German news weekly Der Spiegel said Jamil Hassan, the head of Syria’s notorious airforce intelligence directorate and a close ally of President Bashar al-Assad, was wanted on charges of crimes against humanity.

The magazine described the warrant for Hassan’s arrest as “the most serious effort yet by a Western country” to hold Assad’s regime accountable for crimes committed against Syrians since a 2011 uprising sparked a brutal civil war.

Spiegel said prosecutors are alleging that 64-year-old Hassan authorised his officers to “beat, rape, torture and kill” hundreds of prisoners in Syrian government detention facilities between 2011 and 2013.






Prominent sportspersons as well as Opposition leaders in Haryana on Friday lashed out at the state government for the April 30 notification asking sportspersons employed in any department of the state government or any other body controlled by the state to “deposit one-third of the income earned by them from professional sports or commercial endorsements with the Haryana State Sports Council”.

“If the state government is really serious over development of sports, it should increase its budget as there is need for better coaches and trainers at the district level. The latest decision should be immediately withdrawn,” said INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala Chautala.

Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress, who is also the leader of Opposition in the state, said that the CM and the sports minister should tender an apology to the sportspersons for “insulting them”. “The latest policy is a double whammy for the sportspersons; one their salaries will be deducted for the leave taken for participating in the sports or the functions related to the sports, second one-third of their prize money will be deducted,” Hooda said.

Wrestler Babita Phogat said, “This decision is 100 per cent wrong. First, the players who won medals in Commonwealth Games were told about the deduction in prize money. And they are still waiting for the rewards. Now, the government has issued this notification. The players should prepare themselves for Asian Games or think about such matters? It seems that the government is seeing players as a burden.


Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy allocated portfolios to his ministers on Friday night, keeping Finance with himself, while giving Home department to his deputy G Parameshwara. The Karnataka CM retained 11 portfolios even as he allocated the portfolios after intense bargaining between the coalition partners.

CM Kumaraswamy will be in charge of Finance, Energy and Excise department apart from the ones which were not assigned to anybody. The Deputy CM takes charge of the Bengaluru development ministry — which controls both the Bengaluru Development Authority and the local corporation — and the Home portfolio.

Kumaraswamy had earlier admitted that there were tensions with the Congress ministers over allocation of portfolios and had held several meetings to sort out the differences. Some Congress MLAs were were unhappy with the cabinet expansion and showed their dissent to the party high command and this affected the seat allocation agreement between the two parties.


Union Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday said the amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code will eliminate “fly by night” operators in the real estate sector and ensure timely completion of projects. Earlier this week, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to promulgate the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, which allows home buyers to be recognised as financial creditors under the insolvency proceedings.

Jaitley said the changes brought about through the Ordinance will help in formalising the real estate sector. “Sound and structured real estate developers would remain. The ‘fly by night’ operators would be eliminated. Projects would be completed in reasonable time and investors would get their share of allotments expeditiously,” he said in a Facebook post. He said construction is recording a double-digit growth and real estate regulator RERA and the new ordinance would only catalyse this process further.

The new ordinance equates an ‘allottee’ of a ‘real estate project’ to be a person having a commercial effect of borrowing as he is now treated as financial creditor, Jaitley said. “He can initiate a corporate insolvency for a resolution against the errant developer. He acquires the right to be on the committee of creditors. He gets voting right. He can influence the resolution process. In the unlikely eventuality of liquidation, he stands at par with other financial creditors,” he added.


US celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN’s food-and-travel-focused “Parts Unknown” television series, has died at the age of 61. Bourdain hanged himself, the network said in a statement. He was found dead in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his program, CNN said.

Bourdain’s death was the second suicide this week of a high-profile American figure. Designer Kate Spade, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was found dead in her New York apartment of suicide on Tuesday.


Groups campaigning for reproductive rights have criticised a show telecast by Sony Entertainment Television on Thursday which they said insensitively portrayed the dilemma experienced by a woman character who had an abnormal foetus and was considering abortion.

A coalition called Advocating Reproductive Choices (ARC) said an advertorial to promote the first episode of the show, Zindagi Ke Crossroads, “was insensitive, misleading and misconstrued”, and that the first show used “inappropriate language” in the context of abortion.

The advertorial, headlined “Mother asked to kill her own child”, outlined the dilemma of a 34-year-old character who had learnt from her gynaecologist that her foetus would be born with “permanent abnormalities”. “If Neha saves her child she would save motherhood but give her child a life of unknown suffering,” the advertorial said. “But if she aborts her pregnancy, she would be playing God by not allowing fate to take its course.”

ARC, a coalition of 170 civil society groups and individuals advocating sexual and reproductive rights, said it was “defamatory” to describe a woman who opts for abortion as “playing God”.

A statement from Sony Pictures Networks India said: “The advertorial or the episodic content of this fiction show merely sought to portray the dilemma facing the protagonist. Each episode of this fiction show portrays different dilemmas faced by people.”

ARC said it was “disheartening” that a popular Indian media house had used “irresponsible provocative content” to promote what it said was a reality show, for it involved live discussions by an audience.


US television studio ABC has apologised to Indian fans of its crime drama “Quantico” after an episode featuring Indian nationalists trying to frame Pakistan in a terrorist plot sparked online outrage against Priyanka Chopra, who plays a lead role in the show.

“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,” said Walt Disney-owned ABC in its statement.

After the recent Quantico episode, Chopra has faced online attacks at home, and even some calls to boycott her work and the brands that she endorses, including South Korean giant Samsung Electronics Co. ABC, in its statement, said Chopra has no involvement in the storylines depicted in series.


Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal reached his 11th French Open final on Friday when he demolished Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets, setting up a title showdown with Dominic Thiem, the only man to defeat him on clay in the last two years. Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, claimed his 85th win in Paris against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open winner Del Potro to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

In his 24th Grand Slam final, Nadal will face Thiem who ended Marco Cecchinato’s French Open fairytale, reaching his first Major final with a 7-5 7-6 (12/10) 6-1 victory.

Seventh seed Thiem is the first Austrian to make a final at the Majors since Thomas Muster was champion in Paris in 1995. “It was a very difficult first set and Juan Martin had lots of opportunities. He was a little unfortunate,” said Nadal, who reeled off 14 of the last 17 games, having seen del Potro fail to convert any of his seven break points.

Nadal is now just the second man to reach 11 finals at the same Slam, equalling Roger Federer’s mark at Wimbledon.


Sensex 35,444 (-19), Nifty closed 10,768 (Nil), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 28,512

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GBP 0.74 /US$, Euro 0.84 /US$, Jap.Yen 109.51 /US$, Aus$ 1.31 /US$, Sing 1.33 /US$, Bang Taka 83.73 /US$, Can$ 1.29 /US$, Mal Ring 3.98 /US$,

Pak Re 115.44 /US$, Phil Peso 52.77 /US$, Russian Rouble 62.44 /US$, NZ$ 1.42 /US$, Thai Baht 31.99 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.04 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 7,617

Dollar Index 93.53 Brent Crude 76.46  BDI 1395

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,299 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3130 / 2942, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,600



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