Newsletter 12th June, 2018





Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said if the national capital was granted full statehood before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, AAP would campaign in favour of BJP, but anything less than that would result in a “BJP leave Delhi” movement. Kejriwal’s remarks came on the last day of the special session of the Delhi Assembly, which accepted the resolution on full statehood to the national çapital.

“I want to tell BJP that if before 2019 Elections, Delhi is granted statehood, we’ll make sure that each and every vote from Delhi goes in your favour, we’ll campaign for you,” he said in the Delhi Assembly. However, he warned that if the AAP demand was not granted, people of Delhi would throw out the BJP from the state. “If you don’t do so, Delhi residents will put up boards saying ‘BJP leave Delhi’.”.

In a similar clarion call on Sunday, Kejriwal, addressing party’s ward-level office-bearers and legislators at his residence, equated the fight for Delhi’s full statehood with the freedom struggle.





Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday visited former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who has been ailing for long and was admitted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) following complaints of lower respiratory tract infection and kidney issues earlier in the day, and was undergoing dialysis thereafter.

Prior to Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and BJP chief Amit Shah paid a visit to the former PM.

The 93-year-old leader, who served as PM between 1998-2004, slowly withdrew from public life as his health deteriorated and has been confined to his residence for many years.





Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the Coca-Cola was founded by a person who used to sell ‘Shikanji’ in America while the founder of McDonald’s used to run a ‘dhaba’ in the country. Talking at the national OBC convention for the party at Talkatora Stadium in the Capital, the Congress leader took a jibe at the Opposition by saying he wants to see those dhaba owners in India who have turned into the founders of Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. These remarks grabbed attention from all sides.

A small clip from his address was shared by news agency ANI on Twitter and soon the video got everyone talking.

While some were quick to troll the leader, others took a sarcastic route and countered the politician’s claim. Soon with hashtag #AccordingToRahulGandhi, meme-makers on the micro-blogging site came up with their sassy responses to his claim. With over 10,000 tweets, it was the top trend on the social media site.

Interestingly, Coca-Cola, founded by John Stith Pemberton was invented by an accident when the Amercian pharmacist was trying to make an opium-free alternative for pain killers. He accidentally blended his syrup base with carbonated water and hence he dropped the idea of selling it as a medicine and the cherished aerated drink was born.





The BJP was livid on Monday over NCP leader Sharad Pawar mocking a purported letter plotting the assassination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accusing the party of trying to gain sympathy, saying it didn’t befit a senior leader to play politics over a serious issue.

“When a letter talking about a conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister is recovered… the country should condemn it in one voice…. Instead, a senior leader like Sharad Pawar says that this is being used for advertisement…. This is the lowest point of insensitivity and politics,” human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said.

Addressing a rally in Maharashtra on Sunday, Pawar had sought to play down the letter recovered by Pune police purportedly baring a Maoist conspiracy to assassinate Modi. The veteran leader said the BJP was fast losing support among the people and trying to use the “assassination story” to gain public sympathy, adding people would not fall for such tactics.








The US yesterday offered “unique” security guarantees to North Korea in return for a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearisation as the two sides made “progress” in negotiations on the eve of a historic summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un that could reshape the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region.

Ahead of the much-anticipated summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore, Trump hoped that a “nice” outcome could be reached from what he said would be a “very interesting meeting” with Kim which will focus on the nuclear arsenal the North has spent decades developing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the preparatory talks were “moving quite rapidly” and he expected them to reach what he called “a logical conclusion” even earlier than the US anticipated.

“A complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea is the only outcome that the US will accept at the summit,” Pompeo told reporters at a crowded press conference. In return, he said, Washington would offer “different and unique” guarantees “to provide them sufficient certainty that they can be comfortable that denuclearisation is not something that ends badly for them”.





An official photo posted by the German government showing a determined Angela Merkel standing up to an intransigent Donald Trump appears destined for the history books, summing up the deep fractures left by a disastrous G7 summit.

The already iconic picture by Berlin’s official photographer at the gathering in Canada, Jesco Denzel, set social media alight when it appeared on Saturday, hours before Trump ripped up the hard-fought summit conclusions in an angry tweetstorm.

The photo shows Merkel standing at the centre of the image leaning across a table before a seated Trump, his arms crossed in defiance.

Merkel, looking focused or exasperated depending on the viewer’s interpretation, is flanked by British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, their faces largely obscured. Shinzo Abe of Japan looks on with a world-weary expression.

“A hands-down public relations triumph for Germany,” news weekly Der Spiegel said on its website of the picture that for most of the weekend seemed to capture the world’s imagination.

A winner, however, is of course in the eye of the beholder. Elisabeth Wehling, a political linguistics researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, tweeted that the body language clearly pointed to Trump dominating the scene. “1:0 for the US president! Sitting while the other stands is a classic strategy of gestural framing, to establish one’s own authority and propagate it via pictures – it works on global media because it transcends language barriers,” she wrote.

Regardless of the interpretation, the image succeeded in launching an internet-wide caption contest.





Spain offered on Monday to take in a humanitarian ship stranded in international waters with 629 migrants aboard as Italy and Malta both continued to refuse to let it dock. The European Union and the UN refugee agency had called for a swift end to the standoff involving the Gibraltar-flagged Aquarius ship, whose passengers include 11 children and seven pregnant women rescued off the coast of Libya at the weekend.

The ship had sailed north towards Italy but Matteo Salvini, the head of the far-right League party who became interior minister this month vowing to curb an influx of migrants from Africa, blocked it and said it should go to Malta instead.

Malta refused, saying it had nothing to do with the rescue mission, which was overseen by Italian coastguard. The tiny island nation with fewer than a half a million inhabitants says it already accepts more refugees per capita than Italy, which has taken in more than 600,000 boat migrants since 2014.

In a possible solution to the impasse, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a socialist who took office just over a week ago, gave instructions that the ship be allowed to dock in the eastern port of Valencia.

Hearing of Spain’s offer, Salvini said the standoff had been resolved thanks to the “good heart” of the Spanish but the EU could not rely on such one-off gestures to deal with migrants reaching Italy.

Spain’s step will raise pressure on EU partners ahead of a June 28-29 summit as Italy seeks changes to the bloc’s asylum law so that all countries share the burden of the mass arrivals.









Dismissing reports of a rift in the JD(U)-BJP alliance, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said such rumours were the handiwork of leaders trying to seek publicity. Saying that there was no basis to reports that the JD(U) had demanded 25 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 elections, Kumar said the issue of seat-sharing would be decided when polls approach.

“There is no discontent. The problem is, today newspapers have more pages than before, news channels run 24X7 and then there is social media where anybody can say anything without worrying about backing a claim with facts,” Kumar said on the sidelines of a Lok Samvad event in Patna.

Speculation of a rift between the alliance partners was triggered after JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi said last week that Kumar would play the role of an elder brother in the Bihar NDA alliance. Moreover, the demands by JD(U) leaders for making Kumar face of the NDA in Bihar was seen as a tactical position for getting a lion’s share in the seat-sharing arrangement.





In a major boost for the Indian government, UK Minister for Counter Terrorism Baroness Williams on Monday confirmed reports on the presence of Nirav Modi, an accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, in the country and assured of full cooperation for the extradition of the diamond merchant.

At a meeting for counter terrorism dialogue in the national capital, Williams also guaranteed Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju of UK’s support to extradite industrialist Vijay Mallya to India. Mallya, who has been staying in the UK for over a year now, has been accused of defaulting on loans worth thousands of crores.

“Had a fruitful meeting (with the UK minister) and I have put across the Government of India’s demand for cooperation from UK authorities on extradition of whoever is wanted in India. The minister has assured of cooperation, whether it is Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallya,” Rijiju told ANI.

An official said India tried to allay apprehensions of the UK on the issue of human rights and conditions of jails, saying India is a democracy and fully adhered to international laws.

After the meeting, Rijiju posted on Twitter: “I had a very useful meeting with the UK Minister Baroness Williams. We discussed about India-UK joint efforts to deal with Terrorism and Extremism. We also agreed to cooperate in matters of extradition and sharing of informations.”

Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, another accused in the case, had fled from India in January, around a month before the PNB filed it first complaint against them in the fraud case.





BJP’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, filed a police complaint Monday against JNU student leader Shehla Rashid for her comments on Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. The row began after Rashid’s tweet on June 9, which stated, “Looks like RSS/Gadkari is planning to assassinate Modi, then blame it on Muslims/Communists and then lynch Muslims # RajivGandhiStyle”.

The representatives of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha submitted a complaint at the Parliament Street police station. “The message is totally false, unfounded, concocted and without any basis. The message also promotes insecurity and uncertainty in the country by levelling unfounded allegations that RSS/Gadkari is planning to assassinate PM Modi,” the complaint said.

Taking offence to the tweet, BJP leader Gadkari had tweeted that he would take “legal action” against the student leader.

Rashid responded by saying her tweet was meant to be a “sarcastic reference to the baseless media campaign” against another JNU student leader Umar Khalid. Certain media channels allegedly showed Umar Khalid and his father’s photos while reporting on the suspected assassination plot against PM Narendra Modi.





Faced with land acquisition hassles, the Maharashtra government has finally come up with a policy to let private players set up floating solar plants on water bodies like rivers and dams in the state.

In the first phase, six companies, including Tata Power and other smaller players, have won the bid to generate 1,000 MW of solar power on the Ujjani Dam in Solapur district. “We will be buying power at the rate of Rs 2.71 per unit from the private companies,” an official from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company said. The power purchase agreements signed with the companies are valid for 25 years.

Solar panels work better when they are cooled, a reason why these have higher efficiency than ground-mounted plants Another advantage is floating solar panels can shade the water they float on and reduce evaporation by up to 70%. They also prevent sunlight from hitting the water, which can slow down algae growth





A month after signing the biggest e-commerce deal in the world, Walmart and Flipkart are facing roadblocks that could drastically change the contours of the transaction. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is yet to give a green signal to the deal.

That the deal was still a few steps away from being sealed was apparent at Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Arkansas on June 1. “We don’t own Flipkart yet,” Walmart CEO and President Doug McMillon told the audience when the questions were all around the $16-billion deal, which is pending regulatory approval. The CCI is the only regulatory nod that the deal would require and Walmart has told the US Securities and Exchange Commission that everything will be completed by the end of the year.

Commenting on structural changes that CCI may ask for in the Walmart-Flipkart deal, Harish HV, Partner, India Leadership team, Grant Thornton India LLP, said, “this seems to be based on protests by wholesale traders to penalise the deal.’’

Traders’ associations representing neighbourhood or mom and pop stores have also been agitating aggressively.

According to Praveen Khandelwal, the most vocal office bearer of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), traders, who are planning an all-India protest on July 2, have the backing of powerful people who matter in the current dispensation.

Why is Walmart’s entry into e-commerce wrong if Amazon is operating in the same space? To that, Khandewal said, ‘’our objection is against others too.’’ But, traders make an additional point. That, if Walmart is a physical retailer, why is it striking a deal with Flipkart for the online space? ‘’It’s a calculated move to enter Indian retail, something that it could not do via multi-brand route.’’





Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri is probably the most talked about sportsperson in the country at the moment. While his passionate plea to his countrymen to watch and support the Indian football team struck a chord with many football fans, his feat of equalling Lionel Messi’s international goals has raised his stature further. A day after leading India to a title triumph in the Intercontinental Cup, the skipper seemed delighted with how things have panned out for him and the team in the last couple of days. Yet, the bigger picture wasn’t lost on him — he knew exactly where they stood at the world level, and said it was important to become a top-10 team in Asia before dreaming about the World Cup.

“We are not even in the top-10 in Asia. Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Iran, Uzbekistan are all better than us. I want to be in the top-10 in Asia. It is going to be very difficult but that’s my target. So before thinking about the World Cup, we need to get among Asia’s top-10, and stay there. Only then we will find out how good the likes of Japan and South Korea are. Once we play them regularly, we will know exactly where we stand.”

On being asked if he was happy with the response to his plea to the football fans, he said: “Happy for everyone who was on and off the pitch. If we get the kind of support we got in Mumbai, we’ll give everything for the country. It is really motivating when the stadium is jam-packed. I wasn’t thinking anything when I made that appeal, it was something that just came to my mind. I am happy people understood it and showed up in good numbers.”





Fast bowler Mohammed Shami has not been passed fit for Thursday’s Test match against Afghanistan and will be replaced by uncapped paceman Navdeep Saini.

Shami last played for India against South Africa in January before being embroiled in a corruption scandal, which he was cleared of by BCCI in March. The 28-year-old played four matches for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League earlier this year.

Shami joins injured wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha on the sidelines as the latter recovers from a thumb injury. Saini has taken 96 wickets in 31 first-class matches and has been impressive for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy tournament.





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People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar





A bald man took a seat in a beauty shop.

“How can I help you?” asked the stylist.

“I went for a hair transplant,” the guy explained, “but I couldn’t stand the pain. If you can make my hair look like yours without causing me any discomfort, I’ll pay you $5000.”

“No problem,” said the stylist, and she quickly shaved her own head.

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