NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018
- JAITLEY MOCKS CONGRESS’ MODI OBSESSION, SAYS WISDOM CAN’T BE INHERITED
In a scathing attack on Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday questioned his wisdom, saying that it has to be acquired through learning and cannot be inherited.
In a Facebook post, Jaitley said the Congress party has become “ideologyless” because its “only obsession is a person called Narendra Modi”.
Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the BJP government for waiving loans of Rs 2.5 lakh crore by big corporates, and also criticising the Mudra Yojana. Jaitley said Gandhi prefers the “Gobbelian traditions to say the exact opposite”, while observing that the UPA government during 2008-2014 indiscriminately lent money through banks to 15 big loan defaulters.
“For a President of a national party not to understand this basic procedure of bank functioning should be a matter of concern to the entire party as also the country. In dynastic parties political positions are heritable. Unfortunately wisdom is not heritable. It has to be acquired through learning,” he said in a post titled ‘Is Congress Becoming Ideologyless? Is Anti-Modism its only ideology?’
Jaitley also mocked Gandhi’s factual inaccuracy regarding the founder of Coca Cola. “The great grandson of the man who authored ‘The Discovery of India’ could with his customary inaccuracies one day give to this country his monumental work on ‘The Rediscovery of Coca Cola’,” Jaitley said.
- OPPN HEAVYWEIGHTS SKIP RAHUL GANDHI’S IFTAR PARTY
Former President Pranab Mukherjee, who was in the eye of a storm and the butt of criticism from some Congress leaders for going to the RSS headquarters, attended the Iftar party hosted by Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday.
“Good food, friendly faces and great conversation make for a memorable Iftar! We were honoured to have two former Presidents, Pranab Da and Smt Pratibha Patil ji join us, along with leaders from different political parties, the media, diplomats and many old and new friends,” Gandhi tweeted afterwards.
Rahul’s Iftar party was not attended by prominent opposition leaders like H.D. Deve Gowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. Even Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was believed to have been invited, did not attend.
Leaders from opposition parties who attended included rebel Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav, Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, JD(S) leader Danish Ali, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi and BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra were also present.
NCP leader D.P. Tripathi, DMK’s Kanimozhi, RJD MP Manoj Jha, JMM’s Hemant Soren and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal were the other opposition leaders who were present along with Congress leaders P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony.
- INDIA TO GET SIX APACHE US COPTERS FOR $930 M
The Trump administration has approved a deal to sell six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to India for $930 million as well as Hellfire and Stinger missiles to bolster the country’s ability to defend its homeland and deter “regional threats”, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
The Pentagon’s notification to the Congress comes ahead of the first 2+2 dialogue between India and the US next month in Washington DC involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts Mike Pompeo and James Mattis.
Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress about the State Department’s decision. The sale is expected to pass through if no lawmaker opposes the notification.
The contract also includes fire control radars, Hellfire Longbow missiles, Stinger Block I-92H missiles, night vision sensors and inertial navigation systems.
- PM SHOWS OFF HIS FITNESS REGIME
Days after cricketer Virat Kohli threw a fitness challenge at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the latter on Wednesday shared his video revealing an exercise schedule in the lawns of his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg residence.
“Here are moments from my morning exercises. Apart from Yoga, I walk on a track inspired by the Panchtatvas or 5 elements of nature — Prithvi, Jal, Agni, Vayu, Aakash. This is extremely refreshing and rejuvenating. I also practice breathing exercises. #HumFitTohIndiaFit,” the PM tweeted from his personal handle.
Modi further challenged Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, table tennis star Manika Batra and all IPS officers, especially those above 40 years, for the fitness test.
Kumaraswamy, while politely thanking the PM for his concern about his health, said he was more concerned about “development and fitness” of his state and sought Modi’s support for it.
- FOUR BSF MEN KILLED IN PAKISTAN SHELLING AT INTERNATIONAL BORDER
In yet another ceasefire violation, the Pakistan Rangers on Tuesday night resorted to heavy firing and shelling on the BSF troopers stationed at the International Border in Chamiyal that left four soldiers, including three officers, dead and five others injured.
“Since the ceasefire was on, that is the time we use to strengthen our defences. Our team was going with defence material when Pakistan fired at them. That is how the casualties happened,” said KN Choubey, Additional Director General of BSF (Western Command).
This is the second violation of ceasefire after Indian Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General Anil Chauhan and his Pakistani counterpart Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza held a special talk and decided to “fully implement the 2003 ceasefire” on May 29.
Choubey claimed that since the meeting took place on Pakistan’s request of Pakistan, their main concern is lack of credibility. “Ceasefire announcements and decisions taken are meant to be honoured. We have honoured it, Pakistan has not. What Pakistan does is their business. How we respond to the betrayal is our job”, he said.
Choubey said ceasefire or no ceasefire, there is no let up in the border domination and surveillance.
- INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
- TRUMP SAYS SUMMIT REMOVED N KOREAN NUCLEAR THREAT; DEMOCRATS DOUBTFUL
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat and his top diplomat offered a hopeful timeline for a “major disarmament,” despite skepticism at home that Pyongyang will abandon its nuclear weapons following this week’s summit.
Democratic critics in the United States said the agreement was short on detail and the Republican president had made too many concessions to Kim Jong-un, whose country is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs and is widely condemned for human rights abuses.
North Korea’s state media hailed the summit as a success, including highlighting Trump’s surprise announcement after the meeting that the United States would stop military exercises with South Korea, which the North has long sought.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is charged by Trump with leading follow-on negotiations, said the United States hopes to achieve “major disarmament” by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years.
Democratic lawmakers pointed out that North Korea has often made similar statements in the past about “denuclearization,” all the while developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could be capable of striking the United States.
Kim Jong-un has accepted US President Donald Trump’s invitation to visit the United States, North Korea’s state media reported yesterday. Both Trump and Kim have agreed to visit each other’s country at an unspecified time.
- US FED RAISES KEY INTEREST RATES BY 25 BPS
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday, a move that was widely expected but still marked a milestone in the U.S. central bank’s shift from policies used to battle the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession.
In raising its benchmark overnight lending rate a quarter of a percentage point to a range of between 1.75 percent and 2 percent, the Fed dropped its pledge to keep rates low enough to stimulate the economy “for some time” and signaled it would tolerate above-target inflation at least through 2020.
The Fed has raised rates seven times since late 2015 on the back of the economy’s continuing expansion and solid job growth, rendering the language of its previous policy statements outdated.
- ARAB STATES LAUNCH BIGGEST ASSAULT OF YEMEN WAR
A Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack on Yemen’s main port city on Wednesday, the largest battle of the war, aiming to bring the ruling Houthi movement to its knees at the risk of worsening the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
Arab warplanes and warships pounded Houthi fortifications to support ground operations by foreign and Yemeni troops massed south of the port of Hodeidah in operation “Golden Victory”.
Ground battles raged near Hodeidah airport and al-Durayhmi, a rural area 10 km south of the city, media controlled by the Arab states and their Yemeni allies reported.
The assault marks the first time the Arab states have tried to capture such a heavily-defended major city since joining the war three years ago against the Iran-aligned Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and most of the populated areas. The port is the main route for food to reach most Yemenis, 8.4 million of whom are already on the verge of famine.
- THE REST
- CONG-JD(S) ALLIANCE ARITHMETIC WORKS IN JAYANAGAR BYPOLL
When the late BN Vijaykumar of the BJP won the election from Jayanagar in 2013, his winning margin over his Congress rival was 12,000-odd votes. Interestingly, the JD(S) candidate in that election polled a little over 12,000 votes as well.
Five years later, the arithmetic of the Congress + JD(S) combine worked to ensure the BJP no longer gained from the split in the opposition vote. As a result, Sowmya Reddy of the Congress defeated Vijaykumar’s brother BN Prahlad by 2,800-odd votes.
The election to Jayanagar in Bengaluru city was countermanded after the death of Vijaykumar during the election campaign.
Jayanagar forms part of the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency, that has been won by the BJP without a break since 1991.
- KEJRIWAL AND 3 MINISTERS CONTINUE THEIR DHARNA, 2 OF THEM ON INDEFINITE FAST
For more than 60 hours now, including 3 nights, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and half the Delhi Cabinet have worked out of a room meant for visitors at Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office. From this small room, they clear government files, sleep on available furniture — a sofa and chairs — and take turns using a single washroom.
Few are allowed to meet them and a small group of staffers wait outside Raj Niwas — the Delhi Lt Governor’s office — ferrying messages, food and on Wednesday even mattresses for them to sleep on.
Along with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and ministers Gopal Rai and Satyendar Jain, Kejriwal had sought a meeting with Baijal around 5.30 pm on Monday evening with one demand: Clamp down on a four-month-long agitation by senior bureaucrats against the AAP government and clear the doorstep delivery of ration scheme.
Baijal and Kejriwal did meet briefly, but a heated argument had ensued and the CM allegedly “threatened” Baijal, according to a statement issued by the Lt Governor’s office. Soon after, Baijal left citing “prior engagements” and Kejriwal and his colleagues swiftly moved to settle down inside the small visitors’ room that adjoins Baijal’s office.
Hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party leaders and workers gathered outside LG’s office on Wednesday evening. They were joined by former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who resigned from the BJP recently.
It’s reported that Satyendar Jain is on an indefinite fast since Tuesday and Manish Sisodia also joined him yesterday.
The BJP, which said Mr Kejriwal’s protest was “drama” and ploy to shirk work, held a rally to his house yesterday to flag power and water scarcity in Delhi.
The Congress — which is at loggerheads with AAP in Delhi despite its concerns about a united front against the BJP in 2019 — has also vehemently criticized the Chief Minister.
- CENTRE DETERMINED TO CLEAN GANGA, YAMUNA BY 2019: NITIN GADKARI
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said the government was determined to clean the Ganga and Yamuna by the end of year 2019 and claimed that 80 per cent of the Ganga will be cleaned by March next year.
The Namami Gange programme for cleaning of the Ganga was one of the major poll promises of the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Gadkari, who holds the Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation portfolio, had earlier directed officials to complete the work in a time-bound manner.
Claiming that the government was determined to clean not only Ganga, but also Yamuna and other tributaries, he said several steps have been taken in the direction. “Twenty new towns along Yamuna and its tributaries (Hindon and Kali) have been identified for pollution abatement,” he said, adding six sewerage management projects on Yamuna in Delhi had been awarded and two others were under tendering process.
Gadkari said the plan was to develop a world-class ecological and environment-friendly riverfront park on a 35-km stretch of the Yamuna in Delhi.
- CANADA INTRODUCES NEW VISA PROGRAMME FOR INDIAN STUDENTS
The Justin Trudeau government in Canada has announced important changes to shorten the processing time for student visa application in order to allow more international students to study at post-secondary Canadian institutions.
Starting from June 8, the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Programme has replaced the Student Partnership Programme (SPP) in India, China, Philippines and Vietnam.
The existing SPP in India is restricted to international students intending to study at one of approximately 40 post-secondary institutions in Canada. The new SDS will be open to all international students going to any Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, including both publicly-funded and private post-secondary institutions, announced the government.
SDS is aimed at offering faster and simpler visa processing to international high calibre students, who could be potential permanent residents of Canada.
- OLA LOSSES MOUNT TO RS 49 BN IN FY17 DESPITE REVENUE IMPROVEMENT
Ride-hailing company Ola has widened its losses further, even though the Bengaluru-based company showed strong improvement in its revenues in 2016-17.
Losses incurred by the company rose 56 per cent to Rs 48.98 billion in 2016-17, against Rs 31.5 billion in the previous financial year, according to the company’s latest filing with the Registrar of Companies. Higher employee-related expenses as well as substantial increase in finance costs added to losses.
Losses posted by the company in 2016-17 was more than three and half times of its revenues during the period, which stood at Rs13.8 billion. In the previous financial year, losses were close to four times of the revenues generated by the company during the period.
- AIRTEL, JIO TO BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY WITH FIBRE-TO-HOME BROADBAND SERVICES
The next big battle for telecom companies will be fought over getting consumers to use fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), which offers broadband, voice as well as TV.
The country’s largest telecom company, Bharti Airtel, is aggressively rolling out last-mile connectivity with an ambitious target of reaching over 20 million addressable households in 90-100 cities in the next three years.
Taking on Airtel will be Reliance Jio, which is expected to roll out commercial FTTH services in the next four months, initially covering 30 key cities and with an eventual aim of covering 100 cities.
The FTTH platform will focus on consumers seeking specialised content like Netflix and Amazon Prime, other video-on-demand services, time shift video, apart from high-speed broadband and free voice calling.
- FOOTBALL WORLD CUP KICKS OFF IN MOSCOW TODAY
Possibly the most watched international event, the Football World Cup, kicks off today with a Group A match between Saudi Arabia and hosts Russia.
While 32 nations compete in this tournament, the odds would favour these 5 the most: record five-times winners Brazil, holders and four-times champions Germany, Argentina (winners in 1978 and 1986), Spain (2010) and France (1998). Both Uruguay (1930 and 1950) and England (1966) travel in hope but will be satisfied – even relieved – if they make it as far as the quarter-finals.
The unpredictable competitors are 2016 European champions Portugal.
This year’s World Cup is missing two of the more familiar names, after Italy and the Netherlands failed to qualify.
Both are dripping in World Cup history, particularly Italy: a World Cup finals without them was surely incomprehensible, but the four-time winners are staying at home.
- AFGHANISTAN SET FOR TEST DEBUT AGAINST INDIA IN HISTORIC ONE-OFF TEST
Today, as they prepare for their inaugural Test match, the Afghanistan cricketers are aware of the sense of pride they were giving their compatriots back home, and across the world.
Cricket in Afghanistan is a modern miracle. Afghanistan is the only high-level cricket-playing country in the world where the sport wasn’t planted by the British. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the US-backed war against it, displaced millions of Afghans, and they escaped across the border to Pakistan. In cricket-mad Pakistan, the refugees picked up cricket.
It’s incredible that eighteen years ago, there was no Afghan national team; within 12 years, though, Afghanistan were playing in their first senior World Cup, the T20 version; in 2015, they played the 50-over World Cup.
Now they’re on the Test scene. It’s a most amazing story — steeped in violence, redemption, personal tragedies for the cricketers, their relatives, their friends.
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- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The true measure of your character is what you do when nobody’s watching. – Charles Caleb Colton
- OFF TRACK
A woman buys a new Sim Card, puts it in her phone and decides to surprise her husband who is seated on the couch in the living room.
She goes to the kitchen, calls her husband from the new number: “Hello darling,” she says.
The husband responds in a low tone: “Let me call you back a little later honey, my wife is around.”