Newsletter July 28 2018




Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed that the Chinese Defence Minister will visit India next month as part of the efforts to maintain the “momentum” generated by their recent meetings.

Modi, who is in Johannesburg to attend the BRICS Summit, met Xi for the third time in nearly three months after their two-day informal summit in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late April and a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Qingdao, China in June.

“It is important to maintain this momentum and for this we should, at our level, regularly review our relationship and give proper instructions whenever required,” Modi told Xi in his opening remarks.

He told the Chinese leader that their recent meetings have given a new strength to bilateral ties and also provided new opportunities for cooperation.

President Xi said that the Chinese side is ready to work with the Indian side to carry forward the fresh impetus of bilateral relations since their informal meeting in Wuhan, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

President Xi and PM Modi will meet again at the margins of the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of this year.





The Congress on Friday stepped up attack on the BJP over the Rafale deal and said the Centre had promoted “crony capitalism of the worst order” in the process.

Congress media head Randeep Singh Surjewala, while questioning violations of guidelines for the offset clause under the deal, said, “The culture of crony capitalism is the DNA of PM Narendra Modi-led government. It is truer than ever in case of Rs 60,145 crore Rafale deal. Intrigue, conspiracy, deception and loss to public exchequer have marred the unilateral purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft by the government.”

He asked questions on why the BJP government favoured Reliance Defence as the offset clause partner with France’s Dassault Aviation instead of public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which had signed the Rs 36,000 crore offset contract in the shape of a ‘Workshare Agreement’ on March 13, 2014.

“Once PM unilaterally announced an off-the-shelf purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft on April 10, 2015. HAL was denied the biggest-ever defence offset contract. It went to a private company, Reliance Defence, which had zero experience of manufacturing fighter aircraft. Reliance Defence had been constituted 12 days before (March 28, 2015) the announcement of purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft by the PM in France. It didn’t have the licence to manufacture fighter aircraft,” alleged Surjewala.

“What is even more surprising is the fact that even Reliance Aerostructure was incorporated on April 24, 2015 — 14 days after the announcement of purchase of Rafale aircraft by PM in France. Shocking revelations and evidence further reveal the lies of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on lack of knowledge regarding award of Rs 30,000 crore defence offset contract to Reliance Defence,” Surjewala said.





Recognising privacy as a fundamental right, the draft personal data protection Bill has mandated that explicit consent must be taken for processing sensitive personal data like biometrics, sexual orientation, and religious or political belief. The Justice B N Srikrishna-led panel submitted the Bill along with the recommendations on personal data protection to the government on Friday, after deliberating on the issue for one year. The panel was formed in July 2017 after the Supreme Court delivered a verdict that privacy was a fundamental right.

The Bill has proposed stringent penalties in case of any violation or misuse of personal databy public or private entities. For instance, if a data fiduciary, which can be a person, company or state, processes personal data in contravention of the Act, it would be liable to a penalty of up to Rs 150 million or 4 per cent of an entity’s total worldwide turnover in the preceding financial year, whichever is higher. If the data fiduciary fails to take prompt action in response to a data security breach, it would be liable to pay up to Rs 50 million or 2 per cent of its total worldwide turnover, whichever is higher.

According to the Bill, processing of personal data should be done only for the purpose it was collected or for compliance of any law, employment and for any function of Parliament or any state legislature.

‘Sensitive personal data’ comprises passwords, financial data, health data, sex life, sexual orientation, biometric data, genetic data, caste or tribe and religious or political belief or affiliation.





The Myanmar army has launched an operation against camps of Naga rebel group NSCN-K in the Sagaing region of that country, thus forcing a large number of rebels to flee. The action was launched on Wednesday despite a ceasefire agreement being in force between the two parties.

NSCN-K spokesperson Isak Sumi said there had been no harm to their cadres so far. In his Facebook post, he said: “The ongoing standoff between the Myanmar army and Naga army (NSCN-K) has been temporarily resolved without any untoward incident, but the Naga army had to make a tactical withdrawal. The overall situation is still tense, but the Naga army is re-entrenched and safe.”

The NSCN-K has its base in Myanmar from where it provides logistic support and training to other militant outfits from north-eastern region, including ULFA (Independent), NDFB (S), PLA etc. All these Myanmar-based NE militant groups have formed a banner organisation to launch joint attacks on the Indian security forces. The Centre has been mounting diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to evict militant groups from its territory.








Pakistan’s former ruling party conceded defeat to Imran Khan ahead of the final results from the disputed election, which European Union monitors said on Friday had not been fought on a level playing field.

The party of jailed ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif initially rejected the incomplete results but by Friday, its leaders appeared to accept that Khan would be the next Prime Minister.

“We are going to sit on Opposition benches, despite all the reservations,” said Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, a parliamentarian and the nephew of Nawaz Sharif who is in jail, convicted of corruption.

The EU Election Observation Mission, in its preliminary findings, said the electoral process was “not as good” as the 2013 election and that the campaign week featured a “lack of equality”, which meant it was not a level playing field for all parties.

“Many of our interlocutors acknowledged a systematic effort to undermine the former ruling party through cases of corruption, contempt of court and terrorist charges against its leaders and candidates,” chief EU observer Michael Gahler told a news conference. The mission included 120 observers who visited 582 polling stations in all the provinces except Baluchistan.

Gahler said the EU observers had not witnessed any military interference in the polling stations they assessed.

Although Khan appeared likely to fall short of the 137 seats needed for a majority in the National Assembly, he should have no problems forming a govt with a handful of small coalition partners.





US President Donald Trump on Friday denied knowing about the 2016 meeting his son Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign staff held at Trump Tower with a group of Russians who offered damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr,” Trump wrote in on Twitter after a CNN report cited his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen as saying Trump had known about the meeting in advance.

CNN, citing unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter, said Cohen was willing to make that assertion to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s presidential campaign had worked with Russia to sway the 2016 US presidential election.


Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he had invited Donald Trump to Moscow and that both he and the US president want further summits, despite the uproar in Washington after the two leaders met in Helsinki last week.

The White House said Trump was enthusiastic about another Russia summit. “President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Referring to the proposal for a meeting in the US, Putin said: “I am ready to go to Washington. I repeat once again, if the right conditions for work are created.”









With less than a year to go for the Lok Sabha elections, the ruling BJP is facing trouble from yet another ally.  Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP has decided to join the “Bharat Bandh” called by Dalit groups on August 9.

The Dalit Sena, an outfit affiliated to the LJP, will be forced to join the protests if the Modi government does not take appropriate action, its leaders said, adding their support to the NDA was issue-based and aimed at protecting interests of Dalits.

Demanding that the government immediately restores the original provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the LJP is also seeking the removal of former Supreme Court Judge AK Goel from the post of NGT chairperson.

The elevation of Goel, who was part of the Bench responsible for “diluting” the law, has sent a wrong message to the community, Jamui MP Chirag Paswan said. The patience of Dalits was running thin and protecting interests of these communities was at the root of their alliance with the BJP in 2014, he added.




Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who has been praising Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of late, received surprise birthday greetings from the latter on Friday, raising eyebrows in political circles.

“Best wishes to Shri Uddhav Thackeray ji, on his birthday. I wish him good health and happiness always,” Gandhi said in a message on Twitter.

Sanjay Raut, editor of Sena mouthpiece Saamana, said Thackeray was always greeted by national leaders on his birthday. “This time Rahul Gandhi has openly greeted him on Twitter,” said Raut.





Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph Friday urged the government not to delay appointment of judges of the apex court and High Courts, and raise the retirement age of judges to 70.

“One request to the government: government must avoid delay in making appointments,” Justice Joseph told a ‘Conference on National Initiative to Reduce Pendency and Delay in Judicial System’. He said “once the High Court Collegium sends names to the government, there should not be (delay of) more than three months” and in the case of the Supreme Court, it should not be delayed beyond two weeks.

This, he said, will “go a long way in so far as optimum utilisation of resources is concerned”.

Justice Madan B Lokur, however, praised the government for the meticulous work it undertakes while processing names recommended for appointment as High Court judges.

He said the judiciary should introspect whether it does such detailed vetting. He said it was his view that this may be “one of the reasons for this ping-pong that’s going on, recommendations going back and forth… do we have that kind of scrutiny”.

On the retirement age, Justice Kurian Joseph said: “(I) request government to increase retirement age of judges… both High Court and Supreme Court should be raised to 70.” By doing this, he said, the “most productive years of a judge can be utilised till 70”.

Currently, the retirement age of HC judges is 62 and that of SC judges is 65.





With an anganwadi centre less than 500 metres from where three sisters allegedly starved to death earlier this week, the Delhi government has asked for a report on why the system failed them. The key questions asked: were the children’s names in the system and the government’s records, and did the girls’ mother — who has since been shifted to the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences for treatment of her mental illness — receive counselling from anganwadi workers?

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the minister for the department of women and child development, asked the department to submit a report regarding the incident on Thursday.

The eldest of the three sisters, Mansi (8), had been registered as a beneficiary at an anganwadi centre in Mandawali in 2013 and 2014. According to a worker at the centre, none of the children had been entered in the register thereafter, as the family had shifted out of the rented accommodation they had been living in at the time. “What were the officials concerned doing about it if the details of the family of the deceased actually existed in the records, but they couldn’t access the public distribution system?” Sisodia asked.




Union minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the GST rates for cement, ACs and big televisions will be cut with the increase in tax revenues, and only luxury and sin goods will attract the highest slab of 28 per cent.

“Today, the 28 per cent category is being phased out. The bulk of the items remaining in this category are only luxury items or sin goods. The other items outside the luxury-sin goods category are cement, air-conditioners, large screen televisions and a handful of others. Hopefully, with further expansion of revenues, these items may also witness a change of category,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post on Friday.

“Within a record period of thirteen months, the GST Council has almost phased out the 28 per cent category,” Jaitley added.




For the first time, there are as many women as there are men in undergraduate science programmes and their dominance at the masters level is at the highest ever. These are among the findings of the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) unveiled Friday by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Pure science courses at the undergraduate level, till five years ago, had 95 female students for every 100 men but according to the latest AISHE edition, last year, there were 100 women for every 100 male students in the Bachelor of Science or B.Sc. programmes .

Not only are more women enrolling in pure sciences, but a strong number is staying back to complete their degree and pursue further studies. Out of the 11.51 lakh students who finished their B.Sc. and B.Sc. (Honours) degree last year, 5.97 lakh or 52 per cent were women.





The Supreme Court on Friday censured search engines and social networking sites as “irresponsible” for allowing content that provoked lynchings, threatening a Rs 5 lakh-a-day fine till they developed a fool-proof mechanism to weed out such material.

Eventually, the bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit granted 30 days to Yahoo, Facebook Ireland, Facebook India, Google India, Google Inc, Microsoft and WhatsApp to install such a mechanism following assurances from their counsel, who included Kapil Sibal and V. Giri.

“What type of attitude are you adopting? There is so much objectionable material on the social media sites. People are being lynched across the country,” Justice Lokur said, before posting the next hearing to August 27. “People are dying at various places, but you seem… not bothered. You are saying that as long as it does not happen to me, it is okay; when it happens to me, (I) will look into it.”

The court’s observations came at the hearing of a public interest plea from the NGO Prajwala, which wants a ban on videos showing sexual orgies, rapes or child pornography on social media.




Diamond merchant and bank fraud accused Mehul Choksi has claimed he obtained Antiguan citizenship last year to expand his business and that “there is no truth” in the Indian government’s allegations against him, a newspaper in Antigua has reported.

Indian officials say that Choksi fled the country early in January this year to evade justice. They have highlighted that Antigua, whose citizenship Choksi obtained last November by allegedly paying a huge sum, has no extradition treaty with India.

“My (passport) application was motivated by my desire to expand my business interest in the Caribbean and to obtain visa-free travel access to 130 or so countries,” Choksi said in a statement issued by his attorney David Dorsett, the Daily Observer reported.

The CBI has written to Antiguan authorities seeking Choksi’s whereabouts and citing the Interpol notice against him. According to sources, Antigua has indicated it might consider “a legitimate request” from India to send back Choksi.




Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on Friday reported profits that were in line with estimates with petrochemicals leading the charge and retail and telecom providing strong support.

RIL posted a record consolidated net profit of Rs 9,459 crore, a growth of 18 per cent over Rs 8,021 crore in the same period last year.

Telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm, whose performance was being closely watched, did not disappoint with net profit coming in at Rs 612 crore, which was above estimates of around Rs 550 crore. Jio has now reported profit for the third consecutive quarter.

Revenues from the organised retail business spiked almost 124 per cent over the corresponding period last year.




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GBP 0.76 /US$, Euro 0.85 /US$, Jap.Yen 111.03 /US$, Aus$ 1.35 /US$, Sing 1.36 /US$, Bang Taka 83.60 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 4.06 /US$,

Pak Re 128.51 /US$, Phil Peso 53.26 /US$, Russian Rouble 62.82 /US$, NZ$ 1.47 /US$, Thai Baht 33.52 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.60 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 7,949

Dollar Index 94.46 Brent Crude 74.29 BDI 1708

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,223 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 2934 / 2846, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 41,400




If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law. – Winston Churchill


Boy texts his Girlfriend…

“Jaan I can’t live without you! Will you marry me?”

Here is the KILLING Reply –

“Kaun mar raha hai ab! I lost all my contacts, please msg me your name”

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