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Newsletter 24 Aug, 2018




With his country at the centre of a debate in India over acceptance of Rs 700 crore foreign aid for flood-ravaged Kerala — that debate is now a political slugfest between the Left that runs Kerala and the BJP which leads the government at the Centre — UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said Thursday that there has been no official announcement so far by the UAE on any specific amount as financial aid.

“The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don’t think it is final, since it is still ongoing,” Albanna said.

Asked if he meant that the UAE had not announced Rs 700 crore in aid, he said: “Yes, that is correct. It is not yet final. It has not been announced.”

Ambassador Albanna said: “All that has happened is that UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has formed a national emergency committee.  “The committee is coordinating with the federal authorities, since we know and understand the financial aid rules in India. And, it is also coordinating with the local authorities for immediate aid in terms of relief and food material,” he said. “We are working through the organisations like Red Crescent in UAE, and organisations in the state of Kerala as well as others based in India.”

Meanwhile, as Kerala urged the Centre to let foreign aid come in — state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said there was no bar on accepting foreign assistance for rehabilitation works — Union Minister K J Alphons, who hails from the state, said he had “pleaded with senior ministers to make an exception” this time.

While the Indian government is going by the policy of not accepting foreign aid for disaster relief that was framed after the tsunami hit India, former National Security Advisor and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said while the 2004 decision was to not accept foreign participation in relief, it could be accepted for long-term rehabilitation “case by case”.

Former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao too tweeted: “True that as country we can give rather than take assistance, but 80% of Indians in the Gulf are Malayalis. Offer of flood relief assistance from region must be treated with sensitivity. Saying no is simple, but for Kerala-in-crisis, it’s not so simple.”



Nearly a year after the disengagement at Doklam, India and China have agreed to work towards full implementation of ongoing confidence building measures along the disputed border, besides drafting a new bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides also agreed to handle Doklam-like incidents with sensitivity and resolve them through greater interaction at lower levels in the military.

This was decided Thursday during bilateral consultations between the visiting Chinese delegation led by Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

In order to ensure peace and tranquillity on the border, both ministers agreed on greater interactions at the working level, including operationalisation of the hotline between the relevant departments of the armed forces, the statement said.

General Wei is on a four-day visit to India along with a 27-member delegation, comprising key military officials.


Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who was recuperating after a surgery for kidney transplant, resumed charge of the Finance and Corporate Affairs ministries on Thursday. Jaitley, 65, who had stopped attending office to undergo a renal surgery on May 14, attended first-floor office in the North Block which has been renovated and sanitised to suit his present medical condition.

Earlier in the day, a communique from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said, “The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, has directed to assign the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs to Shri Arun Jaitley.”

Though the charge of his ministry was with Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal, Jaitley remained a minister without portfolio in the Narendra Modi government during the interim period.


The BJP slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for “tarnishing the image” of the country in the speech he made in Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday. BJP spokesperson, Sambit Patra, in his counter-attack, gave a point by point rebuttal of Rahul’s speech, demanding an apology.

Rahul, in his address, while referring to the dearth of jobs for minorities had cited the example of Islamic State terrorist group to say that the exclusion of a large number of people from the development process could lead to the creation of insurgent groups anywhere in the world.

Addressing the Congress president directly, Patra demanded that Rahul explain his comment, asking that if Modi has not given the ‘vision’ to minorities, should they join the Islamic State.

Patra also spoke about Rahul’s comment on women’s safety in India. The Congress president in his speech had stated that Indian men do not view the women in the country as equal and they should change their outlook towards women.

Patra said, “How can Rahul point fingers at the great Indian culture when his mother, Sonia Gandhi, is at top of Indian politics because of the great Indian culture?”

Patra said that in Rahul’s speech he could only hear the word, China. “Sidhu cares about Pakistan, you care about China, does anyone even care about Hindustan?” Patra asked, while terming Rahul’s entire speech a lie.

The Congress president in his speech had also claimed that the Modi government had struck down a law protecting the Dalit minority. Patra aggressively defended the government stating that in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, where Rahul was present, a more stringent law was passed. He asked Rahul to do his homework.

Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who left the BJP a few months ago, tweeted: “I appeal to all leaders to refrain from discussing our internal issues abroad. PM broke this rule first. Others need not follow his example.”


Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Gujarat on a one-day tour, on Thursday said that he dreams of a house for every family by 2022. He said that the Centre has chosen 2022 target as the nation will celebrate 75 years of Independence in that year and the housing scheme will make sure that no bribes be paid to avail the benefits.

Taking a jibe at the Congress party, he said that there is no place for the system of paying ‘commission’ in his government. The PM also said that in his government, “if Re 1 goes from Delhi, the entire 100 paise reach the house of the poor”. He was referring to former PM Rajiv Gandhi who had once claimed that if the Centre releases Re 1, only 15 paise reach the poor.




President Donald Trump said in an interview aired yesterday that the US economy would collapse if he was impeached.

“I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking, you would see—you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse,” Trump told the program Fox and Friends.

Trump was responding to a question on his mounting legal woes after his former attorney Michael Cohen said under oath that Trump instructed him to commit a felony by breaking US campaign finance laws.

The US President then launched into a rambling statement on job creation and other economic progress he said had been made during his presidency and insisted Americans would be much worse off if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job,” Trump said. “I freed up, I got rid of regulations, the tax cut was a tremendous thing.”

In a series of tweets, Trump maintained that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 elections. “The only thing that I have done wrong is to win an election that was expected to be won by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. The problem is, they forgot to campaign in numerous states!” he tweeted.



Britain on Thursday told companies trading with the European Union they would face a tangle of red tape, possible border delays and more costly credit card payments if the government fails to negotiate an exit deal before Britain leaves the bloc.

Brexit minister Dominic Raab said he remained confident the two sides would reach a deal, but set out in a series of notes what could change without one.

With little more than seven months to go until it leaves the EU on March 29, Britain has yet to reach an agreement with the bloc on the terms of its departure. Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for a “business-friendly” deal has failed to impress negotiators in Brussels and has been heavily criticised at home.





Kerala on Thursday blamed Tamil Nadu for unprecedented floods that claimed more than 400 lives and damaged property worth thousands of crores of rupees, saying it was caused by sudden release of water from Mullaperiyar Dam.

In an affidavit filed in Supreme Court, Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose said the state was managing the spate of water by controlling spill and letting a major portion of the flood waters to escape to the sea by implementing a strict operational control over the spill of the two largest reservoir systems of Idukki and Idamalayar in synchronisation with eight other reservoirs in Periyar basin.

“But sudden release from Mullaperiyar, third largest reservoir in the basin, forced us (Kerala) to release more water from Idukki reservoir, downstream of Mullaperiyar, which is one of the causes of this deluge,” affidavit said.



The Supreme Court on Thursday wondered if it could extend the concept of creamy layer, which currently applies to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) only, to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) too.

“Suppose there was a caste which was backward 50 years ago and now it has sections of creamy layer. Why can’t court say don’t treat unequals as equals… because the whole idea (behind reservation) is to give a leg up to those deserving, not to someone who already has both legs up on the fan,” said Justice R F Nariman.

He is part of a five-judge Constitution bench set up to examine whether the court’s 2006 decision in the M Nagaraj and others Vs Union of India case on reservation for SCs and STs in promotions requires reconsideration.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who heads the bench, asked if a “person from the reserved category becomes Secretary in a state… will it be logical to treat his family as backward for promotion with accelerated seniority?”

“That too in perpetuity,” said Justice Nariman. The bench also comprises Justices Kurian Joseph, S K Kaul and Indu Malhotra.


Kuldip Nayar, fearless journalist, author, human rights activist and advocate of peace and media freedom, passed away in a Delhi hospital early on Thursday from age-related ailments. He was 95.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, grandchildren and their families.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Kuldip Nayar was an intellectual giant of our times. Frank and fearless in his views, his work spanned across many decades. His strong stand against the Emergency, (his) public service and commitment to a better India will always be remembered.”

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP ministers Harsh Vardhan and Rajyavardhan Rathore, several other politicians, and journalists attended Nayar’s cremation on Thursday afternoon.


The Indian arm of Johnson & Johnson, one of the leading global pharma majors, “suppressed” key facts on the harmful aftermath of surgeries conducted on hundreds of patients in the country using “faulty” hip replacement systems it imported and sold.

In a “clear abdication of responsibility”, it did not inform the national regulator about the exact number of patients who used these devices, the adverse reports following such surgeries and the corrective operations subsequently conducted. It also “did not provide any compensation” to those affected.

These findings form the core of a report prepared by an expert committee set up by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to investigate complaints on the hip implant devices sold by the company in India.

The report states that over 3,600 patients with the faulty implants remain untraceable, and that at least four deaths have been reported from those who underwent surgeries using these devices.


WhatsApp has rejected India’s demand for a solution to track the origin of messages on its platform, saying building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and affect privacy protection for users.

Emphasising that people use its platform for all kinds of “sensitive conversations”, the company said the focus is on educating people about misinformation.

The government has been pushing WhatsApp to find a technology solution to trace the origin of messages, a move it believes can help curb horrific crimes like mob-lynching emanating from fake news.

“WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy protections we provide,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. WhatsApp Head Chris Daniels had met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier this week. Prasad told reporters that the government had asked WhatsApp to set up a local corporate entity and find a technology solution to trace the origin of fake messages as well as appoint a grievance officer.


The Delhi International Airport Pvt Ltd (DIAL) will soon start removing the gigantic mustard yellow carpet spanning T3 which many of the flyers have disliked since the terminal opened eight years back. The reason: Pulling bags on it is difficult with wheels getting stuck in the rug that extends from beyond the retail area to aerobridges in both the domestic and international piers of T3. Come winter and this stretch will sport a hard flooring.

DIAL’s decision came on Thursday after a passenger, Suyash Gupta, tweeted on August 18, tagging junior minister of civil aviation Jayant Sinha: “Most good, busy airports use hard flooring… Easy for passengers, easy for luggage, easy to clean and maintain. Almost all (T3) passengers want the dirty rugs to go. “

Promptly, the airport operator, in a tweet to the minister and Gupta, said, “Hi Suyash, thank you for the feedback. We have initiated the design and implementation process for the replacement of carpet with hard flooring in the passenger movement area along the piers in a phased manner.”


The selfie sticks were out, the music was loud and so was the Iranian kabaddi contingent. The Indian players stared into nothingness, barely able to believe what had just happened to them. Iran beat India 27-18 in the men’s kabaddi semifinals, ending the Asian Games reign of the mighty Indians, who had won the gold at each of the previous seven Asiad.

The loss brought the Indians to their knees while the Iranians danced the evening away, joined by their women’s team. The Indian team made a quiet exit while the celebration was still on. “This is a big loss and we accept this loss. We have to concede that Iran played well,” Indian team coach Rambir Singh Khokhar said.

The scene was totally different when the match began. India dominated the early part, leading 6-1. The Indian-majority spectators at the Garuda Theatre centre were drowning out the shouts of “Iran Iran” with their own “India India”. Then, a slight oversight by skipper Ajay Thakur gave Iran an opening and Iran took control. At 8-8, the skipper came out to raid but mistakenly stepped out of the line to hand Iran a point. That turned the tide. Once in lead, the Iranians did not cede an inch and neutralised the starry Indian raiders.

So the team that took the flight to Jakarta confident of winning an eighth gold medal will return with heads bowed, with the consolation of a bronze medal.

Iran will play South Korea in the final, after the Koreans beat Pakistan 27-24. Pakistan win a bronze, too.


Shardul Vihan became the youngest Indian shooter to win a medal at the Asian Games after the 15-year-old finished second in the men’s double trap.

The Meerut-based Vihan shot 73 in the final after topping the qualification earlier in the day. The gold medal went to 34-year-old South Korean Hyunwoo Shin, while Qatar’s 42-year-old Hamad Ali Al Marri won bronze.

Usually, the shotgun competitions are dominated by older shooters but not today. Vihan, a Class 10 student, was unfazed by the presence of experienced shooters double his age.

Vihan’s silver is India’s eighth medal in shooting.

Vihan, who comes from a business family, tried cricket and badminton before settling at shooting. “I won a shooting medal in 2014 in zonal meet. That was when I knew what I would be doing for a long time,” Vihan said.

He had a sensational 2017, winning four national titles and a medal at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Germany.


Sensex 38,337 (+51), Nifty 11,583 (+12), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 37,665

Nasdaq 7,878 (-11) Dow 25,657 (-77), S&P 2,857 (-5)

US$-Rs. 70.01 GBP-Rs. 89.98, Euro-Rs. 80.92, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.05, Can$-Rs. 53.63, Aus$- Rs. 50.94

GBP 0.77 /US$, Euro 0.86 /US$, Jap.Yen 111.00 /US$, Aus$ 1.37 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 82.95 /US$, Can$ 1.30 /US$, Mal Ring 4.10 /US$,

Pak Re 122.86 /US$, Phil Peso 53.47 /US$, Russian Rouble 68.16 /US$, NZ$ 1.50 /US$, Thai Baht 32.77 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.71 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,415

Dollar Index 95.58 Brent Crude 74.93 BDI 1735

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,187 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 2912 / 2824, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 39,900


I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out. – Nancy Reagan


Before celebrating a baptism, the deacon approached the young father and said solemnly, “Baptism is a serious step. Are you sure you’re prepared for it?”

“I think so,” the man replied. “My wife has made appetizers and we have a caterer coming to provide plenty of cookies and cakes for our guests.”

“I don’t mean that,” the deacon replied. “I mean, are you prepared spiritually?”

“Oh sure,” came the reply. “I’ve got a keg of beer and a case of whiskey.”

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