NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2018
- KERALA FLOODS: NO CONFUSION OVER UAE AID, HOPE IT IS ACCEPTED, SAYS CM
A day after UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said his country had not announced “any specific amount as financial aid” for flood-hit Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan maintained on Friday that there was “no confusion over the aid”.
Speaking to mediapersons, the Chief Minister said: “There is no confusion over the aid from UAE. The issue was discussed between two persons. The UAE ruler has spoken to our Prime Minister. Both parties have communicated that matter to the world. Whether to accept it or not is an issue of our country. I still hope that the assistance will be accepted.”
Vijayan said that when Keralite businessman M A Yusuff Ali of the Lulu Group went to offer Eid greetings, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan conveyed that “he had spoken to the Prime Minister about the decision to give financial assistance to Kerala”.
“When I asked Yusuff Ali whether we can make this public, he told me there was nothing wrong in doing so,” said Vijayan.
- RAHUL IN LONDON: SLAMS RSS, MODI GOVT
In London yesterday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the RSS and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“It (RSS) treats women like second-class citizens and divides people,” he had said in Berlin on Thursday night, following up in London with the “RSS equals Muslim Brotherhood” comment.
About PM Modi, he said, “Now there’s PMO’s monopoly on Foreign Ministry and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj really has nothing to do than give people visas.”
Answering questions on Indian policy, he called Doklam “preventable”. “Doklam is not an unrelated episode… It was a crisis that happened because the government saw it as episodic.
I view Doklam as a process. The PM views it as an event. I am pretty confident Doklam would not have happened. You could have stopped it if you had been carefully watching the process…The truth is the Chinese are still in Doklam,” he said while answering a query on how he would have responded differently to Doklam.
Commenting on the RSS, he said: “No other organisation tries to capture institutions of India. What we are dealing with is a new idea, an old India being reborn and it is similar to the idea that exists in the Arab world with the Muslim Brotherhood. I would compare it. The idea is that one ideology should run through every single institution. One idea should crush all other ideas.”
The Congress chief, on an NRI wooing spree in Europe, also exuded confidence in BJP’s defeat in 2019, saying the maths of alliances favoured the Opposition.
- BJP’S PROMPT RETORTS
The BJP on Friday fielded three leaders to take on Rahul Gandhi, dubbing the Congress president the “wisest fool” and demanding an apology for “insulting” the country on foreign soil and drawing a parallel in London between the RSS and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Are you a contract killer, Mr Rahul Gandhi, of the idea called India? What you have done today is unforgivable,” a fuming Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson, asked and demanded an immediate apology from the Congress chief.
“Is India governed by a terrorist organisation? Do you (Rahul) know what the Muslim Brotherhood is? It is an Islamist organisation that has been declared a terrorist organisation in a number of countries. And you compare it with the RSS-BJP?” Patra asked, accusing Rahul of “insulting” and “denigrating” the country on foreign soil.
The BJP spokesperson accused Rahul of being driven by hatred towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “You have no maturity and no understanding and no leadership quality. You only have one facet and that is hatred against Narendra Modi,” Patra said, adding that Rahul had insulted the mandate voters had given to the Prime Minister.
Earlier in the day, two other BJP leaders – national secretary Sardar R.P. Singh and spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi – had been jointly deployed to counter Rahul.
Trivedi sought to compare Rahul with King James I. He said that like King James I, Rahul and his courtiers think he is the wisest one but he has “proved to be the wisest fool in Congressdom”.
Trivedi claimed that Rahul lacked the intellect to understand Indian civilisation and culture and so was making nonsensical comments on foreign soil.
- CENTRE FILES COURT LIVE STREAMING GUIDELINES
The Centre on Friday submitted guidelines for the Supreme Court’s consideration on live streaming of court proceedings but said it should be introduced as a pilot project on an experimental basis in the Chief Justice of India’s court and only for cases being dealt with by a Constitution bench.
Placing the Centre’s views before the apex court in response to a directive, attorney-general K.K. Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that live streaming of court proceedings would go a long way in declogging courts halls across the country, particularly in the Supreme Court.
Venugopal, however, said live streaming should not be permitted in cases of matrimonial disputes, sexual assault, interests of juveniles, private lives of people and national security.
The attorney-general suggested that the live streaming should be piloted in the CJI’s court hall and if found successful can be gradually extended to other halls in the Supreme Court and thereafter to high courts and trial courts.
- MORRISON IS NEW AUSTRALIAN PM
Scott Morrison on Friday became Australia’s new prime minister after emerging victorious in a leadership contest for the Liberal Party following a political coup against Malcolm Turnbull, ending days of political chaos in the country.
Morrison, 50, who has been serving as the country’s treasurer, defeated former home affairs minister Peter Dutton by 45 votes to 40 at the closed- door leadership vote.
The vote was the second challenge this week to the leadership of Turnbull – who himself assumed office by leading a party revolt in 2015. Morrison is the sixth prime minister of Australia in just over 10 years.
Turnbull stepped down after receiving a petition from a majority of Liberal lawmakers demanding a ballot to select a new leader.
Morrison will lead the conservative party, which is known as the Liberal Party, in a general election expected in the coming months.
- POMPEO’S MAIDEN CALL TO IMRAN KHAN TRIGGERS CONTROVERSY
A row has erupted between the US and Pakistan with Islamabad taking exception to a State Department’ statement that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the issue of terrorism with newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan while Washington stands by its version.
Pompeo spoke to Khan after the cricketer-turned-politician assumed office last week and sought “decisive action” against all terrorists operating in Pakistan, the US State Department said.
Soon after the State Department’s statement, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that “Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by the US State Department on the phone call between Prime Minister Khan and Secretary Pompeo”.
“There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected,” Faisal tweeted.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said said Pompeo’s telephonic discussion with Khan was good and the US stands by its earlier statement.
- US, CHINA TRADE BARBS AFTER EL SALVADOR CUTS TAIWAN TIES
China on Friday lashed out at “irresponsible” US accusations that Beijing was destabilising cross-Strait relations after El Salvador cut ties with Taiwan in favour of the Asian giant.
The White House also scolded the Central American country in a statement released on Thursday, warning that the decision was made in a “non-transparent fashion” and affects “the economic health and security of the entire Americas region”.
“The US will continue to oppose China’s destabilisation of the cross-Strait relationship and political interference in the Western Hemisphere,” the White House said.
“The El Salvadoran government’s receptiveness to China’s apparent interference in the domestic politics of a Western Hemisphere country is of grave concern to the United States, and will result in a reevaluation of our relationship with El Salvador.”
- KERALA FLOODS: KEEP MULLAPERIYAR WATER LEVEL BELOW 142 FEET, SAYS SC
The Supreme Court on Friday concurred with the decision of the disaster management sub-committee to maintain the water level at the Mullaperiyar dam at two to three feet below the permissible level of 142 feet till August 31.
Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha communicated the sub-committee’s decision, taken at a meeting on Thursday, to a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. He also told the court that the current level was 139.99 feet.
Taking note, the bench said: “At this juncture, we may direct that the committee which has met yesterday… shall see to it that… practicable water level be maintained at the dam, and both the states, namely the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, shall cooperate with the committee.”
In an affidavit filed before the court on Thursday, the Kerala govt had said that the sudden release of water from the Mullaperiyar dam by the Tamil Nadu government was one of the reasons for the deluge in the state. While the reservoir is located in Kerala, it is operated by the Tamil Nadu government.
In its reply on Friday, the Tamil Nadu govt said the charge was “wholly misplaced and contrary to ground realities”. It said it suspected that the petition was a “clever device to get out of the Mullaperiyar dam judgment”. “I see a sinister design in this,” said Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade, who appeared for the Tamil Nadu government.
The court “assured” Naphade that it was only concerned with saving lives. “Needless to say, the present writ petition has nothing to do with any kind of dispute between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, but it relates to saving of human lives in the obtaining situation of the disaster”.
- SC REFUSES TO CANCEL WEST BENGAL PANCHAYAT POLLS
In a relief to the Trinamool Congress, whose candidates had won over 20,000 local body seats in West Bengal uncontested, the Supreme Court on Friday turned down the pleas of the CPI(M) and BJP seeking cancellation of the polls on grounds of alleged obstruction in the filing of nomination papers.
The top court, while refusing to set aside the elections to the uncontested seats in the violence-marred panchayat polls, referred to the settled legal principle and said once the election process has commenced, it is “trite law” that it should not be interdicted mid-stage.
Out of total of 58,692 seats combined for ‘gram panchayats’, ‘panchayat samiti’ and ‘zila parishads’, 20,159 seats were uncontested.
- KARNATAKA CABINET WAIVES RS 30,163-CR FARM LOANS
The Karnataka cabinet today gave its approval to waiving Rs 30,163 crore farm loans in respect of nationalised or commercial banks, as announced in the budget.
“The state government had announced loan waiver in the budget. We have already issued a GO (government order) on a cooperative bank farm loan waiver. In the same way in today’s meeting, we approved waiving of loans from nationalised banks and issued a GO,” Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said.
This waiver of Rs 30,163 crore to benefit about 23 lakh farmers also includes interest to be paid by the government to nationalised banks, he said. The government has limited the loan amount to Rs 2 lakh in this waiver.
The CM said repayment to nationalised banks would be done in six instalments.
- MUZAFFARPUR SHELTER ABUSE CASE: RJD SLAMS HC ‘GAG’ ORDER
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tewary on Friday criticised the Patna High Court’s decision to restrain the media from reporting on the Muzaffarpur shelter abuse case, saying it was “nothing less than a gag order” and went “against the very spirit of the right to know as enshrined in the RTI Act”.
In a verbal order on Thursday, the Patna High Court said that “till the investigation is completed, all the print and electronic media are hereby restrained from reporting anything with respect to the case, more particularly, with respect to the investigation already undertaken and/ or which is likely to take place as it may seriously hamper the investigation of the case.”
“It is only because of media coverage of the Muzaffarpur case that the Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the case… Media has covered many important cases, including the fodder scam,” said Tewary. He said a “blanket ban” on covering the case would mean that people would not get to know many facts which are in public interest. The RJD leader asked the court to reconsider its decision. “The HC order is not in consonance with the spirit of the right to know as enshrined in the RTI Act and is also against freedom of expression,” he said.
- SEBI FOR LOWER MF EXPENSES
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Thursday asked the mutual fund industry to rationalise its operating expenses charged from investors.
At present, fund houses are allowed to charge certain expenses for managing a mutual fund scheme. Known as the total expense ratio (TER), these include the cost of marketing and other expenses such as the registrar, audit and custodian fees. This ratio is calculated as a percentage of the scheme’s average net asset value (NAV).
The daily NAV of a fund is disclosed after deducting these expenses. Equity and debt mutual funds have different TER structures.
Speaking at an Amfi summit here on Thursday, Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi made a case to bring down these expenses, saying that TER was introduced in the late 90s when the industry’s asset under management (AUM) was Rs 50,000 crore. The AUM has now grown to almost Rs 23 lakh crore and, hence, “there is a need for TER rationalisation…we are looking into this”, Tyagi said.
His comments come more than a month after Sebi asked the fund houses to disclose on a daily basis the expense ratio of all schemes under a separate head on their individual websites as well as on the Amfi site.
- RS 3 LAKH CRORE LOANS TO COME UNDER IBC FOR RESOLUTION
As much as Rs 3 lakh crore worth of loans of 70-80 companies is likely to come in for resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) starting early next week.
The RBI’s February 12 circular on restructuring bad loans had mandated banks to take loan accounts which remain unresolved for over 180 days, to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the IBC. With the deadline ending on August 27, banks will be required to push unresolved cases to NCLT benches for resolution starting Monday.
The RBI had recently reviewed around 200 stressed assets of top business groups to assess the status of their classification and provisioning, and identify companies that would require resolution under the IBC. Most of these accounts, with value above Rs 2,000 crore each, have been declared as non-performing assets (NPAs) by banks and are required to be referred to the NCLT.
- TATA SONS CAN’T FORCE MISTRY TO SELL SHARES, SAYS NCLAT
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday restrained Tata Sons from forcing ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry’s family out of the holding firm of the $100 billion Tata Group, but refused to stay its conversion to a private company.
The tribunal, in an interim order on Mistry’s plea for putting on hold the approval for conversion of Tata Sons’ into a private company from a public limited company, admitted his petition against the move and posted the matter for hearing on September 24.
The Mistry family has also challenged the order of the Mumbai Bench of the National Company Law Tribunal that upheld ouster of Cyrus as Chairman of Tata Sons in a boardroom coup in 2016.
Besides change to a private company, the Mistry family, which is the largest shareholder in Tata Sons, had in NCLAT challenged the move by the company to restrict shareholders from freely selling their stake and the Article 75 of the articles of association that can be used by the Board to force a shareholder to sell out.
Tata Sons has contended that it was always a closely held private entity but was considered a public limited company due to its size under an old legal provision.
A few years ago, the law was altered, allowing Tata Sons’ shareholders to approve a change to its legal status last year, overriding objections from Mistry.
- ASIAN GAMES: TWO MORE GOLD FOR INDIA
India enjoyed their most productive day at the 18th Asian Games Jakarta Palembang 2018, in Indonesia on Friday. The rowing quarter secured a historic gold in Quadruple Sculls.
In tennis, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan added to the tally by clinching the doubles gold in tennis. They beat the Kazakhstan’s Aleksandr Bublik and Denis Yevseyev in a 6-3, 6-4 win.
The quadruple sculls gold triumph was only India’s second gold medal in rowing at the Asian Games. “Yesterday we had a bad day but (as) soldiers we never give up. I told my teammates that we will go for the gold and we will give it all. It was about karo ya maro (do or die). And we did it,” PTI quoted the senior most member of the gold-winning quadruple sculls team Sawarn Singh as saying.
The India women’s kabaddi team suffered massive disappointment as they lost 24-27 to Iran in the final to settle for a silver.
Heena Sidhu added to the medals tally with a bronze medal in 10m Air pistol. 16-year-old Manu Bhaker finished fifth in the final.
In men’s hockey, India beat Japan 8-0.
At the end of an eventful day seven medals were added on Day 6 of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta to take their medal tally to 25 (including 6 gold, 5 silver, 14 bronze).
India are currently placed 8th, behind China (66 Gold), Japan (29) S Korea (23), Iran (12), Indonesia (9), N Korea (8), Chinese Taipei (6)
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- THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Whatever advice you give, be brief. – Horace
- OFF TRACK
A sad man walks into a bar, and the bartender asks him what the problem is.
“My life is awful,” the man says. “Every night, I play cards with my wife, and every night she beats me.”
“Well, why don’t you just stop playing cards?” the bartender asks.
“I love cards,” the man says. “I’m a genius. I never lose.”
The bartender is confused. “I thought you just said your wife beats you.”
“Well,” the man says, “she’s a sore loser.”