Newsletter Oct 01, 2018




 Indian diplomat from the country’s Permanent Mission to the UN, Eenam Gambhir, exercised India’s Right of Reply and rejected Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s baseless allegation made during his General Assembly address Saturday night.

“Among the most outrageous was the preposterous allegation relating to the horrific terror attack on a Peshawar school four years ago,” Gambhir said. She reminded the new Pakistan government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, that there was an outpouring of sorrow and pain in India following the massacre of children in 2014. She said both Houses of India’s Parliament had expressed solidarity while paying respects to those killed. “Schools all over India had observed two minutes of silence in their memory. The despicable insinuation made by the foreign minister of Pakistan dishonours the memory of the innocent lives lost to terrorists that day,” Gambhir said.

The Peshawar attack was carried out by heavily-armed 8-10 Taliban suicide bombers who stormed the army-run school and took several hostages.

Gambhir also took a dig at Qureshi’s emphasis on a “new Pakistan” under Khan, saying while the Indian delegation had come to listen to Pakistan’s “new” foreign minister outline the vision of a new Pakistan, “what we heard is a ‘New Pakistan’ cast in the mould of old.”

“For a new vision to materialise, Pakistan must demonstrate that it has moved beyond a narrative of deception, deceit and distortion,” Gambhir said.

Gambhir tore into Pakistan’s claim that it has turned the tide against terrorism, saying a fact-check of this claim will give a different picture. She asked if Pakistan can deny the fact that it is the “host and patron” of 132 of the UN-designated terrorists and 22 terrorist entities listed under the UN Security Council Sanctions regimes. “Will Pakistan deny that the UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed enjoys a free run inside Pakistan and spews venom and sets up candidates for electoral offices,” she said.

India also ripped through efforts of the ‘New Pakistan’ to champion human rights. “This is vintage verbal duplicity,” Gambhir said, citing the example of Princeton economic professor Atif Mian. The economist was appointed and removed by Khan’s government from the Economic Advisory Council on the grounds that he belongs to a minority. Mian is an Ahmadi, a religious minority of Pakistan. “Before preaching to the world, championing of human rights should begin at home,” Gambhir said.

Exercising its Right of Reply, Pakistan said the claims of religious superiority are perpetrated through state patronage all across India. The Pakistani representative made a reference to Farook Ahmad Dar, saying he was tied to an army vehicle and used as a human shield in the Valley. He said members from India’s minority communities are publicly lynched at the hands of Hindu zealots. He said Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally-recognised dispute and the UN has called for holding of a impartial plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmiri people. He said Jammu and Kashmir is not a part of India, adding, “India cannot hide behind semantics anymore.”


In an incident that could have possibly led to far-reaching consequences, a private Pakistani helicopter carrying Raja Farooq Haider, the ‘Prime Minister’ of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), on Sunday violated the Indian airspace in the Poonch sector along the Line of Control (LoC), making it 700 metres inside.

Indian troops fired at the copter with small arms, mainly guns and mortars. Lt Col Devender Anand, PRO with the Ministry of Defence stationed at Jammu, said a civilian copter, flying very high, violated the airspace. “Air sentries at a forward location engaged it with small arms.”

The copter remained inside the Indian airspace for a couple of minutes and then headed back to PoK.

However, Pakistani officials in Delhi claimed the copter was in the Pakistan airspace and that there was “no violation”.

Calling the Indian forces incompetent and a coward, Haider said the incident happened as the neighbouring country was going to elections next year. “The Indian forces made the excuse that the helicopter crossed LOC. They are lying. They are doing it because they are going for polls in coming days. I was travelling with my ministers,” Geo TV quoted Haider as saying.



In what will be read as a signal to the new government of Imran Khan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday warned that the Indian Army will respond firmly to any ceasefire violation by Pakistan, and other provocative actions intended to disturb peace and spark violence.

“It has been decided that our soldiers will give a befitting reply to whosoever makes an attempt to destroy the atmosphere of peace and progress in our nation. We believe in peace, we are committed to taking it forward… but not at the cost of compromising our self-respect and the sovereignty of our nation,” Modi said in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann ki Baat’.

The PM’s remarks on the officially promoted second anniversary of surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and in the backdrop of India’s decision to cancel a meeting between Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers can indicate recourse to a tougher or more proactive response to violence along the LoC. The Modi government has followed a policy of heavy retaliatory firing on the LoC and the IB in J&K.





As the death toll in the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia’s island of Sulawesi increased to 832 on Sunday, shocking videos of the trail of destruction left behind have begun to emerge. With rescuers scrambling to try to find trapped victims in collapsed buildings in the city of Palu, a video showed how a portion of land turned into mud and resulted in a landslide. Several roads have been severely damaged and blocked by landslides, making it difficult to reach some regions.

Another video shows a man trying to warn people as the tsunami approaches Palu, which was hit by waves as high as 20 feet following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Friday. The video shows water-bearing whirls of debris rushing in as people shout in alarm and flee the spot.

With most of the confirmed deaths from Palu, authorities are bracing for the death toll to rise further as reports filter in from outlying areas, in particular, Donggala, a region of 300,000 people north of Palu and close to the epicentre of the quake, and two other districts. Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the toll could rise into the thousands.



Hundreds of thousands of women turned out for a wave of nationwide protests in Brazil on Saturday against the candidacy of the right-wing frontrunner in next week’s presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro was released from hospital on Saturday after being stabbed and seriously wounded by a left-wing activist during a rally on September 6. Marches organised by a social media campaign under the hashtag #EleNao (Not Him) began in dozens of cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Demonstrations also took place abroad, from Dublin and Paris to Budapest and Beirut. Pop singer Madonna proclaimed her solidarity with the cause in an Instagram post that included the hashtag #endfascism.

Bolsonaro, a 63-yearold former army captain, has been branded racist, misogynist and homophobic by his detractors. He has specifically angered women by seeking to justify a yawning gender wage gap, and has argued against employing women if it was likely they would become pregnant.

The women’s campaign, launched on Facebook in September, called on women of all political persuasions to come together “against the advancement and strengthening of machismo, misogyny, racism, homophobia and other prejudice”.

Yet Bolsonaro’s supporters laud both his tough stance on tackling Brazil’s rising crime rate and his pledge to protect traditional family values. “I support Bolsonaro because he has a clean record,” Elizabeth Resende, a regional candidate with Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party, said. Bolsonaro is currently leading polls with around 28% of support among voters polled, but he also has the highest rejection rate of any candidate. That could become especially important if no one wins the majority of votes on October 7, and the election is decided in a second round.



 US President Donald Trump took his enthusiasm for his detente with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to new heights on Saturday, declaring at a rally with supporters that “we fell in love” after exchanging letters. Trump and Kim have said they want to work toward denuclearising the Korean peninsula, holding an unprecedented meeting earlier this year in Singapore to discuss the idea. Before they turned the page on decades of public acrimony, the leaders regularly traded threats and insults as North Korea pushed to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the US.

“I was really being tough — and so was he. And we would go back and forth,” Trump told a rally in West Virginia. “And then we fell in love, okay? No, really — he wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters,” he said. His supporters laughed and applauded. Trump grumbled that commentators would cast him as “unpresidential” for describing Kim in such glowing terms. The Trump administration is preparing for a second summit with Kim to talk about denuclearisation. The time and location have not yet been announced.





A Danish-flagged cargo ship has successfully passed through the Russian Arctic, in a trial voyage showing that melting sea ice could potentially open a new trade route from Europe to east Asia.

The Venta Maersk made the voyage as a one-off trial, said Palle Laursen, the chief technical officer of A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s biggest shipping group.

The ship, carrying a cargo of frozen fish, arrived in St Petersburg on Sep 28, after leaving Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok on Aug 22.

“The trial allowed us to gain exceptional operational experience,” said Laursen, adding the ship had performed well in the unfamiliar environment.

This route could reduce the transit time by 10 to 15 days.

It’s not the first time a cargo vessel has completed the Russian Arctic route, and Maersk underlined that the journey was “to gain operational experience in a new area and to test vessel systems”. “Currently, we do not see the Northern Sea route as a viable commercial alternative to existing east-west routes,” Laursen said. “Today, the passage is only feasible for around three months a year which may change with time. Furthermore, we also must consider that ice-classed vessels are required to make the passage, which means an additional investment.”



 A day after 28-year-old Vivek Tiwari, sales manager at tech giant Apple, was shot allegedly by two policemen at close range, politicians visited the family of the deceased and offered condolences. But it was Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s tweets that attracted criticism from the victim’s family.

On Sunday, Kejriwal retweeted a message and tweeted: “Vivek Tiwari toh Hindu tha? Phir usko inhone kyu maara? BJP ke neta pure desh me Hindu ladkiyon ka rape karte ghoom rahe hai? Apni aankho se parda hataiye. BJP Hinduon ki hitaishi nahi hai. Satta paane ke liye agar inhe saare Hinduon ka katal karna pade toh yeh do minute nahi sochenge (Vivek was a Hindu. Why did they kill him then? BJP leaders are raping Hindu girls all over the country. Remove curtains from your mind. BJP is not the well-wisher of Hindus. They won’t even think for two minutes before killing all the Hindus in order to get power).”

“Please do not connect everything to faith and religion,” said Kalpana, Tiwari’s widow, adding that Kejriwal has no idea what she is going through and there should not be any politics over her husband’s death.

Kalpana’s brother Vishnu Shukla said: “We already have cleared our stand. We are in grief and our lives have been destroyed. At this time whoever is standing with us. we don’t care which party or religion the person belongs. Whoever is with us is ours. We have hope from the BJP and administration as they are in power. We are not of a party or a religion. Vivek was an Indian, an Indian has been killed. He was not a general, not an OBC, neither SC nor ST. He was also not a Hindu or a Muslim. He was a normal innocent human being.”

Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma informed that he met the family of the deceased on Sunday night. “I have old relations with this family and today I sat with them for around 90 minutes. I told them that the government is with them and we would do everything needed to support them,” Sharma said. “CM Yogi Adityanath also talked to the family. He asked about the whole incident in detail. CM has also assured the family that they have all the support of the government.”

The family agreed to cremate the body after the Lucknow District Magistrate assured that a job would be given to his sister in the municipal corporation. He also assured that a compensation of Rs 25 lakh would be provided to the family within a month and a CBI probe ordered into the case, if the family so desired.



 Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday announced the establishment of a Gau Mantralaya (cow ministry) in Madhya Pradesh to serve the cow better. Chouhan made the announcement in Khajuraho where a function to give awards to gaushalas was organised. The announcement comes days before the model code of conduct kicks-in the poll-bound state.

Chairman of the executive council of the board Swami Akhileshwarnand, who enjoys the status of a Cabinet minister, had recommended the establishment of a separate ministry devoted to the cause of cows citing a shortage of funds in the existing arrangement.



 President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a Bill, India’s first, which will give legal protection to the good Samaritans in Karnataka who help accident victims with emergency medical care within the ‘golden hour’, officials said on Sunday.

With this, Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good Samaritans through a legislation. The country saw 1,50,785 people getting killed in road accidents in 2016.

The legislation aims to give protection to good Samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the ‘golden hour’ and encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment at the hands of police and investigators.

In medical terms, the ‘golden hour’ is the first hour after a traumatic injury when emergency treatment is very crucial. Under the new law, the good Samaritans will be exempted from repeated attendance in courts and police stations. In case attendance is mandatory, expenses of such “running around to courts and police stations” will be taken care of through the proposed ‘Good Samaritan Fund’. After admitting the accident victim to the hospital, the good Samaritan can leave immediately. All government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid to the accident victims, according to the new legislation.



 Tanushree Dutta’s charges of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar have shaken Bollywood. While initially, actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan refrained from making any statements, support began to pour in for Tanushree.

Actor and director Farhan Akhtar was the first to put out a statement backing Tanushree. Retweeting journalist Janice Sequiera’s Twitter thread, in which she said she was present at the time of the incident and backed Tanushree’s version of events, he tweeted: “Her courage should be admired, not her intention questioned.”

“Agreed..the world needs to  #BelieveSurviviors,” tweeted Priyanka Chopra.

While over a dozen people from the film fraternity, including Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Anurag Kashyap, Twinkle Khanna, Sonam Kapoor, Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker among others have extended their support, Dutta says she is still disgusted with the attitude of some people in the industry. “While all this is going on, Farah Khan has chosen to go ahead with Nana Patekar in her cast. Twinkle tweets in my support but her husband is shooting with him for that film. I don’t buy the excuse that husband and wife are two individuals. We often hear stories of star wives putting their foot down, breaking even the bestselling jodis in the process. She has enough power to tell her husband to not work with someone and he would comply. If you are trying to show me that you are tweeting in my support but your husband is still working with Nana…well, I have a lot of genuine supporters and I would rather be thankful to them. This fake feminism doesn’t really impress me. If they really had the right intention then some semblance of that would have already started showing,” says Dutta.



 Deepika Kumari held her nerve in the playoff to down Lisa Unruh and win the bronze medal in the Archery World Cup Finals.

Both the players were tied at 5-5 at the end of five sets, which necessitated a shoot-off. Deepika and Lisa both shot nine but Deepika won the bronze because her arrow was closer to the centre. This was Deepika’s fifth World Cup Finals podium finish.

A draw would have been enough for Deepika to seal the issue in the fifth set but in the absence of a coach the Indian struggled to keep pace with the timing and shot wide.

The Indian archers thus concluded their campaign with two bronze medals and one silver in the exhibition fixture for the compound mixed event, which had only two teams, including the host nation.

The de-recognised Archery Association of India had failed to hire a coach for the season-ending meet. Recurve coach Dharmendra Tiwari is indisposed, while compound national coach Jiwanjyot Singh has resigned over the Dronacharya Award snub.



 It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire



Bob hadn’t been to a class reunion in decades. When he walked into this latest one, he thought he recognized a woman over in the corner, so he approached her and extended his hand in greeting, saying, “You look like Helen Brown.”

“Well,” the woman snapped back, “you don’t look so great in blue, either!”

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