Newsletter Oct 04, 2018




 As J&K braces for local body elections starting October 8 amid militant threats and boycott calls by the PDP and National Conference, Governor Satya Pal Malik said Wednesday that “India has made mistakes, and its mistakes have, in the process, alienated itself” from the people of the Valley. He said his priority is to “create an environment of trust” in which the Centre can initiate talks with mainstream parties and even the Hurriyat if they come to the table “without the condition of involving Pakistan”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, he said: “You can say we have mishandled. India has made mistakes, and its mistakes have, in the process, alienated itself. Because of what has happened, India is being presented as an occupation force. But Kashmir is not an occupied territory, it came to us of its own free will.”

On the apprehension in the Valley that there were moves to tinker with Articles 370 and 35A, Malik said “there is nothing to worry about”. “It is possible that we have not kept the promises made at that time but I guarantee that on 370 and 35A, and I have faith in the Indian judiciary, there is nothing to worry about.”

Stating that his position on Articles 370 and 35A had been endorsed by the Centre, he said: “I am not an elected representative but my stand is that arguments on 35A should be deferred until there is an elected government in power. But even in Himachal (Pradesh) and the (states of) North East, you cannot buy land. Ye kaun sa bada gunaah hai (How is this a major wrong)? These are issues raised due to political reasons.”

He said the perception that security forces will be given a free hand during Governor’s rule is incorrect, “In my discussions with all three GOCs, no one has asked for a free hand.” He said he is in favour of “wiping out” militancy, not militants.

“I want to tell them respectfully that the dreams they have been shown in the last 15-20 years are unrealistic. From Sheikh (Abdullah) Sahab’s time until now — Azaadi or Pakistan — I want to say to them that they are not even one-fourth of the LTTE. The LTTE had such a committed cadre that 12-year-old girls would fight barefoot in the jungles. They got money and weapons from 14 nations. When they could not take over a country, it is not possible here,” Malik said.



Launching a scathing attack on the Congress, BSP chief Mayawati Wednesday said that her party will contest the upcoming polls in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on its own and not in alliance with the Congress.

Mayawati said that some leaders in the party were out to “destroy” the BSP, though Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi favoured an alliance. Calling the Congress “arrogant” with a “casteist and communal mindset”, she said that people had not forgiven the Congress for their “corrupt government”.

Her remarks left the Congress, which is trying to stitch together an alliance across the country against the BJP, scrambling for damage control and cautious in its response. The Congress pointed out that Mayawati had also expressed her regard for Rahul and Sonia Gandhi and said that “creases will be ironed out”. A section of the Congress, however, believes the BSP chief is setting the stage for some hard bargaining.

Her decision to contest polls alone came hours after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that Mayawati had wilted under pressure from the Centre and a fortnight after she announced an alliance with Ajit Jogi’s party in Chhattisgarh. The BSP also released a list of 22 candidates for the MP polls even as the Congress claimed that talks are still on.

Mayawati called Singh a BJP agent and said the Congress was trying to crush her party under the misconception that they can defeat the BJP on their own.

Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala referring to Mayawati’s statements about Rahul and Sonia argued that “if there is harmony among Sonia, Rahul and Mayawati…no fourth person can create obstacles.” Mayawati, he said, “has expressed mutual respect and confidence vis-a-vis Congress President Rahul Gandhi as also our leader and guide Sonia Gandhi. I think that is the most important issue rather than reading multiple meanings in the statement of Mayawati.”



Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented with UN’s ‘Champions of the Earth Award’ by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday.

PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron were jointly awarded the UN’s highest environmental honour for their pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and promoting new areas of cooperation on environmental action.

In his address, Modi referred to Indian traditions to assert that respecting nature had always been part of Indian society. He said the honour bestowed on him is a recognition of Indian tribes living in forests who respect trees more than their lives, its fishermen who capture only as much fish as they need to earn their living and farmers whose lives are intertwined with the cycle of seasons.

It is also an honour for Indian women who worship trees as gods. “Reuse and recycle” have always been a part of their lives, he said, adding  Indians had always treated nature as a living organism.


Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Wednesday said the Rafale fighter jet would be a “game changer” once it came and would be a “booster dose” for the IAF.

Addressing a press conference ahead of Air Force Day, the Air Chief Marshal was replying to a question on the purchase of Rafale when he said the government took a “bold step” in deciding on its purchase.

About the major concerns for the IAF, he said, “The depleting fighter jets is an issue. The signing of 83 Tejas, 36 Rafale besides Sukhoi-30 will arrest the drop down from the existing 31 squadrons.”

The IAF currently has 31 squadrons as against the 42 mandated by the government for a two-front war.

He said the IAF was consulted at the “appropriate level” while deciding getting only 36 Rafale jets in the first installment.





The World Court ordered the United States on Wednesday to ensure that sanctions against Iran, due to be tightened next month, do not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.

Judges at the International Court of Justice handed a victory to Tehran, which had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the administration of US President Donald Trump violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.

The ruling is likely to have at most limited practical impact on the implementation of sanctions, which Washington is reimposing and tightening after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers.

The court order issued on Wednesday is temporary pending a resolution of Iran’s full lawsuit against Washington by the ICJ, something that could take years.

The ICJ is the United Nations’ highest court for resolving disputes between nations. Its rulings are binding, but it has no power to enforce them, and both the United States and Iran have ignored them in the past.



 President Donald Trump says Saudi Arabia’s king “might not be there for two weeks” without US military support, further increasing his pressure on one of America’s closest Mideast allies over rising oil prices.

As crude oil prices reach a four-year high, Trump repeatedly has demanded OPEC and Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, push prices down. However, analysts are warning prices could go up to $100 a barrel as the world’s production is already stretched and Trump’s sanctions on Iran’s oil industry take effect in early November.

Criticising America’s longstanding military relationships with allies has been a hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaign and his time in office. Trump returned to that theme on Tuesday night.

Trump and King Salman last shared a reported telephone call on Saturday, in which they discussed “efforts to maintain supplies to ensure the stability of the oil market and ensure the growth of the global economy,” according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

There was no immediate reaction Wednesday in Saudi Arabia to Trump’s remarks.





Seven Rohingya immigrants, who have been staying in Assam illegally, will be deported to their home country Myanmar today, officials said in New Delhi.

This is for the first time Rohingya immigrants would be sent back to Myanmar from India. Seven Rohingya immigrants would be handed over to the Myanmar authorities at Moreh border post in Manipur tomorrow, a Home Ministry official said.

The illegal immigrants have been staying at a detention centre in Silchar since 2012, when they were detained by the police.

Consular access had been given to Myanmar diplomats, who confirmed the identity of the immigrants, the official said.

The Indian Government told Parliament last year that more than 14,000 Rohingya, registered with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, stay in India. However, aid agencies estimate there are about 40,000 Rohingya in the country.


A day after they clashed violently with the police at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border, agitating farmers ended their 10-day Kisan Kranti Yatra after they were allowed to enter the city post-midnight following several rounds of negotiations to pay floral tributes at Raj Ghat and Kisan Ghat.

Though leaders of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, leading the protest, said the government had agreed to seven of their demands, there was no assurance on their two core issues — MSP as per the Swaminathan Committee recommendations and loan waiver.

“Our aim was to show our strength, which we have. PM Modi will realise the true strength of farmers in 2019,” said BKU chief Naresh Tikait. “Our yatra started from Tikait Ghat in Haridwar and was to culminate at Kisan Ghat in Delhi. Farmers reached there and after that they left. Our main objective was to highlight our issues. Now, it is for the government to decide,” said BKU leader Pawan Khatana.


The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Wednesday requested UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was visiting the Golden Temple, to take up at the UN the issue of a “visa-free corridor” from Punjab border to Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.

“The Gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the river Ravi. It was here that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of Sikhs, assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until 1539 AD. There have long been demands from the SGPC and the Sikh community to build a “visa-free corridor” to allow pilgrims to cross over into Pakistan to visit the Kartarpur Sahib shrine and return the same day. Decision of such kind will help in prevailing peace and prosperity in the region. We would like you to take up the matter in the United Nations General Assembly to resolve this,” the SGPC stated in the memorandum.



 The Maharashtra Government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order ending house arrest of Gautam Navlakha, one of the five activists arrested for alleged Maoist links in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case.

An HC Bench had on Monday allowed Navlakha to walk free while quashing a subordinate court’s order granting transit remand.

Navlakha had moved the high court before prominent intellectuals, including historian Romila Thapar, had approached the top court, which refused to interfere with the matter last week.



Noting that his followers desire to have him in India, the government has asked Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, who is currently staying in the US, to come back to India.

A senior MHA official, however, said the spiritual leader appears to be reluctant to return.

The Sikkimese Buddhists who follow the Khagyu sect recognise the 32-year-old Dorje as the real heir of the 16th Karmapa, who passed away in 1981. He is also recognised by the Dalai Lama. The Centre had banned entry of all claimants to the title of Karmapa to the Rumtek monastery in East Sikkim in 1994. The Sikkim government has written several times and passed resolutions requesting the Centre to allow Dorje to make his claim as the 17th Karmapa. The Centre has, however, not given any decision on it yet.



 Soon after being sworn in on Wednesday, new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi disallowed lawyers from mentioning cases for hearing, saying he and his colleagues were working out the “parameters”. He later said they were “trying to evolve a system which can produce better results”.

This marked a shift from his predecessor, former CJI Dipak Misra’s practice of allocating the first 20 minutes of every working day for mentioning urgent matters.

“No mentioning,” CJI Gogoi told the crowd of lawyers gathered in his courtroom, shortly after being sworn in as the 46th Chief Justice of India by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He said only cases where somebody was set to be executed or evicted soon would be entertained for urgent mentioning.



 US scientists Frances Arnold and George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter won the Nobel Chemistry Prize on Wednesday for applying the principles of evolution to develop enzymes used to make everything from biofuels to medicine.

Arnold, just the fifth woman to clinch chemistry’s most prestigious honour, won one half of the nine million Swedish kronor (about $1.01 million) award, while Smith and Winter shared the other half.

“The 2018 Nobel Laureates in chemistry have taken control of evolution and used it for purposes that bring the greatest benefit to humankind,” the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences said.

The trio used the same principles of evolution — genetic change and selection — to develop proteins used in a range of fields. “They have been able to make evolution many 1000s of times faster and redirect it to create new proteins,” said the Nobel committee.

Arnold, 62, is a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Her method of rewriting DNA to mimic evolution has helped solve problems such as replacing toxic chemicals like fossil fuels.

As a result, renewable resources like sugarcane are being converted into biofuel. More environment friendly chemical substances are being developed, improving everyday products such as laundry and dishwashing detergents to enhance their performance in cold temperatures.



 Consent and government oversight will be integral part of India’s plan to provide biometric entry in airports. These two factors become essential amid the growing concern over privacy rages following the Supreme Court’s (SC) judgment in the Aadhar case.

The government will soon unveil a final policy which will standardise biometric check in system in all airports across the country. As is the case in global airports such as Schiphol (Amsterdam), Brisbane and Hamad (Doha), travellers could soon enter Indian airports without flashing their identity cards and clear the check-in process through their facial recognition method.

Five airports have been identified where the project will be rolled-out initially. These include private airports like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and AAI airports — Kolkata, Varanasi and Vijaywada.

Flyers opting for signing for faster check-in system will create an alpha-numeric digital ID using data from Aadhar, passport or driving license. While booking the air ticket, the flyer would require to furnish the digital id.



The BSE benchmark Sensex plunged over 550 points on Wednesday to slip below the 36,000-mark on heavy selling in IT, auto and telecom stocks. The NSE Nifty, too, stayed in the negative terrain and ended at 10,858, down 150 points.

The rupee on Wednesday plunged by 43 paise to breach the historic low of 73 level as soaring crude oil prices fuelled worries over capital outflows and widening current account deficit. The domestic currency closed at a record low of 73.34, down by 43 paise at the interbank foreign exchange here. In the day trade, the rupee crashed to its all-time low of 73.42 per dollar as crude oil prices breached the $85 per barrel mark, leading to huge outflows of cash.



India have broken from their tradition of keeping their cards close to their chest by naming a 12-man shortlist on the eve of the first Test against West Indies. The big news is that we have an 18-year-old debutant, in Prithvi Shaw. India are back to playing just the five specialist batsmen. The choice remained between a third spinner and a third fast bowler. In the end, Kuldeep Yadav the spinner edged out Shardul Thakur the pacer.

Indian XI: 1 KL Rahul, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt.), 5 Ajinkya Rahane, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 R Ashwin, 8 Ravindra Jadeja, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Kuldeep Yadav

India and West Indies are to play just 2 Tests, followed by 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is



 Sensex 35,975 (-551), Nifty 10,858 (-150), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 39,050

Nasdaq 8,025 (+26) Dow 26,828 (+54), S&P 2,926 (+2)

US$-Rs. 73.37 GBP-Rs. 95.27, Euro-Rs. 84.67, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.97, Can$-Rs. 57.16, Aus$- Rs. 52.44

GBP 0.77 /US$, Euro 0.86 /US$, Jap.Yen 114.00 /US$, Aus$ 1.39 /US$, Sing 1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.09 /US$, Can$ 1.28 /US$, Mal Ring 4.13 /US$,

Pak Re 123.06 /US$, Phil Peso 54.22 /US$, Russian Rouble 65.60 /US$, NZ$ 1.52 /US$, Thai Baht 32.36 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 28.12 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,458

Dollar Index 95.40 Brent Crude 86.10 BDI 1574

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,197 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3060 / 2972, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 42,000



 It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances. – Ralph Waldo Emerson



How to avoid Flu? Eat right!  Make sure you get your daily dose of fruit and veggies. Take your vitamins and bump up your vitamin C. Get plenty of exercise because it builds your immune system. Get lots of fresh air. Try to eliminate as much stress from your life as you can. Get plenty of rest.

So…I walk to the pub. (exercise); I put lime in my vodka…(fruit); Celery in my Bloody Mary (veggies); Drink outdoors on the patio..(fresh air); Tell rude jokes and laugh….(eliminate stress); Then I pass out. (rest)

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