Newsletter Oct 09, 2018




Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said two state refiners have placed orders for importing crude oil from Iran in November, the month when US sanctions on Iranian oil purchases take effect.

“Two of our oil companies have made nominations to purchase Iranian oil in November,” he said speaking at The Energy Forum, in new Delhi. “We do not know if we will get waiver (from US sanctions) or not.” This is the first time Pradhan has spoken about India’s stand on buying Iranian oil once the US sanctions on Iran come into force from November 4.

He also made it clear that there was no question of going back on deregulation of fuel pricing despite the government asking state-owned firms to subsidise petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre.

Later, talking to reporters, he said India has its own energy requirements which it has to fulfil. “We will be guided by our national interest,” he said.


The first phase of local body polls in J&K, being held after 13 years amid calls for a boycott from militants, presented a stark contrast in voting patterns Monday with the Jammu region recording a turnout of nearly 70 per cent while the Valley logged just 8.2 per cent.

The first of the four-phase polls saw voting in 17 cities and towns in the border districts of Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch, and eight districts of the Kashmir division, including Leh and Kargil and three wards of Srinagar. The Kashmir division recorded an overall turnout of 18.6 per cent.

Apart from threats by militants, the two major local political parties, National Conference and PDP, stayed away from the polls, leaving the BJP, the Congress, Sajad Lone’s Peoples’ Conference and Independents in the fray.


Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Monday spoke to his Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani and expressed his concern about the violent attacks at non-Gujaratis, including those from Bihar, by mobs seemingly angry over the rape of a minor earlier this week. UP CM Adityanath also spoke to Rupani over the cases of violence. Rupani assured his counterparts of providing security and denied movement of migrants back to their home states.

“Our government is aware and alert. I spoke to the Gujarat CM Sunday. Our chief secretary and DGP are also in touch with their counterparts in Gujarat,” Nitish said.

Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav came down heavily on the Centre and the state government, both ruled by the BJP. Taking to Twitter, the Samajwadi Party chief said Gujarat is once again in news, where some people are destroying the environment of peace and spread hatred in the name of Hindi-speaking people, the BJP governments at centre and the state are responsible for it.

Meanwhile, a JD(U) leader, in a two-page open letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, blamed the grand old party for the violence against people from Bihar. “You appointed your Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakor as one of the national secretaries in-charge of Bihar and his outfit Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena is driving out migrant Biharis,” Neeraj Kumar, a JD(U) MLC and spokesman, alleged.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed his solidarity with the migrants through a tweet, saying that the main reason for the alleged violence in Gujarat is unemployment and closed factories. He further said that the state’s economy and administration is failing, leading to undue targetting of migrant labours.


The Election Commission on Monday stuck to its charge that the Congress had made attempts to “malign” its image by fudging documents to allege discrepancies in voters’ lists.

“I stand by what I had said earlier,” senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Commission, told a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, which was hearing petitions by Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot, alleging duplication of names in the voters’ lists of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Singh told the bench that EC had taken note of the allegations of the Congress regarding the voters’ list and had undertaken corrective measures in this regard.

This was evident from Commission’s communication of June 8 this year, he pointed out, and added that despite this, the Congress alleged discrepancies in their petition in September and this was a clear attempt to malign the institution. The party’s leaders had “casually filed something” to “malign” and “denigrate” the poll panel, he said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the petitioners, opposed this. He referred to alleged discrepancies and duplication in the voters’ list and referred to four assembly constituencies of Madhya Pradesh. He submitted that 36 voters who had different details had the same photographs. This, he said, assumed significance given that several lakhs of fake voters were detected in Madhya Pradesh alone and about 24 lakh names had been deleted from the state’s rolls.






 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced a testy exchange with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Monday, days after a blistering U.S. denunciation of the Asian power’s global and domestic policies.

Mr. Pompeo and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlighted the schism after the chief U.S. diplomat arrived in Beijing on the final leg of an Asian trip focused on North Korea’s nuclear issue.

Wang told Pompeo that the United States has “stepped up rhetoric over trade tensions” after a raft of tit-for-tat tariffs on billion of dollars in American and Chinese goods. He also accused the U.S. of making “a series of moves” on Taiwan — a self-ruling democratic island that Beijing considers a rebel province — and “other issues” that hurt Chinese sovereignty.

“We require that the U.S. stop such misguided actions,” he said, adding that the two countries should pursue cooperation “and not descend into conflict and confrontation.”

Responding to Wang’s remarks, Pompeo said he wanted to come to Beijing to “have discussions”.



A deeply polarised Brazil stood at political crossroads on Monday as the bruising first round of the presidential election left voters with a stark choice in the run-off between far-right firebrand Jair Bolsonaro and leftist Fernando Haddad.

Bolsonaro, an ultraconservative former paratrooper, easily beat a dozen other candidates on Sunday — but not by enough to avoid an October 28 showdown with Haddad, the former Mayor of Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro won 46% of the vote to Mr. Haddad’s 29%, according to official results.

The results tracked closely with pollsters’ predictions, but Bolsonaro charged that “polling problems” had cheated him of outright victory in the first round, which required him to pass the 50% threshold.

Surveys suggest Bolsonaro will have the edge, but that Haddad will draw nearly even with him after picking up substantial support from the defeated candidates.





Even as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reiterated that his government would follow the Supreme Court’s order on allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, some organisations on Monday filed petitions in the apex court seeking review of its September 28 verdict.

Stating that his government would not file a review petition, Vijayan said: “The government has already informed the court that it would implement the order. The government cannot backtrack from that affidavit.’’ He said “deliberate efforts” were being made to destroy the state’s unity and “secular fabric”.

“The government does not want to clash with the faithful. At the same time, the government will not succumb to the attempts of the politically motivated forces who want to foment tension in society. The government will go ahead in upholding the reformative tradition of the state,’’ he said.

His statement came a day after the priest of Sabarimala temple and the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam opted out of talks with the government on implementing the Supreme Court’s order, demanding that the state government should file a review petition or ask the Travancore Devaswom Board to file it.

Vijayan said that in the past, several customs had to be changed as part of social reform. Dalits were appointed as priests in temples and reservation for SCs and STs was increased, he said.

Questioning the Congress’s stand, Vijayan said, “Congress leaders, in the past, were active in such social reform movements. However, by taking a stand against the entry of women at Sabarimala, the Congress has abandoned that great tradition.’’

Accusing the BJP of “double standards”, he said its government in Maharashtra had followed the Supreme Court’s directions on the entry of women inside the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shignapur temple.



A senior systems engineer with BrahMos Aerospace was arrested on Monday on espionage charges in a joint operation carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Military Intelligence (MI). The agencies are probing if Nishant Aggarwal (27) leaked sensitive data pertaining to the supersonic cruise missile, Brahmos, to his ‘handler’, who is suspected to be from Pakistan.

Aggarwal’s Facebook profile states that he studied at the National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, and also worked as a research intern at IIT Roorkee. At BrahMos Aerospace, he worked as head of the hydraulics-pneumatics and warhead integration (production department), and headed a 40-member team including personnel from systems, engineers, technical and technology R&D group. Last month, he was awarded the ‘young scientist award’ by DRDO.

According to police, Aggarwal’s name cropped up during the interrogation of BSF jawan Achutanand Mishra, who was arrested last month for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI.


The #MeToo movement has taken India by storm with revelations being made by women across the media and entertainment industry. Several big names from industry faced the heat on Monday. While some apologised for their wrongdoing, others refused to speak.

The sexual harassment accusation led to the removal of AIB founder Tanmay Bhat from the organisation while his fellow colleague Gursimran Khamba was sent on leave by the HR. The AIB issued a statement, saying, “We cannot overlook Tanmay’s role and in light of this, he will be stepping away from his association with AIB until further notice.” A 22-year-old woman had accused Tanmay of sexual harassment by way of text messages.

Gursimran Khamba, who was also accused by a woman through an anonymous account, will go on a temporary leave.

This comes a week after Mumbai-based comedy collective AIB cut all ties with writer-comedian Utsav Chakraborty following allegations of sexual harassment and drew sharp criticism for failing to take action despite complaints

Actor Rajat Kapoor came out with an apology for his alleged misconduct after the sexual harassment allegations were raised against him. Kapoor was called out by two women on Twitter. One accuser said that more than ten years ago, Kapoor used to call her “incessantly”. The other woman, a journalist, alleged that Kapoor harassed her during a telephonic interview.

Apologising on twitter, Kapoor said “I am sorry from the bottom of my heart- and sad that I was the cause of this hurt to another human being. If there is one thing more important to me than even my work, it is to be a good human being. And I have tried to be that person. And now, I will try harder.”

Mainstream star Hrithik Roshan, who has just made “Super 30” with Vikas Bahl, broke his silence on the allegations of molestation by a junior employee of Phantom Films against the director. Taking to Twitter, the actor said, “It is impossible for me to work with any person if he/she is guilty of such grave misconduct. I am away and have access to only sporadic information. I have requested the producers of Super 30 to take stock of the apparent facts and take a harsh stand if need be.”

Nan Patekar appeared before the media on Monday to deny Tanushree Dutta’s allegations. “I said this 10 years ago too. What was true then remains true today. My legal team has asked me not to speak. Otherwise, why will I not speak to you guys?” he said.

The producer of “Horn Ok Pleassss” submitted an application before Mumbai Police, stating that no molestation took place as alleged by Dutta. The Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) said it is ready to readdress Dutta’s allegation against Patekar “by conducting a fair and expeditious” inquiry, provided she wants to take it forward.

In the media world, Hindustan Times chief of bureau Prashant Jha stepped down after allegations against him were levelled by a former female colleague. While he will remain in the organisation in the capacity of a reporter, he will have no managerial responsibility.


The Delhi High Court on Monday allowed the CBI to file a closure report in the case of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing from the university nearly two years ago.

A Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel “declined” the plea of the missing student’s mother, Fatima Nafees, to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and monitor the probe.

The Bench said Nafees, who had moved the High Court in November 2016 seeking directions to the police to trace her son, “can raise all contentions available to her before the trial court” and disposed of the plea.

The CBI, which had taken over the probe on May 16 last year, had after more than a year of investigation said it had looked into all the aspects of the case and was of the opinion that no offence was committed against the missing student. Ahmed had gone missing from the Mahi-Mandvi hostel of JNU on October 15, 2016, following a scuffle with some students allegedly affiliated to the ABVP the previous night.

The lawyer for Nafees had contended that it was a “political case” and that the “CBI has succumbed to the pressure of its masters”.


Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, pioneers in adapting economic theory to take better account of environmental issues and technological progress, shared the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize on Monday.

In an award that turned the spotlight on the global debate over risks associated with climate change, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the laureates’ work helped answer fundamental questions on how to promote long-term sustainable growth and enhance human welfare.

Romer, of New York University’s Stern School of Business, had shown how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to produce new ideas and innovations, laying the foundations for a new model for development, known as “endogenous growth theory”.

Nordhaus, of Yale University, was the first person to create a quantitative model that described the interplay between the economy and the climate. “Their findings have significantly broadened the scope of economic analysis by constructing models that explain how the market economy interacts with nature and knowledge,” the academy said. “This year’s laureates do not deliver conclusive answers, but their findings have brought us considerably closer to answering the question of how we can achieve sustained and sustainable global economic growth,” the Academy said.


Google will shut down the consumer version of its social network Google+ after announcing data from up to 500,000 users may have been exposed to external developers by a bug that was present for more than two years in its systems.

The company said in a blog on Monday it had discovered and patched the leak in March this year and had no evidence of misuse of user data or that any developer was aware or had exploited the vulnerability.

Information that could be accessed did not include posts, messages or telephone numbers, a spokesperson said.

Google did not specify how long the software flaw existed, or why it waited to disclose it. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google executives opted against notifying users earlier because of concerns it would catch the attention of regulators and draw comparisons to a data privacy scandal at Facebook.


Tababi Devi Thangjam won a silver medal in the women’s judo at the Youth Olympic Games, becoming the first Indian judoka to win a medal in the prestigious event. She lost to Venezuela’s Maria Giminez in the final of the 44kg category.

Tababi, an Asian cadet champion hailing from Manipur, lost 0-11 in the summit showdown that lasted a little over two minutes on Sunday night. Though outclassed in the final, the Indian did very well on her way to the final, especially in the semis where she blanked Ana Viktorija Puljiz of Crotia 10-0.

Like most Indian athletes, Tababi has had a tough journey. She was discouraged by her own parents to take up judo; they believed it was a sport for the boys.

Her success has won her family over. Having won medals in a number of international competitions, she now has their full support.  And she’s making the most of it!


Haris Sohail (110) struck his maiden international century as Pakistan piled up 482 runs in their first innings on Day 2 of the first Test against Australia in Dubai on Monday.

Resuming on 255/3 on the second day, Pakistan were all out for 482.

Australia negotiated the 13 overs and were 30/0 at stumps on day 2.


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GBP 0.76 /US$, Euro 0.87 /US$, Jap.Yen 113.39 /US$, Aus$ 1.41 /US$, Sing 1.38 /US$, Bang Taka 83.02 /US$, Can$ 1.29 /US$, Mal Ring 4.15 /US$,

Pak Re 123.08 /US$, Phil Peso 54.13 /US$, Russian Rouble 66.72 /US$, NZ$ 1.55 /US$, Thai Baht 32.89 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.92 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,570

Dollar Index 95.43 Brent Crude 84.21 BDI 1536

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,190 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3156 / 2998, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 41,500


 Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error. – Andrew Jackson



There’s a statistical theory that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they’d eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare.

Thanks to the Internet, we now know this isn’t true.

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