2019, April, Newsletter

India Newsletter Apr 29, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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PM MODI HAS NEVER DONE CASTE POLITICS, SAYS JAITLEY

Hitting out at the Opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has never done caste politics and is inspired
by nationalism.

“How is the Prime Minister’s caste relevant? He has never done caste
politics. He has only done developmental politics. He is inspired by
nationalism,” Jaitley said, joining the war of words on Twitter over Modi
coming from the “most backward caste”.

He further said those who are deceiving the poor in the name of caste will
not succeed and added that “they have only amassed wealth in the name of
caste politics. The Prime Minister’s assets are not even 0.01% when compared
to the First Family of the BSP or the RJD.”

The minister was responding to tweets of senior Congress leader and former
finance minister P Chidambaram and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav with regard to
a statement made by the Prime Minister at an election rally at Kannauj.

At the poll rally on Saturday, the Prime Minister had said, “Mayawatiji, I
am the most backward…I request with folded hands not to drag me into caste
politics, 130 crore people are my family. This country did not know my caste
till my detractors abused me…I am thankful to Mayawatiji, Akhileshji, the
Congress people and the ‘mahamilavatis’ that they are discussing my
caste…I believe that taking birth in a backward caste is an opportunity to
serve the country.”

Tejashwi Yadav tweeted on Sunday: “I had said on April 20 (2019) said that
@narendramodi ji, after portraying himself as fake OBC, will call himself a
person belonging to extremely backward caste. He did so yesterday (in
Kannauj rally in UP). “The fact is that he is an upper caste (person) by
birth and backward on papers. He (PM) will say so many things just to fetch
votes.”

Criticising Modi over his stance on caste and his “origins as a chaiwala”,
Chidambaram asked if the PM considers people a “bunch of idiots” who have
suffered memory loss. “Mr Narendra Modi is the first person who became PM
later who campaigned wearing his caste on his sleeve (2014): “I am an OBC”.
Now, he says he has no caste!” Chidambaram tweeted. “In 2014 and thereafter,
he said repeatedly that he is proud that the people elected a chaiwala as
PM. Now he says, he never mentioned his origins as a chaiwala! What does the
PM take us for? A bunch of idiots who have large memory losses?” he asked.

PRIYANKA GANDHI HITS OUT AT PM MODI OVER NATIONALISM, PM-KISAN SCHEME

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday dubbed the
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) an “apmaan”(insult) to farmers.

Priyanka also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP over the
issue of nationalism, saying it can be best served by listening to the
problems of the people and solving it.

Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district, Priyanka said: “The
BJP is, in fact, insulting the farmers in the name of the Kisan Samman
Yojana, which the prime minister discusses very much, as it will give only
Rs 3.50 per day to the beneficiary. This is ‘Kisan Apmaan Yojana’ (a scheme
to insult the farmers).”

Under the PM-KISAN scheme, Rs 6,000 per year will be given in three
instalments to 12 crore small and marginal farmers holding cultivable land
up to two hectares.

Comparing the PM-KISAN to the Congress’ minimum income guarantee scheme,
Nyay, Priyanka said: “On the other hand, the Congress has announced that it
will give Rs 6,000 per month to the poor households (if voted to power).”

“An effort is being made by the BJP to damage the Constitution, and
institutions and democracy are being weakened,” she said.

Priyanka said while the BJP leaders rake up the issue of Pakistan and
nationalism, there are leaders who speak about redressing the people’s
grievances. “I feel that the biggest nationalism is listening to the voice
of the people and resolving their problems,” she said.

XI JINPING MEETS IMRAN KHAN, CALLS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN INDO-PAK RELATIONS

Chinese President Xi Jinping met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday and
expressed hope that Pakistan and India can meet each other halfway to
improve their strained relations following the Pulwama terror attack by a
JeM suicide bomber.

Both leaders also exchanged views on the situations in South Asia, an
official Chinese statement said about the meeting between Xi and Khan.

Khan arrived in China on April 25 and attended China’s 2nd Belt and Road
Forum held on April 26-27. India skipped the meeting for the second time,
protesting over the CPEC which is being laid through Pakistan-occupied
Kashmir.

The Sunday’s meeting between Xi and Khan was regarded significant as it was
held in the backdrop of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan
following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.

China had sent its Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou to visit Pakistan in
March as part of its efforts to ease the tensions.

Khan’s meeting with Xi took place when China is under pressure at the United
Nations over its repeated attempts to block efforts to declare
Pakistan-based JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

During Sunday’s meeting, Xi expressed China’s firm support to Pakistan to
further the bilateral ties between the all-weather allies. “Pakistan is
China’s all-weather strategic cooperative partner. China and Pakistan are
‘iron friends’ and have always firmly supported each other on issues
concerning each other’s core interests.” Xi said.

During his meeting, Imran Khan spoke a few times about India-Pakistan
relations and the prospects of peace between the two countries.

Addressing Pakistan and China Investment Forum in Beijing on Sunday, he
expressed hope that the relations between the two neighbours will improve
after the Indian general elections. “We want to build a civilised
relationship with our Eastern neighbour and there is a possibility that if
we can resolve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, things can improve,” he
said.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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‘RUSSIA OPEN TO NEW ARMS CONTROL TREATY’

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov, commenting on a media report that U.S. President
Donald Trump wants a new arms control deal with Moscow and Beijing, said
Russia was open to the possibility of new arms control deals, but that there
were no ongoing talks.

Citing administration officials, The Washington Post reported on Thursday
that Mr. Trump has ordered his administration to prepare a push for a new
arms control agreement with Russia and China due to the mounting cost of the
21st-century nuclear arms race.

Ushakov, in remarks to Russian state TV released on Sunday, said Moscow was
ready to hold talks about the subject.

“Firstly, what exists already (by way of arms control agreements) needs to
be honoured,” said Mr. Ushakov, speaking to Russian state TV.

“We are also ready for new ones, but for that serious negotiations are
needed and unfortunately so far nobody has embarked on any.”

Ushakov’s words were more upbeat than those of a Kremlin spokesman who on
Saturday dismissed Trump’s proposals on nuclear arms disarmament as “not
serious.”

SRI LANKA BANS COVERING THE FACE WITH VEILS

A statement from the President’s Media Division on Sunday said covering of
the face with veils, in a manner that prevents identification of a person,
will be banned from Monday under emergency regulations.

Meanwhile, the father and two brothers of Zahran Hashim, who is believed to
have led the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, were killed in Friday’s overnight
gun battle between troops and suspects in the eastern Ampara district, the
police said on Sunday.

Hashim was earlier identified as one of the two suicide bombers who blew
themselves up at Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

Further, a woman and a four-year-old child, rescued from a safe house
stormed in the search operation on Saturday, have been identified as the
wife and daughter of Hashim, police sources told The Hindu.

Sri Lanka is mulling stringent laws to tackle the relatively new, unexpected
threat of local radical Islamist forces with apparent links with
international groups.

“Terrorism should be ended immediately. For that we will bring new and
tougher laws,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

OVER 270 INDONESIAN ELECTION STAFF DIE COUNTING BALLOT PAPERS

Ten days after Indonesia held the world’s biggest single-day elections, more
than 270 election staff have died, mostly of fatigue-related illnesses
caused by long hours of work counting millions of ballot papers by hand, an
official said on Sunday.

The April 17 elections were the first time the country of 260 million people
combined the presidential vote with national and regional parliamentary
ones, with an aim to cut costs.

Voting was largely peaceful and was estimated to have drawn 80 per cent of
the total 193 million voters, who each had to punch up to five ballot papers
in over 800,000 polling stations.

As of Saturday night, 272 election officials had died, mostly from
overwork-related illnesses, while 1,878 others had fallen ill, said Arief
Priyo Susanto, spokesman of the General Elections Commission (KPU).

Opposition presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, who independent
pollsters said was the loser of these polls based on quick counts, had
alleged widespread cheating and his campaign claimed some officials punched
ballots in favour of incumbent President Joko Widodo.

Both candidates have declared victory, though quick counts suggested Widodo
won the election by around 9-10 percentage points.

The KPU will conclude vote counting and announce winners of the presidential
and parliamentary elections on May 22.

THE REST

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NIA RAIDS 3 PLACES IN KERALA OVER ISIS LINKS

The National Investigation Agency on Sunday conducted searches at three
places in Kerala as part of its investigation into the ISIS Kasaragod module
case.

The probe agency said in a statement that it carried out the searches at the
houses of three suspects-two in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad.

“These persons are suspected to have links with some of the accused persons
in the said case who had exited India to join the proscribed terrorist
organisation ISIS/Daish,” the NIA said in a statement.

It said that mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, pen drives, diaries
with handwritten notes in Arabic and Malayalam, DVDs and books of
controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, besides untitled DVDs, CDs with
religious speeches, books of Syed Kutheb were seized during the searches.

BJP ON THEIR MIND, SP-BSP FIELD FEWER MUSLIM CANDIDATES IN UP

It is paradoxical that while the big constituents of the grand alliance are
eyeing the undivided Muslim vote (Mayawati said so and was pulled up by EC
for it), they have reduced the number of poll candidates from the minority
community to half of what it was in 2014.

Under their pre-poll alliance, the SP, BSP and RLD are contesting 37, 38 and
three seats, respectively.

The SP, which fielded 13 Muslim candidates in 2014, has given the ticket to
only four so far (it has not announced candidates for all seats). Similarly,
the BSP, which had 19 Muslim candidates in 2014, has six this time.

Political pundits have acknowledged it as a strategic move by the
mahagathbandhan to pre-empt the division of the vote and to deny the BJP any
opportunity to polarise the voters.

BHOPAL: DIGVIJAYA SAYS KANHAIYA TO CAMPAIGN FOR HIM, DRAWS BJP FIRE

Congress candidate from Bhopal Digvijaya Singh on Sunday declared himself a
supporter of former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and
announced that the CPI candidate from Begusarai in Bihar will campaign for
him.

Following the announcement, the BJP slammed Singh for inviting a member of
“tukde tukde gang”.

Addressing a gathering at the CPI office, Digvijaya thanked the Left party
for backing him. “Mai Kanhaiya ka samarthak hu aur khule aam samarthan deta
(I am a supporter of Kanhaiya and back him openly),” the Congress leader
said, describing the young leader as an ideologue for youngsters. “I am
happy to announce that he is coming to Bhopal to campaign on May 8 and 9,”
he said. He said Kanhaiya and others should be praised because they are
“taking on communalism”.

The former chief minister blamed the BJP and the RSS for defaming the former
JNUSU president, saying he and his friends did not utter the ‘tukde tukde’
slogan. He blamed a private TV channel for the controversy and termed the
allegations against Kanhaiya “falsehood”.

BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “It’s a reflection of his mentality
to put the nation at stake for political interests”. Calling Singh a
“protector of the tukde tukde gang”, the BJP leader said he has been
exposed. “The case related to slogans is still pending in court. Does he
consider himself above the judiciary that he has started declaring someone
accused and giving a clean chit to others,” asked the BJP.

RS 300-CR HOLE IN AIR INDIA POCKET AS PAK AIRSPACE CLOSES

Air India has suffered losses of around Rs 300 crore since late February as
its long haul flights from New Delhi are taking longer to reach destinations
in Europe, the Gulf and the US because of the closure of Pakistan’s
airspace.

The Pakistani airspace has remained shut for traffic to and from India ever
since hostilities broke out between the two countries after the Pulwama
suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

With its aircraft operating from New Delhi spending longer time in air, Air
India is incurring daily loss of Rs 6 crore on extra fuel burn, cabin staff
expenses and reduced flights.

Almost the entire air traffic from South East Asia to Europe has also been
impacted as they would pass through north India into Pakistan and onwards.

Meanwhile, the ripple effect of the five-hour shutdown of Air India’s
check-in software, which occurred on Saturday morning, was still being felt
as 137 flights were delayed on Sunday, the airline said. The average
duration of delay of these 137 flights was 197 minutes, a spokesperson of
the airline said, adding, “Hopefully, by tomorrow (Monday) evening, the
services will be normalised.”

Q4 RESULTS: EARLY BIRDS DISAPPOINT; COMBINED NET OF 104 FIRMS DOWN 0.5%

The January-March 2019 period was expected to be a redeeming quarter for
Corporate India and make up for the weak financial performance in the first
three quarters of 2018-19 (FY19). However, if 104 early-bird companies’
earnings for fourth quarter (Q4) of FY19 are an indication, India Inc is
then staring at another washout year in FY19.

The combined net profit of these companies across sectors is down 0.5 per
cent year-on-year (YoY) during the quarter, their worst showing in at least
three years.

With the combined net profit of around Rs 42,600 crore during the
January-March 2019 quarter, the early-bird firms represent nearly 40 per
cent of Corporate India in rupee terms. The sample includes some of the
industry leaders such as RIL, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HDFC Bank,
UltraTech Cement, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Axis Bank, Indiabulls
Housing Finance, ACC, Biocon, Piramal Enterprises, and Wipro.

Analysts blame the disappointing corporate numbers on poor performance by
retail non-bank lenders and consumer goods firms, especially automakers.

RECEIVED NO MONETARY BENEFIT FROM MUMBAI INDIANS: TENDULKAR

Sachin Tendulkar has categorically refuted all allegations of Conflict of
Interest levelled against him as he claimed to have neither “received any
compensation” nor of holding any decision-making role in the IPL franchise
Mumbai Indians.

Tendulkar on Sunday filed a 14-point written response to a notice sent by
Ombudsman cum Ethics Officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain. It was with regards to
a Conflict of Interest complaint filed by the Madhya Pradesh Cricket
Association member Sanjeev Gupta.

As per the complainant, Tendulkar and VVS Laxman are allegedly performing
dual roles of a “support staff” of their respective IPL franchises Mumbai
Indians (MI) and Sunrisers Hyderabad and members of the Cricket Advisory
Committee (CAC).

As far as his role in the Cricket Advisory Committee is concerned, Tendulkar
mentioned that he was appointed as a member of the BCCI committee in 2015,
which was years after his involvement with the MI.

Tendulkar, in his disclosure, further makes it clear that the role of an
icon — the one he is performing right now in the IPL franchise team — in
no way is a position either in the management or the governance of the
franchise.

HARPREET BAGS SILVER AS INDIA FINISH WITH 16 MEDALS AT ASIAN WRESTLING
C’SHIP

India wrapped up their campaign at the Asian Wrestling Championships on a
resounding note with 16 medals after Greco-Roman grapplers added a silver
and a bronze on the concluding day, in Xi’an (China) on Sunday.

Harpreet Singh settled for a silver in 82kg while Gyanender won a bronze in
60kg on the final day of competition.

India’s overall tally of 16 medals included eight-one gold, three silver and
four bronze-won by men’s freestyle wrestlers, four bronze by women and three
silver and a bronze by Greco-Roman wrestlers.

With this performance, India’s Greco-Roman wrestlers have bettered their
tally of two bronze from the last edition and is the country’s best ever
showing in this discipline so far at the Asian Championships.

IPL: DELHI CAPITALS BEAT RCB; KKR DOWN MUMBAI INDIANS

Delhi Capitals qualified for the IPL play-offs for the first time since 2012
after a convincing 16-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, in Delhi
yesterday.

Entertaining knocks from captain Shreyas Iyer (52 off 37) and Shikhar Dhawan
(50 off 37) helped Delhi put up a daunting 187 for five before the bowlers
delivered once again to stop the RCB at 171 for seven.

Kolkata Knight Riders snapped their six-match losing streak with a 34-run
win over Mumbai Indians in a high-scoring IPL game that saw brutal stroke
play from power-hitters of both teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen fired on all cylinders to post the season’s
highest total, 232 for two, after sensational knocks from Shubman Gill (75
off 45) and Andre Russell (80 not out off 40).

At 58 for four, Mumbai were down and out but Hardik Pandya reignited their
hopes with a breathtaking 91 off 34 balls. In the end, Pandya’s dismissal in
the 18th over sealed the game in KKR’s favour as Mumbai ended at 198 for
seven.

Position / Team / Matches Played / Wins

1 Delhi Capitals 12 / 8

2 Chennai Super Kings 12 / 8

3 Mumbai Indians 12 / 7

4 Sunrisers Hyderabad 11 / 5

5 Kolkata Knight Riders 12 / 5

6 Kings XI Punjab 11 / 5

7 Rajasthan Royals 12 / 5

8 Royal Challengers Bangalore 12 / 4

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them. – Livy

OFF TRACK

Things That Are Difficult to Say When You’re Drunk: Indubitably; Innovative;
Preliminary; Proliferation; Cinnamon.

Things That Are VERY Difficult to Say When You’re Drunk: Specificity; Cogito
ergo sum; British; Constitution; Passive-aggressive disorder; Loquacious;
Transubstantiate.

Things That Are Downright IMPOSSIBLE to Say When You’re Drunk: Nope, no more
beer for me.

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