FRONT PAGE NEWS
25 Sept 2020
PAKISTAN PLAYING SAARC SPOILER WITH TERROR, TRADE HURDLES: JAISHANKAR
With Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi listening, External
Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday listed cross-border terrorism,
blocking of connectivity and obstruction of trade as the key challenges
confronting SAARC. Jaishankar's remarks at an informal meeting of SAARC
foreign ministers targeted Pakistan for being a spoiler in regional
cooperation. The meeting, chaired by Nepal, was held in virtual mode and
attended by all SAARC member states.
One of the agenda items in the SAARC ministerial meeting was the 19th SAARC
Summit, which was to be hosted by Pakistan. Most countries felt it was not
an "opportune time" for the event considering that member states are
preoccupied in dealing with the Covid-19 situation. So the proposal fell
through due to lack of consensus.
Jaishankar urged SAARC member states to collectively resolve to defeat
terrorism, including the forces that nurture, support and encourage an
environment of terror and conflict, which impede the objective of SAARC to
realise its full potential for collective collaboration and prosperity
across South Asia, according to a statement from the Ministry of External
At another forum of foreign ministers-Conference on Interaction and
Confidence-Building Measures (CICA) in Asia hosted by Kazakhstan - Pakistan
raked up the issue of Kashmir.
India hit back, saying that it is "typical of Pakistan" to use multilateral
platforms "to raise bilateral and contentious issues".
MEA TAKES HOPE FROM CONSENSUS AT MILITARY COMMANDERS' MEETING
India on Thursday highlighted the fact that the latest meeting of military
commanders had led to a joint press release. The Ministry of External
Affairs (MEA) interpreted it as reflecting the "stated commitment of both
sides to disengage along the LAC". It noted that this was the first joint
press release after any Senior Commanders' meeting.
The latest Senior Commanders' meeting was critical to ensure stability on
the ground at a time when troops are about to undertake disengagement which
is a complex process requiring redeployment towards regular posts on the
respective sides of the LAC, said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava. The
meeting had undertaken not to add to troops' strength on the border and not
to unilaterally change the status quo of the border. These steps were
essential in view of two past instances of extreme aggression that led to
shots being fired on the LAC for the first time in 45 years.
Srivastava hoped the way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts
to unilaterally change the status quo, while the two sides continue their
discussions to achieve complete disengagement in all friction areas.
In this regard, he said, the two sides have also decided to have the next
meeting of the Senior Commanders at the earliest as well as hold in parallel
a meeting of the inter-Ministerial MEA-led Working Mechanism on Consultation
CONG SLAMS GOVT OVER CAG RED FLAG IN RAFALE OFFSETS
The Congress on Thursday said the new CAG report admits that "technology
transfer" was shelved in Rafale offsets and wondered whether the report
opens a can of worms.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said, "The CAG finds that the vendors of the
Rafale aircraft have not confirmed the transfer of technology under the
offset contract. The offset obligations should have started on 23-9-2019 and
the first annual commitment should have been completed by 23-9-2020, that is
yesterday. Will the govt say if that obligation was fulfilled."
Raising the issue, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted,
"Chronology of biggest Defense deal continues to unfold. The new CAG report
admits that 'technology transfer' shelved in Rafale offsets. 1st, 'Make in
India' became 'Make in France'. Now, DRDO dumped for tech transfer. Modi ji
will say - 'Sab Changa si' (all is well)."
The Comptroller and Auditor General in its report released on Wednesday said
that French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and European missile maker
MBDA are yet to fulfil their offset obligations of offering high technology
to India under the Rafale aircraft deal.
INDIA'S R VALUE DROPS BELOW 1 FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE COVID PANDEMIC STRUCK
For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, India's R value
- a key parameter to measure the rate of the spread of an infection - has
dipped below 1, reducing to 0.93 from 1.08 last week.
According to Sitabhra Sinha, a researcher at the Institute of Mathematical
Sciences in Chennai, some of the worst-affected states - including
Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka - have also registered an R value
of less than 1.
R value represents the number of people one patient can infect.
Epidemiologists have been waiting for the number to drop below 1 in India
because this means that the number of recoveries now outnumber the new
infections. "We will still see new infections happening, but the important
point is that recoveries are more. If the R value can be maintained below 1,
the epidemic will eventually die out but we need to have R less than 1 for a
considerable length of time for this to happen," says Sinha.
"Earlier we had seen that in Delhi, after keeping R less than 1 for more
than a month, the R suddenly increased beyond 1, thereby losing the gains
they had made," he said.
The top five states with the highest number of active cases in India have
all registered R values below 1. Sinha said this was the reason for the drop
in India's overall R.
TRUMP CONTINUES TO CAST ASPERSIONS ON ELECTION PROCESS
President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to clearly guarantee a peaceful
transfer of power should he lose the upcoming US election in November to Joe
"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump responded when asked
at a White House press conference whether he is committed to the most basic
tenet of democratic rule in the United States.
Trump, who is currently behind in the polls against Democratic challenger
Joe Biden, then resumed his near daily complaint about the way the election
is being organized.
Trump frequently claims that mail-in ballots are vulnerable to mass fraud
and are being encouraged by Democrats to rig the election. However, there is
no evidence that ballots sent through the postal service have ever led to
significant fraud in US elections.
At the press conference, Trump seemed to suggest annulling what are expected
to be the huge numbers of mailed-in ballots, saying that in such a scenario,
he would remain in power.
"Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very peaceful -- there won't be a
transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation," he said.
Trump's latest insistence that there cannot be a fair presidential election
on November 3 came as pressure mounts over his plan to put a new,
right-leaning justice on the Supreme Court.
ON INDIA'S CALL FOR UNSC REFORM, CHINA DEMANDS 'PACKAGE SOLUTION'
China, which has been stonewalling India's entry into the UN Security
Council, on Thursday said there were "enormous divisions" on reforms to
expand the premier body of the United Nations and expressed its willingness
to work for a "package solution" that can accommodate interests and concerns
of all parties.
The G4 grouping comprising India, Japan, Germany and Brazil on Wednesday
expressed their concern over lack of any "meaningful" forward movement on
long-pending reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and demanded "urgency"
on the issue.
The foreign ministers of the G4 countries, including External Affairs
Minister S Jaishankar, held a virtual meeting coinciding with the 75th
session of the UN General Assembly during which they held extensive
discussion on the need for urgent reform of the UNSC.
Responding to the G4 ministers call for text-based negotiations with a fixed
time to carry out reforms for the UN Security Council, Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here that: "We believe
the reform of the Security Council is an important issue which concerns the
long-term development and all the immediate interests of its members."
"There have been enormous divisions on this issue and there lacks a
widespread consensus on the arrangement for reform. China is willing to work
with other UN members to seek a package solution that can accommodate all
parties' interests and concerns through dialogue and negotiation," he said.
BHARAT BANDH BY FARMERS TODAY, AND 3-DAY 'RAIL ROKO' IN PUNJAB,
Farmers in several parts of Punjab on Thursday started a three-day "rail
roko" agitation against the Union govt's three agriculture sector Bills.
The Railways has cancelled at least 14 pairs of special trains running from
the Ferozepur division from September 24 to 26, following the strike call.
The decision was taken keeping in mind the safety of passengers and the
protection of railway property, it indicated.
The agitation, being held under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh
Samiti and other farmer outfits, is also expected to affect freight traffic,
which has seen some recovery in recent months.
Another farmer organisation, the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers
Movements (ICCFM), representing 12 farmers' organisations based in UP, MP,
Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Haryana, has called for a
complete nationwide bandh on Friday.
"We farmers have been demanding fair and remunerative prices for the past
four decades. The BJP govt made election promises of doubling farmers'
incomes. Instead of fulfilling that promise, we are being slapped with these
Bills designed to end the govts' responsibility to ensure a fair price to
farmers. When seen in totality, these bills have nothing to do with
improving farmers' incomes, over 80 per cent of whom are small and marginal
farmers," said Yudhvir Singh, national convener of the ICCFM.
Another farmers' body, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee
(AIKSCC), said it would also hold a nationwide protest if the minimum
support price was not guaranteed, and crop price and food security of the
poor were left to multi-nationals and corporate houses.
TOMAR REASSURES FARMERS ON 3 AGRI-LEGISLATIONS, SLAMS CONGRESS LIES
A day before countrywide farmers' agitation, Agriculture Minister Narendra
Singh Tomar on Thursday accused the Congress of "lying and misleading" while
assuring farmers that the three "historic" agri-legislations passed by the
Parliament were for their "better future and prosperity in the agriculture
Slamming the Congress "for doing petty politics on matter related to
farmers' future even while it promised very same reforms in its poll
manifestos," Tomar also said "if farmers want any discussion on the bills,
they are most welcome, our doors are always open".
According to Tomar, the legislations will change the lives of farmers and
the sector for the better. "Check the records and see what Kamal Nath
(former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister) had said at the high-level chief
minister' meeting. He (Kamal Nath) said it on record that Essential
Commodities Act has achieved its purpose. What the govt has done is what the
Congress promised in Punjab and in its 2019 Lok Sabha manifesto. The party
should stop lying and doing politics on matters concerning farmers," Tomar
said while speaking to mediapersons at the BJP headquarters.
CAG: CENTRE BROKE THE LAW, USED FUNDS FOR GST COMPENSATION ELSEWHERE
Citing the opinion of the Attorney General of India, Finance Minister
Nirmala Sitharaman told Parliament last week that there was no provision in
the law to compensate states for loss of GST revenue out of the Consolidated
Fund of India (CFI).
However, the CAG has found that the govt itself violated the law by
retaining Rs 47,272 crore of GST compensation cess in the CFI during 2017-18
and 2018-19, and used the money for other purposes, which "led to
overstatement of revenue receipts and understatement of fiscal deficit for
Compensation Cess Fund, shows that there was short crediting to the Fund of
the GST Compensation Cess collections totalling to Rs 47,272 crore during
2017-18 and 2018-19," the CAG has said. "The short-crediting was a violation
of the GST Compensation Cess Act, 2017," the national auditor said in its
report on the accounts of the Union govt, which were tabled in Parliament on
Wednesday, the last day of the Monsoon session.
VETERANS MEET MAHA. GOVERNOR OVER ATTACK ON EX-NAVY MAN
A delegation of retired Navy officers and sailors on Thursday met
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari here and sought action against
Shiv Sena workers who allegedly assaulted ex-Navy man Madan Sharma.
The delegation described the attack on Sharma as "dastardly.
A group of Shiv Sena workers had attacked Sharma (62) on September 11 after
he posted a cartoon lampooning Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in a
A statement, issued by Commander Vijay Vadhera (retd), president of the Navy
Foundation (Mumbai chapter), said the delegation demanded immediate and
visible action against the attackers.
The Honourable Governor has been made aware that if immediate visible action
is not taken against the miscreants, it would send a wrong signal to the
citizens in India that the Armed Forces veterans do not get the respect they
deserve for making supreme sacrifice for the safety of our nation and its
citizens," said the statement. Such attacks on the veterans will not only
affect their morale, but also that of the serving defence personnel, Vadhera
OVER 200 EDUCATIONISTS, FILMMAKERS AND AUTHORS DEMAND RELEASE OF UMAR KHALID
More than 200 educationists, filmmakers and authors, including Noam Chomsky
and Mira Nair, issued a joint statement on Wednesday demanding the Centre
free Umar Khalid arrested in connection with the northeast Delhi riots.
Besides Chomsky and Nair, the signatories include actor Ratna Pathak Shah,
authors Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, and journalist P
"We stand in solidarity and outrage, with the brave young scholar and
activist Umar Khalid, arrested in New Delhi on September 14, 2020, under
fabricated charges of engineering the Delhi riots in February 2020," the
statement said. The statement said that Khalid "used the passion of his
commitment to his country, marshalled his education and his voice to join
the movement for equal citizenship, against the CAA" which introduced
religion as a criterion for citizenship, and has no place in a secular
Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava had last week said the force has
collected documentary evidence, including scientific evidence, to support
its case in connection with the riots. He said the police have so far
arrested 1,571 people irrespective of their caste or religion and they are
almost equally distributed among both communities.
SENSEX FALLS 1,115 POINTS OVER US FED REMARKS
The BSE Sensex posted its biggest single-day fall in four months after
investor sentiment turned sour on the Federal Reserve's dire assessment of
the US economy and rising Covid-19 infections forcing many countries to
The Sensex plunged 1,115 points, or 3 per cent, to end at 36,554, its lowest
close since July 10 and the biggest drop since May 18.
US Federal Reserve Vice-Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday the US
economy remained in a "deep hole" of joblessness and weak demand and called
for more stimulus measures from policymakers.
Experts said the comments dashed hopes of a swift economic recovery. Also,
many feared with the US election around the corner, the administration would
not be able to provide a strong stimulus package.
CRICKETER DEAN JONES DIES OF CARDIAC ARREST IN MUMBAI
Dean Jones, the former Australian batsman who became famous as a popular
commentator after his cricket career, died after a cardiac arrest here today
at age 59.
Jones was in Mumbai as part of the commentary team for the Indian Premier
League, currently underway in the UAE. He was staying at a city hotel and
was in a biosecure bubble, along with the other commentators and television
crew. According to an IPL source, Jones suffered a heart attack around noon
and was gone in a matter of seconds. "Deano was standing in the hotel lobby
and he suddenly collapsed. Brett Lee was standing by his side. Brett tried
to revive him by applying CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) but he didn't
respond," said the source. He was taken to a hospital in Girgaon, where he
was pronounced dead on arrival
Jones played 52 Tests and 164 ODIs and was part of the Australian team that
won the 1987 World Cup under Allan Border. Jones was the Man of the Match in
the famous tied Test in Madras (now Chennai) in 1986, when he displayed
extraordinary physical and mental strength in extremely difficult conditions
to bat over eight hours in making 210, regarded as one of the greatest
innings ever played, anywhere.
He was also an exciting ODI batsman who was known for his trademark shots
over the field and his frenetic running between the wickets.
IPL: RAHUL SMASHES SECOND IPL TON, KXIP BEAT RCB
KL Rahul smashed his second IPL hundred to lead Kings XI Punjab to a 97-run
win over Royal Challengers Bangalore yesterday. Rahul, who was dropped by
RCB skipper Virat Kohli twice, slammed an unbeaten 132 off 69 balls, highest
score by an Indian in IPL history. In reply to KXIP's 206/3, RCB were
bundled out for 109 in 17 overs.
Sensex 36,554 (-1,115), Nifty 10,806 (-326), Trading Value NSE ,(Rs.crores)
Nasdaq 10,672 (+39) Dow 26,815 (+52), S&P 3,246 (+10)
US$-Rs. 73.74 GBP-Rs. 93.90, Euro-Rs. 85.97, UAE Dhm-Rs.20.07, Can$-Rs.
55.10, Aus$- Rs. 51.96
GBP 0.78 /US$, Euro 0.85 /US$, Jap.Yen 105.40 /US$, Aus$ 1.41 /US$, Sing
1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.34 /US$, Can$ 1.33 /US$, Mal Ring 4.16 /US$,
Pak Re 165.70 /US$, Phil Peso 48.50 /US$, Russian Rouble 77.04 /US$, NZ$
1.52 /US$, Thai Baht 31.55 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.99 /US$, Norway NOK 9.52
Bitcoin - USD 10,715
Dollar Index 94.37 Brent Crude 42.03 BDI 1,426
Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,869 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 4,941/ 4,841
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 58,500
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. -
It was an extremely hot day and the sergeant in charge of bayonet drill at
an army base was trying hard to get his listless men to attack the stuffed
dummies with more energy. Finally he halted the drill and said, "Listen,
those dummies are your enemy. They have burned your house and killed your
parents. They carried away your sisters, stole all your money and drank up
all the whiskey in the house."
This time the line surged ahead with new purpose. The men with grim looks on
their faces showed eagerness to attack. One recruit, his eyes stern and his
lips drawn back over his teeth in a snarl, paused to ask: "Sergeant, which
one drank that whiskey."