TALKS WITH PAKISTAN ONLY ON POK, SAYS RAJNATH SINGH AT RALLY IN KALKA
19th Aug 2019
Asserting that dialogue with Pakistan is not possible till it stops aiding and abetting terrorism, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that if talks are held with Pakistan, they will be only on Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). "If talks are ever held with Pakistan, it will now be on PoK. The talks with Pakistan will be held only if it stops supporting terror," he said. Singh was addressing a rally before flagging off BJP's "Jan Ashirwad Yatra" at Kalka. Referring to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said Pakistan was knocking at the doors of the international community claiming that India had "made a mistake". Singh stated that the abrogation of Article 370 was "non-negotiable" as the bifurcation of the state had been done purely for its "development". Claiming that Pakistan had been isolated internationally on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, the minister said even US had not given much credence to Pakistan's allegations on the issue. Singh asserted that a few days back Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told his country that India was planning to take an action bigger than Balakot against Pakistan. "Now even Pakistan Prime Minister acknowledges what India did in Balakot," he said, adding, that the government's actions were purely with the view to safeguard the unity and the integrity of the country and were not "election stunts". VALLEY SCHOOLS RE-OPEN TODAY, INTERNET SNAPPED AGAIN IN JAMMU Two days after the Jammu and Kashmir administration said restrictions would be lifted in phases, schools are set to re-open Monday as the communications blackout continued across most parts of the Valley on Sundaybarring some areas. And in Jammu, mobile Internet services in five of ten districts were suspended again, 24 hours after being restored. While fixed-line telephone connections in some areas of Srinagar and other parts of the Valley including tourist resorts were restored, major telephone exchanges in the region remain shut. In Jammu, the suspension of 2G mobile Internet sparked rumours across the region, leading to long queues at petrol pumps. The state has remained under an unprecedented communications blackout since August 5, when the Centre moved to end the special status of the state and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories. In Srinagar, the Baghat and Gogjibagh telephone exchanges, catering to the civil lines areas, were restored as was the Indira Nagar exchange that services the cantonment. Officials, however, said they have no directions to restore the Lalchowk exchange, the city's main exchange that has the most connections and services the business hub of Srinagar. Meanwhile, in Jammu, Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma attributed the disconnection of mobile Internet service to technical issues, saying "there was too much load in respect to the flow of data and the slow 2G network was not able to cope with it". IMRAN KHAN'S FRENETIC TWEETS Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday called upon the global community to take note of "Kashmiris under siege" and said that the world should "seriously consider the safety and security of India's nuclear arsenal" in the hands of the Narendra Modi-led government. Following the Union government's move to invalidate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Imran has been extremely vocal about alleged human rights violations in the state. The Pakistan prime minister has also made several exhortations to the global community in this regard, on similar lines as his remarks on Sunday. In a series of tweets, Imran said: "The Hindu supremacist Modi government poses a threat to Pakistan as well as to the minorities in India, and in fact to the very fabric of Nehru and Gandhi's India." "Will world silently witness...I want to warn international community if it allows this to happen, it will have severe repercussions and reactions in the Muslim world setting off radicalisation and cycles of violence." Imran's recent statements are similar to his remarks on 15 August, when he had questioned the international community's silence on the Kashmir issue and warned that it will have severe "repercussions" in the Muslim world, "setting off radicalisation" and "cycles of violence". POLITICS OF APPEASEMENT MEANT TRIPLE TALAQ CONTINUED: AMIT SHAH Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday the politics of appeasement, which led to the Partition, was the reason for the continuance of the "evil practice" of triple talaq for so long. "Some people level allegations against BJP government that such action is anti-Muslim. I want to make it clear that this is only and only to benefit Muslims, not the Hindus, Jains or Christians," he said. Some parties were in the habit of coming to power on the basis of vote-bank politics, that's why such evil practices continued, he said. "The election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in 2014 was the beginning of the end of politics of appeasement and the 2019 mandate is to end it forever," said Shah. "When 'Sati pratha' (self immolation by Hindu widows) was abolished, no one opposed it. When child marriage was ended, no one opposed it. In case of child marriage, there is a provision for two years jail. Similarly, dowry is a civil matter. In dowry case, if just the demand is made, there is a provision for two years' imprisonment," he said. The triple talaq has been criminalised to educate people, to create fear among some people that "if you do this, you will be punished". INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS ====================== 63 KILLED, 182 INJURED IN KABUL WEDDING BLAST More than 60 people were killed and scores wounded in an explosion targeting a wedding in the Afghan capital, authorities said on Sunday, the deadliest attack in Kabul in recent months. The blast, which took place on late Saturday in the city's west, came as Washington and the Taliban are in the final stages of a deal to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack. Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said at least 63 people had been killed and 182 wounded. "Among the wounded are women and children," Rahimi said. The wedding was believed to be a Shia gathering. Shia Muslims are frequently targeted in Sunni-majority Afghanistan, particularly by the so-called Islamic State group, which is also active in Kabul but did not immediately issue any claim of responsibility. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday the Taliban could not escape blame for the "barbaric" attack. "The Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame for they provide platform for terrorists," Ghani said in a post on Twitter. IRAN TANKER ROW: DETAINED SHIP SETS SAIL FROM GIBRALTAR An Iranian ship held by Gibraltar since July on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria has left port. Marine tracking shows the tanker moving east into the Mediterranean and lists Kalamata in Greece as the destination. Gibraltar earlier rejected a request by the US to again seize the ship, which has changed its name from Grace 1 to Adrian Darya-1. The US made the last-minute request on Friday, a day after Gibraltar lifted its detention order. Gibraltar said it could not comply with Washington's request to issue a new detention order because US sanctions against Iran did not apply in the EU. Tehran said it was ready to dispatch a naval escort to the Adrian Darya-1. The Gibraltar authorities freed the vessel on Thursday after receiving assurances from Iran that it would not discharge its cargo in Syria. THE REST ======== 24 KILLED IN HIMACHAL, 3 IN PUNJAB AS HEAVY RAIN LASHES NORTH INDIA At least 24 people were killed in Himachal Pradesh and three people died in Punjab in rain-related incidents on Sunday as the two states received rainfall over ten times more than normal, officials said. Recording its wettest day this monsoon, Punjab received rainfall 1,300 per cent above normal on Sunday and Himachal Pradesh recorded 1,064 per cent surplus rain. According to IMD, heavy rainfall lashed the two northern states due to a low pressure system along their borders. Punjab, which was experiencing a rain deficit this monsoon, became a rain surplus state after Sunday's rainfall. Heavy rainfall was also reported from parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana. The east coast, too, is experiencing rain fury, with the Met department warning of continuous heavy showers over parts of Southern Gangetic West Bengal. CONG. LEADER HOODA SLAMS OWN PARTY OVER REACTIONS TO ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370 Former Haryana chief minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday came down heavily on the leaders his own party for not supporting the abrogation of Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir. "When the government does something right, I always support it. Many of my colleagues opposed the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370. They have lost their way. It is not the same Congress as it used to be," said Hooda, while addressing the 'Maha Parivartan rally' in Rohtak. The comments by the top leader come amidst speculations that he might quit the party and chart an independent political course. COFFEE DAY ENTERPRISES SAYS DEBT TO FALL TO RS 1,000 CR POST SALE OF BENGALURU TECH PARK Cafe chain operator Coffee Day Enterprises on Saturday said its total debt is expected to reduce to around Rs 1,000 crore after adjusting the proceeds from sale of its Global Village Tech Park in Bengaluru to Blackstone. "The company has already announced the divestment of Global Village Tech Park held by its subsidiary Tanglin Developments Ltd for an aggregate consideration of Rs 2,600-3,000 crore. On receipt of the consideration for the sale of Global Village after payment of required Statutory payments, the debt position of Coffee Day Group will reduce around by Rs 2,400 crore," Coffee Day Enterprises said in a regulatory filing. The debt position of Coffee Day Group post repayment of debt out of proceeds from sale of Global Village is expected to be around Rs 1,000 crore in the next 45 days, it added. As per the filing, total debt of Coffee Day Enterprises as on July 31, 2019 was Rs 3,472 crore. CAR SALES HIT ROCK BOTTOM, DISCOUNTS AT ALL-TIME HIGH Auto sales are at their lowest levels in nearly two decades and dealers are saddled with huge inventory. To push sales in such an environment and clear the network, manufacturers are offering huge discounts on several models to drive home the message that if one plans to purchase a vehicle, now is the best time. The companies and dealers are in a way pushed against the wall currently. They need to exhaust the inventory, as six months from now BS-VI emission norms would kick in. As a result, after March 31, 2020, manufacturers would not be able to the sell the current BS-IV compliant vehicles, which would mean that the stocks, if left unsold, will become scrap. Dealer checks shows that discounts on cars by Maruti Suzuki (MSI), Hyundai and Honda Cars have touched an all-time high currently. Typically, a dealer operates on a margin of three-six per cent. By sacrificing part of their margins, dealers are offering discounts, in addition to that given by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), resulting in increase in the net discounted amount. MOVIETIME: MISSION MANGAL & BATLA HOUSE One of the glorious chapters in the success story of Indian scientists at ISRO was the 2014 Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), more popularly called the Mangalyaan Mission. 'Mission Mangal' is a film that dramatises and recreates this glorious chapter in Indian history. And along the way, it takes a few cinematic liberties The story picks up in 2010, when a team at ISRO is led by Rakesh (Akshay Kumar) as they launch a rocket into outer space. But that launch mission ends up in unexpected failure when a technical error forces the rocket to veer towards earth. The ill-fated error happens under the watchful eye of one of the mission directors Tara (Vidya Balan), but during the media-fuelled fiasco later on, Rakesh takes the blame for it. As a result, Rakesh is assigned to the far-fetched Mars Mission at ISRO, which other scientists at the organisation believes is nothing but a flight of fancy. But, the patriotic Rakesh and the industrious Tara decide to fight the odds and put India on the space map, again. Dealing with minuscule budgets, scrutiny from their peers and pressure from all quarters Rakesh and Tara, make a team of junior scientists from ISRO with the intention of putting the Mars Mission into space within 24 months. Writer-director Jagan Shakti's film takes complex scientific jargon and simplifies it for the common man. The storytelling is backed by solid characters in the MOM team, who have scientifically thought out solutions for their real-life problems, too. MOM's team comprises of five strong women Tara, Eka (Sonakshi Sinha), Neha (Kirti Kulhari), Kritika (Taapsee Pannu) and Varsha (Nithya Menen) who wrack their brains and come up with innovative, low-cost solutions for the Mars mission. On the morning of 19th September 2008, a narrow bylane in Delhi's Jamia Nagar, was rattled by the sounds of gunfire exchanges. Officially known as Operation Batla House, this was Delhi Police Special Cell's shoot out with the alleged terrorists holed up in a flat, in the now infamous Batla House. This is perhaps one of the most controversial chapters of the Delhi Police as several questions were raised on the arrests and killings, including that of martyred encounter specialist and Delhi Police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. The operation was spearheaded by then ACP and now DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. Directed by Nikkhil Advani and starring John Abraham, the film is a fictionalized account of the operation and the controversies that followed. Mission Mangal" has taken a lead at the Indian box-office after raking in Rs 70.02 crore in three days. Actor John Abraham's "Batla House", on the other hand, minted Rs 35.29 crore. UNNERVED BY RELIANCE JIO OFFER, LEADING MULTIPLEX COMPANIES HIT BACK Leading multiplex companies have said they will not screen films whose rights have been sold for an earlier or simultaneous release on OTT (over the top) digital platforms. This is a significant development as it could lead them to challenge Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, who recently announced that premium users of the commercially launched high-speed Jio Fiber (fibre to the home) would be able to see movies at home on the same day that they are released in the theatres. The first-day-first-show service on Reliance's OTT platform, Jio TV, will be launched sometime in mid 2020. A senior executive of a leading multiplex said, "The age-old value chain has been a win-win for all - producers as well as exhibitors. If producers decide to go in for simultaneous or earlier launch of their films on OTT or television, instead of keeping the current gap from a theatrical release, we will not show the movies on our screens as it does not make business sense. And most multiplex players echo the same sentiment." According to industry sources, 50-60 per cent of the total box office collections of a movie comes in the first week. Producers get over 50 per cent share of the total net box office collections, and the rest is for the exhibitors. From the second week onwards, the percentage earned by producers goes down week on week. "If a movie is shown on OTT simultaneously for which they get only a fixed fee (the price at which the rights are sold), producers and exhibitors will substantially lose money from their share of box office collections, which is the highest in the first week. And if the movie is a blockbuster, the producer will not get any upside the way it happens in theatricals. It is a loss for all stakeholders," said a multiplex owner. Even in the US, director Stephen Spielberg has been pushing for reasonable theatrical runs for movies for them to be nominated for the Oscars. In fact, this forced Netflix to have a limited theatrical launch for Roma so that it could be an Oscar contender. (Roma went on to win three Oscars this year.) LORD'S TEST ENDS IN A THRILLING DRAW Marnus Labuschagne made history as international cricket's first concussion substitute before his valuable fifty helped Australia draw the second Ashes Test against England at Lord's on Sunday. Labuschagne was not confirmed as playing until Sunday morning when Australia star Steve Smith was ruled out with concussion, having been hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer during his 92 on Saturday. Previously, a substitute would only have been permitted to field. But this series is the first in the ICC's inaugural World Test Championship featuring new rules that allow replacement players to bat or bowl if they are covering for concussed team-mates. Labuschagne, in just his sixth Test, responded to his late call-up by top-scoring with 59, having been hit on the grille of his helmet second ball by a 91.6 mph Archer bouncer, in Australia's eventual second-innings 154-6. England pressed hard late on to level the series at 1-1 after captain Joe Root declared to set Australia a stiff target of 267 in 48 overs following Ben Stokes's 115 not out. It seemed the match was destined for a draw, with Australia 132-3 after tea in a Test where five sessions were washed out and rain also delayed Sunday's start by over an hour. But Australia lost three wickets for 17 runs to give England renewed hope. Scores: England 258 and 258 for 5 dec; Australia 250 and 154 for 6 SRI LANKA SCRIPT RECORD CHASE AT GALLE Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne's ninth Test hundred underpinned the highest successful chase ever at the Galle International Stadium, as Sri Lanka ushered into the World Test Championship era with a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the first Test. Never before had a team successfully chased a three-figure score at the old Lankan fortress. But on Sunday, 18 August, Sri Lanka rewrote the record books by running down 268 with six wickets in hand, thanks to Karunaratne's brilliant 122 at the top of the order. The win also gave Sri Lanka 60 points on the Test Championship table, taking them above Australia, whose 251-run win over England in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston, had given them 24 points. On a surface that did not deteriorate as drastically as Galle surfaces are known to, New Zealand's bowlers struggled to make breakthroughs, picking up just four wickets after 86 fourth-innings overs. Scores: New Zealand 249 & 285; Sri Lanka 267 & 268/4 THOUGHT FOR THE DAY He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche OFF TRACK Paul Bourget: "When an American has nothing to do, he can always spend a few years trying to discover who his grandfather was." Mark Twain: "Quite right, Monsieur Bourget. And when all other interests fail for a Frenchman, he can always try to find out who his father was."