India Newsletter

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."

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