Yuva Sai Sagar

Online news channel!

Tag: street-journal-

Anger in Afghanistan at female pilot’s U.S. asylum bid | Reuters

KABUL There was an angry reaction in Afghanistan to news that the first female fixed-wing pilot in the country’s air force was requesting asylum in the United States after completing an 18-month training course.The Afghan defence ministry confirmed on Sunday that Captain Niloofar Rahmani, 25, had sought asylum after the Wall Street Journal quoted her as saying that she feared her life would be in danger if she returned home.A recipient of the U.S. State Department’s “Women of Courage” award in 2015, Capt. Rahmani had been a symbol of efforts to improve the situation of women in her country, more than a decade after the fall of the Taliban regime.Mohammad Radmanish, a defence ministry spokesman, said the government hoped that her request would be denied by U.S. authorities who have spent billions trying to build up Afghan security forces.”When an officer complains of insecurity and is afraid of security threats, then what should ordinary people do?” he said. “She has made an excuse for herself, but we have hundreds of educated women and female civil right activists who work and it is safe for them.”

Capt. Rahmani, who graduated from flight school in 2012 and qualified to fly C-208 military cargo aircraft, had been in the United States on a training course and had been due to return home on Saturday.In a conservative country notorious for the restrictions placed on women, Rahmani’s story stood out as a rare example of a woman breaking through in areas normally reserved for men.

Her success came at a price, however. The citation for the “Women of Courage” award said she and her family had received direct threats not just from the Taliban but also from some relatives, forcing her family to move house several times.However, there was little sympathy on Afghanistan’s active social media networks, which were replete with comments criticizing Rahmani, accusing her of wasting government money spent on expensive training and avoiding her responsibilities.

“Niloofar Rahmani took a million dollars from the pockets of the people of Afghanistan to pay human traffickers to get to America to seek asylum,” one Facebook user wrote in comments typical of others.Dozens of Afghan troops receiving training in the United States have gone missing over the past two years, and at least one has been detained while trying to cross the border to Canada. (Reporting by Mirwais Harooni, writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 18:11 IST

Narendra Modi in Mumbai: Demonetisation isn’t the final big-bang, PM promises more

The key takeaway from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) campus near Mumbai on Saturday is his reiteration that the NDA-government doesn’t think that demonetisation is an accident.

The government is willing to pursue it till the end irrespective of the difficulties it may face in dealing with the after effects of this massively disruptive exercise and what the critics say. “Let me make one thing very clear: This Government will continue to follow sound and prudent economic policies, to ensure that India has a bright future in the long run. We will not take decisions for short term political point scoring. We will not shy away from taking difficult decisions, if those decisions are in the interest of the country. Demonetisation is an example. It has short-term pain, but will bring long-term gain,” Modi said at the inaugratin of the NISM campus.

Narendra-Modi-in-New-Delhi4_PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

This is a clear message to his political opponents and critics that the government wouldn’t go back from what it has begun on 8 November. PM Modi’s comment comes not long after severe criticism on demonetisation from known global names such as Steve Forbes called it an “immoral and sickening move” and “a massive theft of people’s property” and Wall Street Journal, which dubbed demonetisation “India’s bizarre war on cash” and essentially cautioned the government that it shouldn’t force cashless transactions on its people.

Modi has faced criticism at home as well. But, his speech on Saturday tells us that the prime minister isn’t perturbed with any of these. He is willing to risk the after effects of the note ban including a severe cash crunch that is persisting even after a month and half of the currency ban, negative impacts on the economy and reported job losses in the informal sector, as well as signs of public patience diminishing faster than in the initial days.

As the prime minister said in his speech, the government is willing to face the risks and is betting big on the long-term gains of the demonetisation. The prime minister’s statement isn’t difficult to understand given that he has invested too much of personal and political goodwill in the decision to pull out 86 percent of currency in one go on 8 November. There is no going back from this decision since it can become the admission of a political defeat.

Since 8 November, the note ban has been presented as a bold, personal political move to the public by the prime minister rather than as an economic reform originating from the government or the central bank, Reserve Bank of India. But, the other side of this is that by not admitting the serious flaws in the implementation of a well-intentioned move and harping on a 50-day deadline to end the pain of demonetisation, the PM is also running a risk of inviting more public anger should he fails to keep his promise of 50-days and keep ignoring the ground realities.

The fact is that there is still considerable pain on the ground which might last very well beyond the “short-term”. No one, including RBI, seems to have a clear idea of how long will the cash crunch last. Till now, the RBI has managed to infuse only a fraction of the Rs 15.4 lakh crore currency demonetised by the scheme. It might take a few more months before things turn normal. As Indiaspend points out in this article, Modi’s 50-days deadline is likely to fail. Here, instead of repeating that the pain is only for short-term, the prime minister would have done well if he admitted that the impact of currency ban will probably last longer than the government had initially anticipated, thus giving a realistic assessment of the current situation. Such a move would have helped him gain more public support.

In his speech Modi also touched upon some crucial, but long-discussed, issues concerning capital market reforms such as deepening the municipal corporate market, routing long-term funds from the bond market to fund long-gestation infrastructure projects and ways to translate the growth in capital markets to gains for rural India. The remark on deepening the municipal bond markets should be seen in the backdrop of government’s smart city programme, which requires large revenue sources one of which is tapping the municipal bond market.

Modi also hinted at tweaking laws concerning gains from capital market gains. “Those who profit from financial markets must make a fair contribution to nation-building through taxes. For various reasons, the contribution of tax from those who make money on the markets has been low. To some extent, it may be due to illegal activities and fraud. To stop this, SEBI has to be extremely vigilant. To some extent, the low contribution of taxes may also be due to the structure of our tax laws. Low or zero tax rate is given to certain types of financial income.”

Similarly, the mention on reinventing the derivative product segment to benefit farmers is a message to the market regulator, SEBI to think of ways of working on new products. “People say that derivatives can be used by farmers for reducing their risks. But in practice, hardly any farmer in India uses derivatives. That is the fact. Unless and until we make the commodity markets directly useful to farmers, they are just a costly ornament in our economy, not a useful tool…SEBI should work for closer linkages between spot markets like e-NAM and derivatives markets to benefit farmers,” Modi said.

The prime minister yet again made it clear his idea of reforms when he said that his “aim is to make India a developed country in one generation”. In other words, what this means is that his government believes in massive disruptions to bring about large changes in the country rather than following the method of gradual transformation. It tells us that one should expect more big bang announcements in the remaining two and half years of his tenure. For sure, demonetisation wouldn’t be the last surprise.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 16:46 IST

Pakistan can’t take India’s strategic restraint granted for long: Wall Street Journal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan cannot take India’s policy of strategic restraint for granted for too long and if Islamabad rejects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer of cooperation, it will become part of a case for making the country a “pariah nation”, a US daily has claimed.”Modi is practicing restraint for now, but Islamabad can’t rely on that continuing. Modi’s offer of cooperation, if rejected, will become part of a case for making Pakistan even more of a pariah nation than it already is,” The Wall Street Journal said in an opinion piece on Tuesday.”If the (Pakistani) military continues to send arms and fighters across the border, the Indian Prime Minister will have a strong justification to take action,” it warned.The Wall Street Journal said India has always enjoyed the moral high ground on the terrorism issue, but past Congress and BJP governments lacked the courage to assert it forthrightly.That led to a policy of ‘strategic restraint’, which meant that Pakistan would never be held accountable for its terrorist proxies, no matter how heinous their attacks, it noted.Praising Modi for deciding against taking any military action, the daily said even as he walked back threats of military action, he replaced them with a pledge to isolate Pakistan internationally if the military doesn’t stop supporting terrorist groups.He is considering the cancellation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, which protects Pakistan’s rights to the Indus River’s water.He could also withdraw most-favoured-nation trading status, granted in 1996, that Pakistan has never reciprocated, the daily said.In an op-ed published in Foreign Affairs, Sameer Lalwani, Deputy Director of the Stimson Center’s South Asia program, said in the wake of the Uri attack, the understandable anger and frustration of Indian policymakers and strategies is building momentum for major military action.”But the arguments for such action are highly debatable, if not incorrect.A major militarised response might satisfy a desire for revenge, but it is not clear that it would serve the Indian government’s political, credibility, prestige, or coercive interests,” Lalwani said. “The 2009 elections and recent polling data suggest that Indian prime ministers have thus far suffered no real political costs for opting against military actions in retribution for major attacks.”Further, the country could actually weaken its credibility if it embarked on a militarily disastrous adventure that exposes gaps in capabilities,” he said.”Finally, although India has fulminated over its lack of options to punish its enemies, it has invested little in the comparatively easier approach of denying its enemies their goals.”With new considerations of costs and benefits, Indian strategists might turn their conversations toward security through meaningful capabilities and political engagements and away from risky, punitive gambits,” Lalwani wrote.George Perkovich from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said beyond small-scale tit-for-tat action against targets in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, India’s best recourse is to persuade the rest of the world to exert sufficient political and economic pressure to punish Pakistan for its toleration if not outright support of violence against India.”To do that, however, New Delhi must recognise the largely indigenous cause of the Kashmir uprising and end its refusal to negotiate with relevant parties, including, maddeningly, Pakistan,” he said.Perkovich said India could, and probably will, increase the intensity of covert operations to foment disorder in Pakistan, particularly in the restive province of Balochistan.”Such activities would certainly harm the interests of the Pakistani military. But they would also bolster Pakistan s effort to portray India as morally and politically equivalent to Pakistan in the use of terrorism, a label India has long sought to avoid,” he wrote in his op-ed.”India will also justifiably seek to mobilise the world against Pakistan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which is increasingly difficult to deny,” he said.

Pakistan can’t take India’s restraint granted for long: US media

Washington: Pakistan cannot take India’s policy of strategic restraint for granted for too long and if Islamabad rejects Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s offer of cooperation, it will become part of a case for making the country a “pariah nation”, a US daily has claimed.

“Modi is practicing restraint for now, but Islamabad can’t rely on that continuing. Modi’s offer of cooperation, if rejected, will become part of a case for making Pakistan even more of a pariah nation than it already is,” The Wall Street Journal said in an opinion piece on Tuesday.

“If the (Pakistani) military continues to send arms and fighters across the border, the Indian Prime Minister will have a strong justification to take action,” it warned.

The Wall Street Journal said India has always enjoyed the moral high ground on the terrorism issue, but past Congress and BJP governments lacked the courage to assert it forthrightly.

That led to a policy of “strategic restraint”, which meant that Pakistan would never be held accountable for its terrorist proxies, no matter how heinous their attacks, it noted.

Praising Modi for deciding against taking any military action, the daily said even as he walked back threats of military action, he replaced them with a pledge to isolate Pakistan internationally if the military doesn’t stop supporting terrorist groups.

He is considering the cancellation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, which protects Pakistan’s rights to the Indus River’s water.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

He could also withdraw most-favoured-nation trading status, granted in 1996, that Pakistan has never reciprocated, the daily said.

In an op-ed published in Foreign Affairs, Sameer Lalwani, Deputy Director of the Stimson Center’s South Asia program, said in the wake of the Uri attack, the understandable anger and frustration of Indian policymakers and strategies is building momentum for major military action.

“But the arguments for such action are highly debatable, if not incorrect.

A major militarised response might satisfy a desire for revenge, but it is not clear that it would serve the Indian government’s political, credibility, prestige, or coercive interests,” Lalwani said.

“The 2009 elections and recent polling data suggest that Indian prime ministers have thus far suffered no real political costs for opting against military actions in retribution for major attacks.

“Further, the country could actually weaken its credibility if it embarked on a militarily disastrous adventure that exposes gaps in capabilities,” he said.

“Finally, although India has fulminated over its lack of options to punish its enemies, it has invested little in the comparatively easier approach of denying its enemies their goals.

“With new considerations of costs and benefits, Indian strategists might turn their conversations toward security through meaningful capabilities and political engagements and away from risky, punitive gambits,” Lalwani wrote.

George Perkovich from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said beyond small-scale tit-for-tat action against targets in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, India’s best recourse is to persuade the rest of the world to exert sufficient political and economic pressure to punish Pakistan for its toleration—if not outright support—of violence against India.

“To do that, however, New Delhi must recognise the largely indigenous cause of the Kashmir uprising and end its refusal to negotiate with relevant parties, including, maddeningly, Pakistan,” he said.

Perkovich said India could, and probably will, increase the intensity of covert operations to foment disorder in Pakistan, particularly in the restive province of Balochistan.

“Such activities would certainly harm the interests of the Pakistani military.

“But they would also bolster Pakistan’s effort to portray India as morally and politically equivalent to Pakistan in the use of terrorism, a label India has long sought to avoid,” he wrote in his op-ed.

“India will also justifiably seek to mobilise the world against Pakistan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which is increasingly difficult to deny,” he said.

PM Modi’s visit will highlight Indo-US ties, shared leadership on world stage: White House

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will highlight the growing collaboration between India and the US and their “shared leadership” on the world stage, the White House said on the eve of his arrival here.”This visit celebrates the remarkable transformation in US-India ties. Over the last seven years, the United States and India have cemented an enduring bond of friendship, built on democratic values, open societies, and a respect for a rules-based order,” a senior administration official told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the invitation of President Barack Obama, Modi arrives in the US capital tomorrow afternoon as he and Obama are scheduled to meet at the Oval Office.
ALSO READ Indian-Americans keen about Narendra Modi’s address to US CongressThe President will host a lunch for the Prime Minister after the meeting.”The Prime Minister’s visit will also highlight the growing collaboration between our two countries and, more consequentially, our shared leadership on the world stage,” the official said.
ALSO READ NSG membership, black money high agenda as Modi starts five-nation tour”From addressing climate change and providing clean energy solutions, to deepening our economic and trade ties, to preserving cyberspace as an engine for growth and development, to protecting our shared spaces on the sea, in the air, and in space, the world is better when the United States and India lead together,” the official said.On Wednesday, Modi would address a joint meeting of the US Congress, the first foreign leader to do so this year and also the first to address a joint meeting of the Congress under Speaker Paul Ryan.
ALSO READ India should open talks with Pakistan and China to push for NSG’s membership: NYTMeanwhile two leading US dailies the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have said that Obama building a relationship with Modi is primarily aimed at China.The two leaders “have each invested in developing a close relationship”, Benjamin J Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor was quoted as saying by NYT.The daily said the US is encouraging the rise of India as a giant Asian partner to balance China, and India is trying to accelerate its economy with an injection of investment from American companies.The Wall Street Journal said among the factors propelling India-US the relationship is China’s growing footprint in India’s traditional sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean.The White House is looking to increase economic and defence cooperation during the visit and to cement the new momentum in ties before turning the relationship over to the next US president, WSJ reported.

Rajan’s reappointment administrative subject, should not be of media’s interest: PM Modi

Washington: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the issue of reappointment of RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was an administrative subject and it should not be an issue of interest of the media, in his first comments in the wake of continuing attack on the top economist in recent months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

“I don’t think this administrative subject should be an issue of interest to the media,” Modi said.

“Besides, it will come up only in September,” he told The Wall Street Journal, referring to the three-year term of Rajan which ends in September.

“Do you support the reappointment of Mr Rajan, the central bank governor?” the Prime Minister was asked.

As an outspoken RBI Governor, Rajan has expressed his views on host of issues, including intolerance and has even described India as one-eyed king in the land of blind in reference to the country’s high economic growth.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has levelled allegations against Rajan including of sending confidential and sensitive financial information around the world and asked the Prime Minister to sack him immediately.

The BJP leader also accused Rajan of publicly disparaging the Modi government and alleged that he is a member of “a US dominated group” that was set up to defend America’s dominant position in the global economy.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said RBI and the government are in continuous dialogue and that relationship will continue.

Jaitley also said that he does not approve of “personal comments” against anyone including the RBI Governor.

Will support GST if our recommendations are taken, says Congress

New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday claimed in the Rajya Sabha that the “real opposition” to the long-pending GST bill was coming from within the government and that the main opposition was ready to give full support to it provided its three key recommendations are accepted.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also questioned the credibility of the current GDP growth figure of 7.6 percent, claiming that nobody believes these numbers as they are “suspicious”.

The former minister asked the government to come out with “credible” GDP figures and suggested setting up a committee under the chairmanship of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

He also raked up the issue of alleged irregularities by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) in its KG basin gas project and demanded a probe into it, while asking the government not be selective in investigating NPA cases.

File photo of Parliament building. PTI

File photo of Parliament building. PTI

Participating in a debate on the Finance Bill, Ramesh harped on ‘3 Gs’ – GST, GDP and Gas (of GSPC).

The Congress member insisted that his party wants GST and that it was ready to give full support to the government if its three suggestions are incorporated in the bill.

“We have three suggestions. One is setting up of independent committee to adjudicate disputes, elimination of one per cent tax and introduction of capping…If consensus on these three is arrived, we are ready to support,” he said.

The GST bill, which proposes to overhaul the indirect tax regime, has been pending in the Rajya Sabha for a number of years because of resistance mainly by the Congress which wants changes in it.

On capping upper limit for GST, Ramesh said the government says this cannot be accepted as there is no provision in the Constitution for this purpose. But the Article 276 (2) provides for capping and “with creative use of language” the government can accomodate.

Referring to a media report that said some people in the government believe that GST is undesirable, the former Minister said, “the real opposition to GST is not coming from the Congress, it is coming from within the government.”

He attacked the government for using Congress as “smoke screen” for the current situation of GST.

Speaking about GDP growth figures, Ramesh said today nobody believes India’s GDP figures. “Chief Economic Advisor, RBI Governor, London economists and Wall Street Journal do not believe our GDP numbers,” he claimed.

“Nobody is denying that we are having a high growth rate. But the number put on GDP are highly suspicious. It (GDP growth) is somewhere between 5.9 percent and 6.5 percent and not 7.5 percent,” he said.

Stating that India is growing and the country should grow much faster, Ramesh said, “For the first time, the credibility of GDP numbers are questioned. It has served the government purpose. I urge the government to pause a bit and come out with a credible set of figures.” .

US Presidential polls 2016: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton tipped to win as New York votes

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday looked set for solidifying their presidential front-runner status after suffering a series of losses recently as polling began in the potentially game-changing New York state primary.All the presidential hopefuls packed in back-to-back campaign stops, making final pitches before voters ahead of the crucial primary election. Democratic contenders Clinton and Bernie Sanders and their Republican rivals Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich toured across the state holding rallies and meeting voters yesterday, seeking to solidify their positions.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At stake are 291 Democratic delegates and 95 for Republicans. 68-year-old Clinton, the New York senator for eight years, is leading the delegate count with 1,307, while Sanders has 1,094 delegates. The one who clinches 2,383 delegates in all wins the party’s nomination. Clinton is trying to end a seven state winning streak for 74-year-old Sanders in this primary. A total of 1,237 delegates are needed to sew up the Republican nomination at the 2016 Republican National Convention.Trump, 69, leads in the total delegate count with 743, followed by Cruz with 543 and Kasich with 144. Trump, who has faced defeats at the hands of Cruz recently, is desperately trying to get enough delegates to avoid a contested convention this summer. For Trump, a win in New York would be his first since he won the Arizona Primary on March 22. A new NBC New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows Trump will garner 54 per cent of the Republican primary voters. Ohio Governor Kasich is expected to come in second, instead of Cruz. On the Democratic side, Clinton has a double-digit lead over her competitor Vermont Senator Sanders.However, nationally, Republican presidential front-runner Trump has the support of a record 40 per cent Republican voters while Clinton is engaged in a tough contest with Sanders, according to a latest poll.Trump has the support of 40 per cent of the Republican primary voters and is followed closely by Senator Cruz with 35 per cent and Ohio Governor John Kasich with 24 per cent, according to a latest opinion poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, in the Democratic party, Sanders (46.3 per cent) has all but eliminated Clinton’s (47.7 per cent) primary polling lead, it said.While Trump would need as many votes as possible, he will not be getting two from his own family.Since only registered voters from participating parties may vote, Trump’s children Eric and Ivanka Trump missed the deadline to register with a political party, making them ineligible to cast ballots for the billionaire businessman.Clinton sought support of the minorities and women doing her various stops across the city.

© 2020 Yuva Sai Sagar. Theme by Anders Norén.