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Indian army prepared to meet any challenges, says General Dalbir Singh Suhag

Indian army prepared to meet any challenges, says General Dalbir Singh Suhag

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New Delhi: Indian army is prepared to meet any challenges, Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag who superannuated as Army chief said today.

He also thanked the government for providing a free hand and implementing OROP.

He said that infiltration attempts had increased during the year and the number of terrorists killed too was nearly double the previous year.

The Indian army is prepared to meet any challenges, he said, adding that the force had focused on operational preparedness during his tenure.

Suhag said that when he had taken over he had said that the response of Indian army to any action against our interest would be immediate, adequate and intense.

Indian army has done that in the last two-and-half years, he said.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 13:53 IST

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LIVE New Zealand Vs Bangladesh Live Score

NZ vs BAN | Dec 31st, 2016

NZ 239 2 41.2

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Demonetisation done without thinking about consequence: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen

Demonetisation done without thinking about consequence: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen

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Nobel laureate Amartya Sen today said he felt the demonetisation decision was taken hurriedly without thinking about its consequence. “I don’t think that this (demonetisation) decision was taken after considering all sides. It was taken hurriedly without thinking of consequences,” he told media persons here.

Amartya Sen. AFPAmartya Sen. AFP

Amartya Sen. AFP

“So far economics is concerned I find no reasoning behind this decision. It will have adverse effect,” Sen said.

The Nobel laureate, who chairs Pratichi Trust, which works in the areas of health and education with special emphasis on gender equality, said implementation of midday meal project is not up to the mark in West Bengal.

“This project is very successful in Tamil Nadu, partly in Uttar Pradesh and other states. But in West Bengal the performance is average,” he said after attending a programme of the trust here.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 13:37 IST

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LIVE New Zealand Vs Bangladesh Live Score

NZ vs BAN | Dec 31st, 2016

NZ 239 2 41.2

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BJP reaches out to Mary Kom ahead of Manipur polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With barely a week for the poll dates in Manipur to be announced, BJP is trying to make inroads into the northeastern state by reaching out to world champion boxer Mary Kom to lead its campaign in the state election. Sources in the party said that the Olympian met party president Amit Shah last week.The meeting has sparked off speculation that the BJP was keen on Kom spearheading the party’s fight in the upcoming polls in the fragmented state. However, sources said the ball was now in her court.It was not known whether the BJP was considering her as its chief ministerial candidate. A close aide of the boxer, who is a Rajya Sabha member, said she had met some ministers in Delhi last week. “She is yet to join the party, and no decision on her future course of action has been taken yet,” said the aide. Kom was unavailable for comment.Manipur state BJP chief K Bhabananda Singh said that no directive has come from the Centre; but that he will support if any announcement to make Kom the CM candidate is made.With Mary belonging to the Kom tribe, it will be interesting to see how the party’s fortunes pan out in a state dominated mostly by the Meiteis. The absolute popularity that Mary enjoys outside the state needs to translate into votes for the BJP. Singh, however, says that he is ‘optimistic’ with the party’s great prospects.Yet, the stalemate between the Congress-led government and the United Naga Council is firmly in place, blocking the entry of essential goods.The other star face in the state, Irom Sharmila, who gave up her 16-year-long fast against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) early this year, caused a huge stir by announcing her plans to contest the elections. With an eroding popularity, Irom’s prospects will also be closely-watched.

China blocks India’s bid to sanction Masood Azhar again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China’s decision to once again block the proposal to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist under the “1267 regime” has triggered a sharp reaction from India.China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, had blocked India’s move with a six-month technical hold followed by a three- month extension. Officials here say that India may have to apply again to the 1267 Committee with charge sheet details to press for its case as its present application will lapse following Beijing’s two technical holds.Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup termed Beijing’s decision as an “unfortunate blow” and a step that confirms the prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.India had approached the UN in February to include Azhar (for his link with al Qaeda) in the UN Security Council’s 1267 sanctions list in the aftermath of the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base by JeM terrorists. The resolution will now go into cold storage, till a fresh listing is demanded by a UN Security Council member.He said that the international community is aware that JeM, which is proscribed by the UN, has been responsible for innumerable terrorist attacks on India, including the one on Pathankot air base. “The inability of the international community to list its leader Masood Azhar is an unfortunate blow to the concerted efforts to effectively counter all forms of terrorism, and confirms the prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism,” he said.Swarup further said that China’s decision is surprising as it has been affected by the scourge of terrorism and has declared opposition to all forms of terrorism. “As a consequence of this decision, the UN Security Council has again been prevented from acting against the leader of a listed terrorist organisation,” he added. India had expected China to be more understanding of the danger posed to all by terrorism and join India and others in fighting the common challenge of terrorism.Earlier also, India had expressed anger at the working methods at the UNSC, which is based on the principles of unanimity. Following the attack on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other associated groups in 1999, the Security Council passed a resolution known as “Resolution 1267” or “1267 Regime” under Article 41 of the UN, which established a sanction regime to cover individuals and entities associated with al Qaeda, Laden and/or the Taliban.The 1267 Resolution reads as follows: “The Security Council may decide what measures, not involving armed forces, are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”The resolution requires countries to immediately freeze funds, financial assets or economic resources of individuals and entities designated by the UNSC with terrorism and terrorist financing.China was the only member in the 15-nation UN body to put a hold on India’s application.

Apple to cut iPhone production in first quarter of 2017: report | Reuters

Apple to cut iPhone production in first quarter of 2017: report | Reuters

Dec 30, 2016 23:43 IST

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Apple Inc (AAPL.O) will trim production of iPhones by about 10 percent in the January-March quarter of 2017, the Nikkei financial daily reported on Thursday, citing calculations based on data from suppliers.The company had slashed output by 30 percent in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory, the paper said. Apple’s shares were down 0.84 percent in midday trading, in line with the Nasdaq stock index.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 23:43 IST

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Israel warns on travel to India, citing immediate threat of attacks | Reuters

Israel warns on travel to India, citing immediate threat of attacks | Reuters

Dec 30, 2016 23:39 IST

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JERUSALEM Israel’s anti-terrorism directorate issued a travel warning for India on Friday, citing an immediate threat of attack to Western and tourist targets, particularly in the south-west of the country.”A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the New Year where a concentration of tourists will be high,” part of the warning said.The statement recommended that tourists avoid participation in such parties. It also called on families in Israel to contact their relatives in India and tell them of the threat.In addition, it recommended avoiding markets, festivals and crowded shopping areas. Unusually, the warning was published on Friday evening in Israel, after the start of the Jewish Sabbath, when government offices close for business.

The directorate did not say what prompted the warning.In 2012, the wife of Israeli diplomat stationed in India, her driver and two others were wounded in a bomb attack on her car. Israel and India share close military ties.

(Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Larry King)

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

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 23:39 IST

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Israel issues severe travel warning for India, citing immediate threat of attacks | Reuters

Israel issues severe travel warning for India, citing immediate threat of attacks | Reuters

Dec 30, 2016 23:02 IST

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JERUSALEM Israel’s anti-terrorism directorate on Friday issued a travel warning for India, citing an immediate threat of attack to Western and tourist targets, particularly in the south-west of the country.”A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the New Year where a concentration of tourists will be high,” part of the warning said.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)

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

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 23:02 IST

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LIVE Australia Vs Pakistan Live Score

AUS vs PAK | Dec 26th, 2016

PAK 163 10 53.2

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LIVE South Africa Vs Sri Lanka Live Score

SA vs SL | Dec 26th, 2016

SL 281 10 96.3

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British police say George Michael autopsy inconclusive, more tests needed | Reuters

British police say George Michael autopsy inconclusive, more tests needed | Reuters

Dec 30, 2016 21:32 IST

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LONDON The cause of singer George Michael’s death this week is unclear after an initial autopsy and more tests are needed, British police said on Friday.British singer Michael, who became one of the pop idols of the 1980s with Wham! and then forged a career as a successful solo artist, died at his home in southern England on Sunday. He was 53.”A post mortem examination was carried out yesterday as part of the investigation into the death of George Michael,” Thames Valley police said.

“The cause of death is inconclusive and further tests will now be carried out. The results of these tests are unlikely to be known for several weeks,” they added in a statement.British police had said that Michael’s death was “unexplained but not suspicious”. Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, said he had died of heart failure.

In the mid-1980s, “Wham! were one of the most successful pop duos with singles such as “”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “”Careless Whisper”, ““Last Christmas” and ““The Edge of Heaven”.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Stephen Addison and Alison Williams)

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

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 21:32 IST

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98 Hindus murdered, 357 injured in Bangladesh this year: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> According to a report made by Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote (BJHM), at least 98 people from the Hindu community have been murdered and 357 others injured across the country till December 29 this year.Revealing the report at a press conference held in Dhaka Reporters? Unity today, BJHM executive president Sukrtity Mandal said the report was prepared based on reports published in different newspapers and their community sources, reports the Dhaka Tribune.The BJHM president also said that around 711 people either left the country or were threatened to leave the country, while 209 idols were damaged and 22 others were stolen.He further said 22 people of their community have also been missing while 38 people were kidnapped and eight others are in jail.According to United News of Bangladesh (UNB), 1,109 Hindus received death threat and attempts were made to kill 18 others during the said period.

Government appoints Viral Acharya as RBI deputy governor

Government appoints Viral Acharya as RBI deputy governor

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The government has appointed Viral V. Acharya, a professor of economics at New York University, as one of the Reserve Bank of India’s four deputy governors for a term of three years, according to a statement on Wednesday.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

The RBI had a vacancy for deputy governor after Urjit Patel was promoted to Governor earlier this year.

The statement did not mention which portfolio Acharya would be assigned. Patel had headed the prestigious monetary policy, which is now overseen by RBI Deputy Governor R. Gandhi as part of a widened remit.

Acharya teaches at the Stern School of Business in New York university. According to his resume, he has research interests in regulation of banks, corporate finance, credit risk and asset pricing.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 13:45 IST

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LIVE Australia Vs Pakistan Live Score

AUS vs PAK | Dec 26th, 2016

AUS 278 2 58.0

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LIVE South Africa Vs Sri Lanka Live Score

SA vs SL | Dec 26th, 2016

SL 193 9 60.0

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Serial testers and cursory checks – India’s flawed generic drug trials business | Reuters

By Zeba Siddiqui
| HYDERABAD

HYDERABAD Vasudeva Prakash left his job as a mechanic in Hyderabad three years ago for what he calls a more lucrative career: taking part in clinical trials on generic drugs.For two years, Prakash participated in trials of drugs being tested to treat HIV/AIDS and other diseases for contract research organizations (CROs) hired by global pharmaceutical companies. The drugs tested at Indian CROs have been key in getting several hundred medicines approved for sale around the world.Yet, Prakash did not follow international guidelines for testing – and the CROs that hired him didn’t require him to. He says that to earn more money he would participate in back-to-back trials on different drugs with gaps of only a few weeks or even a few days, instead of waiting the 90 days that the World Health Organization recommends.Half of more than a dozen volunteers interviewed by Reuters across four cities – Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and New Delhi – also said they waited much less than 90 days between trials. In the past three-to-four years, they said they spent several months at a time in different cities so that they could participate in as many studies as possible.Prakash provided documentation proving he underwent trials with short gaps at Apotex Research Pvt Ltd, owned by Canadian drugmaker Apotex Inc; Lotus Labs, owned by U.S. generics giant Actavis; Ethics Bio Lab, owned since last year by U.S. drugmaker Par Pharmaceutical Inc; and India’s Semler Research Center Pvt Ltd, among others. Ethics Bio and Apotex did not respond to requests for comment. Lotus Labs and Semler said they had systems in place to check for cross-participation by trial volunteers.The guidelines of the WHO, which decides on approvals for drugs sold in several countries dependent on United Nations programs for basic medicines, are not legally-binding for the CROs. While India has guidelines on clinical trials, they don’t specify the length of time participants should take between trials.Still, the serial testing of some volunteers is raising new questions about the level of oversight of India’s generic drug trials industry, after some CROs came under recent international regulatory scrutiny. Last year, the European Medicines Agency banned about 700 medicines across Europe after an investigation revealed data tampering in some trials of generic drugs in India.International medical experts said that undergoing back-to-back trials endangers the health of patients participating. It can also compromise clinical data gathered through these trials, on the basis of which drugmakers seek approval to sell generic medicines around the world.“The time gap between participation in two different trials should be 90 days minimum,” said Stephanie Croft, a lead inspector at the WHO. “When [data] is incomplete or incorrect it could pose a serious risk to patients.”Gyanendra Nath Singh, head of India’s national drug watchdog, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), said that it has been trying to inspect more CROs in the past two years. The watchdog is also considering the introduction of a track-and-trace system through which patients can be tracked across CROs, he told Reuters.“We are emphasizing on good regulatory practices … some reports have shown that the CROs have deviated from (the) system,” said Singh.India’s Health Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

GLOBAL REACH
Several large international drugmakers, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Mylan NV, rely on CROs in India to carry out tests on cheaper versions of branded drugs. The aim of these so-called “bioequivalence” studies is to gauge whether non-branded drugs are equally safe and effective. The faster the trials are undertaken, the faster the drugs can come to market.In some major markets, such as the United States, being the first to launch a generic guarantees market exclusivity for a period of time, which can reap millions more in sales.International and local regulators have struggled to keep its oversight in line with the growth of an industry that expanded rapidly in the 2000s, as drugmakers shipped clinical trial work to India to save money. The market is estimated to have crossed $1 billion in 2016, according to consultants Frost and Sullivan.Over the past two years, international regulators have suspended or banned medicines tested by four major Indian CROs after finding manipulation of clinical trial data and other violations.Issues found at Indian CROs are “a big problem that is gaining more and more attention from all sorts of agencies,” said Anders Fuglsang, a consultant and former regulator long involved in audits and inspections of CROs around the world on behalf of international regulatory agencies and companies.Last year, the European Union banned about 700 medicines that had been approved based on clinical trial data provided by GVK Biosciences, then India’s largest CRO. European regulators said they found GVK had manipulated data concerning the heart readings of patients taking part in the study. GVK denied any violation, but several large drugmakers that had won drug approvals based on GVK’s data were asked to re-apply for approval with fresh evidence.

Such re-testing is a headache for drugmakers, as it is expensive, and delays lead to a loss in sales, said Nilesh Gupta, managing director of India’s Lupin Ltd, which was one of the companies to be affected by a U.S. ban on trials by Semler earlier this year.GVK, part of the Indian conglomerate GVK Group, has since limited its business interests in the generic drugs testing business, said Shankar Chelluri, a spokesman for the company. Overall, sentiment toward the generic drug trials business is weak, Chelluri said.Another CRO, Quest Life Sciences, was found last year to have manipulated clinical data on certain trials, according to inspection reports from the WHO and the UK’s medicines authority. The Spanish and German regulators had also found problems with Quest’s trials, and the WHO said it found Quest had falsified data on drugs including the antibiotic doxycycline hyclate and HIV/AIDS drugs lamivudine, zidovudine and nevirapine.Quest managing director T.S. Jaishankar said his CRO, which has conducted dozens of generic drug trials for companies including India’s top drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, has since invested heavily in improving its systems and been cleared by all international regulators. In a response to Reuters, a spokeswoman for the European Medicines Agency said they were “closely monitoring” the involvement of Quest in the drug approval applications they receive.India, like other countries, has ethics committees – groups of independent experts – meant to approve the design and conduct of clinical trials. Their stamp of approval is required by foreign regulators considering allowing a generic drug to be sold. However, these committees depend on the CROs for reimbursement in exchange for reviewing trials. Three members of different committees Reuters spoke to said national guidelines did not clearly define their roles and responsibilities.In the wake of trial data manipulation scandals at CROs in the past three years, many large drugmakers including Swiss firm Novartis, have been shifting more critical trials back to the United States and Europe, according to consultants and industry executives.

Novartis is also ramping up its own checks of Indian CROs, said Bodo Lutz, a data integrity officer at the Swiss firm. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Hyderabad in July, he said: “We can’t rely on the regulators … we’re increasing our own audits.”VOLUNTEERING “LIKE AN ADDICTION”
Prakash, the former mechanic, said he was never asked by CROs, and their ‘agents’ who approached him for studies, about whether he had recently taken part in another trial.”Everybody does it. Once you start getting the money, it’s very hard to quit. It’s like an addiction,” said Prakash.He said after the first study, he began to regularly receive messages on his phone and Facebook, often from agents working on behalf of CROs, informing him about ongoing clinical trials where volunteers were required. Such messages included three key things: the city where the trial was being conducted, the total pay offered, and the “blood loss”, or the amount of blood the volunteer will need to provide.Venkatesh, from the southern city of Tirupathi, described travelling from Chennai to Hyderabad and then to Bangalore and Mangaluru for different trials.”I know of several people who participate in three or four trials in the same month,” said Venkatesh, who stopped volunteering two months ago and has since married. He did not want to be referred to by his full name.Prakash said he was paid 10,000-30,000 rupees ($147-$441) per trial, depending on the duration and type. He stopped participating after his health began to deteriorate last year at age 25.He now works at a call centre earning 20,000 rupees a month, but, despite knowing the risks, entered two more trials recently to raise cash.”I needed some money desperately so I did it, but I won’t do it again,” he said. (Additional reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by Martin Howell)

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

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 04:47 IST

Scarlett Johansson is 2016 top-grossing movie star | Reuters

Scarlett Johansson is 2016 top-grossing movie star | Reuters

Dec 27, 2016 23:05 IST

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NEW YORK Scarlett Johansson was named the top-grossing actor of 2016 on Tuesday thanks to her roles in superhero movie “Captain America: Civil War” and Hollywood satire “Hail Caesar.”Forbes said Johansson just edged out her “Captain America” co-stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey with box-office earnings of her second 2016 movie, “Hail Caesar.”Johansson’s movies grossed a leading $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office this year, compared with $1.15 billion for “Captain America: Civil War.”Released in May and featuring a conflict between Marvel comic book heroes like Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow and Ant Man, Walt Disney Co’s “Captain America” was the biggest earner worldwide in 2016, according to data from Boxofficemojo.com.Australian actress Margot Robbie, who enjoyed a break-out year, placed fourth with $1.1 billion thanks to roles in two Warner Bros movies “Suicide Squad” and “The Legend of Tarzan.”

The Forbes list was dominated by superhero and comic book movies, including “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Deadpool.”

Britain’s Felicity Jones entered the Forbes list for the first time, with roles in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” thriller “Inferno” and magical children’s story “A Monster Calls.” Jones came in ninth place with $805 million.Forbes made its calculations based on global ticket sales from the films of top Hollywood actors, but it did not count animated movies such as Disney’s “Finding Dory,” the second biggest release of 2016 with $1.02 billion.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang)

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

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 23:05 IST

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LIVE Australia Vs Pakistan Live Score

AUS vs PAK | Dec 26th, 2016

PAK 310 6 101.2

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LIVE South Africa Vs Sri Lanka Live Score

SA vs SL | Dec 26th, 2016

SL 181 7 57.0

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Rs 104 crore deposit: It is now clear why Mayawati was against demonetization, says BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after ED detected huge cash deposits in an account belonging to BSP, BJP on Tuesday took a dig at Mayawati saying now it is clear why she was protesting against the demonetization move.”It is now clear why Mayawati was protesting against it (demonetization) and why she was angry with the Centre,” party’s national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters before addressing a rally of BJP’s minroty cell in Mukerian of Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district. “Mayawati has been protesting against demonetization in the name of the poor but now the common man knows why she was against the drive,” he said.The ED yesterday detected cash deposits totaling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to the BSP and Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to party Supremo Mayawati’s brother Anand in a branch of United Bank of India in New Delhi. Hussain said many politicians are protesting against the note ban in the name of the common man but the truth is they are creating ruckus for their vested interests, Hussain said. “A drive is on against black money. In the manner we have made India Congress free, similarly we will make black money-free India. That is why the government is stressing on a cashless society,” he said.The government is working towards a cashless economy and it will help in checking black money, Hussain said.On Uttar Pradesh elections, he said there is a wave in BJP’s support and the party is fighting against corruption and nepotism. When asked if there is nepotism in Punjab, Hussain said, “They (Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family) have achieved this with their hardwork.” Over seat distribution between SAD and BJP, he said the election will be fought as per the coalition system only.On being asked when BJP will declare candidates for Punjab polls, he said in other parties candidates contest the polls but in BJP the party itself competes in the elections. Strategies are being formed and soon candidates will be declared. “BJP has strong ties with SAD that is why the coalition is continuing but such was not the case in Odisha,” he said replying to a question on why the alliance of BJP and BJD was broken in the state.

Air safety incidents at Delhi and Goa: Is it ‘human’ factor or shortage of staff at ATC?

New Delhi: Two air safety incidents on a single day, at Delhi and Goa airports, have led many of us to once again question India’s air safety record. Remember, India was downgraded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States in 2014 for failing to have enough safety personnel, and a restoration of the rating took several months. Though it won’t be clear till a probe is completed on what lead to incidents this morning at Goa and Delhi, the fact is that manpower shortage in critical air functions could be a factor in frequent air incidents.

Take the critical ATC function – the Air Traffic Control (ATC) is still short staffed. Sources tell us the manpower needed is 3,600 personnel and only about 2,900 have been recruited till now. “These positions are being filled,”said an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official. A short staffed ATC apart, this story from Bloomberg quotes data from India’s safety regulator DGCA to say that air safety incidents, which prompted regulatory action, reached 280 this year till August, beating the 275 all of last year. It went on to predict that “At this pace, the number may rise to more than 400 by the end of 2016, making it the worst in three years for aviation safety”.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets across the globe and any increase in safety-related incidents is obviously a cause for worry. DGCA officials say there is no cause for worry and incidents sometimes happen due to the “human” factor. They also add that the country is following all internationally mandated safety protocols.

Earlier this month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party TMC had created a furore by alleging that an IndiGo flight carrying the CM was not allowed priority landing at Kolkata airport despite the pilots seeking emergency landing due to fuel shortage. This was stoutly denied by the airline, which said there was probably a miscommunication between the flight crew and the ATC about how much fuel the flight was left with. Instead of seeking an explanation from the ATC personnel, aviation regulator DGCA grounded IndiGo pilots in this case.

Meanwhile, early this morning, 9W 2374 Goa-Mumbai Jet Airways’ flight “veered off the runway while aligning for takeoff”, the airline tweeted. It later said 12 passengers had sustained injuries and still later, it said all but five have been discharged. This incident made Goa’s Dabolim airport inoperational for a few hours.

A regulatory source told Firstpost that the Goa incident is being treated as an accident and a team from Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will reach Goa by the evening to begin inquiries. This person also said a preliminary idea about what caused the aircraft to turn 180 degrees will be there only by Thursday.

Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju tweeted that “thorough time-bound investigation and corrective action shall be ensured. Action will also be taken in case there is violation of procedures”. The second incident involved a just-landed IndiGo flight and a ready-to-take-off Spicejet aircraft, with some news reports describing the two aircraft coming “Face to face”.

The regulatory source quoted above said as per preliminary findings, the ATC at Delhi allowed the SpiceJet flight to take off from the same taxiway where an IndiGo aircraft had landed minutes earlier. This indicates the possibility of it being an ATC error, though like we said earlier, the final picture will emerge only after the probe by DGCA is completed.

The regulatory source further said it could be a case of human error too. SpiceJet said in a statement that “SpiceJet flight SG 123 operating Delhi-Hyderabad was following ATC instructions at all times at the Delhi airport. While taxiing, the SpiceJet crew observed another aircraft on the same taxiway in the opposite direction. Acting promptly, the SpiceJet crew immediately stopped the aircraft and intimated the ATC. Safety is of utmost and primary concern at SpiceJet. At no stage the safety of passengers, crew and aircraft was compromised. All concerned authorities were immediately informed.”

And IndiGO also said in a statement that flight 6E 769 Lucknow-Delhi observed another aircraft in front of it while taxiing. “The Captain took the decision to switch off the engine and reported the incident to ATC. All 176 passengers and crew are safe…..flight was observing ATC instructions all the time at the Delhi airport”. According to data provided by MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha in Lok Sabha earlier this month, there were 409 safety violations by the crew of scheduled, non-scheduled and general aviation aircraft in the last three years.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 16:59 IST

Rs 104 cr deposit | BJP seeks BSP’s explanation on deposits post demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday asked the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to come clean after the Enforcement Directorate detected cash deposits totalling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to Mayawati-led party and said that this matter should not be politicised as it is the fight against black money.BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said any money deposited in bank accounts in excess of the acceptable amounts will certainly be looked into by the Enforcement agencies. “So, if more than 100 crore has been deposited in BSP’s accounts, the party will possibly have to provide answers as to what is the source of this money. The Enforcement agencies fear that a lot of unaccounted money, illegitimate money, money from which taxes have not been paid is being laundered into different accounts,” Rao said.”So, whether it’s a political leader or a political party, they will be expected to provide source of such money that possibly is the angle that the Enforcement Directorate would be looking at. We should allow all the Enforcement agencies to do their job,” he added.The Enforcement Directorate also detected Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to Mayawati’s brother Anand Kumar.Meanwhile, another BJP leader Nalin Kohli said that the BSP has nothing to fear if they have explanations for the money deposited in their accounts. “If Mayawatiji’s brother has an explanation, has a business, has a lot of money, has a lot of cash and he can explain that this is how it has come into my account then there is no issue,” said Kohli. “But if the money is coming from unknown companies with whom he has no relations then obviously it’s going to be a matter of investigation,” he added.Kohli further said this is not a political issue but the fight against black money. “Whether it is an ordinary person or whether it is the highest and the most mighty, anyone who has cash and deposits money or brings large sums of money into their accounts without explaining the source and the reasons has to be investigated,” said Kohli. “So, this can’t be seen as a political issue, this has to be seen in the fight against black money. And if they have explanations, they have nothing to fear,” he added.As per reports, the accounts had been detected in a branch of the United Bank of India (UBI) in the national capital.The Enforcement Directorate has reportedly sought details about the accounts from the bank. The agency has also asked the bank to provide it some CCTV footage and the KYC documents used to open the accounts. This has come as a major setback to the BSP supremo ahead of next year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

JD(U) cautions Centre on application of new benami property law

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Janata Dal (United) has cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to reassure the people on the after effects of demonetization and on the proposed issue of cracking down on benami properties.”The JD(U) has always supported the decision of the Centre on demonetization, but our party believes that a sense of immaturity was shown by the Centre in bringing out a big step like demonetization, because of which, the entire nation is standing in queue in front of ATMs. We don’t want the same thing happening in connection with the benami properties,” JD(U) leader Rajiv Ranjan said.”Prime Minister Modi and his government should totally assure the common people that they won’t face any problems due to this move against benami property holders,” he added.On Sunday, Prime Minister Modi warned that he would soon operationalise a law to deal with ‘benami’ properties as part of his government’s crusade against corruption. “You are possibly aware of a law about benami properties in our country which came into being in 1988, but neither was its rules ever framed, nor was it notified. It just lay dormant,” he said.A new Benami Act came into effect from November 1. It prohibits illegal benami transactions and those violating this act, can be sent to jail for up to seven years and also be asked to pay a penalty.

Rs 104 cr deposited in BSP accounts after note recall, blow to Mayawati as ED investigates

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati came under Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner on Friday, as the agency detected cash deposits totalling over Rs 104 crore in an account belonging to the party and Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to Anand Kumar, Mayawati’s brother, on Friday.ED sources said that the accounts had been detected in a branch of the United Bank of India (UBI) in the capital.Officials said they visited the Karol Bagh branch of the bank as part of their routine survey and enquiry operations to check huge cash deposits, and found that huge deposits were made in these two accounts after demonetization.The agency found that while Rs 102 crore had been deposited in Rs 1,000 notes, the remaining Rs 3 crore had been deposited in old Rs 500 notes. Officials said that about Rs 15-17 crore were being deposited into these accounts every other day. In Anand’s account, ED officials found old notes worth Rs 18.98 lakh.The ED has sought details about the accounts from the bank. It has been understood that the agency will write to the Income-Tax (I-T) department. The ED has also asked the bank to provide it some CCTV footage and the KYC documents used to open the accounts.This is not the first time that the BSP’s supremo’s brother has come under the radar of probe agencies. In April 2015, the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) started investigating Kumar for alleged dubious transactions, running into crores. The FIU had coordinated with the CBDT and I-T department for a further probe.Currently, the agency has been carrying out enquiry operations at over 50 bank branches to check possible instances of hawala dealings and money- laundering after the demonetization drive.BSP spokespersons and senior leaders refused to comment. Interestingly, the party’s arch rivals, the Samajwadi Party (SP), came to their defence on this issue. A senior SP leader said: “This was not an amount which was found stashed away in homes or lockers. This was an amount deposited in the bank after demonetization. It should not be made a political issue.”

ED finds Rs 1.43 crore in Mayawati’s brother’s account, Rs 104 crore in another BSP account

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The ED on Monday detected cash deposits totaling over Rs.104 crore in an account belonging to the BSP and Rs 1.43 crore in an account belonging to party Supremo Mayawati’s brother Anand in a branch of United Bank of India here, sources in the Enforcement Directorate said.Officials said the agency, Enforcement Directorate, as part of its routine survey and enquiry operations to check suspicious and huge cash deposits in banks, today visited the Karol Bagh branch of the UBI and found huge deposits made in these two accounts post-demonetization. Attempts to elicit a response from BSP on the issue failed. They said the sleuths called for the records of the deposits made in the BSP account and found that while Rs 102 crore was deposited in Rs 1,000 notes, the rest Rs 3 crore was deposited in the old Rs 500 notes.Officials said they were were astonished to find huge cash of about Rs 15-17 crore being desposited every other day. The agency also detected another account in the same branch belonging to Anand, brother of BSP chief Mayawati, where a total of Rs 1.43 crore funds was found. A sum of 18.98 lakh came into account using the old notes after the ban. The ED has sought full details about the two accounts from the bank even as it is understood that the agency will write to the Income Tax department which has the powers to go into the legality of donations and contributions made to political parties.The ED has also asked the bank to provide to it CCTV footage and KYC documents used to open the accounts, they said. With regard to Anands’s accounts, it is understood, that the agency will soon issue notices to him and also intimate the I-T sleuths for investigation under anti-tax evasion laws. The agency has been carrying out enquiry operations at over 50 bank branches to check possible instances of hawala dealings and money laundering after the government scrapped the two high value currencies of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 on November 8.

Myanmar says Muslim with links to government murdered in troubled Rakhine | Reuters

By Shwe Yee Saw Myint
| YANGON

YANGON A man has been found dead with stab wounds in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, in what the government said on Monday was the second murder in under a week of a Rohingya who cooperated with authorities as they crack down on suspected insurgents.Coordinated attacks on October 9 killed nine police officers and sparked a military operation in northern Rakhine. The government of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar blamed Muslim Rohingyas supported by foreign militants. State media has reported at least 86 deaths and the United Nations says 34,000 people have fled to Bangladesh.The violence poses a challenge to Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and has renewed international criticism that the Nobel laureate has done too little to help the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar.Residents and rights groups say soldiers have raped Rohingya women, burnt homes and killed civilians during the operation near the frontier with Bangladesh.The government denies the accusations, and has launched a social media campaign in an effort to demonstrate that security forces are acting properly in Rakhine.

An administrator in Yae Twin Kyun village, named as Rawphi, was found dead with knife wounds on Sunday, Lieutenant Colonel Aung San Win of the local border guard police told Reuters.He said the killing of the 28-year-old Muslim might be “related to terrorism”. Myanmar’s state counsellor’s office said on Monday evening on its Facebook page that the victim had been “cooperating with members of security forces in administration duties.”

The case is the second murder in Rakhine where authorities have highlighted the victim’s cooperation with the government, appearing to point the finger at Rohingya insurgents.On Friday, the state counsellor’s office said a Muslim man was decapitated after he had denied stories of Myanmar military abuse when speaking to reporters.”He told media that there was no case of arson by the military and police forces, no rape and no unjust arrests,” said a Facebook post accompanied by a picture of a headless body with English text that read: “truth teller beheaded”.

Neither the police nor the state counsellor’s office have said who was responsible for the decapitation.A Rohingya community leader, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, told Reuters many Muslims were sceptical about the government’s account of the beheading.A report by the International Crisis Group said insurgents calling themselves Harakah al-Yaqin were responsible for the attacks on October 9 that sparked the crackdown. The group also have killed Rohingyas who threatened to inform on them to authorities, the ICG said.Reuters could not independently verify the government accounts as access for independent journalists to northern Rakhine has been prohibited since security forces locked down the area. (Reporting By Shwe Yee Saw Myint and Simon Lewis; Writing by Yimou Lee; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 19:49 IST

2016 in review: Do you have what it takes to go for this really really really difficult Firstpost quiz?

2016 in review: Do you have what it takes to go for this really really really difficult Firstpost quiz?

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From Modi’s demonetisation politics to Rio Olympics, how closely have you been following news this year? Test your knowledge here.

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 17:32 IST

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 26th, 2016

PAK 142 4 50.5

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SA vs SL | Dec 26th, 2016

SA 166 2 54.1

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NZ vs BAN | Dec 26th, 2016

BAN 264 9 44.5

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India-Pakistan ties on a downward path one year after Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore

On Christmas 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave one of the biggest surprises in India’s diplomatic history, when he chose to have a stopover at Lahore to personally wish his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his 66th birthday and also attend his granddaughter’s wedding at his palatial house at Raiwind. Exactly a year later, all that Modi did to wish Sharif was a tweet:

The tweet may be an indicator of the deterioration in the bilateral ties between the two countries. Soon after the surprise visit last Christmas, the Pathankot Air Force station was attacked on 2 January. In a gunbattle with security forces, four militants, who allegedly entered the area in army fatigues, were gunned down. The Indian Air Force lost three of its personnel. United Jihad Council claimed responsibility for the attack.

India later nailed ISI’s hand in the attack, while Pakistan denied the accusations. However, after initially promising to allow a National Investigation Agency team to visit Pakistan to probe the attack, Islamabad backtracked. This was after an ISI probe team visited Pathankot, which was criticised by the Opposition.

While Pathankot probe was underway, Kulbhushan Yadav, an alleged Indian Navy officer, was arrested by Pakistani authorities on charges of spying. With this Balochistan came into the picture in the India-Pakistan bilateral ties. While India claimed he was a businessman, Pakistan alleged he was spying on the behalf of RAW in Balochistan and Karachi.

The decline in the bilateral ties hastened after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter in Kashmir. His killing led to widespread unrest across the valley, with the security forces imposing curfew which remained enforced till October. It gave Pakistan a chance to raise the issue of India’s alleged human rights violations in the state.

On 10 August, Sharif held a cabinet meeting to discuss the Kashmir unrest, with the cabinet deciding to internationalise the issue. The meeting observed that “Kashmir remains an unfinished agenda of the United Nations and accordingly India must realise that Kashmir is not its internal matter, rather it is a matter of regional and international concern”.

PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on 25 December 2015. PTI

PM Narendra Modi and Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on 25 December 2015. PTI

With the unrest in Kashmir, Modi invoked the alleged human rights violations in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan during his Independence Day address to the nation. The reference made Pakistan to claim that this proved its contention that India has been allegedly “fomenting terrorism” in the province.

Sharif chose to hit back at India during his address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Sharif said, “Peace and normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position.”
“Our predictions have now been confirmed by events. A new generation of Kashmiris has risen spontaneously against India’s illegal occupation — demanding freedom from occupation. Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement, led by Kashmiris, young and old, men and women, armed only with an undying faith in the legitimacy of their cause, and a hunger for freedom in their hearts.”

Rebutting Sharif, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the gathering at the UNGA that Pakistan had been ignoring the human rights violation in Balochistan. “In the last two years, in exchange of our friendship, we got Pathankot, Uri, Bahadur Ali. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it will remain so, she added.

India strongly condemned the reference to the slain militant and criticised Islamabad silence over the recent Uri attack. Speaking at the UN, India’s First Secretary Eenam Gambhir, called Pakistan a host to the “Ivy League of terrorism” and urged the world community to declare Pakistan a “terrorist state”.

Uri attack, which India referred to after Sharif’s speech at the UN, took place on 18 September. Heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours, killing 17 jawans and injuring 19 other personnel. Four militants were also neutralised. Fingers were pointed once again at Pakistan.

With the clamour for avenging Uri, India conducted “surgical strikes” over terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The strikes — refuted by Pakistan, which even sent journalists to the area where the attack allegedly took place — escalated tensions on the border, with Pakistan even capturing an Indian soldier.

Three months after the attack by India’s special commandos, cross-border firing between the two countries is still going on.

Meanwhile, India decided to turn on the heat on the diplomatic front. Modi called Pakistan the “mothership’ of terrorism” during his address at the Brics Summit at Goa in October.

In the Goa Declaration, the five member countries of Brics asked all countries to prevent terrorist actions from their soil. It called for expeditious adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) by the UN to tackle the problem and step up practical cooperation against terrorism.

The member countries also condemned the recent attacks against some Brics countries, including that in India. “We agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating international terrorism both at the bilateral level and at international fora,” the Goa Declaration issued at the end of the summit said.

India also pulled out of the Saarc Summit, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad. The refusal to participate, along with several other member-states, citing Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism, led to it being delayed indefinitely.

The Modi government took another step to rein in Pakistan, threatening to abrogate the World Bank- assisted Indus Waters Treaty. Modi is reported to have told a meeting convened on this issue, “Blood and water can’t flow together”. Pakistan reacted to this news sharply.

“India set to wage war against Pakistan,” screamed a headline of a Pakistani newspaper, The Nation

Shireen Mazari, former journalist and leader of Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf party, went to the extent of saying that India’s “suspension of the treaty” was the first step towards declaring (a real) war against Pakistan. Speaking in Pakistan’s National Assembly on Monday, she demanded an immediate response to India from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Indus Waters Treaty has now become a major bone of contention between the two countries now, with the World Bank urging both countries to sort out their issues through alternative means.

Clearly, it seems relations between the two nations have gone downhill in the last one year. With a new army chief in Rawalpindi and India acting tough on terrorism post the surgical strikes, relations might remain tense in 2017.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 26, 2016 13:48 IST

Egypt confirms Al Jazeera producer’s arrest for provoking sedition | Reuters

Egypt confirms Al Jazeera producer’s arrest for provoking sedition | Reuters

Dec 25, 2016 18:39 IST

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CAIRO Egypt confirmed on Sunday that it had arrested an Al Jazeera news producer, accusing him of “provoking sedition” on behalf of the Qatar-based broadcaster that it considers a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Judicial sources said Mahmoud Hussain, who was detained on Friday, was being held on charges of disturbing public security and spreading false news.The Interior Ministry said in a statement that Al Jazeera officials “had ordered some individuals collaborating with the channel inside the country to continue implementing its media plan of provoking sedition, incitement against the state, and spreading chaos through broadcasting false news.” It identified Hussain as a person implementing that plan for the channel which is not allowed to operate inside Egypt.

Al Jazeera was not immediately available for comment.Egypt has arrested several Al Jazeera reporters over the past two years, raising concerns over media freedoms in the country.

In May, a Cairo court recommended the death penalty against two of them, charged in absentia with endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar.The Brotherhood is a Qatar-backed movement that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has cracked down on since an army takeover in 2013 stripped former president Mohammed Mursi – a prominent member of the group – of power following mass protests against his rule.

Thousands of Brotherhood supporters including Mursi are in jail and Egypt has designated the group, which says it is non-violent, a terrorist organisation. (Reporting by Haitham Ahmed and Ahmed Mohammed Hassan; Writing by Asma Alsharif; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 18:39 IST

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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

Congo talks near deal for Kabila to step down in 2017 | Reuters

By Aaron Ross
| KINSHASA

KINSHASA Political rivals in Democratic Republic of Congo neared a deal on Saturday for President Joseph Kabila to leave power in 2017 after dozens of people were killed during protests this week at the end of his mandate.Under the agreement, elections would be held next year and Kabila, who took power in Africa’s fourth most populous country after his father was assassinated in 2001, would agree not to change the constitution to run for a third term. Roman Catholic bishops who have mediated during weeks of talks were upbeat about reaching a deal in time for a planned signing ceremony on Friday, but Congo’s main opposition bloc warned that several “significant” differences remained.”We have finished practically 95 percent of the work,” Catholic Bishops Conference president Marcel Utembi told reporters. “There remains a short way to go.”Divisions persisted over whether the prime minister will come from the main opposition bloc and on the composition of the electoral commission, which the opposition accuses of pro-government bias.

“If the divergences are not bridged, it will be difficult to sign this accord,” opposition leader Jean Marc Kabund told reporters. Kabila, whose representatives participated in the talks, did not comment.At least 40 people were killed this week in a crackdown by security forces against demonstrators who blew whistles and banged pots and pans in protests demanding Kabila leave office, according to the United Nations.

Kabila’s critics accuse him of deliberately postponing the presidential election that was due last month in order to cling to power beyond the end of his constitutional mandate.The government say the delay was due to difficulties registering millions of voters and the constitutional court ruled in May that Kabila could stay in office until his successor is elected.Mineral-rich Congo has not had a peaceful power transition since independence in 1960, and Church negotiators have billed the talks as an attempt to stop the country sliding back into war.

Millions of people died in regional conflicts between 1996 and 2003 and Pope Francis has called for a peaceful solution to the current standoff.The last day of the talks between the ruling coalition and opposition parties began at 11 a.m. local time (1000 GMT) after negotiations went through the night. Remaining issues are to be resolved in small groups with the support of the church’s secretariate while the bishops return to their dioceses for Christmas, Utembi said. (Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Sam Holmes and Helen Popper)

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

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 19:22 IST

Odisha: Maoists kill one, torch seven vehicles in Koraput

Odisha: Maoists kill one, torch seven vehicles in Koraput

Dec 24, 2016 14:38 IST

#Koraput #Maoist #NewsTracker #Odisha

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Koraput (Odisha): Maoists murdered the husband of a naib sarpanch in Odisha’s Koraput district and torched at least seven vehicles engaged in road works, police said on Saturday.

A group of Maoists attacked G Appa Rao’s house at Kotubu village, bordering Andhra Pradesh in Pottangi area late on Thursday night and dragged him out charging him to be a police informer.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

They then reached the road construction and set seven vehicles on fire, the police said adding Rao’s body was found on Friday.

Police recovered few Maoist posters of Koraput-Malkangiri-Srikakulam division of CPI (Maoist) in Odia and Telegu from the site.

The Maoists through the posters opposed the construction of a 4.5 km PMGSY road from Upper Goloru to Pedapadu in the area and warned three villagers of dire consequences if they supported the work.

Brushing aside allegations that the killed person was an informer, Koraput SP Charan Singh said probe into the incident is on.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 14:38 IST

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Manipur blockade: Army Chief Dalbir Singh reviews security situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh arrived in Manipur capital, Imphal on Saturday to review the security situation in the wake of a blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC).General Singh will also visit Assam to review the security situation there. Meanwhile, a curfew from Lamlong Bridge to Pangei area has been relaxed from 6 am to 5 pm. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju had on Friday visited Manipur to take stock of the situation and asked the state government to step up its efforts in restoring normalcy.Earlier, expressing concern over the long blockade of a highway connecting Manipur, the Home Ministry on Thursday rapped the state government for “failing” to discharge its “constitutional” duties in ensuring smooth flow of traffic on roads despite repeated requests.
ALSO READ AAP, Cong should not do politics on Najeeb Jung’s resignation: Kiren RijijuHome Minister, Rajnath Singh also asked Nagaland Chief Minister, T R Zeliang to ensure there is no disturbance in the movement of vehicles passing through his state, as there have been reports of the Naga Students Federation (NSF) calling for a blockade of vehicles in Nagaland.In a stern message to Manipur Chief Minister, O Ibobi Singh, Rajnath said the state is facing an extremely distressing economic situation because of the continuous blockade of National Highway 2.
ALSO READ Centre slams Manipur Govt over economic blockade The blockade in the state was announced by the UNC after the Manipur Government decided to upgrade the Sadar Hills and Jiribam areas to full-fledged districts. Following the state government’s decision on November 1, UNC militants blocked the Imphal-Dimapur and the Imphal-Jiribam highways indefinitely.

U.N. Security Council denounces Israeli settlements, U.S. abstains | Reuters

By Michelle Nichols
| UNITED NATIONS

UNITED NATIONS The United States on Friday allowed the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements, defying pressure from President-elect Donald Trump, Israel and some U.S. lawmakers who urged Washington to wield its veto.An abstention by the United States paved the way for the 15-member international body to approve the resolution, with 14 votes in favour, prompting applause in the council chamber.”Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. and will not abide by its terms,” the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has encouraged the expansion of Jewish settlements in land captured by Israel in a 1967 war with its Arab neighbours, said in a statement.The Obama administration’s action broke with the long-standing American approach of shielding Israel, Washington’s long-time ally that receives more than $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, from such action. The United States, along with Russia, France, Britain and China, has veto power on the council.The resolution, put forward by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and Trump, was the first adopted by the council on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the resolution and Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called on Israel to “respect international law.”The U.S. abstention was seen as a parting shot by outgoing President Barack Obama, who has had an acrimonious relationship with Netanyahu and whose efforts to forge a peace agreement based on a “two-state” solution of creating a Palestinian state existing peacefully alongside Israel have proven futile. His administration has argued that continued Israeli settlement building has undermined chances of a peace deal.Israel and Trump had called on the Obama administration to veto the measure. Trump wrote on Twitter after the vote, “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th,” referring to the day he succeeds Obama.Israel for decades has pursued a policy of constructing Jewish settlements on territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war with its Arab neighbours including the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Most countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel disagrees.The Obama administration has deemed settlement expansion “illegitimate.” Successive administrations of both parties have criticized settlement activity but have done little to slow their growth.

INDEPENDENT STATE
The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The resolution demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and said the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”After the vote, the White House defended the U.S. abstention, saying that in the absence of any meaningful peace process, Obama took the decision to abstain. Criticizing Israel’s settlement policy, it said it had repeatedly warned Israel privately and publicly that settlement activity was increasing Israel’s international isolation.Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, dismissed Trump’s criticism, noting that Obama remains president until Jan. 20.

“We could not in good conscience veto a resolution that expressed concerns about the very trends that are eroding the foundation for a two-state solution,” Rhodes told a conference call.Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said, said the United States did not raise a veto because the resolution “reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with U.S. policy across Republican and Democratic administrations.”MORE THAN SYMBOLIC
The passage of the resolution changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians and likely will be all but ignored by the incoming Trump administration.

But it was more than merely symbolic. It formally enshrined the international community’s disapproval of Israeli settlement building and could spur further Palestinian moves against Israel in international forums.The U.N. action was “a big blow to Israeli policy, a unanimous international condemnation of settlements and a strong support for the two-state solution,” a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, called the resolution disgraceful, adding he had no doubt the incoming Trump administration and Ban’s successor as U.N. chief, former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, “will usher in a new era in terms of the U.N.’s relationship with Israel”Israel has said the final status of the Jewish settlements should be determined in talks on Palestinian statehood. The last round of U.S.-led peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014.Trump, who called for a veto along with Netanyahu, is likely to be a more staunch supporter of Netanyahu’s right-wing policies. He named a hardline pro-Israel ambassador and vowed to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Some U.S. lawmakers of both parties condemned the Obama administration’s abstention. Republican Senator John McCain said the abstention “marks a troubling departure from our nation’s long, bipartisan history of defending our ally Israel in the United Nations.”U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who heads the Senate subcommittee that oversees American U.N. funding, threatened to pull financial support for the international body.The council last adopted a resolution on settlements in 1979, with the United States abstaining. Then it approved a resolution saying Israeli settlements had “no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” (Writing by Will Dunham and Yara Bayoumy; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Lesley Wroughton and Susan Heavey in Washington, Matt Spetalnick in New York and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Bill Trott and Cynthia Osterman)

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First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 21:18 IST

Applying for Indian passport to get easier, as MEA announces new rules

Applying for Indian passport to get easier, as MEA announces new rules

On Friday, the Ministry of External Affairs announced a list of rules to be followed while issuing new passports. Here’s a full list of the updated rules, as reported by a press release on the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) website:

Minister of State for Home Affairs Vikas Swarup. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndiaMinister of State for Home Affairs Vikas Swarup. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Vikas Swarup. Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

PROOF OF DATE OF BIRTH:

  • As per the extant statutory provisions of the Passport Rules, 1980, all applicants born on or after 26/01/1989, in order to get a passport, had to hitherto submit their birth certificate as proof of date of birth (DOB). It has now been decided that the applicants may submit any of the following documents as proof of DOB:
    (i) Birth Certificate (BC) issued by the registrar of births and deaths or the municipal corporation or any other prescribed authority that is empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969, to register the birth of a child born in India.
    (ii) Transfer certificate/school leaving certificate/Matriculation certificate issued by the school last attended and recognised by the educational board containing the DOB of the applicant.
    (iii) PAN card issued by the Income Tax Department with the DOB of applicant.
    (iv) Aadhar card/E-Aadhar having the applicant’s DOB of applicant.
    (v) Copy of the extract of the service record of the applicant (only for government servants) or the pay pension order (in respect of retired government servants), duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the administration of the concerned ministry/department of the applicant, having his DOB.
    (vi) Driving licence issued by the transport department of the concerned state government, having the DOB of applicant.
    (vii) Election photo identity card issued by the Election Commission of India having the DOB of applicant.
    (viii) Policy bonds issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations or companies having the DOB of the holder of the insurance policy.

REPORT OF THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE:

  • A three-member committee, comprising officials of the ministry of external affairs and the ministry of women and child development, was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications where the mother or child has insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport, and also relating to passport issues of children with single parents and of adopted children. The report of the committee has been accepted by the minister of external affairs.The following policy changes have been made inter-alia on the basis of the recommendations of this committee:
    (i) The online passport application form now requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, ie only one parent and not both. This would enable single parents to apply for passports for their children and to also issue passports where the name of either the father or the mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant.
    (ii) The total number of annexes prescribed in the Passport Rule, 1980, has been brought down to nine from the present 15. Annexes A,C,D,E,J and K have been removed and certain annexes have been merged.
    (iii) All annexes that are required to be given by applicants would be in the form of a self-declaration on a plain paper. No attestation or swearing by or before any notary/executive magistrate/first class judicial magistrate would be henceforth necessary.
    (iv) Married applicants would not be required to provide Annexure K or any marriage certificate.
    (v) The passport application form does not require the applicant to provide the name of her/his spouse in case of separated or divorced persons. Such applicants for passports would not be required to provide even the divorce decree
    (vi) Orphaned children who do not have any proof of DOB, such as birth certificate or matriculation certificate or the declaratory court order, may now submit a declaration given by the head of the orphanage/child care home on their official letterhead confirming the DOB of the applicant.
    (vii) In case of children not born out of wedlock, the applicant for the passport of such children should submit only Annexure G while submitting the passport application.
    (viii) In case of issue of passport to in-country domestically adopted children, submission of the registered adoption deed would no longer be required. In the absence of any deed to this effect, passport applicants may give a declaration on a plain paper confirming the adoption.
    (ix) Government servants, who are not able to obtain the identity certificate (Annexure B) or no objection certificate (Annexure M) from their concerned employer and intend to get the passport on urgent basis can now get the passport by submitting a self-declaration in ‘Annexure N’ that s/he has given a prior intimation letter to his/her employer informing that s/he was applying for an ordinary passport to a passport issuing authority.
    (x) Sadhus and sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual guru mentioned in the passport application in lieu of their biological parent(s) name(s), subject to their providing of at least one public document such as election photo identity card, PAN card, Aadhar card, etc., wherein the name of the guru has been recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s).
  • Necessary notifications would be soon published in the official gazette to confirm these changes. Instructions are also being issued to the passport issuing authorities in India and abroad on these revised regulations.
  • The ministry of external affairs expects that the above changes in passport rules would further ease the process for passport applicants in getting their passport. At the same time, it would enable this ministry to continue to deliver passport-related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible and reliable manner, and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 17:14 IST

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Economic blockade: Three govt offices burnt down in Manipur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three government offices, including that of the office of the recently created Kamjong district, were burnt down on Friday by unidentified persons in Manipur, which is witnessing an economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council. “Around 5 to 6 unidentified persons came around 3 AM and torched the office of Sub-divisional office,” newly appointed Deputy Commissioner Armstrong Pame of Kamjong district said.He said the office of the DC Kamjong was temporarily set up within the SDO office, as the newly built office of DC Kamjong was yet to be inaugurated.The creation of the Kamjong district, which was carved out from the Ukhrul district, has been strongly protested by various Manipur based Naga civil bodies including the Tangkhul Naga Long and United Naga Council (UNC) amongst others.In another incident, two rooms of mini Secretariat were also set on fire by unidentified persons in Ukhrul district in the wee hours today, a police officer said.

Wall Street dips as retailers lag | Reuters

Wall Street dips as retailers lag | Reuters

Dec 23, 2016 00:49 IST

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NEW YORK U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, weighed down by a dip in retailers, as investors stepped back from a recent rally fuelled by optimism that President-elect Donald Trump will invigorate economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 22.95 points, or 0.12 percent, to 19,919.01, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.22 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,260.96 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 24.01 points, or 0.44 percent, to 5,447.42.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 00:49 IST

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U.S. consumer spending slows; business investment perking up | Reuters

By Lucia Mutikani
| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON U.S. consumer spending increased modestly in November as household incomes failed to rise for the first time in nine months, suggesting the economy slowed in the fourth quarter after growing briskly in the prior period.But the economy remains on solid footing, with other data on Thursday showing new orders for U.S.-manufactured capital goods rising last month amid demand for machinery and primary metals, indicating that some of the oil-related drag on business spending was fading.And while the number of Americans applying for unemployment aid hit a six-month high last week, it remained below a level that is associated with labor market strength. The Commerce Department said consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.2 percent after increasing 0.4 percent in October. When adjusted for inflation, consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent last month after a similar gain in October. But the moderation in consumer spending is likely to be temporary against the backdrop of a labor market that is near full employment and consumer confidence that is at cycle highs.Still, last month’s modest gain in consumption, coming on the heels of weak industrial production and housing starts in November, implied gross domestic product growth estimates for the fourth quarter, currently around a 2.6 percent rate, could be trimmed.The Commerce Department said in another report on Thursday that the economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter instead of the previously reported 3.2 percent pace. That was the strongest growth rate since the third quarter of 2014 and followed the second quarter’s anemic 1.4 percent pace. The upward revision reflected stronger growth in consumer spending, business investment in structures and intellectual property products than previously estimated, underscoring the economy’s solid fundamentals, which contributed to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates last week.The U.S. central bank lifted its benchmark overnight interest rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.50 percent to 0.75 percent, also encouraged by a sturdy labor market. The Fed forecast three rate hikes in 2017.The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies. U.S. government bonds fell as did stocks on Wall Street.

Slower consumer spending last month held back inflation. The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding food and energy, was unchanged after edging up 0.1 percent inOctober. That lowered the year-on-year increase in the core PCE price index to 1.6 percent, the smallest gain since July. The core PCE index increased 1.8 percent in October, which was the biggest gain since July 2014. The core PCE is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure and is running below its 2 percent target.INCOME FLAT
Consumer spending last month was restrained by a 0.6 percent drop in purchases of long-lasting manufactured goods such as automobiles. Spending on services rose 0.3 percent.

Personal income was flat last month after increasing0.5 percent in October. Wages and salaries fell 0.1 percent. With consumer spending outpacing incomes, savings fell to $780.9 billion, the lowest level since May 2015, from $809.1 billion in October. While consumer spending might be cooling, there are signs that business investment is perking up after a prolonged slump.In a third report, the Commerce Department said non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, increased 0.9 percent after gaining 0.2 percent in October. A collapse in oil prices last year, together with a surge in the dollar, pressured manufacturing. Much of the impact has been through weak business spending on equipment, which has contracted for four consecutive quarters.

With oil prices hovering above $50 per barrel, manufacturing, which accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. economy, is starting to show signs of life. Gas and oil well drilling has risen over the last several months.Economists expect business spending to rebound in 2017, driven in part by president-elect Donald Trump’s perceived business-friendly policies.The incoming Trump administration has promised to slash taxes, remove some regulations and increase infrastructure spending. But manufacturing gains are likely to be limited by renewed dollar strength in the wake of Trump’s victory.Since Trump’s Nov.8 election victory, the dollar has increased 4.4 percent against the currencies of the United States’ main trading partner on concerns that the business mogul’s policy agenda could fan inflation.Last month, shipments of core capital goods rose 0.2 percent after falling 0.3 percent in October. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in thegovernment’s GDP measurement.A third report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 275,000 for the week ended Dec. 17, the highest since June.Despite the increase, it was the 94th straight week that claims were below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market. That is the longest stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller. Claims tend to be volatile around this time of the year because of different timings of the various holidays. The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased 6,000 to 263,750 last week. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 21:58 IST

Manipur economic blockade: Mary Kom urges PM Modi to intervene, resolve crisis

New Delhi: Distressed by the economic blockade that has crippled her home state Manipur, five-time world champion boxer and Rajya Sabha MP MC Mary Kom has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and resolve the crisis.

File photo of Mary Kom. AP

File photo of Mary Kom. AP

The blockade has been imposed by United Naga Council to protest the state government’s decision to form seven new districts. The UNC claims the districts in the Naga-dominated hill areas will affect land holdings of Naga tribes settled in these areas.

The blockade which has surpassed 50 days now has crippled normal life in Manipur with scarcity of essential goods being a major concern apart form violence.

In a letter to Modi, Mary Kom, an Olympic bronze-medallist, urged him to try and resolve the issue at the earliest.

“It is to bring to your notice that the state of Manipur is going through the toughest of time with unrest situation. The whole section of communities, both in hills and valley, residing in Manipur are suffering due to the economic blockade and counter-blockade and have now turned into ugly consequences of greater destruction and if not intervened in time, there are possibilities of untoward happenings and the people are so insecure,” she wrote.

“Irrespective of the causes and reasons, I strongly recommend and request you to consider this prevailing situation in Manipur a serious matter and kindly intervene at the earliest for peaceful solution and the state be brought back to normalcy. This act will remain a great achievement and the people will remain in owe towards your kind intervention,” she said.

First Published On : Dec 22, 2016 15:32 IST

Gunmen attack house of Afghan member of parliament | Reuters

Gunmen attack house of Afghan member of parliament | Reuters

Dec 21, 2016 23:08 IST

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KABUL Gunmen attacked the house of an Afghan member of parliament in the capital Kabul on Wednesday night, killing as many as five people, officials said.One police official said three gunmen attacked the house of Mir Wali, a member of parliament from the volatile southern province of Helmand and killed three security guards and two members of the MP’s family.The incident underlined the fragile security situation in Kabul, which has seen repeated attacks by suicide bombers and gunmen in recent months. Helmand, one of the strongholds of the Taliban and source of much of the world’s opium, has fallen increasingly under insurgent control over the past two years.

Officials said police special forces were at the scene of the attack and were concentrating on evacuating people from the house and nearby areas.

The gunmen were still believed to be inside the house, with local news station Tolo News quoting local residents as saying the sound of gunfire and explosions could be heard.

(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; writing by James Mackenzie)

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First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 23:08 IST

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India overtakes United Kingdom, economy ranks fifth in the world

India’s economy for the first time in more than a century has overtaken that of the United Kingdom, Forbes magazine reported.

Akshay Shah, a researcher at Tsinghua University, who wrote the article adds, “This dramatic shift has been driven by India’s rapid economic growth over the past 25 years as well as Britain’s recent woes, particularly with the Brexit.”

While India’s economy was expected to overtake the United Kingdom by 2020, the weakening of the Pound Sterling speeded up the process, the report said.

It is interesting to know that the UK-based policy group, Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), had predicted in December 2011, that India would become the fifth largest economy by 2020, but it has already crossed the landmark, The Times of India reported. 

According to Foreign Policy, the country’s economy now ranks fifth in the world. “India may have a large population base but this is a big leap,” Foreign Policy quoted Minister of State Kiren Rijiju as saying.

The Forbes report noted that the latest milestone implies the arrival of India on the world stage and might significantly change the power dynamics between New Delhi and the West.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:54 IST

Demonetisation: Army personnel deployed at Salboni & Dewas currency printing press

Demonetisation: Army personnel deployed at Salboni & Dewas currency printing press

By

New Delhi: Around 400 army personnel have been deployed for security at the currency printing presses in Salboni in West Bengal and Dewas in Madhya Pradesh.

Army sources said that the soldiers were deployed in wake of security consideration around the press that prints the new currency notes.

The troops deployed are from army’s Eastern and Central Command.

The Dewas Security Press is printing new Rs 500 currency notes whereas new Rs 2,000 and Rs 100 notes are being printed in Salboni.

“Keeping in view the security consideration of such sensitive location, army personnel have been deployed at printing presses,” sources said. The government has already deployed transport aircraft C-17 Globemasters and C-130 J Hercules of the Indian Air Force to ferry currency from the printing presses across the country. The IAF continues to make sorties carrying new currency.

The Modi government had demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8 and had introduced new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 21:51 IST

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Sheroes to get honoured for selfless service

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an attempt to recognise the efforts of women who have chosen unconventional life paths for the betterment of society, Stop Acid Attack (SAA) has decided to confer upon them an award named ‘Sheroes Samman’.“We are planning to give ‘Sheroes Samman’ award to women who have broken the stereotype and are engaged in unconventional jobs, such as driving a bus or an auto, or those who have been educating other women in rural areas,” said Ashish Shukla, one of the founding members of the SAA campaign.The name of the award has been derived from name of a chain of cafes — ‘Sheroes Hangout’ — opened in various parts of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Udaipur to rehabilitate acid attack survivors from across the country. The group has called for nationwide nominations and the final results will be declared in March next year.“We will choose the women by taking into account suggestions and entries online. We are still working on the list. The results will be declared in March 2017,” Ashish said.Razi Sultan, winner of the United Nations (UN) Malala Award, has already been shortlisted. The rest of the names are still being discussed.“We launched the award last year, but this time, we are doing it at a larger scale and on a bigger platform. We have invited entries and are also sending invitations to a lot of ‘Sheroes’ ourselves,” Ashish added.Last year, Vineeta Arora had won the award for her selfless work to better the lives of street dogs. Having grown up witnessing the discrimination between pet and stray dogs, and the cruel treatment meted out to the latter, the Gulmohar Park resident had decided to become the voice of the defenceless creatures while she was still in college.At the time, she used to write articles to spread awareness regarding several issues, including treatment of injured dogs, among people.Then she started feeding and treating stray dogs by getting associated with various NGOs, shelter homes and pet houses. She, however, faced strong resistance from local people. “Many people picked fights with me while I was feeding the dogs and the cows. At least in case of cows, religious factors cropped in, but no one cared about the dogs,” Vineeta said.The journey became even more difficult after she got married. “In the initial years of marriage, I could not work for these dogs as my in-laws raised objections. I could not keep dogs at home as well,” she said.But gradually, the opposition fell away.Vineeta’s hardwork finally paid off when she started her own shelter home in Agra in 2014, with the help of her husband. “I started the shelter home Caspers’ in the memory of my pet dog, who lost his life in a road accident. The home was registered as an NGO two years after its inception,” she said.Over 45 dogs have been adopted from Caspers’ till now. It is also home to 43 dogs, and care is provided to injured, paralysed and abandoned dogs.“We have proper rules and guidelines while giving the dogs for adoption. The team from our NGO goes to the owner’s house before the adoption. An inspection is carried out after the adoption as well. If dog is found chained, it is brought back,” Vineeta said.

Mexico fireworks market blast kills at least 27, hurts scores | Reuters

Mexico fireworks market blast kills at least 27, hurts scores | Reuters

Dec 21, 2016 05:26 IST

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MEXICO CITY At least 27 people died in an explosion at a fireworks market outside the Mexican capital on Tuesday, according to a local emergency services official.The blast at the San Pablito fireworks market in Tultepec, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Mexico City, also injured at least 70 others, according to a tweet from federal police.Isidro Sanchez, the head of Tultepec emergency services, said the death toll was preliminary as rescue workers scoured the site.

Local television showed a flurry of multi-colored fireworks exploding in all directions as a massive plume of smoke rose above the market while people frantically fled.Aerial footage showed charred stalls and destroyed buildings.

A blast struck the popular market in September 2005 just before independence day celebrations, injuring many people.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 05:26 IST

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India boycotts international tech meet in Pakistan signalling tension between two nations

Islamabad: India has pulled out of an international conference on transfer of technology being hosted by Pakistan in the latest sign of heightened tensions between the two neighbours.

Ministry of Science and Technology officials said New Delhi initially confirmed its participation in the three-day session of the Governing Council of a UN affiliated institute that promotes transfer of technology from small and medium sized enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region.

The conference of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) kicked off in Islamabad on Monday.

Representational imageRepresentational image

Representational image

“Just hours before the meeting was to start, the Indian delegation cancelled its trip saying their head delegate had contracted food poisoning,” an official of the ministry told the media.

Bangla­desh and Iran were the other countries who did not participate in the conference. China, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam attended the meeting.

The council, which meets once a year, advises on the future and reviews the working of the centre located in India under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Esacap).

The meeting will approve projects to be undertaken in 2017. Out of the total five projects, India has submitted one titled “Feed the Future India”.

The project is aimed at enhancing food security in selected least-developed countries through the establishment of an agricultural innovation accelerator platform in India with USAID funding of $1.5 million.

India had earlier in November boycotted the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) that was to be held in Islamabad.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 13:27 IST

Efforts to isolate Pakistan? India, Bangladesh, Iran pull out of key regional conference in country: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India along with Bangladesh and Iran have pulled out of a key regional conference on sustainable development which is being held in Pakistan, according to a media report.The three-day session of the Governing Council of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) started in Islamabad on Monday. The objective of the conference is to promote innovation for sustainable development and discus strategy of the APCTT.The Express Tribune reported officials of Ministry of Science and Technology initially confirmed New Delhi’s participation in the conference but later announced India’s decision to pull out.”Just hours before the meeting was due to start, the Indian delegation cancelled their trip saying that their head delegate had contracted food poisoning,” the official said.India had earlier in November boycotted the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) that was to be held in Islamabad.It is believed that New Delhi’s decision is part of its efforts to isolate Pakistan internationally by staying away from such multilateral engagements hosted by Islamabad, media reports said here.The Ministry of Science and Technology is hosting the meeting of the 12th Governing Council of APCTT.According to sources, all of the 14 member countries of APCTT were invited, but India, Bangladesh and Iran decided not to attend the meeting.The governing council, which meets once a year, advises on the future and reviews the working of the centre located in India under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).The countries attending the meeting are China, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.The meeting will approve projects to be undertaken in 2017. Out of the total five projects, India has submitted one titled ‘Feed the Future India’. The project is aimed at enhancing food security in selected least-developed countries through the establishment of an agricultural innovation accelerator platform in India with USAID funding of USD 1.5 million.The APCTT is a specialised regional Institute of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UN-ESCAP), based in New Delhi and a team from India have come to Islamabad to look after all the management related issues for the three-day conference.

India warns Pakistan at UN, says ‘what you sow will bear fruit’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filled a charge sheet against against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar in the Pathankot attack, India took on Pakistan at the United Nations and called on the hostile neighbour to leave behind its ways of terrorism, with the warning saying that, ‘what you sow will bear fruit’.Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, India’s permanent envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin in a veiled attack on Pakistan, said that safe havens being provided to terrorists must be dealt with in order to bring sustainable peace. “We need to address, as an imperative, the support that terrorist organisations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Daesh, Al-Qaeda and its designated affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed which operate entirely outside the fabric of international law draw from their shadowy supporters outside Afghanistan,” he said.Quoting poet Rumi, Akbaruddin said “what you sow will bear fruit. If you’ve any sense my friend, don’t plant anything but peace,” which seemed to be a clear message to Islamabad to refrain from stooping to terrorism.The NIA on Monday filed a chargesheet in the NIA special court against senior commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammed including its Chief Maulana Masood Azhar, for their involvement in the terrorist attack at Pathankot Airbase on 2nd January, 2016.The NIA has filed charge sheet against four accused persons namely:1. Maulana Masood Azhar: Chief of the terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), resident of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.2. Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar: Deputy Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad and brother of Maulana Masood Azhar, resident of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.3. Shahid Latif: launching commander, resident of Mor Aminabad, Gujranwala, Pakistan.4. Kashif Jan: main handler of Pathankot attackers, resident of Charsada, Pakistan.They have been charged for commission of offences under sections 120B, 121, 121A, 302, 307, 364, 365, 367, 368, 397 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 16, 18, 20, 23, 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, section 25, 27 of the Arms Act, 1959, Sections 3(b) of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and section 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, in the chargesheet.It was established during investigation that the terrorists entered into a criminal conspiracy to infiltrate into the territory of India and to commit terrorist attack and wage war against the Government of India.In pursuance of the said criminal conspiracy, the accused persons, their leaders, handlers and co-conspirators including but not limited to Maulana Masood Azhar, Mufti Abdul Rauf Asghar, Kashif Jan and Shahid Latif, set up training camps in Pakistan and the PoK area, for recruitment and training of terrorists, in order to carry out terror attacks on the Indian soil.

CPM slams govt for political interference in appointing new Army Chief

CPM slams govt for political interference in appointing new Army Chief

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New Delhi: The CPM on Monday criticised the government for bypassing the established convention while naming a new army chief and said the military should not be subject to political interference.

“The appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff has been done bypassing the established convention of the senior most General assuming the post,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

“The Modi government’s departure from this precedent has raised questions about the intent and motivation of the government,” it said in a statement.

“The Indian Army should not be subject to any political interference.”

The government on Saturday named Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next chief of the Indian Army, overlooking the seniority of two senior Lt Generals.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 18:23 IST

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IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

ENG 12 0 5.0

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 450 10 145.0

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India and Tajikistan faced by growing threat of terrorism, oppose the menance: Pranab Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee has said that both India and Tajikistan are opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. “As neighbours with a shared vision of peace and stability in our region, we both desire to strengthen our defence and security co-operation in order to effectively address our concerns. The world and particularly our region, is, today, faced by the growing threat of terrorism. Both India and Tajikistan are opposed to this menace in all its forms and manifestations,” President Mukherjee said on Saturday in his banquet speech hosted in honour of Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.Asserting that development and progress of India’s utmost importance, President Mukherjee said the people of the nation as secular and pluralistic societies, desire to live in peace. “For us, development and progress of our nations is of utmost importance. We are also committed to assist our mutual friend and neighbour, Afghanistan, to realise the goals and aspirations of its people – through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he added.Welcoming the President of Tajikistan to India, the President said his visit to the nation is on the eve of the 25th anniversary of India-Tajikistan diplomatic relations. “It bears testimony to the abiding friendship between the two nations and the value that we attach to our bilateral relations. India was among first countries to recognise emergence of Tajikistan on dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Over the last 24 years, we have had a fruitful co-operation,” he added.
ALSO READ PM Modi, Tajikistan President Rahmon hold bilateral talks, agree to work together on trade through Iran’s Chabahar PortPresident Mukherjee said India recognises the Tajikitan President’s role in ensuring peace and stability in Tajikistan which has a similar salutary effect in the region. Subsequently, in his banquet speech, President Mukherjee said India appreciates the close co-operation that we have in the United Nations and other international organizations. “India is grateful for Tajikistan’s support for her rightful claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and its membership of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation,” he added.

Hyderabad: Bank head injured in firing, police on the hunt for attacker

Hyderabad: Bank head injured in firing, police on the hunt for attacker

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Hyderabad: The head of a bank was injured when an unidentified person fired at him at his apartment on Sunday, police said.

Manmath Dalai, Chief Executive Officer of KBS Local Area Bank, was shifted to a private hospital and he is said to be out of danger.

The incident occurred in Masab Tank in the heart of the city.

Police said a man came to the apartment inquiring about Dalai. He went to the official’s flat and after a few minutes the guard heard the sound of gunfire.

“A bullet hit the bank official in his leg. We have launched a hunt for the unidentified attacker who escaped on his motorbike,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Venkateswara Rao.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 16:29 IST

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IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

IND 361 3 100.0

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 312 7 107.0

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UAE vs AFG | Dec 18th, 2016

AFG 189 5 20.0

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Interactive map shows India is best at bananas! Find out what it reveals about other countries

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a new interactive map that is made up from data collected from the World Bank and the United Nations amongst other sources, each country is given a unique characteristic that best describes it. According to the map, India is the best country for bananas.The map was created by David McCandless from InformationIsBeautiful.net and is divided into nine categories (commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology, and nasty). The map gives each nation a unique characteristic. It, however, excludes smaller countries in the study.According to the map, while India is famous for bananas, Pakistan is famous for gay porn, China for jailed journalists, the United States for spammed emails and Australia for data breaches. Interestingly, Rwanda has the most women representatives in parliament, while Zambia has most female entrepreneurs.It’s also worth mentioning that the values are either “mostly per capita” or “per cent of the population”. Here’s the full map:

Italy’s top court orders retrial of ex-Finmeccanica executives in India bribery case | Reuters

Italy’s top court orders retrial of ex-Finmeccanica executives in India bribery case | Reuters

Dec 17, 2016 01:04 IST

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MILAN Italy’s highest court on Friday ordered a re-trial of former top executives at defence group Leonardo Finmeccanica (LDOF.MI) over allegations of bribery in a 2010 contract to provide a dozen helicopters to the Indian government.In April a Milan appeals court sentenced former Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi to four and a half years in prison for corruption and falsifying invoices, overturning a previous lower court ruling.Bruno Spagnolini, former head of the group’s helicopter unit AgustaWestland, was sentenced to four years in jail over the 560 million euro ($585 million) contract.The case went to the highest court after the two executives launched an appeal. Both executives will now have to be tried again in front of Milan’s appeals court.

Last week India’s federal police arrested the former head of the air force S.P. Tyagi, 71, who was at the centre of allegations of impropriety in the order of 12 helicopters meant to fly senior Indian politicians.The deal was cancelled in 2014 after Orsi was arrested on suspicion of paying bribes to secure the deal.

AgustaWestland opposed India’s decision to cancel the order and the contract is currently suspended and the subject of international arbitration in Paris. The case against Finmeccanica itself was dropped by prosecutors back in 2014 while AgustaWestland agreed on a 7.5 million-euro settlement with the court the same year.

(Reporting by Valentina Errante, writing by Valentina Za; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 01:04 IST

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IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

ENG 284 4 90.0

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 97 8 43.0

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India asks tax dodgers to come clean by March 2017 | Reuters

India asks tax dodgers to come clean by March 2017 | Reuters

Dec 16, 2016 20:46 IST

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NEW DELHI The government said on Friday that tax-dodgers have until the end of March 2017 to come clean under a scheme announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month.Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told reporters that those who fail to declare their untaxed income under the scheme will have to pay a minimum 77 percent and up to 100 percent in tax and fines.Another senior income tax department official later said the income of the political parties was exempted under the Income Tax Act, and they could deposit old currency notes in their bank accounts only if they had taken donations in cash up to 20,000 rupees from individuals with all details. All political parties would have to maintain records properly about their income and voluntary donations, he said adding they would have to submit their audited accounts.

“They can’t take any more old currency notes,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee banknotes on November 8 in a bid to flush out cash earned through illegal activities, or earned legally but never disclosed to the taxman.People can deposit old currency notes in banks until the end of December.

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Malini Menon and Angus MacSwan)

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

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 20:46 IST

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LIVE India Vs England Live Score

IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

ENG 284 4 90.0

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 97 8 43.0

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UAE vs AFG | Dec 16th, 2016

AFG 183 5 19.4

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Philippines’ Duterte ‘bye-bye America’ and we don’t need your money | Reuters

MANILA Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told the United States on Saturday to prepare for repeal of an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises, declaring “bye-bye America”, and we don’t need your money.But Duterte suggested relations could improve under a President Donald Trump. “I like your mouth, it’s like mine, yes Mr President. We are similar and people with the same feathers flock together.” Returning his focus to the present U.S. administration which has criticised him over reports of extra-judicial killings in his campaign against drugs, he said:”We do not need you,” Duterte said in a news conference after arriving from visits to Cambodia and Singapore. “Prepare to leave the Philippines. Prepare for the eventual repeal or abrogation of the VFA.”

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), signed in 1998, accorded legal status to thousands of U.S. troops who were rotated in the country for military exercises and humanitarian assistance operations.”Bye, bye America and work on the protocols that will eventually move you out of the Philippines,” he said, adding his decision would come “any day soon” after reviewing another military deal, Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement.

The firebrand leader was visibly upset and vented his anger on Washington because of a decision by the Millennium Challenge Corp (MCC) board to defer vote on the re-selection of Manila for compact development due to human rights issues.

“We do not need the money. China said they will provide so many,” he said. “The politics here in Southeast Asia is changing.” (Reporting by Karen Lema, Manuel Mogato and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alison Williams)

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

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 18:01 IST

Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa: Power remains firmly in Poes Garden, for now

Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa: Power remains firmly in Poes Garden, for now

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J Jayalalithaa is dead and her party cadre is jostling to dive before Jaya’s aide V K Sasikala and touch her feet. What does this mean for party politics and does it matter all that much when the real test looms – elections? As political parties circle overhead, Sasikala rules from Poes Garden and O Panneerselvam does what he does best – keeping the peace and turning down the volume. The circumstances surrounding Jaya’s death remain shrouded in mystery, her super-fans are livid and the final word on the

Sasikala Natarajan rules from Poes Garden / PTISasikala Natarajan rules from Poes Garden / PTI

Sasikala Natarajan rules from Poes Garden / PTI

disproportionate assets case – the one in which Jaya and Sasikala were jailed – is still to come. Narayan Lakshman of The Hindu and Nikhila Natarajan catch up for a chat barely 500 mts from where Jayalalithaa lies buried, in a casket that’s been locked many times over with gold plated keys.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 17:00 IST

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IND vs ENG | Dec 16th, 2016

ENG 284 4 90.0

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

PAK 97 8 43.0

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India top country of origin of international migrants: Pew research

Washington: India is the top country of origin of international migrants, with 15.6 million Indians living abroad, according to a Pew research which said international migrants make up 3.3 percent of the world’s population.

Ahead of the International Migrants Day, Pew Research said as of 2015, nearly 3.5 million Indians lived in the UAE, the world’s second-largest migration corridor.

Unlike the Mexico-US corridor, the number of Indians living in the UAE and other Persian Gulf countries has increased substantially during the past decade, from 2 million in 1990 to more than eight million in 2015, Pew said.

“Most have migrated for economic opportunities in these oil-rich countries,” it added.

Representational image.  Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Authored by Philip Connor, the report said if all of the world’s international migrants (people living in a country that is different from their country or territory of birth) lived in a single country, it would be the world’s fifth largest, with around 244 million people.

“Overall, international migrants make up 3.3 percent of the world’s population today,” it said.

The top origins of international migrants are India (15.6 million), followed by Mexico (12.3 million), Russia (10.6 million), China (9.5 million) and Bangladesh (7.2 million).

Among destination countries, the US has more international migrants than any other country.

It is home to about one-in-five international migrants (46.6 million), it said.

Other top destinations of migrants include Germany (12.0 million), Russia (11.6 million), Saudi Arabia (10.2 million) and the United Kingdom (8.5 million), Pew said.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 12:28 IST

White House: FBI is probing Yahoo hack, cannot yet provide scope | Reuters

White House: FBI is probing Yahoo hack, cannot yet provide scope | Reuters

Dec 15, 2016 23:36 IST

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WASHINGTON The White House on Thursday said it could not address the potential scope of vulnerable material from Yahoo Inc’s most recently disclosed hack, adding that the FBI is investigating the breach.Speaking to reporters at a daily briefing, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that U.S. investigators would have to ensure that releasing any public information about those behind the attack would not compromise the probe.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 23:36 IST

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AUS vs PAK | Dec 15th, 2016

AUS 288 3 90.0

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Manipur: One police commado, two constables killed in ambush

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Manipur Police commando and two police constables were killed while nine others were injured when militants ambushed road opening parties (ROP) at two different places in Chandel district of Manipur on Thursday. Earlier reports said four personnel were killed and another four injured in the ambush at Lokchao and Bongyang areas in the hill district of Chandel.The twin attacks took place as United Naga Council (UNC) was gearing up for a mass rally in four Naga district headquarters on Thursday against the creation of the seven districts in the state by the O Ibobi Singh-led government. The first ambush occurred at Lokchao, 21 km from the border town of Moreh, when the police team was heading for Tengnoupal where Chief Minister was scheduled to attend a programme in connection with the inauguration of the newly created Tengnoupal district, which was carved out of the existing Naga-dominated Chandel district.The Chief minister was scheduled to attend another programme in connection with the formal inauguration of Kangpokpi district which was bifurcated from the Naga- dominated districts Senapati and Ukhrul districts.Ibobi Singh, who attended the formal inauguration of Tengnoupal district, returned to Imphal by a chopper, the police said. Speaking to reporters in Tengnoupal, the chief minister said, “It is of no use to attack Manipur Police and all disputes must be resolved through dialogue”.He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the nearest kin of the police personnel killed in the ambush. The two police constables were identified as Ayub Khan and Nonglei Charang Marring.While Ayub Khan died at the Lokchao ambush spot, the other police personnel died on way to Imphal for treatment.The Manipur police commando, who succumbed to injuries in the second ambush at Bongyang, has been identified as Havildar Yengkhom Jeevan, the police said. The nine policemen were injured at Lokchao, the sources said, adding security forces rushed to the two spots in Chandel district.The nine injured were identified as Sub-Inspector(SI) Pratap, SI Sarat, SI P Samsung, Head constable Basir, Head Constable Jam Kholen, Constable Md.Lukaman, Constable M Somendro, driver Janminthang and VDF personnel Md Nasir were injured, the police said. The United Naga Council, which has been enforcing economic blockade on NH 53 and NH 39, the lifeline of the landlocked state, since November 1 last, is also demanding imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

Arunachal Pradesh: 2 ULFA militants neutralised, 6 apprehended in Changlang district

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Assam Rifles neutralised two United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) militants and apprehended six others in Arunchal Pradesh in an operation held on Wednesday. In the operations launched by the troops of Assam Rifles in the dense forest of Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh around 1.30pm, two militants were gunned down. This apart, six other militants, including a woman, were apprehended by the security agencies. During the operations, one AK rifle and one pistol were recovered from the possession of the militants. Meanwhile, the operations were still on till the last reports came in. A day ago, a battalion of Assam Rifles had destroyed a camp of another militant outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland Khaplang (NSCN-K) in the same area. A huge cache of ammunition, radio sets with batteries, insurgent combat uniforms, belts and backpack were recovered.

UN Secretary General-designate appreciates India’s engagement with world body

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UN Secretary General- designate Antonio Guterres has voiced appreciation for India’s engagement with the world body and its contributions to various areas of the UN’s work during a meeting with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.Jaishankar called on Guterres soon after his swearing-in as the 9th Secretary General of the United Nations.”The Secretary General designate appreciated India’s engagement with the UN and contributions to various areas of the UN’s work,” a spokesperson of India’s Permanent Mission to the UN told PTI on Tuesday.Jaishankar congratulated Guterres on his swearing-in and assured him of India’s support and assistance in areas that the SG-designate focuses as his priorities including on matters of sustainable development and peace and security, the spokesperson said.Jaishankar also met Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman and other officials of the UN’s Department of Political Affairs and exchanged views on a wide array of issues of common interest.Guterres was sworn-in as the next UN Secretary General on Monday and will assume his new role on January 1 next year, a day after Ban Ki-moon’s 10-year tenure as the world s top diplomat ends this month.India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin tweeted a photo of Jaishankar meeting Guterres and other UN officials, saying “diplomacy entails reaching out upfront & backroom talks too”.

Watch: Have information of corruption against PM Modi, says Rahul Gandhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After accusing the government of not allowing him to speak in Parliament over the demonetization issue, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday claimed that he had information of corruption against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”PM is terrified about me talking in the House. We have information of corruption against PM Modi, which I want to present in Lok Sabha and I am being stopped from speaking​,” he said in a press conference held by the United Opposition.”He has taken a decision against the poor, he has destroyed millions of lives. He cannot keep running away from the house,” said Gandhi. Stating that for the first time in the history he has seen government not allowing discussions in Parliament, Gandhi added, “Prime Minister owes an explanation to the country over issue of demonetization.”On Friday Gandhi had said his party wants debate on demonetization so that the truth can come to the fore, but the government is running away from it.The Congress leader had said that when he gets a chance to speak about demonetization in the House, “the Prime Minister will not be able to even sit there… demonetization is the biggest scam in the history of India… I want to speak in Lok Sabha. I will tell everything there.”The Winter Session of Parliament resumed today after a four-day hiatus. It has seen little transaction of any substantial business due to ruckus over demonetization and other issues.

China launches WTO complaint against U.S., EU over dumping rules | Reuters

China launches WTO complaint against U.S., EU over dumping rules | Reuters

Dec 12, 2016 21:09 IST

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By Ben Blanchard
| BEIJING

BEIJING China said on Monday it had launched a complaint at the World Trade Organisation over the approach used by the United States and European Union to calculate anti-dumping measures against Chinese exports.When China joined the WTO in 2001, its accession terms allowed other WTO members to treat it as a non-market economy when assessing dumping duties for 15 years. That gave trade partners the advantage of using a third country’s prices to gauge whether China was selling its goods below market value.But part of that clause expired on Dec. 11, which China says means trading partners must drop their use of such surrogate pricing.U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in November the time was “not ripe” for the United States to change the way it evaluates whether China has achieved market economy status, and there was no international trade rules requiring changes in the way U.S. anti-dumping duties are calculated.China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website that 15 years on, all WTO members had an obligation to stop using the surrogate country approach.

“Regretfully, the United States and European Union have yet to fulfil this obligation,” the ministry said.The European Commission said it had received the request for consultations, the first step in a WTO dispute.”We regret that China is launching this dispute now despite the fact that the Commission has already made a proposal to amend the legislation in question,” a Commission spokesman said.

The Commission proposed last month a new way of treating China, but its plans await approval from the EU’s 28 members and the European Parliament.Last week it angered Beijing by launching an anti-dumping case under the old system – using the prices of a third country – just days before the Dec. 11 deadline.Separately, a Chinese ministry official said in another statement a U.S. investigation into what it regards as Chinese dumping of plywood products launched last week amounted to abuse of emergency trade relief measures.

The United States and European Union are some of the biggest levellers of anti-dumping measures under this process against China. The measures have seriously affected exports and employment for Chinese firms, the ministry added.”China reserves the right under WTO rules to resolutely defend its legal rights,” it added, without elaborating.The United States has repeatedly argued that China’s market reforms have fallen short of expectations, especially in aluminium and steel, where state intervention has led to overcapacity, threatening industries around the world. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels and Beijing monitoring team; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)

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First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 21:09 IST

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Pak Army has licence to kill us, rape us, still UN is silent, accuses Baloch activist Naela Baloch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing the Pakistan Army of having the licence to ‘kill, rape and torture Baloch people and to take out their organs to sell them, Baloch Kurd liberation activist and World Baloch Women’s Forum president Naela Quadri Baloch has demanded that the United Nations, which has ‘turned blind and has closed its ears and mouth’, to wake up and listen what is going on in Balochistan.”The Pakistani Army has (a) licence to kill us, licence to rape us, licence to torture, licence to take out organs and sell them, because the Pakistani Army is involved in the organ trade of the Baloch people with the help of the Edhi Foundation; and, Pakistan is running rape cells, where Baloch women are abducted, kept and raped. Pakistan is doing all kinds of those atrocities that a sane human mind cannot imagine,” Naela told ANI.Stating that Pakistan is committing this genocide of the Baloch people with the full support of China as a form of ‘ethnic cleansing’, Naela said: “The International Day of Human Rights was announced by the UN, but it is silent despite the atrocities and the level of genocide going on in Balochistan by the Pakistan Army and the Pakistani establishment. It’s like a kind of situation where Baloch people have no rights that even your animals have.”Buttressing her claims, the Baloch activist said, “We have found more than 100 mass graves with more than 100 bodies in each, and doctors say they were alive when they were buried in those mass graves.”They are burning Baloch villages and towns, it is a situation that no human heart can see and keep silent, she said, adding, “But we are surprised and we are worried about the legal status of the UN now.”She said that what is going on in a part of the world (Balochistan) is very much needed for connecting the Indian Ocean to the Central Asia; it’s very much needed to be a route; it’s very much needed for people’s trade; and it’s very much needed for the economic corridor (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor-CPEC). “It is not a corridor; it is our home; it is a corridor for outsider; it is a corridor for occupiers and passersby; for us it is our home,” she said.Naela said, “The United Nations is blind and has closed its ears and mouth to what?s going on in this part of the world. And this is the seventieth 10th December that the Baloch people are facing, and the UN is silent. So, on this day, on the behalf of the Baloch nation, on this International Day of Human Rights, we demand the UN to please wake up and to please listen what is going on in Balochistan.”Yes, you are the United Nations, a nation of 40 million people, one of the biggest nations on the earth is living without a country and needs you, said Naela, adding: “A nation is going to be finished from the face of the earth, so we are an endangered nation.””You (UN) work for the endangered species and animals, the world is working for them but what if we are endangered? So, the Baloch nation is going to be finished from the face of the earth and the U.N. is silent and the international community is silent, it’s a very-very worrisome situation for us,” she added.Meanwhile, to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10 (Saturday), Baloch political activists across world, including the UK, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Germany and many other European nations held protests against the atrocities committed by the Pakistan establishment on their people back home.It was on December 10, 1948, when the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.In Geneva (Switzerland), Abdul Bugti of Baloch Republican Party said, “The objective of the protest demonstration is to highlight the abuses in Balochistan on this occasion. There are massive human rights abuses going on in Balochistan by the ‘terror-state’ of Pakistan, its army and intelligence agencies.””They are engaged in killing and enforced disappearances of Baloch civilians on daily basis. We have been highlighting these issues and we want international community to stop Baloch genocide,” he added.

Human Rights Day: Dawoodi Bohra women launch petition to ban female genital mutilation

Mumbai: A group of women belonging to the Dawoodi Bohra community, who underwent Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), have launched a petition seeking people’s support to abolish the practice.

The online petition, aimed at rooting out this ancient practice was launched by an advocacy group known as ‘Speak Out on FGM’ on Change.org on Thursday ahead of the International Human Rights Day, being observed on Saturday.

It would be submitted to the wing of United Nations that deals with the welfare of women and child, said a senior associate with the group.

This group had earlier launched a similar petition in the month of December last year which has received over 80,000 responses so far and was submitted to Union Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi.

“Our main objective to make at least everyone aware about this age-old practice being observed in our country since last 1,400 years which in not only shameful but is unconstitutional and utterly violates human rights,” said Masooma Ranalvi, a 50-year-old working woman from Delhi.

“I have no hesitation in admitting that I was subjected to FGM at a very young age, but I have ensured that my daughter, who is now 22, does not undergo this brutality,” said Ranalvi, adding even today over 80 percent of the Bohra girls are subjected to this “hurtful” tradition.

File photo. Reuters

File photo. Reuters

A senior associate of the group from Pune Shabnam Poonawala said, “Though this is practiced in US and Canada too, but their respective governments have brought laws to curb this evil. But unfortunately, no one speaks about this here, forget bringing a law for it.”

“We want the government to acknowledge it and stand behind us. Promulgate a law to flush out this regressive ritual from the society,” said Poonawala, also president of the University Women’s Association (UWA), a non-profit organisation (NGO) working towards empowering women.

In December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution on banning FGM. The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies FGM as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

The WHO defines FGM — sometimes called female circumcision — as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to their genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Recounting her ordeal that she underwent at a tender age, a survivor from Mumbai said, “I was very young, around seven years of age. I was subjected to FGM in Mumbai in an unhygienic condition and in a clandestine manner. The shock, the physical and psychological trauma of that day is still fresh in my mind.”

“Its good that thousands of survivors are joining this campaign not only from India, but also from Canada, Australia, South Africa, Britain etc,” she added.

Survivors maintained the aim behind FGM was to curb the natural sex drive in women. They claimed FGM has nothing to do with religion and is more of a cultural practice.

According to WHO, between 100 million and 140 million females across the world are thought to be living with the consequences of FGM.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 11:32 IST

NSG bid is developmental aspiration, don’t give it political colour: FS Jaishankar to China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Calling for respecting each other’s legitimate aspirations, India on Friday said China should not give a political colour to New Delhi’s efforts to access civilian nuclear technology, in reference to Beijing’s opposition to its NSG bid.In his address to India China Think-Tanks Forum, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar also pitched for bilateral cooperation in dealing with “fundamentalist terrorism”, expressing dismay over the two countries not being able to come together on the issue at critical international forums. His remarks are seen as a reference to China opposing India’s move to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations.Jaishankar also said, “At a time of change, we should obviously pay great attention to strategic communication. This could help avoid misunderstanding and promote greater trust and cooperation.”Without mentioning India’s NSG bid, Jaishankar said there was a need for broad-basing the nuclear technology control group and stressed on deeper Indo-China cooperation on major global issues like implementation of the Paris climate agreement.”In India’s case, predictable access to civilian nuclear energy technology is key. The broad-basing of the nuclear technology control group is also helpful to a more representative international order.”Keeping in mind this solidarity of major developing states, it is important that China view this as a developmental aspiration and not give it a political colouring,” he said. Seeking deeper bilateral engagement, he said “Let us at least respect each other’s strong sense of independence and legitimate aspirations while seeking accommodation and building trust.”Talking about threat of terrorism, he said “As diverse and pluralistic societies, we both face threats from fundamentalist terrorism. Yet, we do not seem to be able to cooperate as effectively we should in some critical international forums dealing with this subject.” The Foreign Secretary, without elaborating, also said “Even on sovereignty, surely there can be more sensitivity and understanding.” In an apparent reference to China not supporting India’s bid for permanent membership of the UNSC, he said, “Though we have a commitment to a more democratic world order, our actions in respect of the reform of the UN Security Council are in contrast to our approaches to usher in a more equitable international economic order through reform of the existing multilateral institutions.”Jaishankar said there was need for greater convergence between the two sides in dealing with various regional and global issues and that both should not see each other as a competitor. “There are few precedents for the near-simultaneous rise of two major powers, that too in close proximity. When these powers have a tangled contemporary relationship, the process becomes even more complicated,” he said, adding “look at the similarities between ‘India as a Leading Power’ and the ‘China Dream'”.Jaishankar said a narrative that both the countries have always been distant from each other was successfully created by western powers which had an interest in doing so. “Although India was among the earliest governments to establish ties and promote cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, the three lost decades compel us to still play catch up with relationships that came very much later.”Viewed from the perspective of our bilateral ties, the progress in the last 28 years since we have normalised ties has been commendable,” he said. He said there has been peace and tranquillity at the Sino-India border while both sides agreed on political parameters and guiding principles for settlement of the boundary question. “Inevitably, challenges that emanate from differential logistical capabilities and a lack of commonly agreed line of actual control continue. But hopefully, as these gaps narrow, we will see a greater stability that would be helpful towards arriving at a final boundary solution,” he added.Talking about bilateral trade, he said there has been efforts to bridge the trade deficit which is in China’s favour. The Foreign Secretary said in recent years, Sino-India ties were projected and analysed by some quarters in primarily competitive terms. “This is an imbalance picture, if only because it ignores the substantive cooperation that we have so painstakingly developed in so many fields,” he said adding, “one obstacle to developing greater common ground is an undue attachment to the concept of balance of power.” “Major powers have to work with each other even if their interests diverge on some issues. Those powers who have more distance between them will be at a disadvantage in such a situation. It is in the mutual interest of India and China not to be in that predicament,” he said.The Foreign Secretary said policy changes on the Indian side have significantly improved the investment conditions for Chinese companies in India. “In fact, the sharpest change in FDI commitments since 2014 has been by Chinese companies a testimony, in equal measure, to their confidence and our openness,” he added.

Pentagon credits Ashton Carter with ‘spearheading’ deepening of India-US defence cooperation

Washington: In less than two years after becoming the US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter made a record three trips to India and had an unprecedented seven meetings with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, spearheading efforts to deepen and broaden US-India defence cooperation.

In his many years at the Pentagon in various capacities, Carter “spearheaded efforts to deepen and broaden” bilateral defence cooperation with India, the Pentagon said in a fact-sheet released yesterday as Carter concluded his final trip to India in his capacity as the defence secretary.

As a result of his efforts, the Pentagon said, the US and India have improved mutual understanding of their respective defence institutions, are exchanging perspectives and coordinating policy approaches in new areas, reinvigorating military-to-military engagements, launching path-breaking cooperative technology projects and pushing bilateral defence trade to unprecedented levels.

“Today, the United States and India are closer than ever to realising their Joint Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” the Pentagon said.

In recent years, the US and India have engaged in what Carter has dubbed a “strategic handshake” between the two countries as American policy of rebalance to the Asia Pacific converges with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s “Act East” policy.

“This has been complemented by a ‘technological handshake’ through which we have sought to leverage our respective industrial and technological capabilities to meet mutual security needs,” the fact sheet said.

The strategic handshake accomplishments include “the US finalised India’s designation as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ today,” the Pentagon said.

The US Congress on Thursday formally passed the legislation in this regard as included in the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017.

File photo of Ashton Carter. Reuters

File photo of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter. Reuters

The two countries launched a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue in April 2016; President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi issued the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region in January 2015; and Carter and Parrikar signed the Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship in June 2015.

Carter was the first US Defense Secretary to visit Indian Eastern Naval Command in Vizakhapatnam in December 2015; annual naval exercise MALABAR expanded to include Japan as permanent member and India twice participated with a ship in the biennial Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise – in 2014 and 2016 – hosted by US Pacific Command after observing the exercise since 2006.

Among other accomplishments under strategic handshake are Indian Air Force resumed participation in Exercise RED FLAG in Spring 2016, US and India concluded Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in August 2016 and the two countries for the first time conducted a joint peacekeeping course in New Delhi in August 2016, with plans to conduct follow-on iterations of the joint course in 2017.

In the Technological Handshake, the Pentagon said that in 2012, United States and India launched the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Under DTTI, the US and India have launched seven joint working groups to explore collaborative projects and programs and signed two Science and Technology government-to-government project agreements – the Next Generation Protective Ensembles and Mobile Hybrid Power Sources – worth roughly $2 million.

Since 2008, US-India defense trade has increased from roughly $1 billion to over $14 billion, including Indian procurement of 13 Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft, 10 C-17 Globemaster and 12 P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Boeing, as well as 22 AH-64 Apache and 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

In December 2016, the US and India signed a deal worth approximately $732 million to provide the Indian Army with 145 M777 Howitzer guns, the Pentagon said.

In 2012, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Lockheed Martin established a joint venture to produce C-130J Super Hercules airframe components.

The 50th empennage was delivered in September 2016.

TASL also has a joint venture with Sikorsky, established in 2011, to co-produce S-92 helicopter cabins.

In June 2016, TASL and Boeing announced a Hyderabad-based joint venture to manufacture components for Apache helicopters and collaborate on integrated systems development opportunities in India, the Pentagon said.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 13:22 IST

DNA Evening Must Reads: President blasts MPs for stalling Parliament, FBI arrives in Kolkata to interrogate ISIS operative Musa, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For God’s sake, do your job: President blasts MPs for stalling ParliamentIn a stinging attack on the opposition over Parliamentary paralysis, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the House is not a place for dharna and disruption which amounts to “gagging of majority” by the minority. Read more here.Kolkata: FBI team arrives to interrogate Islamic State operative MusaA seven-member team of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, have arrived in West Bengal to interrogate ISIS operative Musa. Read the DNA exclusive story here. Must ensure #IndiaDefeatsBlackMoney, short-term pain will pave way for long-term gains: PM ModiAmid ongoing protests from the Opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the government’s decision of demonetization had several gains and that people must ensure that India defeats black money. Read more here. Demonetization: IT department seizes Rs 90 crore cash, 100 kg gold from Chennai jewellersSeveral Chennai-based jewellers were raided by the Income Tax department on Thursday, from whom Rs 90 crore and 100 kg gold have been seized. Read more here.30 days post demonetization: Arun Jaitley announces slew of incentives to promote cashless transactions30 days after PM Modi announced the decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a slew of incentives to go cashless and bring in an era of digital transactions. Read more here.The Raees – Kaabil clash can’t sour my relationship with Shah Rukh: Rakesh Roshan speaks up!Despite the fact that his film Kaabil and SRK’s Raees are going head to head against each other next January, Rakesh Roshan tells DNA that there’s no bad blood. Read more here.

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