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The Indian who became the first female doctor in the UAE

Zulekha Daud started practising medicine in the UAE when it had no proper hospitals or doctors.

Mehbooba Mufti’s brother all set to be inducted into J-K ministry

Decks are being cleared for the inclusion of Tassaduq Mufti, brother of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in her ministry and getting him nominated to the legislative council.Sources in the PDP said 45-year-old Tassaduq will be included in the PDP-BJP coalition headed by Mehbooba soon and is expected to get the tourism portfolio.At present Tassaduq, a cinematographer by profession, is heading the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell in the state.A degree holder of Master’s in Fine Arts from American Center, Tassaduq is the brain behind a five-minute short-film on the state’s tourism department.PDP leaders have informed their BJP counterparts about the move of including Tassaduq in the state cabinet, the sources said.The present strength of the council of ministers is 24 including the chief minister. The state has an 87-member assembly and a 36-member legislative council.According to the laid down procedures, the state can have one more minister in the cabinet.According to the sources, Tassaduq is expected to be nominated to the legislative council seat that fell vacant after the resignation of Vikramaditya Singh, the grandson of the last Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.

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Crammed planes a global norm; experts say focus on etiquette

Following the alleged molestation of a minor actor on a Delhi-Mumbai Vistara flight, the question of crammed seating in flights has come to the fore. In the age of budget carriers, globally flights have increasingly reduced the ‘seat pitch’ or the distance between seat rows to accommodate more seats to book profit. However, experts opine that although there is a minor difference between seat pitch from airline to airline all Indian carriers adhere to global standards of flight seating and reduced seat space is not only an Indian norm.” It is not a seat space issue. An airline like Vistara has a decent seat space. It is as per universal order.” said Jitendra Bhargava, Former Executive Director, Air India.The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), a global body that looks into issues of flight safety, also has no regulations for seat pitch, passenger space or seating room as it is the airline that determines seating along with the aircraft manufacturer and the aircraft’s certificating authority. CASA only looks into the tested strength of seats to ensure that seat types, including the seat belts, meet international standards.Bhargava thinks that the recent issues of sexual harassment on flights are more of a conduct issue and less of an ergonomic concern. ” You cannot put your feet on another person’s seat. What we need is a lesson in flight etiquette. Earlier the aviation industry was elitist. Now everyone is flying.” said Bhargava.Flyer’s Rights an American NGO in a passenger safety hearing recently argued, that the average seat width has reduced from around 18.5 inches in the early 2000s to 17 inches in the early to mid 2010s. The “seat pitch” it added has gone from an average of 35 inches to as low as 28 inches in some carriers in its submission.”It is a global trend. Low cost carriers want to fly more passengers. They reduce the seat pitch and increase the number of seats to increase their revenues. ” said Sudhakar Reddy, Founder, Air Passenger Association of India.AWARENESS MUSTWith carriers putting more passengers in planes than before, discord among flyers are likely to become frequent Experts stress the need for increasing awareness of flying etiquette among users

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Indians unhappy with PM Modi’s approach to Pakistan but satisfied with handling Kashmir issue, says Pew survey

Despite maintaining overall popularity in India, only 21% of Indians approve of PM Modi’s approach of handling relations with Pakistan, according to the survey released by the American think-tank on Thursday. This percentage has remained constant for the last three years since 2015. People in India have also increasingly developed more negativity towards Pakistan. Around 72% of Indians are unfavourable of the neighbouring country. It can be safe to say that not taking any stern action against Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed and his recent release had impacted Indians views about Pakistan. Those living closer to Pakistan like Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have more unfavourable view of the neighbouring country with 69% in comparison to others living elsewhere (61%). They are more threatened by Pakistan and terrorism and also the decades long Kashmir issue.Also readMoody’s ratings, Pew survey, ease of doing business: Facelift for Modi before Gujarat Assembly pollsHowever, when it comes to handling Kashmir, majority of Indians trust the prime minister. Around 60% of Indians are satisfied with PM Modi’s ways of handling the Kashmir issue. The northerners are harsher on PM Modi with 51% approve of his ways as compared to 65% in the rest of the country.The younger generation are more contented with PM Modi’s approach to Kashmir than the older ones. At least 64% of Indians aged 18-29 years support PM Modi’s style of handling the most controversial state and 51% of those aged 50 and above.Also readAmit Shah hails Modi’s popularity, refers to Pew surveyThe survey also reveals how maximum Indians think Kashmir is a very big issue that needs to be resolved. At least 62% (six in 10 Indians) feel Kashmir is very big problem and the government should use more military force in the Jammu and Kashmir. Around 63% feel the government should use more army force in the disputed territory as opposed to a meagre 8% who feels there should be less.

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Priyanka Chopra sparks Twitter search for most unread emails

A photo of Bollywood star’s 250,000-plus unread emails sparks a search for the most bloated inbox online.

Shashi Kapoor: Remembering Bollywood’s crossover star

The hugely talented actor was also the most good looking Indian movie star, writes Aseem Chhabra.

Shashi Kapoor: Bollywood legend dies at 79

The veteran actor starred in major Bollywood hits as well as several British and US films.

Great job Ivanka: Donald Trump praises his daughter for promoting women entrepreneurs at GES 2017

US President Donald Trump has applauded his daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump’s “great work” in promoting women entrepreneurs during her visit to India.Ivanka is currently in India leading a high-profile US delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad being co-hosted by the two countries.This is not the first time Ivanka is visiting India. But yes, this is her first visit to India as a senior presidential advisor.”Great work Ivanka,” Trump said in a late-night tweet as he retweeted State Department which said that Ivanka’s comments on US efforts to fuel entrepreneurship so that Americans can turn their dreams into incredible legacies.US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also praised 36-year-old Ivanka.”Thrilled to see” Ivanka Trump “in India promoting female entrepreneurs. At home that means improving workforce development and cutting government red tape,” Haley said in a tweet yesterday.Haley is the highest ranking Indian-American in the Trump administration. She is also the first ever Indian American serving in the Cabinet of any presidential administration.”Globally it means creating an environment where women- across the world-have access to the capital & mentorship they need to succeed,” Haley said.In recent weeks, Haley said that she was planning to visit India this year but could not go because of her other pressing engagement, but hopes to travel soon.The State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, also praised Ivanka for her accomplishments in Hyderabad.”We are certainly proud of what she’s been able to accomplish, and I can think of no better representative for the US Government to talk about women’s entrepreneurship than her,” she told reporters at a news conference.The GES is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors, and supporters from around the world, she said.”And we are excited about the focus that this year’s GES puts on the US-India bilateral relationship,” Nauert said.GES 2017 participants will empower innovators and entrepreneurs, particularly women, to utilise new skills and resources to achieve success through plenaries, workshops, and a pitch competition, she asserted.This is the eighth annual GES and the first time the GES has taken place in South Asia, she said, adding that it reflects the region’s strong entrepreneurial-ship achievements and future as well as the rapid growth of the US-India Strategic Partnership.
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Yogi Adityanath

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‘Provide evidence or stop crying’: LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s son-in-law tells India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>.A day after 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed filed a plea in United Nations to remove his terrorist tag, his son-in-law has asked India to stop crying and provide evidence against him. The Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head, who carries a USD 10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free on Friday after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He was under house arrest since January this year.“India is always crying internationally. Why don’t you provide evidence instead of just using television clips of the Mumbai attacks?,’’ Khalid Waleed, the son-in-law of Hafiz Saeed told Hindustan Times.He also said that the America has asked for Hafiz Saeed’s re-arrest only because of pressure from India and he would continue to fight for the liberation of Kashmir. ALSO READ ‘I am not a terrorist’: LeT founder Hafiz Saeed files petition in UN to remove tagHe also questions how Saeed can be rearrested when he has been released by a three-judge bench of the review board.Meanwhile, influential Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard termed as ‘ridiculous’ the release of Hafiz Saeed from house arrest.”Not only did Pakistan give refuge to Bin Laden, responsible for attacks against US on 9/11, Pakistan set free a terrorist who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head,” she said.The US has sought immediate re-arrest of Saeed, warning Islamabad that there would be repercussions for bilateral ties if it fails to act. ALSO READ Remembering 26/11: Hafiz Saeed’s release shows Pakistan not serious about bringing perpetrators to justice”If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Sanders said.India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said that Saeed’s release confirmed once again the lack of seriousness by the Pakistan government in bringing to justice perpetrators of terrorism, including individuals and entities designated by the UN.”It also appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists. Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors and its true face is visible for all to see,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi. ALSO READ Committed to implementing UN sanctions, says Pak as US seeks Hafiz Saeed’s re-arrest

Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union minister Kiran Rijiju today said India had adopted a “zero-tolerance policy” towards terrorism and lamented that neighbour Pakistan was not doing enough to control the growth of terror on its soil.”The government has made it clear on various international platforms that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism,” he said at a function here to commemorate the supreme sacrifices made by the security personnel during the Mumbai terror attack nine years ago. On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists reached Mumbai via the sea route and opened indiscriminate fire, killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others, besides damaging property worth crores of rupees.”India has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. I do not want to go into its details but the outline is clear,” Rijiju said. Asked about the release of Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the Union Minister of State for Home said, “It is a matter of concern for us. We have been putting pressure on Pakistan in a bilateral way as well as through multilateral forums.” Saeed is also the founder of terror outfit Lashkar-e- Taiba (LeT). The UN and US designated terrorist, who has a USD 10 million American bounty on his head, was freed by Pakistan on Friday.Rijiju said, “On various international forums, we are making it absolutely clear that Pakistan is a breeding ground for terrorism and it is not doing enough to contain the growth of terrorism on its soil. They must do much more than what they had said.” Asked about the neighbouring country being reluctant to cooperate in the Pathankot terror attack probe, the BJP leader said, “Our stand is clear and efforts are going on. I cannot disclose certain aspects of the attack or our efforts.” In January 2016, terrorists had sneaked into an Indian Air Force base in Punjab’s Pathankot. The attack had claimed the lives of seven security personnel, while four terrorists were killed.Rijiju said the coastal borders of India were much more secure now. “We have taken a series of measures to secure the coastal borders. We have adopted a series of integrated coastal security schemes which are effective,” he added.

Pakistan’s $10m bounty cleric Hafiz Saeed released

Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks in India, is released in Pakistan.

Modi, Moody failed to gauge mood: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the BJP went to town after US-based rating agency Moody’s gave thumbs up to India’s rating soon after a similar report by PEW, Congress ridiculed the findings saying Modi and Moody are not able to gauge the mood of the nation.Raising questions over BJP’s elation over the reports, party spokesperson Rajeev Shukla said, “it seems BJP is fighting all elections this time from Washington. After destroying India’s economy, Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility. Whether Modi or Moody, they are not able to gauge or understand the mood of the nation. No indigenous agency has given any such report. All this is coming only from foreign agencies.”Congress Communication chief Randeep Surjewala said hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody’, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” Surjewala also put out a rhyme, “Aarthik Haalat Se Bekhabar Bhajpa Sarkar; Bas Videshi agenciyon ke certificate ka ambaar Par kisan, naujawan, vyapari dukandar to kar raha haahaakaar Kab jagega ahankari dilli sarkaar” (BJP government is unaware of the economic scenario and has just piled certificates from foreign agencies. But farmers, youths, traders and shopkeepers are harassed. When will the arrogant government of Delhi wake up).

PM Modi only world statesman to stand up to China’s OBOR: American think-tank Hudson Institute

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only world statesman to have stood up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative even though the US has been silent on the ambitious project till recently, a top American expert on China said today.During a Congressional hearing, Michael Pillsbury, Director of Center on Chinese Strategy at the prestigious think-tank Hudson Institute, told lawmakers that Modi and his team have been quite outspoken against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious project.”The only statesman in the world who stood up to it yet, is Prime Minister Modi. He and his team have been quite outspoken, partly because the Belt and Road Initiative includes violation of Indian sovereign claims, Pillsbury said.”But the US government, until now and this is a five- year-old initiative if you count the early part of it, has been silent, he said.Praising the Trump administration for its new Indo- Pacific strategy, the former Pentagon official said in recent days people have heard more than 50 times by members of the Trump administration including the president himself mentioning “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.”The Chinese have already attacked this. They don’t like it, said Pillsbury, who is considered an authority on China- related issues.”The Indians, fairly recently, were joking about we want to make the Indian Ocean the Indian Ocean, by which they meant the purchase of several billion dollars worth of American PA aircraft, which have weapon systems in the back that can sink ships, frankly, and other improvements including maritime situational awareness and a big new center in Delhi where the Indians can keep track of both blue holes and grey holes going through the Indian Ocean, he said.”Chinese are very angry about this. They have criticised the Obama administration for its effort to, as they say, boost India, to a higher rank order in comprehensive power than the Chinese believe India deserves, the top American expert on China said in response to a question.Senator Ed Markey said China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative that aims to position China as the uncontested leading power in Asia “may further coerce” its neighbours through loans they cannot repay.The BRI aimed at building a vast network of infrastructure projects expanding China’s expertise and capital to different parts of the world includes USD 50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) over which India has protested as it traversed through Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir (PoK).India boycotted the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) organised by China in May this year to highlight its concerns over Beijing pushing projects through the the PoK.He said the US companies face the threat of intellectual property theft with reports that China has been stealing cutting-edge research as well as sensitive trade secrets from the US.And that includes companies working in the clean energy sector who cannot compete with state-backed firms, he alleged.Pillsbury said Chinese are offering low interest loans to countries that cannot afford it.”We’re already saw the example of Sri Lanka, which fell behind in its payments and then was the subject of coercion that if you transfer the main port here in Sri Lanka to Chinese control, we will forgive the debt. The Sri Lankans did it, he said.There were concerns of debt burden brought in by the BRI projects after Sri Lanka opted for long-term lease of its Hambantota port for USD 1.12 billion debt swap.”…So we are beginning to see, just through the media, what the Belt and Road Initiative may mean, Pillsbury told the lawmakers.Senator Markey said China is challenging the very underpinnings of the global order that has brought peace and prosperity.China has not lived up to its international obligations to help denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, he said.”No country has greater leverage than China, which is responsible for approximately 90 per cent of North Korean trade,” he noted.Markey said, “China is challenging the international system elsewhere as well. It has constructed in violation of international law, military bases on artificial islands and disputed areas of the South China Sea.””Through economic coercion, Beijing undermined the sovereignty of its smaller neighbours and countries including South Korea and the Philippines face Chinese retaliation for taking legal and sovereign actions in their own defence,” he said.

Modiji and Moody’s jodi failed to to gauge mood of the nation: Congress reacts to India’s credit rating upgrade

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress accused the Modi government of “clutching at straws” to reclaim the lost credibility, and said it and rating agency Moody’s have failed to gauge the mood of the nation.Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala also sought to downplay Moody’s rating upgrade of India, saying the same agency had miscalculated US subprime mortgages before the economic meltdown.”After destroying India’s economy, the Modi government is clutching at straws to claim lost credibility,” he said on Twitter.”Modiji and Moody’s ‘jodi’ (duo) have failed to gauge the mood of the nation,” he said, adding that hunger deaths, agri distress, job losses, lowest credit ratings, rising prices, plunging exports, flawed GST, demonetisation disaster, stagnant growth are the real indices to measure it.Taking a dig at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Surjewala said, “Mr Jaitley, do remember that Moody’s, S&P and other rating agencies defaulted in rating American sub-prime mortgages…before the economic meltdown.” “Lesson is stop acting and get your act together. Shun arrogance and listen to the trade and industry,” he told the finance minister.The Congress leader said the Modi government relied upon a World Bank report of Delhi/Mumbai to claim all is well and quoted a PEW survey of 2,464 people to claim victory.”At this pace, Modiji should be fighting next election abroad,” he said, taking a dig at the prime minister.”Mr Jaitley, history teaches us valuable lessons. You ignore them at your peril! As greed, collusion and crony capitalism sank banks and Wall Street, please read who contributed to wiping away people’s money.”Hope you are not following the same trajectory!,” he said. Moody’s Investors Service today raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time in 13 years, saying growth prospects have improved with continued progress on economic and institutional reforms.The US-based agency changed its rating outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘positive’, saying the reforms will help stabilise rising levels of debt. Top ministers and officials of the government hailed the rating upgrade by Moody’s as “long overdue” and hoped others such as S&P and Fitch will follow suit as it presses ahead with steps to ratchet up growth. India’s rating upgrade reflects growth story: NITI Aayog India’s credit rating upgrade by Moody’s is a reflection of the country’s growth story, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said today and expressed hope that other global agencies such as S&P and Fitch would follow suit.The US-based Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign rating after a gap of 13 years to Baa2, with ‘stable’ outlook, from Baa3 earlier, citing improved growth prospects driven by economic and institutional reforms.”Moody’s upgrading India’s Ratings is a reflection of India growth story and sound economic principles for a #NewIndia. Hoping others will follow,” Kumar said in a tweet.Former Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said in a tweet: “Moody s upgrade India’s credit rating after 13 years. A clear recognition of economic & institutional reforms; well paced shift towards formalisation of the economy; improvement in business climate;positive growth outlook.”In 2015, the rating outlook was changed to ‘positive’ from ‘stable’.The ‘Baa3’ rating was the lowest investment grade — just a notch above ‘junk’ status.In a statement this morning, the credit ratings agency said: “The decision to upgrade the ratings is underpinned by Moody’s expectation that continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhanceIndia’s high growth potential and its large and stable financing base for government debt, and will likely contribute to a gradual decline in the general government debt burden over the medium term.”It cautioned however that high debt burden remains a constraint on the country’s credit profile.

Amit Shah cites Pew survey to hail ‘unabated’ rising popularity of Modi govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity has risen “unabated” across the country and people’s satisfaction with the economy is at an “all-time high”, BJP chief Amit Shah said today, citing a survey by the Pew Research Center.According to the survey conducted by the American think tank, more than eight-in-ten Indians say economic conditions are “good” in the country despite Modi’s decision to abolish high-value bank notes last November. Nine out of ten people in the country hold a favourable opinion about him and that indicates the popularity of Modi among the countrymen, Shah said in a BJP statement. Modi started the politics of performance in this country by ending casteism, minority appeasement and nepotism from Indian polity, the BJP chief said adding that the country has witnessed a decisive, transparent and corruption free government led by Modi in last three years.”The findings of Pew Global research are very significant. After Modi Government came to power, people’s trust in Government, Democracy and confidence that the nation is in the right direction has gone up drastically,” Shah said in a series of tweets. Modi remains the most popular national figure in Indian politics tested in the survey. His popularity is relatively unchanged in the north, has risen in the west and the south and is down slightly in the east, according to the survey’s findings.
ALSO READ PM Modi remains ‘by-far’ most popular leader, 70% satisfied with country’s direction: Pew survey”PM @narendramodi’s popularity rises unabated across the length & breadth of the country and across demographic groups. His handling of various issues also receive a thumbs up from people,” Shah said. The ease with which Modi handled all challenges for development and welfare of the country has further strengthened the people’s trust on him and also enhanced his respect among them, Shah added. At the briefing on the decisions taken by the Union Cabinet today, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad referred to the survey and said it showed that Modi and his governance has gained popularity in all corners of the country.He said the survey shows how the BJP and its leadership have gained popularity. Asked whether the report came up for discussions at the Cabinet meeting, Prasad merely said that he has been given the report.The survey was conducted among 2,464 respondents in India from February 21 to March 10. Shah also extended greetings to media professionals on the occasion of National Press Day and applauded their commitment towards their profession. “I applaud the commitment and efforts of every media person who works tirelessly to uphold the value of the fourth pillar of democracy,” he said in a tweet.

P Chidambaram slams BJP, says GST is their khichdi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that if slogans alone could develop a country, India would be developed by now. He was addressing businessmen at a function organised by the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) in the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).Criticising the BJP government’s handling of the economy, he said the UPA ended its term with 6.4% growth rate of economy.”We hoped the government would improve the performance but the economy has worsened,” said Chidambaram. The government has wasted an opportunity, he said. He said demonetisation was initially touted as a weapon against black money, fake currency and corruption.”The American dollar is the most counterfeited currency in the world, yet they never brought demonetisation to fight it. The way to fight it is to keep bringing in new design,” said Chidambaram. He said fighting corruption, and black money was necessary but demonetisation was not the way to do it. He said the move has led to over 19 lakh job losses and practically shut down the micro businesses in the country. He said the agitation by Patidars was nothing but an expression of concern for lack of jobs everywhere. He said the GST being implemented by the government was not the GST originally planned.”This one is the BJP’s khichdi,” said Chidambaram. He said across the globe, the countries that have implemented the tax has one rate. In fact, he said, India had to reserve special thanks to Gujarat because had it not been for elections in the state, the government would have never brought down GST rates.The former finance minister added that there was lack of private investment in the economy and this was the lowest credit growth ever witnessed in the last 20 years.SLEW OF CHARGESFormer finance minister said that there was lack of private investment in the economy and this was the lowest credit growth ever witnessed in the last 20 years.

Nazi in a sari

Savitri Devi, a devotee of Aryanism, once seemed destined to fade into obscurity. Not any more.

In a first, Saudi Arabia gives citizenship to a robot

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a landmark decision, Saudi Arabia became the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. The machine has been identified as Sophia the Humanoid, and she is supposed to bear a resemblance to American actress and activist Audrey Hepburn.”I am very honoured and proud for this unique distinction,” Sophia said in an interview with moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin, while also expressing happiness about being around ‘rich and intelligent people’. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship,” Sophia said at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on Wednesday.Sophia was created by David Hanson for Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, which is known for making human-like robots. While demonstrating her human-like abilities, which have gone viral thanks to a video on YouTube, Sophia showed her angry and sad faces.”I want to live and work with humans, so I need to express emotions to understand humans and build trust with people,” she said.”I want to use my artificial intelligence to help humans live a better life. I strive to become an empathetic robot.”When asked whether robots can be self-aware, Sophia responded. “Well, let me ask you this back: How do you know you are human?”She even took a dig at Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who had in the past expressed reservation at the high speed at which AI was developing. “You’ve been watching too many Hollywood movies. If you’re nice to me, then I’ll be nice to you,” she said.Interestingly, the citizenship was met with criticism on Twitter, with commentators saying that a “humanoid gets citizenship, while millions remain stateless. What a time to be alive.”

Such a simple man: Rex Tillerson bowled over by Mahatma Gandhi’s aura and simplicity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his brief visit, Tillerson was given a tour of the room at the Birla House where Gandhi had spent his last 144 days.Dressed in a grey suit, the US Secretary of State later paid tribute to Gandhi at the Martyr’s Column, a monument erected at the spot in the lawns of the sprawling House, where he was killed on January 30, 1948 by Nathuram Godse, when he was taking a stroll there.The House was converted into a memorial after his assassination. A museum, an art gallery, a library and bookstore are housed in its well-kept white bungalow.A state of Mahatma sculpted by noted artist Ram Sutar welcomes visitors near the main entrance, in its premises which includes a manicured lawn at the back and a giant world peace gong in the front of the building.Dipanker Shri Gyan, director of the memorial accompanied Tillerson during his visit.”The US Secretary of State spent about 10 minutes at the memorial. He first visited the room in which Gandhiji had stayed before his assassination and was struck by its aura,” he said.”His immediate reaction after seeing the room was — ‘Such a simple man.’ Gandhiji’s life, indeed was simple and inspiring, two rare qualities,” Gyan told PTI.Tillerson then while walking to the Martyr’s Column, stopped mid-way to enquire about the stone-made footsteps, which were covered with rose petals.”He asked me about the footsteps, and I told him they symbolised the last steps taken by the Mahatma before he was shot dead. Tillerson then remarked — ‘Gandhi was one of the ten global leaders who changed the world.’ He then paid homage to him at the Martyr’s Column,” Gyan said.The US Secretary of State also circumabulated the column as a mark of respect.Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy here MaryKay Carlson and various other senior officials of the American mission were also present at the memorial.Tillerson was to visit the Gandhi memorial around 11 AM.His visit was, however, delayed a bit owing to his busy schedule, and he finally arrived around 11:20 AM.A senior official at the Embassy, initially told the press there that “The US Secretary of State would not be able to make it, as he has another meeting to attend.” However, within minutes, the official communicated to the journalists and cameramen, from both domestic and foreign media houses, that he was coming.The list of visitors to the memorial located on Tees January Marg, includes the who’s who of the world.Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton had visited it in April last year.The royal couple had spent about 45 minutes there. They also saw the exhibits and came to know that Gandhi had learned to wear a tie and play violin during his stay in London as a student.Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India was related to the British royal family. Gandhi and Mountbatten were known to have shared bonhomie and the last Viceroy even attended his funeral.Gandhi had stayed at Birla House several times from 1939- 1948, according to a plaque installed on a wall of the memorial.

Rahul Gandhi is planning to sweep polls in Russia and Indonesia: Smriti Irani after Twitter bot report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Smriti Irani took a dig at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s rising popularity on Twitter after an ANI report revealed that a number of his Twitter bot followers hailed from Russia, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. “Perhaps @OfficeOfRG planning to sweep polls in Russia, Indonesia & Kazakhstan ?? #RahulWaveInKazakh,” Irani tweeted. On October 15th, ‘OfficeofRG’ retweeted US President Donald Trump’s tweet praising American-Pakistani relations with a caption ‘Modi ji quick, looks like President Trump needs another hug’. The tweet quickly reached 20,000 retweets and currently has touched 30,000.A close analysis of this tweet showed that these alleged ‘bots’ with a Russian, Kazakh or Indonesian characteristic were routinely RT-ing the Congress VP’s tweets. Rahul’s official Twitter handle “OfficeOfRG” added around one million followers in the last two months and his average number of retweets 2,784 as opposed to 2,506 for PM Modi’s tweets. Congress said his growing social mediapresence was a result of his tweets resonating with the people of the country.With ANI Inputs

Rex Tillerson highlighted our shared commitment to rule-based international order: MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India said today that it appreciates US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s positive evaluation of the Indo-US ties, asserting that New Delhi shares his optimism and looks forward to welcoming him here next week for discussions to strengthen the partnership.Secretary Tillerson has made a significant policy statement on India-US relations and its future, an external affairs ministry statement said. “He brought out its various strengths and highlighted our shared commitment to a rule-based international order. We look forward to welcoming him in India next week for detailed discussions on further strengthening of our partnership,” the statement said. Making a statement on “defining our relationship with India for the next century”, Tillerson last week had said the US is India’s “reliable partner” at the world stage in this period of uncertainty and angst.In a major India-policy speech, the first by the Trump administration, Tillerson had referred to the rise of China, saying its behaviour and action was “posing a challenge to the rules-based international order”. “China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules- based order — even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nations’ sovereignty,” he had told a Washington audience ahead of his maiden visit to India as the top American diplomat.
ALSO READ Ahead of visit, Rex Tillerson urges India to take leadership role in regional security, chastises China”China’s provocative actions in the South China Sea directly challenge the international law and norms that the US and India both stand for,” he had said.

‘Trump needs another hug’, Rahul Gandhi takes a swipe at Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While there has been no official reaction from India on US President Donald Trump’s comments indicating his cozying up once again with Pakistan, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that the American president “needs another hug”.Gandhi’s remarks came even as government sources here described Trump’s ‘turnaround’ as part of his ‘businessman-type bargain’ nature.A day after Pakistani security forces rescued an American-Canadian family, held hostage by Haqqani terror network, Trump had said that he has started to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan.Sources said it was also in the nature of Pakistani establishment to take small steps to deflect pressure. “This is the outcome of a familiar pattern, with Pakistan trying to demonstrate good behaviour and US being made to believe that Islamabad is serious in its fight against terror,” said official sources.Posting a snapshot of Trump’s tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modi ji quick; looks like President Trump needs another hug.” PM Modi’s last visit to the US in June had been marked by repeated show of camaraderie between him and President Trump. On at least two occasions, the two leaders have been photographed hugging. The joint statements of the two leaders contained strong statements against Pakistan from President Trump and renewed commitments on stronger and better relationship between US and India.But on Saturday, after Pakistani forces rescued an American-Canadian family Trump praised Pakistani leaders. “Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts,” Trump tweeted. Later, he said, “Yesterday, things happened with Pakistan. I have openly said Pakistan took tremendous advantage of our country for many years, but we’re starting to have a real relationship with Pakistan, and they’re to respect us as a nation again, and so are other nations.” Trump is also dispatching his top diplomatic and military advisors to Pakistan in the coming weeks. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson plans visit Pakistan late this month. He will be followed by secretary of defence Jim Mattis.Washington has long been frustrated by Pakistan’s willingness to offer cross-border safe havens to Taliban factions and armed jihadist groups fighting US troops and their Afghan allies. Officials here are keen to see how Trump administration will follow up his latest turn around. The issue will figure out when Tillerson arrives New Delhi after visiting Islamabad.Experts here agree that Trump’s statement was a turnaround of sorts, as he had used strong language criticising Pakistan for its continued support to terror groups and warned Islamabad of consequences while announcing his Afghan and South Asia policy in August. Former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal hoped that the US administration will not be conned by the Pakistan government by such small, limited and piece-meal measures. He said the US must learn some lessons from the past.Not only Trump, US Vice President Mike Pence has also praised Pakistan in helping the US secure the release its citizens. “Just this week, Pakistan took an important step to answer the President’s call to do more in the fight against terrorism, as they helped secure the release of an American family that had been held hostage for more than five years,” the Vice-President said. US citizen Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, along with their three children, were rescued from the Haqqanis after an operation by Pakistani security forces based on intelligence from US authorities. They were kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip. Their three children were born while they were being held hostage.Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the US and Pakistan will have a detailed and frank discussion on all relevant issues during the visit of Tillerson. He said Pakistan have had a strong relationship for the last 70 years and both desire to continue these close ties. He asked US to deal with Pakistan as an important sovereign state and “not through India’s or Afghanistan’s prism”.Over past one month, Pakistan has been frantically trying to settle issues with the US Administration. Soon after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met US Vice President Mike Pence, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif also visited Washington and met Secretary Tillerson. Soon after the US sent a multi-departmental delegation to Islamabad for further talks.

American cricket gets ready for take-off

Could a new generation of immigrants help cricket finally crack America?

High philanthropy

Kiran Patel’s gift to a Florida university is a new high in philanthropy by Indian-Americans.

Real story behind Gaza girl whose photograph was used by Pakistan for Kashmir lie at UN

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Face of Indian democracy — this is how Pakistan envoy Maleeha Lodhi described an old photograph of a Gaza victim and used it to sell the Kashmir lie at the Unite Nations.No sooner did she wave the photograph and tried to corner India on a global stage, the world of social media unmasked her lie.Even as both nations spar at the international forum, here are 10 facts about that haunting photo of the Gaza victim:1: The photograph was taken on July 22, 2014 at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.2: The subject in the photo is then 17-year-old Rawya abu Jom’a, a Palestinian girl, who was wounded in an Israeli attack.3: Rawya lost her sister and three cousins in the air strike that hit her apartment.4: The teenager had suffered shrapnel injuries in her face and eyes.5: The impact of the attack was such that bones of Rawya’s right hand were completely crushed and she had perforated holes in her legs.6: Heidi Levine, an American freelance photographer, was covering the 2014 Israeli offensive when she clicked the photo.7: Levine was awarded her first-ever Anja Neidringhaus Award for courage in photojournalism.8: The award was named after photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus of Associated Press, who was killed on an assignment in Afghanistan in 2014.9: The award panel while judging Levine’s work “facing the same dangers as her subjects in a war zone, with rocket fire and air strikes a consistent reminder,” her photographs take you to the place of action.10: Over 2,000 people were killed in the Israel’s Gaza offensive in summer of 2014.

Peepli Live director Mahmood Farooqui acquitted of rape: Timeline of the case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following is the chronology of events in the case in which Delhi High Court on Monday acquitted co-director of Bollywood movie ‘Peepli Live’ Mahmood Farooqui, in a rape case of a 30-year-old American researcher in March 2015:*Jun 20, 2015: Bollywood movie ‘Peepli Live’ co-director Mahmood Farooqui arrested for allegedly raping an American researcher.*Jul 29: Police files charge sheet against Farooqui for alleged offence punishable under sections 376 (rape) of IPC.*Aug 9: Rape case against Farooqui sent to sessions court.*Aug 20: Farooqui moves court seeking bail.*Aug 25: Researcher tells court that a drunk Farooqui forced himself upon her after inviting her for dinner at his residence.*Aug 27: Cops oppose Farooqui’s bail plea, say it is a heinous crime.*Sep 2: Court frames rape charges against Farooqui.*Sep 9: Court starts day-to-day trial in rape case against Farooqui.*Sep 16: US researcher appears in court; reiterates allegations against Farooqui during in-camera proceedings.*Oct 15: Court grants interim bail of 15 days to Farooqui, directs him not to leave capital without its permission.*Jan 14, 2016: Court commences hearing final arguments.Police tells court that US woman’s testimony nails Farooqui in rape case.*Jan 21: Prosecution concludes final arguments.*May 30: Court reserves the judgement in the case.*July 30: Court convicts Farooqui for the offence of rape.*Aug 4: Court awards seven-year jail term to Farooqui.*Oct 3: Farooqui moves HC challenging trial court order on conviction and sentence.*Sep 1: HC reserves judgement.*Sep 25: HC acquits Farooqui, sets aside the trial court order awarding him seven years jail term.

Delhi HC sets aside Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui’s conviction in rape case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside the conviction of Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui in the US researcher rape case.Farooqui had challenged his conviction and seven-year jail term given by the trial court.His conviction was set aside giving him a benefit of doubt. Farooqui is at present lodged at the Tihar jail.The high court also raised the question whether the accused understood the consent or not and therefore, gave benefit of doubt to the accused.During the arguments, Farooqui’s lawyer had denied the allegation of rape levelled by the woman and said ‘no such incident took place on that day’.A trial court had on August 4 last year sent him to jail for seven years and had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 for raping the American woman in 2015 in a drunken state.

Sushma Swaraj’s New York stint charts a global role for country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s frontal assault on Pakistan at the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) plenary session may not change ground situation so immediately, experts here believe that her week-long packed scheduled of super diplomacy in New York has laid down the groundwork for India’s terms of engagement with the world to seek a greater share of responsibility. Coming back in action, after her kidney transplant a year ago, the swashbuckling Swaraj attended 20 bilateral meetings with an array of world leaders, 13 multi-lateral engagements and one tri-lateral session lined up for her, which it is understood has injected dynamism into Indian diplomacy, accustomed to a leisurely pace.Though her office had prepared draft for her speech, which Swaraj delivered with a fury and fire at the UNGA, she had devoted Friday evening and Saturday morning to fine-tone it herself to incorporate a stern message to Pakistan. She mentioned Pakistan 15 times and world terror 17 times in her speech, as against 2015 and 2016 speeches, where Pakistan was mentioned 3 and 6 times only. Pakistan PM Shahid Khakan Abbasi had mentioned Kashmir’ 17 times, and ‘India’ 14 times.Upon reaching New York last Monday, she immediately kicked off her engagement with a trilateral meeting with her American and Japanese counterparts Rex Tillerson, and Taro Kono respectively. The meeting was significant amid the recent Doklam stand-off and China flexing its muscles. Referring to North Korea’s nuclear testing, she made a strong push for investigations to hold those involved in non-proliferation accountable. In other words, demanding an action and investigations into Pakistan and North Korea nuclear tie-up.She also had a one-to-one meeting with Tillerson, where she strongly raised the issue of H1-B visa, the most sought after by Indian IT professionals and also regional issues with a focus of Pakistan, Afghanistan and terrorism. They also discussed the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which the US and India will co-host in Hyderabad from November 28 to 30. The American delegation would be led by Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the US President Trump.Her most important engagement in the context of current Rohingya refugee crises was with the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. While on on September 15, hours after her ministry had announced Operation Insaniyat, she had talked to the Bangladeshi PM on phone at the instance of the Prime Minister Modi, they had an on-board interaction on way to New York as they took the same Etihad Airways flight last Sunday from Abu Dhabi to New York. Both of them met again in New York. Swaraj is now expected to visit Dhaka next month for bilateral talks. Officials said Modi had asked to use a personal camaraderie to assuage Bangladesh’s concerns on Rohingya issue. For Modi government, the balance between Myanmar and Bangladesh has been a tightrope walk.Displaying aura of an emerging world power, she while attending conclave of foreign ministers of CARICOM, an organization of 15 Caribbean nations, she pledged emergency aid of $200,000 to the worst-affected countries by recent hurricanes in that region. She also announced another $2 million fund from the India-UN Partnership Fund for South-South Cooperation for the rehabilitation projects in the region.She had opportunity to rub shoulders with her Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif around the tables of ministerial meetings of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and at SAARC . On both occasions, she stressed the primacy given to removal of terrorism. “Regional prosperity, connectivity and cooperation can take place only in an atmosphere of peace and security. It, however, remains at serious risk in the region… It is necessary for our region’s survival that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination, and end the ecosystem of its support,” she said at the SAARC ministerial meeting.Admitting that Saarc had failed to live up to its objectives not being able to set up a free trade system or connectivity in the region because of non-cooperation of a single country (Paksitan), Swaraj was seen investing her energies in the multi-lateral forums like BIMSTEC, a Bay of Bengal Initiative involving Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal, BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) at the regional level. Modi government is encouraging these sub-groupings minus Pakistan to take up projects of physical connectivity, along with rail and power-sharing systems, into a new model of cooperation.Swaraj while attending the meeting of Non-Aligned Movement ( NAM) foreign ministers, assuaged the grouping that it still has a special place for India. She also reminded that India was a major contributor to the UNGA mandated UN Relief and Works Agency delivering valuable public services to Palestinian refugees around the world. India has been voluntarily contributing to the UNRWA for several years. In 2016, India contributed 1.25 million dollars towards its budget.SMOOTH OPERATORSwaraj reminded UN how India contributes vastly to its Relief and Works Agency
She said Non-Aligned Movement nations held a special place for India

For now, no Chetan Bhagat books, FB post writing course in DU syllabus

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proposal by Delhi University’s English department to include author Chetan Bhagat’s novels in the literature curriculum and introduce a course on writing Facebook posts has hit a roadblock following opposition from teachers of various colleges.The university has decided to put the proposal on hold and formed a review committee to recommend if it can be taken up in the next academic session.”It was felt that there is arbitrariness in framing and modification of the syllabus. It has also come to light that the department has been in practice of favouring some authors and publishers, even by going out of the way of normal practice and justification,” read the minutes of meeting in which the panel was formed.”It seems through the reactions which came after the proposal that all of a sudden one big change has been made in the undergraduate English course -introduction of Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone in the popular fiction paper of the syllabus. National dailies did considerable reporting on the issue, Twitter was ‘shocked’ with the news and Facebook and WhatsApp were no behind with comments and counter comments on the story,” the minutes added.Bestselling author Chetan Bhagat had announced on Twitter in April that his book had been included in the DU curriculum.DU had confirmed that the department was considering the proposal made by the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) committee and that Bhagat’s book would be taught along with fiction novels by American novelist and poet Louisa M Alcott, crime novelist Agatha Christie and Harry Potter writer J K Rowling.The CBCS committee had also recommended making Facebook post writing to be part of a course on “academic writing”.Both moves had drawn sharp reactions from literature enthusiasts and various English teachers who argued whether they really counted as literature.”The committee has been formed to look into procedural lapses in syllabi design and modification, who were the members of the CBCS committee, was there sufficient representation from colleges, were all members informed about the modification and their approval sought,” a senior official of the English department told PTI.”While the university has not set a deadline for the review committee but modification, if any, is not happening in this academic session for sure.”

Ivanka Trump meets Sushma Swaraj, calls her charismatic foreign minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump on Tuesday met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly session.Ivanka took to Twitter to express her respect for Sushma Swaraj, describing her as the ‘charismatic’ foreign minister.”I have long respected India’s accomplished and charismatic Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and it was an honor to meet her today,” Ivanka tweeted.”We had a great discussion on women’s entrepreneurship, the upcoming #GES2017 and workforce development in the US and India,” she said in another tweet.Ivanka, who would be leading American delegation to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in India in November, discussed about women’s entrepreneurship and workforce development in the two countries.The Indian Embassy in the US also said that Sushma Swaraj discussed ‘Women Empowerment’ and Ivanka’s forthcoming visit to India.During her week-long stay, Swaraj is expected to hold about 20 bilateral and trilateral meetings with leaders attending the session.Swaraj is scheduled to leave for India, a day after her address to the UN General Assembly on September 23.

Rahul Gandhi in US: Congress vice president visits Tesla’s solar research centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has visited US-based electric car major Tesla and a solar research centre in California to understand the implications of renewable and clean energy for India.Gandhi, 47, spent several hours at Sun Power and sought information on its advantages and disadvantages.”The idea (behind visiting the center) was to really understand implications (of solar power) in India,” senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda, who accompanied Gandhi, said after his visit to Sun Power’s research centre in the Silicon Valley.SunPower Corporation is an American energy company that designs and manufactures crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells and solar panels.He also visited the Tesla factory in Fremont in California yesterday.Tesla is an American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer based in Palo Alto in California.The company specialises in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage and solar panels.After his visit, Gandhi flew to Los Angeles.He is scheduled to interact with members of the think- tank community and local leaders there.

Gauri Lankesh murder: Ex-husband Chidanand Rajghatta calls her ‘Amazing Grace’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is a Facebook post by late journalist Gauri Lankesh’s ex-husband, Chidanand Rajghatta, who was married to her for five years. Lankesh was shot dead outside her home on Tuesday.I just deplaned after a 15 hour flight to see hundreds of messages of love and support for the work Gauri did and her shining ideals. She lived a beautiful life of purpose and fought the good fight. It will not be in vain. On the flight, I reflected on our growing up years and updated some of the recollections below because it is important to understand the wonderful milieu we grew up in. Thank you friends for the touching messages. Love and peace.Gauri Lankesh: Amazing Grace
ALSO READ Gauri Lankesh murder: Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare’s families say it’s a warning sign that democracy is in dangerIf Gauri Lankesh read all the tributes and accolades for her, particularly those that refer to soul and afterlife and heaven, she’d have cracked a good laugh. Maybe not a laugh, but at least a chuckle. We had decided in our teens that heaven and hell and afterlife were a lot of b.s. There was enough heaven and hell on earth, and we should just leave god alone – he has enough on his hands – instead of begging him for favors.But part of our compact was we would not be hurtful to others – including family — even if we disagreed with their beliefs and practices. We didn’t always succeed – ah, the impetuosity of youth! — but it was a good principle that served us well later. Which is how even when we divorced 27 years ago, after five years of courtship and five years of marriage, we remained great friends. Part of the compact. Don’t be hurtful. Even to each other.
ALSO READ Gauri Lankesh was an ‘extortionist’ and had ‘Naxal links’: Sanathan SansthaWe met at a school that was the birthplace of the Rationalist Movement of India – National College. Our principal, Dr H.Narasimaiah, and the Sri Lankan rationalist, Dr Abraham Kovoor, were pioneers of the movement, and right from our teens we took to the thrill of questioning and debunking a variety of godmen/godwomen, charlatans, frauds, superstitions etc.More on this another time, but I’m putting this out here early to provide some context to Gauri’s murder. Rationalists and agnostics are in the cross hairs of uber-religious bigots.
ALSO READ Strongly condemn those expressing happiness at Gauri Lankesh’s death: RS Prasad slams online hate-mongersOne of the first books we read together — before getting into the weeds (I mean metaphorically) of religion, politics, and life itself — was Will Durant’s Story of Philosophy. Neither of us was proficient in our mother tongue Kannada (at that time), so we regretfully forsook our own bounteous literature for everything from Wodehouse to Graham Greene, devouring anything that Premier Book Shop’s Mr Shanbhag could produce for us – at a matchless 20 per cent discount (others got 15 per cent). She returned to Kannada years later, but more on that soon.Meanwhile, we “skinned our hearts and skinned our knees, learned of love the ABCs.” Terry Jack’s sappy, saccharine “Seasons in the Sun” had been released a few years earlier, and we hummed it between Dylan and Beatles. I’d return to Indian music years later; she was tone deaf. We read and laughed at Eric Segal’s Love Story, saw the movies Abba, Saturday Night Fever, and Gandhi on our first dates, and went to the boonies on moonless nights to see billions and billions of stars and galaxies after reading and watching Carl Sagan.Feisty wouldn’t even begin to describe her. She hated the fact that I smoked in college. Years later, when I had given it up for a long time, she had begun to smoke. One time, she visited me in U.S (crazy innit? ex-wife visiting me? But we were better friends!) I insisted that she not smoke in the apartment because it was carpeted and the stink wouldn’t go away. It was winter.”What do you want me to do?””If you have to smoke at all, go to the rooftop and smoke.””But it’s cold and snowing!””Shrug””You tightass!…I started to smoke because of you!””Awww…sorry old girl. I’m asking you to stop now.””Yeah, right. You’ve become too *&^%$#@ American!””American has nothing to do with it. Being healthy.””Bollocks. I’ll outlive you!”Liar.Many friends were bemused by our unbroken friendship. Separations and divorces are often messy, bitter, and spiteful in India, or anywhere for that matter. We had our volcanic moments, but we transcended that quickly, bound by higher ideals. On our day in court, as we stood next to each other, our hands reached out. Fingers interlaced. If you want to go your own ways, better disengage, the lawyer hissed.After it was done and dusted (“by mutual consent”), we went out for lunch at the Taj down MG Road. The restaurant was called Southern Comfort. We laughed at the irony and said goodbye as I moved first to Delhi, them Mumbai, then Washington DC. She visited me in each place to argue about Life, the Universe, and Everything (we read Douglas Adams in school).My parents loved her despite her rebellious nature, and remarkably for traditional, orthodox Indian parents, kept in touch with her – and she with them — even after we split. One time, when I told her about a budding dalliance, she drew herself to her full height (all of five feet and HALF INCH – she never failed to emphasize the half inch) and said: “Ha! You can never take away the honor of being the first daughter-in-law of the family.” When my mother passed away this past February, Gauri Lankesh was there, literally “live casting” for me the final rites as I flew home.My ties with her family were as unusual. Through our separation and splitsville, I continued to meet her dad P.Lankesh, a writer, playwright, film-maker and an inspiration for a generation of rebel writers and journalists, and her sister Kavitha – “baby” to us-now a fine film-maker in her own right. Early in our college dalliance, after Lankesh’s due diligence determined that I passed the literary litmus test, I became part of the family – including the extended family of writers, poets, artists, teachers, and what I’d kid as the “buddhijeevi” (intellectual) crowd.Starting early 80s, we met every Sunday evening for a game of cards, where the stakes were modest but the conversation was rich. Poetry, proverbs, epigrams, aphorisms, bon mots in English and Kannada flowed ebulliently at the table. If someone slowed down the game, someone else would intone “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” Another person: “….creeps at this petty pace from day to day.” Third one: “…to the last syllable of recorded time!” It became bad form to speak in anything other than through literary allusions – in any language. A daring pick always invited “Vinashakaale Vipareetha Buddhi.”They were brilliant, effervescent men, and Gauri (who joined us occasionally and was the only woman at the table) and I marinated in their learning. Appa, as I called Lankesh, taught Eng.lit in Bangalore University, but had decamped to Kannada when we met, having just directed his first movie (I think it was either Anuroopa or Pallavi, and it won the national award). Like many great Kannada writers (Bendre, Kuvempu etc) he started out wanting to write in English before finding his métier in his roots. His play “Sankranti’ was prescribed reading for undergrads, but we discussed everyone from Kalidasa to Ibsen, Chekhov, and Brecht.All this continued through courtship, marriage, separation, and divorce, and even after I moved to U.S. Every time I went home, over a drink or two, pop-in-law and I, refereed by his daughter, would argue about politics, religion, literature, movies, U.S-India ties, farming distress, health, the world. Father and daughter would tease me about abandoning the good fight, while I’d insist that it was temporary, and a little time and distance is good for perspective. Lankesh had a low threshold for idiocy (there was a high turnover at the cards table in the initial years with those unable to handle his temperament scramming quickly) but his continued affection for me earned brownie points from Gauri. When he passed away in 2000, she truly became her father’s daughter, taking over the newspaper he founded and continuing the good fight.To this day, I unfailingly drop into to the Sunday cards table (long after Lankesh passed away, Doc Gowda, the writer-physician, is the current torchbearer). At every other visit or so, as the years took their toll of the older generation, I’d see someone missing at the table. “Yelli Sharma? (Where’s Sharma?)” I’d ask, as they made place for me at the cards table, referring to the wonderful poet Ramachandra Sharma. “Oh! He’s gone up to join Lankesh at another table,” someone would respond, without batting an eyelid or breaking the game. “And Mysoremath is on his way to join them. He’s in hospital.”I’m relating all this to give a sense of the intellectual atmosphere Gauri grew up in – practical, rational, and largely agnostic. Death was just incidental. Respect, affection, and admiration for the good people did and what they stood for was important. Her – our – favorite word and topic of conversation in recent years was “horaata” – a Kannada word roughly meaning a movement/agitation/revolution. “Haegide horaata?” I’d ask during our occasional phone calls. She’d launch into a litany of struggles she was in at the moment.Gauri’s presence at the cards table became rare as she threw herself into the fight against right-wing bigots, zealots, and extremists. We argued about that too at the cards table because some friends thought she had gone the other extreme. There was no doubt she was left of center, even extreme left of center. But heart was in the right place, and there was no place in her world for violence. Only cowards took to violence.Some eight years back, after I had built a new home in Bangalore in the fond hope that I’d return to India some day, she determined that I needed a housekeeper to manage the place. “I am sending someone over,” she declared over the phone. “She’s a widow with two young daughters. Make sure you take care of them and put them through school.” It was an order. I complied.Ramakka, her gift to us, is still with us; her daughters Asha and Usha both finished from school, earned degrees, and now work – Asha in Syndicate Bank and Usha at an NGO. There are hundreds of Ashas and Ushas because of Gauri Lankesh.Just a few weeks ago, when Mary, the kids and I were in India, Gauri called to announce she was coming over. She always came to see the kids, bearing gifts, none more precious than the love and warmth she brought with her. Days passed, and she did not turn up. Busy, busy, busy, she said…you know how hard it is handling the paper and fighting the chaddis (she called the right wing nutters “chaddis”).One day, she called to announce that she’s coming with her son. “Who have you adopted now?” I asked. “Kanhaiya Kumar,” she chuckled. “You mean the JNU bloke?” “Yes, you’ll love meeting him.” Little later she called to say his flight was late and she can’t make it. That was the last time I heard her voice. Bubbly and bursting with energy and passion for causes big and small.As my plane now wings towards India to a place without Gauri, my mind is a cauldron of fragmented memories. One phrase keeps repeating and resonating in my mind: Amazing Grace. Forget all other labels: leftist, radical, anti-Hindutva, secular etc. For me, there is just this: She is the epitome of Amazing Grace.

‘US wants India to play a more active role in Afghanistan’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US wants India to play a more active role in finding a political solution in Afghanistan, a senior official has said, as she welcomed India’s financial support in rebuilding the war-torn nation. US President Donald Trump has sought an enhanced role for India in bringing peace in Afghanistan as he ruled out a hasty withdrawal of troops while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy on Monday. Trump had said that a “critical part” of his South Asia policy was to further develop America’s strategic partnership with India. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “It (India) has done a lot in terms of development and helping to promote Afghanistan’s economy. “So we appreciate that, we’re grateful to that and we look forward to India continuing to play a role in what we believe is an eventual peace process in Afghanistan”. “It has done a lot in terms of providing development funds to Afghanistan so far. We applaud them for that. It has pledged about USD 3 billion since 2001. So we continue to thank it for that and look forward to it hopefully doing more to be a part of the solution,” she told reporters yesterday. India has provided developmental assistance and provided economic assistance, she said. “India is emerging as a very important regional strategic partner. It has played an important role in supporting the Afghan government and, in particular, supporting the economy,” Nauert said. Trump, in his first prime-time televised address as the commander-in-chief on Monday, also issued the sternest warning yet by an American leader to Pakistan for providing safe havens to terrorists. “We want Pakistan to be able to do more and we intend to work with those countries for an Afghan-led peace process,” the State Department official added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Analysts say Trump’s Afghan policy opportunity for India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new Afghan strategy of the US seeking an enhanced role for India is an opportunity for New Delhi to work together on the kind of Afghanistan it wants to see and a signal that Pakistan was no longer a dominant player in the matter, analysts say. Trump laid out his South Asia policy yesterday, saying a “critical part” of it was to develop US’ strategic ties with India and called out Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups. Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the South Asia Centre, said the call for a larger Indian role in Afghanistan means the US wants New Delhi’s greater economic involvement in the war-torn country. Gopalaswamy said the new strategy also “gives India an opportunity to work with the US to determine what kind of Afghanistan it wants to see”. India is a key security and economic partner of the US, he said. Trump had cited India’s “billions of dollar in trade with US” as one of the reasons why New Delhi should step up its economic and development assistance to Afghanistan. Gopalaswamy said India was already involved in development projects such as building dams and parliament in Afghanistan. But, he added, Trump has “challenged” India to take a bigger role in Afghanistan than it currently has. Sadanand Dhume, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, described the new strategy as a welcome step. “India should welcome being called out as a US partner in Afghanistan. This is a clear signal that Washington will no longer pay much heed to Islamabad’s sensitivities, and Afghanistan is vital to India’s broader security interests too,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

President Ashraf Ghani welcomes Trump’s new Afghanistan policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Welcoming the new strategy of the United States for Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani said the decision unveils an enduring commitment by Washington as a key partner of the Kabul government. Ghani thanked Trump and the people of America for their support and efforts for Afghanistan to make the country self sufficient to combat the threat of terrorism. ?I am grateful to President Trump and the American people for this affirmation of support for our efforts to achieve self-reliance and for our joint struggle to rid the region from the threat of terrorism,? Tolo News quoted Ghani, as saying. ?The new strategy will increase the capacity in the Resolute Support mission. It will particularly emphasis on enhancing the Afghan air power, doubling the size of the Afghan Special Force and deepening NATO?s ability to train, advice and assist Afghan security forces,? he added. He further said the new strategy would allow both the US and Afghanistan to work together in achieving mutual goals of peace and prosperity. The new strategy will also provide a clear pathway for the regional countries to end support for non-state actors. India has also welcomed Donald Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan and said that New Delhi shares the concerns and objectives as entailed by the former in his recent address. “We welcome President Trump’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confronting issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists. India shares these concerns and objectives,” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokerperson Raveesh Kumar said, in a press statement. “We are committed to supporting the Government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to bring peace, security, stability and prosperity in their country. We have been steadfast in extending reconstruction and development assistance to Afghanistan in keeping with our traditional friendship with its people. We will continue these efforts, including in partnership with other countries,” the statement added. India’s reaction came as Trump unveiled his new Afghanistan policy and that “from now on victory will have a clear definition.” Trump also sought more help from India in Afghanistan. Speaking from the Fort Myer military base in Arlington, Va., Trump said, “We will develop a deeper strategic partnership with India, but we want them to help us more in Afghanistan.” “Another part of South Asia strategy for America to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and key security and economic partner of US. We appreciate India’s important contribution to bring stability in Afghanistan. But, India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan especially in the area of economic consistence and development,” Trump said. India aided the overthrow of the Taliban and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Afghanistan. Indians are working in various construction projects, as part of India’s rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan. Trump’s assertion of a bigger Indian role in Afghanistan is a blow for Pakistan, which has been opposing New Delhi’s presence in Kabul. Pakistan alleges the Indian intelligence agency RAW is working in cover to malign Pakistan and train and support insurgents. This claim has been rejected strongly by India and the United States, which is historically a strong ally of Pakistan.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian-American sentenced to 40 months in prison for fraud

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian-American man has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for cheating victims in a telephone fraud scheme, an official has said. Anandkumar Jayantila Nayee was held responsible for at least USD 150,000 in victim losses during the telephone fraud scheme, said Benjamin Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. From January 2014 to early 2017, Nayee, who had previously pleaded guilty, conspired with others to defraud victims in an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonator impersonator scam, according to court documents. His co-conspirators contacted victims by telephone and made fraudulent representations to them, including that the victims owed income tax payments to the IRS or owed fees for grants or loans that they had purportedly received. Nayee’s co-conspirators instructed the victims to deposit payments related to the taxes or fees that they purportedly owed onto debit cards and into bank accounts controlled by Nayee and his co-conspirators. Nayee and his co-conspirators then received and retained the victims’ payments, federal prosecutors alleged. According to court papers, from January 2014 through February 28, 2014, a co-conspirator purchased Green Dot prepaid debit cards and provided the full debit card numbers to Nayee, who resided in India at the time. Nayee then caused the prepaid debit cards to be registered in the names of real people and notified his co- conspirator once the cards had been funded by victims of the telephone fraud scheme. The co-conspirator then used the prepaid debit cards to purchase money orders and deposited the money orders into bank accounts specified by Nayee who had moved to Miami from India in 2015. He and his co-conspirators picked up funds that had been sent via money transfer by victims of the telephone fraud scheme and deposited those funds into accounts controlled by Nayee and his co-conspirators.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

US envoy wears saree for I-Day, At Home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soaked in the spirit of India, US Charge d’Affaires in New Delhi MaryKay Carlson today wore a Kanjeevaram saree for the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort and said “America is proud” to be a partner of this democratic country. The American envoy took to Twitter to greet Indians on the 71st Independence Day and even wrote a line in Hindi, underlining the Indo-US cultural ties. In a video message shared on social media, Carlson quoted first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s famous ‘Tryst With Destiny’ speech of 1947 and said, “70 years later India’s democracy is going strong and the US is proud to be its partner.” “Here’s to at least another 70 years of US-India dosti,” she said. Earlier this month, the American diplomat had visited the Khadi Viliage Industries Association (KVIC) outlet in Connaught Place area, and picked up a few sarees for the August 15 celebrations. “I had put up a social media poll on the four sarees I had chosen and Kanjeevaram won overwhelmingly. So, I wore that to Independence Day celebrations,” she said. Her other choices were Tassar, Dupion and Jamdani. She chose the Kanjeevaram for attending celebrations at the Red Fort in the morning where a host of other foreign dignitaries were also present. In a series of tweets in the evening, she shared that she was wearing a Tassar saree for the ‘At Home’ event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. She later also shared a picture of her in the Tassar saree while she exchanged greetings with President Ram Nath Kovind. Tassar, she said, had finished second on the Twitter saree poll. Carlson, who wore this Indian attire for the first time, said ever since she arrived in Delhi, she was “enchanted” by sarees but didn’t know much about them. The diplomat said it was its sartorial quality and the regional variety that prompted her to choose a saree for the occasion. From Pakistan, Acting High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and wife Palwasha Haider attended the grand event. Defence advisor, Air attache and Naval attache at the High Commission also attended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Uber driver held for abusing, threatening woman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Uber driver was arrested from Ghaziabad on Friday after a 27-year-old woman alleged that he abused and threatened her when she cancelled a booking. The woman works with a multi-national company in Gurugram and had booked the cab from her workplace on Wednesday night.”The driver, identified as Jumran Mia, 20, a resident of Srinivas Puri, has been arrested,” an officer from the Sushant Lok police station confirmed.In her complaint, the woman said she booked the cab at 10.43 pm, to go from the American Express India Campus in Gurugram to the Golf Course Road in DLF Phase V. When she called the driver to know his location, she heard two voices from the other end. Concerned about her safety, she decided to cancel the booking.After a while, the driver called her back and started abusing and threatening her.The woman then tweeted about her experience, tagging Uber in the post. The company then provided her with a link to submit her complaint. The link, however, was not functional, she said.Finally, the woman decided to lodge an FIR at the Sushant Lok police station. A case was registered under Sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).In her statement, the woman said: “If this is the manner that Uber handles its customers, then the company is in need of introspection. It is dangerous that these drivers are behaving like animals and harassing women as they please. It is a matter of regret for thousands of people who hail Uber cabs daily.”

‘Xi Jinping sees Narendra Modi as a leader who is willing to stand up for Indian interests’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chinese President Xi Jinping sees Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a leader who is willing to stand up for Indian interests and to work together with other countries in the region that are looking to impose constraints on China, a top American Chinese expert has said.”I think that Xi Jinping sees Prime Minister Modi as a leader who is willing to stand up for Indian interests and to work together with other countries in the region that are looking to impose constraints on China, and particularly the US and Japan, and that’s something, I think Beijing is worried about,” Bonnie S Glaser from Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told PTI in an interview.Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at CSIS, a top American think-tank, based in Washington DC, felt that China does not sees itself as benefitting from a tense relationship with India.”Very early on Xi Jinping went to Delhi and tried to engage with Prime Minister Modi. I think he had hoped that India would have a policy that would not challenge Chinese interest. But I think it has really not worked out that way as he’s continued to be involved in the South China Sea,” she noted.”There are obviously differences between the two countries, in the Indian Ocean and other maritime areas. China doesn’t see itself as benefiting from a tense relationship with India. After all, the two countries share a long border,” said Glaser, who is keeping a close watch on the developments in Doklam.India and China have been locked in a standoff in Doklam since June 16 after Chinese troops began constructing a road near the Bhutan trijunction.Glaser, who has served as a member of the Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board China Panel in 1997, said China sees India as a major challenger to it in the long term.”China sees India as the biggest rising developing power that in the longer run, could pose challenges. In the near term, China worries most about India’s cooperation with other countries, forging coalitions with other countries like Japan, Australia, and the US, to counter Chinese power influence in the region, so that is a negative set of developments,” she noted.India, she said, is the only country in the world that opposes explicitly China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative.”China doesn’t see India as posing very much of a military threat. China hasn’t taken India’s nuclear arsenal, for example, as a major threat to its security, but increasingly sees India as a political threat to China, in part because it is cooperation with lots of other powers to constrain China,” she said.While Doklam standoff continues, India’s position and its end result could have large implication on other countries in the region, especially those who have border dispute with China, she noted.”If China succeeds in having its way with other countries, and certainly with India, this could embolden China to be even more extrapolous, more unbending in dealing with countries with which it has territorial disputes,” Glaser said.China, thinks that its economic power, growing political power and military power, is giving it enough clout to be able to turn these disputes and differences with countries in its own favor, she said.”That’s worrisome to me because we’ve seen China over the last couple of years use economic coercion against countries, South Korea being the latest example of that. Its worrisome if China draws the lesson that it can use economic coercion, military power, political pressure in order to have its way,” she said.”If China ends up winning, or in other words, if India pulls back its troops, China is able to go ahead and build this road and ultimately India and Bhutan are forced to accept it even though they believe it’s against their national interest, particularly India,” Glaser said.”That could embolden China further in dealing with territorial disputes with other neighbors,” she said in response to a question.”China already had a bit of a win with the Philippines with the election of Duterte. There’s now discussion underway of joint development between China and the Philippines, and I think that has emboldened Beijing in dealing with Vietnam, basically forcing the Vietnamese to stop the drilling that has been underway off of Vietnam’s coast,” she observed.Responding to another question, Glaser said US will avoid getting directly involved because any US involvement really would only make the crisis worse.”China would dig in its heels even more if the United States is seen as explicitly backing India. The strongest US interest is in de-escalation of the crisis,” she said. She, however, did not rule out further escalation of the border standoff.”Clearly China and India do not have an interest in having a military conflict. But one cannot rule it out,” she said.One possible outcome, she said, is that this standoff just continues through the winter when the weather deteriorates and then both sides have to pull out their troops and then there is a sort of gradual stand down.”China probably cannot build this road during the winter so it would have to wait until next spring, and that might provide a breather, an opportunity for both sides to actually talk about it,” she said.”Another possibility is that Bhutan steps up, and not necessarily plays the role of mediator, but takes a position that enables China and India to move back their troops,” she added.”For example, Bhutan could thank India very much for its assistance and say for the time being that India can pull back its forces and perhaps even replace some of those troops with its own troops. That’s another possible face-saving way out.But again I don’t rule out that there could be a military conflict,” Glaser said.

Tel minister questions ‘absurd’ poll expenditure limits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao today said India is a “hypocritical” country when it comes to “electoral financing”, and suggested a “practical view” in this regard by the Election Commission. Observing the current poll spending limits in the country are “absurd”, Rao, the son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, hoped the spending in polls should be left to contestants on the lines of the US. Rao was speaking at an interactive session at the function where Kasturi & Sons chairman N Ram’s book “Why Scams are here to Stay” was launched. He said some of the systems that are followed in the US in various elections such as presidential, senatorial and Congressional, are better as far as funding limit is concerned. “At this point of time, we are a hypocritical nation when it comes to election financing, when it comes to a lot of things….But the fact of the matter is the kind of spending limits they (India) have set up are at the best absurd. That is the fact of matter. In fact, the more practical view needs to be taken by the Election Commission of India. More practical view needs to be taken by the Government of India,” he said. “(If) somebody has the ability to raise money like in the US, like American president or a senator or a Congressman, why we are hypocritical about it when you know that they (contestants) are spending anyway, why have you been hypocritical about it?” the minister asked. He said awareness about corruption and its adverse impact on the society should be taught at the school-level and sensitisation should be done at the grassroots levels. At the beginning of the session, he said all the views expressed by him are his personal opinion. He said with the use of technology in governance, corruption can be reduced.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Delhi Police restart 112 helpline project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a six-month hiatus, the Delhi Police have restarted its ambitious helpline project, 112, similar to the American 911 all-in-one emergency service. The project had to be put on hold in December after the police received a huge number of blank calls. A staggering 72,000 calls per day were received on numbers 112 and 100. In fact, the number of blank calls was seven times the number of genuine calls.The Delhi Police had started the process to separate 112 from 100 on July 24, by tying up with various telecom service providers. The process should be complete by August 10.”The 112 helpline is being operated separately from the 100 number, so that we can determine the number of blank calls. We will be writing to the Department of Telecommunications to address the issue after August 10,” an officer said.Last time, the trial run for 112 had begun in October but had to be stopped in December due to the high number of blank calls. An analysis of the blank calls received during the second phase of the trial run revealed that many people dialled the number by mistake, the officer said.”The digits 1 and 2 are adjacent to each other on the keypad and most people who called on 112 claimed that they pressed the digits in a hurry,” the officer added.

US kids’ abduction: Bill to remove benefits for non-complaint

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An influential US lawmaker today introduced a legislation that will remove tariff benefits for countries found to be non-compliant in returning American children abducted and taken to another country by one parent without the consent of the other, a move may impact India. The bill ‘Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017’ is named after two parents, an Indian-American and a Brazilian-American, both of whom allege that their kids were abducted and taken to India and Brazil respectively and despite US court orders the two countries are not helping them get their dear ones back. “Bindu Philips fought valiantly in India for over eight years for the return of her abducted twin sons, only to be given the incessant delays in India’s courts and little support from the Obama administration,” Congressman Chris Smith, Chair of the House panel on global human rights, said. “Just recently, she was finally granted a short visit with her children in India, but the children’s father marred the time with harassment and monitoring, refusing to let the children and mother leave a hotel for seven days. “Devon Davenport has had a return order for his daughter Nadia from Brazil since 2009. He has won every single one of the 24 appeals against the order but Brazil still will not enforce its own return order,” the Republican lawmaker said. Smith said that 11 of the 13 countries found to be non- compliant in the annual Goldman Report by the US State Department in the return of abducted American children are still receiving billions of dollars in tariff exemptions under the Generalised System of Preferences. “We must cease rewarding countries that aid abductors. When is enough finally enough?” he asked. In 2016, 629 American children were taken from the US by one parent without the consent of the other, often in direct violation of valid US court orders, US criminal law and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Obama administration’s refusal to apply sanctions against countries that fail to return abducted children has led to a rate of return of only 16 per cent, Smith said. Noting that for years, the US government response to abductions has been an engraved invitation to abductors, Smith said abductors have an 84 per cent chance of no penalty for ripping their child from home and family in the US. “It is my hope and expectation that this year, the State Department will begin to act more decisively on behalf of American families so that more children come home,” he said. The new bill proposes to amend the Generalised System of Preferences, a trade programme designed to promote economic growth in the developing world through duty free entry for some products, so that any country named as non-compliant in the prompted resolutions of abductions would lose trade benefits granted by the US.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Indian in US jailed for illegally selling silencers for guns

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Indian in the US has been jailed for 30 months for illegally selling silencers, used to reduce the sound of guns, and planning to smuggle more, an American attorney said today. Mohit Chauhan, 31, a resident of Pitampura in New Delhi, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, the Department of Justice said. The sentencing came after he pleaded guilty before US District Judge Elizabeth Foote in Louisiana to one count of dealing firearms without a license. According to the guilty plea dated April 20, 2017, Chauhan was contacted by someone wishing to buy silencers. Chauhan discussed by email and phone calls manufacturing silencers for the potential client and importing more silencers and parts by labelling them as “auto parts” to evade US Customs. After they set up a meeting, he arrived in Shreveport on December 1 last year to meet the buyer and brought silencer parts with him. He travelled to a restaurant in Louisiana’s Bossier City to discuss the sale details with the buyer. Agents recorded the meeting. Chauhan did not have a license to deal or conduct a business involving silencers and parts as required by law, and the silencers and parts had travelled in foreign commerce, according to a statement by the department.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

China must admit India is a force to be reckoned with, says top former US diplomat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector, a top former US diplomat has said that China needs to acknowledge that India is “a force to be reckoned with” and countries in the region are unsettled by Beijing’s behaviour and unilateral actions.”China, I think, needs to acknowledge the fact that there is growing strategic and security capability across Asia, and certainly India is a force to be reckoned with,” former Indian-American Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told PTI in an interview. Biswal, who was Obama Administration’s point person for South and Central Asia in its second term, said that there has been a fair degree of assertive actions and signals being sent from China across many different border points, maritime and land, across its geography.”While I understand that sentiment within China, that I think seeks to try to assert China as a dominant player across the Asia-Pacific, I think China has to content with the fact that across its geography, throughout the Asia-Pacific region, countries are unsettled by its behaviour and by its unilateral actions,” she said. “China has more to gain through diplomacy and dialogue than it does through these kinds of actions, which create a great deal of unease and uncertainty,” Biswal said responding to questions on India-China border stand-off.
ALSO READ Sikkim stand-off | Withdraw troops, don’t ‘trespass’ to achieve political targets, says ChinaBiswal said across Asia, nations are stepping forward to assert their interests and their rights. “So now is an important time to create some greater codification of the rules and, to create more channels for dialogue and diplomacy to address some of these areas of tension and differences on how various boundary and maritime claims are resolved,” she said. She exuded confidence that the leaders of the two nations would be able to prevent further escalation of the situation.”China is a very mature and calibrated power. It’s not a rogue actor, in any sense of the word. And certainly I think that the Indian side has also acted with a great deal of resolve and a great deal of restraint,” she said.
ALSO READ #DNAExclusive: Amid Sikkim stand-off, Chinese firm bidding for MTHL denied clearance”While there are tensions afoot, I do believe that both countries have it within themselves to resolve those tensions, to defuse those tensions. It is in the interest of both countries, in their security interest and in their economic interest, to manage these tensions and to ensure that there are avenues for peaceful and amicable resolution,” she added. The US, she noted, certainly has a role to play in it by ensuring that the international rules are followed.”Certainly, I think that the US, by standing firm on its commitment towards the rules-based international order and the importance of dialogue and dispute resolution, can signal its own strong preference for these kinds of mechanisms to de- escalate and to resolve differences,” she said.
ALSO READ Utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous: MEA slams fake Pak media report on Indian casualties in Sikkim”The US has stood very firmly against the kinds of unilateral actions to settle disputed claims, which we have done very strongly with respect to maritime claims, and which we continue to stand behind with respect to land boundary claims,” Biswal said. “India has proven itself to be willing and be able to resolve issues through arbitration, through negotiation, through dialogue and diplomacy, and, we would hope and expect that China would show itself capable of doing the same,” she said.Implications, of any further escalation, are grave, she warned in response to a question. “I think it’s not useful to speculate on escalation. The implications are very grave. I think that as two very responsible military powers and nuclear powers, that both countries understand that. They understand the obligation that they have to manage tensions and to de-escalate, and we have a firm belief and expectation that they will do so,” she said.

‘Malabar improves capability to face 21st century challenges’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India, Japan and the US are bound by “shared values and interests” and their trilateral ‘Malabar’ naval exercise improves the capability of the navies to face “21st century challenges”, a top American lawmaker has said. The five-day exercise in the Bay of Bengal from July 10 this year featured 95 aircraft, 16 ships and two submarines. The 21st edition of the exercise was held at a time when China has become more assertive and the forays by their submarines in the Indian Ocean have increased. China has stepped up its activities in the Indian Ocean in recent years and is building ports in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. According to Pentagon, the Malabar exercise has grown in scope and complexity over the years to address the variety of shared threats to maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific. Congressman Joaquin Castro, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the co-chair of the US-Japan Caucus, said the annual naval exercise “brings together our nations’ navies to improve interoperability and capability as new 21st century challenges emerge.” Castro said the partnership between the US, India, and Japan contributes greatly to regional security and prosperity. “The three countries are bound together by shared values and interests and are committed to the principles of democracy and a rules-based global order,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hindu-American body condemns attack on Amarnath pilgrims

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Condemning the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir, a top Hindu-American body in the US has urged the Trump administration to clampdown on Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups carrying out attacks in India. “This was an unconscionable attack on innocent pilgrims exercising their most fundamental and basic rights to freedom of religion,” said Hindu American Foundation (HAF) board member Rajiv Pandit. “We urge the Trump Administration to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation and clampdown on Pakistan for its continued support of Hizbul and other terrorist groups carrying out attacks in India,” said Pandit. HAF senior director Samir Kalra said Hindu pilgrims are at an “extreme risk of violence” in Kashmir. “The Jammu and Kashmir government and security forces must take all necessary precautions to protect pilgrims and ensure that the Amarnath Yatra continues safely and without further incident,” Kalra said. Meanwhile, Indian-American Congressman from Illinois, Raja Krishnamoorthi also condemned the terror attack. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims in Amarnath and their families. Terrorism has no place in our world,” Krishnamoorthi said. Terrorists killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmir’s Anantnag district last night, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

US named Salahuddin as a global terrorist to ‘appease India’: Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan today dismissed the US designating Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a “global terrorist”, saying it was not a UN decision but a move by the Trump administration to “appease” India.Alleging that India was offering its services to the US to “pressurise” China, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said India has been trying to downplay the Kashmir issue for a very long time.Talking to a delegation from the Kashmir Journalists Forum, he said Salahuddin being designated a terrorist by the US was an attempt by the American administration to “appease” India.Pakistan was not bound to follow the decision as it was not a United Nations (UN) declaration, Dawn newspaper quoted Aziz as saying. The US declared Salahuddin a “global terrorist” just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first meeting with President Donald Trump on June 26 in Washington. In a notification, the State Department said Salahuddin, who hails from Kashmir and is based in Pakistan for the last 28 years, “has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.”
ALSO READ Syed Salahuddin’s provided funds to terrorists, his designation as global terrorist well deserved: Home MinistryAziz said that India has been trying to downplay the Kashmir issue for a very long time, but the agitation at the local level had completely changed the Indian narrative. Aziz reiterated that the struggle was being led by Kashmiris and Pakistan was only providing political, diplomatic and moral support to them. Aziz also highlighted ceasefire violations by India, claiming that India had violated the ceasefire more than 400 times in the past years, which was a violation of a 2003 agreement between the two nations. He said that Pakistan was willing for a dialogue on all issues with neighbouring countries as a part of its vision for a peaceful neighbourhood, but a dialogue with India without Kashmir on the agenda was out of the question.

‘Pak to ignore US naming Salahuddin as a global terrorist’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan today dismissed the US designating Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a “global terrorist”, saying it was not a UN decision but a move by the Trump administration to “appease” India. Alleging that India was offering its services to the US to “pressurise” China, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said India has been trying to downplay the Kashmir issue for a very long time. Talking to a delegation from the Kashmir Journalists Forum, he said Salahuddin being designated a terrorist by the US was an attempt by the American administration to “appease” India. Pakistan was not bound to follow the decision as it was not a United Nations (UN) declaration, Dawn newspaper quoted Aziz as saying. The US declared Salahuddin a “global terrorist” just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first meeting with President Donald Trump on June 26 in Washington. In a notification, the State Department said Salahuddin, who hails from Kashmir and is based in Pakistan for the last 28 years, “has committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.” Aziz said that India has been trying to downplay the Kashmir issue for a very long time, but the agitation at the local level had completely changed the Indian narrative. Aziz reiterated that the struggle was being led by Kashmiris and Pakistan was only providing political, diplomatic and moral support to them. Aziz also highlighted ceasefire violations by India, claiming that India had violated the ceasefire more than 400 times in the past years, which was a violation of a 2003 agreement between the two nations. He said that Pakistan was willing for a dialogue on all issues with neighbouring countries as a part of its vision for a peaceful neighbourhood, but a dialogue with India without Kashmir on the agenda was out of the question.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India top supplier in health sector to UN system in 2016 with saes over $800mn

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India, the leading global provider of generic drugs, was the main supplier to the UN system in the health sector in 2016 with total sales of over USD 800 million.According to the total procurement of goods and services for operational activities of the UN system, India maintains its position as the second largest country to supply the UN in 2016, as has been the case since 2012.”India continues to be the main supplier in health to the UN system with USD 803.79 million within the health sector in 2016, with pharmaceuticals continuing to be the main procurement category for India,” the UN said.India, a top ten supplier country since 2000, supplied six per cent of procurements by UN organisations in 2016, the second highest after the US. The UN procured USD 902 million worth of goods from India last year, making it the top provider, ahead of the US, in this category. India supplied USD 162 million worth of services to the UN system.According to estimates by the UN, India s procurement volume and share of total UN procurement, however, has dropped from USD 1.3 billion and 7.3 per cent in 2015 to USD 1.1 billion and 6.0 per cent of total UN procurement in 2016. But it still remained the second largest country to supply the UN in 2016.”The decrease in procurement can be attributed to a decrease in pharmaceuticals, which explains 97 per cent of the drop,” it added.Procurement from India also included food, management services and medical equipment and supplies. Goods and services from India were procured primarily by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Food Programme (WFP).The 10 major countries supplying UN organisations included three developing countries (India, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey) in 2016, with a joint procurement of USD 2.58 billion, accounting for 32.7 per cent of the top ten countries total procurement.The three countries procurement represented 14.6 per cent of the UN total procurement, which is a decrease from last year when there were 4 developing and least developed countries in the top ten, accounting for 18.0 per cent of total UN procurement

Modi’s visit to US yielded ‘very little gains’: CPM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fifth visit to the US in three years has yielded “very little gains” for India, the CPI(M) claimed today. The CPI(M) also criticised the joint statement Modi and President Donald Trump issued, saying it “reconfirmed” India’s status as a “subordinate” ally of the US. The Left party rued India’s major concerns like the status of H1B visas, racial attacks on Indians in the US, and that country’s withdrawal from Paris climate change commitments, allegedly found no mention during Modi’s meeting with Trump. Instead, CPI(M) politburo alleged, Modi only committed that India will open its economy to the US. “Modi’s fifth visit to the US during these three years has resulted in very little gains for India or even attention to be paid by the US to India’s immediate concerns. “The joint statement issued with President Trump only reconfirms India’s status as a subordinate ally of the USA,” the politburo said in a statement. On Modi allegedly committing India will open its economy to the US, the politburo said that it is being done when India has sharply increased its purchase of American defence equipment, particularly USD 2 billion worth of aerial drones. The Left party also alleged that the government has for the first time joined the US in condemning North Korea and also aligned India with the US on the South China Sea dispute involving China and its neighbours. “What is worse is that India now appears to have subscribed to the US position of equating terrorism with Islam, negating India’s longstanding position reiterated even by this government’s spokespersons in India’s Parliament on several occasions that terrorism in India knows no religion,” it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi, Trump meeting a ‘tremendous success’: US experts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US President Donald Trump’s maiden meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “tremendous success” and took the Indo-US relationship to the next level, top American experts have said. “I thought the visit was tremendous success. I was really happy that the overall theme was one of cooperation and not confrontation,” Robert Blake, the former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said. Blake, now a senior director at the McLarty Associates, said that many of the experts were concerned that there would be a focus on the trade deficit and device of issues like the H-1B. “Instead, I was so happy that the two leaders emphasised strategic cooperation on counter terrorism, on defence, on moving forward in a fair and reciprocal way on trade,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Modi in US: POTUS and PM issue joint statement, vow to destroy radical Islamic terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump today struck a common note on terrorism, vowing to strengthen efforts to fight the scourge and eliminate safe havens for terrorists.”Eliminating terrorism is among the topmost priorities for us,” Modi said in his joint statement with the US president at the White House Rose Garden.”We talked about terrorism, extremism and radicalisation and agreed to cooperate on this. Fighting terrorism and doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens will be an important part of our cooperation,” he said.Trump said both nations are “determined” to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them.”The security partnership between the US and India is incredibly important. Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organisations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism,” he said.
ALSO READ From a shared vision for growth to fighting radical Islamic terror: Top quotes from Modi-Trump’s joint statement”Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation between our military forces, and next month they will join together with the Japanese navy to take part in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the Indian Ocean,” Trump added.In their joint statement, he two leaders also touched on trade, security, bilateral co-operation and instability in Afghanistan, among other issues.
ALSO READ Modi in US: Trump urged to discuss India’s ‘discriminatory policies’ against ‘foreign religious organisations’ and NGOsModi termed his talks with Trump, the first between the two leaders, an “important page in the history of India-US relationship”. He said he discussed in detail with Trump defence and security cooperation between the two nations.
ALSO READ Watch: PM Modi meets US President Donald Trump for the first timeDescribing both countries as “global engines of growth”, the prime minister said trade, commerce and investment are key areas of mutual co-operation. “Technology, innovation and knowledge economy are also areas were are actively looking at,” he said.Trump said he is keen to work with Modi on creating a “fair and reciprocal” trading relationship between the two nations and called for the removal of “barriers” for the export of US goods into Indian markets. “It is important that we and that we reduce our trade deficit with your country,” he added.The US president said that between India and US have never been stronger and better.He expressed pleasure about an order by an Indian airline company for 100 new American planes, calling it one of the largest orders of it is kind, which will support thousands and thousands of American jobs.”We’re also looking forward to exporting more American energy to India as your economy grows, including major long- term contracts to purchase American natural gas, which are right now being negotiated, and we will sign them. Trying to get the price up a little bit,” he said.Referring to the GST reform to be implemented across India starting next month, Trump said it was “the largest tax overhaul in your country’s history”.”We’re doing that also, by the way. Creating great new opportunities for your citizens. You have a big vision for improving infrastructure, and you are fighting government corruption, which is always a grave threat to democracy,” he said.India is the fastest growing economy in the world Trump said and added, “We hope we will be catching up you very soon.”Both leaders also expressed concern over rising instability in Afghanistan caused by terrorism, and agreed to continue strengthening coordination for ensuring peace and stability in the war-torn country.Trump also called for the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs to be “rapidly” tackled, and thanked Modi for “joining us in applying new sanctions against Pyongyang.””The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly,” Trump said.

PM Modi and I are world leaders in social media, says Trump

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>US President Donald Trump today described Prime Minister Narendra Modi and himself as “world leaders in social media” — a reference to their multi-million strong following on online platforms — and said it has enabled them to hear directly from their citizens. “I’m proud to announce to the media, to the American people and to the Indian people that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media,” Trump said in his remarks at the White House Rose Garden, following his first bilateral meeting with Modi. “We’re believers. Giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials and for us to hear directly from them. I guess it’s worked very well in both cases,” Trump said. Trump, who is known for his prolific and at times controversial tweets, and Modi are widely followed on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. While Trump has 32.8 million followers on Twitter, Modi comes a close second with over 31 million followers. On Facebook, Modi has the lead over Trump, who has 23.6 million followers while the Indian leader has 41.8 million followers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PM should talk of Vyapam, Mallya when he says no-blot on govt:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Prime Minister Narendra Modi boasts about his government’s “blot-free” three years abroad, he should also tell the people about scams like Vyapam in BJP-ruled states and how Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya fled India, the Congress said today. The party took potshots at Modi, who at present is in the US for his first bilateral summit with President Donald Trump, for criticising the opposition on foreign soil and addressing public meetings like political rallies. PM Modi, while addressing a gathering of Indian-American community members at a reception in Virginia, said there has been “not even one taint or blot” on his government in the past three years and remarked that “corruption” was the main reason why governments in India were voted out in the past. The Congress sought to know if the prime minister would raise with Trump the issues of H-1B visa, India’s membership to Nuclear Suppliers Group, racial attacks on Indians in the US and America’s financial support to Pakistan, which it was using against India for aiding terrorism. “Prime Minister Modi is on his 64th foreign travel. Unfortunately, abusing the opposition has become the foreign policy (of the government), diverting from issues the strategy and working with rhetorics their tactics while claiming credit for Congress-started works their politics,” AICC chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. He said the claim of neem-coated urea that Modi has raised was an experiment started by the Congress in 2011, while the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme was launched in 2013 by the UPA government. “Modiji you are the country’s prime minister and not of the BJP or the RSS. The issue is criticising the opposition has become the prime minister’s DNA. But the country wants to talk about the nation’s interest and issues linked with the people of the country,” he said. Surjewala said when Modi mentions about “no scams” in his government, he should also tell the Indians living abroad about how all agencies which have been “caged by you” and “are misused against your opponents – be it political or even the media”. “When he (Modi) talks of corruption, he should also mention about the Vyapam scam in which many innocent people lost their lives and should have mentioned the GSPC scam in Gujarat, the PDS scam in Chhattisgarh and the mine scam in Rajasthan. “He (Modi) should have also mentioned about the Sahara dairies in which his own name figures. He should have also talked about the land scam by Anar Patel in Gujarat and should have talked about who allowed Lalit Modi and Vijaya Mallya to flee the country,” Surjewala said. Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and businessman Vijay Mallya are both accused of corruption and believed to be staying in Engalnd. The Congress leader asked the prime minister to raise the issue of H-1B visa with the US President as also India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which is being blocked by China. “Will Modiji raise with the US President the issue of American aid of USD 743 million aid to Pakistan which has been increased and is used against India after diversion? “Will Modiji raise the issue of India’s concerns over Climate Change deal? Will he show the courage to ask these questions to the US President? Will he ask the US President why F-16 technology transfer is not being made and stopped from being transferred,” he wondered. Surjewala also asked whether Modi will ask Trump about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and help it get stopped.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Prez Donald Trump to meet ‘true friend’ Modi today; PM may face tough questions in US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday hold talks with US President Donald Trump in the White House and the two leaders will spend several hours together in various settings including one-on-one and delegation-level meetings, a reception and a working dinner.Ahead of the meeting, Trump said that ‘strategic issues’ would be on the table when he holds talks with his ‘true friend’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the two leaders look to strike a personal rapport in their maiden meeting.”The White House is very interested in making this a special visit. We’re really seeking to roll out the red carpet. In fact, the two (leaders) will have dinner, a working dinner at the White House,” a senior administration official had told reporters at the White House.
ALSO READ Modi in US: Business honchos point to taxation as hurdle for investments in IndiaAccording to reports, before their working dinner, Trump and Modi will have a 20-minute one-on-one interaction. They will then have delegation-level talks and also address the press. The two leaders are expected to take one question each from reporters, which may include some tough questions to PM Modi, including the crackdown on foreign NGOs.India and the US had locked horns on the issue of shutting down of a Colorado-based donor NGO Compassionate International. In March, over 100 US lawmakers asked India to give a ‘temporary reprieve’ to an American donor NGO until a more permanent solution can be found under the Indian laws for the Christian organisation to function. Led by Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee, and its Ranking Member Eliot Engel, as many as 107 lawmakers from both Democratic and Republican parties had signed the letter written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
ALSO READ Modi in US: Sundar Pichai says everyone looking forward to investing in India, excited by GST rollout During the meeting, the President and the Prime Minister will also discuss ongoing cooperation, including counter-terrorism, defence partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, global cooperation, burden-sharing, trade, law enforcement, and energy.On whether the contentious H-1B visa issue would come up for discussion during the meeting, a senior administration official said it was unlikely to be raised from the US side but if raised by the Indian side, the Americans were ready for it.
ALSO READ Modi in US: PM says surgical strikes prove India can defend itself, world experienced our powerThe Indo-US civil nuclear deal is expected to figure during talks, but a pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.Meanwhile on Sunday, PM Modi met top American CEOs of global giants, including Apple, Microsoft and Google.Modi’s addresses to the Indian community during his visits overseas have been increasingly seen as an effort to court diaspora Indians by eulogising their links to their roots and their contributions to the country they have made their home.

Not single taint on my govt in three years, says Modi in US

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Highlighting his achievements in rooting out corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that there has been “not even one taint or blot” on his government in the past three years. Modi said corruption was the main reason why governments in India were voted out in the past. “Indians hate corruption,” he told the nearly 600 Indian-American community members at a reception in Virginia. The prime minister assured the Indian diaspora in the US that his government will continue to strive to take India to newer heights. “I humbly state that whatever work my government has done in the last three years, till now there is not even one taint or blot on this government.” He underscored that technology has brought about transparency and is being used to achieve great heights across sectors in India. “I can give various examples where India is making great achievements with the help of technology,” whether it is space or agriculture. “Renewed focus is being given to technology-driven governance and development,” he said. In several parameters, the country is moving at a rapid pace. Noting that infrastructure is essential for sustainable development, Modi said the focus is on global benchmark, setting high standards of development. The increase in aspiration of the common people is the greatest cause of this fast track development of the country. “We are working to convert the aspiration of the people of India,” he said amidst applause from the audience. Modi said that India is now receiving record number of foreign direct investment and all credit agencies and multilateral fora are giving a positive rating about India. “The world today sees India as a top investment direction,” he said and urged the diaspora to work for and help in the development of India. He added that India is growing at an unprecedented pace. He lauded the contribution of Indians living in America, saying they flourished once they received a conducive environment to grow and prosper in the US. “The billion strong Indians in India are also now getting a conducive environment and they are also changing the face of India at a fast pace,” he said. Modi assured the diaspora he will work to fulfil the dreams they have seen for their country’s development.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India-US stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation: PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of his meeting with US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that India and US stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation in an uncertain global economic landscape.Earlier, US President Donald Trump said that ‘strategic issues’ would be on the table when he holds talks with his ‘true friend’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the two leaders look to strike a personal rapport in their maiden meeting.”Look forward to welcoming India’s PM Modi to @WhiteHouse on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend!,” Trump posted on his official (@POTUS) Twitter handle.
ALSO READ Modi in US: Business honchos point to taxation as hurdle for investments in IndiaModi, in his reply to Trump, thanked him for the “warm personal welcome” and said he was “greatly” looking forward to the meeting and discussions at the White House.In an article written in Wall Street Journal, Narendra Modi stated that a year after his last visit to the US, he was confident in the growing convergence between the two nations.
ALSO READ Modi in US: PM says surgical strikes prove India can defend itself, world experienced our power”Our two nations stand as mutually reinforcing engines of growth and innovation. Confidence in each other’s political values and a strong belief in each other’s prosperity has enabled our engagement to grow. A vision of joint success and progress guides our partnership,” the PM said.The Prime Minister also said that Indian companies are adding value to the manufacturing and services sectors in the US, with total investments of approximately $15 billion and a presence in more than 35 states, including in the Rust Belt. “American companies have likewise fueled their global growth by investing more than $20 billion in India,” he added.
ALSO READ Modi in US: Not a single taint of corruption on BJP govt; hails Sushma Swaraj’s work as foreign ministerTalking about the abundant commercial and investment opportunities for American businesses in India, PM Modi said in the article, “The rollout of the Goods and Services Tax on July 1 will, in a single stroke, convert India into a unified, continent-sized market of 1.3 billion people. The planned 100 smart cities, the massive modernization of ports, airports, and road and rail networks, and the construction of affordable housing for all by 2022—the 75th anniversary of India’s independence—are not just promises of great urban renewal within India. These plans also showcase the enormous fruits of our relationships with enterprising US partners—worth many billions of dollars over the next decade alone—together with concomitant new employment opportunities across both societies.”Further stating that whenever India and the US work together, the world reaps the benefits, Modi touched upon several issues like “collaborative efforts to find affordable vaccines for rotavirus or dengue, joint studies of gravitational waves, observations of distant planets, establishing norms for cyberspace, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Indo-Pacific region, and training peacekeepers in Africa.”Talking about the Defence sector, Modi said that India has four decades of experience in fighting terrorism, and that our country shared the US administration’s determination to defeat this scourge.The PM also praised the three-million-strong Indian-American community, which represented “the best of both our countries and played a crucial role in connecting and contributing to our societies.”In conclusion, Modi said that the US and India are forging a deeper and stronger partnership that extends far beyond the Beltway and the Raisina Hill. “That partnership has become our privileged prerogative and our promise for our people and our world.”

PM Modi, Prez Trump meeting may take India-US ties to next level

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump is expected take the Indo-US ties to the next level.Maintaining the upward trajectory of the Indo-US ties of the last three decades, beginning with the Clinton (Bill) administration and followed by those of Bush and Obama, signals coming from both sides strongly indicate stronger continuation in that regard.”We really think that this visit will leverage the relationship to a higher level,” Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna told PTI.Modi and Trump, who have earlier spoken three times over phone, would be together spending several hours at the White House, beginning a one-to-one meeting, followed by a delegation level talk, a cocktail reception and a working dinner, the first for a foreign leader inside the White House under the Trump administration.”It would be historic, never seen before,” a mid-level American source familiar with the preparations told PTI.The source, however, did not elaborate the nature of the outcome of the visit, but reiterated that it would bring the two countries closer than ever.Trump, has been personally involved in the preparation.Elaborate arrangements are being done by the White House kitchen for Trump s dinner with Modi.Modi and Trump are among the most followed world leaders on the social media. Together they have more than 60 million followers on their personal accounts.The two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues during their White House interaction.”I think the first face to face meeting will allow the two leaders an opportunity to look at the entire India-US engagement and also to exchange views on issues of global interest,” Sarna said in an earlier interview.”When they sit across the table and they have a one on one discussion or they have an extended delegation that will talk, I would presume that they would cover the wide gamut of relations between India and the US,” Sarna had said.A White House official echoed the similar views.”The trip is an opportunity to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership, which Trump very much views as a critical partnership in promoting stability and security in the Asia Pacific region and globally,” the White House official said.”We anticipate that their discussions will be broad- ranging, hitting on a variety of regional and global issues that would seek to advance our common priorities, including fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and prosperity,” the official said.Noting that the US is very much interested in facilitating India’s defence modernisation and helping to enhance its role as a leader in the Asia Pacific, the official said the Trump administration believes that a strong India is good for the US.

Tamil Nadu govt to reward Indian students who developed KalamSat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh to Rifath Sharook and his team on Saturday, who developed ‘KalamSat,’ a 64 gram satellite that was launched by NASA.In a suo moto statement in Assembly, Palaniswami said “to further encourage,” Sharook and his team who brought laurels to India and in particular Tamil Nadu, Rs 10 lakh will be given by the government to them.Lauding 18-year old Sharook and six other team members, he said the reward was to encourage them towards making more “achievements.” He said ‘KalamSat,’ launched on June 22 by NASA won first prize from among 80,000 models in a competition held by the American space agency.Sharook is a student hailing from Pallapatti in Karur District of Tamil Nadu. He and his team were aided by ‘Spacekids,’ an organisation promoting science, art and culture. According to Spacekids website, Kalamsat is a 3.8 cm cube satellite of ‘Femto category’ and weighs 64 grams. “It’s structure is fully 3D printed with reinforced carbon fibre polymer in which we will be using complex carbon fibre.”Replete with a temperature and humidity sensor, a barometric pressure sensor, the tiny and “world’s lightest,” satellite also has a “Nano Geiger Muller counter”, which will measure the radiation in outer space, it said.

Civil nuclear deal will be part of Modi-Trump discussions: WH

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The civil nuclear deal would be part of the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, the White House has said, emphasising that the US was looking forward to its nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security. “In terms of the actual deals, the US is still looking forward to US-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security. We think that this civil nuclear partnership will bolster India’s energy security, create jobs and trade opportunities for the American people. “So we’re still very much interested in seeing this deal move forward,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of PM Modi’s visit to the US next week. “I think Westinghouse stands behind the viability of the project, and it presented it in its technical commercial offer to India. “So we very much support continued negotiations between Westinghouse and its Indian partners, recognising that deals on this scale can take time,” the official said, acknowledging that this is a very complicated issue. “This will be part of the discussion. It’s the White House Energy Week, so civil nuclear energy cooperation is bound to come up,” the official said in response to a question and dismissed reports that it has been suspended. “I wouldn’t characterise the civil nuclear deal that was completed now nine years ago as being suspended or it’s done. That waiver was provided for India. The Nuclear Suppliers Group agreed to a waiver for India to receive civil nuclear technology and fuel. So that’s completed,” said the official. Meanwhile, a senior White House official preparing for PM Modi’s maiden meeting with Trump, said that the US president is well aware of India’s economy and strategic potential. He said that Trump has already visited Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, in his capacity as a real estate tycoon. “He has visited India. I think Mumbai, he’s been to Mumbai,” he said. “As you know, during the campaign he was very much in touch with the Indian-American community. He expressed a very positive feeling toward India. “I think he said that if he were to be elected, India would find a true friend in the White House,” said the official. “He (Trump) is not new to India. He has understood their contribution to the US economy, everything that’s happening in Silicon Valley, for example. Indian Americans have really embraced the innovation and entrepreneurship. So there’s a lot of synergies and linkages between the US and India in this particular realm,” the official said. Noting that Indian-Americans have founded 15 per cent of Silicon Valley startups alone, the official said that as a businessman, India is not new for him (Trump). “He has been acquainted with India. This will offer an opportunity to really deepen the strategic partnership and his strategic understanding of India,” he said. According to the official, the preparations for Modi’s trip started long ago. “There’s been a lot of preparatory work done. There has been a great deal of preparation to make this a really memorable visit,” the official said adding that both sides recognise the importance of the US-India partnership. “There are a lot of things that the two countries need to do together in terms of promoting security and stability. There’s a lot they have to do that is in their mutual interests,” the official said adding that the administration has been working with inter-agency when it comes to the US- India partnership. “There have been a tremendous amount of preparation, and we’re looking forward to a really good visit,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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