Saturday, July 12, 2014

Kurds seize oilfields in N Iraq

Kurdish forces have seized two oilfields outside their autonomous region in northern Iraq, further complicating the situation in the embattled country.Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement on Friday that Kurdish militiamen took control of production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oilfields near the city of Kirkuk. It denounced the action and urged the Kurds to immediately withdraw.
Kurdish forces took control of Kirkuk last month after Shia-led government forces withdrew in the face of an assault by Sunni Islamist insurgents. Kurds have vowed to hold a referendum for local residents on whether to declare independence, saying the Iraqi state has effectively disintegrated.
The development is expected to escalate a feud between the Kurds and the Shia-led government in Baghdad, which is facing the Sunni-led insurgency.Human Rights Watch reported the alleged executions on Friday, citing the testimony of local residents across Iraq.
The group says government forces have killed at least 255 Sunni prisoners in 6 cities and villages, including Mosul, since June 6. It says 8 boys were among the victims.
The group says government fighters appear to have carried out the executions in retaliation for the killing of captured Shia soldiers and local residents by Sunni Islamist insurgents.Media agencies

Launch of HTC Desire 616, HTC One E8 Dual Sim

12 07 2014
htc one e8 android phone launched in India HTC Desire 616 Dual SIM and HTC One E8 Launched in India  Details
HTC Desire 616 Dual SIM  Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS,  5-inch display with HD resolutions (1280 x 720 pixel), a 1.4 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6592 processor, 1 GB RAM, 4GB inbuilt storage  expandable secondary storage facility, 8MP auto focus rear and 2MP front camera for video calling.  HTC Desire 616 Dual SIM include 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, a-GPS and is packed with 2000 mAh battery on the back.
HTC One E8 Dual Sim a 5-inch Full HD display (1920 x 1080) with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and includes features like 2GB of RAM with 2.5 GHz Quad-Core processor,  4GB onboard expandable up to 128GB , 13MP rear camera with 1080p HD recording, 5MP front facing camera and a 2600 mAh battery.

US to develop ‘new model’ of relations with China: Obama

12 07 2014
US to develop Updated on : 12-07-2014 11:42 AM
President Barack Obama on Wednesday said the US is committed to the goal of developing a “new model” of relations with China defined by increased practical cooperation and “constructive management” of differences.
“The United States welcomes the emergence of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China,” Obama said here as the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) began in Beijing.”We are committed to the shared goal of developing over time a ‘new model’ of relations with China defined by increased practical cooperation and constructive management of differences,” he said in a statement.Acknowledging that the US and China will not always see eye-to-eye on every issue, he said that is to be expected for two nations with different histories and cultures. “It also is why we need to build our relationship around common challenges, mutual responsibilities and shared interests, even while we candidly address our differences,” Obama said.
The US President said this year marks a special milestone in the US-China relationship as it is the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
“Today, instead of living detached from each other as we did 35 years ago, the United States and China embrace the benefits of strengthening ties and acknowledge the growing interdependence of our economic destinies,” Obama said.
“This anniversary provides an opportunity to take stock of the deepening exchanges between our two peoples, the range of cooperation between our two countries on shared security and economic challenges and dealing forthrightly with our differences,” he said.
It is an opportunity for the United States and China to reaffirm their commitment to working jointly to build a positive, more secure and prosperous future for their citizens, the US President said.
As the premier mechanism for dialogue between the United States and China, the S&ED offers a chance annually to exchange views on a diverse range of bilateral, regional, and global challenges critical to both the countries, he noted.
“Building on the accomplishments of the previous five rounds of the S&ED, this year’s dialogue promises to further advance our cooperative efforts to identify solutions to problems that no country can address on its own,” Obama said.
“Our efforts to promote economic prosperity, cooperation in Asia, energy security and security in cyberspace, including at the G-20, APEC and the Nuclear Security Summit, have a significant and positive impact for our citizens and for the broader international community,” he said.

Kerry meet with Afghan candidates

12 07 2014
Kerry meeting again with Afghan candidates today Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with rival Afghan presidential candidates for a second day on Saturday as the United States struggles to find a path out of the crisis enveloping the nation’s elections.
The prolonged uncertainty about the outcome of a runoff has jeopardized a central part of President Barack Obama’s strategy to leave behind a stable state after the withdrawal of most US troops at year’s end.
Kerry is meeting on Saturday with the candidates, former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, after discussions on Friday proved inconclusive.
The top American diplomat is looking for a plan acceptable to all that would allow the United Nations to audit extensive fraud allegations in last month’s vote.
The bitter dispute over who is President Hamid Karzai’s rightful successor has alarmed Afghanistan’s US and Western benefactors, creating a political crisis that risks undermining more than a decade of efforts to build an Afghan government capable of fighting the Taliban on its own and snuffing out terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.
Extended instability would have more immediate consequences for Afghanistan. If no process is established and both Ghani and Abdullah attempt to seize power, the government and security forces could split along ethnic and regional lines.
The winner amid the chaos could be the Taliban, whose battle against the government persists despite the United States spending hundreds of billions of dollars and losing more than 2,000 lives since invading the country after the 11th September 2001, terrorist attacks.
Preliminary runoff results, released earlier this week against US wishes, suggested a massive turnaround in favor of the onetime World Bank economist Ghani, who lagged significantly behind Abdullah in first-round voting.
Abdullah, a top leader of the Northern Alliance that battled the Taliban before the US-led invasion in 2001, claims massive ballot-stuffing.
He was runner-up to Karzai in a fraud-riddled 2009 presidential vote before he pulled out of that runoff, and many of his supporters see him being cheated for a second time.
Kerry’s hastily arranged visit appears to have succeeded in its most pressing objective: getting both candidates to pull back from declarations of victory and quieting calls among Abdullah’s supporters, powerful warlords included, for setting up a “parallel government.”
In a series of meetings on Friday that went into the night, Kerry stressed that Washington isn’t taking sides.

FM: Union Budget gives a big boost to MSME sector

12 07 2014
The Union Budget presented by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, yesterday has a number of proposals relating to the MSME sector.
Following is the text of the speech delivered by the Finance Minister:
SMEs form the backbone of our Economy. They account for a large portion of our industrial output and employment. The bulk of service sector enterprises are also SMEs. Most of these SMEs are Own Account Enterprises. Most importantly a majority of these enterprises are owned or run by SCs, STs and OBCs. Financing to this sector is of critical importance, particularly as it benefits the weakest sections. There is need to examine the financial architecture for this sector. I propose to appoint a committee with representatives from the Finance Ministry, Ministry of MSME, RBI to give concrete suggestions in three months.
Promotion of entrepreneurship and start-up Companies remains a challenge. While there have been some efforts to encourage, one principal limitation has been availability of start-up capital by way of equity to be brought in by the promoters. In order to create a conducive eco-system for the venture capital in the MSME sector it is proposed to establish a ` 10,000 crore fund to act as a catalyst to attract private Capital by way of providing equity, quasi equity, soft loans and other risk capital for start-up companies.
To establish technology centre network to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and agro-industry, setting up a fund with a corpus of `200 crore is proposed.
The definition of MSME will be reviewed to provide for a higher capital ceiling. A programme to facilitate forward and backward linkages with multiple value chain of manufacturing and service delivery will also be put in place.
Entrepreneur friendly legal bankruptcy framework will also be developed for SMEs to enable easy exit. A nationwide “District level Incubation and Accelerator Programme” would be taken up for incubation of new ideas and providing necessary support for accelerating entrepreneurship.
Fiscal incentives
Cathode ray TVs are used by weaker sections who cannot afford to buy more expensive flat panel TVs. Proposed to exempt colour picture tubes from basic customs duty to make cathode ray TVs cheaper. The duty concession will help revive manufacturing of TVs in the SME sector and create employment opportunities. At the same time, to encourage production of LCD and LED TVs below 19 inches in India, Proposed to reduce the basic customs duty on LCD and LED TV panels of below 19 inches from 10 percent to Nil. Further, to encourage manufacture of LCD and LED TV panels, Proposed to exempt from basic customs duty specified inputs used in their manufacture.
As a measure of relief to the footwear industry, most of which are in SME sector, Proposed to reduce the excise duty from 12 percent to 6 percent on footwear of retail price exceeding Rs. 500 per pair but not exceeding Rs. 1,000 per pair. Footwear of retail price up to Rs. 500 per pair will continue to remain exempted.

Manipur bomb blast

12 07 2014
7 injured in Manipur bomb blast
Seven people, including a six-year- old boy, were seriously injured in a bomb blast carried out by suspected militants in Manipur’s Imphal West district on Saturday.
Police said the explosion took place at Langthanbal, about 10-km from state capital Imphal, and was targeted at security personnel passing through the area.Security forces rushed to the spot immediately after the blast but no arrests have been made yet, police added. Official sources said that all the seven injured have been rushed to a local hospital.

Bezbaruah committee submits report

12 07 2014
Attack on NE people: Bezbaruah committee submits report
A committee, set up to look into the concerns of people from the Northeast living in different parts of the country, has recommended legal measures to ensure their safety and security from any assault on them.
The M P Bezbaruah committee, which submitted its report to Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Friday, quoted a High Court observation which suggested that any attack of racial nature should be made a punishable offence.
However, sources said, no suggestion has been given by the committee for enactment of an anti-racial law but strengthening and proper implementation of existing laws.
When contacted, Bezbaruah, a former IAS officer, said the committee has given various recommendations on the basis of its terms and conditions.
“We have analysed the problem and recommended how to address it,” he said.
After receiving the report, Rijiju said it will be processed on priority.
The Committee was constituted in February, 2014 to look into the various concerns of persons hailing from the North Eastern states who are living in different parts of the country, especially the Metropolitan areas, and to suggest suitable remedial measures which could be taken by the government.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee were:
(1) to examine the various kinds of concerns, including the concerns regarding security, of the persons hailing from the North Eastern states
(2) to examine the causes behind the attacks/violence and discrimination against the people from the North-Eastern states
(3) to suggest measures to be taken by the government to address these concerns (4) to suggest legal remedies to address these concerns.

PM to attend BRICS meet in Brazil

12 07 2014
PM leaves for BRICS meet in Brazil tomorrow
Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves New Delhi on Sunday for Brazil for attending the five-nation summit of BRICS nations on July 14th and 15th which is expected to finalise the setting up of a development bank and seek reforms of the United Nations and international financial organisations.
After a stopover in Berlin on Sunday night, he will leave for Fortaleza, the north-eastern coastal city of Brazil, on Monday for the summit of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to be held on 15th July, providing him his first opportunity at multilateral engagement.An earlier plan to have a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin was shelved because of Germany’s entry into the Fifa World Cup final, for which she will be in Brazil.
Modi will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Adviser A K Doval, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram.
The sixth summit of BRICS, which will follow up on the decisions of the Durban meeting last year, will provide the new Indian Prime Minister his first opportunity at meeting world leaders, including President Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, and discuss bilateral issues.
A Fortaleza Declaration containing the summit outcome is also on the cards.
Negotiations are already on for which Sujata Mehta, Secretary, Economic Relations, External Affairs Ministry, is Modi’s sherpa.
BRICS accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s land mass, 40 per cent of its population and a combined GDP of USD 24 trillion.
Officials say that India will be hoping for an endorsement of the need for UN Security Council reforms and also those of the Bretton Woods institutions like the World Bank and IMF.
The BRICS Development Bank is expected to take further shape with a decision to concretise its corpus at USD 100 billion, about which there was a broad agreement in Durban.
Discussions are on about the contribution from each member state and where to locate its headquarters whether Shanghai or New Delhi.
It will be a development bank which will give concessional credit to members of BRICS and other developing countries.
There will be a Ministerial meeting ahead of the summit and also a BRICS business council with businessmen from member -countries who will be meeting on July 14th and 15th.
On the sidelines of the summit, he will also be meeting South African President Jacob Zuma besides host President Dilma Roussef of Brazil.
On 16th July, the BRICS leaders will move to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, where they will meet leaders of South America, who have been invited by the hosts on the lines of Zuma inviting African leaders to Durban.
The Prime Minister will get an opportunity to engage with the Latin American region through meeting the leaders of South America, including heads of state and government from countries like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
India believes that the Prime Minister’s meetings with these leaders would further strengthen the already close bilateral relations with these countries and will be an opportunity to reinforce them.
On his way back home, the prime minister will make a brief halt in Frankfurt before reaching Delhi on 17th July night.

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