National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah and reaffirmed India’s commitment to assist Afghanistan in building a strong, democratic and prosperous country. Doval, who is on a visit to follow up on the discussions that President Ghani and CEO Abdullah had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month over telephone, also met his counterpart Hanif Atmar and held talks on a host of bilateral and regional issues.
“NSA conveyed Prime Minister of India’s felicitations to both Afghan leaders and to the people of Afghanistan for the country’s historic democratic political transition in Afghanistan and the formation of a Government of National Unity at this critical juncture of the country,” the Indian Embassy here said in a statement.
“He (Doval) reiterated India’s commitment to assist Afghanistan build a strong, democratic and prosperous country,” it said.
Doval was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising the Deputy National Security Advisor and senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of External Affairs.
National Security Advisor also paid a courtesy call on former Afghan President Hamid Karzai to personally convey Prime Minister Modi’s best wishes and admiration for having led the country with which India has a “special and deep relationship” through its first ever democratic transition.
Ghani, a one-time US-based academic, was sworn in as the new president of Afghanistan last month while Abdullah was named as the “chief executive”, a new role similar to a prime minister.
This was done as part of a power-sharing deal that broke a political deadlock between the two political rivals. Both had claimed to have won the election, plunging Afghanistan into months of crisis that fuelled the insurgency and worsened the country’s dire economic outlook.
Early in September, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had made a day-long visit to Afghanistan and assured that “India is here to stay.”
Canadian police investigating a man a possible suspect in the shootings around parliament in Ottawa. Official sources said suspect in the attacks was dead. Canadian Security Intelligence Service declined to comment on the gunman’s identity. Canada’s capital was jolted by the fatal shooting of a soldier and an attack on the parliament building yesterday, with gunshots fired outside a room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was addressing MPs. He was safely evacuated. The shooting was the second attack on Canadian soldiers in a week.
Yesterday’ shooting came a day after Canada sent an air fleet consisting of CF-18 Hornet fighters in support of the efforts to fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Prime Minister Harper said the country will not be intimidated by violence. He said the attack will strengthen Canada’s resolve in the fight against extremism alongside its allies. In a telephone call with Mr Harper, US President Barack Obama condemned the attacks and reaffirmed the two nations’ close friendship.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the attack on Canadian Parliament. In a tweet, he described the shootout near the Canadian parliament in Ottawa as extremely disturbing and prayed for everyone’s safety.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly condemned the attacks on Canadian military personnel in Quebec and Ottawa and shooting in the Canadian Parliament. In a statement, Mr Modi said, as a nation that has experienced a horrific terrorist attack on its Parliament, India share the sense of outrage and trauma of the people of Canada over the attack on the highest institution of democracy. Prime Minister also expressed condolences over the loss of lives of soldiers.
Mr Modi said, Canada is one of India’s strongest partners and New Delhi will continue to strengthen the cooperation in combating terrorism and other crimes for a safer future for the people.
Canada’s Parliament came under attack on Wednesday with a barrage of gunshots fired both inside and outside the building as a soldier was killed in the assault and a man with a rifle was gunned down by security forces. Parliament Hill came under attack when a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of building’s Centre Block nearby.
The injured soldier later succumbed to his wounds. “Condolences to family of the soldier killed and prayers for the parliamentary guard wounded.
Canada will not be terrorised or intimidated,” Employment Minister Jason Kenney said on Twitter. MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament and a gunman has been confirmed dead inside the building shot by the House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Ottawa police confirmed shots were fired in three locations: the war memorial, inside Centre Block of the Parliament and at the Rideau Centre. The downtown area remained in police lockdown. One suspect was believed to be at large, reports said.
Police were searching cars leaving Ottawa and trying to go to Quebec. A sustained volley of shots was fired. Startled security personnel and political staff scrambled to take cover in the limestone alcoves as bullets flew.
Alain Merisier, who works at the cafeteria in one of the Parliament Buildings, said he saw a man in a car at the Centre Block with a long gun. There were unconfirmed reports that a person was injured outside the Library of the Parliament.
“We were waiting there for a city tour and suddenly I heard four shots,” said Jan Luchtenburg, a tourist visiting Ottawa from Holland. “Suddenly I saw a small guy with long black hair… with a long rifle, and he ran away after the shots, across streets in the direction of Parliament Hill,” he said.
The National War Memorial stands in Confederation Square in the heart of downtown Ottawa. The Parliament Buildings are to the northeast.
Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said he saw a man running with a double-barrelled shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans. The Prime Minister’s Office said Stephen Harper is safe and not on Parliament Hill.
Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are also safe, reports said. The US Embassy was also locked down after reports of shots being fired. The US and Canadian air defenses were placed on heightened alert after the shootings.
The attack came two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run before being shot to death by police.”We are all shaken by it, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that we’re standing side by side with Canada during this difficult time,” Obama told reporters during a brief media interaction at his Oval Office.
Obama spoke with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to express the American people’s solidarity with Canada in the wake of attacks in Quebec on October 20 and in Ottawa on October 22.
Condemning the attacks, he reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between the two countries and offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks.
“The situation there is tragic. Just two days ago, a Canadian soldier had been killed in an attack. We now know that another young man was killed today. I expressed on behalf of the American people our condolences to the family and to the Canadian people as a whole,” Obama said.
“We dont yet have all the information about whether this was part of a broader network or plan, or whether this was an individual or series of individuals who decided to take these actions.But it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism,” Obama said.
The US national security team, he said, was coordinating very closely with Canada.
“It is very important I think for us to recognize that when it comes to dealing with terrorist activity, that Canada and the United States has to be entirely in sync,” he said.
In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the “heinous and evil attacks” in Ottawa and said it was aimed at the heart of the federal government itself.
“The United States has faced this kind of violence firsthand on our own soil, and we grieve with Canada, seared by the memory of our own painful experiences,” he said. In a telephonic conversation with his Canadian counterpart, Kerry pledge “full support” to Canada as it works to determine the facts and to hold those accountable responsible.
“The US strongly condemns today’s shootings in Ottawa, as well as the hit-and-run attack in Quebec earlier this week. The United States has no closer friend and ally than Canada, and the United States military has no closer partner than the Canadian Armed Forces,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.
The Department of Defense, including through the North American Aerospace Defense Command, will continue to monitor the situation closely and stands ready to assist our Canadian allies in the aftermath of these tragic events, Hagel said. Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he is deeply troubled by the attack that took place in Ottawa. Media agencies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday visited Srinagar to spend time with flood hit victims. Prior to that PM Modi visited Siachen and extended his warm wishes to the troops. He conveyed the message to each and every soldier that every Indian stands shoulder-to- shoulder with them. He went to Siachen before travelling to Srinagar to spend time with the flood-affected people on the festival of lights.”Friends, I am leaving for Siachen Glacier. It’s my good fortune that I will be able to spend time with our brave soldiers on this special day,” Modi tweeted, before embarking on the visit.
“Am going to Siachen with a message from each and every Indian to our soldiers- that we stand shoulder to shoulder with you,” he said.
Praising the country’s sentinels, Modi said, “Be it the altitude or bitter cold, nothing deters our soldiers. They stand there, serving our Nation. They make us truly proud.”
After his brief visit to Siachen, Modi will travel to Srinagar to meet the flood victims. “After the Siachen visit I will continue with my scheduled visit to Srinagar to spend time with those affected due to the recent floods,” Modi said on the micro-blogging site.
He further said, “Everyone is aware of the extreme conditions at Siachen. Overcoming every challenge our soldiers stand firm, protecting our Motherland.” On Diwali on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent some time with the soldiers posted on the heights of Siachen Glacier to send the message that all Indians stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them.
Modi also greeted President Pranab Mukherjee from the icy heights on the occasion of Diwali. “Perhaps this is the 1st time that a PM has got the wonderful opportunity of spending time with our Jawans on this auspicious day of Diwali.
“From the icy heights of the Siachen Glacier & with the brave Jawans & Officers of the Armed Forces, I wish all of you a Happy Diwali.
Wished President Pranab Mukherjee a very Happy Diwali from Siachen! Am sure this would be among the most unique greetings Pranab Da received,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Before leaving from Delhi, Modi had said that he was flying to the icy heights with a message that everyone stands firmly behind the soldiers guarding the border.
“Am going to Siachen with a message from each and every Indian to our soldiers — that we stand shoulder to shoulder with you,” he said.
Praising the country’s sentinels, Modi said, “Be it the altitude or bitter cold, nothing deters our soldiers. They stand there, serving our Nation. They make us truly proud.”
He further said, “Everyone is aware of the extreme conditions at Siachen. Overcoming every challenge our soldiers stand firm, protecting our Motherland.” After his brief visit to Siachen, Modi will travel to Srinagar to meet the flood victims in Jammu and Kashmir.
“After the Siachen visit I will continue with my scheduled visit to Srinagar to spend time with those affected due to the recent floods,” Modi said on the micro-blogging site.
BJP govt shifting goal post to save face on black money foreign bank account holders
In its latest turnaround, the BJP-led central government has now indicated that might
disclose a limited number of names, cherry picked from the list of foreign bank account holders possessed by the government through formal/informal sources. This is clearly an exercise to save its face.
The central government’s move raises the following key questions:
Why only these 136 names ?
People of the country believe that the previous Congress-led UPA government had things to hide and blocked the disclosure of names. Now, with BJP government’s similar reluctance in sharing the names gives rise to a reasonable apprehension about its real intentions.
By cherry-picking a set of names and concealing others, it has further confirmed the belief that the BJP is hell-bent on saving some of the influential people appearing in those lists. The truth is – there is no law in India or treaty with any country that stops the Indian government from taking action against the possessors of illicit money.
BJP playing politics on the issue ?
Two recent developments have confirmed that the BJP wants to play politics over the issue of black money, rather than solving it. First, is the central government’s turnaround on the non-disclosure of some names and second is the cherry-picking of names to score political points. The Aam Aadmi Party is of the clear view that anyone who possesses illicit money, irrespective of his/her affiliation with any political party, must be brought to book. Politics should not be played, rather the promise made by Mr Rajnath Singh of bringing back every penny of black money sitting abroad within 150 days of coming to power, and that of Mr Modi of attributing such money to every citizen to the tune of Rs.15-20 Lakh per person, should be worked towards.
Double Tax Avoidance Treaty is not the issue-A matter already settled by the Supreme Court :
The Supreme Court in its judgement on 4th July 2011 after perusing the double Tax Avoidance Agreement between India and Germany emphatically conveyed that there provision or hindrance in the agreement that limits the disclosure of information. The SC also pointed, such a plea is untenable as no agreement can limit infringe upon the principles laid down in our constitution.
Extract of para 58 of the judgement: “The above clause in the relevant agreement with Germany would indicate that, contrary to the assertions of Union of India, there is no absolute bar of secrecy. Comity of nations cannot be predicated upon clauses of secrecy that could hinder constitutional proceedings such as these, or criminal proceedings”.
Intentional disregard ofUnited Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
India, Germany and Switzerland – all are signatories to the UNCAC which emphatically empowers the two countries on following counts:
UN Convention Against Corruption gives full sanction to make simple changes in the laws of our country to tackle black money menace permanently
UN Convention Against Corruption overrides ‘bank secrecy laws’
UN Convention Against Corruption empowers to freeze, seize and confiscate illicit money
UN Convention Against Corruption on Mutual Assistance by different tax jurisdictions
It is indeed surprising to see that the BJP government is disregarding the UNCAC, rather than using it to its benefit and prosecute those who possess illicit money.(ENDS)
Honda records highest ever Dhanteras sales of 1.65 lakh units, 110% increase over last year
Dream series sales of 45,000 units exceeds all expectations, stock sold out by mid-day in many dealerships
Sales momentum to continue till October end
Delhi, October 22, 2014: In continuation of its record sales performance this festive season, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd. (HMSI) has created history this Dhanteras.
The fastest growing two-wheeler company in India, Honda’s two-wheeler retail sales breached the psychological 100,000 mark on the day of Dhanteras.
This means a phenomenal 110% jump in sales to 1.65 lakh units, as compared to 78,500 units sold last year.
Almost all dealerships nationwide worked overtime on Dhanteras, traditionally a day when the highest number of two-wheelers are bought and delivered.
So heavy was the customer demand for its scooters that most of the dealership were stocked out by yesterday evening.
At the same time overall Dream series (comprising of Dream Yuga, Dream NEO and CD 110 Dream) witnessed spectacular rise in sales.
Elaborating on the sales, Mr. Yadvinder S. Guleria, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd., “This happens to be HMSI’s first festive season as only Honda in India and results of Dhanteras sales reinforces from trust that customer repose in Honda.
It aptly summarises our corporate campaign Honda is Honda. Our ever highest Dhanteras sales of 1.65 lakh units takes the festive sales momentum even further. We hope to close this festive season with new records and thank the million Indian customers for choosing the Wings of Honda.”
For further information, contact:
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd
(Ms Vibhuti Dimri / Ms Namrata Pant /Mr Abhinav Raaj)
If you believe that this post is inappropriate for this Circle, report it.
MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE LAUNCH OF THE WORLD SOCIAL SCIENCE FORUM (WSS FORUM) 2015
Issue date: 22 October 2014
QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES MAIN DRIVERS OF WORLD SOCIAL SCIENCE FORUM 2015
Durban, South Africa – Over four days policy makers and shapers comprising scientists, politicians, activists, civil society organisations, activists, labour and business leaders will gather at the Durban International Conference Centre (ICC) for the 2015 World Social Sciences Forum (WSSF), to be held from 13 – 16 September.
The forum is a flagship activity of the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and is hosted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). These host organisations have partnered with a consortium of over 13 interested parties, comprising national government departments, leading South African universities, science academies, research institutes, research foundations, local and international research councils and prominent non-governmental organisations.
The forum, which takes place every three years, will focus on real-life issues that citizens all around the world grapple with – inequality and injustice. Therefore the theme ofTransforming GlobalRelations for a Just World.
Speaking at the launch of the forum in today 22 October 2014, Professor Olive Shisana, chair of the WSSF 2015 and CEO of the HSRC said the theme is informed by “growing inequalities at global, regional, national and local levels and its impact on the quality of life of populations as well as on the sustainability of resources necessary to support quality of life.
“Participants will address trends in inequality and the measurement, nature, manifestations and drivers of this injustice. The forum promises to provide a platform for exciting, informative and insightful discourse”.
The WSS Forum 2015 takes place against the backdrop of major transitions– transitions that affect global governance, the use of resources, and the quality of life of people. It will shine the spotlight on the nature and dimensions of inequality, including:
·The extent and consequences of income and asset inequalities;
·The impact of inequality in terms of patterns of production and consumption on sustainability;
·The impact of gender inequalities, as manifested in unequal access to resources, employment and other social benefits;
·Generational inequalities, with a focus on the youth; and
·Wage inequalities and labour unrest.
“It is now very clear to all that a world in which power and resources are concentrated in the hands of a small minority while the vast majority are having problems getting their basic needs for food, shelter, security and freedom met is neither just nor sustainable”, said Ebrima Sall, Executive Secretary of CODESRIA.
“What the global social science community will be doing in Durban in 2015 will build on the debates in WSSF I (Bergen 2009) and II (Montreal 2013) and will, in many ways, be similar to what the World Social Forum has been doing for the past two decades or so: highlighting the problems with global relations as they currently are, as well as the various ways in which social movements and many other actors are trying to transform them.
“We are also aware that the sites of the struggles to transform global relations include the knowledge production world itself where the assymetries of the global order tend to be mirrored. For those of us in Africa and in other parts of the Global South, the 2015 WSSF provides an opportunity to showcase the best of our research and publications, and demonstrate that another world is not only possible: it is a necessity,” Sall said.
“The state of the world is worrying”, admits Alberto Martinelli, president of the International Social Science Council.
“Almost half of the world’s wealth is currently owned by the top one percent; vulnerable employment accounts for more than half of all employment in developing regions; about one eighth of the world’s population is suffering from chronic hunger; over 900 million people worldwide lack basic literacy skills, 60 % of which are women.
“Serious environmental changes interact in complex ways with these worrying trends, provoking natural and social disasters, illnesses, conflicts over resources, migrations. We need to look critically and creatively into these challenges drawing on the world’s best social science contributions, from all disciplines and all corners of the world. This is what the WSSF is about.”
These issues make the forum a timely initiative on crucial matters facing the world today. “I can only praise the World Social Science Forum 2015 for bringing together key forces of change towards a just world: innovative social science researchers, dedicated policy shapers and active citizens from around the world. The problems we all face are increasingly complex, entangled, and global. Any news bulletin in any country bears witness to this”, said forum patron, George Monbiot, an English writer known for his work in environmental and political activism.
Going further to champion the cause of the focus of the WSSF 2015, he added that “we need more social science studies to help us understand these challenges and consciously shape our responses to them. We also need more spaces where researchers and society can openly debate the issues, influence each other, work out solutions and decide to act together. I am personally convinced of the transformative power of knowledge shaped in this spirit”.
The International Social Science Council (ISSC) is the primary body representing the social sciences worldwide, with the mission to strengthen social science research to help solve global priority problems.
“Our added value lies in our capacity to mobilise and support the full diversity of social science perspectives and approaches required to generate knowledge that can effectively contribute to solving the many urgent challenges facing societies today”, explains Heide Hackmann, Executive
Director of the ISSC. “The ISSC’s World Social Science Forums aim to shape global research agendas, energize the further development of innovative research, and assist with its effective application to society.”
The host country of the WSSF 2015 meeting illustrates the challenges to be discussed at the forum. “This forum will be held in South Africa, one of the most unequal nations of the world – a country marked by financial, spatial, material, and programmatic inequalities”, said Shisana.
“These differences are not academic. They define access to basic services such as water, sanitation, health, education, and housing. They also define relations among peoples. In the end, they define quality of life, determining who lives long and who dies early. The Forum will allow participants to tour geographical areas to experience for themselves the manifestations of inequality”.
It’s now 329 days to go before the start of this very important Forum at the Durban ICC. “We trust that as we meet in Durban in 2015 to deliberate on global transformations for a just world we will have the wisdom to learn from our varied experiences as we examine social science for knowledge co-production, public policies and social intervention”, concluded Shisana.
For media enquiries and interviews contact:
Media Director: Inkulumo Consulting
Managing Director: Inkulumo Consulting
Tel: 011 440 8198
Tel: 011 440 8198
Cell: 082 495 4158
Cell: 082 435 1321
Also visit the World Social Science Forum 2015 website www.wssf2015.org for more information