Friday, June 15, 2018

Shujaat Bukhari laid to rest

Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was on Friday laid to rest , at his ancestral graveyard in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The veteran journalist, who had championed peace in times of conflict and may have been killed for it, the reports of thousands of people from cross section of society attended funeral prayers of Bukhari, held at Idd Gah Ground at Kreeri area of Baramulla.
Bukhari was killed yesterday by unidentified gunmen outside his office near Press Enclave in Srinagar. State government ministers, legislators, officials, leaders of political parties, media fraternity besides people from local and adjacent areas attended the funeral prayers and the last rites. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Congress leader Prof Saif ud Din Soz, top separatist leader Yasin Malik were among the prominent people who attended the funeral.
The killing of Bukhari and his personal security officers has been widely condemned. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, I & B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore, Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Separatist Leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq & Yasin Malik, strongly condemned the killing and expressed shock and grief over the brutal assassination. So far, no terrorist outfit has taken responsibility for the attack.

President Radev: “Bulgaria Backs NATO’s Efforts to Build Modern Defence Capabilities,”

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev  taking part in a Bucharest Format (B9) Summit here on Friday. At the international forum, the leaders of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia are exchanging views and are coordinating their positions on matters on NATO agenda, ahead of the Alliance’s Summit due in Brussels in July, the President’s Press Secretariat said. “Bulgaria backs NATO’s efforts to build modern defence capacities, and the modernization of the Bulgarian Armed Forces is part of this process,” Radev said at the B9 Summit in Warsaw.
“Meeting the security challenges that we confront is beyond the limited capacities of the separate countries and requires a joint response,” the head of State stressed in his statement at the forum.
The heads of State and government confirmed the common commitment from Wales to a gradual increase of defence budget resources to 2 per cent of GDP for development of national and joint defence capabilities.
As the President put it, NATO should keep its “open door policy”, and Bulgaria will continue to support the aspirants to full membership in fulfilling the eligibility requirements. Radev singed out strengthening stability, continued reforms, building good-neighbourly relations and promoting the Western Balkans’ Euro-Atlantic perspective as key priorities for Bulgaria. “Without guaranteed security, we cannot possibly achieve sustained stability in the Balkans,” the speaker emphasized. He confirmed Bulgaria’s support, within the framework of NATO’s policy, to assist the countries engaged in the fight against international terrorism and countering the Islamic State in the Middle East in building their defence capacity.
“In its relations with Russia, the Alliance must be guided by realism and pragmatism, in line with NATO’s approach to strengthening defence capabilities while remaining open to dialogue,” the head of State said further on. At the discussion, the President stressed the need to assess the changed conditions, to seek opportunities for easing tensions and normalizing relations while avoiding an aggressive tone. In his words, this will help keep communication channels open and pursue important national economic interests, the way this is done by the leading NATO and EU Member States.
Later in the day, President Radev will attend observances in Warsaw of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s regained independence.
Bulgaria’s parliament approved a plan to spend about $2 billion (1.6 billion euros) to purchase 150 combat vehicles and 16 new or used fighter jets to replace its aging Soviet-designed MiG-29s.
Bulgaria’s fleet of 15 Soviet aircraft have raised safety concerns among the country’s military pilots, who refused to fly in a training operation last October in a bid to speed up the new acquisitions. The air force has said just seven of the MiGs are in good flying order.
Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004, in order to get consensus on buy of  warplanes  to replace the MiGs has perplexed  successive governments for more than a decade.
In matter of defense equipment, NATO has inspired its eastern members to develop or buy new equipment from Western alliance members that is compatible with their older Soviet-era systems.
European NATO members that were once Soviet satellites still rely on Russian-made military jets. Two-thirds of Poland’s military equipment dates from the pre-1991 Soviet era, for example.
Government ,under the plan approved by 151 to 7 in the 240-seat parliament, Sofia would acquire the jets in two stages to improve its compliance with NATO standards.
Billing, $1 billion to for the cost of the first eight aircraft, as well as team training and initial logistics support.
Bulgarian, Balkan country meditating to  spend about $1 billion on armored vehicles for three infantry battalion groups, including equipment and training.
Sofia has said it will call for bids to replace its MiGs with aircraft from the United States, Portugal, Italy, France, Sweden, and Israel.
Armored vehicles, the Western outfits lists ,  French state-owned group Nexter Systems, Finland’s Patria, Germany’s Rheinmetall Defense AG , U.S.-based Textron, and the Swiss firm Mowag have expressed interest in supplying armored vehicles, Bulgarian officials said. – Media agencies

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Jordan’s king approves new govt

Jordan’s King Abdullah issued a decree on Thursday forming a new government led by a former World Bank economist. The king appointed Omar al-Razzaz, a Harvard-educated economist outside the ranks of the traditional political elite, last week to replace Hani Mulki, who was dismissed to defuse public anger that led to some of the largest protests in years. Thousands took to the streets in Amman and in provincial towns against a series of IMF-driven tax rises since the start of the year. Razzaz’s 28-member cabinet is dominated by a mix of conservative politicians and Western-leaning techocrats who held sway in previous administrations, including seven women,

Abdel Fatah el-Sisi swore in a new cabinet

Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi swore in a new cabinet on Thursday after replacing his defense and interior ministers. The high-level security shake-up comes as the country is struggling to combat an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula. Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, the head of the Presidential Guard, was tipped to be the new defense minister, replacing Gen. Sedki Sobhi, who had served in the post since Sisi was first elected in 2014. Mahmoud Tawfik, the head of the National Security Department, was chosen to succeed Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar at the Interior Ministry, which supervises the police, AP reports. The new 33-member cabinet is led by Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly, who also serves as housing minister. The government includes eight women and 12 new members.

Nawaz Sharif’s wife suffers cardiac arrest in UK

 Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was shifted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a London hospital late Thursday after her condition deteriorated further, her family said on social media. Begum Kulsoom collapsed in the ICU after a cardiac arrest and has not regained consciousness since then as per reports in Pakistan media suggests.
Maryam Nawaz, her daughter, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, both confirmed the development on Twitter, with the former making an “earnest request for duas [prayers]”.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari, in a statement issued earlier today (Friday), expressed good wishes for Begum Kulsoom’s recovery. He said the Bhutto family and Pakistan Peoples Party is praying for Begum Kulsoom’s health.
Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nazwaz Sharif’s ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz’s health has further deteriorated following a cardiac arrest in the UK where she was undergoing treatment following throat cancer surgery.
Kulsoom, 68, was shifted to the intensive care unit of the London hospital late last night after her condition deteriorated further, Maryam Nawaz, her daughter said.
“Ami had a sudden cardiac arrest when we were on the flight and is in ICU and on the ventilator since,” Maryam tweeted.
Maryam, who flew to London along with her father, requested well-wishers to pray for her mother’s health. Kulsoom was readmitted to the hospital on Wednesday, where her health deteriorated and she was immediately taken to the emergency unit in the night and has not regained consciousness since, The Express Tribune reported.
She was rushed to the ICU as she collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest yesterday and has ever since been kept under intensive care. Hussain Nawaz, son of Nawaz Sharif, also appealed to the nation to pray for his mother’s wellness. Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s brother, requested the nation to join him in prayers for speedy recovery

Putin invites to Kim Jong Un,

Russian President Putin has issued an invitation to Kim Jong Un, suggesting that they meet at an economic forum in the far eastern port of Vladivostok in September, Senior North Korean official Kim Yong-nam to meet Putin in Moscow. 
Kim Yong Nam, meanwhile, handed the Russian leader a handwritten note from Kim Jong Un, the contents of which have not been made public.
At a meeting in the Kremlin before the World Cup opening ceremony on Thursday, the Russian leader said the recent US-North Korean summit had reduced the threat of conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday met with President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (legislature) of North Korea Kim Yong-nam. The parliament’s head gave Putin a personal written message from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could visit Russia to participate in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday. However, a separate visit could also be organized, the president said at a meeting with Kim Yong-nam, the head of the Presidium of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly in Moscow on Thursday. Russia intends to promote a resolution of the North Korea situation using peaceful means, Putin said. He added that Moscow welcomes the recent meeting of North Korean and US leaders.
Putin confirmed that he invited the North Korean leader to visit Russia. According to the president, it could be a separate meeting or a meeting timed to coincide with the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September. Moscow welcomed a recent meeting between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, Putin said.

Missing French tourist learning organic farm

A 20-year- old French woman who reportedly went missing was found safe in Saarkela village of Alwar district. The woman was missing since June 1.
Gaelle Chouteau was traced by the Rajasthan Police in Saarkela village where she was learning organic farming.
The French national had reached Pushkar on May 30 and stayed in a hotel there, before leaving for Jaipur on June 1.
She was not in touch with her family members and friends, as a result of which they started worrying and were trying to locate her by posting messages on social media.
Earlier on Wednesday, French Ambassador in India Alexandre Ziegler tweeted about the disappearance of Chouteau and asked for information on her whereabouts.
Ms GaĆ«lle CHOUTEAU, 20 years, 5’3”, has been missing since 1st June 2018. When last in touch, she was leaving Pushkar to go to Jaipur. If you have any information about her, please write to us at: admin-francais․
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also took cognizance of the matter, following which the Rajasthan police started the investigation.
Chouteau said she went there on her own and intends to stay for a week more. — ANI

Cabinet apprised of health pact

Union Cabinet was apprised about a pact signed between two health bodies of India and France, which aims at cooperation in medical, life sciences and health research sectors including diabetes and metabolic disorders.
The pact also aims at cooperation in bio-ethics with focus on ethics and regulatory issues of gene editing techniques and rare diseases.
“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been apprised of an MoU which was signed in March, 2018 between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Institut National de la Santeet de la RechercheMedicale (INSERM), France,” an official statement said.
The MoU will further strengthen relations between ICMR and INSERM within the framework of international scientific and technological cooperation in fields of mutual interest, it said.
“The MoU aims at cooperation in areas of common interest within the medical, life sciences and health research fields. Based on scientific excellence on both sides, the parties have agreed to have a specific focus upon: Diabetes and metabolic disorders, bio-ethics with focus on ethics and regulatory issues of gene editing techniques, rare diseases and any other areas of mutual interest can be considered after discussions between the two sides,” it said.
The scientific excellence on two sides will help to successfully work on health research in specified areas, it added.

Abe to meet Kim Jong Un

Abe is considering meeting with Kim Jong Un this fall, responding to the North Korean leader’s openness to dialogue expressed during a summit with President Donald Trump this week.
“We see the U.S.-North Korea summit as an opening,” Abe said Thursday in a meeting with family members of Japanese nationals abducted by the rogue state decades ago. “Japan should squarely face North Korea to resolve the issue,” he added. Trump has said he raised the issue with Kim.
Japanese government sources confirm the two sides are discussing times and places for a meeting. The first opportunity seems to be Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum, held in Vladivostok in mid-September, that Abe is expected to attend. President Vladimir Putin repeated his invitation for Kim Jong Un to visit Russia in a meeting Thursday with Kim Yong Nam, leader of North Korea’s rubber-stamp legislature. Mediating a Tokyo-Pyongyang summit would let Putin tout influence over North Korea.
U.N. General Assembly, which convenes in late September in New York, provides another option.
Though Pyongyang has also been suggested as a possible venue, Abe and his aides are leery of having the prime minister visit North Korea before progress is made on the abduction issue. Abe’s political standing would suffer if he returned from the rogue state without concrete results, making a third country a more acceptable choice.
Fumio Shimizu, deputy director general at the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, met Thursday with the head of a research institute affiliated with North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, the Japanese side said. The meeting came during a conference in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.
Tokyo is prepared to pay the initial costs for restarting International Atomic Energy Agency inspections in North Korea, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday. Japan, which contributed $500,000 when the IAEA sent inspectors to North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility in 2007, considers such inspections crucial to the ultimate goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.
Japan also could provide rice and medicine via international organizations. During bilateral consultations in Stockholm four years ago, Tokyo promised to consider such humanitarian aid at an “appropriate time.” North Korea agreed to look into the fates of Japanese abductees, but later disbanded the investigative committee. Suga said Japan “will continue asking North Korea to abide by the Stockholm agreement.”
Economic aid for developing North Korean infrastructure is on the table as well. The bilateral Pyongyang Declaration of 2002 named grant aid and low interest loans as examples of Japanese help after normalizing diplomatic relations in the future. When Japan and South Korea established ties in 1965, Tokyo handed over $500 million in economic aid — equivalent to $10 billion in today’s dollars.
Yet Abe cannot commit so much without public support back home.

Journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Rangoon

Dear friend
Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Rangoon in December last year after investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya men buried in a mass grave. They have now spent six months in prison while their trial continues. This travesty of justice must end. Please email the President of Burma and call for their immediate release.
They were arrested after being invited to meet police officials over dinner on 12th December 2017. The Ministry of Information said that they were “arrested for possessing important and secret government documents related to Rakhine State and security forces”.
Burma’s ambassador to the UN, Hau Do Suan, said that the journalists were not arrested for reporting a story, but were accused of “illegally possessing confidential government documents”.
The journalists were working on a report which describes how security forces and local Rakhine Buddhists were involved in the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men buried in a mass grave in Rakhine state. After their arrest, they were detained for two weeks at an undisclosed location and were not allowed to meet relatives or lawyers. They were charged under the Official Secrets Act and are currently on trial while they remain in detention.
The Official Secrets Act was introduced in 1923, during the colonial era, and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. In the past, the government used the law against journalists for reporting on current affairs.
Thank you.
Anna Roberts
Burma Campaign UK
Help support the campaign – donate today!

Macedonia’s name changed to the Republic of North Macedonia

Greece and Macedonia managed to achieve a breakthrough on Tuesday, after both the country’s agreed to rename the Balkan country “North Macedonia.”
Embedded image permalink
The decision, which could end a bitter 27-year-old dispute between both the nations, was also made after Greece vowed to lift its veto on its northern neighbour joining the European Union and and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev reportedly held a telephonic conversation, after which the decision was made.
The decision puts an end to a bitter dispute that both the countries have been locked in for 27 years now, that has led to years of protests and endless diplomacy.
As part of the agreement, Macedonia’s name would be changed to the Republic of North Macedonia, or Severna Makedonija in Macedonian and the English name could be used as well as the Slavic term.
The name was chosen to reflect the existence of the Greek region of Macedonia on the other side of the border and the cultural claim by Greeks.
The countries announced that the new name would be used both internally by the government and externally when conducting foreign affairs and in return, Greece would lift its vetoes on the country joining the EU and NATO.
Announcing the agreement in a television press conference after giving details of the deal to the Greek president, Tsipras said, “The name change will be implemented not only in the country’s international relations but also domestically.”
Tsipras added that the 140 countries which had recognized the Balkan state simply as Macedonia would now recognize it as Republic of Northern Macedonia.
He said, “This achieves a clear distinction between Greek Macedonia and our northern neighbors and puts an end to the irredentism which their current constitutional name implies,” adding that Macedonia “cannot and will not be able in the future to claim any connection with the ancient Greek civilization of Macedonia.”
Meanwhile, describing the deal as a “historic agreement of the century,” the Macedonian Prime Minister called on the opposition to back the name change.
He said, “We have been solving a two-and-a-half decade dispute … that has been drowning the country,” adding that the deal “will strengthen the Macedonian identity.”  He urged for support by pointing out that the agreement would guarantee access to the EU and NATO.
Balkan state would be able to call itself the “Republic of Northern Macedonia” (formerly “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”). This title would allow for Skopje’s eventual entry into NATO and the European Union, previously blocked by Greece because it says the use of the name “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim on a northern Greek province of the same name. Greece agreed to recognise its northern neighbour as ‘Republic of North Macedonia’ on Tuesday, ending a decades-long dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav republic.
However, the deal struck on Tuesday still has a few hurdles to cross as nationalists in both countries are opposed to compromise, which could still derail the accord.
The agreement would now have to be ratified by the parliaments in both the countries.
Macedonia however, insisted that the statue is of a “warrior on a horse” rather than the ancient Greek hero.
Over the years, a number of alternatives have been suggested by both sides, which have included Gorna Makedonija (Upper Macedonia), Nova Makedonija (New Macedonia) and Ilinden Macedonia.

CM of Punjab announces Rs.209 crore debt relief for 38000 farmers

Chief Minister of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced the disbursement of Rs. 209 crore to 38,000 marginal farmers, who are members of the Cooperative Societies, within the next ten days to complete the first phase of his government’s debt relief scheme.
The Chief Minister pointed out that so far 2,77,633 marginal farmers had been provided relief to the tune of Rs. 1525.61 crores in the first phase and this amount has been transferred directly into their accounts. He further said that out of 3.43 lacs marginal farmers, who are members of the Cooperative Societies, 27,179 were found ineligible as they were either serving as Government/Semi Government employees or did not meet the eligibility criteria of the scheme.
The remaining 38,000 will be provided debt relief within the next 10 days. In the second phase, the small farmers linked with cooperative societies would be taken up for disbursement of relief. The commercial banks had already started uploading the data of their loanee farmers on the specially designed portal for this purpose. The Agriculture and Finance departments have been directed to follow up with the commercial banks in the State to ensure expeditious uploading of the data so that the process of verification and disbursing the relief amount to eligible beneficiaries could be completed at the earliest in a transparent manner.
Subsequently, the marginal farmers belonging to the cooperative societies who had not yet received the full eligible amount upto Rs. 2 lacs, and are otherwise eligible to receive relief amount due to them for the loans secured from the commercial banks would also be covered.

Decisions taken by the Union Cabinet

Cabinet approves the extension of tenure of the Commission constituted to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within Other Backward Classes in the Central List
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the final extension of the term of the Other Backward Classes in the Central List currently mandated up to 20th June 2018, till 31st July, 2018. The Commission held extensive meetings with the stake holders including the State Governments, the State Backward Classes Commissions, various community associations and general public belonging to various Backward Classes and Communities. The Commission also obtained records, caste-wise of OBCs admitted in higher educational institution as well as similar caste-wise data of recruits in Central Departments, Central Public Sector Undertakings, Public Sector Banks & Financial Institutions.

·         Cabinet approves Agreement between India and Peru

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved an Agreement between India and Peru which was signed in May, 2018 at Lima, Peru. The agreement aims to establish the basis for a cooperative institutional relationship to encourage and promote technical bilateral cooperation on new and renewable issues on the basis of mutual benefit equality and reciprocity. The Agreement envisages establishing a Joint Committee to develop Work Plans in order to implement the Agreement. The Agreement will help in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
·         Cabinet approves MoU between India and Viet Nam on Joint issue of postage stamp 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the joint issue of a postage stamp between Department of Posts and Viet Nam Post. Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications and Viet Nara Post mutually agreed to jointly issue Postage Stamps on India-Viet Nam: Joint Issue on the theme “Ancient Architecture”. The joint stamps were released on 25-01-2018. The Commemorative Postage Stamps on India-Viet Nam: Joint Issue depicts Sanchi Stupa of India and Pho Minh Pagoda of Viet Nam. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between postal administrations of India and Viet Nam for this joint issue on 18-12-2017.
·         Cabinet approves Repositioning of North Eastern Council
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) for the nomination of the Union Home Minister as ex-officio Chairman of North Eastern Council (NEC) – a statutory body with Governors and Chief Ministers of all the eight North Eastern States as its Member. The Cabinet also approved that Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of DoNER would serve as Vice Chairman of the Council.
NEC implements various projects through the State and Central agencies. Under the new arrangement with Home Minister as Chairman and Minister of DoNER as Vice Chairman, NEC and all the Governors and Chief Ministers of North Eastern States asMember would provide a forum for discussing inter-state matters more comprehensively and also consider common approaches to be taken in future. NEC can now also perform the tasks undertaken by the various Zonal Councils to discuss such inter-State issues as drug trafficking, smuggling of arms and ammunition, boundary disputes etc. This repositioning of NEC will help it to become a more effective body for the North Eastern Region. The Council shall, from time to time, review the implementation of the projects/schemes included in the project; recommend effective measures for coordination among the state Governments for these projects etc. The Council shall have such powers as may be delegated to it by the Central Government.
·         Cabinet approves proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Parliament.
It will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property. The draft Bill has been finalised after wide consultation with leading Indian experts and international experts.
·         The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
·         The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
·         The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
·         The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.
National Dam Safety Authority
·         It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices;
·         It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations;
·         It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures;
·         It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure;
·         It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances;
·         It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams;
·         It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution;
·         Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.
State Committee on Dam Safety
It will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning. It further provides that every State shall establish a “State Dam Safety Organisation”, which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.
·         Cabinet approves MoU between the ICMR and INSERM, France
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was signed in March, 2018 between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Institut National de la Santeet de la RechercheMedicale (INSERM), France.
Salient Features:
The MoU aims at cooperation in areas of common interest within the medical, life sciences and health research fields. Based on scientific excellence on both sides, the parties have agreed to have a specific focus upon:
1.       Diabetes and Metabolic disorders;
2.       Bio-ethics with focus on Ethics and regulatory issues of Gene editing techniques;
3.       Rare diseases; and
4.       Any other areas of mutual interest can be considered after discussions between the two sides.
The MoU will further strengthen relations between ICMR and INSERM within the framework of international scientific and technological cooperation in fields of mutual interest.  The scientific excellence on two sides will help to successfully work on health research in specified areas.
·         Cabinet approves monetization of 3.70 acres of land at Pragati Maidan for construction and running of a Hotel by a third party including private sector, waiver of charges levied by L&DO and waiver of land charges raised by the Ministry of Railways
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the monetization of 3.70 acres of land at Pragati Maidan by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITJPO) on long-term leasehold basis for 99 years for construction and running of a Hotel by a third party including private sector through a transparent competitive bidding process. This measure is part of the Phase – I of redevelopment project of Pragati Maidan i.e. Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) Project. It was was approved by the CCEA in January 2017 at an estimated cost of Rs. 2254 crore. IECC project envisages construction of a world class state-of-the-art Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre with a seating capacity for 7,000 pax, exhibition, space of over 1,00, and a basement parking for 4,800 vehicles. Traffic decongestion measures in and around the Pragati Maidan will also lead to decongestion of the area.
Funds raised through monetization of land will be one of the means of financing the IECC project which is essential for Central Government and State Governments to hold Summit Level Meetings and Exhibitions/Events for trade promotion. The work for IECC project as well as the traffic decongestion solutions is in full swing. ITPO has stated that the entire project is expected to be completed by September 2019. IECC project will benefit Indian trade and industry, and help increase India’s foreign trade.
·         Cabinet approves proposal for withdrawal of Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in Rajya Sabha
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for withdrawal of Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in the Rajya Sabha. The Nalanda University was established on the basis of a Joint Press Statement at the 4th East Asia Summit held in Thailand in October, 2009, which supported its establishment as a non-state, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution. Subsequently, the Nalanda University Act, 2010 was passed by the Parliament and came into effect from 25thNovember 2010.  The present proposal is for moving a motion in Rajya Sabha withdrawing the Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013 introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 26, 2013 to amend certain existing provisions of the Nalanda University Act, 2010 and add some new provisions.
The Governing Board of Nalanda University has since been constituted as per section 7 of Nalanda University Act, 2010 with effect from 21.11.2016 with, the approval of Hon’ble President of India. The Amendment Bill will need to be discussed with the current Governing Board of Nalanda University before a final decision could be taken on going ahead with the proposed amendments. Further, the current Governing Board may also look into the entire Nalanda University Act, 2010 afresh and suggest amendments/additions wherever necessary. Teaching in the University was inaugurated by Smt.SushmaSwaraj, External Affairs Minister in September 2014. Hon’ble President of India is the Visitor of the University, Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, the Chancellor and Professor Sunaina Singh, is the Vice Chancellor. At present, the University has 116 students in three schools of studies namely School of Historical Studies, School of Ecology and Environment Studies and School of Buddhist Studies. This includes 35 international students from 21 foreign countries.
·         Cabinet approves ‘Three Year Action Plan of Agricultural Education Division & ICAR Institutes
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of the Three Year Action Plan (2017-2020) of the scheme for Agricultural Education Division and ICAR Institutes with an outlay of Rs.2225.46 crore[Rs. 2197.51 crore + Rs. 27.95 crore (State share) as salary component for AICRP-HS]for strengthening and developing higher agricultural education in India.  It comprises of:
1.       “Strengthening and Development of Higher Agricultural Education in India – Rs. Rs.2050.00 crore;
2.       ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) – Rs. 24.25 crore and
3.       ICAR – Central Institute of Women in Agriculture (CIWA) including All India Coordinated Research Project on Home Science (AICRP-HS) – Rs.151.21 crore.
The scheme is aimed to generate quality human resources from the institutions of higher agricultural education.It encompasses several new initiatives including, steps to attract talented students, reducing academic inbreeding and addressing faculty shortage.  It will also take care ofgreen initiatives, mitigating faculty shortage, international ranking, alumni involvement, promoting innovations, inspired teacher network, reducing inbreeding, academia interface, technology enabled learning, Post-doctoral Fellowships, Agriculture Education Portal, Scientific Social responsibility etc. for quality assurance ranking of the agricultural universities has been linked to the financial support under the scheme along with accreditation. Support for strengthening and modernization of infrastructure related to student and faculty amenities and capacity building of both faculty and students in cutting edge areas through Niche Area of Excellence programme will improve teaching and encouraging holistic development of the students.
This will lead to generation of competitive and confident human resource. In addition, research on gender issues in agriculture and allied fields, formulating gender-equitable agricultural, policies/programmes and gender-sensitive agricultural-sector responses will be undertaken by ICAR-CIWA and capacity building needs of the human resources and stakeholders of the entire National Agricultural Research & Education System (NARES) will be catered leading to enhancing of competencies and capacities of the stakeholders including farmers, young scientists, students and agri-industry in NARES by ICAR-NAARM.
·         Cabinet approves raising of additional share capital of M/s. HDFC Bankup to a maximum of Rs. 24,000 crore
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for grant of permission to M/s. HDFC Bank Ltd. to raise additional share capital of up to a maximum of Rs. 24,000 crore, including premium, over and above the previous approved limit of Rs. 10,000 crore, such that the composite foreign shareholding in the Bank shall not exceed 74% of the enhanced paid-up equity share capital of the bank.
The decision would ensure that the composite foreign shareholding in the bank inclusive of all types of foreign investments, both direct and indirect, will not exceed 74% of the enhanced paid-up equity share capital of the bank. It will be subject to Foreign Direct Investment Policy conditionalities and other sectoral regulations / guidelines. The proposed investment is expected to strengthen the capital adequacy ratio of the bank.

 The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has expressed satisfaction over the decision of the Supreme Court Bench for not interfering in sealing matter of certain areas despite strong pleas of the Monitoring Committee to direct MCD to conduct sealing in Rajouri Garden and other areas
CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal while welcoming the decision said that since the matter of notifying 351 Roads as commercial or mix land use street is pending before the Supreme Court and matter being sub-juice, insistence of the  Monitoring Committee for repeatedly directing the MCD to conduct sealing operations on these roads is a case of exceeding the jurisdiction of the Monitoring Committee.
He further said that it has been seen that Monitoring Committee is more interested in sealing comfortably running business establishments established since decades on one pretext or the other without serving any notice or giving opportunity of hearing which is against the principle of natural justice. We are sure that Supreme Court has never intended like this.
Mr. Khandelwal hoped that Monitoring Committee will now be justified in its action and instead of adopting a coercive approach, it will seek cooperation from the trading community in larger interest of Delhi and its economy

Sitaram Yechury on Banks write of details

The record wrote-off of bank loans is linked not just to Modis and Choksis who escaped India easily and roam freely but also to opaque means of election funding introduced by Modi govt, big spending on his PR campaigns.
he further tweets, Modi govt writes off bank loans worth ₹ 1.44 lakh crore, yes ₹ 1.44 lakh crore, in just one year. None of those will be for the farmers or the salaried workers, they would all be for friendly corporates

Israel medical startup chains

LR Group is investing NIS 50 million in building and operating three shared workspaces for biotechnology and medical startups near three hospitals in Israel – Hadassah Medical Centre Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, Rabin Medical Centre (Beilinson Hospital) in Petah Tikva and Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa. The new chain will be called LR Biohouse and offers a unique combination of technological incubator, shared workspace and synergy with the hospital.
LR Group operates worldwide in developing, financing, building, and managing medium and large scale projects in high growth economies including agriculture, water, energy and power, telecom, health, and construction.
The first of the three shared workspaces has been built in cooperation with Hadassah Medical Centre Ein Kerem and the Jerusalem Development Authority’s BioJerusalem venture and will be launched next week on June 19.
The Jerusalem LR Biohouse will have space for 40-50 early stage and more mature biotech and medical startups as well as a startup accelerator, which will be operated by Hadassah.
The startups in LR Biohouse will enjoy shared equipment and facilities and data processing systems and most importantly access to the hospital’s infrastructure including laboratories, and amenities for animal and clinical trials including access to patients for the trials. LR Biohouse will also help in introducing potential investors, partners and customers.

Competitiveness, climate, security Finn’s priorities Ministry of Finance release Finnish road map of EU presidency. Finland i...