Thursday, July 5, 2018

Poland’s SC chief to go to work

Poland’s Supreme Court chief Malgorzata Gersdorf plans to go to work as usual on Wednesday, a court spokesman said. The statement comes after President Andrzej Duda announced the judge would retire as of July 4, Reuters reports. “Plans have not changed here, Mrs Gersdorf intends to come to work tomorrow,” the spokesman said. Legislation enforcing the retirement of some Supreme Court judges, including the chief, is at the center of a conflict between Poland and the European Union. Duda confirmed earlier in the day that Gersdorf will retire on July 4, in line with legislation introduced by the ruling Law and Justice party, according to an aide to the president.

Turkey president get more powers

Turkey issued a decree on Wednesday transferring some powers to the president, in line with its move to an executive presidential system after last month’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The decree, published in the official gazette, makes changes to laws dating from 1924 to 2017, altering references to the prime minister and cabinet of ministers to the president and the president’s office, Reuters reports. The office of prime minister is to be abolished and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be able to form and regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval. The government has been issuing decrees, bypassing parliament, since a state of emergency imposed following an attempted military coup in July 2016. Erdogan has promised to lift emergency rule after the election. The changes in the latest decree will take effect when Erdogan takes the oath of office, expected in parliament on July 8 or 9.

Macron: ‘We need more Africans to succeed in Africa’

French President Emmanuel Macron called in Lagos on Wednesday for Africa and Europe to reach a “win-win” solution to migration.
During an address to 300 young entrepreneurs on the second day of his visit to Nigeria, he said that the continents share a “common destiny.” The sustainable answer is not just security, Macron said, adding that people were leaving peaceful countries including Senegal, Ivory Coast and Nigeria because of “a lack of hope, a lack of opportunities.” The president said that “these people, given the magnitude of this wave, cannot be accepted, at least, not all of them,”AFP reports. “We need more Africans to succeed in Africa,” Macron said.

Turn of Vietnam, Japan Edu Model

 Vietnam will adopt the methods used at Japan’s technical colleges.They held a symposium in Hanoi for about 200 people, including Vietnamese government officials and school operators.
The president of Japan’s National Institute of Technology, Isao Taniguchi, said technical schools helped Japan to achieve rapid economic growth.
He called for Japanese-style technical colleges to be established in Vietnam to further develop the country’s industries.
Vietnam’s economy has had an annual growth rate of more than 6 percent in recent years. More than 1,700 Japanese companies are operating there.
Improving the technical skills of Vietnam’s workers will be important for future economic growth.
Japanese officials plan to dispatch instructors to help Vietnamese technical colleges introduce a Japanese-style curriculum.
Students at technical colleges in Japan study engineering, information technology, electronics, biotechnology, and other practical fields for 5 years from the age of 15. After graduating, they can continue their studies or begin working as engineers.
Thailand and Mongolia have adopted similar systems for technical training.
Even in Indian state of  Gujarat has marked the end of a groundbreaking international training course.
Japan style of education in field of manufacturing  250 students attended a certification ceremony on Wednesday at a manufacturing school in Mehsana founded by the Indian unit of Japanese carmaker Suzuki.
The school offers the year-long course as part of the Japan-India Institute for Manufacturing, or JIM.
Under a 2016 agreement, major Japanese firms, including automaker Toyota, opened 5 manufacturing schools in India.
Since last year, students have been learning essential industrial techniques as well as the Japanese approach to manufacturing.
Maruti Suzuki India’s Managing Director & CEO, Kenichi Ayukawa, said the skills and training the participants received will allow them to join the manufacturing industry with confidence and contribute to growth.
A student said that the course gave him hope for the future. He says he wants to get a good job and use the skills he learned to become a leader in the workplace.
The system will train as many as 30,000 people over the next decade in a bid to secure the skilled workers needed as the Indian economy continues to grow.

US tariffs rolls weaken Yuan

US tariffs rolls pack weaken Yuan, China’s currency and stock markets have been jittery ahead of a deadline for US tariffs on 34 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods these tariffs are set to go into effect on Friday.
Chinese currency takes beating ahead of this, the yuan slipped to its lowest level in about 10 months.
China’s central bank chief attributed this to the strength of the US dollar and “external uncertainties.” He is likely to take up fiscal course to prop up the currency.
People’s Bank of China governor Yi Gang said in a statement that “recently, there have been some fluctuations in the foreign exchange market” and that the bank is paying close attention to this.
But he added that “international payments were stable, and cross-border capital flows were roughly balanced”.
Yi’s remarks come at a time when the Chinese currency is under considerable pressure. The yuan weakened past 6.7 to the dollar on Tuesday for the first time since August 2017.

Japan expects 1.5% growth in FY2019

Japan’s government sees GDP growing by about 1.5 percent in fiscal 2019. Officials expect the current recovery to continue even after the planned consumption tax hike to 10 percent in October 2019.
Officials expect personal spending to increase, and predict that investment in plant and equipment will also grow solidly. They are expecting about 1.5 percent growth in real terms, excluding price fluctuations, and nominal growth of about 2.8 percent.
Looking to the current fiscal year, officials plan to lower the real growth estimate to about 1.5 percent, down 0.3 points from the January forecast. That’s partly due to housing investment being weaker than anticipated.

Global GDP to dip in this quarter

Trade barriers erected by major economies could jeopardize the global economic recovery. Main cause of this economic interruption for the leaders to be populism and too much of global trade with no move to create opportunities for their nationals has brought the national and global economy at the combating crossroads where leaders shall speak eloquently on the subject.  Next comes the mechanism of global trade is under protectionism a for which the top economy wants to displace the other emerging economies. The tariff trade war surging each day and successive  levies between developed economies raise question of global business contracting this quarter and global economy growth to be below 2%.
Corporate with new utility products in artificial intelligence likely to remain in green.
With South Asian countries with its unique presence shall be able to sustain the growth which will give cushion to the emerging economy, it is expected that these economies could remain the fastest growing ones.  EU economy  shall play an important role in Eurasia with its new partners and  viable for its demand to remain intact.
Stock market the barometers of economy will find most of the global stock market find in bearish zone with slight profit making at lower levels, on going through the market blue chips are in southwards, Vedanta, ONGC, Tata Motors, Adani Ports, SBI, Yes Bank, Tata Steel, TCS, Bharti Airtel, Hero MotoCorp, Infosys, Asian Paints, ITC, L&T, ICICI Bank, Wipro and Coal India were among the top index losers, shedding up to 1.91 per cent. 
The decision to extend economic sanctions against Russia for six months will be taken on July 5 and will become effective next Monday
European diplomatic source said on Wednesday, the eve of the EU summit. “The decision to extend sanctions will be made on Thursday. It will be published in the Official Journal of the EU on Monday, July 9, and will be effective since then,” the source said. The political decision to extend sanctions was made at the EU summit on June 28-29 in Brussels. It was noted that extension of sanctions was related to a lack of progress in implementing the Minsk agreements in eastern Ukraine.
Corruption, unemployment, non-skill, terrorism, war and poverty shall add fuel to fire to but drugs trade policies for some  countries like Canada and others can bring  marginal relief along with demographic dividend on rise for the countries.Regional cooperation amount the developed states are adding growth dimensions to the Nordic, Baltic, SARC, Far East with Australia and new land to remain in balancing acts.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the EU will make every effort to avoid a trade war with the US, but Washington needs to join in that effort. The US has imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum imports and is mulling whether to add tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts. “It is worth every effort to try to defuse this conflict so that it doesn’t turn into a real war, but of course there are two sides to that,” Merkel told the German parliament Wednesday. She added that the good functioning of the world economy depends on countries working together as partners, AP reports. Merkel also said that“Germany is a reliable partner in NATO,” referring to the US pressure over what it considers Germany’s insufficient defense spending.
With Brexit England’s GDP is also shows sign of decline and more people are leaving citizenship of UK , opting for neighboring  and other states. India and China economy turning bleak could bring more stress to its business and corporate world in next two quarter and opportunities for employment will decline with self -employment may be the saviour for the two giants.
WTO Report: Trade barriers erected by major economies could jeopardize the global economic recovery and their effects are already starting to show, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In a report on trade restrictions among G20 nations, published on Wednesday, it said that “this continued escalation poses a serious threat to growth and recovery in all countries.” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said that “we are beginning to see this reflected in some forward-looking indicators.” In May, the WTO’s quarterly trade outlook indicator suggested trade would grow slower in the second quarter than in the first.

Iran & Syria inks MoU on academic

Syria and Iran have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for increasing cooperation in the field of higher education and scientific research. for enhancing cooperation in medical fields, rehabilitating delegates and excelled students and training in various medical and pharmaceutical specialties.
The Memo was signed in Tehran by Syrian Minister of Higher Education Dr. Atef Nadaf and Iranian Deputy Minister of Health, and Iranian Deputy Health Minister for Education Bagher Larijani, in the presence of Syria’s Ambassador to Iran Adnan Mahmoud.
The MoU includes cooperation in the field of supporting twinship agreements in accordance with the regulations in force in both countries and the exchange of university students, researchers and professors to participate in scientific and medical activities in both countries.
It also provides for enhancing cooperation in medical fields and training in various medical and pharmaceutical specializations such as, neurosurgery, orthopedic and cardiology and women surgery, liver transplantation, biomedical sciences, stem cells and laser technology.
Contribution in rebuilding Syrian educational institutions, hospitals and universities and granting scholarships which would meet the needs of the Syrian Ministry of Higher Education in the Masters and PhD were also included in the MoU.

PGTI Feeder Tour at Lucknow GC

Ashbeer Saini, Vishal Singh, Nur Hossain Sardar share opening day honours at Feeder Tour event in Lucknow
Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal fires a rare albatross 
Lucknow, July 4, 2018: Kapurthala’s Ashbeer Saini, Jaipur’s Vishal Singh and Nur Hossain Sardar of Kolkata produced the opening day’s best efforts of two-under-68 to take the early lead at the PGTI Feeder Tour event being played at the Lucknow Golf Club.
Delhi-based Bhanu Pratap Singh shot a one-under-69 to occupy fourth place in round one of the season’s fifth and penultimate event.
Ashbeer Saini, who won his maiden title at the Feeder Tour event in Karnal last month, continued his top form as he sank five birdies in exchange for three bogeys.
The 24-year-old Saini, currently third on the Feeder Tour Order of Merit, thanks to his top-10s in all four events this season, was one-over through the first seven holes. However, two conversions from 15 to 25 feet on the eighth and 10th got his game up and running.
Thereafter, some quality iron-play ensured two more birdies for Ashbeer on the 12th and 13th. He dropped his third shot of the day on the 15th to close with a 68.
Saini said, “I’m playing at the Lucknow Golf Club for the first time so I’m quite happy with this start. I feel there is much more consistency in my game now and that gives me the opportunity to contend every week.
“Reading the greens will be the key at this course. The faster I adjust to the green speed the more chances I’ll have of picking up strokes.”
Nur Hossain Sardar has had a forgettable Feeder Tour season so far having posted just one top-20 in four starts. Sardar, however, looks set to turn it around as he submitted the only bogey-free card of the opening day. Nur Hossain made pars till the 13th and then enjoyed a late surge with birdies on the 14th and 16th.
Vishal Singh, a former winner on the PGTI, mixed four birdies with two bogeys to be part of the three-way tie at the top along with Saini and Sardar.
Bhanu Pratap Singh added two late birdies on the 16th and 18th to end the day just a shot behind the leaders.
Lucknow’s Vijay Kumar made three birdies and three bogeys during his round of even-par-70 that placed him tied fifth along with four others.
One of the highlights of the day was Chandigarh lad Rajiv Kumar Jatiwal’s spectacular albatross on the par-5 third where he holed his second shot, a five-iron, from a distance of 195 yards. Jatiwal’s round of 74 placed him tied 35th.


In the wake of recent amendments in Master Plan of Delhi, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in a communication sent to Mr. Hardeep Puri, Union Urban Development Minister has sought several clarifications for want of which the people of Delhi are in a confusing state to avail the benefits of amendments in Master Plan.
CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal in the communication has said that for LSC, FAR is provided as 350 but it is yet to be clarified as to what will be the exact ground coverage on each floor. LSCs are free hold properties because when the plans were sanctioned, it was owned by one person. The property has changed hands several times and as of now, there are co owners also in the properties.The co owners should also be allowed to file their applications separately to get it regularized.
Mr. Khandelwal further said that it is yet to be made clear whether conversion charges are applicable on special area comprising of walled city, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazar, Paharganj etc. The status of special area is also yet to be defined to protect the same from sealing. Clarity is required for protection for Building and markets prior to 1962. Status of markets of L&DO also needs to be clarified from protection point of view. Since 2007 to till date much has been changed in Delhi and as such re-survey of roads is necessary for further notification of roads.
He also said that since the business paradigm in Delhi has changed, the 24 categories in small shops should be abolished and size of small shop should be enhanced to 50sqm instead of current 20sqm. Colonies like Greater Kailash, Green Park, South Extension which were built by DLF should be considered as Rehabilitation Colony at par with other colonies of DLF. In proportion of growing need, ample parking space should be developed in consultation with Trade Associations. Facility of Bar should be allowed in only Restaurants working in residential areas as one of the basic fundamentals of fine dining.
He has also drawn the attention of Mr. Puri towards early notification of 351 Roads and urge him to defend the same strongly in the Supreme Court.

Happening Moments in New Delhi

CPR is pleased to invite you to a talk on
Compulsory Development: The Ideal Model of Land Acquisition in India and China
Huang Yinghong

Tuesday, 10 July 2018, 12:30 p.m.
Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research
Image may contain: fruit and food
Delhi Tourism .Delhi Tourism’s much awaited Mango Festival celebrating the king of fruits is back this summer season. The three day festival is being organized from 6th to 8th July 2018 at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri from 11:00 AM to 9:00 P.M. Delhiites can look forward to another fascinating display of mangoes as more participants are bringing varieties of mangoes this year.
Mango with all its benefits will be the highlight of the event with more than 500 varieties at display. Be ready for fun activities like Mango Eating Competitions, Cultural Programmes and Regional Food at one of the most awaited events in the city.
Centre for Policy Research & Trivedi Centre for Political Data (Ashoka University) invite you to a panel discussion on
Interpreting the 2019 elections: Settling a research agenda
Friday, 6 July 2018, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Conference room, Centre for Policy Research
Skill Enhancement in Logistics
‘Creating Future skilled logistics professionals’
13 July 2018
Silver Oak Hall, India Habitat Centre, Delhi
Advancing Trade Facilitation in Asia Pacific Region
0915 -1315 Hrs, Monday, 16 July 2018, Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi
INDIA TODAY GROUP request the pleasure of your company at ” INDIA TODAY MAKE IN INDIA EMERGING ENTREPRENEURS AWARDS” on Friday, July 06, 2018 in New Delhi.Event Time : 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Venue : Taj Mansigh Hotel, Mansingh Road, New Delhi
Interactive Session with Dr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and Member, NITI Aayog, Government of India, 13th July 2018 , 4:00 pm at PHD Chamber, New Delhi
NITI Aayog, India International Centre and Centre for Policy Research are pleased to invite you to the third panel discussion on
Vocabulary of the Digital, Thursday, 5 July 2018, 6:30 p.m.
Seminar Rooms I to III, Kamla Devi Complex, India International Centre
CPR Invite
CPR Land Rights Initiative is pleased to invite you to a talk on
‘Gau’ Raksha: The “Cow-Life Controversy” & the Bengali Muslim Public Sphere (1889-90),Dr Mou Banerjee Wednesday, 11 July 2018, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 Conference room, Centre for Policy Research..
Ananta Aspen Centre
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
TIME5:30 PM – 7:00 PM (Registration: 05:00 PM )
LOCATIONWWF Auditorium, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi
SPEAKERMr. Anshu Gupta – Founder, Goonj
CHAIRMr. Tarun Das, Founding Trustee, Ananta Aspen Centre & Chairman, Institute of Economic Growth


Invitation to be our Guest
JULY 06, 2018; 3.00 p.m. onwards; PHD HOUSE 
“Art & Culture has the power to change the world”
Dear Sir/ Ma’am,

Greetings from PHD!!

Thank you for being an eminent part of our previous endeavours.

It is our pleasure to cordially invite you as our Guest  for the PHD Arts & Culture Appreciation Awards & Cultural Evening ( with a Special Performance By Padmashri Smt. Geeta Chandran ) being organised on July 06, 2018 from 3.00 p.m onwards at PHD House, New Delhi.

Art and Culture play a vital role in the liveability of any country with cultural diversity being a driving force for development. The Indian subcontinent has always been a deep reservoir of talent. Indian artists with their timeless appeal and elegance have been admired across time and space. Thus via the PHD Art and Culture Appreciation Awards– we aim to acknowledge and honour the Game Changers-Individuals and Institutionsthat have made a significant contribution in the field of arts, music, dance, theatre and whose talented work has had a significantly positive impact on the cultural legacy of mankind.

Dr. Mahesh Sharma , Hon’ble Minister of State for Culture & Environment, Forest and Climate Change has been invited to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest.

The programme shall also be graced by eminent stalwarts of the Performing Arts industry, Hon’ble Ambassadors, National & International Cultural Organization representatives, Professionals with varied skills and interests, Artists of all genres and interested stakeholders. Please find enclosed the concept brochure for your kind perusal.
We would be pleased if you join us with your friends and family members. Please register on the link mentioned below:

Sonali Bendre Behl has been diagnosed with cancer. 

Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre releases statement, says has been diagnosed with high-grade cancer that has metastised. Bendre is currently undergoing treatment for the same in New York.
Sonali Bendre Behl, was last seen in a cameo appearance in the 2013 film, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Doobara, posted a statement on her Instagram and Twitter accounts saying she was under treatment in the US for high-grade cancer.
“Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently been diagnosed with a high grade cancer that has metastised, which we frankly did not see coming. A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis.  My family and close friends have rallied around me, providing the best support system that anyone can ask for.  I am very blessed and thankful for each of them.
“There is no better way to tackle this, than to take swift and immediate action. And so, as advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing a course of treatment in New York. We remain optimistic and I am determined to fight every step of the way. What has helped has been the immense outpouring of love and support I’ve received over the past few days, for which I am very grateful.
“I’m taking this battle head on, knowing I have the strength of my family and friends behind me.”

UNICEF condemns Yemen ‘carnage

UN slammed today the devastating impact of Yemen’s three-year conflict on children, with some 2,200 minors killed, and many more going hungry, forced to fight or dying from preventable diseases.
Nearly 10,000 people have died since a Saudi-led military coalition began fighting in Yemen in 2015 to restore the internationally recognised government to power after Iran-linked Huthi rebels took over Sanaa the year before.
UNICEF said today that at least 2,200 children had been killed and 3,400 others injured.  Henrietta Fore, the executive director, of the UN children’s agency said, Children make up half of some 22 million people in Yemen who rely on humanitarian aid to survive.
Fore pointed out to journalists in Geneva that millions of children were out of school and many were being forced to fight with different sides in the conflict.
Others were being married off, going hungry and dying from preventable diseases like cholera.
She called for all parties to the conflict and those with influence to rally behind efforts by the UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths to negotiate an end to the fighting in Hodeida and to relaunch peace talks for all of Yemen.
Ambassador Talmiz AhmadAdviser, West Asia & North Africa, Ananta Centre
Former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman & UAE
3rd July 2018 | VOL 03 ISSUE 07 | MONTHLY
• Political Developments

• Oil-related Developments

I) Political Developments1) Iran: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has sent a list of demands to France, Germany and Britain as its price for staying in the nuclear accord, while vowing not to give in to growing U.S. pressure to curb its oil sales. Iran has said if it cannot reap any economic benefits from remaining in the deal, which traded sanctions relief for curbing the Iranian nuclear program, then it would have little incentive to comply with its terms and would significantly ramp up uranium enrichment.
The EU has pledged to defend the agreement, protect European companies hurt by the U.S. decision and offer alternative financing for Iranian investments. However, finding practical ways around U.S. sanctions has proved difficult.
Again, in a speech to senior officials broadcast live by state television, Rouhani prepared the Iranian people for difficult times ahead, while affirming they could cope with such problems. He said: “We will not surrender before America, we will protect our historic dignity. We have to show the world that we will tolerate tough times, we will tolerate difficulties, but we will not trade in our independence, our freedom or our faith.”
In comments largely addressing his domestic critics, Rouhani promised his government would cut spending, reduce international travel and fly economy class to ease the burden on the public. He also said his government would import raw materials at affordable prices to help domestic manufacturers and ensure supply for Iranians. Additionally, he urged ministries to issue government bonds to give people alternatives to the dollar and the euro for investing their assets.
One of the few tangible financial gains Iran has seen from the nuclear deal has been an increase in its oil exports. A dramatic reduction could hurt economic growth and deepen a foreign currency shortage that has seen the Rial plunge against the dollar.
There are indications that the Iranian people are already facing difficulties: the central bank of Iran reported on 26 June that consumer prices in June grew at their fastest in three years, to 13.7 percent from a year earlier. Last week, Iran banned import of 1,400 non-essential and luxury goods to reduce the amount of foreign currency leaving the country.
On 27 June, the Trump administration began dismantling the sanctions relief that was granted to Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal. The Treasury Department announced it had revoked licenses that allowed U.S.-controlled foreign firms to export commercial aircraft parts to Iran as well as permitted Americans to trade in Iranian carpets, pistachios and caviar. It said businesses engaged in any such transactions would have to wind down those operations by 6 August or face penalties under U.S. sanctions. Another set of licenses covering other types of commerce, including oil purchases, will be revoked in coming weeks, with firms given until 4 November to end those activities.
Protests in Tehran: On 27 June, hundreds of merchants in the streets of Tehran’s Grand Bazaar shut down their shops, protesting against the sliding currency that, the supporters of President Rouhani believe, are being whipped up by hardliners to push him out of office. When a few dozen protesters chanted anti-government slogans — “The enemy is here. They [the regime] lie that it is the US” — the riot police stood by. Hard-line media outlets have given prominent coverage to the strike.
The government’s emergency measures — allocating hard currency largely to importers of basic commodities and imposing a ban on hundreds of imported goods, including cars — have pushed up prices of many products. Shopping malls, for instance, which are dependent on imported consumer goods including clothes and shoes, were surprised when the import ban was imposed. Many people are also withdrawing savings and buying gold, hard currency, property and cars in an attempt to protect their assets.
The Trump administration used this occasion to express sympathy for the plight of the Iranian people due to the policies of their government; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement: “The Iranian government is squandering its citizens’ resources, whether its adventurism in Syria, its support for Hizbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis, or its ambitions for wastefully expanding its nuclear program, it will only add to the suffering of the people of Iran…We condemn the government’s same futile tactics of suppression, imprisonment of protestors, and the denial of Iranians’ frustrations. The people of Iran are tired of the corruption, injustice, and incompetence from their leaders”
2) Yemen (attack on Hodeidah): From 12 June, the Saudi-led military alliance launched its assault on the heavily defended Yemeni Red Sea port city of Hodeidah to weaken the Houthis by cutting off a key supply line for the group, which controls the Yemeni capital Sanaa and most populated areas.
Coalition forces seized the airport on 27 June and have been consolidating their hold in the area as UN efforts continued to reach a political deal that would avert an assault on the port, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis. The United Nations fears the escalation in fighting could exacerbate what is already the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis, with 22 million Yemenis dependent on aid and an estimated 8.4 million believed to be on the verge of starvation.
Hodeidah is the main port servicing the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, and in successive waves of war that swept across Yemen over the last eight years, the city has been a strategic prize, the gateway to the country’s north. Saudi Arabia and the UAE hope the battle for Hodeidah can break a deadlock in the three-year war.
The World Food Programme said the fighting could result in up to 1.1 million people being either displaced or trapped within the city and in need of emergency food assistance. The International Crisis Group said the battle for Hodeidah was reaching “the point of no return”.
The coalition has pledged a swift military operation to take over the airport and seaport without entering the city centre, to minimize civilian casualties and maintain the flow of goods.
The humanitarian dimension of the Yemen conflict has become politicized. Critics of the Saudi and UAE intervention highlight the dire consequences of the war on areas of the country controlled by Houthi-backed rebels. The Saudi-UAE coalition has been accused of attempting to exploit the outpouring of global concern for Yemen’s starving, disease-ravaged civilians to cloak territorial grabs while downplaying its own sea blockade that has restricted or delayed imports and airstrikes that have caused civilian casualties.
The Houthis have been accused of abusing aid to maintain a tight grip on power over the areas they control by selecting who gives and gets aid. The heads of the relief groups that operate out of Hodeidah have privately acknowledged that the Houthis control the import, storage, transport, and distribution of international aid, using it as a political tool, and when opportune, exploiting the suffering of Yemeni civilians to put pressure on the Saudi-UAE coalition.
Afrah Nasser, a Yemeni journalist, has said she is alarmed by the politicians’ dismissal of civilian concerns. An official in Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s UN-backed government acknowledged the great human price being paid but told Nasser it was all for the greater good of ridding the country of the Houthis. An official of Ansarullah, the organization representing the Houthis, told Nasser of the great honour of dying in battle and the pride they took in making sacrifices in their quest to resist the hegemonic ambitions of the United States and its allies.
UN peace plan: On 9 June, Reuters published details of a draft UN peace plan for Yemen prepared by the UN special envoy, Mark Griffiths. The peace plan calls on the Houthi movement to give up its ballistic missiles in return for an end to a bombing campaign against it by a Saudi-led coalition, and a transitional governance agreement. The document also cites plans to create a transitional government, in which “political components shall be adequately represented,” in an apparent nod to the Houthis, who would be unlikely to cede Sanaa without participation in a future government.
A Houthi official cautiously welcomed the UN effort, describing a ceasefire as the first building block in the political process. “Our optimism will be determined by how serious and respectful the other parties are of the U.N. role,” the official told Reuters, noting that previous truces had failed.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, signalled Abu Dhabi’s desire to support Griffith’s efforts. “Politically, there is a necessity to back the U.N. effort. It will ultimately mean a transition, to a new political order in Yemen. Clearly with the U.N. effort, the military and political process will see the Houthis pull out of urban centres,” he said.
3) Turkey (Erdogan wins national elections): In May, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for snap elections on 24 June, nearly a year and a half before they were due in November 2019. The proposed elections would take place in a state of emergency, declared in the wake of the attempted coup in July 2016.
Last year, Erdogan had already obtained popular support for major changes in the country’s constitutional set-up which will now be implemented with these elections: the country would now have a presidential rather than a parliamentary system; the strength of the national assembly would increase from 550 to 600, and the voting age would now be 18 years instead of 25 years earlier. Not surprisingly, Erdogan’s critics at home and abroad saw in these changes an attempt by the president to consolidate his authoritarian rule in the country.
Opposition parties made a major effort to present a united front: though there were six presidential candidates, Erdogan’s principal opponent was Muharrem Ince who headed the Republican People’s Party (CHP, in its Turkish acronym) and campaigned on a secular platform. The other candidates were Meral Aksener of the newly setup IYI (Good) party and Selahattin Demirtas of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), who has been in prison since 2016 for backing the Kurdish insurgency.
The opposition campaign consisted of severe criticisms of the president’s dictatorial approach and the promise to return the country to parliamentary rule, end the state of emergency and, in the case of the Kurdish candidate, establish local democracy in place of strong central rule.
In the event, opposition hopes were dashed: in a voter turnout of 87 percent, Erdogan obtained 53 percent of the vote, while Ince got 31 percent. In parliament, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) got 295 seats, just short of a majority. However, his electoral ally, the rightwing Nationalist Action Party (MHP) got 48 seats, giving Erdogan a comfortable majority in parliament. The CHP and Meral’s IYI party got 146 and 43 seats, respectively. The Kurdish party did well to get 67 seats.
Erdogan’s success has been ascribed to his ardent nationalism and his military forays in Syria to confront the expanding territorial gains of the Kurds, while standing up to the Americans who were backing them.
The results have exposed the hostility that sections of the western political establishment and media have for Erdogan personally, projecting him as a hardline Islamist, largely on account of his tough posture towards the European Union (EU), his criticisms of US support for the Kurds in Syria, his overt shift towards Russia and his participation in the Russia-led peace process in Syria with Iran.
Despite dire warnings from some observers, Erdogan is unlikely to be either capricious or dictatorial: his authoritarian instincts will be restrained by his dependence on an ally for majority support, the strong presence of the opposition in parliament, and the clearly asserted democratic values of the Turkish people.
But, there are formidable challenges before the newly elected president. Erdogan, with five years in power ahead of him, will need to urgently address the economy, where the currency has lost its value and inflation and unemployment have dealt serious blows to the very people who see him as “our father” and depend on him for salvation. Turkey is also facing the impact of hosting over three million Syrian refugees.
Erdogan will also need to heal the divisions in his country – mainly between his government and the Kurds. He has for long seen their aspirations for political, economic and cultural space in their country as a security threat, without accepting that perhaps his own highhanded policies could have added to their sense of alienation.
Erdogan enjoys certain advantages as well. Large numbers of Turkish people accept Erdogan’s narrative relating to the “Gulenist conspiracy” that had tried to overthrow him in 2016, with the help of foreign powers. Most Turks are also comfortable with his vision in which Turkey is neither European or Asian but is in the vanguard of shaping a new “Eurasian” identity which would place Turkey more deeply anchored in ties with Russia and China, while maintaining close political and economic ties with the EU.
4) Iraq’s electoral scene in disarray: Developments since the election results were announced in Iraq in May have seriously complicated the political scenario, with government formation still a distant prospect. The electoral triumph of the Sadrist- Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) alliance, which had won the most votes, seems to be breaking up as Muqtada al-Sadr has entered into an alliance with pro-Iran Badr Brigades militia commander Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Fatih bloc. This coming together of two Shia blocs that had till recently been far apart suggests that Iraq’s politics could continue to be defined by sectarian considerations and that Iran’s influence will remain undiluted.
Al-Sadr stressed nationalist considerations as motivating his new alliance and called others to join. The ICP put on a brave face: ICP Secretary Raid Fahmi told broadcaster Al Iraqiya that an al-Sadr-Amiri merger “does not come as a surprise” and welcomed the inclusion of Iran’s strongest militant outfit in the new government. Fahmi advised observers to look beyond the “shape, composition and seat allocations of the new government,” which he promised would bring forward “a political reform programme,” and to focus on “the foundations that the government is built on” as what counts.
Iraqi commentator Ahmad Mahmoud said the militia alliance is a reassertion of the status quo of an Iran-controlled Baghdad-seated government. Ali Khedery, a former adviser to US ambassadors to Baghdad, described on Twitter this outcome as “another strategic victory for Iran’s [Qassem] Soleimani” — commander of al-Quds Force, the overseas wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. His prediction is that “[America’s] troops will soon be evicted, our embassy crippled. Iran is consolidating its grip across its crescent.”
To further complicate matters and delay government formation, Iraq’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a manual recount of May 12 parliamentary elections that had resulted in a shock victory for Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The court found on 21 June that the decision by parliament to order a manual recount in response to allegations of electoral fraud does not violate the constitution.
5) New regional grouping in the Gulf: On June 6, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the formation of the “Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council”, the brainchild of the two countries’ powerful crown princes, Muhammad bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed. The Saudi Arab News has said: “The aim of the council is to promote Saudi-Emirati stature on the global stage in a number of areas including the economy, political affairs, human development and security as well as ensuring citizen welfare and happiness.”
The two princes’ vision is known as the “Determination Strategy”, the official Saudi Press Agency stated, giving a five-year deadline to implement the program of no fewer than 44 areas of cooperation, including arms manufacture and military coordination. The last reference has generated concerns in Qatar and the US that the two countries might be planning a military assault on Qatar.
US commentator Simon Henderson believes that the council is “probably the death knell of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)”. He points out that despite several internal differences the GCC members had been able to successfully meet the challenge posed by the Iranian revolution and protect Kuwait’s interests after the Iraqi occupation of 1990. But, the GCC has been under strain because of the year-long Gulf confrontation between Qatar and its neighbours, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt.

UN chief condemns suicide attack on Sikhs & Hindus

UN chief said in a statement issued by his spokesperson that any attack targeting civilians is unjustifiable and in clear violation of international law.
The UN Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and urged all parties to uphold their obligation to protect civilians, including minority communities.
The majority of victims belong to Afghanistan’s small Sikh and Hindu community. The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
An ISIS suicide bomber targeted a convoy of Sikhs and Hindus on their way to meet the Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday.

L-G’s role cannot be obstructionist.

Reports ANI : Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, who was reading out the judgment in the Delhi government – Lieutenant Governor power tussle case on Wednesday said that the L-G’s role cannot be obstructionist.
CJI Misra said that the L-G must work harmoniously with the state and the council of ministers have to be constantly aligned.
“L-G cannot act independently unless where the Constitution allows. L-G cannot be an obstructionist, he must take advice from the Council of Ministers. The Council has to inform the L-G of its decisions. The L-G must work harmoniously with the state, the L-G and council of ministers have to be constantly aligned. There is no space for anarchy,” the CJI said.
The CJI further said that the relationship between the Centre and the State Government should be healthy.
He added, “Obeying the constitution is everybody’s duty and responsibility. The relationship between the Centre and the State Government should be healthy.”
Meanwhile, another judge said, “Lt Governor cannot refer all matters to the President.” It also added, “Delhi cannot have full statehood in view of an earlier nine-judge judgment.”
On December 6 last year, the top court had reserved its judgment on the plea of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government challenging the DelhiHigh Court’s August 4, 2016 ruling, which stated that Delhi is a Union Territory and the Lieutenant Governor is its administrative head. The judgment further said that the L-G is not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers.
In November last year, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court observed that the AAP government in Delhi needs the Lieutenant Governor’s nod to govern the national capital, but the L-G cannot sit on files beyond a reasonable period.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan had reserved the verdict in the case after a 15-day long hearing.
However, the Centre told the apex court that the AAP cannot claim privileges of a state government, as Delhi is a Union Territory.
The Centre also refuted allegations of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government that the Lieutenant Governor sat on files sent by the government for their execution.
The power tussle between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor has been on since the formation of the AAP government in the state.
Recently, Kejriwal, along with Delhi‘s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and others, sat on a nine-day sit-in strike against DelhiLieutenant Governor Anil Baijal at the latter’s office-cum-residence.
Kejriwal and other ministers urged Baijal to direct the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers working under the Delhiadministration to end their “undeclared strike.” (ANI)

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