Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in Tehran. The two leaders agreed to continue talks between India and Pakistan in a result-oriented manner.Singh and Zardari reaffirmed their commitment to continue dialogue between the countries as they exchanged their views on bilateral ties and regional issues. The Prime Minister has asked for a speedy trial of convicts of Mumbai terror attacks and the Pakistani President has agreed that terrorism is a threat to peace of the region. Prime Minister and Zardari appreciated the good work done by the officials of both country for establishing peace process. Zardari has also invited Singh to Pakistan and the Prime Minister accepted Zardari’s invitation saying he will visit Pakistan at an appropriate time and with a full schedule.Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari‚ Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik were also present during the meeting.The meeting between the two leaders was held amid clear indications that terrorism would be the prime focus of the Indian side.The meeting came a day after the Supreme Court upheld Ajmal Amir Kasab’s death sentence in the Mumbai terror attack case, strengthening India’s case for action against others involved in the 26/11 strike.This is the second meeting between the two leaders this year. Singh had last met Zardari in New Delhi in April 2012 when the Pakistani President made a private visit to India to pray at the Sufi shrine in Ajmer.
Monthly Archives: August 2012
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan has become the third Indian actor to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, for taking up social issues on his show ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Aamir has been making waves for his social awareness show ‘Satyamev Jayate’. He is featured on the cover of Time with the caption Khan’s Quest. The blurb says, “He’s breaking the Bollywood mold by tackling India’s social evils. Can one actor change a nation?” It was only after his show, Rajasthan government promised to set up fast track courts to resolve pending female foeticide cases in the state. Aamir was also invited to Parliament to discuss issue of FDI in pharmaceuticals. Aamir also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to emphasise the plight of manual scavengers. The other two Bollywood stars who have made it to the cover of Time magazine are Parveen Babi in July 1976 and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in 2003. Other than Bollywood actors, people who have made it to the cover of the magazine include Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narendra Modi.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has landed himself in a controversy by his comment on malnutrition, blaming ‘beauty-conscious’ girls. Grabbing the opportunity, the Congress has slammed Modi saying his focus has always been on GDP and not on health. It is clear that health is not a priority in Gujarat. He talks only about GDP. Narendra Modi has been unsuccessful in dealing with education and health claimed congress leaders.Law Minister Salman Khurshid said, “I don’t know what was the need to make this comment. There are more serious issues which need to be dealt with in Gujarat.”
Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhwadia said Modi’s statement was an inuslt to women. “This statement is not only a joke on woman but also an insult to the women of Gujarat. The most anaemic women are tribals and tell me from where are they beauty conscious? The government is not looking after them, there is very little expenditure on women.Congress leader Girija Vyas demanded that Modi takes back his words. “He should take back his words. This statement is making a joke of girls as well as poverty. The BJP hit back saying the Congress was afraid of Modi, The whole medical fraternity is discussing the presence of anaemia in the not so poor sections of the society. They are discussing various reasons. But Congress has a phobia for Modi. That is why when they listen to the name of Modi, they criticize. Modi is making headlines over a controversial statement to The Wall Street Journal. He linked the state’s malnutrition to vegetarianism and figure-conscious girls. Modi parried a question whether he sees himself as a future prime minister, saying he was concentrating on Gujarat. “I can’t think beyond that,” he said.
The Federal Reserve will do more to stimulate the economy later this year, and once the US deals with its fiscal issues, economic growth should improve sharply.“Federal Reserve members were quite clear that the economy will have to improve for them to not QE,” “Power Lunch,” referring to the minutes from the Fed’s last meeting. And with all the issues surrounding the fiscal cliff – when a host of tax cuts expire and automatic spending increases kick in – the economy is unlikely to improve much in the near term. Given all the fiscal issues one may get another round of QE. Markets aren’t expecting the Fed to move until after the presidential election, however. At that point, expects the economy to be much weaker and the Fed to act. Fed easing should continue until the economy shows signs of consistent growth,.That improvement should start to show up heading into 2014, when economic growth forecast is 4%. “By this time next year, the economy will begin hitting its stride.The fundamental reason for this optimism is the strength of American corporations which have cut costs and have improved profit margins. US has to nail down those fiscal issues and these good fundamentals will start to shine through, By 2014-15, the surprise is going to be how strong the economy is growing.
The Supreme Court has upheld death penalty for 26/11 Mumbai attacks convict Ajmal Kasab. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab is the lone Pakistani terrorist captured alive in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. He was sentenced to death for his role in the attacks that left 166 people dead by a special court in Mumbai on May 6, 2010.
The apex court dismissed all the arguments on behalf of Kasab. The Supreme Court, in its judgement said that Kasab waged a war against India and has charged him with killing people.Kasab had challenged the sentence in the highest court of appeal early this year. The apex court that conducted a marathon hearing in the case for two months and reserved its verdict in the case in April, will pronounce whether it will be death for Kasab. In May 2010, a trial court had sentenced the Pakistani national to death, an order upheld by the Bombay High Court in October 2011. Kasab, who was not represented by a counsel at the trial and the appealate stages in the Bombay High Court appealed to the Supreme Court that he was not given a free and fair trial in the case. In his appeal, he also said he was brainwashed into committing the crime in the name of ‘God’. Kasab said he did not deserve capital punishment because of his young age.Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, who was asked to defend Kasab, had told a Bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam that he was not a part of the larger conspiracy for waging a war against the nation.Even as Kasab’s legal battle has continued for the last four years, the cost of keeping him alive proved to be a burden on the state exchequer.So far the cost of keeping Kasab in his cell has proved to be Rs 25 crore. The high security cell at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail costs Rs 5.25 crore. Rs 19 crore has been spent by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police for security. Salaries to the policemen protecting Kasab adds up to Rs 1.23 crore.Kasab’s medical expenses have cost Rs 28,000 and his food came up to Rs 35,000.
I apologise for the inconvenience”, US astronaut Neil Armstrong told Indira Gandhi when informed that the Indian Prime Minister had kept awake till 4:30 am to watch him land on the moon on July 20, 1969.This anecdote about the celebrated astronaut, who died two days ago, was recalled here by former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh who was present when Armstrong and his fellow astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin met Mrs Gandhi in New Delhi as part of their world tour after their moon landing. Singh, who conducted the two heroes into Mrs Gandhi’s room at her Parliament House office, recalled that the then US ambassador was also present. After photographers snapped the two astronauts with the prime minister and left the room, there was an awkward silence.On being signaled by Mrs Gandhi to speak, Singh said: “Mr Armstrong, you will be interested to know that the Prime Minister kept awake till 4.30 am, so as not to miss the exact time of your lunar landing.”Singh recalled that Armstrong rose to the occasion, and said: “I apologize for the inconvenience we caused you, Madame Prime Minister. Next time, I shall make sure that we land on the moon at a less unearthly hour”.July 20, 1969 became a watershed date in the history of mankind after Armstrong, commanding the Apollo 11 spacecraft landed on the moon, and accompanied by Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon.After the Apollo 11′s moon mission, Armstrong announced that he did not plan to fly in space again. Armstrong died on August 25 at the age of 82.
Gold hit a 4-1/2 month high on Monday before easing to more modest gains on speculation that the US Federal Reserve may unveil another round of monetary stimulus at a key central bankers’ meeting later this week.The precious metal, a traditional inflation hedge, received a boost after Fed Chairman Bernanke last week told a US Congressional panel in a letter that the Fed has room to deliver additional monetary stimulus to boost the US economy.
Bullion investors are keenly awaiting the annual symposium of central bankers and finance ministers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Bernanke will give a speech on Friday which will be closely watched for clues into the prospect of further bond-buying from the Fed. There certainly seems to be a premium in advance of the potential hint, but the downside is limited as whether Bernanke gives an indication of their intentions or not. Most economists agree the economic measures in the US point to a need for some action soon. Spot gold hit a 4-1/2 month high of USD 1,676.45 an ounce before steadying to post a 0.2% gain at USD 1,672.38 an ounce.The metal rose nearly 3.5% last week, its biggest one-week rise since late January.US gold futures for December delivery were up USD 2.20 an ounce at USD 1,675.10 in holiday-thinned trade, with volume sharply below its average.The UK market was shut Monday for a bank holiday, and many US trading desks were thinly staffed at the beginning of the last week of traditional summer vacation.
Even as the crisis over the coal blocks allocations at home grows, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will take off to Iran to attend the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit in its capital Tehran. The Prime Minister will get a much needed breather as he heads for the 120-nation summit. The PM is scheduled to meet many world leaders there including Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
While the summit itself has not generated expectations among Indian diplomats, the visit underscores Iran’s importance to India in critical areas. Iran is seen by most as a potential energy supplier in the long term. Its significance also lies in providing the land route to the strategic Central Asia. It could also be a partner in regional security, especially when the US withdraws its troops from Afghanistan post-2014.Iran, on the other hand, may seek greater support from India on its nuclear standoff with the West. India, however, has already made known its position.We believe that there is a right of each state party to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and this has to be done in a manner which accords with both their rights and their obligations which they themselves have entered into.More than anything else, the PM’s visit is about India asserting its sovereign right to craft and implement a foreign policy that secures its core national interests, rejecting outside pressures of every kind.
China’s central bank completed its largest weekly injection of funds into China’s banking system , aiming to give banks the liquidity they need to support the economy following the weakest month for bank lending in a year.In a move that traders and analysts see as a substitute for a cut in banks’ required reserve ratio (RRR), the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) injected a net 278 billion yuan into the interbank money market this week, the largest net injection since early January.Through last week, traders and analysts had widely expected that an RRR cut was imminent, and many analysts still believe a cut is needed to give banks the liquidity they need to boost lending.
PBOC’s decision to inject the funds through open market operations, rather than a cut in RRR, indicates the central bank’s abiding concern about stoking inflation.The PBOC’s choice of monetary policy tools reflects an emphasis on structural adjustment and a worry about house price rebounds. New yuan loans totalled only 540 billion yuan in July, the lowest monthly total since July 2011. Exports and industrial output data also indicated broad weakness in the economy.House prices have now risen for two straight months on a monthly basis, following eight consecutive monthly declines resulting from Beijing’s campaign to bring prices down. Prices of agricultural produce have also crept up for five straight weeks, Ministry of Commerce data shows.The difference between ‘RRR cut plus forward repos’ and reverse repos is that reverse repos offer more flexibility and precision. The flexibility comes from the fact that reverse repos are short-term – either seven- or 14-days – so their effect is temporary. They can also be targeted at specific banks in need of liquidity.By contrast, an RRR cut affects all banks and is effectively permanent unless the central bank moves actively to reverse it.