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PM Modi visits Vajpayee’s house, greets him on his birthday

Earlier, Modi hailed Vajpaye as a leader who distinguished himself in every role, while greeting him on his birthday. “Birthday greetings to our beloved Atalji. We salute this great personality who provided exceptional leadership to India at a crucial time,” the PM had tweeted earlier in the day.
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Alleged Thai gunrunner extradited to India, accused of supplying Chinese arms to militants

Naru was brought to India on Tuesday and was produced in a special court that sent him to NIA custody till December 21. Naru is accused of illegal procurement of huge quantity of sophisticated arms and ammunitions from a foreign country and supplying the same to insurgent groups in the North-East India.

A Thai national, accused of being a major gunrunner for militant groups operating in North Eastern states, was brought to India and placed under arrest after National Investigation Agency his extradition. Identified as Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich alias Willy Naru, the accused’s name had come up during the interrogation of Anthony Shimray, self-styled foreign secretary of Naga group NSCN (I-M).Naru was brought to India on Tuesday and was produced in a special court that sent him to NIA custody till December 21. Naru is accused of illegal procurement of huge quantity of sophisticated arms and ammunitions from a foreign country and supplying the same to insurgent groups in the North-East India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 58-year-old’s arrest is being considered an extremely important development as he is supposed to be the main liaison between Chinese arms dealers and militant groups waging war against India. He was arrested on the request of the NIA in Bangkok on August 30, 2013, on the basis of an Interpol Red Corner Notice.”Naruenartwanich is a Thai national and was stationed in Bangkok. He had appealed against the order of extradition in the Appellate Court in Bangkok which was rejected November 2015. Accordingly the custody of Willy was given to Chief Investigating Officer of case on December 8 by the Government of Kingdom of Thailand. He was brought to New Delhi and was arrested,” said NIA in a statement.In its charge sheet, the NIA said that the NSCN(I-M) used to get most of its arms from the Chinese arms company NORINCO and Naru had allegedly negotiated the deal.”Investigation by NIA had revealed that the accused Anthony Shimray had negotiated several times with Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich to fix a deal to the tune of US $ 1.2 million to procure huge quantity of arms and ammunition for supply to the NSCN (IM) and other insurgent groups operating in the North Eastern region for waging war against the Government of India. For this deal, US $ 800,000 was paid by accused Anthony Shimray to co-accused Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich,” NIA said. Important development The 58-year-old’s arrest is being considered an extremely important development as he is supposed to be the main liaison between Chinese arms dealers and militant groups waging war against India. He was arrested on the request of the NIA in Bangkok on August 30, 2013, on the basis of an Interpol Red Corner Notice.

India scores major diplomatic victory after China invites northern army commander for talks

The invitation comes five years after China refused to host the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a ‘disputed’ territory.

Lt Gen DS Hooda

Far from the euphoria over Bangkok handshake, India is quietly basking under a major diplomatic victory after China invited Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda for discussions on the border management and boundary issues.The invitation comes five years after China refused to host the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a ‘disputed’ territory.Lt Gen Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Udhampur- based Northern Command, along with other army commanders are scheduled to travel to China in mid-December to hold discussions with Chinese counterparts on varied issues relating to the boundary issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He (Lt Gen Hooda) is likely to visit China in mid-December. Exact dates will be intimated later,” Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command, told dna.The four-day-long talks between Indian and Chinese military delegation will focus on a host of issues relating to the boundary disputes, border management and maintaining peace and tranquility on the line of actual control in Ladakh and other parts of the country that shares border with China.India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Jammu and Kashmir shares 646 Km of line of actual control (LAC) with China. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China.The incursions and transgressions by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a cause of worry for the people in Ladakh division, though the number has decreased for the last one year.In September, two armies were engaged in a bitter standoff after Indian troops dismantled the watch tower constructed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Burste in Depsang Plains on the LAC.In April 2013 Indian and PLA were engaged in a major face-off when the Chinese troops had come 19 kilometres deep inside the Indian Territory at Daulat Beg Oldi sector on LAC and set up tented posts. The 20-day standoff ended on May 5 2013 when troops from both sides withdrew to the pre-incursion positions on the LAC.”We hope that there will be a movement forward in the meeting between the military leaderships of the two countries. There is a major policy shift in China and a lot of goodwill towards India. We hope to carry forward the mission of friendship with China,” said an army officer.

For faster growth, Modi needs to show Indians more reasons to save

MUMBAI On paper, India’s households have more reason than ever to save. But convincing them that the central bank can keep inflation low is proving difficult, hindering the country’s ambitious growth plans.

That raises the stakes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government, which wants to channel more savings into investments that can generate both growth and jobs, to boost chances of winning a second term after its landslide victory in 2014.

Real interest rates have been positive for over a year, ending almost a decade of negative rates, during which fast-rising prices ate away at whatever savers earned on deposits, and hardened their preference to hold gold and property.

Now inflation is around record lows and gold and property prices are languishing.

But a lack of confidence that inflation will stay muted, combined with lacklustre income growth, means India’s overall savings growth rates are at the weakest level in years, following five years of decline.

“If the government really wants to propel savings in the economy, it would be the best time to roll out more instruments like the tax free bonds… or to increase the investment limit into tax-free provident funds,” said Deepti Taneja, a 32-year-old New Delhi college professor.

Making it easier for some 18 million state and local government employees, like Taneja, to save more, the government pay commission, which reviews public sector salaries every few years, has recommended an increase of several billion dollars.

“We hope at least to some extent this money from the pay commission will come as savings into the banking sector and not go towards physical assets,” a senior policymaker said.

But, people still want better incentives to make financial investments.

“I am really confused about what will I do with these surplus funds once they start crediting it to my salary, because most of the financial instruments presently offered by the government provide little tax exemption,” said Taneja, a mother of two.

If not enough of the rise in incomes goes towards savings it could lead to other problems for the economy.

“The government has to raise savings. It is a virtuous cycle that kicks in when savings goes up, investment goes up and GDP grows,” said D.K. Joshi, chief economist at CRISIL, a leading credit rating agency, which also advises on risk and policy.

“If on the other hand your investment goes up and savings doesn’t, your current account deficit gets bloated.”

There is work to do. The World Bank estimates the gross savings rate – corporate, government and domestic savings – dipped below 30 percent in 2014 for the first time in over a decade.

Bank deposits, a proxy for financial investments by India’s conservative households, grew just 10.6 percent in the September quarter. That is well below expected capacity, which some analysts put at 1.5 times economic growth: closer to 15 percent.

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE

Government initiatives to pull more cash out from under India’s mattresses have had little success.

A recent gold deposit scheme to monetise more of the 20,000 tonnes of gold Indians have hoarded has attracted just 400 grammes.

Another plan to raise 400 billion rupees ($6 billion) through tax-free infrastructure bonds was announced in this year’s budget, but the specifics are yet to be finalized.

New Delhi still hopes higher incomes, lower inflation and a push to create more than 190 million new bank accounts will boost gross savings back above 30 percent, but it is unlikely to hit the peak savings rate of over 36 percent soon.

But there are some encouraging signs that Indians are becoming more interested in financial investments: equity mutual funds have seen inflows of 798.5 billion rupees so far this year.

But overall equity participation in India remains paltry. Less than 2 percent of Indians hold shares, compared to 30 percent of Koreans and 10 percent of Chinese.

The last time India boosted pay and allowances for government officials in 2008, the household savings rate jumped to 25.2 percent from 23.6 percent.

That rate has since dropped closer to 18 percent, much of it still flowing into gold and property.

But if even 16.5 percent of the newly raised wages and pensions for the public sector flows into financial savings – a target set by the current five-year plan to 2017 – then close to $14 billion in new cash could be pumped into the system.

That would be more than double the amount that can be expected at the current savings rate, and it would be enough to cover almost 5 percent of planned government spending this fiscal year.

(Additional reporting by Suvashree Choudhury in MUMBAI and Manoj Kumar in NEW DELHI; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques and Simon Cameron-Moore)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Sikkim government’s request puts Centre in a bind

Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling requested union home minister Rajnath Singh last week to allow the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa visit the monastery as large numbers of Sikkimese followers want to see him Rumtek which is the main seat of Karma Kagyu or Black Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism having over 700 monasteries worldwide.

The Sikkim government request to allow Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of the two claimants to be Karmapa of the Kagyu sect of Buddhism, to visit the Rumtek monastery has put the Centre in a bind.Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling requested union home minister Rajnath Singh last week to allow the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa visit the monastery as large numbers of Sikkimese followers want to see him Rumtek which is the main seat of Karma Kagyu or Black Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism having over 700 monasteries worldwide.The Centre has maintained consistently that the 30-year-old Karmapa’s activities are connected to Chinese shenanigans since his arrival in India in 2000. Intelligence agencies have been watchful of Ogyen whom they refer to as Ugyen Trinley Dorje or “UTD” in secret files and believe Beijing anointed him to serve its long term ulterior motive of changing the mindset of Buddhist population in favour of China.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The intelligence agencies have also routinely reported on activities UTD for encouraging “China-friendly” religious institutions in the Himalayan region.The conspiracy theory gained a lot of currency in 2011, when Enforcement Directorate raided several premises of Ogyen in Himachal Pradesh and booked his associates for with holding foreign currencies.The then NSA Shiv Shankar Menon had to step in himself to contain the growing tirade against Ogyen.Despite this, many in government, especially those in the security establishment, are still wary of Ogyen and believe that allowing Karmapa to visit Rumtek would give legitimacy to one claimant, sources said.The Kagyu sect has two claimants as Karmapa – Ogyen Trinley Dorje who lives in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi based Trinley Thaye Dorje. Both were born in Tibet and anointed by two different senior monks and said to have escaped from Tibet due to pressure of Chinese authorities. Both have their own websites and claim that they are the real 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.Claiming that Ogyen was anointed by Beijing, India tacitly backs Delhi-based Thaye as the religious leader. But the undisputed and topmost leader of Tibetans, Dalai Lama recognises Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the Karmapa.Understanding Centre’s dilemma, Chamling has given it the ropeway that even if the government disallows the monk to visit the monastery now, it should specify a time frame by which a should be made. His party, the Sikkim Democratic Front has maintained that a large number of Sikkimese believe Ogyen Trinley Dorje is the Karmapa.Sikkim MP, PD Rai also said that the cooling off period of so many years should be enough for intelligence agencies to decide and at least a date should be given now to allow him to visit Rumtek. A written request has also been made to the Narendra Modi government. Cooling off periodSikkim MP, PD Rai also said that the cooling off period of so many years should be enough for intelligence agencies to decide and at least a date should be given now to allow him to visit Rumtek. A written request has also been made to the Narendra Modi government.

Negotiators at U.N. climate talks to meet Sunday, a day early | Reuters

OSLO Government negotiators at a U.N. climate conference in Paris will meet on Sunday, a day earlier than planned, to let them get down to work before world leaders arrive for a summit on Monday.

The U.N. Climate Secretariat said on Wednesday that senior officials from almost 200 nations would meet in the conference hall on the outskirts of Paris on Nov. 29 at 1600 GMT.

Until now, they had been due to meet for the first time only after about 140 world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended on Monday to give speeches of encouragement.

Officials who oversee the talks “considered that an early opening of the session will offer an opportunity to make the best possible use of the very limited time available to finalise negotiations”, the Secretariat said in a statement.

The conference, lasting until Dec. 11, is seeking to agree a deal that signals a break with a rising reliance on fossil fuels, blamed by a U.N. panel of scientists for causing more floods, heat waves and rising sea levels.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Modi, Obama to meet on sidelines of Paris climate conference

Obama would meet Modi on November 30, the opening day of the Paris climate change conference. The US President will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of the two-week climate summit, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters.

File photo

PTI
US President Barack Obama will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Paris summit next week as part of an effort to forge a strong global agreement on climate change, the White House has announced.Obama would meet Modi on November 30, the opening day of the Paris climate change conference. The US President will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of the two-week climate summit, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the US “wants to send a clear signal” in meetings with China, India and France that it will be working with the “key players” for a strong international agreement on climate change.Obama’s meeting with Modi will be their seventh since 2014.”We have been engaging with India throughout the year in determining how they can contribute constructively to a successful outcome in Paris,” Rhodes said.Modi and Obama have had talks in this regard during the US President’s trip to India, the bilateral meeting in New York at the UN General Assembly and on the margins of the recent summits they attended.Replying to a query, Rhodes said that cooperation from major emitters like India and China is “key to the success of the Paris Summit on climate change”.”We need to have the broadest set of countries engaged in this if it’s going to be successful. That was the lesson from Copenhagen, which is that if you restrict this to a certain form, you will likely be limited to the Kyoto countries or even a small number of countries.”And it’s not simply a question of the US coming to the table, it’s a question of whether China and India and Brazil and other major emitters are a part of this framework,” he said.He said the US has broadened the scope of the countries that are participating in the Summit.Rhodes called for having very strong transparency and accountability provisions so there is a mechanism to determine if countries are standing by and behind their commitments going forward, even as a framework is in place to ensure that ambitious targets in terms of emissions reduction and providing an ambitious level of support to developing countries so as to combat climate change are met.

Jammu & Kashmir: Major terror hideout busted, IEDs and ammunition recovered in Poonch

The joint operation was conducted on Tuesday evening by the Rashtriya Rifles battalion, Territorial Army and the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Image Courtesy: ANI

Busting a major terror hideout, the Indian Army recovered several improvised explosive devices (IED) and ammunition from Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. The joint operation was conducted on Tuesday evening by the Rashtriya Rifles battalion, Territorial Army and the Jammu and Kashmir police.The arms and ammunition recovered from the hideout include three IED Cylinder (3 Kg Each), bottle shaped IED 500gms, two AK magazine, 112 rounds of AK, one Chinese grenade, 41 PIKA ammunition, two IED triggers and two meter wires.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The haul also included a broken radio set, a SIM card and two Pakistan currency notes.Meanwhile, the Army has been engaged in a search operation to flush out hiding terrorists from the Rajwar forests in Handwara and so far three security personnel have been injured, including a Lieutenant-Colonel and two jawans.

China for closer ties with India to remove ‘cancer’ of terror

The joint action plan was finalised during the just- concluded visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to China

Rajnath Singh in China

PTI
Terming terrorism a “cancer” that needed to be removed jointly by world community, China today called for close cooperation between Indian and Chinese security establishments as the two countries for the first time worked out a joint mechanism to combat the menace.The joint action plan was finalised during the just- concluded visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to China. Commenting on Singh’s visit, first by an Indian Home Minister in a decade, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters here that during his meeting with Singh last week Premier Li Keqiang called for close cooperation between law enforcement forces of both the countries to combat terrorism, which has become a menace to the world.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”During the meeting Li pointed out that the world is filled with both conventional and unconventional security threats and the situation is becoming serious,” Hong said. He said law enforcement agencies of the two sides should enhance cooperation to jointly maintain social stability and create favourable conditions for economic development to jointly safeguard world peace and tranquillity. “Terrorism is a cancer that needs to be removed jointly by the international community,” Hong said commenting on Paris and Mali attacks.Singh winded up his visit on Monday after extensive talks between the two security establishments which have until now remained apart, especially due to China’s close ties with Pakistan and Beijing’s suspicions over Indo-US relations. He visited Chinese internal security institutions both in Beijing and Shanghai. Singh held substantive talks with China’s top security officials — Guo Shengkun, State Councillor of the ruling Communist Party and Public Security Minister; and China’s security Czar Meng Jianzhu. Both sides agreed to form a ministerial committee and a joint secretary-level mechanism to periodically meet and review cooperation.Also, the two home ministries decided to form dedicated channels for continuous communication to exchange intelligence on terrorism and other security-related issues like cross-border crimes and drug trafficking. The two sides have already completed five rounds of anti-terrorism exercises between them. Besides coordinating positions on international terrorism, both sides agreed to exchange intelligence on terrorist groups, activities and their links.The talks also covered India’s concerns over China blocking its move to get UN to take action against Pakistan for releasing Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. New Delhi’s move was stuck at UN’s Sanctions Committee after China called for more information. Singh earlier told media here that he raised the issue with his Chinese counterpart and both sides are exchanging information in this regard. India is hopeful China will reconsider its move.

Islamic State consider Indian fighters inferior, use them for suicide attacks

New Delhi: Twenty-three Indians have so far joined the Islamic State of which six were reportedly killed even as it emerged that the dreaded terror outfit considered South Asian Muslims, including Indians, inferior to Arab fighters in the conflict zone of Iraq and Syria.

According to an intelligence report prepared by foreign agencies and shared with Indian agencies, fighters from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh as well as certain countries like Nigeria and Sudan are considered not good enough by IS and often tricked into suicide attacks.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The report said that a total of 23 Indians have so far joined the IS of which six were reportedly killed in different incidents.

The dead were identified as Athif Vaseem Mohammad (Adilabad, Telangana), Mohammad Umar Subhan (Bangalore, Karnataka), Maulana Abdul Kadir Sultan Armar (Bhatkal, Karnataka), Saheem Farooque Tanki (Thane, Maharashtra), Faiz Masood (Bangalore, Karnataka) and Mohammad Sajid alias Bada Sajid (Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh).

The intelligence report suggests that there is a disproportionately high level of casualties among the South Asian and African foreign terrorist fighters since they are forced to the frontlines of battle as foot soldiers.

The Arab fighters with better battle experience are mostly positioned behind these fighters and hence their casualties are proportionally less in terms of their total numbers. This explains why so many Indians from a small Indian contingent have died, it says.

There appears to be clear hierarchy wherein the Arab fighters are preferred as officer cadre and provided better arms and ammunition, equipment, accommodation and salaries.

“The fighters from South Asia are usually housed in groups in small barracks and are paid less than the Arab fighters and are provided inferior equipment,” the input says.

There are reports that the so-called inferior fighters are also, at times, tricked into suicide attacks. Usually they are given a vehicle loaded with explosives and asked to go near a targeted destination and call a certain number, who would purportedly come and meet them to explain the mission.

However, as soon as the number is dialled, the car explodes due to a pre-set mechanism aimed at destroying a specific target.

The intelligence report says there is information that foreign fighters of Chinese, Indian, Nigerian and Pakistani origin are housed together and are monitored closely by the IS Police.

Incidentally, only Tunisian, Palestinian, Saudi Arabian, Iraqi and Syrian are allowed to be in the IS Police force, which is barred for fighters of all other nationalities.

Hence, there is a clear trust deficit between the dominant Arab fighters from other nationalities, who are mostly attracted to IS through its sophisticated propaganda techniques on the Internet.

PTI

Time Face-off Poll: Narendra Modi comfortably beating Chinese Premier Xi Jinping

Last year’s winner of the reader’s poll, Narendra Modi is currently beating Xi Jinping in the Face-Off Poll.

Screengrab of Time Magazine

Narendra Modi and BJP might have slipped up in Bihar but the here’s one poll that he’s doing well in – Time magazine’s Person of the Year poll. The popular magazine is conducting its end of the year polls to gauge who ‘most influenced the news this year for better or worse’. While the magazine’s editorial board selects the Person of the Year, a separate readers’ poll is also conducted.This year, Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is leading with more than 11% of the votes, while Malala Yousafzai is second with 5% of the votes. Pope Francis is third with 3.7% of the votes, while Modi has 3.6%<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2014, when the NDA won 336 seats with BJP winning 282, Narendra Modi had topped the readers’ poll. This time they’ve also spiced up the competition by pitting the competitors against one another and Modi is facing off against Chinese President Xi Jinping and currently has 74% votes. Other Indians on the list are businessman Mukesh Ambani and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The voting closes on December 4.You can vote by clicking here.

PM Modi says had wide-ranging talks with ‘friend’ Li Keqiang

Citing China’s “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus” drives and India’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” programmes, Li pointed out that the two countries have compatible development strategies and bilateral cooperation enjoys bright prospects.

Modi-Li

Terming Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as his “friend”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he had “wide ranging talks” on bilateral issues with him during their meeting at Kuala Lumpur.”Happy to meet my friend, Premier Li Keqiang. We had wide-ranging talks on India-China ties during our meeting. Here is a picture,” Modi said in post on Chinese Sina Weibo microblog on Sunday. He has also posted a photo of him shaking hands at the meeting on Saturday held on the sidelines of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) meeting in Kuala Lumpur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister opened his account on Weibo, akin to Twitter, ahead of his visit to China in May this year which attracted several thousand followers. Since then he has been regularly updating his account with posts greeting Chinese on their festivals and his meetings with various Chinese officials visiting India. On his meeting with Modi, Li said China and India — the world’s two largest developing countries — have more common interests than divergences.Citing China’s “Made in China 2025” and “Internet Plus” drives and India’s “Make in India” and “Digital India” programmes, Li pointed out that the two countries have compatible development strategies and bilateral cooperation enjoys bright prospects. Beijing, he said, also looks forward to strengthening coordination with New Delhi on multilateral affairs and jointly tackling terrorism and other global challenges.China, he said, also stands ready to join hands with India to beef up cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure construction and financial services, and broaden people-to- people exchanges, so as to further consolidate public support for bilateral relations. Meanwhile, China is willing to work with India to strive for “early harvests” in the construction of the Bangladesh- China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, he said.

India to host 18-nation mega Army joint exercise with ASEAN members and dialogue partners

Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.

In what is slated to be the first-of-its-kind in scale, the Indian Army will hold a joint military exercise next year with 17 nations that include all the 10 member nations of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners — including India — of the regional strategic groupSenior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.The Field Training Exercise (FTX-2016) will be a week-long engagement among the armies of the 18 nations over coordination, primarily on de-mining, and the entire activity will be a part of the larger roadmap of military humanitarian understanding in the years to come between India and ASEAN members and affiliates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand are ASEAN member nations.Officials said that the dialogue partners apart from India, namely, China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Russia, are being coordinated with over their participation.The army’s mega-exercise will follow a grand Naval exercise in February next, at Vishakapatnam, where close to 50 country’s navies will come together for a five-day-long display of prowess and maritime capabilities.The Indian Army, has recently concluded a joint ‘hand-in-hand’ exercise with the Chinese army at China’s Kunming Military Academy and a two-week-long joint training in counter-terrorism operations with the Russian army at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

About 27 dead after Islamists seize hotel in Mali’s capital | Reuters

BAMAKO Around 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a hotel seized by Islamist gunmen to rescue 170 people, many of them foreigners, trapped in the building.

The jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, allied to al Qaeda and based in the desert north of the former French colony, claimed responsibility for the attack. Mali has been battling Islamist rebels for years.

A security source said the drama was over by early evening and two militants were dead.

A U.N. official said U.N. peacekeepers searching the hotel had made a preliminary count of 27 bodies. The government held an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night and was expected to give an official death toll later.

“At first I thought it was a carjacking. Then they killed two guards in front of me and shot another man in the stomach and wounded him and I knew it was something more,” said Modi Coulibaly, a Malian legal expert who witnessed the start of the assault.

State television showed troops brandishing AK47s in the lobby of the Radisson Blu, one of the capital Bamako’s smartest hotels and beloved of foreigners. A body lay under a brown blanket at the bottom of a flight of stairs.

Peacekeepers saw 12 dead bodies in the basement of the hotel and another 15 on the second floor, the U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He added that the U.N. troops were still helping Malian authorities search the hotel.

A man who worked for a Belgian regional parliament was among the dead, the assembly said. France’s Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he was not aware of any French nationals killed.

The White House said it was working to locate all American citizens in Mali, offered to help with an investigation and urged its citizens to limit their movements around Bamako.

Minister of Internal Security Colonel Salif Traoré said the gunmen burst through a security barrier at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT), spraying the area with gunfire and shouting “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great” in Arabic.

The attacks are a slap in the face for France, which has stationed 3,500 troops in northern Mali to try to restore stability after a 2012 Tuareg rebellion which was later hijacked by al Qaeda-linked jihadists.

BURSTS OF GUNFIRE

Bursts of gunfire were heard as the assailants went through the hotel room by room and floor by floor, one senior security source and a witness told Reuters.

Some people were freed by the attackers after showing they could recite verses from the Koran, while others managed to escape or were brought out by security forces.

One of the rescued hostages, celebrated Guinean singer Sékouba “Bambino” Diabate, said he had overheard two of the assailants speaking English as they searched an adjacent room.

“We heard shots coming from the reception area. I didn’t dare go out of my room because it felt like this wasn’t just simple pistols – these were shots from military weapons,” Diabate told Reuters by phone.

“The attackers went into the room next to mine. I stayed still, hidden under the bed, not making a noise,” he said. “I heard them say in English ‘Did you load it?’, ‘Let’s go’.”

The raid on the hotel, which lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices, came a week after Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris.

Twelve Air France (AIRF.PA) flight crew were in the hotel but all were brought out safely, the French national carrier said.

A Turkish official said five of seven Turkish Airlines staff had also managed to flee. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said three of 10 Chinese tourists caught inside had been rescued.

PRESIDENT RETURNS

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short a trip to a regional summit in Chad, his office said.

Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but sporadic violence has continued in Mali’s central belt on the southern reaches of the Sahara, and in Bamako.

One security source said as many as 10 gunmen had stormed the building, although the company that runs the hotel, Rezidor Group, said it understood that there were only two attackers.

Al Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including an assault on a hotel in the town of Sevare, 600 km (375 miles) northeast of Bamako, in August in which 17 people including five U.N. staff were killed.

One of its leaders is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, blamed for a large-scale assault on an Algerian gas field in 2013 and a major figure in insurgencies across North Africa.

In the wake of last week’s Paris attacks, an Islamic State militant in Syria told Reuters the organisation viewed France’s military intervention in Mali as another reason to attack France and French interests.

“This is just the beginning. We also haven’t forgotten what happened in Mali,” said the non-Syrian fighter, who was contacted online by Reuters. “The bitterness from Mali, the arrogance of the French, will not be forgotten at all.”

(Additional reporting by Adama Diarra, Joe Penney and Kissima Diagana in Bamako, Makini Brice in Dakar, John Irish in Paris, Washington and United Nations bureaus; Writing by Joe Bavier and Ed Cropley; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Roche)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

At least 27 dead after Islamists seize luxury hotel in Mali’s capital | Reuters

BAMAKO At least 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako with at least 170 people inside, many of them foreigners, that had been seized by Islamist gunmen.

The former French colony has been battling Islamist rebels for several years, and the jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, allied to al Qaeda and based in the deserts of northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet.

By late afternoon, ministerial adviser Amadou Sangho told the French television station BFMTV that no more hostages were being held.

But a U.N. official said U.N. peacekeepers on the scene had seen 27 bodies in a preliminary count, and that a search of hotel was continuing. It was not clear whether any of the gunmen, who were said to have dug in on the seventh floor of the hotel as special forces advanced on them, were still active.

State television showed footage of troops in camouflage fatigues wielding AK47s in the lobby of the Radisson Blu, one of Bamako’s smartest hotels and beloved of foreigners. In the background, a body lay under a brown blanket at the bottom of a flight of stairs.

The peacekeepers saw 12 dead bodies in the basement of the hotel and another 15 on the second floor, the U.N. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He added that the U.N. troops were still helping Malian authorities search the hotel.

A man working for a Belgian regional parliament was among the dead, the assembly said.

Minister of Internal Security Colonel Salif Traoré said the gunmen had burst through a security barrier at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT), spraying the area with gunfire and shouting “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great” in Arabic.

BURSTS OF GUNFIRE

Occasional bursts of gunfire were heard as the assailants went through the seven-storey building, room-by-room and floor-by-floor, one senior security source and a witness told Reuters.

Some people were freed by the attackers after showing they could recite verses from the Koran, while others were brought out by security forces or managed to escape under their own steam.

One of the rescued hostages, celebrated Guinean singer Sékouba ‘Bambino’ Diabate, said he had overheard two of the assailants speaking in English as they searched the room next to his.

“We heard shots coming from the reception area. I didn’t dare go out of my room because it felt like this wasn’t just simple pistols – these were shots from military weapons,” Diabate told Reuters by phone.

“The attackers went into the room next to mine. I stayed still, hidden under the bed, not making a noise,” he said. “I heard them say in English ‘Did you load it?’, ‘Let’s go’.”

The raid on the hotel, which lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices, came a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Paris, raising fears that French nationals were being specifically targeted.

Twelve Air France flight crew were in the building but all were extracted safely, the French national carrier said.

A Turkish official said five of seven Turkish Airlines staff had also managed to flee. The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said three of 10 Chinese tourists caught inside had been rescued.

PRESIDENT RETURNS

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita cut short a trip to a regional summit in Chad, his office said.

Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. They were driven out by a French-led military operation, but sporadic violence has continued in Mali’s central belt on the southern reaches of the Sahara, and in Bamako.

One security source said as many as 10 gunmen had stormed the building, although the company that runs the hotel, Rezidor Group, said it understood that there were only two attackers.

Al Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in Mali, including an assault on a hotel in the town of Sevare, 600 km (375 miles) northeast of Bamako, in August in which 17 people including five U.N. staff were killed.

One of its leaders is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, blamed for a large-scale assault on an Algerian gas field in 2013 and a major figure in insurgencies across North Africa.

In the wake of last week’s Paris attacks, an Islamic State militant in Syria told Reuters the organisation viewed France’s military intervention in Mali as another reason to attack France and French interests.

“This is just the beginning. We also haven’t forgotten what happened in Mali,” said the non-Syrian fighter, who was contacted online by Reuters. “The bitterness from Mali, the arrogance of the French, will not be forgotten at all.”

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Joe Bavier and Ed Cropley; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Rajnath Singh conveys India’s concerns over border incursions to Li Keqiang

During his 40-minute-long meeting with Li, Singh, the first home minister to visit China in 10 years, called for effective border management with emphasis on maintaining peace and tranquillity along the borders

Rajnath Singh

Expressing concern over the recurring incidents of incursions by Chinese troops, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that there should be an effective border management until the two sides reach a settlement over the dispute.During his 40-minute-long meeting with Li, Singh, the first home minister to visit China in 10 years, called for effective border management with emphasis on maintaining peace and tranquillity along the borders. “I have expressed concern over the incursions,” he told reporters after his talks with Li and other Chinese officials. The Chinese Premier too said the incursions should stop, Singh stated while replying to a question.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said there is a shared desire on both sides to maintain peace and tranquillity along the border which is an essential prerequisite to gain momentum in the bilateral relations. On the issue of different perceptions on border, he said “while we seek an early settlement there is need to ensure peace and tranquillity and effective border management until we arrive at a solution.”On the joint mechanisms to resolve the border dispute, he said their functioning should be made fruitful. The mechanism to resolve the border dispute is headed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi.There have been several incidents of incursion in Indian territory by Chinese troops in the recent past. Most of these incidents took place in the Ladakh sector. India shares a 3,488-kilometre border with China, running along the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.Singh said during his talks with Li issues related to economic cooperation also figured. About concerns related to Chinese firms over security related issues, he said his ministry has cleared 20 Chinese companies including mobile firms to invest and operate in India.Singh would travel to Shanghai on Saturday by bullet train to get a feel of the Chinese technology. China is currently competing with Japan to build high speed trains in India. While China is conducting feasibility study to build Chennai-New Delhi high speed train, Japan is conducting the same for Mumbai-Ahmedabad route. Singh said he also travelled by bullet trains in Japan during his visit there.

India, China agree to deepen defence ties, maintain peace at LAC after high-level meet

New Delhi: India and China on Tuesday decided to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquillity at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) besides strengthening cooperation against terror, including at the international level.

India and China agreed to maintain peace at LAC. Reuters

India and China agreed to maintain peace at LAC. Reuters

The decisions came after the meeting between a visiting 26-member delegation led by General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Indian side, which was headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, at South Block in New Delhi.

This is the highest-level Chinese defence delegation to visit India in recent years.

Both Parrikar and General Fan condemned the recent terror strike in Paris and agreed to strengthen cooperation to together fight the menace of terrorism, including at the international level, a late night statement by the Defence Ministry here said.

Parrikar also offered to share India’s expertise in fighting terrorism by way of joint exercises, among other initiatives.

“The visit signifies the enhanced defence exchanges between India and China. During the meeting with Defence Minister, the two sides agreed to implement the consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to ensure peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas,” the statement said.

General Fan and Parrikar were of the view that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is the cornerstone for smooth development of bilateral relations in diverse areas.

“They felt that the two armed forces shoulder important responsibilities for maintenance of peace and tranquillity and agreed to further enhance communications and exchanges between the two armed forces,” it said.

The two sides welcomed the operationalisation of additional border personnel meeting points.

They reviewed the ongoing exchanges and expressed satisfaction at the recently-held bilateral military exercise, ‘Hand-in-Hand’.

Meanwhile, taking note of the intensification of defence exchanges, the Indian side welcomed the proposal for the visit of Commander of Lanzhou Military region to India early next year.

General Fan also extended an invitation to Parrikar to visit China, which he accepted. The dates will be decided through diplomatic channels. General Fan will be calling on Prime Minister Modi tomorrow before leaving India at the conclusion of his visit.

Incidentally, the visit by the Chinese delegation comes at a time when Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag is in Japan on an official trip.

General Suhag’s visit follows seven months after Parrikar went to Japan and agreed to deepen military cooperation.

Last month, Japan took part in the Malabar naval exercise along with India and the US.

While the ships of the three countries took part in the naval exercise, an Indian Army contingent was holding an exercise with their Chinese counterparts in the neighbouring country’s Kunming area.

General Fan is accompanied by Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), and Zhu Fuxi, political commissar of the PLA Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC).

The Chinese team arrived here yesterday following their visit to Pakistan where they met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif.

General Fan had said in Islamabad that mutually-supportive cooperation in the field of defence is a critical factor in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

PTI

Rajnath Singh to visit China to boost security cooperation

Rajnath Singh will visit China this week, the first trip by an Indian home minister to the country in a decade during which the two nations will discuss ways to boost security ties especially on fighting cross border terror and smuggling of Chinese arms to militants in the northeast. Singh’s five-day visit from November 19, the first after the tour of then home minister Shivraj Patil in 2005, comes in the backdrop of steady improvement of relations between both the countries while streamlining mechanisms to address the vexed border dispute.During his visit, Singh, the second highest ranking Indian leader after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s to visit China in May this year, would spend three days in Beijing followed by a two-day stay in Shanghai. Besides holding talks with his counterparts in China’s political dispensation, Singh is also expected to call on high level Chinese leaders. His visit closely follows a rare visit by China’s topmost military official to India. Gen Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), visited India and Pakistan this week, also the first tour by China’s highest ranking military official to both the countries in a decade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both Indian and Chinese officials view Singh’s visit as an opportunity to consolidate efforts by both sides to build political trust initiated during the visits of President Xi Jinping to India last year followed by Modi’s trip here. While the issues relating to standoffs at the border between both the troops were being addressed by the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC), Singh’s visit is expected to firm up security cooperation in various fronts.China for its part has pressed huge number of security forces to crackdown on al-Qaeda-linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) militants in Xinjiang who had bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas. India too faces the constant threat of cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan across the Line of Control. Indian officials stress that ironically both countries faced cross border terrorist threat from a “joint source” which happens to be Pakistan. Besides issues relating to terrorism, Singh’s talks here are expected to crystallise security cooperation between the two countries including more effective crackdown by China in limiting arms supplies to militant groups in India’s northeastern states.

End sale of defence equipment to Pakistan: Think-tank to United States

In parallel, the Task Force asked the US to demand that Pakistan tackle terrorism and prepare to cease US funding for defence sales and coalition support funds should Pakistan prove unwilling, said Richard N Hass, CFR president.

The new fighter planes will add to Pakistan’s sizeable force of fighter jets which include more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft (Representational Image)

AFP
Ahead of the visit of Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, a top US think-tank on Friday asked the Obama Administration to end sale of any defence equipment to the country if it is not willing to “rein in terror”. “The US should demand that Pakistan meet its obligations as a state to tackle terrorism emanating from its territory, in both India and Afghanistan,” the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank, said in a report. “If Pakistan is not willing to rein in terror, Washington should be prepared, at minimum, to end US taxpayer funding for defence equipment sales and reimbursement of coalition support funds,” CFR said in the report prepared by top American thinkers drawn from various sectors including Alyssa Ayres, Ajay Banga, Nicholas Burns, Ashley Tellis, Charles R Kaye, among others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Recognising the challenge to US-India relations posed by US policy toward Pakistan, as well as the drag on India’s rise presented by the risk of conflict with Pakistan, the Task Force report recommends that India for the sake of its own future pursue an improved relationship with Pakistan. In parallel, the Task Force asked the US to demand that Pakistan tackle terrorism and prepare to cease US funding for defence sales and coalition support funds should Pakistan prove unwilling, said Richard N Hass, CFR president. The US is planning to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. The new fighter planes will add to Pakistan’s sizeable force of fighter jets which include more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft.In its more than 90-page report, the Task Force found that US policy towards Pakistan is one of the main challenges to India-US relationship. Indian officials remain skeptical that the US can ever fully be trusted as a security partner when they see Washington appear to acquiesce to Islamabad’s continued inaction on terror groups that have targeted India and the US, the report said.The CFR report comes days before Gen Sharif’s visit to the US during which he is likely to meet top American defence, military and political leadership.

Sensex rises in special trading session on Diwali | Reuters

MUMBAIThe Sensex made modest gains in a special ‘muhurat’ one-hour trading session for Diwali on Wednesday, spurred on by a string of economic reforms aimed at drumming up foreign investment in a range of industries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government announced on Tuesday a relaxation of foreign direct investment rules in 15 sectors, including mining, defence, civil aviation and broadcasting, in a bid to encourage investment and speed growth.

Analysts said the move on the eve of one of India’s biggest holidays was aimed at taking back the reform initiative following the ruling party’s humiliating defeat on Sunday in a state election.

Shares touched a six-week low on Monday after Modi’s heavy defeat in the Bihar elections raised concerns that his government will struggle to pass policy reforms.

Dismal corporate earnings in the second quarter have also dampened sentiment.

The Sensex ended 0.48 percent higher while the Nifty gained 0.54 percent on Wednesday to snap out of a five-session losing streak.

Gains were lead by Axis Bank, up 2.56 percent, Sun Pharma, up 2 percent and Larsen & Toubro, up 1.29 percent. Meanwhile, cigarette maker ITC fell 0.74 percent.

Traders believe gains made during the ‘muhurat’, or auspicious time, bring prosperity and wealth in the year ahead.

Both the Nifty and the Sensex had chalked up losses in 11 out of 12 sessions until Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Asian stock were largely flat on Wednesday after a mixed batch of Chinese data showed growth in the world’s second-biggest economy was still in low gear.

Indian markets are expected be to remain volatile heading towards the end of the year, with the winter session of parliament beginning later this month and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meet on December 16 likely to influence the direction of the markets.

The head of RBI warned on Tuesday that a rate hike by the Fed in December could upset markets but that it was nonetheless necessary.

The markets will be shut on Thursday and resume trading on Friday.

(Reporting by Karen Rebelo in Mumbai, editing by Louise Heavens)

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UK steelworkers march against Tata job cuts, demand govt action | Reuters

LONDONHundreds of steelworkers marched through Scunthorpe in northeast England on Tuesday to protest against Tata Steel’s planned job cuts and restructuring, calling on the government to do more to help the beleaguered steel sector.

Nearly 4,000 UK steel jobs were lost in October alone – equivalent to about one fifth of the sector’s workforce – as Tata Steel, SSI UK and Caparo Industries buckled under pressure from decade-low steel prices.

Tata Steel, the UK’s largest steelmaker, said last month it will cut some 1,200 jobs in Scunthorpe and Scotland. Last week, it said it will press ahead with restructuring and will “look at all options” for its European steel business.

The steelmaker is trying to sell its loss-making long products unit, with press reports quoting the company’s Europe Chief Executive Karl Koehler as saying that the business has no future within Tata Steel beyond the end of this financial year.

“Tata Steel needs to show that it will be a responsible seller of the business and that it won’t just abandon the steelworkers of Scunthorpe and the rest of its Long Products business,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the trade union Community, said after the march.

A Tata Steel spokesman declined to comment on the press reports, saying only that the company is “still assessing all strategic options” for the business.

Nic Dakin, opposition Labour MP for Scunthorpe, who attended the march, told the BBC: “This is more than about just steelworkers jobs, its about the future of this area, this community and this economy.”

It is estimated that for every steel sector job lost, three or four jobs are lost in related sectors, and UK steelworkers fear towns such as Scunthorpe will wither without immediate and concrete government action.

EU economy and industry ministers met in Brussels on Monday to address the steel sector crisis, but failed to agree on concrete measures, particularly regarding cheap Chinese steel imports.

China produces about half the world’s 1.6 billion tonnes of steel, and is expected to export a record 100 million tonnes this year as its steel demand wanes due to a growth slowdown.

Global steelmakers pin much of the blame for plunging steel prices on what they see as Chinese steel “dumping”, though the world market is plagued by over-capacity well beyond China.

Tata Steel has cut thousands of jobs since it bought Anglo-Dutch producer Corus in 2007.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel, editing by David Evans)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Chinese lights spell darkness for traditional potters this Diwali

New Delhi: For generations, Indian homes were lit up by diyas, or traditional earthen lamps, during Diwali. Potters now complain that customers prefer cheaper Chinese electrical lighting or more pricey products in shopping malls, jeopardizing their livelihoods.

Until a few years ago, hundreds of potters and their families would be overworked in the run up to Diwali, churning out tens of thousands of small and big clay lamps that would brighten innumerable homes and businesses.

The diya business has now sharply declined.

Go for decorations that are environmentally friendly and also help out the community. AFPGo for decorations that are environmentally friendly and also help out the community. AFP

Go for decorations that are environmentally friendly and also help out the community. AFP

“There is a huge fall in the sale of diyas. For what is supposed to be a festival of lights, our life has entered a dark phase,” Harkishan, the head of Kumhar Gram, Delhi’s largest colony for potters, told IANS.

“Diwali has lost its traditional charm as Chinese products have taken over the Indian markets.

“People are more interested in decorating their homes with Chinese lights or jelly candles rather than with the traditional diyas,” he said.

Harkishan, 60, who won the National Award for Terracotta art in 1990, is not the only one despairing.

Harkishan, who arrived in Kumhar Gram in 1971 from Haryana, said the latest products in markets had jolted their business. “Every year there is at least a 30 percent fall in sales.

“Chinese products are choking our business,” he said, adding that today’s young ones may simply turn their back on diyas and other earthen products.

Krishna, 30, another potter, agreed.

“Earlier we did not even get time to rest during Diwali. But now we do not even sell half the products we prepare. Diwali is no more a busy time,” added Krishna, who learnt the craft from her family elders.

“Now people head to malls and supermarkets. They are no more interested in buying earthen lamps and more from potters,” Krishna told IANS.

“Worse is they don’t mind spending more on other products. We hardly get a customer or two now. How can we survive?”

Others in the potters’ hub said that often prepared products — including diyas — remain unsold. This never used to happen until about five years ago.

There was a time when Indian families went only for simple earthen lamps. Now the demand is mainly for decorated and fancy lamps.

No wonder many potters are slowly moving away from their traditional business in search of greener pastures.

“Only years ago our shops used to be crowded during Diwali. Now we wait and wait for buyers,” complained a woman who has been selling clay products in Malviya Nagar in south Delhi for the past 30 years.

Different types of clay are used to prepare diyas. Much of it comes from Haryana, Harkishan explained, adding that even the quality of clay was not as good as it used to be earlier.

Potters are angry that successive governments have not done much to protect the traditional business of pottery.

“Earlier soil (clay), used to prepare diyas, was easily available in Delhi itself,” another potter said. “Now we have to bring it from states such as Haryana and Rajasthan.

“We face several problems while transporting the clay. Shouldn’t the government be taking care of such simple issues?”

IANS

India has enjoyed best of relations with "good friend" Brunei: Vice President Hamid Ansari

Describing as unfortunate the cancellation of his visit to Brunei, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who returned home late on Thursday night, said that India enjoys the best of relations with the former, and that the Brunei leadership had understood the need for him to cancel his visit because of the vagaries of nature as also because of his upcoming talks with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao on Friday.

Describing as unfortunate the cancellation of his visit to Brunei, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who returned home late on Thursday night, said that India enjoys the best of relations with the former, and that the Brunei leadership had understood the need for him to cancel his visit because of the vagaries of nature as also because of his upcoming talks with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao on Friday.Interacting with media that accompanied him on his state visit to Indonesia, Ansari said, “It was unfortunate that we had to cancel the second leg of my official visit to Brunei. The Government of Brunei was informed and they understood our situation very well. Brunei is a very important member of the ASEAN, a very good friend and supporter of India in the Commonwealth, the ASEAN and the East Asia Summit. There are absolutely no problems between our two countries and it was just an accidental happening that we could not go.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked what was the aim the planned visit to Brunei, the vice president said, “Our agenda was to further cooperation. We will reschedule a visit as and when the Government of India decides Work has started at the bilateral level and my impression is that in the months to come, we can see more activity.”He had earlier said that by accident rather than by design, India and Brunei have not had many visits at the bilateral level, but nevertheless, contacts with that country have been at the historical, cultural and diplomatic level.He also said that Brunei has been a very active supporter of India’s “Look East, Act East” policy, besides helping New Delhi to deepen its cooperation with the ASEAN.In economic and commercial terms, Ansari said India has had a satisfactory export and import performance with Brunei in fiscal 2014-15.India mainly imports crude oil from Brunei, while in the services sector, it exports manpower in good numbers that are qualified, skilled and unskilled.

Asia shares look to break losing streak | Reuters

SYDNEY Asian share markets crept ahead on Tuesday after the benchmark for U.S tech stocks hit its highest in 15 years, while a holiday in Japan kept currencies tethered within recent tight ranges.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS firmed 0.4 percent after losing ground for five straight sessions. Australian stocks bounced 1.2 percent, recouping a little ground after a vicious run of selling.

Wall Street had boasted gains across all sectors, led by increases in the beaten-down energy group and the acquisition-driven healthcare industry.

The Dow .DJI ended Monday with gains of 0.94 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX added 1.19 percent and the Nasdaq .IXIC rose 1.45 percent to its highest close since 2000.

While data showed U.S. manufacturing activity ticked lower for a fourth month, a rise in new orders offered hope for better times ahead. Also, construction spending rose in September to the highest in 7-1/2 years.

In contrast government bonds were pressured by improving economic data in Europe and comments from European Central Bank officials that cast doubt on the need for more stimulus.

Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said the ECB was right to consider stepping up its bond buying to boost inflation but had to think very carefully before doing so.

That pushed up yields across the euro zone while yields on U.S. 10-year Treasuries reached their highest in five weeks at 2.189 percent US10YT=RR.

Activity was much lighter in currencies where investors are awaiting clarity on whether the Federal Reserve will start hiking rates in December.

The dollar index .DXY was barely changed at 96.889 after drifting between 96.635 and 96.965. The euro was hemmed in a tight $1.1000-$1.1053 range EUR= and last stood at $1.1015.

Against the yen, the greenback was equally restrained at 120.78 JPY=.

The Australian dollar held at $0.7154 AUD=D4 ahead of the outcome of a central bank policy meeting that could deliver the first rate cut since May.

A majority of analysts polled by Reuters doubt the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will ease this week, and the market has been slowly lengthening the odds of a move. A decision will be announced at 0330 GMT.

In commodities, oil was weighed by the prospect of weak Chinese demand and record-high Russian production. [O/R]

Brent LCOc1 lost 77 cents on Monday to $48.79 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 was quoted 14 cents higher on Tuesday at $46.28 a barrel.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Uchimura claims record sixth all-around world title | Reuters

GLASGOW When Kohei Uchimura capped a high-flying horizontal bar routine with a perfect landing on Friday, he instantly held up six fingers to the crowd confident that he had just won a record sixth all-around title at the gymnastics world championships.

The Japanese hero did not even bother to hang around for the judges’ verdict to begin his celebrations, urging the crowd with both hands to cheer louder.

When his score of 15.100 flashed up, it confirmed the victory and showed his margin of success over surprise Cuban silver medallist Manrique Larduet was 1.634 points after the Japanese amassed a combined 92.332 points across six apparatus.

“Winning today was totally different from my other victories because this is the first time I have won an all-around gold after winning the team title, so that I why I was so happy after the competition today,” Uchimura said after being given a standing ovation by the Hydro Arena crowd.

While Uchimura picked up a ninth gold at the worlds, taking his overall medals tally to 18, Larduet reduced his coach to tears after becoming the first Cuban to win an all-around medal at the global meet.

The 19-year-old had qualified only in seventh place for the final but after Britain’s Max Whitlock dropped out of contention to win a second successive silver medal following a crash landing off the horizontal bar, the Cuban kept his wits in the final rotation to finish second.

China’s Deng Shudi fought back from eighth place at the half-way point of the competition to claim bronze — his country’s first medal in the individual event since Yang Wei won the second of his golds in 2007.

“This medal proves the important role I have in the Chinese team,” Deng, who sports a massive scar on his right cheek, said.

But it is Uchimura who is leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

FINALLY HIT TARGET

The 26-year-old, who was left fuming after falling during his floor exercise in qualifying and then again from the horizontal bar in the men’s team final, finally hit his target of six clean routines in Glasgow.

Five of his programmes broke the 15-point mark, with the judges deeming his performance on the rings was not quite as good as the rest of his impressive bodywork.

But that was the only blemish for Uchimura who captured his second gold medal of the championships after helping Japan to their first team title in 37 years two days ago.

“I wanted to win the all-around title without any mistakes so I left out a few difficult elements today,” he said. “I wanted to produce a perfected performance.”

Uchimura has now bagged every Olympic and world all-around title since taking silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, a streak unmatched in gymnastics history. No other man or woman has won more than three world all-around titles.

When Uchimura won his fifth straight all-around gold at the 2014 worlds by 1.492 points, it raised hopes among the chasing pack that they might finally be closing the gap on the Japanese great as it was his smallest margin of victory at the worlds.

But on Friday, he again showed they were no closer to beating him any time soon and he will be favourite to become the first man to win back-to-back Olympic titles in Rio next year since his compatriot Sawao Kato achieved the feat in 1972.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar; Editing by Ken Ferris/Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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India to raise Pakistan terror issue with China

Waiving off concerns raised by the IB, India since last one year has given security clearance to at least 20 Chinese companies in key sector like telecom and has also extended easy business visa facility.

India is hopeful of China taking cognisance of its concerns regarding Pakistan export of terrorism to India in the counter terrorism meet that will take place between the two countries on November 4 in New Delhi.Sources in the government said that with improvement in relations between the two countries, especially after India relaxed security concerns and started extending ease of doing business facility to the Chinese companies like Huawei, there is more to share between the two countries and counter terrorism is one such issue where both can benefit by extending cooperation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Waiving off concerns raised by the IB, India since last one year has given security clearance to at least 20 Chinese companies in key sector like telecom and has also extended easy business visa facility.Until now China has always favoured Pakistan at the international forums on the issue of terror, but according to sources in the security establishment, the Chinese are also aware of terrorism reaching its own doorstep via Pakistan. As recent as in January 2015, Afghanistan had extradited to China several Uighurs suspected of having been trained in terror camps in Pakistan.Perhaps, this was one big reason why the joint statement, signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s China visit in May this year, elaborately mentioned counter-terrorism as one of the key areas of cooperation between the two countries.Reiterating their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the two countries in the joint statement “committed themselves to cooperate on counter-terrorism.”They also agreed that “there is no justification for terrorism and urged all countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and stop cross-border movement of terrorists, in accordance with the relevant principles and purposes of the UN Charter and international laws.”Like the western countries, the Islamic State is becoming a major concern for China. About 300 Uighurs from Xinjiang suspected to have joined the IS.”India, being the second highest seat of Islam’s seminary and credited for keeping its youth away from joining IS to a large extent, can help China in several ways to tide over the problem of radicalisation,” sources said.

On UK visit next month, lunch with Queen of England on PM Modi’s agenda

London: A lunch with Queen Elizabeth II, an address to the Indian diaspora at the iconic Wembley Stadium and a “warm” interaction with his British counterpart are part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s hectic schedule during his maiden visit to the UK next month.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to be by Modi’s side through most of his engagements during the much-anticipated three-day visit, beginning November 12, which is also expected to include an overnight stay at his country residence Chequers.

“He (Cameron) has a very warm relationship with the Indian PM. This visit will demonstrate the strength of that unbeatable combination of our two leaders,” said Priti Patel, Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion and employment minister who will play a central role during the visit.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

The British side is keen to highlight the warmth of the relationship between the two countries, which comes soon after the pomp and ceremony attached to the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month.

While a ceremonial ride in a gilded carriage with the Queen associated with an official state visit will be missing for Modi, the setting of a lunch with Her Majesty on the afternoon of November 13 is being stressed upon as an indication of the closeness of the ties between India and the UK.

Soon after Buckingham Palace, Modi will arrive for his Olympic-style welcome at Wembley Stadium, which has been sold out as the public registration process came to a close last night.

“The event is the highlight of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United Kingdom next month and we have had an unprecedented response. People from all over the UK have applied for a seat, the youngest being two years old and the oldest is 92,” said a spokesperson for the Europe India Forum (EIF), the organisers of the ‘Two Great Nations. One Glorious Future’ event to be attended by over 60,000 people.

After his arrival in the UK, Modi will head straight for Downing Street for a meeting with Cameron. The two leaders are then expected to walk up a few steps to the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, which was unveiled earlier this year. Modi is then expected to interact with Indian-origin and other parliamentarians at a reception hosted by the Speaker in the British Parliament.

The business part of Modi’s engagements will include an interaction over a banquet at the Guildhall, expected to be hosted by the Lord Mayor of London on November 12. A visit to the Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) factory in the West Midlands region is likely to be squeezed in, based on availability of time.

On November 14, Modi will unveil the new Ambedkar memorial in north London as well as a new statue of 12th century philosopher Basaveshwara before leaving for Ankara to attend the G20 summit.

PTI

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to host townhall in IIT Delhi today

Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday began his trip to India with a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra and described it as “even more stunning” than he had expected.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Getty Images
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will host a townhall at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi on Wednesday where around 900 students are expected to attend the Q&A session. The event will begin at 12 noon.India is home to over 130 million Facebook users, making it the second largest user base for the world’s largest social networking site after the US.The next Townhall Q&A with Mark will be in Delhi, India, on Wednesday, October 28 at 12pm IST (11:30pm Tuesday Pacific…
Posted by Q&A with Mark on Friday, 16 October 2015<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Before coming to India, on Monday Zuckerberg delivered a 20-minute speech in Mandarin at Tsinghua University in China. The young billionaire, who is married to Chinese-American Priscilla Chan, had set himself the goal of learning Mandarin in 2010. After his speech, he shared his accomplishment with his followers on Facebook along with a a video of the speech with English subtitles.”I just gave my first ever speech in Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing — on why you need a strong sense of mission to change the world.”This was also my first real speech in any language sharing how I started thinking about Facebook’s mission, what has kept me going through challenging times and what our mission means now looking ahead for our community of 1.5 billion people,” he wrote. Zuckerberg had joined the board of Tsinghua’s School of Economics and Management last year. He had last month conversed with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mandarin at a meeting with technology chiefs in the US. Facebook is banned in mainland China and remains untapped for Facebook that has over 1.3 billion users globally.Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday began his trip to India with a visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra and described it as “even more stunning” than he had expected.Zuckerberg, who arrived in India to deepen links with a country that is home to the largest number of Facebook users outside the US, said he had “always wanted to see” the Taj Mahal.”I’m in India for our Townhall Q&A tomorrow, and I decided to visit the Taj Mahal. I’ve always wanted to see this,” he said in his Facebook post. He described the country’s most-photographed and photogenic monument as “even more stunning than I expected.It’s incredible what people can build — and what love can motivate us to build.” He also posted picture of him sitting in front of the Taj Mahal that was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 1600s.The post already has close to 1 million likes, 20,000 comments and 19,000 shares on Facebook.

Madras HC directs Tamil Nadu govt to destroy illegal Chinese crackers

The state government has to report to the Madras High Court on October 26 about the squads formed for this purpose.

Representatinal Image

The Madras High Court in response to a petition has asked the Tamil Nadu government to form special teams to seize and destroy all Chinese firecrackers. A report in Deccan Chronicle says that the CBI has been investigating the import and sale of Chinese crackers which is illegal.M Shaik Abdulahhad, executive secretary of the Metro Fireworks Dealers Association, had filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court against Chinese crackers. He stated that shops in Chennai had been selling Sivakasi crackers for more than a decade and they were now affected by cracker imported from China.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report adds that that the Madurai bench had already directed the central and state governments to prevent illegal import of Chinese crackers. The import from China was destroying the local cottage industries it opined.The state government has to report to the Madras High Court on October 26 about the squads formed for this purpose.

Tata Steel to cut 1,200 jobs at Scunthorpe – UK union source | Reuters

LONDON Tata Steel, the biggest steelmaker in Britain, is expected to cut around 1,200 jobs at its Scunthorpe plant, a union source said on Friday as the government convened a crisis summit on the sector.

Scunthorpe, which produces steel mainly used in construction and infrastructure projects, is part of Tata Steel’s loss-making long products unit, which the company is trying to sell. The unit employs about 6,500 people.

The liquidation of the UK’s second largest steelmaker, SSI UK, was announced this month, with the loss of over 2,000 jobs and thousands more indirectly related to steelmaking.

“This is yet another blow to our steel communities and demonstrates the precarious state of the UK steel industry,” said Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of union Community.

“(This) emphasises the need for government action which Community and the employers have been calling for at the summit today.”

A Tata Steel spokesman said: “We’ve made a number of structural changes to our UK business over the last months and years to make us more competitive.

“Like all companies we continue to review the performance of our business,” he said, without addressing reports of job losses.

Europe’s second-largest steelmaker, Tata has cut thousands of jobs since it bought Anglo-Dutch producer Corus in 2007. In July it said it could cut more than 700 jobs, mostly at its operations in Rotherham.

The company spun off its long products division into a standalone business in August after the withdrawal of Klesch Group, a global commodities business, from talks to buy the division.

British media reports on Friday said jobs were also at risk at Tata Steel operations in Scotland.

Commenting, the Unite union said: “Time is ticking on the UK’s steel industry and the news of yet more job losses should jolt the government out of its laissez-faire approach to this vital part of the UK economy.”

“If the government is serious about rebalancing the economy then it needs to take action against the dumping of cheap Chinese imports and support an industry which is being hammered by high energy costs.”

Producing steel profitably in Britain is difficult due to cheap imports especially from China as well as due to a strong currency, energy costs and “green” taxes imposed on heavy industry that are some of the highest in the world.

The sector employs fewer than 20,000 people, down from 200,000 in the 1970s.

Steel prices globally are at their lowest levels in over a decade thanks to over-capacity and an economic slowdown in China, which consumes nearly half the world’s steel.

(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by Jason Neely)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

dna Afternoon Must Read: From coal scam to meat ban enforcement during Navratri and more

Go through the curated of list of must reads for this afternoon.

Here is a list of curated must read for the afternoon.1. Meat ban to be enforced in Agra during Navratri?A Hindu group in Agra has demanded for ban on meat during the 9-days long Navratras. It’s not just the sale they want to be banned but also consumption of meat. Read more here.2. Dadri lynching, Ghulam Ali incident unfortunate but how is Central government related to them, asks PM Modi<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing the opposition of indulging in pseudo secularism and politics of polarisation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the Dadri lynching incident and the cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai as “unfortunate” but said his government has nothing to do with them. Read more here.3. With pulses, vegetables getting costlier, WPI inflation marginally up at (-)4.54% in SeptemberWPI inflation rate edged up marginally to (-)4.54% in September with pulses, vegetables and onion turning costlier even as the overall deflationary trend persisted for 11th month in a row. Read more here.4. Coal scam: Court frames charges against ex-coal secretary and 5 othersA special court on Wednesday framed charges against former coal secretary HC Gupta and five others in a coal scam case pertaining to alleged irregularities in allocation of a coal block in Madhya Pradesh to an accused firm. Read more here.5. Chinese media asks India to be vigilant about joining anti-China campAsserting that the Sino-India relationship is on a sound track, the Chinese media on Wednesday asked India to be vigilant to the efforts to rope it into anti-China camp in the backdrop of Japan joining the Malabar naval exercises. Read more here.(With Agencies)

Chinese media asks India to be vigilant about joining anti-China camp

The Global Times article said Indian officials stressed that New Delhi has been pursuing a “multi-vectored diplomacy”.

Flags of India and China

Asserting that the Sino-India relationship is on a sound track, the Chinese media on Wednesday asked India to be vigilant to the efforts to rope it into anti-China camp in the backdrop of Japan joining the Malabar naval exercises. “The China-India relationship is on a sound track, and healthy ties are beneficial to both countries. India should be vigilant to any intentions of roping it into an anti-China camp,” an article in the state-run Global Times said on Wednesday highlighting that the India-China joint drills and the Malabar exercises involving the navies of India, the US and Japan are being held concurrently.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> On Sunday, the 10-day India-China anti-terrorism joint military drill, code-named Hand-in-Hand 2015, commenced in the Chinese city of Kunming, Yunnan Province. The next day, a trilateral drill by India, the US and Japan was launched in the Bay of Bengal, the article titled ‘Concurrent India drills spark unnecessary speculation’. “Malabar, a bilateral navy exercise involving the US and India, includes Japan this year. Speculation has therefore mounted that Washington and New Delhi are considering turning Japan into a permanent partner.” “Rabble-rousers say that India is eyeing China by including Japan in the Malabar exercise and the trilateral drill is targeted at China,” it said. Reacting to the Malabar exercises, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying told media briefing two days ago that “everyday a lot of activities takes place around the world. We can not connect every activity with China”. The Global Times article said Indian officials stressed that New Delhi has been pursuing a “multi-vectored diplomacy”. “India’s policies and strategies are based on its national interests. It has been proved that over the past decades, India has stuck to independent foreign policies and never wants to be part of any coalition to contain China,” it said. “The efforts of China and India moving closer have been snubbed by the West, which tries to hype the contention of the two sides. Given the border disputes between China and India, and geopolitical rivalry as well, mutual distrust is slow to dissolve, and India is vigilant against China’s rise. This creates opportunities for other countries to drive a wedge between Beijing and New Delhi,” it said. “But China and India have reached a solid consensus that continued growth in bilateral relations should not be thwarted by divergences,” it said highlighting the consensus during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China in May that two countries “have enough political wisdom to manage and control divergences.” “Both China and India are emerging countries and share more common interests than disagreements. Since both face an arduous task of development, neither side will prioritise geopolitical competition,” it said.

After’dead’ man comes alive moments before autopsy in Mumbai, doctors and cops play blame game

In a bizarre incident, a man declared dead by a hospital’s officials ‘came alive’ moments before his autopsy in Mumbai.

A homeless man (estimated to be between 45 and 50 years of age), identified only as Prakash, was brought to Sion Hospital on Monday by policemen who insisted he was dead. He was sent to the mortuary for an autopsy. An attendant at the mortuary later realised that the man was alive after he detected some movement, reports Hindustan Times.

Representational image. Image courtesy: Getty imagesRepresentational image. Image courtesy: Getty images

Representational image. Getty Images

The man was bought by the police on receiving a call about a man lying unconscious at the ST bus depot at Sulochna Shetty Marg.

While the police blames the doctor who attended to the patient, the hospital said it was the cops who had put pressure on the doctor to do a rushed job, as they were supposed to go for bandobast duty for the prime minister’s visit, reports Mid Day.

NDTV reports insiders saying that the ‘dead’ man woke up during the ensuing commotion, just as the staffers went to inform the casualty ward about their discovery.

According to the police, the doctor immediately destroyed all records of the incident in an effort to cover up his mistake, states another Mid-Day report.

In response, the hospital dean said it was not uncommon for doctors to miss the pulse of a patient — particularly if the patient was in a state of shock or trauma.

Blaming the police for the error, Suleman Merchant, dean of the hospital said in an interview with Hindustan Times, “Our casualty medical officer got intimidated by the police presence. The police kept telling the doctor that the patient was dead, and insisted he certify him urgently.”

Not entirely unexpectedly, this is not the first time such an incident has occurred.

In January this year, a man in China, believed by doctors to have died after falling over while smoking a cigarette, allegedly came back to life and cried at his own funeral. Guo Liu, 45, collapsed while out with friends in the eastern Chinese province of Hubei. He was subsequently declared dead, but when people noticed tears rolling out his eyes at his funeral, he was rushed to the hospital, reports the Metro.

dna Must Reads for morning: From latest in Bihar polls to Snapdeal’s festive season sale

1. First phase of Bihar polls underway, reports of EVM malfunctioning from various constituenciesAfter high pitch bitter campaigning which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the rival camps led by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad holding a string of rallies,voting in 49 seats of Bihar Assembly elections in the first phase of the five-phase began on Monday morning. Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Bihar polls: Minister Awadhesh Kushwaha quits over after sting video shows him taking bribeIn a big embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar government a day before the first phase of Bihar polls, a sting video surfaced on Sunday showing senior ministerAwadhesh Prasad Kushwahapurportedly accepting bribe after which he resigned. Read more here.3. Indian, Chinese army kick off anti-terrorism exerciseIndian and Chinese armies on Monday kicked off their fifth annual anti-terrorism exercise in China’s Kunming city as both the sides seek to share their successful experiences in counter-terrorism operations during the 10-day drill. Read more here.4. Snapdeal kicks of festive season sale today; Flipkart, Amazon join race tomorrowE-retailers are gearing up for the festival season and Snapdeal begins its Diwali sale with ‘Electronics Monday’ today. The e-retailer is offering up to 70% discount on clothes, footwear, Electronics, luggage among others. Read more here.5. CBI conducts raids at 50 more location in Bank of Baroda Forex ScandalThe Central Bureau of Investigation continued its raid on the second day in connection of what is not known as Bank of Baroda Forex scandal. According to agency sources, 50 locations belonging to companies which transferred suspected illegal black money to Hong Kong-based accounts were raided by the CBI on Sunday. Read more here.

Indian, Chinese army kick off anti-terrorism exercise

India for the first time fielded troops from Naga Regiment to take part in the exercises. A contingent of 175 troops from 2nd Battalion of Naga Regiment from Eastern Command reached Kunming by IAF IL 76 aircraft yesterday to take part in the exercise.

Indian and Chinese armies on Monday kicked off their fifth annual anti-terrorism exercise in China’s Kunming city as both the sides seek to share their successful experiences in counter-terrorism operations during the 10-day drill.India for the first time fielded troops from Naga Regiment to take part in the exercises. A contingent of 175 troops from 2nd Battalion of Naga Regiment from Eastern Command reached Kunming by IAF IL 76 aircraft yesterday to take part in the exercise.Both sides are fielding the same number of troops for the joint exercises, which will culminate on October 22, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Troops from 14 Corps of China’s Chengdu Military Region, which focuses on borders with India are taking in the exercise.Troops of both sides will undergo intensive joint training, which will include displays, demonstrations, and a comprehensive joint exercise.The purpose of the exercise is to develop joint operating capability, share useful experience in counter-terrorism operations and to promote friendly exchanges between the armies of India and China, the press release said.Observer groups of both armies witnessed an impressive opening ceremony at Dabanqiao Training Base of 14 Group Army at Kunming today.Indian Ambassador to China Ashok K Kantha and Head of Observers Delegation Lieutenant General Surinder Singh attended the meeting and addressed the participating troops.From the Chinese side, Lieutenant General Zhou Xiaozhou addressed the participating troops.This is the fifth round of exercises being held by both sides.The first drill was held in southwest China’s Yunnan Province in 2007, followed by drills in Belgaum in Karnataka a in 2008. The third round was held in southwest China’s Sichuan in 2013, followed by fourth in Pune in 2014.

Dadri lynching: How technology and acts of violence became the perfect machinery of hate

By Subhajit Sengupta

What do you get when you add top end technology to severe acts of violence? You get the perfect machinery of hate.

According to the senior officers of Noida administration, within 48 hours of the murderous attack on Akhlaq and his son Danish a tweet went out from an unsecured WiFi connection using a ‘the Onion Router’ or what is popularly called as ‘Tor’ server. The specialty of this server is that it is extremely difficult to trace back to the original IP address.

Relatives of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn his death. ReutersRelatives of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn his death. Reuters

Relatives of Mohammad Akhlaq mourn his death. Reuters

This and a series of such hate tweets were massively retweeted and began vitiating the atmosphere even beyond the confines of the village. The UP government claims to have written to Twitter India asking them to block tweets with offensive tone. The District Magistrate NP Singh told Firstpost that a team had been constituted under the SP, City, Noida to trawl the social networking websites hunting for the hate messages and the people behind these.

But rumour mongering is not just limited to the internet. Chinese whispers are at their peak in the areas around Dadri area. In Badalpur village, a calf died due to medical reasons and when the owner, who happens to be a Hindu was trying to take it for burial, certain antisocial elements spread the rumour that another calf had been killed. When police realised the mischief, an FIR was filed under sections of 153 IPC, which pertains to spreading animosity between two religions, and the man responsible for spreading the rumour was picked up.

On the other hand, the interrogation of the prime suspects revealed that, Vishal, Shubham and Rupen allegedly saw a dog dragging a packet of bovine remains near a transformer close to Akhlaq’s house. In their inebriated condition, they claim, they were told by someone that it was Akhlaq who had dropped the packet there. Without waiting for any confirmation, they went to the temple and made the priest to make the announcement.

Once the announcement was made, an angry mob got mobilised and broke open Akhlaq’s house. While there are several unsubstantiated theories going on about why an otherwise peaceful village went berserk that night, police claim that the probe so far hasn’t found anything to suggest that it was a pre-planned attack.

But while the village attempts to return to normalcy, the regular high profiles visits of the top polarising figures has ensured that the atmosphere remains vitiated.

dna Must Read: Updates on Hajj stampede, Indonesia plane missing and more

Here are 5 top stories on dnaindia.com at 6pm.

The following quick read will take you through stories that are making news right now. ​1) Iran declares 465 dead in Hajj stampede The death toll in the Saudi hajj disaster rose sharply as Iran announced 465 of its pilgrims died in last week’s stampede and crush, nearly doubling its earlier count and likely further straining relations between the two Mideast rivals. Read our full report here: Death toll rises sharply with Iran declaring 465 deceased<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Indonesia’s Aviastar airline loses contact with small passenger aircraftIndonesia’s Aviastar airline said on Friday contact had been lost with a Twin Otter small passenger aircraft travelling between Masamba and Makassar on the island of Sulawesi.​ Read it here. 3) Lal Bahadur Shastri’s family furious after PM Modi misses floral tribute The grandson of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, on Friday asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not offer floral tribute at Vijay Ghat on the occasion of his grandfather’s 111th birth anniversary. To read the full story here. 4) British teenager gets life sentence for inciting Anzac Day attack in AustraliaA 15-year-old boy, thought to be the youngest Briton to be convicted of a terrorism offence, was given a life sentence on Friday for inciting an attack on a World War One commemorative event in Australia from his bedroom in northern England. Read it here. 5) Indian, Chinese troops hold meet on Arunachal borderA ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was held near Bumla in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of Chinese National Day, weeks after a face-off between the two along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.​ Read the full report here.

Indian, Chinese troops hold meeting near Arunachal border after face-off along LAC

Itanagar: A ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was held near Bumla in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of Chinese National Day, weeks after a face-off between the two along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

The Indian delegation was led by Brigadier D S Kushwah, Commander of Tawang Brigade while Colonel Tang Fu Cheng, Commander of Tsona Dzong Garrison represented the Chinese delegation, a defence communique informed in Itanagar on Friday.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The meeting was marked by unfurling the national flags of India and China, followed by ceremonial address by both the delegation leaders. Thereafter a function showcasing vibrant cultures took place, the statement said.

The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border.

Both delegations interacted with each other in a congenial and cordial environment.

The delegations parted amidst feelings of bonhomie and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC.

Both sides also sought to build on the mutual feeling for upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two sides to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, the communique added.

A similar exchange of pleasantries between the two countries was held Thursday at the Chinese Border Personnel Meeting huts at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in eastern Ladakh to mark the 67 Anniversary of Chinese National Day.

The BPM, on the occasion of Chinese National Day on October 1, is conducted every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm, the communique said.

PTI

Will establish link with China through road if blockade doesn’t end: Nepal

Upping the ante, Nepal said it is looking at establishing contacts with China through land route and with other countries through air if the blockade on India border does not end soon.Nepalese deputy PM and home minister, Bamdev Gautam told dna in an interview that it is keeping its options open and will not bow to any pressure.“It is true that India is a strong country and a big economy but to live we will have to make alternative arrangements. It is within our rights to have alternative arrangements… Nepal has never bowed down to anyone and will not bow even now. We will establish contact with China through land and with other countries through air to get the essential supplies,” said Guatam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming squarely the government of India, Gautam said that all border check posts along Indian border have closed down and the Indian government has fully supported the blockade.“Indian representatives say it is not Indian government’s policy but the Indian officials at the border have told us that they are doing it as per the instructions of their government. This blockade has been done in favour of Madhesi parties. About 29-30 years ago India had done blockade for several days when Rajiv Gandhi was the PM then Nepal showed that Nepal can never be bowed down due to blockade,” said Gautam.People in Kathmandu have started feeling the pangs of the blockade on the India-Nepal border that continued for the fourth successive day. Several petrol pumps reported shortage of fuel supply in the valley and many turned the vehicles away.Sources in the government said that the road leading to border check point with China at Tatopani near Sindhupal Chowk that was devastated in the earthquake is being rebuilt and will not take more than seven days to complete.“It is hardly 114 kilometres from Kathmandu and once ready supplies can reach Kathmandu within 4-6 hours. The other border check point with China, Syapra Besi near Nuakot is also only 132 kilometres away and can be opened up in a few months if needed. China would be more than happy to help us,” said a highly-placed Nepalese government official.India, however, considers this as more of a posturing by Nepal. Senior government sources dealing with the situation said, it is easier said than done as Nepal knows how much it depends on India, and the Chinese will also not be interested. Nepal is using this only as a bargaining chip.“The Madhesis have genuine concerns which have not been met by Nepal’s constitution. Nepal would do well if it calls the Madhesis, listens to them and at least gives them some assurance to end this crisis and blockade,” said a senior official.

Despite PM Modi’s pitch, here’s why India will only get a permanent UNSC seat in 2020-25

Prime Minister Narendra Modi did well to make a strong pitch for a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), but he should know that at the global level, it is real power that matters. His pitch is fine, but he will reach his goal only by demonstrating real power. And in the 21st century, power boils down essentially to economic power. Mere population size is not good enough to ensure a seat at the high table (excluding powerless talk shops like the G-20 or G-8).

So here’s my prediction: India will get its permanent seat on the UNSC somewhere between 2020 and 2025 — the earlier date if we grow at rates above 8 percent on an average, and the latter date if we grow slower (which seems likely). So if Modi were to get a second term in 2019, he might well be there to celebrate India’s final arrival at the global power table.

It is, of course, true that the current permanent membership of the UNSC — the US, Russia, France, UK and China — represents the power structure as it existed at the end of the Second World War. In fact, power was actually divided up based on which side you were on, and not necessarily economic power. The Permanent Five of the UNSC were the victors in the war, and they initially included the puny Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China and excluded the Communist-overrun mainland China which had a superior claim to representing the nation. The defeated nations were specifically excluded from this power structure. India, then an un-free country, was excluded because Britain was its then ruler.

PM Modi during his UN speech. PTI

PM Modi during his UN speech. PTI

One myth about Jawaharlal Nehru throwing away India’s chance for a permanent seat needs to understood in its full nuance (read this paper here). It is being argued that Nehru declined the US’s offer to replace China with India on the UNSC in 1950, but the rejection was not entirely without reason. While Nehru clearly was a poor student of realpolitik — as was later demonstrated in how he lost the China War of 1962 — his policy should also be seen as an extension of his efforts to stay equidistant from the two superpowers in the emerging Cold War. Moreover, there was also his genuine belief that replacing China in the UNSC would have made it a permanent enemy of India.

That Nehru was wrong on both counts stands proven today by the continued underlying hostility of China towards Indian interests, but that would be hindsight. It would, however, not be fair to presume that he willingly compromised India’s interests on the altar of pure morality. The truth is India in the 1950s got feelers from both the US, and the then USSR for permanent membership of the UNSC, but we were simply not powerful enough to deserve the seat on the basis of genuine military or economic power. We had only moral clout, and it was not enough.

That is changing now, but not fast enough. In a post-Cold War world, which is rapidly slipping again into local hot wars, including proxy wars that were characteristic of the Cold War period, the power balance is changing again with China replacing Russia as the pole opposite the US.

In this new structure, if India has to stake a claim to permanent membership, it has to singlemindedly focus on economic growth, with concomitant military might.

As things stand today, India is a middling power economically, with a national GDP of around $2 trillion. All the current permanent members of the UNSC, barring Russia, are bigger than India economically, with the US at $17.4 trillion, China at $10.3 trillion, the UK at $2.9 trillion, and France at $2.8 trillion (all figures from the World Bank for 2014). After the breakup of the USSR, the rump Russian Federation has fallen below India at $1.8 trillion. It is the only one deserving of replacement right now, but that won’t happen for Russia is a nuclear power.

On the other hand, three big global players — Germany, Japan and Brazil — with economies bigger than India’s at $3.8 trillion, $4.6 trillion, and $2.3 trillion respectively, have an even better claim than India to be permanent members. Logically, Germany and Japan should have been in the UNSC even earlier, but they were the defeated powers in World War II. Later, when Germany and Japan rose again as peaceful nations, China’s opposition to Japan stymied their entry. India’s entry now will face a similar Chinese blackball as long as India remains an emerging power, struggling with a weak currency and a $2 trillion economy.

The unstated threshold for entry will thus be $4 to 5 trillion. Getting there will take India around 10 years at the current 7 to 8 percent potential annual growth rate, which is what looks feasible at this point of time, given internal quarrels over economic reforms. India will become a $3 trillion economy in five years, and a $4 to 4.5 trillion economy in 10. That means the world will be unable to deny an entry to us somewhere between 2020 and 2025.

The reason for this is simple: While it is technically possible for India’s enemies to keep us out now and even in the future (any one of the Permanent Five can keep us out by wielding the veto), when we are a $4-5 trillion economy, Germany and Japan are $5-6 trillion and Brazil around $3.5-4 trillion, the group can force a decision as it will collectively be bigger than the US or China right now in terms of economic clout. A $18-20 trillion bloc will get its way.

Just as a $10 trillion Chinese economy can create its own global lending bank to rival the World Bank, as a $4-5 trillion economy, India along with today’s midi powers will be in a position to demand its rights or threaten to create its own rival power structure. This is why China would like to slow us down by constantly getting Pakistan to trip us up. and Pakistani terrorism aimed at India has China’s tacit support for the same reason.

Funny as this may sound, the fact is India’s entry into the UNSC depends on overturning the results of the Second World War. It is only when the former Axis powers — Germany and Japan — grow to rival the current Big Two of the UNSC in terms of economic power that India can get permanent membership.

Netaji may have backed the wrong horses in the last global war, but history has a weird way of proving him right.

President Xi, PM Modi to vie for investments on rare simultaneous US visits

Beijing: On his maiden State Visit to the US aimed at allaying concerns over faltering Chinese economy, President Xi Jinping on Tuesday left for America, coinciding with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s trip during which the two Asian leaders will vie for investments and influence in their contrasting styles.

While the US and Chinese officials will examine thorny issues ranging from cybersecurity to the South China Sea, Xi’s main mission will be to reassure investors that the world’s second largest economy is stable and open for business.

Ahead of Xi’s visit, Premier Li Keqiang on Monday said China aims to develop open and transparent capital markets and there was no basis for continued currency depreciation.

President of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

President of China Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

“We will actively nurture capital markets that are open, transparent and stable in the long term,” Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted Li as telling visiting British Finance Minister George Osborne, allaying fears over the recent devaluation of the Chinese economy.

The four per cent depreciation of Chinese currency Yuan last month shook the world markets, prompting the US to put off plans to rise interest rates.

Xi kicks off his visit in Seattle where he would address a meeting of 30 CEOs of top US and Chinese business houses.

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, top US business tycoon Warren Buffet, Apple CEO Tim Cook were among the leaders of business houses tipped to attend the meeting.

Modi too is scheduled to meet over 50 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies over dinner hosted in New York on September 24. He is scheduled to have similar get together with CEOs of digital companies in the Silicon Valley during his visit to the US West Coast on September 26-27.

Xi will be in the US for week-long maiden visit during which he would visit Seattle and Washington followed by New York where he would address a series of meetings at the UN, marking the 70th anniversary of the world body’s founding day.

Modi too would address the UN Sustainable Development Summit, attend the summit on UN peacekeeping hosted by President Barack Obama and host a summit of G-4 leaders, India, Brazil, Japan and Germany to press for the expansion of the Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council.

China is the only country among the Permanent members of the UNSC which has not yet come out in support of India’s permanent membership in the expanded UN Security Council.

An article in the state-run Global Times has said that India made a “biggest mistake” by aligning with Japan, Germany and Brazil as they have opponents in the region.

Also China on Monday issued a position paper on the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations in which it made no direct reference to UNSC expansion.

Though Modi and Xi will be attending the US Sustainable Development and 70th anniversary summits, there was no proposal for a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the UN.

PTI

Rajnath Singh bats for better relationship with Pakistan and China

Rajnath Singh said, “India wants better relations with Pakistan and China. We have always extended a hand of friendship and Pakistan should reciprocate and take steps to improve the relationship.”

File Picture

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said that India wants better relations with both Pakistan and China.Singh, who arrived in Jammu earlier in the day, will visit forward areas along the borders with Pakistan and China, including Chumar in eastern Ladakh which saw a fortnight-long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops a year ago.Rajnath Singh said, “India wants better relations with Pakistan and China. We have always extended a hand of friendship and Pakistan should reciprocate and take steps to improve the relationship.” Immediately after his arrival, Singh left for the Samba border district where he will inaugurate an ITPB complex and also take a first hand account of the latest situation on the international border.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his visit to the forward areas of Jammu and Kashmir, he will inaugurate a new officers’ mess at the camp of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force in Samba and may also go to posts in the sector which has often witnessed firing from across the border.Singh will then visit border posts in Chumar in eastern Ladakh where Indian and Chinese troops had eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in sub-zero temperatures in September 2014. It will be followed by a visit to the police memorial in Hot Spring and ITBP posts in Thakung and Chushul, official sources said.The Home Minister will review the situation along the Sino-Indian border and interact with troops of ITBP, which guards the border. He is also expected to chair a meeting with local administration and Border Roads Organisation about the development activities being carried out in the forward areas.With agency inputs

Drone dread ails cops at Kumbh Mela

Technology has added to the woes of policemen managing the security at Kumbh Mela. In addition to their other duties, they now have to keep an eye on the large number of foreigners visiting the city, with some of them recording the mega-event using drones without permission.

Kumbh Mela

Technology has added to the woes of policemen managing the security at Kumbh Mela. In addition to their other duties, they now have to keep an eye on the large number of foreigners visiting the city, with some of them recording the mega-event using drones without permission.On Tuesday, a Chinese journalist was spotted using a drone camera over the Ramkund and Ramghat areas. Use of drones has been prohibited during the Kumbh Mela for security reasons The camera was seized, but it was returned to the owner later, when nothing objectionable was found in it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the police, the incident took place around afternoon. The journalist, working with a Beijing daily, was taken to the police chowki after a cop noticed him using a drone. Senior officials were informed and the camera was scanned. The recovered footage was copied for further investigation.The guide accompanying the scribe, Pankaj Agrawal, said he had already informed all Chinese visitors that drone photography was not allowed, but they probably did not understand due to language barrier. He added that the journalist was stopped before he could actually take any photos.Meanwhile, police said they are investigating further as the foreigners did not inform the local police upon their arrival. Though, it appears they had intimated the rural police, while in Trimbakeshwar.

dna Must Read at this hour: From latest on Somnath Bharti case to Sensex and more

1) Man arrested for raping 5-year-old in RajasthanA 38-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl in Sikar district in Rajasthan last week. Read it here- Rajasthan: 38-year-old man arrested for raping minor2) Court refuses to quash non-bailable warrant against AAP MLA Somnath BhartiCourt has refused to quash non bailable warrant against AAP MLA Somnath Bharti in domestic violence case. In a fresh setback to the Aam Aadmi Party, a trial court on Monday issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against its legislator and former law minister, Somnath Bharti, who faces a case of attempt to murder and domestic violence. The case was filed by his wife Lipika Mitra. Read it here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>3) Robert Vadra’s name dropped from ‘no-frisking’ listRobert Vadra will now have to undergo security checks at airports with the government on Wednesday dropping his no-frisking privileges after his frequent barbs over the issue on social media. Read the full report here. 4) Height of unemployment in UP: Engineers and PhDs apply for peon positionRecently, the Uttar Pradesh state government reportedly sought applications for 368 posts of peon in the state secretariat in Lucknow. In a surprise response, over 23 lakh applicants, which is half of Lucknow’s population, sent in their resumes for the post. ​Read our full report here: Engineers and PhDs among 23 lakh applicants for 368 peon positions5) Sensex closes a 2-week high ahead of Fed meet; jumps 258 points​The benchmark BSE Sensex on Wednesday surged by 258 points to 25,963.97 on selective buying in blue-chips like Bharti Airtel, Sun Pharma and Bajaj Auto as investors are betting that the US Fed will not raise interest rates this week in view of Chinese financial crisis.​ Read it here.

Indian Army amd China’s PLA personnel meet and agree to maintain peace along LAC

Leh/New Delhi: After a fresh face-off, the armies of India and China had two meetings at two places in Ladakh today during which the two countries agreed to maintain peace and tranquility along the 465-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Ladakh sector.

The meetings were convened to discuss last week’s face-off in Burtse area which ended in the wee hours of Sunday. The meetings of senior officers of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army took place in Chushul, located 202 km southeast of Leh and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), 250 km northeast of Leh.

Chushul, which is located near the breathtaking Pangong lake, is one of the five officially agreed BPM points between India and China where army officers from both sides can meet and sort out differences along the border.

The other four BPMs are in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. BPM point on the LAC near DBO was operationalised last month. During the meetings, the Chinese side was asked about the alleged violation by building of hut 1.5 km deep inside the percieved Indian territory in Burtse, the sources said, adding “both sides agreed to adhere to no defence construction along the LAC”.

Representative image. AFPRepresentative image. AFP

Representative image. AFP

ITBP and Army jawans had demolished a hut that was built 1.5 km inside the LAC on Friday in Burtse, 210 km northeast of Leh, leading to a face-off between the two sides. The hut, with a solar panel on top, had a camera which recorded the movement of Indian troops, the sources said, while giving details about the Chinese incursion bid.

The construction was done by the PLA apparently to claim that the area belongs to them. This area is adjacent to Depsang plains where PLA had pitched camps in April, 2013 that had led to a three-week long stalemate.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei had claimed in Beijing yesterday that that no face-off had taken place in the border area and said “the Chinese border troops have been performing their duties on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”

He was responDing to a question on new stand-off at Ladakh where Indian troops removed a hut built by the PLA troops that had camera and other facilities.

This is a consistent position maintained by China since the first Depsang stand-off broke out during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang in 2013 to India, asserting that the PLA troops are carrying out activities in their side of the border.

China has been trying to make inroads in Burtse area as it will give access to the PLA to monitor the activities of Indian troops based in Old Patol base besides trying to deny an advantage to India to overlook the Karakoram highway linking the territory illegally occupied by China with Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir(PoK).

Besides, India has an Advanced Ground Landing (AGL) facility in DBO which was activated in August 2013 and the Indian Air Force(IAF) had managed to land a C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft at the air strip located at 16,614 feet above sea level.

The initial existence of a hut was seen first on a satellite imagery after which a joint patrol of ITBP and army was sent to the area to have a report from ground zero. Later, it was decided to demolish the hut which prompted the PLA to reach the area resulting in a face-off.

Indian troops displayed the banners in Chinese asking the PLA to return to their side, the officials said. India and China share over 4,000 km of LAC. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir sector.

PTI

Rajnath Singh postpones visit to forward areas along Pakistan, China borders

Singh, who was planning to visit Samba along Indo-Pak border and Chumar in eastern Ladakh for three days beginning Tuesday, postponed the visit and may tour both the areas later this month.

Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was scheduled to visit forward areas along the borders with Pakistan and China, has postponed the tour citing a key BJP meeting on Bihar.Singh, who was planning to visit Samba along Indo-Pak border and Chumar in eastern Ladakh for three days beginning Tuesday, postponed the visit and may tour both the areas later this month. “A meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board has been called on Tuesday and it is important for the Home Minister, who is a senior party leader, to attend it.”Hence the visit is rescheduled and he is likely to visit the border areas later this month,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said. The BJP meeting is expected to discuss party strategy for the coming Bihar Assembly polls scheduled next month.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian and Chinese troops recently had a face-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the same area where People’s Liberation Army had pitched camps in April 2013 that had led to a three-week-long stalemate. According to officials in the know of developments, the Chinese troops had built a temporary hut in Burtse, north of Ladakh, which was demolished by ITBP and army jawans on Saturday.The Home Minister was planning to visit Chumar area, which saw a fortnight-long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops a year ago. The Samba sector along the Indo-Pak border, the other area which the Home Minister was supposed to visit, has often witnessed firing from across the border in recent times.

dna Must Read: From Battle for Bihar to latest in US Open

1) Battle for Bihar: NDA takes lead, finalises seat arrangementThe Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday night appeared having secured the seat-sharing formula with its allies for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. Though, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi was still proving a spoiler demanding five more seats, against 20 seats, BJP leaders are confident that he will fall in line, as there are limited choices left for his party Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM). Read More<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Uphaar tragedy victims hold first public protest in 18 yearsWith a candlelight vigil and fiery speeches, the families of the Uphaar cinema fire victims held their first public protest in 18 long years, on Saturday in New Delhi. The kin of the 59 deceased raised their voices against two tragedies, the fire that killed their beloved ones, and the recent Supreme Court judgment that, they say, gave them no justice at all. Read More3) Cops want to bring back Nepalese women for identification of diplomat’s guests in CCTV images: SourcesThe Gurgaon police probing the allegations of rape, assault and illegal confinement against a Saudi diplomat might bring back the two Nepalese victims to India, for identification of the diplomat’s ‘guests’, also accused of raping and torturing the women. Read More4) Stand-off between Indian, Chinese troops near Line of Actual Control in LadakhIndian and Chinese troops recently had a face-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the same area where People’s Liberation Army had pitched camps in April, 2013 that had led to a three-week long stalemate. Read More5) Fairytale ending: Flavia Pennetta lifts US Open, announces retirementFlavia Pennetta won her first grand slam singles title over Roberta Vinci in an improbable all-Italian US Open final on Saturday then added one more shock to a stunning fortnight by announcing her retirement. Read More

Hindi will rule the digital world in coming days: PM Modi at Vishwa Hindi Sammelan

Bhopal: Stating that English, Chinese and Hindi will rule the digital world in the coming days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday noted that the language market was huge and companies can cash in on it by developing apps at the earliest.

Inaugurating the 10th Vishwa Hindi Sammelan (World Hindi Conference) at Lal Parade ground in Bhopal, Modi also called for steps to preserve endangered languages and pointed to concerns voiced by scholars that 90 per cent of the 6,000 languages world-over face the risk of becoming relics from the past.

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“In the days to come, three languages — English, Chinese and Hindi — will be influential in the digital world,” he said, adding that the language market is huge and companies can tap into it by creating apps.

Highlighting the importance of Hindi and the need for enriching it, Modi said, “If we forget Hindi, it will be a loss to the country.”

“Though my mother tongue is Gujarati, I think at times what would have happened to me had I not known Hindi. I know fairly well the strength of knowing any language,” he said, adding at the same time that the focus should not be on only promoting Hindi but other endangered languages as well.

“If we don’t take note of the warning of the language scholars, these languages will be relegated to history. If there is no language, how can literature survive.

“If we don’t conserve and protect our languages, then they will die… become extinct and lead to a situation akin to where we have to watch a film to know what the dinosaur looked like,” he said.

The prime minister also stressed that language should remain inclusive and not exclusive.

“It would be good if workshops of various regional languages spoken across the country can be organised to include good words of those languages in Hindi.

“It is the responsibility of every generation to protect, if possible, conserve its heritage and introduce it to the next generations. Whenever something written/engraved is found on a stone, the archaeological department spends years on research to find out what language it is,” he said.

Modi also recalled his days as a tea seller in Gujarat and said he had learnt Hindi while selling tea to traders of Uttar Pradesh who would travel to Gujarat to buy buffaloes.

“We must continuously strive to bring prosperity to our language,” the prime minister said.

“I work in public life… if I ever go to Tamil Nadu and say ‘Vanakkam’, I see an electrifying effect in the entire state,” Modi said as he sought to highlight the significance of knowing different languages.

He also spoke about how he has witnessed the growing popularity of Hindi in countries like Mauritius, Mongolia, China and Russia, and acknowledged the role of Hindi movies in promoting the language overseas.

He also pointed to how leaders such as the US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin were uttering ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ in Hindi and said that even Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had conveyed his greetings in Hindi for a festival.

Representatives from 40 countries are in Bhopal to attend the conference, which Modi described as being the ‘Maha Kumbh’ of Hindi.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj said that the 10th Vishwa Hindi Sammelan was in a different league from other conferences.

The emphasis this time is more on the possibilities of propagating Hindi in various fields rather than on just literary aspects of the language, she added.

The conference was also addressed by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Meanwhile, a postage stamp to commemorate the conference was also released by the prime minister in the presence of Union Minister for Communications and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Mauritius Education Minister Leela Devi along with Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, General (retd) VK Singh and Kiren Rijiju were present on the occasion, as were Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghuvar Das, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi and Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav.

PTI

Bangkok blast: Two Indians taken into custody over CCTV evidence for questioning

Bangkok: Two Indians have been taken into custody for questioning after they were seen on CCTVs talking to a foreign suspect wanted in Thailand’s deadliest bombing at a temple in Bangkok while a person arrested in the case told police that the mastermind of the attack had fled the country.

Bangkok blast. AP

The Bangkok blast killed 20 people and injured many others. AP

The two Indians, who were not identified, have been taken to a military camp for questioning, The Nation quoted police as saying.

“Nothing is really known so far about the Indians and it is not clear what the questioning is about,” sources told PTI.

The two Indians, whose names were withheld, were taken away for questioning after Assistant Police Commissioner General Prawut Thawornsiri led a team to search the Maimuna Garden Home apartment in Minburi at 9 pm on Sunday night.

The two Indians were staying in the room next to the one where police found bomb making materials, the paper said.

A foreigner who lived at the room and a Thai woman who rented the room for him are now wanted in the case.

Thai police is closely combing areas in search of people behind the 17 August bomb blast at the popular Erawan Brahma Shrine which killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others.

A combined force of police and army officers on Sunday raided several apartment buildings and rented houses in Minburi district.

Coloner Wattana Yichin, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police overseeing Minburi police station, said the raid was part of crime suppression measures as many foreigners rent apartments and houses in the area.

Police so far have issued arrest warrants against ten suspects in connection with the case.

Two foreign suspects have been arrested. One of them was carrying a Chinese passport.

Meanwhile, a suspect who was arrested near the Cambodia border identified as Yusufu Meralli, told military interrogators he assembled the bomb for the actual bomber, who is yet to be nabbed.

The first man arrested, Adem Karadak, also known as Bilal Mohammed, has been shifted from military custody to prison.

Meralli admitted he assembled the bomb before handing it to a yellow-shirted suspect who was seen on CCTV at the shrine leaving behind a backpack which would have had the explosive device.

Mieraili had told the military that he was asked to assemble the bomb, Bangkok Post quoted police sources as saying. Mieraili identified the mastermind of the attack only as Izaan. He said Izaan commanded the operation by using WhatsApp chatting application.

According to a source, Mierali testified that Izaan left Thailand via Suvarnabhumi International Airport on 16 August, a day before the bombing, to China and then headed to Bangladesh.

Mieraili claimed he had never met the yellow-shirted suspect before.

He said Izaan told him to buy bomb-making chemicals via Internet to make bombs. He reported to Izaan after the bombs were made, the paper said.

He was then ordered to carry a backpack with a bomb to leave it under a bench on a bank of Phadung Krungkasem Canal near Hua Lampong Railway station.

Mieraili said the man in yellow shirt came to switch his backpack with the one with the bomb. He said he did not meet the man in yellow in person.

He said the mastermind also instructed him to take a video clip of the bomb attack but he dared not do it for fear of being arrested.

Mieraili was carrying a Chinese passport which mentioned his place of birth as China’s western region of Xinjiang, but it is not known if it was forged.

PTI

Bangkok blast: Two Indians detained for questioning after CCTV footage shows them talking to suspect

The sources later said the two Indians, who were picked up by Thai police for questioning in connection with the August 17 blast at Bangkok’s Brahma shrine, will be released shortly.
File Photo
Image Courtesy: Reuters
Two Indians have been taken into custody for questioning after they were seen on CCTV talking to a foreign suspect wanted in Thailand’s deadliest bombing at a temple in Bangkok while a person arrested in the case told police that the mastermind of the attack had fled the country.”The two were picked up by police as part of due diligence for questioning as they lived in the room next to one where police had found bomb-making materials,” sources told PTI.The sources later said the two Indians, who were picked up by Thai police for questioning in connection with the August 17 blast at Bangkok’s Brahma shrine, will be released shortly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Their questioning is over and after the statements are recorded they will shortly be released,” the sources said.The two Indians, whose names were withheld, were taken away for questioning during a raid at the Maimuna Garden Home apartment in Minburi last night. A foreigner who lived at the room and a Thai woman who rented the room for him are now wanted under arrest warrants.Thai police is closely combing areas in search of people behind the blast at the popular Erawan Brahma Shrine which killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others. A combined force of police and army officers yesterday raided several apartment buildings and rental houses in the Nimit Mai area of Min Buri district.Col Wattana Yichin, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police overseeing Minburi police station, said the raid was part of crime suppression measures as many foreigners rent apartments and houses in the area. So far arrest warrants have been issued for 12 suspects. Two have been arrested, both foreigners, one carrying a Chinese passport.Meanwhile, a suspect who was arrested near the Cambodia border identified as Yusufu Meralli told military interrogators he had assembled the bomb for the actual bomber, who is yet to be nabbed. The first man arrested, Adem Karadak, also known as Bilal Mohammed, has been remanded from military custody to prison. Meralli, 25, identified the mastermind of the attack only as Izaan.He said Izaan commanded the operation by using WhatsApp chat application. According to a source, Meralli testified that Izaan left Thailand via Suvarnabhumi International Airport on August 16, a day before the bombing, for China and then headed to Bangladesh.Meralli admitted he assembled the bomb before handing it to a yellow-shirted suspect who was seen on CCTV at the shrine leaving behind a backpack which would have had the explosive device. Meralli, detained in Sa Kaeo province last Tuesday, has been in military custody in Bangkok since he was picked up from the eastern province.Bangkok Post quoting police sources said Meralli had told the military that he was asked to assemble the bomb, he did not elaborate on who told him to make the explosive. Meralli claimed he had never met the yellow-shirted suspect before. He said Izaan told him to buy bomb-making chemicals via Internet to make bombs. He reported to Izaan after the bombs were made, the paper said. He was then ordered to carry a backpack with a bomb to leave it under a bench on a bank of Phadung Krungkasem Canal near Hua Lampong Railway station.Meralli said the man in yellow shirt came to switch his backpack with the one with the bomb. He said he did not meet the man in person. He said the mastermind also instructed him to take a video clip of the bomb attack but he dared not do it for fear of being arrested.Meralli was carrying a Chinese passport which mentioned his place of birth as China’s western region of Xinjiang, but it is not known if it was forged.

US rules out cancelling Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit

The occasion would be used by the US President, Barack Obama to convey its message and areas of concerns to the Chinese leadership.

Reuters
The US has ruled out cancelling the scheduled state visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping as demanded by Republican presidential candidates and said it will use the occasion to narrow differences with China.”I can tell you that we have high-level interactions, such as next month s visit, precisely so that we have the opportunities for the President to resolve, or, if not possible, narrow our differences with the Chinese,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said.The occasion would be used by the US President, Barack Obama to convey its message and areas of concerns to the Chinese leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dates of Xi’s visit to the US next month have not been announced yet.”It is through engagement with China that the United States has been able to make progress on issues that are important to US businesses and to the American people — from increasing access to the Chinese market for US firms, to securing an ambitious climate change agreement,” Schultz said.He was responding to questions on demand being made by Republican presidential candidates to cancel Xi’s State visit next month.”The President is going to speak candidly about the differences we have in this exceptionally and admittedly complex relationship. But the President in last year’s visit to China didn’t pull any punches, and I wouldn’t expect him to this fall either,” the White House official said.

China stock plunge smacks global shares, U.S. stocks dive | Reuters

NEW YORK World stock markets plunged on Monday after a near-9 percent dive in China shares and a tumble in oil prices, while U.S. stocks were on track to end the day with steep losses even after a striking comeback in a volatile day.

After dropping more than 1,000 points, or almost 7 percent, at Wall Street’s open, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI cut losses but was still off almost 4 percent in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index .SPX was down 4 percent and appeared to be on track for correction territory, or a 10-percent drop from its May record high.

A key measure of U.S. equity volatility, the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX .VIX, shot above the 50 mark for the first time since 2009 before dropping back to 36 as U.S. investors turned their focus back to domestic issues.

European stocks .FTEU3 closed off 5.4 percent after Asian shares slumped to 3-year lows when a three-month-long rout in Chinese equities threatened to get out of hand. [.SS]

U.S. markets had some reprieve after Europe closed but then pushed back down towards earlier lows in late afternoon.

“There was clearly some forced selling, whether it was forced selling or just stop=losses for large, aggressive hedge funds,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“It got very sloppy, and you then saw buyers start to emerge. But a lot of those buyers were short-term in nature and took some of their gains around lunchtime. Now we’re seeing a second wave of selling.”

the Dow Jones industrial average was down 654.14 points, or 3.97 percent, at 15,805.61. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 4.06 percent to 1,890.9 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.78 percent to 4,528.23.

U.S. traders had rushed for the exits in Monday’s first half hour of trading when deepening concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown and tumbling commodities prices followed a 5 percent decline in the S&P and Dow Thursday and Friday.

“Anybody with a pulse was nervous when the market opened. We’re still going to see significant price swings both up and down before the day ends today,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

By 3 P.M. EDT (1900 GMT) trading volume was near 10 billion shares, which was still shy of Friday’s hefty 10.6 billion shares but well above the 7 billion daily average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.

Coming up to the U.S. close, the day’s swings had strategists seeking a read on the rest of the week.

“If you see it close in the upper half of the day’s range, that is a good sign in terms of the next few days,” said Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at BTIG in New York.

Oil prices settled down sharply after plunging to six-and-a-half year lows. Safe-haven U.S. government [US/] and German bonds [EUR/GVD], as well as the yen JPY= and the euro EUR=, rallied as currency concerns kicked in due to China’s recent currency devaluation.

U.S. crude settled down 5.5 percent at $38.24 a barrel CLc1 after falling as low as $37.75 earlier. Brent LCOc1 settled off 6 percent at $42.69 after falling as low as $42.51 to take them under January’s lows for the first time. Worries about weaker demand from normally resource-hungry China added to global supply glut concerns. [O/R][GOL/]

The S&P’s energy index .SPNY was the weakest performer with a 5.2 percent decline in late afternoon trading.

Copper CMCU3, seen as a barometer of global industrial demand, hit a six-year low, and Nickel CMNI3 fell sharply.

GREAT FALL OF CHINA

The slump in Chinese stocks .CSI300.SSEC was their worst performance since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2007 and wiped out what was left of 2015’s gains, which in June stood at more than 50 percent.

Many traders had hoped Beijing would take support measures, such as an interest rate cut, over the weekend after China’s main stocks markets slumped 11 percent last week.

With serious doubts emerging about the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate rise this year, the dollar .DXY was down 1.6 percent against other major currencies after falling as much as 2.5 percent earlier in the day.

The Australian dollar AUD=D4 fell to more than six-year lows and many emerging market currencies also plunged [EMRG/FRX], while the frantic dash to safety pushed the euro EUR= to a seven-and-a-half month high of more than $1.17. [FRX/]

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 5.4 percent to a more than three-year low. Tokyo’s Nikkei .N225 ended down 4.6 percent and Australian and Indonesian shares .JKSE hit two-year troughs.

London’s FTSE 100 .FTSE, with its large number of global miners and oil firms, ended down 4.7 percent for its 10th straight decline – its worst run since 2003.

The MSCI all world stock index .MIWD00000PUS was off 3.7 percent.

(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak and Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

China stock plunge hits world stocks, dollar; U.S. stabilizes | Reuters

NEW YORK World stock markets plunged on Monday, after a near 9 percent dive in China shares and a sharp drop in the dollar and major commodities sent investors rushing for the exits.

After dropping more than 1,000 points, or almost 7 percent, at Wall Street’s open, the Dow Jones industrial average eased losses but was still off more than 1 percent at midday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down by a similar margin after the U.S. benchmark earlier dropped nearly 10 percent below its record.

A key measure of U.S. equity volatility, the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, shot above the 50 mark for the first time since 2009, and the New York Stock Exchange was forced to implement special price-indication measures to allow for a more fluid start to trading.

Concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown and tumbling commodities prices had U.S. traders fearing the worst after a 5 percent decline in the both the S&P and Dow last Thursday and Friday.

“Anybody with a pulse was nervous when the market opened. We’re still going to see significant price swings both up and down before the day ends today,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “The only thing that’s certain is the volatility is going to continue in the short term, given the magnitude of the moves that we’ve already had in the last four days.”

Shortly after noon ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 219.88 points, or 1.34 percent, to 16,239.87, the S&P 500 lost 28.04 points, or 1.42 percent, to 1,942.85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 36.64 points, or 0.78 percent, to 4,669.40.

European stocks closed off 5.4 percent after Asian shares slumped to 3-year lows when a three month-long rout in Chinese equities threatened to get out of hand.

Oil plunged to six-and-a-half year lows, while safe-haven U.S. government and German bonds, as well as the yen and the euro, rallied as currency concerns kicked in due to China’s recent currency devaluation.

Many traders had hoped Beijing would have taken support measures, such as an interest rate cut, over the weekend after China’s main stocks markets slumped 11 percent last week.

With serious doubts emerging about the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate rise this year, the dollar slid 1.6 percent against other major currencies.

The Australian dollar fell to more than six-year lows and many emerging market currencies also plunged, while the frantic dash to safety pushed the euro to a seven-and-a-half month high above $1.17.

“Things are starting look like the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Speculators are selling assets that seem the most vulnerable,” said Takako Masai, head of research at Shinsei Bank in Tokyo.

U.S. crude was last down 3.9 percent at about $38.85 a barrel and Brent fell 4.3 percent to $43.51 to take it under January’s lows for the first time as concerns about a global supply glut added to worries about weaker demand from the normally resource-hungry China.

Copper, seen as a barometer of global industrial demand, hit a six-year low, as did Nickel.

GREAT FALL OF CHINA

The near 9 percent slump in Chinese stocks was their worst performance since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2007 and wiped out what was left of 2015’s gains, which in June were at more than 50 percent.

With the latest slide rooted in disappointment that Beijing did not announce policy support over the weekend, all index futures contracts slumped by their 10 percent daily limit, pointing to more bad days ahead.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 5.4 percent to a more than three-year low. Tokyo’s Nikkei ended down 4.6 percent and Australian and Indonesian shares hit two-year troughs.

London’s FTSE 100, with its large number of global miners and oil firms, closed down 4.7 percent for its 10th straight decline – its worst run since 2003.

“We are in the midst of a full-blown growth scare,” strategists at JP Morgan Cazenove said in a note.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)

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Yuan devaluation, China slowdown a worry – Jaitley | Reuters

NEW DELHI An expected slowdown in China’s economy and the devaluation of its yuan currency are reasons for worry, television channels quoted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as saying on Monday after a collapse in Chinese stocks caused a global selloff.

Jaitley, who spoke after briefing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said he wanted more steps to be taken to strengthen the Indian economy but cautioned that this could not be done in the next day or two.

Earlier, Jaitley said the factors causing turmoil on India’s financial markets were external and transient.

The BSE Sensex and Nifty closed 6 percent lower on Monday and the rupee hit its lowest since an emerging markets selloff in Sept. 2013.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Rovio seeks ‘Angry Birds 2′ Asia growth by going local | Reuters

LOS ANGELES Finnish mobile gaming company Rovio Entertainment, best known for its high-flying “Angry Birds,” is hoping to rebound from a tough 2014 and to expand in Asia by tailoring its games to draw local consumers.

After reporting a 73 percent drop in its 2014 earnings due to a decline in the licensing of the “Angry Birds” brand, and cutting about 110 jobs, Rovio (IPO-RVEY.N) is focussing on going local, the company’s chief commercial officer Alex Lambeek told Reuters this week.

“(We have the) building capability to scale into parts of the world where we haven’t been strong in the past and a big part of that is actually working with partners, not trying to do everything ourselves,” said Lambeek, who joined the company from Fox International Channels in April.

“Angry Birds,” which was released in 2009 as a mobile game and fast became a hit, allowed players to fling an array of birds at pigs using a virtual slingshot.

“Angry Birds 2,” released last month, adds more characters, high-definition scenes, options to pick which bird to fling and the ability to compete with friends.

China accounts for a third of the nearly 40 million downloads of “Angry Birds 2” since July 30, making it the top market. That is in line with the first “Angry Birds,” which Rovio said has seen nearly one billion Chinese downloads, out of what the company says is a total of 3 billion game downloads since 2009.

For Birds 2, Rovio partnered with Chinese mobile gaming company Kunlun Inc to make changes within the prompts and language used to target the way Chinese players are used to gaming, Lambeek said.

Chinese customers “want to be spoken to and listened to in their own language with their own specific humour,” he said.

One example was recruiting Chinese actor-singer Li Yifeng, 28, to market the game and offer fans who have a Kunlun login the opportunity to play against him. In Taiwan, players can log into the game using Facebook and Yahoo accounts.

Last week, Rovio appointed a new director to oversee the company’s expansion into India, where around 500,000 users have downloaded “Angry Birds 2.”

Lambeek said Rovio will be working with India’s mobile phone operators to draw consumers who may have lower disposable income, by making in-game purchases more affordable.

Rovio hopes the new game renews interest in the brand ahead of May 2016’s “The Angry Birds Movie.”

(Additional reporting by Emma Ng in Hong Kong and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Peter Henderson and Frances Kerry)

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Ladakh: Indian Army host Chinese troops on Independence Day

Indian side extolled the virtues of maintaining peace and stability on the Line of Actual Control

BSF performing for I-Day (Representational Image)

File Photo
On the occasion of the 69th Independence Day of India, the Indian Army hosted the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to a special Border Personnel Meeting at Chushul in Eastern Ladakh.Addressing both delegations during the function, the Indian side extolled the virtues of maintaining peace and stability on the Line of Actual Control. The Chinese delegation was led by Senior Colonel Liu Geping, according to Defence Spokesperson S.D. Goswami.The celebration showcased Indian culture and traditions, including traditional dances and songs. An old form of martial art called ‘Gatka’ was performed by the troops, and ‘Dare Devils’ of the Indian Army Signal Regiment performed acrobatics on their motorcycles. A volley ball match was also organised fielding a mixed team of both Indian and Chinese troops. The Chinese delegation participated in all the events with equal zeal and enthusiasm.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The day also marked a momentous occasion in India-China relations as a new Border Personal Meeting Point was also operationalised in line with the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries in October 2013. This will be the northern-most meeting point between armies of both countries on the Line of Actual Control near Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).

Indian medical students in Tianjin safe

Over 500 injured in twin explosions at a chemical warehouse in this Chinese city

Over 400 Indian students studying in different medical colleges here are safe, authorities said today after 50 people were killed and over 500 injured in twin explosions at a chemical warehouse in this Chinese city. “We have got in touch with them, they are safe,” Shrila Dutta Kumar, the Consular in the Indian Embassy in Beijing, said.Besides being a prominent port city and major export hub, Tianjin has a number of medical colleges which, with affordable fee structure have become a major attraction with aspiring Indian medical students. According to estimates the city has about 400 Indian students. Most of them apparently went back home for summer holidays, Kumar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 13,000 Indian students study in different parts of China, a majority of them medical students.

Sculptor Kapoor says China work copies his Chicago Bean | Reuters

LONDON British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor said on Wednesday he would take legal action based on copyright concerns after noting a close similarity between a huge stainless-steel, globe-like sculpture in China and his “Cloud Gate” sculpture in Chicago.

The sculpture in the far northwestern Chinese city of Karamay, whose sculptor has not been named, is said in a blog on the Wall Street Journal website to resemble an oil bubble, inspired by the rich oil fields of the region.

Kapoor’s sculpture, which is known in Chicago as “The Bean” and was erected in 2006, reflects the city’s skyscape and in photographs bears a strong resemblance to the Chinese work.

“It has been reported in the media today that an identical sculpture has been commissioned for the town of Karamay in the Xinjiang region of China,” Kapoor said in a statement released on his behalf by publicists in London.

“It seems that in China today it is permissible to steal the creativity of others. I feel I must take this to the highest level and pursue those responsible in the courts.”

“I hope that the Mayor of Chicago will join me in this action. The Chinese authorities must act to stop this kind of infringement and allow the full enforcement of copyright.”

Kapoor’s Chicago work figured in the 2011 movie “Source Code” starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

(Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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