Headline: Rohingya crisis: U.S. negotiator quits advisory panel

Bill Richardson, a former ambassador to the UN and veteran international negotiator, resigned yesterday after three days of meetings in Myanmar after an unsuccessful appeal to Suu Kyi demanding the release of Reuters journalists facing hefty jail terms for violating colonial-era secrecy laws.

“I was unhappy and distressed with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s reaction to my plea,” Mr Richardson said after publicly announcing his resignation from the Suu Kyi-initiated Advisory Board on Rakhine State, convened to implement the recommendations of the earlier Kofi Annan report.

Myanmar accused him of pursuing “his own agenda”. More than 650,000 Rohingya people, from a mostly-Muslim minority in Buddhist Myanmar, fled to Bangladesh last year in the face of a military crackdown. Many are now living in refugee camps in the neighbouring country. Bangladesh has said they will all be returned to Myanmar within two years.

Mr Richardson added that Ms Suu Kyi had been “furious” when he raised the case of two Reuters reporters on trial in Myanmar. The journalists have been charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act while working on coverage of the Rohingya crisis. There were around one million Rohingya people in Myanmar at the start of 2017, where they have their own language and culture. But the government sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

In August last year, after Rohingya militants in Rakhine state attacked police posts, people started to flee across the border. Arriving in Bangladesh, they told repeated stories of troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, burning villages and attacking and killing civilians.

The military offensive has been described by the United Nations as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” – something Myanmar denies.

Source: ANI, Business Standard

Padmaavat vandalism: Contempt petition filed in SC against four states

The Supreme Court (SC) has agreed to hear on Monday, January 29, a contempt plea against Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh for failing to contain mobs protesting against the release of controversial film ‘Padmaavat’.

The plea was filed by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla after the SC on Tuesday, January 23, rejected the final attempt by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to ban the film amid protests by Rajput groups. A separate plea also seeks action against the Rajput Karni Sena for violating the apex court orders by carrying out violent protests in many states.

In the interim, the Delhi High Court declined to engage another supplication against the release of the movie and guided the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court. “Every new request of will be taken up on Monday,” a seat including Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.

Protesters led by the Karni Sena have blocked roads, burned buses and toll booths and even vandalized theatres over the past few months. On Wednesday, January 24, a school bus in Haryana’s Gurugram was attacked by Karni Sena supporters over the release of ‘Padmaavat’.

The video of scared children crouching in the school bus targeted by hooligans protesting the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie prompted nationwide outrage. Earlier, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana had banned the film, despite the censor board’s go-ahead earlier this month.

Sources: Outlook, Republic

Intense fog affects trains, flights in Delhi (NCR)

Image Courtesy: Zee News
Railways had to cancel 18 trains while 62 were delayed, besides 20 rescheduled due to fog in several parts of North India.
New Delhi, January 05: In the last 2 days, Delhi has witnessed very dense fog in the early hours of the day. Thick, dense fog built up in the last two days led to suspension of landing operations at Delhi Airport for couple of hours. As of the morning of January 5, shallow to moderate fog is witnessed by many areas of the city.
Hundreds of passengers at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and railways stations were stranded after operations of trains and flights continued to be affected. Around 62 trains in Delhi have been delayed, 20 rescheduled and 18 cancelled due to low visibility as fog continues to grip the region, reports ANI. 17 flights have been delayed at the Delhi Airport, at the time of filing this report. The air quality in the national capital has been keeping under ‘very poor’ category as the fog has not been allowing the particulate matter to disperse.
Yesterday, Northern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) Nitin Chowdhary told ANI that the Indian Railways has installed a fog-safety device in the trains to prevent their long delays in winters.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Indian Railways has decided to extend the services of few weekly special trains, in order to clear the holiday rush of passengers and the inconvenience caused due to dense fog in the national capital region. Moreover, hundreds of passengers at several railway stations in north India have been left stranded after multiple trains have been cancelled, delayed and rescheduled for the last couple of days.
The weather condition is likely to remain the same for the next few days.

Ivanka Trump is ‘as dumb as a brick according to Steve Bannon.

The former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has portrayed President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump as “dumb as a brick” in an up and coming book, ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’. The Bannon’s perception about Ivanka was reported on Wednesday, by The Wall Street Journal, which has reviewed Michael Wolff’s new book. Prior in the day, Bannon, who was terminated from the White House job a year ago during an investigating into the the Russia’s role in the presidential decision, he already grabbed the headlines after it was reported that he had described, in the same book, a meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.

Bannon also reportedly told Wolff that investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia is centered on money laundering and claimed that “they’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV”. Bannon was the CEO of the Trump battle in its last three months and furthermore the White House boss strategist for seven months previously he was shot from his position. Three congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating Russia’s interference in the presidential election and possible collusion with Trump associates.

A lawyer for President Trump is threatening legal action against Mr. Bannon over what he calls “outright defamatory statements”. Trump attorney Charles Harder has sent a letter to Bannon, saying the former chief strategist violated confidentiality agreements by speaking with the book’s author. The letter demands Bannon “cease and desist” any further disclosure of confidential information Trump criticised Bannon for his comments and said the latter not only lost his job, he lost his mind too after being fired from the White House.


Sources – New York Times, MSN

Fog Hits Train Services In Delhi, Air Quality Back To ‘Exceptionally Poor’

Dense fog engulfed the National Capital Region (NCR) on Friday morning, limiting the visibility to under 50 meters at a few spots, influencing the vehicle services. Over 70 trains were running behind calendar and no less than 12 were rescheduled. Eight flights from the Indira Gandhi International Airport were cancelled. 

“The whole North India has been affected by the overwhelming haze today (Friday),” a railroad official said. Prepare number 12401, Magadh Express is running 25 hours behind the timetable and Seemanchal Express is running late by 20 hours, the authority said. According to the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), more than 60 flights were deferred or occupied at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Saturday’s minimum temperature was recorded at 10.6 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season’s average while the maximum temperature settled at 25.2 degrees Celsius, four notches above the season’s average.

“The national capital encountered a thick cover of haze. At 8.30 a.m., visibility at Palam region was under 50 meters and at Safdarjung was 300 meters. “This enhanced to 600 and 800 meters by 11 a.m.,” an authority from India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Sources: Outlook, Hindustan Times


Parliament passes Companies Amendment Bill by voice vote

A bill to amend the companies law to strengthen corporate governance standards, initiate strict action against defaulting companies, and help improve the ease of doing business in the country, was passed by Parliament on Tuesday. 
The Rajya Sabha passed the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017 by a voice vote. It was received by the Lok Sabha in July this year amid the Monsoon Session. Answering issues raised by the individuals amid a discourse on the Bill, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs P.P. Chaudhary said the correction would guarantee better corporate administration and enhance the simplicity of working together. 
The Bill accommodates more than 40 changes to the Companies Act, 2013, which was passed amid the past UPA administration. It was presented in Lok Sabha in March 2016 and after that alluded to the Standing Committee on Finance. In the wake of contemplating the suggestions of the board, the Cabinet had cleared a modified Bill in March this year. The Companies Act, 2013 has just been revised once under the present government. 
The most recent enactment would help in improving methodology, make consistence simple, and make stringent move against defaulting organizations, Mr. Chaudhary said. 
The Minister dismissed apprehensions  raised by individuals that the administration was not doing what’s necessary to guarantee that organizations conformed to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arrangements. Congress pioneer Jairam Ramesh said CSR had moved toward becoming “PSR or political social obligation”, particularly for PSUs.
Image Source: Mint

Ivanka Trump at Hyderabad for the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017

On Tuesday, 28th November, Ivanka Trump, daughter and adviser to US President Donald Trump, arrived in Hyderabad in order to inaugurate the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by India and the United States.

For the first time, the three-day summit is being hosted in South East Asia by the governments of India and the United States.
The first daughter is leading a delegation of senior Trump administration officials as well as American entrepreneurs.
The theme of the summit is ‘Women First, prosperity for all’. the summit is being attended by more than 1200 young entrepreneurs from around 127 countries with a majority of women participation at 52.2%

Following this, the second day of the summit began with a session on ‘Innovations in Workforce Development and Skills Training’ and focused on boosting female participation in workplace through increase in access to skills, training and career counselling.

The Prime Minister evoked stories of women from history and the rural heartland. “Indian women continue to lead in different walks of life. Our space programmes, including the Mars Orbiter Mission, have had immense contribution from our women scientists,” he said.
Ivanka Trump, ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar and Telengana Minister KTR Rao also spoke at the second day of GES.

The summit will conclude on 30 November after a session on the theme ‘When Women Win, We All Win: Promoting Inclusive Environments for Women Entrepreneurs’. The key influences that promote, support and fund women entrepreneurs will be brought together on the closing session the Summit.

Sources: ANI, The Quint