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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Financial Action Task Force places Pakistan on 'grey list' for failing to curb funding of terror groups

Islamabad: Pakistan has been placed on the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force for failing to curb anti-terror financing despite its diplomatic efforts to avert the decision, an official said on Thursday.'
The decision was taken on Wednesday night at the global financial watchdog Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) planery session in Paris where finance minister Shamshad Akhtar represented Pakistan, according to official sources. The annnoncement comes a day after Pakistan submitted a comprehensive 26-point action plan to the FATF to choke the funding of militants groups, including Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led JuD and its affiliates, to avoid being blacklisted by it.
The placement on to grey list could hurt Pakistan's economy as well as its international standing. Earlier in the day, Akhtar had urged the FATF to remove Pakistan from its grey list. As the 37-nation FATF plenary began its proceedings on Pakistan's 26-point action plan spanning over a period of 15 months, the Pakistani delegation apprised the watchdog of steps Islamabad had taken to weed out money laundering and terror financing to avoid the country being placed on the grey list.
File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP
File image of Hafiz Saeed. 
Official sources in the Foreign Office said that being placed officially on the grey list was not a surprise for Pakistan. "It is political decision and nothing to do with the performance of Pakistan against terrorism," they said. They said that Pakistan will stay on the list for a year or so and will eventually be out of it as has happened in the past. Pakistan remained on the FATF grey list from 2012 to 2015.
The process began in February 2018 when FATF approved the nomination of Pakistan for monitoring under its International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) commonly known as Grey List. Pakistan was asked to prepare a plan to address international body's concerns and get its approval or it could risk being moved to the black list. It presented a 26-point plan of action to the FATF planery with the commitment to implement it over a period of 15 months to address the concerns of the global community. The endorsement of the plan means that FATF formally placed Pakistan on the list. In case it had rejected the plan, Pakistan would have been on FATF's Public Statement, also called as the black list.
On 20 June, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan issued Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Regulations 2018, in compliance with FATF recommendations. On 8 June, the National Security Committee (NSC) reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with FATF. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. By January 2019, Pakistan will publish updated lists of persons and entities proscribed under the Anti-Terrorism Act and the UN-designated entities.
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FIFA World Cup 2018: South Korea's Cho Hyun-woo, once considered too short to be a keeper, stands tall against Germany

"I would like to play in Europe one day, and especially in England. There you can face the best strikers in the world and really improve as a goalkeeper,” Cho Hyun-woo’s eyes sparkled as he spoke of his ambitions, just days after gaining a cult status among South Korea supporters and football hipsters with his point-blank save off Marcus Berg in South Korea’s opening fixture in the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Sweden.
The Taeguk Warriors weren’t in their best shape against Sweden or Mexico, and many expected them to fold over when they faced Germany in the crunch Group F final game. What followed was an incredulous display of ability and determination from the Asian side with their young goalkeeper at the heart of an infamous win.

South Korea's goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo (right) speaks with his teammates on Wednesday. AFP

Born in Seoul, the first time Cho experienced the fanaticism which comes with football was the 2002 FIFA World Cup when his nation put Asia on the global map not only with their successful organisation of one of the world’s biggest sporting spectacles, but also with their on-field performances in which they made it to the semi-finals. Just like many other South Koreans, the then 12-year-old Cho had his heart broken when his country lost 1-0 to Germany in the semi-finals, but that World Cup had paved the way for the youngster to aspire for a career in football.
A regular member of the youth team in SunMoon University, Cho first came to spotlight during the K-League draft in 2013 when he was picked by Daegu FC and has since made a name for himself for the relatively mid-table club in Korean top division. At just 26, battling injuries throughout his young career, Cho wasn’t on anybody’s list of ‘hits of the tournament’, but regular K-League observers were accustomed to his sensational shot-stopping skills.
It was that ability which came out to play at Kazan on Wednesday as the Korean custodian pulled off as many as six saves, all of them pretty critical ones. Yes, Germany had 28 shots to their name and were the prime embodiment of wastefulness in the penalty area, but it takes nothing away from Cho, who was adjudged ‘Man of the Match’. The Korean backline had stifled play in the first half, forcing Germany to loop in crosses and shoot from range in the second half but Cho stood strong to all kinds of challenges.
His smothering of Hummels’ meek shot in the second half with Germans outnumbering the Koreans in the penalty area looked as effortless as did his collection of high balls from set-pieces. Perhaps the most eye-catching yet assuring of all among Cho’s saves was when he parried away Toni Kroos’ power strike at the 88th minute. The German central midfielder had come up with yet another moment of magic amongst some scrappy play all around him to shoot down the ground to Cho’s right, and for a microsecond there, it looked like Germany had another late breakthrough, but then Cho parried it away with a low save.
While the reactions which followed that save from both sets of players were picturesque, alluding to the frenzy of emotions in play, it was a routine save for Cho who carried on with his game like before. Cool as a cucumber under pressure, Cho wasn’t even supposed to start any of South Korea's World Cup games.
He was expected to be the third choice among the ranks after failing to find a place for himself in the starting eleven during South Korea’s qualifying matches. The youngster had, however, impressed manager Shin Tae-yong with his displays for his club, so much that he was picked ahead of veteran Kim Seung-gyu and Cho completely repaid the trust bestowed upon him.
Nicknamed 'Dae-Hair' by Daegu FC supporters for his knack of pulling off miraculous saves just like Manchester United star David de Gea, the 6-feet, 2-inch Korean was doubted for lack of height during his formative years. But against Germany he stood tall and firm — his technical prowess backed by a combination of agility and quick reflexes as he commandeered a solid defensive shift off his defenders with elan. “I still have a lot to learn in the K-League and want to show fans at home my best performance in every game,” Cho said indicating that he has his eyes aimed for the stars but his feet firmly placed on the ground, his humility earning him further respect for his incredible talent.
This World Cup in Russia has been one of upsets, but it has also been one where the lesser heralded nations and the relatively unknown footballing talents have come to the forefront and left an indelible impression. Cho is only the latest addition to the list.
Trust the FIFA World Cup to not only bring life to moments which inspire a next generation of footballers, but also make overnight stars of the worshippers of the culture of football.
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According to Thomson Reuters Foundation report on condition of Indian women is short-sighted he use it as a social indicator instead

Hannah Gadsby in her poignant new Netflix special Nanette, makes a compelling argument about man's relationship with the idea of reputation. She iterates, and with legit examples of men in positions of power, who have diminishing relationships with their own humanity, only to be able to hold on to their precious reputation. This, she tells us angrily, should be the butt of all jokes.
Closer home in India, the joke hits home. A perception study recently conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation  that maps India as the most unsafe country for women, has become the subject of much debate. While it is a matter of concern that India's position on this index has worsened in the last seven years (it ranked number four in 2011), the debate has very conveniently veered towards whether India deserves the alleged crown.
The much-scrutinised survey ranks Indian women at the highest risk of sexual violence, human trafficking and dangers from regressive traditions, among a total of six domains. Mathematically speaking, India's cumulative scores by the parameters of measurement — healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking — charts India at the extreme end of the high-risk zone for women. While that merely technically makes India the most unsafe country, the joke is still on us.
Instead of using the perception study as an indicator of the confidence global opinion makers have about women's issues in India, we've jumped onboard to do what we do best, vilify the survey for its intentions.
women-in-india_reutersIn one such exemplary article, the author does not just question the validity of the recent survey but goes on to dismiss it altogether as "a load of crock". Instead of inquiring what the parameters of assessment were, the article claims that there were none and makes the conclusion that given the survey was conducted by an international agency it is flawed, skewed and has ulterior motives.
The study though, if one bothers to do as little research as is enabled by three clicks from the very article in question, details out in their methodology — the questions and the responses collected from precisely 548 experts who work on women's issues, including aid and development professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, non-government organisation workers, journalists, and social commentators, on the aforementioned subject. A quick look at the questions will tell you it's a perception study.
Not taking any of the above into account, the said article alleges that such data-based insights are "grossly hurtful, far too casual and slippery in their conclusions." However, having dismissed the survey for the lack of empirical evidence, the author goes to cite arbitrary numbers like "95 percent of Indian men respect their women, take care of their families and are good providers (as much as possible)" from what seems like a fanciful imagination. The author seems to make a point of the fact that while no country is a pinnacle of safety for women, India isn't that bad. Sadly though, as someone more biologically qualified to respond to concerns about women's safety, I'd beg to differ (along with the 548 other respondents).
Much of sexual predatory behaviour has been normalised in India — men staring, groping, flashing women  in public spaces is a sight we are de-sensitised towards. We've learnt to expect at least a few abominable instances of rape, or better still gang-rape, flag our news feed everyday, and yes, while that does indicate that reporting has gone up, individual instances of rape or sexual violence have not gone down. Every time we leave the house we've to double check to make sure we're carrying our pepper sprays and our bravest-selves.
Our workplaces are designed around men and new maternity regulations that purportedly support women, encourage companies to *not* hire women. Our periods are taxed, and god forbid we want to take that first day of period leave — how fervently we have to defend our feminism. Our choice of clothing has to defy the standards of sleaze in our men, or else we "are asking for it". Even the country's most adored women, actors and journalists included, are acceptable only till the time they toe the line and are okay with the objectification bestowed upon them — the moment they have a voice or an opinion, or demand equal pay as their male counterparts, or *gasp gasp* allude to masturbating on screen, trolls unleash upon them the choicest of abuses, most of which are rape threats. Those that aren't, are either directed to her genitals and what she chooses to do with them.
And these are only some of the problems that we, the urban women with access and agency, face. When you move further into the heartlands, feminism is a battle for survival there — one half of the 68.84 percent is fighting merely to live another day, be that from the vestiges of dowry related violence or poor maternal care or from being ravaged and beaten by a drunk husband or neighbours. Everyone likes to have a go at the women, because the established narrative states that it is through decimating her, one can establish superiority.
Like it or not, we are still very much living in a country where half of its population is treated as second class citizens. As a nation-loving Indian women, we have learnt to accept it all, for India is progressing — very slowly, though not steadily, "allowing" it's women to become a part of the mainstream narrative. When some of us protest that this said progress is far too slow, or question the validity of being "allowed", we're told to sit down, shut our traps and behave like women are supposed to. However, every now and then, there will come a report that will take into account expert opinions and empirical data and put a number to the collective fiction that we call woman empowerment.
While it might be true (however sad) that there are no countries devoid of violence against women, there are many who have managed to substantially reduce it. Countries like Sweden, and even Kenya are doing much to inculcate gender sensitive education amongst the youth, which goes on to say that there is much to learn from. And while Thompson Reuter Foundation's survey might not be gospel, it sure is a good indicator of how fragile the perception of women's safety in our nation is. Maybe if we focused on what could be done, instead of asking why we are behind of a Somalia, Pakistan or Syria, every woman you bother to ask might someday not have a horror story to tell.

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Bank officers union slams Alok Industries' lenders decision to accept offer with deep haircut of 83%

New Delhi: The All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) ON Wednesday condemned lenders' decision to accept Reliance Industries-JM Financial ARC's resolution plan for debt-ridden Alok Industries with a deep 83 percent haircut.
The AIBOC said the RIL-JM combine has offered just Rs 5,050 crore for the acquisition of Alok Industries, which owes close to Rs 30,000 crore to a consortium of banks and operational creditors. According to the plan, lenders to Alok Industries will have to take a deep haircut of 83 percent in approving RIL-JM Financial ARC's resolution plan to take over the bankrupted textile company, it said.
Representational image. Reuters
Representational image. Reuters
Alok Industries is one of the 12 companies, the so-called ‘dirty dozen', identified by the Reserve Bank of India in May last year for initiating bankruptcy proceedings by lenders, the bank officer union said in a statement.
RIL-JM Financial has emerged as the sole bidder for the Alok Industries in the first round of auction held in March 2018, but lenders hesitated at accepting the resolution plan which required them to take 85 percent haircut, it said. "RIL-JM later raised its offer price by Rs 100 crore. But lenders again rejected the resolution plan. The resolution plan was finally approved with 72 percent of lenders voting in its favour," it said.
The resolution has been facilitated with the assistance of the government by the amendment in the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) that requires the approval of only a minimum of 66 percent of lenders as against 75 percent earlier, it said. It is quite clear that IBC has been amended with the only objective to allow the RIL-JM taking over Alok Industries and in the process the banks have to endure the haircut of 83 percent, it added.
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Sensex suffers more losses as rupee hits record low, breaches 69-mark; Nifty drops by 31 points; bank, auto stocks fall

Mumbai: The benchmark Sensex fell over 90 points in early trade today after the rupee sank to a lifetime low of 69.10 against the US dollar amid firming crude oil prices.

There was also caution among investors on the expiry day of the June series derivatives contracts, brokers.

Sectoral indices led by realty, capital goods, PSU, oil and gas, infrastructure, banking and power remained in the negative zone, declining up to 1.43 percent. Brokers said market sentiment was fragile following the rupee hitting a new low of 69.10 against the dollar amid rising crude oil rates.
Brent crude was trading at nearly $78 a barrel in Asian trade today. Besides, lingering trade war concerns between the US and China accelerated selling on the domestic bourses, they added.
Representational image. PTI
Representational image. PTI
The laggards included NTPC, Coal India, L&T, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Power Grid, SBI, Tata Motors, Adani Ports, Asian Paints, HDFC Ltd, Maruti Suzuki, Yes Bank and Bajaj Auto, falling up to 2.48 percent.
Bucking the trend, stocks of software exporter such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro were trading higher by up to 2.12 percent, largely supported by a weak rupee.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.20 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.44 percent in early deals. Shanghai Composite Index too was up 0.20 percent.
The US Dow Jones ended lower by 0.68 percent in yesterday's trade.
Rupee sinks to record low vs US dollar
The rupee collapsed to a lifetime low of 69.10 against the US dollar by plunging 49 paise in early trade today as rising crude oil prices deepened concerns about the country's current account deficit and inflation dynamics. Consistent dollar demand from banks and importers, mainly oil refiners, following higher crude oil prices kept the rupee under pressure. At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee opened at 68.87 a dollar against 68.61 previously and sank to 69.10 in morning deals, falling 49 paise. Global oil prices have climbed after the US asked its allies to end all imports of Iranian oil by November. Concerns over supply disruptions in Libya and Canada also pushed prices higher. Higher crude oil prices and a declining rupee are a double whammy for India, forex dealers said.

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Acc. to Thomson Reuters Foundation poll, India ranked world's most dangerous country for women

Is India a more dangerous place for women to live in compared to Yemen, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo? All three countries are ravaged by war and the people there face conflict, poverty and disease. And yet, the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 548 experts on women's issues found India to be the most dangerous country in the world for women. The parameters used for this perceptual survey were access to health, sexual violence, non-sexual violence including domestic, physical and mental abuse, lack of access to economic resources, human trafficking and the continuation of cultural practices including child marriage, genital mutilation and acid attacks.
The survey has met with a mixed reaction. While some women have express scepticism about these findings there are others who feel these findings have only served to reinforce the rising graph of crime against women.
Crime against women. Representational image. Reuters

Hutokshi Doctor, editor of Infochangeindia and co-founder of Centre for Communication and Development questions the parameters of the survey. "It seems a little over the top. What is the construction of their different matrix? And is this based on a percentage of the population since ours is a much larger population? They need to spell out these details," she said.
While Akhila Sivadas, director of Centre for Advocacy and Research, is also cautious about these findings, she does feel that in most surveys, India is showing a downward slide. "If you look at the recent food and gender surveys, India is severely lagging behind even compared to other South Asian countries," Sivadas said.
"The quality of life (here) is very poor and the situation is getting worse. Of course, if we take the cumulative index, people are getting empowered and are speaking out. But when you co-relate this with individual cases, the situation is very ugly. The government needs to tackle this situation on a war footing," she added.
Sivadas is not the only one speaking about against this poor record of women's safety in India. Professor Syeda Hameed, a former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, believes ours is the most 'ungender friendly country' in the world.
"The situation is getting worse every day especially for women of the minority and Christian communities. Gender-based violence is on the rise and little is being done to curb it," maintains Hameed. Former IAS bureaucrat Neeru Nanda, who retired as an adviser to the Punjab Governor, believes that one of the reasons for this perception of India emerging as the most dangerous country for women is because the government has done little to counter it.
"When foreign students go to study in the US, they are given an orientation on how they must manage themselves especially given that campus rape is rampant in the US. Similarly, cases of rape and domestic violence in the US Army are very high. In India, giving an orientation to foreign tourists is a must. There are unwritten rules in every society. In such a large and free country, they are provided with no guidelines on what they should wear and not wear and places they should not visit alone after dark," said Nanda.
Woman activist Sujata Madhok also finds the results of the survey a little far-fetched, though she does believe that patriarchal cultural norms continue to dominate society, especially in north India. "We continue to carefully segregate work according to gender and women's work is not paid for. Young women are challenging these cultural norms by going to college and going out for work and this can leave them very vulnerable," said Madhok.
Bharti Ali, co-founder of HAQ has done a tremendous amount of work in the field of trafficking of women and children. Ali believes, "We have a serious problem and we cannot be blind to it. The low conviction rates for crimes against women and children has encouraged traffickers and other offenders who are confident that even when they commit a crime, they will ultimately get acquitted. It is pointless making harsher laws when existing laws are not implemented." Ali goes on to state, "The second problem is that no one is working at the community level. Increasing joblessness is seeing huge amounts of migration taking place. We need to have an inter-state migrant act so as to ensure some levels of safety for those who migrate from their homes."
Jaya Jaitley, former president of the Samata party and crafts promoter, rejects the survey outright. Jaitley said, "I have spent the last few months travelling in villages in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, the North East and by and large, I have found village communities to be very caring and responsible for each other. Women feel very secure in villages and receive respect in their communities. Of course, in the North East, women are very forward-looking and progressive,"
"The problem is that when they come to cities in search of work, they are forced to live in slum areas. I believe that 99 percent of crimes occur when men are under the influence of alcohol. The rape culture is directly linked to drinking and free access to pornography. But in villages, you find old women wearing only a sari and taking a bath at the well. They are respected there. This survey is a typical white man's perception of what they believe is a third world country," Jaitley adds.
Mridula Mukherjee, who teaches history at the JNU, believes the parameters used by the Thompson Reuters Foundation need to be made public especially since rape and other sex crimes are 'pretty bad in the advanced countries also'.
"Surveys like this (one) are good for shock therapy. Feminists have been writing about the worsening plight of women in the last three to four decades. Unfortunately, the government in power is not sensitive to women. They may be coming up with more stringent laws but the situation on the ground has not improved. Sexual violence of the most brutal and overt manner is taking place," said Mukherjee. Rami Chhabra, a feminist writer, is not surprised at these findings. She believes that we need to go to the root of the problem as to why the social fabric of the country has been torn apart, especially since women participated in the freedom struggle in large numbers during which period they felt safe and secure.
Chhabra blames the donor push and the HIV-AIDS program for pushing programs without understanding our social setting. Chhabra said, "It was the powerful foreign donors backed pro-prostitution and condom centric HIV-AIDS program that resulted in sexualising the media and that allowed high-risk sexual networks to form privileged communities in the name of HIV-AIDS prevention."
Chhabra believes the only way out is for better implementation of laws, better policing, support systems for women's safety and sexual abuse prevention. "If respect for bodily integrity is interpreted to include the right to barter it in commercial transactions, this tears all intimacy out of socially legitimate relationships," maintained Chhabra.
National Commission for Women, Rekha Sharma, rejected the findings outright. "Women are very aware in India of issues and there is no way that we could be ranked number one in such a survey. The countries that have been ranked after India have women who are not even allowed to speak in public," Sharma stated but refused to elaborate on which country she was referring to.

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SSC CHSL Tier I 2017 final exam answer keys release, you can check at ssc.nic.in

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) has declared the answer keys to the final answer keys to Combined Higher Secondary Level (10+2) examination 2017 Tier I today (28 June), days after the result for it were announced. Candidates can be access them on ssc.nic.in.

According to the notification by the SSC, the keys were released to "ensure transparency in the exam system" and to help the candidates. The website also said that the keys will be available for a month and the last date to check them is 26 July.

Here is how you can check the answer keys:

- Go to the official website, ssc.nic.in
- Click on the link that says ‘SSC CHSL answer key’.
- In the new window that opens, enter your roll number, password and the date of the exam.
- Download the keys and take a printout for future reference.

The SSC CHSL exam was an online exam conducted from 4 March to 26 March, 2018 to fill a total of 3,259 vacancies.
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'Sacrifice of soldiers can't become vote-garnering tool': Congress warns nation against BJP over surgical strike videos

The videos of surgical strikes, released by a few TV channels, have initiated a different political slugfest. A day after the videos were released a former Indian Army officer confirmed the veracity of the footage.Lt General DS Hooda (retd), former Northern Army Commander who was directly in-charge of the surgical strikes said,"The videos are real. I can confirm that." "When the surgical strikes happened, my view was that the videos should have been released as proof. It is good that they have come out now."Congress did not miss a chance to slam the Narendra Modi government and claimed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was using the sacrifice of soldiers to garner votes. "The BJP government is using the slogan of 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' and trying to win votes through Surgical strikes." said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Pic#(money control)
Image result for congress
"Blood and sacrifice of brave soldiers cannot become political vote garnering tool for Modi government," said Surjewala. He compared Modi to previous prime ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh and questioned whether Modi's predecessor boasted of the success of army operations during their tenure.He also accused the government of meting out “step-motherly treatment” to the armed forces by not providing them with state-of-the-art equipment and slashing their budgetary allocation. “The doublespeak of the Modi government and the BJP stands is reflected in the step motherly treatment of our armed forces, both in terms of providing for security apparatus as also in slashing the budgetary allocation. Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen. Sarath Chand, was forced to publicly state that 68 percent of all equipment is 'vintage',” he said.
"Is the Modi government endangering our 'security infrastructure'? Is the Modi government guilty of putting the life of our soldiers in danger? Is the Modi government using our 'soldiers' as 'political fodder' - using their sacrifice for vote garnering?,” he asked.
Surjewala went on to warn the nation, that when the Modi government starts failing and Amit Shah's BJP starts losing, they will start misusing the valour of the Army for their political benefit. "The valour of the army is a thing for the country to be proud of. It should not be used as a tool to garner votes," he said.
"On one hand, Modi government and the BJP indulge in seeking credit for the sacrifice of our soldiers and surgical strike, yet the government has utterly failed to provide the direction, the vision and the policy for dealing with Pakistan and checkmating Pak-sponsored terrorism. No wonder apathy and incapacity of the Modi government has resulted in the sacrifice of 146 soldiers, more than 1600 ceasefire violations by Pakistan and 79 terrorist attacks post September 2016," he said. Surjewala praised the then Congress government and said that the then president Sonia Gandhi and the then vice-president Rahul Gandhi were the first leaders to extend their support and appreciate the government for the surgical strike. Surjewala also tweeted about the surgical strike. He lauded the Armed Forces but criticised the government for politicising it through 'headlines management'.

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Governor’s Rule won't impact operations but NN Vohra's experience may help said by Kashmir corps commander

The army is satisfied with its recent counter-terrorism successes, but the imposition of Governor’s Rule does not mean a change in the thrust or methods of operations, Lt Gen AK Bhatt said. Lt Gen Bhatt heads the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, also known as the Chinar Corps, which is responsible for securing a large part of the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
Image result for Lt general AK bhatt image
The army continues to do its work according to set procedures, he said during a chat on Wednesday, adding that coordination with the police was already on a stable footing.
Lt Gen Bhatt limited himself to observing that NN Vohra’s experience of ten years as governor would stand him in good stead. So would his previous experience as defence secretary (as well as home secretary in the Government of India).As defence secretary in 1993-94, Vohra had an opportunity to understand the nitty-gritty of the working and procedures of the armed forces.It has been widely speculated that there would be closer coordination between the administration and the forces under Governor’s Rule and a more muscular thrust against militants. Several army officers who have served in Kashmir have contradicted those who claim that the army has been functioning at reduced momentum before now. One of those who has publicly said this is Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy, a widely respected officer who held charge of the Jammu region as Corps Commander in 2009-10.
Lt Gen Bhatt held that to the extent that Vohra’s wealth of experience might result in Governor’s Rule bringing about improvements in governance and more responsive administration at the ground level would help to bring peace, which is the primary objective of the army’s work in Kashmir.
Yatra threat
The Corps Commander expressed satisfaction over the three major operations, in which ranking militants from radically Islamist organisations had been killed in the first few days after the Ramzan embargo on initiating operations ended.
Dawood Salafi, who was a leading face of Islamic State in the Valley, and his associates from the extreme outfit were among militants who were killed in one of the three military operations to which Bhatt referred.The more radical of these organisations pose a potent threat, especially during the annual Amarnath Yatra, which has just got underway.
The forces deployed to secure the Yatra remain on high alert despite the statement of Hizb-ul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo that militants do not pose a threat to the pilgrims. Senior officers take the view that this represents a Kashmiri militant’s thinking, but not that of the more radically pan-Islamist Pakistan-origin groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed or the ISI officers who strongly influence the militancy in Kashmir.The Yatra gets fully underway from Thursday when the first pilgrims will have darshan. The first pilgrims began to move from Jammu on Tuesday.
Naikoo is a highly educated militant, who has been known as a hot-head. His audio statement on Amarnath pilgrims being welcome went viral on Wednesday. Naikoo's stance is of a piece with the attitude of youth icon Burhan Wani when he had been the divisional commander of Hizb. A little before he was killed, Wani is said to have made some calls to help stave off an attack on the 2016 Yatra when he heard that one of the Pakistan-origin groups was planning an attack.
Responsive attitude
Lt Gen Bhatt has had a successful stint since he was posted to the Valley at the beginning of this year. He had been the Director-general of Military Operations immediately before that, an experience that would stand him in good stead in Kashmir.
He and his officers have been eager to try and understand Kashmiri youth and to participate in the state’s efforts to reach out to them.Governor Vohra too has stated categorically that his administration will make every effort to reach out to youth through parents, teachers and elders in society.
Lt Gen Bhatt had said in another chat before the Ramzan embargo on initiating operations that the army is trying to ensure that soldiers are sensitive to the need to guard against alienating youth and provoking more to join the ranks of militants.He and the then Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, had both asserted at the time that their efforts to sensitise soldiers were working.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

PM a brutal: Congress hits back at Narendra Modi for his remarking on Emergency

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Congress on the anniversary of the Emergency, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala fired back at the BJP and said the party was attempting to distract voters ahead of 2019 elections.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday, Surjewala said Modi did not get his mandate on the 21-month-long Emergency that was in place some 43 years ago. Rather, the Modi government came to power on the promise of achhe din, good governance, employment, electrification, and development.
Related image

He also called the BJP a
 Bohot Joothi Party, adding that whenever anyone tries to ask them a question about their performance in the past 49 months, they are called anti-national. He said that history will teach the bohot juthe pradhanmantri (lying prime minister) a lesson."Just because they have no answers, this brutal Aurangzeb-like dictatorial government can't escape by shifting the focus away," Surjewala said.
He said, "Modi ji apni nakamiyo pe parda dalne ke liye itihaas se pratishodh le rahe hain par vo ye bhul gye ki vo khud itihaas banne vale hain (Modi ji is trying to take revenge on history but he forgets that soon he too will be a chapter in it)."
Surjewala also questioned on the government's welfare schemes and claimed programmes meant for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes were cut by half by the ruling dispensation.
Surjewala also said that while Modi was talking about an incident that took place decades ago, an "undeclared Emergency" in taking place in India. "Dalits and Tribals are being stripped and beaten for the slightest assertion of their identity. Media personnel are being harassed. There is an environment of fear and panic all around," Surjewala added.
Modi, speaking in Mumbai on Tuesday, call the Emergency a black spot in India's golden history while addressing an event to mark its 43rd anniversary imposed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975.
Toon by Manjul.
Toon by Manjul.
Modi said the day needs to be observed to rededicate oneself to the protection of the Constitution and democracy. "Emergency is a black spot on the golden history of the nation. Observing black day today is not just to criticise the Congress for its sin of imposing Emergency but also to create an awareness for the protection of Constitution and democracy," Modi said, "The party which has no internal democracy cannot be expected to follow the ideals of a democracy. For selfish interests, Congress turned the country into a jail by imprisoning Opposition leaders. For them, the country and democracy have no value. Instead of (Indira Gandhi) quitting as prime minister after the court verdict, Emergency was imposed. How can these people talk about safeguarding the Constitution?" he asked. "When Kishore Kumar refused to sing for them (Congress), his songs were not allowed to be played on the radio," Modi added.

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Nitish Kumar calls Lalu Prasad to know about his health and then Tejashwi Yadav dubs it 'late courtesy call'

Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday called up RJD national president Lalu Prasad, who is recuperating in a Mumbai hospital after undergoing a surgery two days ago, and enquired about his well-being.
Kumar's telephonic call to Prasad, however, was deprecated by the RJD supremo son and former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav, who described the gesture as a "late courtesy call."
Image result for nitish kumar image
According to sources close to the chief minister, Kumar spoke to his old associate-turned-arch rival, who was operated upon for fistula at the Asian Heart Institute in the western metropolis on Sunday.
The development comes amid speculations of Nitish Kumar's growing discomfort within the BJP-led NDA to which he had returned in 2017, walking out of the Grand Alliance comprising the RJD and the Congress.
Prasad's younger son Tejaswi Yadav, however, deprecated Kumar's gesture, terming it as a "late courtesy call" which came after the ministers in the NDA government at the Centre had visited his father at the Mumbai hospital.
"Nothing but a late courtesy call to enquire about his health as he uderwent fistula operation on Sunday. Surprisingly, Nitish ji got to know about his ill health after four months of hospitalization," Yadav tweeted.
"I hope he realizes he is the last politician to enquire following the BJP/NDA ministers visiting him," he tweeted, in an apparent reference to the courtesy calls by Union ministers Ashwini Choubey and Upendra Kushwaha.

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Germany fighting for survival in wide-open Group F; Brazil aim to seize top spot on Day 14

Two of the best teams in international football go into their final group matches in danger of being bounced from the World Cup.
Germany and Brazil, both early favorites for the title, struggled through their opening two matches. The teams have a combined nine World Cup titles, Germany are the defending champions and Brazil are still trying to redeem itself from a humiliating 7-1 loss in the 2014 semi-finals, in which they were the host nation.
Here’s a look at what you can expect on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia:
Group F: Mexico vs Sweden, South Korea vs Germany (7.30 pm)
Germany were shocked in their opening match in Russia by Mexico, and they needed a goal in stoppage time from Toni Kross to pull out a 2-1 victory over Sweden. To avoid elimination in the first round of the World Cup for the first time since 1938, Germany need a strong showing on Wednesday against South Korea in a wide open group finale at Kazan Arena.
A bird flies in the rain in front of Kazan Arena, venue for the Group F match between South Korea and Germany. AP

Germany coach Joachim Loew has been blasted at home for conservative roster choices. So Loew made four changes against Sweden, including dropping playmaker Mesut Ozil from the starting line-up. The changes made for a balanced team that was relieved to pull out the win against Sweden.
South Korea's chances to advance are slim, and captain Ki Sung-yueng won't play because of a left calf injury. If South Korea beat the four-time world champions, and Sweden lose to Mexico, the South Koreans could make it to the Round of 16.
Meanwhile, Mexico have a chance to win their group with a perfect record for the first time in their World Cup history.
Mexico haven't yet secured their spot in the Round of 16, but forward Javier Hernandez believes they are contenders to win the entire tournament.
"We are brave enough not only to dream, but to work on those dreams so that we can make them true," Hernandez said. Hernandez needs one goal to make him Mexico's all-time leading scorer in World Cup play with five.
Group E: Switzerland vs Costa Rica, Serbia vs Brazil (11.30 pm)
In Group E, Brazil and Switzerland have four points apiece while Serbia have three, and any of them could grab one of the group's two spots in the knockout stage.
Brazil head into their final group match against Serbia at Spartak Stadium in Moscow needing only a draw to advance.
But after a 1-1 draw against Switzerland, Brazil needed two injury-time goals to pull out a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica. Neymar has been frustrated with the play of the national team, and he dropped to his knees and sobbed after the Costa Rica match.
Switzerland were under scrutiny following their 2-1 victory over Serbia because three of the players used the match to make political statements.FIFA fined three Swiss players for making hand gestures that seemed directed against their opponents because many Swiss players have ties to the former Serbian province of Kosovo.Switzerland will reach the Round of 16 with at least a draw. Costa Rica were eliminated after losing their first two matches, which makes Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic wary of the match in Nizhny Novgorod.
"Mind you, this is not going to be an easy one," Petkovic said. "This is a good quality opponent. Obviously they are a proud team and have nothing to lose and are potentially dangerous."
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