‘Peace process must be Afghan-led’: S Jaishankar at ‘intra-Afghan’ talks in Doha


‘Peace process must be Afghan-led’: S Jaishankar at ‘intra-Afghan’ talks in Doha

‘The friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan,’ he said.

India attended the intra-Afghan talks in Doha on Saturday which was attended by a senior official in-person while the foreign minister S Jaishankar virtually.

Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) in Ministry of External Affairs, J P Singh, in Doha witnessed the ceremony.

Taking it to twitter, Jaishankar said, “Addressed the conference on Afghan peace negotiations at Doha today. Conveyed that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, promote human rights and democracy, ensure the interest of minorities, women and the vulnerable, effectively address violence across the country.”

“The friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. No part of Afghanistan is untouched by our 400-plus development projects. Confident that this civilizational relationship will continue to grow,” he added.

 

India had attended the signing of the US-Taliban pact on February 29.

Earlier this week, foreign minister had visited Iran and had discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

Later to that, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his counterpart in Iran.

Jaishankar on Tuesday flown to Tehran and met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and discussed the Chabahar port project and the situation in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister was on his way to Moscow for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Monday, and made a technical halt for refueling the special aircraft.

The intra-Afghan talks, a significant development in the middle-east region, come after the Afghan government released the last batch of six Taliban prisoners on Thursday.

Kabul and the Taliban had announced that the long-awaited “intra-Afghan” talks would begin on September 12 in Doha, Qatar.




ENG vs AUS: Glenn Maxwell, Josh Hazlewood help Australia in winning first ODI


ENG vs AUS: Glenn Maxwell, Josh Hazlewood help Australia in winning first ODI

Maxwell and Marsh took the responsibility on their shoulders and took Australia’s score to 249/6. While Maxwell scored 77, Marsh made 73.

Half centuries from Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Marsh followed by some brilliant bowling effort from Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa helped Australia beat England in the first ODI despite maiden century from Sam Billings.

Put into bat, Australia found themselves reeling at 123/5 at one stage on Friday. However, Maxwell and Marsh took the responsibility on their shoulders and from there on, they took the team’s score to 249/6. While Maxwell scored 77 off just 59 balls, Marsh contributed with valuable 73 runs and helped their team post a total of 294/9 in their allotted 50 overs.

Chasing what would have been a record chase at the Old Trafford in ODIs, England found themselves in trouble rather quickly as Hazlewood claimed the wickets of Jason Roy and Joe Root to reduce the host to 13/2 after 7.1 overs. Skipper Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler also couldn’t contribute much and the host were placed in a precarious situation at 57/4 after 16 overs.

However, Jonny Bairstow then combined with Billings and after a period in which both batsmen struggled to find their timing, the opener got going with a pair of sixes off Zampa. But it was also the leg-spinner who put an end to Bairstow’s charge after 84 runs and 107 balls.

Billings then took the charge and kept England in the hunt even as wickets kept falling at the other end. He reached his maiden ODI century but was unable to keep up with the rate, and eventually fell for 118 on the final ball of the innings as Australia registered a 19-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The victory also helped Australia register their first points in the ICC World Cup Super League from their first match in the tournament, moving equal with Ireland on 10 points.

The two teams will now face each other in the second ODI on Sunday at the same venue.

Brief scores: Australia 294/9 (Maxwell 77, Marsh 73; Mark Wood 3/54) beat England 275/9 (Billings 118, Bairstow 84; Zampa 4/55) by 19 runs.




Route Mobile IPO subscribed over 74 times on final day


Route Mobile IPO subscribed over 74 times on final day

On Tuesday, Route Mobile garnered Rs 180 crore from anchor investors.

Route Mobile’s Rs 600-crore initial public offer (IPO) was subscribed 74.36 times on the final day of bidding on Friday. The cloud communications service provider received bids for over 89 crore shares as against the total issue size of 1.21 crore shares.

With the help of the public issue, the company aims to raise Rs 600 crore which consists of fresh issue of Rs 240 crore and an offer for sale of Rs 360 crore. Price range for the offer was Rs 345-350 per share.

Qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) category was subscribed 91 times, non-institutional investors category 195.61 times and retail individual investors portion was subscribed 12.85 times, according to merchant bankers.

On Tuesday, Route Mobile garnered Rs 180 crore from anchor investors.

The company proposes to utilise the net proceeds for repayment or pre-payment, in full or part, of certain borrowings of the company, acquisitions and other strategic initiatives, purchase of office premises in Mumbai, and general corporate purposes.

ICICI Securities, Axis Capital, Edelweiss Financial Services and IDBI Capital Markets and Securities are the managers to the offer.

The cloud communications service provider has direct connection with 240 telcos and more than 800 mobile network operators spread across the globe.




Biden calls Trump handling of pandemic ‘almost criminal’


Biden calls Trump handling of pandemic ‘almost criminal’

The US continues to be the worst-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called US President Donald Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic “disgusting” and “almost criminal”, after it was revealed that the latter had downplayed the virus’ threat earlier this year, the media reported on Friday.

“It was all about making sure the stock market didn’t come down, that his wealthy friends didn’t lose any money, and that he could say anything, that in fact anything that happened had nothing to do with him,” the BBC quoted Biden as saying in a CNN interview on Thursday.

The former Vice President said that Trump “waved a white flag”.

“Think about it. Think about what he did not do – it’s almost criminal,” he added.

Biden’s remarks came after local media reported on Wednesday that Trump told author and associate editor of The Washington Post, Bob Woodward in March that he wanted to downplay the threat because “he did not want to create a panic”.

Trump’s remark was revealed in Woodward’s new book “Rage”, slated to release this month.

It is based on 18 interviews that Trump gave Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal, between December 2019 and July 2020, as well as background conversations with officials and other sources.

Facing criticisms following the revelations, Trump insisted he was right to keep his concerns about the pandemic private.

At a White House event also on Wednesday, Trump defended his remarks, calling himself a cheerleader for the country and arguing he did not want to create panic.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Thursday, the number of cases increased to 6,397,245, while the death toll stood at 191,791, according to the Johns Hopkins University.




North Korea issues shoot-to-kill orders to prevent coronavirus: US


North Korea issues shoot-to-kill orders to prevent coronavirus: US

The impoverished North — whose crumbling health system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak — has not confirmed a single case of the disease that has swept the world since first emerging in China, the North’s key ally.

North Korean authorities have issued shoot-to-kill orders to prevent the coronavirus entering the country from China, according to the commander of US forces in the South.

The impoverished North — whose crumbling health system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak — has not confirmed a single case of the disease that has swept the world since first emerging in China, the North’s key ally.

Pyongyang closed its border with China in January to try to prevent contamination, and in July state media said it had raised its state of emergency to the maximum level.

US Forces Korea (USFK) commander Robert Abrams said that the border shutdown had increased demand for smuggled goods, prompting authorities to intervene.

The North introduced a new “buffer zone, one or two kilometers up on the Chinese border,” Abrams told an online conference organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Thursday.

“They’ve got North Korean SOF (Special Operations Forces) out there. … Strike forces, they’ve got shoot-to-kill orders in place.”

The border closure had effectively “accelerated the effects” of economic sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear programs, he added, with imports from China plunging 85 percent.

The isolated country is also grappling with the aftermath of Typhoon Maysak, with its state media reporting more than 2,000 houses have been destroyed or inundated.

As a result, Abrams did not expect to see any major provocations from Pyongyang in the near future, although he said it might show off a new weapons system at next month’s celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Kim Jong Un’s ruling party

The regime right now — the military — is focused principally on getting their country recovered and to help mitigate the risk of Covid-19,” he said.

“We’re not seeing any indications right now of any sort of lashing out.”

But CSIS published on its website a satellite image of North Korea’s Sinpo South naval shipyard, which its experts believe shows activity that could indicate preparations for a test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

A new North Korean missile test would be yet another sign of the lack of progress in denuclearization talks between the US and Pyongyang, which have been stalled despite multiple meetings between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

Trump, who is seeking reelection in November, was the first sitting US leader to meet a member of the Kim dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since its founding.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted, without further explanation: “Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!”




Libya’s rival legislatures agree to resume peace talks


Libya’s rival legislatures agree to resume peace talks

The meeting came weeks after the separate visits by President of the Libyan High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh to Morocco.

Libya’s two rival legislative bodies have agreed to resume peace talks in Morocco in the last week of September.

In a joint statement issued at the end of a five-day meeting on Thursday, the High Council of State based in the Libyan capital Tripoli and the eastern-based House of Representatives said they “have reached a comprehensive agreement on the criteria and mechanisms to occupy the keys posts of sovereignty”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement declined to give further details about the agreement, only confirming that the talks will be held in the last week of September.

The meeting came weeks after the separate visits by President of the Libyan High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh to Morocco.

In 2015, Morocco hosted the UN-brokered peace talks between Libya’s rival parties that led to the conclusion of the Libyan Political Agreement on forming a national unity government.

Despite that, Libya remains politically divided amid insecurity and escalating violence.

The UN-backed government had been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against the eastern-based army for more than a year over control of the capital Tripoli, before the former recently took over all of western Libya.

 

By Agency




UCO Bank cut MCLR by five basis points


UCO Bank cut MCLR by five basis points

State-run Bank of Maharashtra reduced its MCLR by up to 10 basis points for select tenors effective Monday.

State-owned UCO Bank slashed its marginal cost of fund based lending rate (MCLR) by five basis points. The new rates came into effect from Thursday onwards.

UCO Bank slashed its one-year MCLR to 7.35 per cent from 7.40 per cent and it would be same for all tenors, the lender said in a statement.

On Monday, state-run Bank of Maharashtra reduced its MCLR by up to 10 basis points for select tenors. Its peer Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) also said it will cut its MCLR by 10 basis points (bps) across all tenors effective September 10.

Bank of Maharashtra has reduced its one-year and six-month MCLR to 7.30 per cent (from 7.40 per cent) and 7.25 per cent (from 7.30 per cent) respectively, it said in a release. For overnight, one-month and three-month tenors, the Pune-based lender’s MCLRs have been revised to 6.80 per cent, 7 per cent and 7.20 per cent respectively.

On the other hand, in a filing to exchanges, IOB said its one-year MCLR has been revised to 7.55 per cent from 7.65 per cent, effective September 10. Three-month and six-month MCLRs have been cut to 7.45 per cent from 7.55 per cent.




Louisiana to enter Phase 3 of economic reopening


Louisiana to enter Phase 3 of economic reopening

Louisiana has been in Phase 2 since June 5 and Edwards closed bars for on-premises consumption and mandated masks statewide on July 13.

The US state of Louisiana will move to Phase 3 of economic reopening starting from Friday due to improving situation in the fight against Covid-19, Governor John Bel Edwards announced.

“The data is positive enough that we will be going in to Phase 3 tomorrow,” Xinhua news agency quoted Edwards as saying in a statement on Thursday.

The Governor further said that he will provide details of the Phase 3 on Friday.

During the announcement, Edwards repeatedly urged people not to assume that a new phase means the pandemic is over.

Local media said that Phase 3 is expected to ease restrictions for restaurants, stores, churches, gyms and possibly bars.

Louisiana has been in Phase 2 since June 5 and Edwards closed bars for on-premises consumption and mandated masks statewide on July 13.

The current phase is expected to expire on Friday.

Louisiana on Thursday reported 499 new coronavirus cases, taking the statewide tally to more than 156,000.

The state also registered 21 new fatalities which increased the overall death toll to 5,161.




Libya’s rival legislatures agree to resume peace talks


Libya’s rival legislatures agree to resume peace talks

The meeting came weeks after the separate visits by President of the Libyan High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh to Morocco.

 

Libya’s two rival legislative bodies have agreed to resume peace talks in Morocco in the last week of September.

In a joint statement issued at the end of a five-day meeting on Thursday, the High Council of State based in the Libyan capital Tripoli and the eastern-based House of Representatives said they “have reached a comprehensive agreement on the criteria and mechanisms to occupy the keys posts of sovereignty”, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement declined to give further details about the agreement, only confirming that the talks will be held in the last week of September.

The meeting came weeks after the separate visits by President of the Libyan High Council of State Khalid al-Mishri and Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh to Morocco.

In 2015, Morocco hosted the UN-brokered peace talks between Libya’s rival parties that led to the conclusion of the Libyan Political Agreement on forming a national unity government.

Despite that, Libya remains politically divided amid insecurity and escalating violence.

The UN-backed government had been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against the eastern-based army for more than a year over control of the capital Tripoli, before the former recently took over all of western Libya.

 

 




Spilling the beans


Spilling the beans

The extent to which the in house spilling of the beans will tarnish the standing of the omnipotent military and a generally tightlipped Suu Kyi can only be speculated upon.

When Myanmar’s putative icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, raised the flag of her party, the National League for Democracy, in Yangon on Tuesday, she at least theoretically flagged off the ruling party’s campaign for the election this November.

But the really unprecedented development of the day was the startling confession by two soldiers on the Rohingya persecution, notably executions, mass burials, rape and obliteration of villages. “Shoot all you see and all you hear,” was the stern directive of the commanding officer.

The extent to which the in house spilling of the beans will tarnish the standing of the omnipotent military and a generally tightlipped Suu Kyi can only be speculated upon. Suffice it to register that the video testimony from the two soldiers ~ which was shared with international prosecutors ~ is the first time that representatives of Tatmadaw (the Myanmarese military) have openly confessed to taking part in what UN officials say was a genocidal campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

The statement by the soldiers coincides with the International Criminal Court opening a case to examine whether the Myanmarese military committed large-scale crimes against the Rohingyas. The soldiers have been sent to The Hague to be present during the trial.

This is a “monumental moment for Rohingyas and the people of Myanmar in their ongoing struggle for justice,” is the response of a human rights watchdog. Both soldiers could well be the first “insider witnesses” in the custody of the court.

While it is yet to be confirmed whether these two soldiers committed the crimes to which they confessed, details of their statement conform to descriptions provided by dozens of witnesses and observers, including Rohingya refugees, residents of Rakhine, soldiers and politicians. It is not clear what will happen to the two men, who are not under arrest but were effectively placed in the custody of the ICC on Monday.

The soldiers’ testimony will also add weight to the separate case at the International Court of Justice, where Myanmar has been accused of trying to “destroy the Rohingyas as a group, in whole or in part, by the use of mass murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as the systematic destruction by fire of their villages”.

The regime in Naypidaw, if nominally helmed by Suu Kyi, could arguably have its back to the wall. It shall not be easy to airbrush, far less deny, the hideous narrative. Arguably, the soldiers’ confession will impinge on the proceedings of the International Criminal Court.

Their presence might lend a new dimension to the hearing. Myanmar’s Election Commission is yet to decide whether the vote will still go ahead as planned. In the interim, Suu Kyi has alleged that her campaign was disrupted because of travel restrictions in the wake of Covid19. The objective reflection of the soldiers reflects poorly on the military.




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