India extends USD 150 million line of credit to CARICOM nations for climate conservation projects


India extends USD 150 million line of credit to CARICOM nations for climate conservation projects

New York: India on Wednesday (local time) extended a grant of USD 150 million as Line of Credit to the member states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) for climate conservation projects.

Chairing the India-CARICOM Leaders' meeting here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a USD 14 million grant for community development projects to the Caribbean nations.

Leaders of 14 CARICOM countries participated in the meeting that took place on the sidelines of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly here. Prime Minister of St Lucia and current Chairman of CARICOM, Allen Chastenet, co-chaired the meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.

The meeting deliberated on the strengthening the political and institutional dialogue processes, boosting economic cooperation, increasing trade and investment and fostering greater and more robust people-to-people relations between India and the CARICOM countries.

Modi also emphasised on partnering with CARICOM countries in capacity building, development assistance and cooperation in disaster management and resilience.

It was the first-ever meeting of the Indian Prime Minister with the CARICOM leaders in a regional format and where he highlighted the steadily intensifying and deepening relations between India and partner countries of the Caribbean, not only in the bilateral but also in the regional context.

Modi reiterated India's firm commitment to strengthen its political, economic and cultural engagement with CARICOM. He recalled the presence of more than a million-strong Indian diaspora as a vibrant and enduring link of friendship with the Caribbean.

He invited the CARICOM countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. The International Solar Alliance is a group of 121 solar resource-rich countries with headquarters in Gurugram, India.

The organisation aims to deploy over 1,000 gigawatts of solar energy and mobilise more than USD 1,000 billion into solar power by 2030, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Prime Minister also expressed his condolences on the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the region and the worst-hit island of Bahamas to which India has provided immediate financial assistance of USD one million.

He also announced the setting up of a Regional Center for Excellence in Information Technology in Georgetown, Guyana, and the Regional Vocational Training Center in Belize by upgrading the existing India-funded centers in these countries.

The Indian side also expressed support to specialised capacity building courses, training and deputation of Indian experts based on the needs and requirements of the CARICOM countries.

In addition, the meeting also focused on setting up of a Joint Task Force to expeditiously look into possible areas of cooperation and identify the way forward.

In his concluding remarks, the Prime Minister invited a Parliamentary delegation from CARICOM to visit India in the near future. Meanwhile, the CARICOM leaders, on their part, welcomed India's initiatives to strengthen engagement and cooperation between the two sides and reassured full support from their respective governments.

The meeting was attended by the Heads of Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vice President of Suriname, and Foreign Ministers of Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Haiti and Guyana.

 
 
 



7 killed, 85 injured in Afghanistan truck bomb blast


7 killed, 85 injured in Afghanistan truck bomb blast

Kabul: At least 7 people were killed and 85 injured due to a truck bomb explosion near a government hospital in Afghanistan's Zabul province on Thursday, officials said

The blast took place at around 6 a.m. and a number of office buildings and houses were severely damaged, TOLO News reported.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) office is also located close to the hospital but officials say no NDS employee was killed or injured in the incident.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast and said the target was the NDS office.

 
 
 



Nirav Modi to appear via videolink for UK remand hearing


Nirav Modi to appear via videolink for UK remand hearing

London: Fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, wanted in connection with the nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case, will appear before a UK court via videolink from his London prison on Thursday for a routine "call-over" remand hearing.

The 48-year-old, who is fighting extradition to India at Westminster Magistrates' Court, is expected to be given a confirmed date for his trial, expected in May next year.

"No progress today, I'm afraid," Judge Tan Ikram said at the last call-over hearing on August 22, as he gave directions for the court clerk to seek a confirmation of the proposed five-day extradition trial to start on May 11, 2020.

There is also likely to be a case management hearing in the matter ahead of the extradition trial in February next year.

Modi has been lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London, one of England's most overcrowded jails, since his arrest in March on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard on charges brought by the Indian government, being represented by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in court.

Under the UK law, Modi is expected to be produced before the court within a 28-day period during his judicial custody pending trial. Since his arrest, his legal team, led by solicitor Anand Doobay and barrister Clare Montgomery, have made four bail applications, which have been rejected each time due to Modi being deemed a flight risk.

In her judgment handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on his last bail appeal in June, Justice Ingrid Simler had concluded there were "substantial grounds" to believe that Modi would fail to surrender as he does possess the means to "abscond".

Reiterating similar concerns as those previously raised by Westminster Magistrates' Court during earlier bail attempts, Judge Simler ruled that after considering all the material "carefully",

she had found strong evidence to suggest there had been interference with witnesses and destruction of evidence in the case and concluded it can still occur.

"The applicant has access to considerable financial resources, supported by an increased [bail bond security] offer of GBP 2 million," the judge noted.

The High Court judge stressed that while it was not for her to take a "definitive view" on the evidence, she had proceeded on the basis that the government of India has acted in good faith in what is "undoubtedly" a serious case and a "sophisticated international conspiracy" to defraud, together with money laundering.

Modi was arrested by uniformed Scotland Yard officers on an extradition warrant on March 19 and has been in prison since. During subsequent hearings, Westminster Magistrates' Court was told that Modi was the "principal beneficiary" of the fraudulent issuance of letters of undertaking (LoUs) as part of a conspiracy to defraud PNB and then laundering the proceeds of crime.

 
 
 



Maryam Nawaz's remand period extended by 7 days


Maryam Nawaz's remand period extended by 7 days

Islamabad: An accountability court has extended for seven days the remand period of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz, who has been in the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) custody since August 8.

Maryam Nawaz, who is detained at the daycare centre of NAB Headquarters in Lahore in connection with Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case, was presented in the court of Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan amid heightened security on Wednesday, along with one of her cousins, Yousuf Abbas, who is also one of the accused, reports The Express Tribune.

Maryam Nawaz is accused of not being able to explain the shares of the sugar mill which is worth millions.

NAB investigation officer (IO) told the court that Maryam, her mother Kulsoom Nawaz, grandfather Mian Sharif, brother Hussain Nawaz and some other members of Sharif family were members of the company's board of directors.

He said the PML-N Vice President also acted as the CSM's Chief Executive Officer in 2004. The company, he said, also took loans from various companies.

NAB has summoned record of the loans from all these companies as well as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). As NAB will interrogate the accused in the light of SBP report, it is requested that there remand period may be extended," he said.

Opposing NAB's request, Maryam Nawaz's counsel said the Bureau's report was contrary to facts. However, after hearing the argument, the judge extended Maryam's remand period.

 
 
 



Pakistan committed to send 1st astronaut by 2022: Minister Fawad Chaudhry


Pakistan committed to send 1st astronaut by 2022: Minister Fawad Chaudhry

Islamabad: Pakistan Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has said that the country was committed to send its first astronaut to space by 2022.

China would collaborate with Pakistan in its space mission, he said during an interview on Sunday, adding the selection process for the astronaut would start in 2020, reports The News International.

He revealed that initially, 50 individuals would be selected after which the list will be shortened to 25 in 2022. The Minister added that out of them only one would be sent to space.

The Pakistan Air Force, he said, would play an important role in the astronaut's selection.

 
 
 



UK PM Boris Johnson calls himself 'The Incredible Hulk'


UK PM Boris Johnson calls himself 'The Incredible Hulk'

London: Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Sunday that “huge” progress was being made in Brexit talks and declared Britain would break out of the European Union just like the comicbook hero Hulk.

The Conservative leader made the comments ahead of meetings with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Luxembourg on Monday.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Johnson said he was “very confident” of getting a divorce deal at an EU summit on October 17, in time for Brexit on October 31. In an odd analogy, he compared Britain to the comic book character Hulk.

“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets and he always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be and that is the case for this country,” he said. But Johnson is facing opposition in parliament to his threat to leave the EU without a deal next month if his negotiations fail.

On Saturday night, one of his Conservative MPs defected to the pro-European Liberal Democrats.

Former universities minister Sam Gyimah, who has called for a re-run of the 2016 Brexit referendum, condemned Johnson for “veering towards populism”.

 
 
 



Hong Kong returns to violence with tear gas and Molotovs


Hong Kong returns to violence with tear gas and Molotovs

Hong Kong: Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at hardcore pro-democracy protesters hurling rocks and petrol bombs on Sunday, tipping the violence-plagued city back into chaos after a brief lull in clashes.

Tens of thousands of people defied authorities to march through the streets of the city in an unsanctioned rally on Sunday, the latest expression of a popular revolt that has raged for the last 99 days.

But the rally descended into violence when small groups of hardcore activists known within the movement as “braves” tried to attack the city’s main government complex.

Police fired repeated volleys of tear gas and deployed water cannon trucks after Molotov cocktails and rocks were thrown over security barriers surrounding the complex, which has become a frequent flashpoint in the ongoing protests.

Local television networks broadcast footage of protesters tearing down and burning a banner celebrating the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China as well as burning a Chinese flag.

 
 
 



Global community must address Pakistan terror sanctuaries: India


Global community must address Pakistan terror sanctuaries: India

United Nations: While the US peace overtures to the Taliban founder, India has said that the international community should address the problem of sanctuaries for terrorists in Pakistan.

"The support and safe havens enjoyed from beyond Afghanistan's borders by groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Da'esh, as well as Al Qaeda and its proscribed affiliates, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, must be addressed," India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told the Security Council during its quarterly debate on Afghanistan.

He warned that there would be a resurgence of terrorism if the international community did not keep its commitment to Afghanistan. "The international community needs to continue its support by fulfilling the commitments made to the Afghan security forces in their fight against the scourge of terrorism," he said.

India supports direct talks between the elected Afghan leadership and the Taliban to end the violence there, he said. The US peace process cut out the Afghan government and negotiations were held between its representatives and the Taliban's.

US President Donald Trump ended the negotiations as they were reported to be on the verge of a conclusion citing Taliban attacks that killed US military personnel.

Afghanistan is scheduled to hold presidential elections soon and there has been a rise in violence threatening it. "Peace and reconciliation cannot go forward in an atmosphere of terror.

There is a surge of violence in Afghanistan in recent days, including threats to the election process. This has deepened apprehensions that acts of terror are being used to jockey for a place of advantage in the negotiating process," Akbaruddin said.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said: "We still hear much anxiety expressed by Afghan citizens particularly in view of the Taliban's stated threat to disrupt the electoral process, especially by targeting civilians participating in the elections."

Using the metaphor of Afghanistan's dramatic Test cricket victory this week over Bangladesh, Akbaruddin said that the social and political progress made by that country over the last 18 years must be "be nurtured, not nullified".

Yamamoto said: "Many young people, especially young women, are worried about future restrictions to their participation in the socioeconomic and political life of their country."

Acting US Permanent Representative Jonathan Cohen did not address Washington's negotiations with the Taliban, but said that his country supported Afghanistan's political and electoral institutions.

"We continue to strongly support the role played by Afghan women in Afghanistan's economic, political, and social advancement," he added.

By Arul Louis

 
 
 



Donald Trump says considering ban on flavoured vaping products


Donald Trump says considering ban on flavoured vaping products

Washington: Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his administration was considering a ban on flavored vaping products, amid a growing outbreak of severe lung disease linked to e-cigarette use that has claimed six lives.

Authorities "may well have to do something strong about it," the president told reporters at the White House, where he was accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and acting Food and Drug Administration head Norman Sharpless. Trump added that First Lady Melania Trump had been involved in the discussions because: "She's got a son ... she feels very strongly about it."

Azar, whose agency oversees the FDA, said it would be several weeks before guidance would go out on flavoured e-cigarettes. The FDA took over regulatory authority for electronic nicotine delivery systems, including e-cigarettes, in 2016, and has the power to issue recalls. In addition to six deaths, more than 450 people who reported vaping either nicotine, cannabis products or both have fallen ill in recent months, with symptoms including breathing difficulty and chest pain before some were hospitalized and placed on ventilators.

Several teens across the country have been placed in medically induced comas including one whose doctors said he may require a lung transplant if he recovers. E-cigarettes have been available in the US since 2006 and are sometimes used as an aid to quit smoking traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, but are also hugely popular among adolescents, who makers have targeted with fruit and candy flavourings. Some 3.6 million middle and high school students used vaping products in 2018, an increase of 1.5 million on the year before.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people to cease vaping while the investigation is underway. Federal authorities have yet to identify a single substance common to all cases, but New York's health department is focusing its probe on counterfeit cannabis cartridges containing vitamin E oil which is harmful when inhaled. The FDA on Monday warned market-leading e-cigarette maker JUUL to stop advertising itself as a less harmful alternative to smoking, saying the company had broken the law in its marketing. Shares in Altria, which holds a one-third stake in Juul, had dropped 0.8 percent by 1:30 pm following the announcement.

By AFP

 
 
 



Indian man stabs wife to death in UAE


Indian man stabs wife to death in UAE

Dubai: An Indian man in UAE allegedly stabbed his wife to death after a heated argument, according to a media report. The 43-year-old man, identified as U.C, killed his wife C. Vidhya Chandran, 39, after a heated argument in a car park in Al Quoz here on Monday, the Khaleej Times reported.

The Dubai-based couple’s daughters, aged 16 and 5, live in Kerala with the victim’s parents. The woman’s brother Vinayachandran said that his sister was supposed to arrive on Tuesday to celebrate Onam with them.

 
 
 



Top