Saturday, March 25, 2023
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Delhi’s fresh bid for NSG seat and why a pizza giant is fixing roads

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Delhi to push for NSG membership:  Hoping to take advantage of its current relationship with China, India is depending on its partners, led by the US and France, to push for membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary Thursday and Friday in Latvia, The Indian Express reports. Membership of the NSG is important for India to get access to cutting-edge nuclear technology.

Indians with ties to tax havens have links to prime Dubai real estate: In a front-page exclusive, The Indian Express reports that 21 Indians investigated for their ties to offshore entities in tax havens are linked to high-end real estate in Dubai. The report is a follow-up on the newspaper’s investigation into the names of thousands of people who deposited money in opaque bank accounts in Switzerland and tax havens such as Panama, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Malta. Of the 129,000 entries in the Dubai database from 181 countries, there were 5,800 Indians linked to properties at top sites.

We will stand by you, Rahul tells farmers: In a speech in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, Rahul Gandhi promised a loan waiver to farmers if the Congress came to power. Taking a dig at the Modi government, he asked if the Prime Minister ever took questions as openly as he did at ‘chaupal pe charcha’. Er, except for the fact that the Congress heir himself took only three questions from the public, reports The Times Of India.

Indians might not get jobs in Maldives easily: After India took a strong stance against the Emergency declared in the Maldives, the country’s immigration authority has reportedly held up thousands of work permits for Indians, reports The Hindu. Public advertisements from companies that are hiring clearly state that “Indians need not apply”. However, the MEA has refused to take up the matter.

PhD mandatory for varsity teachers: New University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations have made a PhD degree mandatory for teaching at the university level, including for assistant professors, reports PTI. Indian students who obtain their PhD from the “top 500 universities abroad” will also be eligible for appointment in universities now.

No end in sight to Delhi CM’s dharna: As Delhi reeled under a litany of woes, CM Arvind Kejriwal continued his three-day-long dharna at L-G Anil Baijal’s residence-cum-office, Raj Niwas. AAP leaders staged a protest march from the CM’s residence to Raj Niwas, with supporters drawn from across Delhi’s 70 assembly constituencies, reports Hindustan Times. Meanwhile, the BJP laid siege to Kejriwal’s office, demanding that the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues end their “dharna politics”.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Nirav Modi has travelled between US, UK and Hong Kong up to four times, as recently as March, on an Indian passport that was revoked by the ministry of external affairs (MEA) on 24 February. The revocation has been challenged, but it is not known if it was done by Modi or his uncle Mehul Choksi, a fellow accused in the PNB scam. Currently, Nirav Modi is said to be in Brussels, reports The Times of India.

Chargesheet against Karti in Aircel-Maxis case: Former union minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti controlled two firms that allegedly received Rs 11.6 million as bribe money in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said Wednesday in its chargesheet, filed before a Delhi court, reports Business Standard. It also alleged that Karti was in the process of alienating the property involved in the case “in order to frustrate the proceedings”.

Business Class

The world’s largest furniture retailer, Ikea, expects its restaurant business will drive furniture sales in India, reports The Economic Times. Globally, food accounts for 5 to 10 per cent of Ikea’s business, but the number could be much higher in India.

Nirav Modi ‘is a family man’. According to the Enforcement Directorate, “Nirav Modi’s sister and other family members were the recipients of a chunk of the proceeds of over $2 billion from the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam”, reports PTI.

News it’s just kinda cool to know

Domino’s will now fix US roads: Under its “Paving for Pizza” initiative, the pizza giant has promised to fix potholes in towns nominated by their customers, reports Huffington Post. Their motivation? “We don’t want to lose any great-tasting pizza to a pothole, ruining a wonderful meal,” company president Russell Weiner said in a press release. One wonders why Domino’s doesn’t move its conscience to India.

Chimpanzees and humans fight over the same thing: After a long discussion over the Gombe war that saw four long years of chimp-on-chimp violence, scientists established that chimpanzees and humans fight over the same things — establishing a dominant male, reports Quartz.

Point Of View

Football fever has gripped the world as the FIFA World Cup starts today in Russia. The Indian Express, in its editorial, writes that the tournament will help build ‘Brand Russia’ as much as it will help fans of the game see their favourite stars in action.

Union power minister R.K. Singh has announced that “India will overshoot its target of installing a renewable energy capacity of 175 gigawatts by 2022″. The Hindu, in its editorial, writes, “To hit its 2022 target of 175 GW, 106 GW will have to be added in four years, more than twice the capacity added in the last four.”

US President Trump surprises, not just with his tweets but his diplomatic actions too. The historic meeting between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offers one such surprise. Ashoka University vice-chancellor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, in his column in The Indian Express, writes “In the end, what he is doing may have more significance than who he is.”

After the ‘it will happen’, ‘no, it won’t happen’ saga, the world’s two most maverick leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, finally met. “No reality TV show could have scripted an episode with greater suspense and drama than what the two leaders successfully imparted to their meeting,” writes former diplomat Rakesh Sood in his column for The Hindu.

Media Watch

Sharbari Ahmed, a Bangladeshi-American, is one of 30 writers who work behind-the-scenes for Quantico. However, after the recent controversy over the show’s ‘Hindu terror plot’ that led to Priyanka Chopra and ABC apologising, she has been facing flak — although she had nothing to do with the episode in question. In an interview with Huffington Post India, Sharbari talks about how ABC got bullied into apologising and how she is coping with the abuse coming towards her.

Prime Time

When a government bungalow is ‘vandalised’

India Today TV’s Preeti Choudhary, referring to allegations that former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav left his official bungalow damaged, asked: “Who was responsible for vandalising a government bungalow?”

Samajwadi Party’s Anurag Singh Bhadouria claimed Yadav was a victim of conspiracy. “An inventory should have been maintained when the house was being renovated,” remarked BJP’s Sambit Patra. India Today‘s Rahul Shrivastava observed that it was not clear what belonged to the government and what was personal.

‘Bizarre… It’s bizarre’

On Republic TV, Arnab Goswami began his show with a video of Rahul Gandhi uttering the words “Bizarre… It’s bizarre”, and claimed he was referring to a fitness video released by the PM earlier in the day. “What the PM did was a form of traditional exercise and is based in Indian culture. Why does anybody have a problem with it?” asked Goswami, “This is an open mocking of the Fit India challenge.”

Political analyst Saba Naqvi questioned Goswami’s analysis. “As journalists, we cannot come to conclusions with just one word,” said Naqvi.

DNA of ‘handpicked news’

Zee News’ Sudhir Chaudhary, on his show DNA, discussed three ‘handpicked’ news reports from the day: Chess star Soumya Swaminathan’s refusal to participate in the Iran chess championship over the mandatory hijab rule, Malaysian citizens’ crowdfunding technique to tackle national debt, and the video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi practising ‘Panchtatva Yoga’.

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