His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will leave for Bahrain today leading a Kuwaiti official delegation to attend the 37th Summit of the GCC Supreme Council and GCC leaders’ meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The summit is held amid quite significant regional challenges, affirmed Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the GCC Secretary General. These political, security and economic challenges warrant solidarity and cooperation among all the GCC member states and relentless action to attain merger among them, Zayani said in an interview broadcast by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) yesterday.
He indicated that agenda of the GCC summit, due on Tuesday, includes various files related to political, economic, security and social cooperation, as well as examining reports filed by the Ministerial Council, committees and the General Secretariat.
Current economic conditions constitute some of the major challenges facing the GCC states, he said. The GCC countries had already taken steps at this level, endorsing the joint economic treaty, setting up the common market and the customs union.
Elaborating, Zayani re-affirmed the GCC states’ resolve to face security threats. “They will not hesitate to take all necessary measures to safeguard their security, stability and defend their sovereignty and interests,” he stressed.
The GCC countries have taken an unwavering approach for upgrading their security and military potentials for defense purposes and safeguarding achievements that have been made throughout the years, Al-Zayani added.
He rejected, anew, foreign intervention in the regional countries’ affairs for such meddling contradicts with international laws and threatens the Gulf security and stability, noting the UN prime role in this regard.
On the Syrian refugees’ plight, he underscored the GCC countries’ efforts at the public and private levels to help them, noting that the GCC states along with other countries had pledged more than $7 billion to aid the Syrians. Kuwait had hosted three international conferences grouping countries pledging support for the Syrians affected by the war. A fourth one was held in London.
Regarding Yemen, Al-Zayani said the GCC countries had given substantial financial support for the legitimate government to help it deliver relief supplies to those in need in the war-stricken nation. For its part, Saudi Arabia had established King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid to coordinate humanitarian operations in Yemen, with a special budget estimated at one billion Saudi riyals.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah yesterday expressed confidence that the summit will come up with resolutions to promote the pan-GCC integration, and joint action. These will be topped with carrying on with implementation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ‘Vision 2030’ for accelerating the pace of cooperation among the member states, and enhancing the bloc’s joint action, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah said in a press statement.
He noted that the GCC Ministerial Council in 2016 approved measures for the completion of the Monarch’s wise vision, and the leaders endorsed the formation of a joint commission to reactivate economic and development.
The Bahraini chief diplomat pointed to the pivotal role the GCC member states play on the regional and international scenes. The 37th Summit will be a good chance to consolidate this role, and further boost security and stability in the region, to maintain unity, development, and prosperity in the region.
Concluding the statement, Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifah praised the Saudi King’s presidency of the 36th Summit held in Riyadh in December 2015, which has helped achieve remarkable steps for the GCC march, to continue with strong resolute in the Manama summit till the bloc realizes the aspired integration and unity.
In the meantime, MPs of the Bahraini Council of Representatives have affirmed the importance of the upcoming GCC Summit in facing the rising political, security and economic tension in the region. The MPs agreed in various statements that the current unstable conditions in the Arab World, mainly the escalation of terrorism and the economic situation in the Gulf countries due to the drop in oil prices, require the GCC states to unite.
Creating unity between the GCC countries will prevent any outer intervention in the Gulf’s own issues, said MP Nasser Al-Qaseer. The Gulf states have the ability to become one of the top economic powers, as they possess huge financial abilities, strong infrastructure and opportunities for attracting foreign investments, he added.
MP Mohammad Al-Amadi said meanwhile that the GCC citizens are looking forward for the outcome of the 37th summit, hoping the leaders would take measures to create a Gulf union to face the growing challenges and threats in the region. Sharing one language is a key factor to create a strong economic union, he said.
On this matter, he mentioned the successful experience of the European Union (EU), despite countries of different languages and backgrounds. Meanwhile, MP Jamal Dawoud noted the importance of discussing means of resolving the unemployment issues among youth through executing joint-GCC economic projects.
In the meantime, Bahraini Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Humoud bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are heading towards a level of unity and further development. He further stressed the importance of the 37th GCC Summit to be held in Riyadh tomorrow, amidst the rising political, economic and security tension in the region. The ambassador hoped the summit will result in establishing the sought and the long-awaited Gulf union to face the challenges and threats and boost economy among the GCC states. – KUNA
Is the Central government quietly planning another round of demonetisation? A large number of people believe the Rs 2,000 note will be scrapped. Now the talk has reached Parliament too.
The Opposition in Rajya Sabha today asked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to clarify whether the government has decided to scrap the newly launched Rs 2,000 note. However, Jaitley did not respond even as many Opposition members insisted for clarification from him.
Recent weeks have seen a shortage of Rs 2,000 notes which many attribute to hoarding. Cash, especially black money, is easier to hoard in Rs 2,000 notes as notes of lower denominations need more space.
Also, most people find the note cumbersome as it is not easy to change.
The supply of Rs 2,000 notes from the RBI has declined. There might be a deliberate plan to limit the supply of these notes. The RBI rushed to print Rs 2,000 notes immediately after demonetisation was announced in November last year and that supply may have reached a level that the central bank is not comfortable with now. This may be a conscious strategy to curb the new supply of high-value notes and print more low-value notes.
There are reports that the Reserve Bank of India has stopped printing the Rs 2,000 currency notes altogether and will not be bringing new notes in the current financial year.
What has further fuelled rumours of another round of demonetisation is the government launching Rs 200 note. With more Rs 200 and Rs 500 notes in circulation, the common people will not be impacted much by a ban on the Rs 2,000 note. The ban will be an effective step against black cash as demonetisation of Rs 2,000 currency note will hit hoarders more than the masses.
Rs 2,000 note had an important purpose when it was launched after demonetisation in November 2016. It was meant to ease the shortage of money supply. Now there is no such need.
If the government plans to increase supply of lower denomination notes such as Rs 500 and Rs 200 and restrict supply of Rs 2,000 note, it is quite possible that these steps would lead to demonetisation of Rs 2,000 note.
BJP-ruled states are facing increasing criticism for allegedly re-writing history of India to give it a right-wing perspective: portray Mughals ruler as mass murderers and show Hindu rulers as the victors in major battles. The party is also accused of erasing references of its political adversaries to include people whom it considers national icons.
Maharana vs Akbar
On June 18, 1576, a huge Mughal army led by emperor Akbar defeated the king of Mewar, Maharana Pratap, in what is known as the Battle of Haldighati. Historical evidence shows that Pratap fled the battlefield, although in the later years he continued his guerilla war against the Mughals.
But the University of Rajasthan has decided to introduce a new book to show that it was Maharana Pratap who defeated Akbar in the famous battle some 450 years ago. Earlier, the BJP government in the state changed textbooks for class IX and X to include the tweaked history. The idea for the change apparently came from a book titled ‘Maharana Pratap: Kumbalgarh se Chavand’ by KS Gupta, a retired professor of history. He says he examined contemporary Persian records, near contemporary Rajasthani sources and studied the circumstances. Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani has defended the changes, saying students will not read “distorted history”.
Gandhi, Nehru wiped out
Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru’s contributon to India’s freedom struggle is well documented, as is the leading role played by the Indian National Congress. Nehru went on to become the first Prime Minister of the country in 1947 after the British left the country following the violent Partition.
A social science text for class 8 does not mention who India’s first Prime Minister was. It also does not say anything about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse.
It’s Rajasthan again which has erased Gandhi and Nehru from textbooks. A social science text for class 8 does not mention who India’s first Prime Minister was. It also does not say anything about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse. New textbooks for Class 10 and 12 has a passing reference to Mahatma Gandhi but no mention of Nehru. Instead, RSS ideologue, Veer Savarkar, is written about in detail including the contentious assertion that he was great revolutionary and a great patriot. A Class XI political science textbook refers to the Congress as a “nurtured baby” of the British.
Saffron tint in moral science
Moral Science, a subject taught in schools, was always what it was meant for: to teach good morals to students. However, BJP-ruled Haryana has approved new moral science books authored by Dinanath Batra, the controversial convenor of the RSS-backed Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti. The textbooks for classes VII to XII starts with Saraswati Vandana which he says is a mantra recited for knowledge and wisdom. According to him, the books are aimed at instilling “Indian values” and nationalism in students. Critics, however, say that non-Hindu students forced to recite Saraswati Vandana goes against the country’s secular ethos. Gujarat, another BJP-ruled state, has already made Batra’s moral science book a compulsory reading in schools.
Muslims, Christians are ‘foreigners’
Gujarat, in fact, started tweaking textbooks long before Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister. In 1995, when Keshubhai Patel became the chief minister of the state, a Class IX social studies textbook showed Muslims, Christians and Parsis as “foreigners”. Published by the Gujarat State Board of School Textbooks, the book also said that “in most of the states, the Hindus are a minority and the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are in a majority”. Besides, another social science textbook for class X described Hitler as a hero who “lent dignity and prestige to the German government. The book was later withdrawn.
For hours, no one suspected that the baby girl lying on the ground in the busy waiting area of Howrah station in Kolkata’s fringes could be in trouble. A half-filled bottle of milk lay beside her, along with a half-open bag with diapers. She bawled occasionally, but fell quiet after a bout of crying. Hundreds of people passed her by, assuming one of the few dozen women around must be her mother. A handful of dogs, permanent fixtures at the station hovered around the baby occasionally.
Soon, the peak-hour footfall ebbed and the baby still lay there — she had been abandoned. The only ones that remained were the group of dogs, who still hovered around her. As the station emptied out towards night, this Sangbad Pratidin report states, a RPF personnel noticed the group of strays forming a protective circle around the infant lying on the ground. The dogs refused to venture too far in search for food and never let the baby alone. And for a while, no human approached the baby. This when the RPF personnel alerted higher officials who came and got the infant.
This isn’t the first time that reports of dogs guarding babies have surfaced. Last November, again in West Bengal’s Purulia district, four strays came to the rescue of a new-born — another baby girl. The baby was left in a dumpster. On finding the baby, four strays stood guard around her, chasing away crows that threatened to swoop down on her. They didn’t move from the place until a police team came and rescued the baby.
A iconic photo that is often used in campaigns to protest atrocities on strays was shot in 1996 in streets of Kolkata. A baby — no prizes for guessing, a girl — was left abandoned on the streets. Three strays guarded her zealously till help came.
Picture of the day on The Voice of Stray Dogs : This is not a new picture ; but it is as breathtakingly beautiful now,…
In 2008, it was reported that a dog not only guarded a newborn boy dumped in Argentina’s La Plata, but carried him to safety in a shelter she shared with her puppies. When the dog stumbled upon the baby, it was 37 degrees and the baby was crying under the sun. The dog carried the baby, like she would carry a pup, 50 metres away to a place with a shade where her puppies were deposited. Later, some people heard the baby crying and rescued him. Had the dog not dragged the baby to the shade, he would have died, doctors said.
Like this article points out, dogs often tend to react to babies the way they would to pups. They sniff their mouths and bottoms, often nudge them to see if they are healthy — like they usually do with puppies. Often they won’t easily leave the side of the baby because their protective instincts kick in.
Our country is one of the most beautiful places on Earth boasting various types of landscapes. From high mountains to plateaus to rivers and oceans, India seems to have it all. Some of these places are so breathtaking that they leave a lasting impression on your soul. It’s said that a good photographer can make any scenery beautiful but India is filled with such fascinating places that the pictures themselves will make you feel like a professional photographer. However, no matter how hard you try you will not be able to capture the real essence on the reel. Leaving the place will feel like leaving a piece of your soul behind. These are few of the places that are so beautiful, we cannot believe they are real.
1. Pangong Lake, Ladakh
The lake is situated in the Himalayas and extends up to China. It’s a five-hour drive from Leh and the mesmerizing lakeside is open to visitors from May to September.
2. Thekkady, Kerala
Every corner of this place is heavenly. The Periyar National Park with myriad animals is situated here. All around there is an unending chain of hills and picturesque plantations.
3. Wayanad, Kerala
The place is famous for the heart-shaped lake at Chembra Peak. It is an ideal place for trekking and there are a host of gushing waterfalls in Wayanad. This place shows Kerala at one of its finest.
4. Andaman & Nicobar Islands
No amount of words is enough to describe the feeling this place instills in you. The clear skies that are perfectly reflected in the clear waters is a sight to behold.
5. Valley Of Flowers, Uttarakhand
The place has been declared a World Heritage Site for its wild untamed blooms. It is surrounded by white snow-capped mountains and is famous for its exotic varieties of medicinal herbs. You can witness the various Himalayan waterfalls and streams while strolling in this beautiful valley.
6. Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
It is one of the oldest towns in Arunachal Pradesh. It is famous for paddy-cum-pisciculture cultivation and has lush greenery all around. It is mainly inhabited by the Apatani tribe.
7. Palolem beach, Goa
This is one of the most beautiful and cleanest beaches Goa has to offer. There is a secluded Butterfly-beach which can be your getaway for some alone time.
8. Coonoor, Tamil Nadu
Coonoor is hardly 18kms from Ooty and is known mainly for its production of Nilgiri tea. It is home to a variety of wild flowers and birds. Traveling to Coonoor will ensure that you have a wonderful experience in the lap of nature.
9. Tea Gardens, Darjeeling
These tea gardens are a must visit for everyone once in their lifetime. The aroma of tea leaves and the joy of witnessing the craft of picking tea leaves is going to make this a memorable experience for you.
10. Coorg, Karnataka
It is officially known as Kodagu and is one of the most frequented hill stations in Karnataka. The coffee plantations are worth a visit. There are waterfalls and tree covered hills, an absolute paradise for nature lovers.
11. Majuli Island, Assam
This surreal place is called the cultural capital of Assam. Majuli is the world’s longest river island and boasts of clean pollution-free fresh water from the Brahmaputra. This place is simply unique from all other places in India.
12. Sand Dunes in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Sand blows and forms amazing patterns in the deserts of Rajastan. Witnessing these sand dunes is an amazing experience and no matter how many pictures you click, every step will show a more beautiful scenery.
13. Kaas Plateau, Maharashtra
This is another one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of India and is filled with lakes, flowers, and butterflies. It is a secluded plateau which has now been declared as a reserve forest.
14. Lakshadweep Islands
Lakshadweep is the only place in India where you can have the privilege of the unbelievable creatures called coral reefs. Deep sea diving among these coral reefs is an experience you will never forget.
15. Gurudongmar Frozen Lake, Sikkim
It is one of the highest lakes in the world and is an absolute spectacle when it is frozen. However, it is terribly cold at the time when the lake freezes, so make sure to be well prepared.
16. Hogenakkal falls, Tamil Nadu
Also known as the “Niagara Falls of India”, it is a rather different looking waterfall, as the river Kaveri forks into multiple streams and falls through multiple steps. The water is believed to possess medicinal properties.
17. Dawki river, Meghalaya
The water of the river is so clear you can practically see the river bed. The suspension bridge on the river Umngot makes the scene really picturesque.
Pondicherry, now christened Puducherry will give you a glimpse of the colonial heritage and will take you back to the bygone era. The French influence is clearly visible in this small town’s houses and cafes.
19. Cherrapunji, Meghalaya
The place that receives the highest rainfall in India is lush with evergreen forests. It is the second wettest place on earth and the best time to visit is between the months of October and May.
20. Dzukou Valley, Nagaland and Manipur border
The northeastern valley of flowers is a treat to the wandering soul. You can trek among the gargantuan rainforests where the low lying clouds seem to be giving you a much-needed hug
A 19-year-old Indian-origin Muslim woman was kidnapped, raped and murdered in the UK in a suspected honour killing for dating an Arab Muslim, a media report said on Tuesday.
The deceased, Celine Dookhran, was allegedly kidnapped with the other woman, bound and gagged and taken to an address in south west London where they were raped and she was killed on Wednesday, a UK court heard.
The body was found inside a £1.5 million home after the other woman in her 20s who had her throat slit alerted police from a hospital, The Mirror reported. A post-mortem exam gave the cause of death as an incised wound to the neck.
Mujahid Arshid, 33, appeared in Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court charged with the murder, rape and kidnap of the woman. He is further charged with the rape, attempted murder and kidnap of the second woman. He appeared alongside his co-defendant, Vincent Tappu, 28, who is charged with the kidnap of both women. “The deceased was involved in a relationship with an Arab Muslim and the family members didn’t approve of this relationship because they are Indian Muslims,” said prosecutor Binita Roscoe.s
We might not have legit hovercrafts yet, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t trying to go back to the future *wink wink*. A technology company in Wisconsin recently revealed that they’re offering workers the opportunity to get a wee little microchip implanted in their hands.
The company, called Three Square Market, provides technology for breakrooms and micro markets. They’re claiming that the chip is around the size of a grain of rice. It uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) to allow workers to do things like pay for snacks in the vending machine, access the building, and log into their computers with just a swipe of their hand.
CEO Todd Westby told USA Today, “We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals. Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.”
He also made it clear that the process is voluntary, and that contrary to popular conjecture, it does not have GPS tracking. Apparently, there are already more than 50 employees who plan to have the devices implanted.
Twitter had its own share of fears and ideas, for obvious reasons.
No thanks. We have enough problems with skimmers on card machines. I don't need an infection from this.
— tom koonce (@heraldjaden) July 25, 2017
"You called in sick today but your microchip shows that you're actually in Las Vegas…"
— Carrie Simpson (@coldcallcarrie) July 24, 2017
Microchip implants in employees… made for a fun movie, anyway. pic.twitter.com/vEuUkk2z84
— WVCubsFan (@WVCubsFan) July 24, 2017
— Krystal Horne (@KrystalHorne) July 24, 2017
Definitely feels like something out of a dystopian future.
Online marketplace Snapdeal has accepted Flipkart’s revised takeover offer of up to $950 million, two sources said on Wednesday, providing heft to its bigger rival in a high-stakes battle with Amazon.com Inc.
The board of Jasper Infotech, which runs Snapdeal, approved Flipkart’s bid of $900 million-$950 million last week, the sources who were familiar with the matter said. A deal is now pending the approval of Snapdeal shareholders, they said.
Snapdeal declined to comment, while Flipkart was not immediately available for comment.
India’s fledgling e-commerce sector is in the midst of a fierce war for supremacy between US online retail giant Amazon and leading homegrown player Flipkart at a time more and more Indians shop on the web, helped by a spurt in availability of cheap phones and data plans.
Japan’s solar-to-tech conglomerate SoftBank, Snapdeal’s biggest investor, is keen to consummate the deal and take an equity stake in Flipkart to profit from India’s booming online retail market.
A 2016 report from accounting firm EY noted that e-commerce has grown at a compound annual growth rate of over 50 percent in the last five years in India and the pace of growth is expected to continue, with e-commerce sales topping $35 billion by 2020.
The board also considered a $700 million share-swap offer by listed e-commerce firm Infibeam but rejected it as too low, one of the sources said.Bengaluru-headquarterd Flipkart had revised its initial offer for Snapdeal to up to $950 million, Reuters reported last week.
Infibeam declined to comment.
Separately, Indian private-sector lender Axis Bank is the frontrunner to acquire Snapdeal’s digital payments unit FreeCharge for $60 million, the sources said.
Axis Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
All sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the discussions are not public.
MP Adnan AbdulSamad has forwarded questions to Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah about the bombing of Al-Sadiq mosque, which led to the death of 26 innocent people and injured more than 200 others.
After condemning the measures taken by the Interior Ministry last week to arrest the Abdali cell convicts, AbdulSamad wondered why the ministry did not take similar action against those accused of involvement in the bombing of the mosque. He wants to know why Kuwait did not demand for their extradition or ensure their arrest. He requested for details including the names and nationalities of the accused, as well as the charges filed against them and court rulings.
He also inquired if the ministry distributed names and photographs of the accused at the borders and public facilities or published them on various media platforms, in addition to steps taken regarding two of the mosque bombing convicts arrested in Saudi Arabia.
An official statement published on the ministry’s website disclosed that Kuwaiti authorities handed over the brother of the two convicts, so he wants to know the brother’s name and if he committed other crimes or not.
He cited a report published by Annahar daily on July 9, 2015 that the Kuwaiti government formed a judicial delegation to visit Saudi Arabia and personally look into results of investigations with the convicts nabbed by Saudi security officers, so he wants to know what happened during the visit.
He asked about the rulings on State security cases which have not been implemented since 2000 till date, charges against those convicted, their names and nationalities, reasons for non-implementation of verdicts, and if these convicts are in Kuwait or not.
Meanwhile, Chairman of parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee MP Ali Al-Daqbasi expects the next stage to be different because he believes both the Parliament and government will have greater achievements.
He pointed out that the key to change is a new government formation with the ability to lay down a good vision, make wise decisions, protect public funds, and work towards continuous development to realize the aspirations of citizens.
He also expects remarkable changes in the Parliament due to the commitment of MPs to address a number of pending issues such as housing, bureaucracy and unemployment.
At least 2,366 people were killed in traffic accidents from 2012 to April, 2017, statistics by Ministry of Interior have revealed.
Up to 917,447 accidents took place during this period, the ministry’s public relations and security media department said in a press statement on Monday.
The number of people killed by traffic accidents in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 reached 454, 445, 461, 429, 424 and 153 respectively, it added.
The number of accidents in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 hit 66,271; 89,527; 99,047; 77,961; 71,582 and 23,529 respectively, it noted.
Most traffic accidents and violations were caused by exceeding speed limitations, crossing red signals and talking on mobile phones while driving, the statement pointed out.
The statement urged vehicles drivers to necessarily abide by traffic rules, regulations and signals in order to avoid accidents and keep the safety of people.
Benjamin David was fed up with the stress of commuting on busy city roads. So he now packs his laptop, suit and shoes into a waterproof bag, straps it to his back and swims 2km to work along the Isar River in Munich, Germany.
Depending on the season, he wears swimming trunks or a long wetsuit – as well as rubber sandals to protect his feet from glass or the occasional bicycle laying in the river.
His commute sometimes invites laughs from bystanders on the bridges above, but he says it’s faster and more relaxing than sitting in traffic.