Thursday, May 11, 2017


Venezuela, dozens of protesters have been injured in the capital and a 27-year-old man has died in another day of violent clashes during demonstrations demanding elections. National guardsmen launched tear gas yesterday as protesters in Caracas tried to march to the Supreme Court. The formerly oil rich country of Venezuela is in crisis, with anti-government protests and violent police crackdowns on demonstrations is continuing and 38 people are killed in cross street protests and economy is in crisis. Protesters killed: 37 Injured: 700 Political prisoners: 114.
Caracas-area Mayor Ramon Muchacho said 84 people have been hospitalized. Protester Miguel Castillo was killed during the turmoil. He had recently graduated from Santa Maria University with a degree in communications.
At least 38 people have been killed in more than a month of political unrest instigated after Venezuela’s Supreme Court stripped congress of its last powers, a decision it later reversed.
Protesters blame socialist President Nicolas Maduro for rising crime, vast food and medical supply shortages and triple-digit inflation.


Supreme Court today made it clear that it would examine whether the practice of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion as it began hearing petitions challenging the practice.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said it would look into the aspect whether triple talaq is part of an “enforceable” fundamental right to practice religion by Muslims.
The bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, however, said the issue of polygamy among Muslims may not be deliberated upon by it as this aspect is unrelated to triple talaq.
The apex court made it clear that each side will get two days each for canvassing their arguments on the two questions formulated by the bench and one day will be given for the rebuttal.
The apex court also made it clear that it would stop any counsel who will repeat the arguments.


NITI Aayog delegation meets UP CM Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow :
Joint Working group identify action points for the development of UP within a fortnight
Furthering its key mandate of fostering cooperative federalism, NITI Aayog today played the crucial role of a knowledge partner for the Uttar Pradesh Government by lending its support in laying out a roadmap for the State’s development.
A 17-member delegation led by Vice Chairman NITI Aayog, Dr. Arvind Panagariya,held day-long deliberations on the way forward for Uttar Pradesh with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other top State officials in Lucknow today..
Subsequent to the day long deliberations it  has been decided that a Joint Working Group will be set up with three members from NITI Aayog (Member Ramesh Chand, CEO Mr. Amitabh Kant, and Adviser Alok Kumar)and three members from the State government (Minister of Health, Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Planning). The joint working group will prepare a roadmap and identify action points for the development of UP within the next 15 days. Respective departments of the State Government will then implement these action points.
Chief Minister of the Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, sought the cooperation of NITI Aayog and the Central Government. He recommended that habitations with populations between 250 and 499be taken up for connectivity with all-weather roads. He has also suggested that the BPL survey be conducted once every five years. The Chief Minister has also asked for extension of the Bundelkhand package and special assistance in areas of the State where drinking water has been affected by arsenic and fluoride contamination.
Members of the high-level delegation made a series of presentations on addressing key developmental needs of the State across sectors.  NITI Aayog Vice Chairman, Dr.Panagariya, suggested important recommendations for the overall transformation of Uttar Pradesh, while CEO NITI Aayog,  Mr.Amitabh Kant, presented a detailed picture of the state’s current status. NITI Aayog Member, Ramesh Chand, laid down the significance of Agricultural Growth for Economic Transformation of Uttar Pradesh.
Opportunities for the State by focusing on the Ease of Doing Business and the Start up program were presented by DIPP Secretary, Mr. Ramesh Abhishek. Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Mr. Amarjeet Sinha made critical recommendations focusing on Mission Antyodaya and other key rural development schemes.
Important recommendations on improving health outcomes in UP were jointly presented by Adviser, Health, NITI Aayog, Mr. Alok Kumar and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Mr. Manoj Jhalani. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Dr. Rajesh Kumar detailed the measures that ought to be taken to address major challenges in fighting malnutrition among the State’s children.
Efforts to be taken in order to better education outcomes in UP were outlined by Advsier HRD, NITI Aayog, Ms. Maninder Kaur Dwivedi. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr.ArunBaroka, made the presentation on improving implementation of  Swacch Bharat Mission.
Other members present at the deliberations included NITI Aayog, Additional Secretary, Mr. Anil Jain, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Mr. Utpal Kumar Singh, Join Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ms.AnitaKarwal, Joint Secreatry, DIPP, Mr.Shailendra Singh, Director Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Mr. K.B Singh and PS to Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Mr. Prem Singh among others.
Officials of the state government who were part of the discussions included Minister of Health, Agriculture Minister, Minister of Women and Child Development, Rural Development Minister, Minister of Education, Chief Secretary of the Government of UP, among others


Brazil’s sweeping investigation into the Petrobras corruption ring, named Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash), reached new heights of media and public attention on Wednesday as former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was interrogated by judge Sergio Moro.
At 2 p.m. local time, Lula’s interrogation began at the federal tribunal of Curitiba, capital of the state of Parana, with Moro seeking answers to charges of corruption and money laundering against the charismatic politician.
Upon arriving at the court, Lula received applause and cheers by a large number of supporters, which were kept back around 150 meters from the building.
Thousands of activists from Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT), the Central Workers’ Union (CUT) and others had gathered to celebrate the former leader and denounce what they see as a conspiracy against him. Lula’s successor and friend, former President Dilma Rousseff, was also on hand to lend her support.
A smaller group of protesters, who support Lula’s appearance in court, also made their voices heard.
The interrogation saw Moro interviewing Lula for around three hours, before turning the witness over to federal prosecutors and then allowing the defense team to have their turn.
Earlier in the day, Brazil’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by Lula’s defense team to postpone his testimony.
His lawyers claimed they had not had enough time to review all the documentation related to the case and requested 90 days to analyze it. They stated they had received around 5,000 documents, with a total of around 100,000 pages, over the last couple of weeks.
Lula is accused of having received bribes worth 3.7 million reais (1.15 million U.S. dollars) from the OAS construction company, in the form of a three-floor apartment in Guaruja, a resort town on the coast of Sao Paulo.
Should he be found guilty and should the sentence then be upheld by a higher court, Lula would be automatically barred from standing for president in the 2018 election. Opinion polls constantly show him as the most favored candidate by the Brazilian electorate.
Also on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio de Mello said there was no current motive to detain Lula.
Speaking to the press during Lula’s interrogation, Mello said the court case into Lula was not concluded but that, for the moment, “it is not necessary to halt the natural order of the judicial process.”
He said that this order should be “investigate, prove guilt and carry out the sentence… What should be an exception, provisional prison…has become the norm.”
Moro, the head judge for Lava Jato, has been criticized for maintaining various accused people in preventive prison for long periods.
There is no precise date for Moro to give his ruling on Lula’s case but it is expected to take several weeks.


U.S. President Donald Trump invited newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Washington at an early date and Moon accepted the invitation, the White House said Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Trump spoke with Moon to congratulate him and the South Korean people on “his great election victory and their peaceful, democratic transition of power,” according to a White House statement.
The two leaders agreed to continue to strengthen the U.S.-South Korea alliance and to deepen the enduring friendship between the two countries.
Moon was sworn in as new South Korean President on Wednesday. In a televised inaugural speech, he said he will be on the move for peace on the Korean Peninsula, vowing to visit Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), under right conditions.
The new South Korean leader also vowed to sincerely consult with the United States and China to resolve the issue on the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
Parts of the U.S. missile interception system have been moved to the THAAD deployment site in the country’s southeastern region, causing strong protests from anti-THAAD activists and residents.


U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia, the White House said.
Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Washington DC, Trump raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, the White House said in a statement.
The meeting came amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia as the two countries hold differences on a slew of issues, including the Syrian conflict, the Ukrainian crisis and the expansion of NATO.
Trump, who has expressed hopes of repairing relations with Moscow, said last month that the U.S. was “not getting along with Russia at all” and the relations between the two countries “may be at an all-time low.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, underscoring the need for Russia to “rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies.”
After Trump ordered missile strikes on a Syria airbase last month in response to Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, the Russian government condemned the military action, calling Washington’s move “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.”
On Ukraine, Trump expressed his Administration’s commitment to remain engaged in resolving the conflict and stressed Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.
The U.S., along with some European allies, has imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia in response to what they called the annexation of Crimea and destabilizing activities in eastern Ukraine.
After the meeting, Lavrov told reporters that Trump confirmed his interest in building “mutually beneficial” relations with Russia.
Earlier in the day, Lavrov held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on a range of issues, including Ukraine, Syria, and bilateral concerns.

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