1. Japan trumps China for Bangladesh port
In a setback to China which had plans of building a port about 25 km away, Japan is all set to start construction of the 18m-deep port at Matarbari on Bangladesh’s South-East coast by January 2016. China is trying to develop closer economic and military ties in South Asia, which sits astride sea lanes that carry about 80% of its oil imports. Financing a port in the Bay of Bengal would have been an important strategic move for it. While economics may have played a part, one reason Bangladesh opted to have the port financed by Japan could be out of sensitivity to India, the United States and its allies, who share growing concerns about China’s expanding strategic footprint in Asia.
2. IIMs up in arms over erosion of autonomy
IIM Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Lucknow have expressed their concerns over clauses 35 and 36 in the Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2015. While the overall Bill purports to grant statutory status to the IIMs enabling them to grant degrees, th two clauses apparently take away powers that have so far been vested in the board of governors, which will result in the board being reduced to a recommending body subordinate to decisions of the ministry.
3. Yashwant says growth more ‘statistical’ than real
Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha has openly criticised the Narendra Modi government for its claims of effecting an economic recovery.
The BJP veteran said the numbers being cited by the government are merely statistical and not real, merely reflecting a change in norms. Sinha further went on to mock the government for sidelining senior party leaders, saying that all those above 75 years were declared brain dead on May 26, 2014.
4. India is 10th highest emitter per capita
The World Resource Institute has come out with statistics about carbon emissions ahead of the Paris Climate Summit. India which is 4th highest highest emitter of greenhouse gases over all ranks 10th in the list of per capita emissions. The data comes as good news for India which is known to use the ‘per capita’ yardstick to demand more comprehensive actions from rich nations. Six of the top 10 emitters are developing countries with China topping the list at 25% of total global emissions.
5. JP’s memorial to be built at his birthplace in Bihar
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that socialist icon Jayprakash Narayan, who had spearheaded the fight against the Emergency will be honoured with a memorial in his birthplace in Bihar. This came along with a number of decisions to honour Narayan who was known among his followers as JP. The move is being criticised due to the timing of the announcements, which come ahead of the Bihar elections set for September. The Home Minister has rubbished claims of political motivations, stating that honouring the contributions of great people should not be seen through the prism of politics.
6. India among the worst for female entrepreneurs
The 2015-Female Entrepreneurship Index has ranked India 70th among 77 countries. The index, aimed at identifying which countries provide a level playing field for entrepreneurs notwithstanding gender, takes into account parameters such as labour force parity and access to first tier finance. India was among the 47 countries with a score lower than 50 out of 100. India’s poor performance has been attributed to the inability of women to provide collateral for credit as well as a misogynistic mindset that does not encourage women to take loans.
7. Jindal to run for President of the US
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced on his website on Wednesday that he is running for President of the United States of America. This makes him the first person of Indian origin to run for the job. It is anticipated that he will officially announce his candidature in New Orleans soon.
Jindal has a tough race ahead of him considering he usually ranks near the bottom in polls of Republicans seeking the nomination for the November 2016 presidential election.
8. Greenpeace India officials resign
Following an internal review of Greenpeace India’s handling of two sexual harassment cases, the Executive Director of Greenpeace India, Samit Aich, resigned on Wednesday along with Programme Director Divya Raghunandan. The Greenpeace India Board has also decided to commission a full, independent audit to improve the process of handling sexual harassment cases within the NGO and to create a safe working environment for women.
9. HC allows man to settle rape case through mediation
In a ruling that is in clear contravention of a Supreme Court judgment in similar matters, the Madras High Court has allowed a man found guilty of raping a minor to settle the matter through mediation. Not only does the ruling not adhere to precedent but it also raises questions about the approach of the higher judiciary towards issues relating to women and gender. A 2014 ruling of the Supreme Court had clearly stated that rape was a non-compoundable offence with no scope for mediation or settlement between parties. Madras HC Judge P. Devadass in his judgment on the bail plea of a man imprisoned for rape of a minor said it was a “fit case for attempting compromise between the parties. ‘Mediation’ mode is best suited to them.”
10. WikiLeaks reveals US spied on French Presidents
In the wake of WikiLeaks releasing documents revealing that the US was spying on the presidents of France from 2006 to 2012, France summoned the US ambassador on Wednesday to complain. The White House released a statement saying it was not targeting President Francois Hollande’s communication and would not do so in the future, but it did not comment on past activities. Meanwhile, a government spokesperson said France will send a top intelligence official to the US to discuss the leaked reports.
11. More FDI in media on the anvil?
Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley recently reviewed a departmental presentation on the case to review sectoral FDI caps in the media. The Modi government is said to have begun discussions on foreign investment in both the print and broadcast news sectors. If the cap is raised, it will lead to the infusion of global capital in a fast growing sector. Though India has been steadily opening up its economy, concerns about national security as well as reservations by Indian media owners have kept the print limit in FDI to 26 per cent so far.
12. JD(U) MLA arrested for murder
Three-time MLA Anant Singh, who is a member of the ruling JD(U), was arrested from Patna for the murder of Putush Yadav alias Pawan Kumar. The MLA faces over 40 criminal cases including those of land grabbing. The arrest came amidst mounting pressure from both the opposition and allies in the wake of a statement by the police that the criminals arrested in connection with the murder had named Singh.