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Modi, Rahul square off on GST, 5 detained over attack on Swiss couple, BJP seeks OBC-Patidar support: Top stories

Top stories to bring you up to date.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2017 07:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Japan,India,United States of America
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses his supporters during a public rally at Bhaat village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, October 16, 2017.

Japan to propose OBOR-like project with India, US to counter China

Japan is set to propose a strategic dialogue with India, the United States and Australia to build ports and high-speed road networks across Asia to Africa, a plan aimed at countering China’s cross-continent “Belt and Road” plan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to propose the idea of the four-party dialogue to US President Donald Trump on November 6, foreign minister Taro Kono was quoted as saying by the Nikkei business daily on Thursday. The Japanese proposal will be significant for India. Building cross-border infrastructure with friendly countries could help New Delhi blunt the Chinese initiative which it sees as an influence-securing project that also runs through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Read the story here.

PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi square off on GST, state of the economy

The government and the main opposition squared off over the Goods and Services Tax on Thursday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing it as consumer-friendly and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi blaming it for unleashing “a tsunami of tax terrorism”. India’s new indirect tax regime has emerged as a big election issue in Gujarat, with the main opposition party seeking to tap into the BJP’s traditional vote bank among traders and small businessmen by playing on their apprehensions about the ambitious tax reform that was rolled out to some teething problems in July. The Congress has made the NDA government’s handling of the economy its main poll plank, in a bid to end the BJP’s 22-year reign in the state. Read the story here.

Quarterly results, new data show economy could be turning around

Recent data, including some better-than-expected corporate results in the three months ended 30 September, may indicate that the economy is turning the corner, say economists. Meanwhile, the government’s huge bank recapitalisation drive is boosting investor sentiment. On Thursday, the BSE’s benchmark Sensex extended the lifetime high it hit the previous day, gaining 0.32% to 33,147.13 points. More macro data, including that showing a cooling of inflation, and a rebound in exports and factory output suggest a favourable shift in the economy, recovering from the disruption caused by the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax and last November’s demonetisation of high-value banknotes. Read the story here.

Ahead of Gujarat election, BJP goes all out to win Patidar-OBC support

The BJP is preparing to allot a substantial number of tickets to Patidars in Gujarat, a move aimed at blocking any shift to the opposition Congress. The community, which constitutes about 14% of the state’s population and has been traditionally loyal to the BJP, has been on the boil over its demand for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. Hardik Patel, a young Patidar at the forefront of the stir, has met Congress leaders and is likely to join hands with the opposition party. BJP sources sought to play down the significance of Hardik’s move, claiming that the community was loyal and did not desert the party even at the peak of a revolt by one of its tallest leaders — former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, a Leuva Patidar. Read the story here.

Five people detained over attack on Swiss couple at Fatehpur Sikri

Police on Thursday detained five people, including three minors, for allegedly assaulting a Swiss couple at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra, an incident that raised serious concerns over security of foreign tourists in India. The attack with stones and sticks, allegedly by a group of people on Wednesday, left Quentin Jeremy Clerc (24) with a fractured skull and with the risk of permanent hearing impairment. His girlfriend, Marie Droz (24), had a broken arm, besides bruises. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who sought a report over the incident from the Uttar Pradesh government, said on Thursday evening that Droz has been discharged from hospital while Clerc’s condition was improving. Read the story here.

We are willing to align with Shiv Sena in 2019 polls, says CM Fadnavis

Despite the continued tussle between the saffron allies, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday his party was willing to align with the Shiv Sena and it was for Uddhav Thackeray to decide whether he wants to continue an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But even as he spoke of accommodating the Sena, his message to Thackeray was that playing a dual role of ally and Opposition would cost his party dearly. “We have to accept the political reality that we do not have a majority, so we have to work with our ally. That’s the people’s mandate. My sole advice to the Sena is its attempts to act as Opposition as well as a party in power. This dual position is a breach of people’s trust”, he said in an interview to Hindustan Times. Read the stories here.

SC asks WhatsApp to improve redressal system to curb circulation of rape videos

The Supreme Court has asked popular messenger service WhatsApp to improve its redressal system to make it easy for lodging complaints against circulation of videos showing sexual violence and also curtailing them. It also asked the government to create an administrative mechanism to receive information of any child pornography, rape or gang rape content being circulated. This centralised agency, to be set up under the aegis of the CBI or the ministry of home affairs, will maintain data of videos and hash-banks to identify hashes of all known child pornography, rape and gang rape imagery. The court also suggested expansion of keywords, which when typed would flash messages warning the user against the search as it could lead to child pornography websites. Read the story here.

Opinion: Politics in the age of Modi is a 24X7 exercise. Is Rahul really up to the challenge?

As the seasons change, there is a spring in the step of the Congress which suggests that a long and harsh summer in the political wilderness maybe ending. Rahul Gandhi is finally set to take over the party leadership, there is a buzz around the Congress’ aggressive social media strategy, new anti-BJP alliances are being cemented in poll-bound Gujarat, demonetisation and GST have become useful weapons to attack the government and open rebellion by senior BJP leaders like Yashwant Sinha has given further ammunition to the Opposition. But the truth is, while the Congress maybe scenting a comeback, in reality it is still a case of ‘Dilli dur ast’. Read the column here.

Tillerson says quadrilateral talks an attempt to move ties with India to next level

The US offer for India, Japan and Australia to be part of the four anchors of security and peace in the Indo-Pacific region was also an attempt to move relations with India to the “next level”, secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters on way home from his South Asia trip. Asked if the Indian side was excited or nervous about the offer, which he first made in a speech in Washington DC, Tillerson said, “Yes, but I would be the first to acknowledge it is a new approach as well, and I think that we’ve had a – the US has had positive relations with India for 70 years but it’s never quite moved to that next level...From time to time, the other side has taken a step back from the relationship for their own reasons.” Read the story here.

Twitter bans ads from two Russian media outlets, cites US poll meddling

Twitter Inc on Thursday banned advertisements from accounts owned by Russian media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, citing allegations by US intelligence agencies that the two had tried to interfere with the 2016 US election. RT and Sputnik condemned the decision, saying Twitter had encouraged ad spending, while Russia’s foreign ministry said the ban was the result of US government pressure and that it was planning a response. San Francisco-based Twitter said in an unsigned statement on its website that election meddling is “not something we want” on the social network and that it had also done its own investigations of RT and Sputnik. Read the story here.

One Indian cricketer tested positive for doping: 2016 WADA Report

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report of 2016 has revealed that one Indian cricketer has tested positive for banned substances among the 153 BCCI accreditated cricketers. The cricketer, whose name has not yet been revealed will be the second after former India U-19 player Pradeep Sangwan to have tested positive. Sangwan was playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2013 when he tested positive during that year’s Indian Premier League. According to the 2016 Anti-Doping Testing Figures, 138 cricketers registered under BCCI were tested ‘In Competition’ (IC) in which one cricketer has tested positive. Read the story here.

First Published: Oct 27, 2017 07:42 IST