Evening digest: Pakistan refuses to cancel meeting with separatists

GN Bureau | August 21, 2015



Pakistan has refused to cancel its invitation to Kashmiri separatists to a reception in Delhi for its National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, who is arriving on Sunday for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. This puts question mark over the talks between the Indian and Pakistani national security advisors on the weekend. India has made it clear that any meeting between the Kashmiri separatists and the Pakistani delegation either before or after the talks is unacceptable. Meanwhile, separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah was today put under house arrest again ahead of Friday prayers.

Facebook's Zuckerberg supported group slams Donald Trump's anti-H1-B visa policy
An advocacy group, FWD.US, backed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has slammed US presidential aspirant Donald Trump for his proposed immigration policy, which would make it tougher for US companies to hire people on H-1B visas, hugely popular with Indian IT professionals. FWD.US is a founded and backed by Zuckerberg and other likeminded info-tech companies pushing for massive immigration that would make it easier for Indian IT professionals to come to the US. Almost 86 per cent of the H-1B visas that the US granted last year for computer jobs had gone to Indian workers.

Government panel sees no case in imposing MAT on FIIs
In a big relief to FIIs, AP Shah committee has recommended that there was no case for imposing the controversial minimum alternate tax (MAT) on FIIs retrospectively, a suggestion that the government is said to be "favourably" considering.The panel has recommended that there was no basis for levy of MAT on FIIs for period prior to April 1, 2015. The Committee saw no legal basis for levy of 20 per cent MAT on past capital gains, he said adding that the government is "favourably" considering the recommendation.

Stocks slide as Sensex ends 241 points down
The S&P BSE Sensex has plunged 700 points in trade in a matter of two trading sessions, while the Nifty has slipped nearly 300 points, wiping out entire gains made so far in 2015. The Sensex slipped as much as 700 points in from 27,931.64 August 19 to 27,131.44, which was the intraday low recorded on Friday, August 21. From Asia to Europe and US, market saw deep cuts as worries over slowdown in global economic growth flagged risk-off sentiment. Asian equity markets slipped on Friday, after a survey showed Chinese factories contracted at their fastest pace since the global financial crisis in 2009. On Friday, the S&P BSE Sensex fell 241.75 points, or 0.88 per cent, to settle the day at 27,366.07. The index fell over 450 points in intraday trade, ending the week 701 points down. The broader 50-share Nifty barometer closed the session down 72.80 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 8,299.95. The rupee too touched a low of 65.90 per dollar, the lowest since September 2013, tracking selloff in other Asian currencies

Farmers protest land acquisition for capital construction in Andhra Pradesh
Thousands of farmers from villages across the capital region of Andhra Pradesh today staged a protest in Vijayawada against the proposed acquisition of their land for the construction of the state capital. The farmers, apart from expressing concerns about their livelihood, argued that whether the under construction capital actually requires such a large area of land. The government is planning to acquire the most fertile lands in the state which cost about Rs 2 crore an acre.

Tax department to organise special camp in Delhi
The tax department will hold an eight-day special camp in the national capital to help taxpayers file their Income Tax Returns (ITRs). The camp will be held at the civic centre I-T building, near Connaught Place, and will be inaugurated on August 24. It will function till August 31 during office hours, with Saturdays and Sundays, falling between these days, being open

Mamata Banerjee supports protesting FTII students
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today voiced her support for the protesting students at Pune's FTII and said that "political purpose" should not come in the way of resolving the issue. "Since I was associated with student movements in the past, I respect students' movements," she said.

Air India flights delayed over labour law, pilots take leave
National carrier Air India was hit by delays as pilots decided to call in sick in protest again a decision by the ministry of labour and employment to take out pilots in command from the category of workmen under the industrial disputes act, 1947. This bars senior pilots can no longer be part of any employee union. There are nearly 1,400 pilots employed with Air India and of them 600 fall in  pilots in command category.

Taslima Nasreen’s visa extended by one year
Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen’s visa was on Friday extended for a year. She has been living in exile since she left Bangladesh in a cloak of secrecy in 1994 in the wake of threats to her by fundamentalist groups. The 52-year-old writer’s visa was granted for a year with effect from July 23, a Home Ministry official said.

Delhi cop who ordered action against army vetrans transferred
In a major reshuffle, 35 senior officers of the Delhi Police, including an officer who had ordered the removal of Army veterans demanding One Rank One Pension scheme at Jantar Mantar ahead of Independence Day.Deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) Vijay Singh had ordered the removal of army veterans who were protesting at Jantar Mantar demanding pension reform. Singh has been transferred to north-west Delhi and will be replaced by Additional DCP Jatin Narwal.

NCAER predicts economic growth at 7.5 per cent this fiscal
Economic think-tank NCAER has projected the country's economic growth at 7.5 per cent in the current fiscal. "The indicators from the first quarter indicates that agriculture, industry and services are continuing to grow at same or similar rates as last quarter," National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) said.

Uber connects with Airtel, to offer 4G during rides
Taxi hailing app Uber has entered into a strategic partnership with Bharti Airtelin a bid to provide internet access to riders and leverage India's largest telecom player's 200 million customer base in India. Uber users get access to free 4G Wifi in Uber cabs starting with Mumbai on Saturday and an additional payment option Airtel money on the app. Drivers get subsidised mobile devices and data plans. The drivers will use an Airtel 4G enabled MiFi dongle which will have a battery life of 6 hours. Users will just have to click on 'UberWiFi' as an option and they will be logged on to the internet.

Workplace anxiety can lead to poor job performance
Workplace anxiety can directly lead to lower job performance, says a study. The effect of workplace anxiety on job performance is closely connected to the quality of relationships between employees, their bosses and their co-workers, said researchers from the University of Toronto-Scarborough.Supervisors and co-workers who are empathetic and provide emotional support by listening to their peers go a long way in fostering a positive work environment.

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