Morning briefing: PM Modi in New York, no bilateral meeting scheduled with Sharif

GN Bureau | September 24, 2015

Prime minister Narendra Modi arrived in New York today for a five-day visit to the United States where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly session. US is the second leg of Modi's two-nation trip. On Wednesday, he made a five-hour trip to Ireland and addressed the Indian community in Dublin.Meanwhile, Modi will not hold a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. "As of now there is nothing, no bilateral meeting on the schedule," Vikas Swarup, Spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs told reporters in New York. Modi and Sharif are staying in the same hotel in the city - the iconic Waldorf Astoria. "There will be no deliberate attempt (at paths not crossing). If a handshake happens, you will get to see it. If a pull aside happens, you will get to see it," Swarup said.

Central government okays controversial Gujarat anti-terror law
The Narendra Modi government has paved the way for enactment of a controversial anti-terrorism legislation passed by Gujarat that was thrice rejected by the earlier government of Manmohan Singh. The home ministry has cleared the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime ( GCTOC) Bill, 2015 — which has been hanging fire since Modi first introduced it in 2001 as Gujarat chief minister — and sent it to the President's secretariat. Once it receives president Pranab Mukherjee's assent it will become law.

E-commerce boom takes Flipkart's Bansals to Forbes rich list
Despite a dip of $R 4.7 billion in one year, industrialist Mukesh Ambani was today named India's richest for ninth year in a row with a net worth of $ 18.9 billion, while ecommerce giant Flipkart's founders made their debut on the country's top 100 rich list of the Forbes magazine. As per the magazine's latest list, Ambani was followed by Sun Pharma's Dilip Shanghvi as second richest with a net worth of $ 18 billion, while Wipro's Azim Premji retained his third place with $ 15.9 billion. Flipkart's co-founders Sachin and Binni Bansal made their debut at 86th position with a net worth of $ 1.3 billion each.The combined wealth of India's 100 richest persons remained largely unchanged at $ 345 billion, as compared to $ 346 billion in 2014, Forbes said.

Ola likely to introduce motorcycle taxis
Ola is preparing to launch motorcycle taxis and the India's No.1 cab aggregator is also set to add a car-pooling feature on its mobile application and launch a shuttle bus service. Ola already runs an auto-rickshaw aggregation service. Ola currently has about 2.5 lakh cabs operating in at least 100 Indian cities through its platform, besides 65,000 auto-rickshaws and black-yellow taxis. The company is expected to cross annual gross revenue run rate of $1 billion (about Rs 6,500 crore) by the end of this year.

CBI seeks Teesta Setalvad, husband Javed Anand’s custody
The CBI moved the Supreme Court seeking custodial interrogation of social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand in connection with the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by two trusts run by them. The CBI plea comes a month after the Mumbai High Court granted bail to the couple.

Tamil Nadu Bar Council to decide on punishment of unruly lawyers today
The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has decided to take a decision on Thursday on the issue of errant advocates allegedly engaging in unruly behaviour like laying seige to court halls, taking out rallies and obstructing court work. The Registrar General had written to the Bar Council seeking appropriate action over the September 14 protest by some lawyers before the MHC Chief Justice's bench demanding that Tamil be made official language. Additional solicitor general G Rajagopalan had  earlier written to the Bar Council stating that he had witnessed the pandemonium in the CJ's court hall and requested action against about 12 advocates.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit India next week
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit India next week, the Indian foreign ministry said Wednesday, as the two countries seek to bolster trade and bilateral ties. Merkel last visited India in 2011 and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Germany in April this year. Germany is India's largest trading partner in Europe, with bilateral trade in 2014 valued at 15.96 billion euros.

PM Modi's spiritual guru Swami Dayanand dies at 87
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's spiritual guru Swami Dayanand Giri died on Wednesday at his ashram in Sheeshamjhadi area in Rishikesh after a prolonged illness. He was 87. Swami Dayanand breathed his last on Wednesday. The spiritual guru had been ailing for a long time. On September 11, Modi had paid a visit to Swami Dayanand at his ashram to enquire after his health.

Congress slams PM Modi's 'secularism' jibe in Dublin
The Congress party on Wednesday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his 'secularism' jibe in Dublin and branded him as an 'NRI PM' who has visited almost a dozen countries in a short span of time.  Modi, who was welcomed in Dublin by the voices of Irish children reciting Sanskrit shlokas, took a jibe at the opposition parties back home saying that if this was done in India then it would have raised questions about 'secularism'.

Not asked Nepal to carry out amendments in Constitution: India
India on Wednesday reiterated that issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in Nepal but denied that it has asked Kathmandu to carry out amendments to ensure it was acceptable by Indian-origin community. "India has not handed over any list of specific Constitutional amendments or changes to the Government of Nepal. "Without being prescriptive on specific clauses, and as already stated earlier, we continue to urge that issues on which there are differences should be resolved through dialogue in an atmosphere free from violence, and institutionalised in a manner that would enable broad-based ownership and acceptance," the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said. The remarks came in the backdrop of reports that India has conveyed to Nepal's leadership to carry out "seven amendments" to its newly promulgated Constitution to ensure it is acceptable to the Madhesis.

Now, China has fake Apple stores to book iPhones
On a bustling street in China’s southern boomtown of Shenzhen, more than 30 stores carrying Apple Inc’s iconic white logos peddle pre-orders for the new iPhone, a gadget that has become a status symbol among many better-off Chinese. Many of the stores look just like Apple’s signature outlets, right down to the sales staff kitted out in blue T-shirts bearing the company’s white logo and the sample iPads and iWatches displayed on sleek wooden tables. But the stores are all fake. The world’s second-largest smartphone vendor only has one official store in Shenzhen and five authorized dealers in the area. Most of the stores in the roughly 1 km shopping corridor are unauthorised “fakes” – although they are selling genuine Apple products – and their numbers have mushroomed ahead of the release on Friday of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6s Plus.

Sensex and Nifty down
In tandem with the weakness seen in other Asian markets, the domestic market opened on a tepid note on Thursday for a session that most analysts expect to be choppy on account of the expiry of the September series futures and options (F&O) contracts.
At 10.20 am Sensex was at 25761.34, down 62 points and Nifty was 7835.05, down 11 points. Asian cues were mixed. Nikkei tanked over 2 per cent, after resuming trade following a five-day holiday. Straits Times and Hang Seng declined 0.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively. However, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.5 per cent and Kospi 0.3 per cent



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