Morning briefing: UN tribunal to decide on Italy's plea on marines' trial today

GN Bureau | August 24, 2015

A UN tribunal is expected to decide on Monday on Italy's plea that two of its marines accused of killing Indian fishermen in 2012 should be handed over by India and tried in their own country.  The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were on board the oil tanker "Enrica Lexie", are accused of killing two unarmed Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. Italy maintains that the shooting took place in international waters and that the fishermen were mistaken for pirates. Italy has based its appeal on a UN law that grants jurisdiction in such cases to the country that owns the ship involved in any incident at sea. The country has asked the International Tribunal on Law of the Sea to restrict India from taking action against its marines.

Parrikar to meet ex-servicemen today, ahead of their meeting with PM
To placate the protesting ex servicemen over the One Rank One Pension issue, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will on Monday meet the agitating former defence personnel. The meeting comes even as the defence veterans have said that they will be knock Prime Minister Narendra Modi's door on August 26 if no announcement on their demand is made by August 25. Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, the pension for ex-servicemen is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when they had retired.

Sensex crashes 800 points amid global meltdown, rupee hits 2-year low
The stock markets and the rupee plunged sharply after opening on Monday as a global rout and the impact of unfolding bad news from China and Korea took its toll. At 9:50am, the BSE was down 821 points and the rupee fell to 66.50, indicators that can adversely impact India. The 30-share sensex which had closed at 27,366 points on Friday, opened on Monday sharply lower at 26,730 points. The rupee also fell to new two-year low; it opened at 66.47 to the dollar, the lowest since September 2013 and is now at 66.50. The jitters have also been led by concerns of a slowdown in China where news about freight rates dropping by 10.9% - indicating fewer movement of goods – and a fall in real estate prices, are sending signals to foreign investors.

Karnataka CM to meet PM Modi on farmer's issues today
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will lead an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for seeking Centre's relief to mitigate farmer's issues. He is also supposed to ask the Prime Minister's intervention in resolving the inter-state Mahadayi river dispute. The Karanataka Chief Minister would also request Prime Minister Modi to call meeting of the chief ministers of the concerned states-Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka and to mediate to solve the issue without involving the court.

Coal India clears 3 projects to produce 40 million tonnes
Coal India plans to spend a total Rs 10,600 crore in FY16 on enhancing its coal production capacity and the board cleared three projects with a total production capacity of 40 million tonnes,requiring a combined investment of about Rs 5,900 crore. These mines are expected to start production in a few years and will add to the company's target of achieving 1 billion tonnes in output by 2020. It's planning to invest close to Rs 4,150 crore in various infrastructure projects, including railway lines.

Monitoring body to be back with new name under NITI Aayog
A Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office will soon be set up under the government's premier think tank NITI Aayog to keep a check on the Centre's flagship programmes. The new body will perform much the same role as the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) that functioned under the erstwhile Planning Commission,

Telecom companies now want defence land for towers
The telecom industry's battle to reduce call drops has extended to another front. Mobile carriers and tower operators have sought the telecom department's immediate intervention to persuade the armed forces to allow towers on defence land across India for boosting mobile coverage in India's biggest cities. The defence ministry land is located in the heart of key cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Pune, Bhopal, Gwalior, Lucknow, Jaipur, Shillong and Leh.

China stocks plunge over liquidity issues
China major stock indexes collapsed on Monday morning, with traders saying market disappointment over the lack of a liquidity move by the central bank during the weekend triggered a fresh selloff. Main indexes tumbled more than 11 per cent last week as investors began to worry that the central government was backing off on plans to prop up the market. The CSI300 index fell 6.7 per cent to 3,349.20 points at 0149 GMT, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 8 per cent, its lowest level since March.

Demand for changes to food act and repeal of all FSSAI advisories since 2013
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is conducting its working through issuing advisories and now the traders' body CAIT has demanded all the advisories issued by the food regulator since 2013 should be withdrawn. The traders' body in a letter to Health Minister J P Nadda has written that "all advisories issued by FSSAI since year 2013 should be withdrawn immediately to give respect to a Supreme Court order". The traders have  asked the minister to constitute a committee of senior officials and representatives of stakeholders to suggest amendments to the FSSAI Act.

About 4.65 lakh appear in civil services prelims exam
A total of 4,65,882 candidates on Sunday appeared for civil services preliminary examination across the country. Last year it was 4,51,602, an increase by 14,280. As against a record number of 9,45,908 candidates who have applied for the exam, 6,81,549 of them had downloaded their e-admit card.

25,000 sign up for PM Modi's Silicon Valley reception
Even though only 18,000 can be accommodated, more than 25,000 people have signed up for prime minister Narendra Modi's reception being organised by the Indian-American community in Silicon Valley on September 27. The Indo-American Community of West Coast, created recently to organise the reception, would have to resort to lottery to determine who all would get free tickets to attend the event at SAP Centre in San Jose - an indoor arena in the heart of Silicon Valley. California has the second-largest population of Indian- Americans after the Tristate area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In September last year, Modi addressed about 20,000 Indian-Americans at the Madison Square Garden in New York, which was also attended by about 40 top American Congressmen and Senators. Modi is scheduled to travel to San Francisco after addressing a high-level summit on sustainable development hosted by the UN on September 25.



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