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On Rafale Deal, French Blog Featuring 2 New Trade Union Documents Sets Up New Row


PM Narendra Modi had announced the procurement of 36 Rafale jets in April 2016. (File)

Paris: 

In the Rafale jet deal controversy, more documents seem to suggest that France snagged the Rs. 59,000 crore deal as a trade-off for aeronautics major Dassault tying up with Anil Ambani’s company.

Images of two trade union documents put up by the French blog Portail Aviation are set to ignite more political wrangling over the deal for 36 Rafale jets sealed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the French in 2015.

The images are of documents published by two unions of Rafale-maker Dassault – the CFDT and CGT. These are minutes of a meeting held on May 11 2017, in which the number 2 of Dassault Aviation, Loik Segalenn, is talking about the joint venture with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence.

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The CGT statement says, “…a complete presentation of ‘Make in India’ with the creation of the enterprise ‘Dassault Reliance Aerospace’ at Nagpur was done for us”.

The blog does not interpret the documents and leaves it to readers to conclude whether or not Reliance was imposed on the French as a partner as a condition for the deal.

The CFDT’s document was mentioned earlier in a report by the French publication Mediapart just after former French President Francois Hollande’s explosive statement that France had no choice when it came to selecting Anil Ambani and his rookie company as offset partner for Dassault. According to Mediapart, an internal document of Dassault confirmed Mr Hollande’s statement.

Dassault denied the allegation, saying the reference in the document was to the obligation to make offset investments in India and not the compulsion to get into a joint venture with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence.

Details of the meeting appear to present a different picture.

The CGT statement says, “…a complete presentation of ‘Make in India’ with the creation of the enterprise ‘Dassault Reliance Aerospace’ at Nagpur was done for us. According to Mr (Loik) Segalen it was imperative and obligatory for Dassault Aviation to accept this “contrepartie” in order to obtain the export contract Rafale India.” The French word used is “contrepartie”, which can mean “compensation” or could have the negative sense of a “trade off”.

The second union (CFDT’s) statement talks about ‘Make in India’ being “the inevitable consequence” of the deal “imposed” by India, and says a joint venture with Reliance was created to attain this objective.

It is evident that the statements are not talking only about the offset obligation but also about the joint venture with Reliance.

Whether one of them was mandatory are among the questions raised by the opposition in India as well as a section of the French media.

The Congress has accused the government of corruption and crony capitalism. The party had seized on French president Hollande’s comment to Mediapart last month to go hammer and tongs against the government, alleging that Anil Ambani’s company was imposed as a preferred partner on the French.



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US Embassy in Jerusalem to cost $20M more than Trump's estimate

Israel says Australia considering moving embassy to Jerusalem


The unassuming building that exposes bitter Middle East divide

Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Monday with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who informed the Israeli leader that he was “weighing officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem,” according to a readout of the call from Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office.

During a press conference in Canberra Tuesday, Morrison told reporters that a decision is yet to be made about whether to relocate the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He said, “No decision has been made in regarding the recognition of the capital or the movement of an embassy,” but that Australia’s “government is open-minded about this.”

He added that, in the next few months, he would “confer with cabinet colleagues” and “with other leaders around the world to gauge the perception of this and to make the case.”

Morrison also reiterated Australia’s commitment “to a two-state solution,” but added: “Frankly, it hasn’t been going that well. Not a lot of progress has been made.”

He added that “recognition of the capital or the movement of an embassy” were two separate issues.

The move would make Australia the third country to have its embassy in Jerusalem, joining the United States and Guatemala.

Paraguay had initially moved its embassy to Jerusalem following America’s lead, but the country’s new leader reversed the decision recently.

Netanyahu and Morrison also reportedly spoke about ways to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

The United States officially relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. US President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, attended the ceremony.

Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and relocate the embassy was contentious for Palestinians, who hope to claim part of the city including Muslim shrines as their future capital. The city is also home to deeply holy sites for Jews and Christians.



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Profit

Sensex Rallies Over 150 Points, Nifty Above 10,550


Thirty five out of 50 Nifty stocks traded with gains.

The stock markets started Tuesday’s trading session on a firm note. The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 35,004.33, and the Nifty50 index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was at 10,550.15. At 9:16 am, the 30-share Sensex traded at 34,955.19 , up 90.09 points or 0.26 per cent and the broader Nifty50 was at 10,527.60, with a gain of 15.10 points or 0.14 per cent. Thirty five out of 50 Nifty stocks traded with gains.

At the time of writing this report, the Sensex had registered an intraday high of 35,055.20 and the Nifty of 10,563.40.

Ahead of its second quarter earnings, Infosys (up 1.46 per cent) was the top gainer in the Nifty pack.

On Monday, the Sensex had ended 131.52 points or 0.38 per cent higher at 34,865.10 and the Nifty50 had settled at 10,512.50, up 40 points or 0.38 per cent.

 



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Asia stocks bounce modestly but Saudi tensions limit gains

Asia stocks edge up but Saudi tensions limit gains


TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks rose modestly on Tuesday, gaining a firmer footing after a week of heavy losses, although increasing tensions between Saudi Arabia and the West have fanned geopolitical concerns and capped gains.

People walk past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average (top R) and Japanese yen’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.25 percent, crawling away from a 19-month trough touched on Thursday.

Japan’s Nikkei bounced 0.6 percent following a decline of nearly 2 percent the previous day.

The disappearance in Turkey earlier this month of a Saudi journalist critical of Riyadh has provoked an international outcry against the oil-rich kingdom, which has rattled its financial markets.

U.S. President Donald Trump has sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia over the case, potentially straining the relationship between the strategic allies.

“The focus of the markets has turned to the Middle East due to the Saudi incident. And with U.S. stocks still struggling, other equity markets will have a difficult time bouncing convincingly,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

“The United States has been the epicenter of the recent market tumult, with Wall Street shares being hit by higher Treasury yields. U.S. shares will have to find their feet first.”

Saudi Arabia’s riyal currency retreated overnight to 3.7525 to the dollar – its weakest in two years.

Wall Street shares were dragged down overnight by a retreat in technology shares amid lingering worries over high U.S. bond yields. [.N]

The Dow has lost 4.5 percent this month, pulled away from record peaks, as long-term Treasury yields soared to their highest level since 2011. Higher yields are seen eroding the allure of equities.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.15 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index was last up 0.1 percent.

Data on Tuesday showed China’s factory-gate inflation cooled for a third straight month in September amid ebbing domestic demand, pointing to more pressure on the world’s second biggest economy as it remains locked in an intensifying trade war with the United States.

Perceived safe havens such as the Japanese yen and Swiss franc have found supported following the hit riskier assets have taken.

The dollar traded at 111.95 yen, not far from a one-month low of 111.625 brushed overnight.

Against the dollar, the Swiss currency stood at 0.9882 franc after advancing 0.5 percent the previous day.

The euro was little changed at $1.1574, after rising 0.2 percent the previous day.

Sterling was at $1.3145, having bounced from a one-week low of $1.3080 plumbed on Monday amid a stalemate over the post-Brexit status of Britain’s land border with Ireland.

Currency market focus was on the U.S. Treasury’s semiannual currency report due later in the day, with investors waiting to see Washington’s view on China after media reports last week that the department has not labeled Beijing a currency manipulator.

“It is clear that China does not meet the criteria of currency manipulator based on the current assessment, as the country’s current account surplus as a percent of GDP has fallen below 3 percent,” wrote strategists at OCBC Bank.

China’s yuan was a shade weaker at 6.924 per dollar in onshore trading.

In commodities, tension between the United States, the world’s top oil consumer, and Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest producers, pushed up crude prices on concerns about supply. [O/R]

Brent crude futures rose 0.3 percent to $81.00 a barrel, stretching gains from Monday.

Safe haven gold was at $1,225.51 an ounce, in striking distance of a near three-month high of $1,233.26 scaled on Monday.



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Turkish prosecutor in Saudi journalist’s disappearance leaves consulate: witness


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Turkish prosecutor investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has left the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul, a Reuters witness said on Tuesday.

A team of around 10 Turkish police investigators had already left after a nine-hour search.

Earlier, a Turkish diplomatic source had said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the consulate, the last place where Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on Oct. 2.

Reporting by Osman Orsal; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Clarence Fernandez



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In most metros, diesel price rise cancels out Centre's Rs 2.50 cut

In most metros, diesel price rise cancels out Centre’s Rs 2.50 cut


Diesel prices across major cities have gone up by almost Rs 2.75 per litre, while petrol prices have risen by nearly Rs 2 per litre since October 5.

fuel prices

On October 4, Centre had announced a cut of Rs 2.50 per litre in diesel and petrol prices.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Diesel prices up by over 20 paise and petrol increased by 11 paise today
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the leaders of oil and gas companies on October 15
  • Surge in crude oil prices have led to increase in domestic fuel prices

The prices of diesel and petrol shot up again today. Diesel prices escalated by over 20 paise per litre and petrol went up by 11 paise per litre.

On October 4, Centre had announced a cut of Rs 2.50 per litre in diesel and petrol prices. Several states followed the suit and announced an additional cut of Rs 2.50 per litre.

However, soon after, the fuel prices resumed their ascending trend. Except Maharashtra, diesel prices across other major cities have gone up by almost Rs 2.75 per litre, while petrol prices have risen by nearly Rs 2 per litre since October 5.

Here is how much it will cost you today:

Source: Indian Oil

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the leaders of oil and gas companies on October 15. The heads of oil and gas companies and organisations met Narendra Modi to discuss the the emerging energy scenario, effects of US sanctions on Iran and volatile oil prices affecting economic growth. PM Modi made a strong case for a partnership between oil consuming and oil producing countries.

PM Modi pointed oil consuming countries like India face economic challenges and resource crunch due to rising crude oil prices. He called for review of payment terms between oil consumers and producers to curb weakening of rupee.

The hike in crude oil prices has resulted in sky rocketing domestic fuel prices. Rupee has also touched record low levels multiple times and has lost over 15 per cent of its value this year. India is the third largest oil consumer in the world.

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thai soccer team wild boars argentina football spt intl_00003423

Thai cave boys appear on US talk show Ellen


Dressed in the jerseys of their “Wild Boars” soccer team, the 12 young Thai boys and their coach joined host Ellen DeGeneres to discuss their tense rescue in July.

As a present, DeGeneres gifted each of the team a personalized soccer jersey with her logo on the front. Then, after asking who their favorite player was, the host revealed football star Ibrahimovic.

Amid excited smiles from the Thai team, Ibrahimovic high-fived all the players before complimenting them on their bravery.

“I thought I was brave, but these kids, this team, is more braver than me … This is probably the best team in the world,” he said.

Speaking through a Thai translator, the boys and their coach took turns answering questions. They said they didn’t know their rescue was being so closely watched until they arrived in the hospital following their escape.

When DeGeneres asked if it was true that three boys had their birthdays while being stuck in the cave, there was a groan of sympathy from the audience.

Then the translator corrected her that it was actually four boys. “Happy birthday!” DeGeneres said, followed by applause. The boys elaborated later that they didn’t celebrate their birthdays while they were in the cave.

Courtesy of DeGeneres, the Thai boys were then given passes to see Ibrahimovic play in his next game with the LA Galaxy football club.

Asked what they wanted to do in the future, the boys said they wanted to receive a “good education” and get “good jobs.” “(Also to) be a professional soccer player so that they can take care of their families,” the translator said, to applause.

The team’s appearance follows an earlier trip to the Youth Olympic Summer Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they toured soccer club River Plate’s Monumental stadium.



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Two Koreas, U.N. Command to hold first meeting on demilitarizing border

Two Koreas, U.N. Command hold first talks on disarming border


SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea, South Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC) held their first three-way talks on Tuesday to discuss demilitarizing the border as the two Koreas push for peace, Seoul’s defense ministry said.

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in talk while taking a walk at Samjiyon Guesthouse in Ryanggang province, North Korea, September 20, 2018. Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS

The two Koreas agreed during last month’s summit in Pyongyang to form a tripartite consultation with the UNC, which overlaps with U.S. forces in the South and oversees affairs in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), to facilitate their plan to disarm one of the world’s most heavily fortified frontiers.

The accord includes halting military exercises, a no-fly zone near their border and the gradual removal of landmines and guard posts within the DMZ.

The closed-door meeting took place at the border village of Panmunjom and was led by colonel-level military officials from each side, the ministry said in a statement.

As an initial step, the two Koreas are seeking to pull out 11 guard posts within a 1 km radius of the Military Demarcation Line by the end of this year.

They began demining in several small areas this month and will build roads to facilitate a pilot project slated for April to excavate remains of soldiers missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.

Both sides will also withdraw all firearms from the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom, scale down personnel stationed there to 35 on each side in line with the armistice agreement, and share information of their surveillance equipment.

Tourists from both sides and overseas will be allowed to freely come and go within the JSA.

The measures, designed to come about over the period of one month, would transform the border into a “place of peace and reconciliation,” the ministry has said.

“Most of the operations will actually be executed by the two Koreas but ensuring UNC support matters, as it has U.S. elements and also manages the Military Armistice Commission,” a South Korean military source said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The two Koreas agreed on Monday to begin reconnecting rail and road links in spite of U.S. concerns that the rapid North-South thaw could undermine efforts to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because the Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee; editing by Stephen Coates



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Turkish police leave Saudi consulate in Istanbul after nine hours: witness

Turkish police leave Saudi consulate in Istanbul after nine hours: witness


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A team of Turkish police investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago, spent more than nine hours in the building, a Reuters witness said.

A Turkish forensic expert is seen as he works inside a room of Consul General of Saudi Arabia Mohammad al-Otaibi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A crime scene investigation team of around 10 people left the consulate after completing a search early on Tuesday, the witness said.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, Washington Post columnist and leading critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after entering the consulate to get marriage documents. Turkish officials say they believe he was murdered there and his body removed.

Four forensic vehicles arrived outside the consulate and took away soil samples as well as a metal door from the garden, the Reuters witness said. A police dog was part of the search team.

A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said that a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the consulate – the last place Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on Oct. 2.

Reporting by Murad Sezer; Writing by Ece Toksabay, editing by Darren Schuettler



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