MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Syrian army will regain control of the country’s north by force if rebels there refuse to surrender, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian television channel NTV on Sunday.
FILE PHOTO: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gestures during an interview with Iranian channel al-Alam News in Damascus, Syria in this handout released on June 13, 2018. SANA/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Assad’s comments come after Damascus said it rejected the presence of Turkish and U.S. forces around the northern town of Manbij, a day after soldiers of the two countries began patrolling the area.
“We have chosen two paths: the first and most important one is reconciliation… The second path is to attack terrorists if they don’t surrender and refuse to make peace,” Assad said in the interview.
“We will fight with them (rebels) and return control by force. It is certainly not the best option for us, but it’s the only way to get control of the country,” said Assad, responding to a question about the northern part of Syria where rebel groups backed by Turkey hold some territory.
Assad has previously promised to also squeeze rebels from the country’s south, and the Syrian army this week dropped barrel bombs on opposition areas of the country’s southwest on Friday for the first time in a year.
Assad said in the same interview on Sunday that Syria would not accept any Western money to help rebuild the country, which is shattered after seven years of war.
“We have enough strength to rebuild the country. If we don’t have money – we will borrow from our friends, from Syrians living abroad,” Assad said.
Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s central bank said on Sunday it would cut the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves by 50 basis points (bps), releasing $108 billion in liquidity, to accelerate the pace of debt-for-equity swaps and spur lending to smaller firms.
A Chinese national flag flutters outside the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank, in Beijing, April 3, 2014. Beijing’s attack on yuan speculators has proven extraordinarily successful, so much so that traders no longer see it as a short-term intervention but a deeper market shift that has now gained a self-reinforcing momentum. That’s bad news for speculators still holding onto bullish yuan positions. And for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the risk is it has unleashed bearish forces it may not be able to rein in, souring enthusiasm for the yuan and complicating the push to increase the international adoption of the currency. To match Analysis CHINA-YUAN/ Picture taken April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic (CHINA – Tags: BUSINESS)
The reserve reduction, the third by the central bank this year, had been widely anticipated by investors amid concerns over market liquidity and a potential economic drag from a trade dispute with the United States.
But the 700 billion yuan ($107.65 billion) in liquidity that the central bank said will result from the reduction in reserves was bigger than expected.
Expectations of a cut had risen after the State Council, or cabinet, said on Wednesday monetary policy tools including targeted cuts in banks’ reserve requirement ratios will be deployed to strengthen credit flows to small firms and keep economic growth in a reasonable range.
Economists are not ruling out further reserve requirement reductions for the rest of the year as borrowing costs rise due to Beijing’s clamp-down on leverage in the financial system, a campaign now in its third year, while uncertainty over Sino-U.S. trade ties persists.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said on Sunday that the latest targeted cut in some banks’ reserve requirement ratios (RRRs) – currently 16 percent for large banks and 14 percent for smaller banks – will take effect on July 5.
The PBOC said the cut will release about 500 billion yuan ($77 billion) for the country’s five large state banks and 12 national joint-stock commercial banks. Lenders are encouraged to use the money to conduct debt-for-equity swaps.
China’s policymakers have been pushing for debt-for-equity swaps since late 2016 to ease pressure on firms struggling with their debts.
The country’s top banks, controlled by the government, have rushed to sign deals with state-owned enterprises to ease their debt burden and give them time to turn around their business and improve their creditworthiness.
The latest RRR cuts will also release about 200 billion yuan in funding for mid-sized and small banks to increase lending to credit-strapped small businesses, the PBOC said.
The combined 700 billion yuan liquidity injection exceeded market expectations of 400 billion yuan. In the PBOC’s last targeted RRR cut in April, 400 billion yuan of net liquidity was released.
“The intensity of the move exceeded market expectations,” said Wang Jun, Beijing-based chief economist at Zhongyuan Bank.
“This move will help support the real economy and stabilize financial markets. We’ve seen rising debt defaults and funding strains on small firms, as well as a sharp adjustment in the capital market.”
But the latest reserve cut signals a “policy fine-tuning,” not a policy reversal, Wang said.
The central bank said on Sunday it will keep monetary policy prudent and neutral.
Sunday’s announcement followed the worst weekly loss in the Chinese stock market since early February as fears of a full-blown trade war with the United States weighed.
The Chinese yuan on Friday also fell to its lowest versus the dollar in more than five months, though it has remained firm against a basket of trading partners’ currencies, and a sharp depreciation is not in the cards.
The latest RRR cut is set to take effect a day before the United States and China are expected to begin collecting increased tariffs on respective lists of goods.
Fears of a full-scale trade war with Washington have magnified concerns about the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, following weaker-than-expected Chinese growth data for May and as Beijing’s financial regulatory crackdown starts to weigh on business activity.
Net exports overall were already a drag on growth in the first quarter after giving an added boost to the Chinese economy last year, highlighting the need for sustained strength in domestic demand if significant new U.S. tariffs are imposed.
Beijing is also likely to backtrack on efforts to reduce its reliance on debt if the dispute escalates into an all-out trade war, some economists say.
Beijing’s financial risk clamp-down has already slowly pushed up borrowing costs, and is restricting alternative, murkier funding sources for companies such as shadow banking.
Strained liquidity conditions have caused a growing number of credit defaults with private companies facing mounting refinancing risks. Latest official surveys also showed tight funding has hit smaller manufacturers.
The weighted average lending rate for non-financial firms, a key indicator reflecting corporate funding costs, rose 22 basis points in the first quarter to 5.96 percent, PBOC data showed. That compared with a total of 47 basis points in 2017.
Policymakers have been trying to strike a delicate balance between the need for tougher supervision and reforms and ensuring the stability of the financial system, while keeping economic growth on track.
ANZ Research said on Sunday that it still expects another 50 bps RRR cut in October.
Economists still expect China’s economic growth to slow to 6.5 percent this year from 6.9 percent in 2017, citing rising borrowing costs, tougher limits on industrial pollution and an ongoing crackdown on local governments’ spending to keep their debt levels in check.
($1 = 6.5027 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Additional reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Toby Chopra and David Evans
The team’s new chief coach Harendra Singh couldn’t have asked for a better start to his fourth stint with the senior national side. Harendra took over the reigns after swapping roles with Sjoerd Marijne, following India’s dreadful Commonwealth Games campaign.
Coming into the tournament on the back of a disastrous campaign at the Gold Coast Games, where they finished a disappointing fourth, the Indians made their intentions clear early on by showcasing all-round, compact hockey in their opening two games.
The Indians carried on from where they left against Pakistan last night and produced a solid display in all departments of the game to get the better of their fancied rivals.
The defence, which was once India’s perennial problem, yet again stole the show with a compact display, while the forwardline was up to the mark despite missing Ramandeep Singh owing to a knee injury suffered yesterday.
The talismanic Sardar Singh, who played his 300th international game today, controlled the midfield and combined well with the forwardline to create opportunities.
Argentina, however, were quick to get off the blocks, securing three consecutive penalty corners in the first quarter, but the Indian defence stood tall to deny Peillat.
Next it was India’s turn to earn a penalty corner in the 17th minute and Harmanpreet fired home with a low flick through the legs of Argentina goalkeeper Tomas Santiago.
Two minutes from half time, India doubled their lead through Mandeep but it was Dilpreet, who created the chance by brilliantly controlling a overhead long ball inside the circle and then setting it up for his striking colleague.
Argentina pulled one goal back just at the stroke of half time through Peillat’s powerful strike to the top left corner of the Indian goal.
India got their second penalty corner seconds from half time but Harmanpreet failed this time.
After the change of ends, the Los Leones pressed hard and in the process earned their fifth penalty corner, but the Indian defence was up to the task.
Minutes later, Argentina custodian Santiago made a double save from a counterattack to deny Dilpreet and Mandeep.
In the final quarter, Varun Kumar made a goal-line save to deny Lucas Villa a chance to draw parity for Argentina.
16:30 IST: Hello and welcome to the live updates of the match between England and Panama.
The first media storm of a hitherto relaxed campaign for the Three Lions was brewing on Friday after Gareth Southgate’s planned team was inadvertently revealed when assistant manager Steve Holland’s notes were photographed at training on Thursday. According to the notes, Marcus Rashford will replace Sterling with Ruben Loftus-Cheek stepping in for Dele Alli, who suffered a thigh injury against Tunisia.
Southgate criticised the media for giving England’s opponents an upper hand. “If we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it’s a disadvantage to us,” said Southgate. “So of course our media has to decide if they want to help the team or not.” In contrast to his 23-goal season at club level for Premier League champions Manchester City, Sterling now hasn’t scored in his last 21 internationals.
However, Rashford refuted suggestions England are too dependent on Kane for goals. “I don’t think that’s happening in this group,” said the Manchester United striker, who admitted to being an admirer of Kane’s ability to be in the right place at the right time. He gets himself in great positons. If we can find him, we will, and, more often than not, he’s going to score.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court, winding down its nine-month term, will issue rulings this week in its few remaining cases including a major one on the legality of President Donald Trump’s ban on people from five Muslim-majority nations entering the country.
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen after the court revived Ohio’s contentious policy of purging infrequent voters from its registration rolls, overturning a lower court ruling that Ohio’s policy violated the National Voter Registration Act, in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Erin Schaff/File Photo
The nine justices are due to decide other politically sensitive cases on whether non-union workers have to pay fees to unions representing certain public-sector workers such as police and teachers, and the legality of California regulations on clinics that steer women with unplanned pregnancies away from abortion.
The justices began their term in October and, as is their usual practice, aim to make all their rulings by the end of June, with more due on Monday. Six cases remain to be decided.
The travel ban case was argued on April 25, with the court’s conservative majority signaling support for Trump’s policy in a significant test of presidential powers.
Trump has said the ban is needed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamic militants. Conservative justices indicated an unwillingness to second-guess Trump on his national security rationale.
Lower courts had blocked the travel ban, the third version of a policy Trump first pursued a week after taking office last year. But the high court on Dec. 4 allowed it to go fully into effect while the legal challenge continued.
The challengers, led by the state of Hawaii, have argued the policy was motivated by Trump’s enmity toward Muslims. Lower courts have decided the ban violated federal immigration law and the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on the government favoring one religion over another.
The current ban, announced in September, prohibits entry into the United States by most people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
In a significant case for organized labor, the court’s conservatives indicated opposition during arguments on Feb. 26 to so-called agency fees that some states require non-members to pay to public-sector unions.
Workers who decide not to join unions representing certain state and local employees must pay the fees in two dozen states in lieu of union dues to help cover the cost of non-political activities such as collective bargaining. The fees provide millions of dollars annually to these unions.
The justices seemed skeptical during March 20 arguments toward California’s law requiring Christian-based anti-abortion centers, known as crisis pregnancy centers, to post notices about the availability of state-subsidized abortions and birth control. The justices indicated that they would strike down at least part of the regulations.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley and Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool
Maharashtra government gave 3 months to get rid of existing stocks, that ended on June 23.
Mumbai: The state-wide plastic ban, including carry-bags and thermocol by the Devendra Fadanvis government, will result in loss of up to Rs 15,000 crore and nearly 3 lakh job, says the plastic manufacturing industry.
“The ban imposed by Maharashtra from Saturday has hit the industry very hard and the plastic industry is staring at a loss of Rs 15,000 crore, leaving nearly 3 lakh people jobless overnight,” Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India general secretary Neemit Punamiya told PTI today.
Nearly 2,500 members of the association have left with the no option but to shut shop following the ban, he added and termed the ban as “discriminatory”.
On March 23, the state announced a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of plastic materials such as one-time-use bags, spoons, plates, PET and PETE bottles and thermocol items. The government had given three months time to dispose of the existing stocks, which ended on June 23.
Industry insiders have said the job losses from the ban will impact the state’s GDP, and also increase banks’ bad loans from the plastic sector.
While retailers across the megapolis have said heavy fines for violating the bank will make them financially unviable and force them to turn away many customers, consumers have complained of inconvenience, and wondered whether the ban makes any sense.
The civic authorities have imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first-time offenders and Rs 10,000 for the second-time offenders. Those who violate the ban for the third time will face a fine of Rs 25,000, along with a three-month imprisonment.
They may be only a few months old, but Taimur Ali Khan and Inaaya Naumi Kemmu have managed to win the hearts of millions with their cuteness. Pictures and videos of the two cousins playing together often send netizens into a tizzy.
However, Saif Ali Khan is wary of Taimur and Inaaya playing together. Before you jump to conclusions, let us clarify that he is only speaking out of concern.
Talking about their bond, Saif told a leading daily, “They hang out here at home. She is very small and delicate and he is a ruffian but we have a lot of people around so we don’t need to be worried. But Taimur is a gunda. I hope he doesn’t pull her hair (laughs).”
Earlier this year, Soha had spoken about Taimur and Inaaya at an event, and hoped that they grow up to be best friends. “Bhai and I have an eight-year age difference. But Taimur and Inaaya will only have a year’s. I hope they grow fond or each other as they grow up, become best friends. Of course, Taimur is a little older so he will always be the elder brother to Inaaya, protective about her,” she had said.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, said Washington would announce its Middle East peace plan soon, and press on with or without Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
FILE PHOTO: Senior advisor and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, boards Air Force One as he accompanies the president to Nashville, Tennessee from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
The comments underlined gaping divisions between Washington and the Palestinian leadership that have widened since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moved the U.S. Embassy there, overriding decades of U.S. policy.
Palestinian officials, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, accused Kushner of trying to undermine Abbas and what they described as their leader’s moderate camp.
Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law who is meeting leaders in the region, but not Abbas – told Palestinian newspaper Al Quds in an interview published in Arabic on Sunday, that he doubted whether the Palestinian president was willing or able to seal a deal.
“If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage; if he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly,” Kushner said, according to an English transcript of his words provided by Washington.
“However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal. He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years,” he added.
Kushner appealed directly to the Palestinian people and portrayed Abbas, 82, as a leader entrenched in the past.
“There have been countless mistakes and missed opportunities over the years, and you, the Palestinian people, have paid the price,” said Kushner, who is on the trip with U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt. “Don’t let your leadership reject a plan they haven’t even seen,” he added.
A man reads the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds that published an interview with Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Abbas has refused to see Trump’s team since the embassy decision, accusing Washington of pro-Israel bias.
“This (U.S.) administration is really trying to destroy the Palestinian moderate camp. They want to throw us into chaos and anarchy,” said Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator.
“The road to peace is clear – commitment to the two-state solution, a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. This is the road to any negotiations or any meetings,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Abbas.
Kushner visited Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt before talks on Friday and Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kushner said Arab leaders had told him they wanted to see a Palestinian state, long the foundation of U.S. policy in the region. Asked if the new U.S. peace plan would accommodate that view, he reiterated that it was up to the Israeli and Palestinian “leadership and people” to determine the shape of a final agreement.
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Kushner was given responsibility over Washington’s Israel-Palestinian policy, along with other top postings, after his father-in-law was inaugurated one year and five months ago.
Many commentators have questioned the credentials of Kushner and U.S. Middle East emissary Jason Greenblatt – neither had diplomatic experience.
In the interview, Kushner again refused to go into details on his peace plan. “I don’t want to speak about specifics of the deal we are working on,” Kushner said.
Netanyahu said on Sunday he and the two envoys discussed the diplomatic process and regional issues, with “particular focus on the situation in Gaza”, where economic hardship has deepened and violence has surged along the Israeli frontier.
“The question came up of how to solve the humanitarian situation in Gaza without strengthening Hamas,” Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks, referring to the Islamist militant group that is dominant in the enclave.
“These things are clear – one, how do we maintain security, and two, how to prevent a wider escalation – if this is at all possible,” Netanyahu said.
The U.S. plan is expected to propose solutions to core issues in dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians, such as borders, the future of Israeli settlements, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security.
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war. Israeli forces and settlers pulled out of the Gaza Strip, now controlled by Abbas’s main rival, the Islamist Hamas group, in 2005.
U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in 2014.
Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Yara Bayoumy in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Keith Weir and Andrew Heavens
“Why? Why did Karan Johar use Lata didi‘s immortal song in such an embarrassing situation?” Bollywood Hungama quoted a representative of Lata Mangeshkar’s family as saying recently. The Mangeshkar’s are reportedly upset with Karan Johar for zeroing in the title track of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… for a masturbation scene featuring Kiara Advani in Lust Stories. Speaking to Bollywood Hungama, the source close to the Mangeshkars said: “I still remember how ecstatic Karan was when Didi had recorded the song for Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…. He said it was a dream come true. Why turn the dream song into a nightmare now?”
2001’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… was Karan Johar’s second movie as a director and had an ensemble cast comprising Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Kajol and Rani Mukerji. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… is often cited as an example of one of Bollywood’s favourite family dramas.
Meanwhile, Lata Mangeshkar is unaware of the implementation of her song in Lust Stories. “At her age we don’t want to expose her to this kind of ugly desecration of her song. But we (Mangeshkars) wonder why he needed to use a Bhajan-like song sung in the most revered voice of Asia to show his heroine in an orgasmic state. He could have used any other song,” the source added in his statement to Bollywood Hungama.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Swara Bhasker was subjected to brutal trolling for her masturbation scene in Veere Di Wedding, an issue which was addressed by Karan Johar rather boldly. Speaking to NDTV in an interview, he said: “The much talked about masturbation scene in VDW has opened up a forum of conversation. There are all kinds, of course, like trolls, bad, ridiculous views, and some completely regressive perspectives but the fact is that suddenly we are talking about masturbation and let’s say that that’s a great thing. So for people out there who feel the concept only is blasphemous now are suddenly talking about it through a mainstream film.”
About a similar scene featuring in Lust Stories, this is what Karan had to say: “More power to those girls who accepted these roles and more power to the filmmaker who made this film. We are talking about this in an open forum suddenly.”
Lust Stories is an anthology film comprising four short stories directed by Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar. In his review for NDTV, Raja Sen writes: “Lust Stories – a Netflix film directed by Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap – features ladies who stubbornly and strikingly hold the reins.”
Lust Stories released exclusively on Netflix on June 15.