News for the day July 20, Thursday
US lists Pakistan as provider of safe haven to terrorists
The US on Wednesday listed Pakistan among the nations and regions providing “safe havens” to terrorists, saying terror groups like the LeT and JeM continued to operate, train, organise and fundraise inside the country in 2016. Official sources here quickly reacted to the report and said the segments on South and Central Asia in the US state department’s ‘Country Report on Terrorism 2016’ vindicated India’s long-standing position on the menace of cross-border terrorism in the region. In its annual ‘Country Report on Terrorism’, as mandated by the Congress, the State Department said that Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Presidential election results to be out by 5pm
The results of presidential election, for which close to 99 percent MPs and MLAs had voted on Monday, will be declared tomorrow. A simple mathematical calculation shows that National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Ram Nath Kovind is all set to win against Opposition’s pick Meira Kumar. Counting of ballot papers will begin at 11 AM at Room Number 62 on the first floor of the Parliament House. Ballot boxes, collected from all states across India, has been kept in a strong room inside the House. The results for the race to the Rashtrapati Bhavan will be out officially by 5 PM
Israeli PM’s comments on EU’s policy towards his country accidentally broadcasted
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the European Union’s “crazy” approach to dealing with his country. His comments, made during a closed-session meeting in the Hungarian capital Budapest, were accidentally broadcast to reporters. He said the EU was the only major power to attach “political” conditions to its relationship with Israel. This, he said, was damaging to the bloc’s security and economic interests.
The EU has repeatedly condemned Israel’s building of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. In comments picked up on the headphones of reporters waiting outside the meeting, Mr Netanyahu told the prime ministers of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia: “The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel… on political conditions. The only ones.” He was referring to the EU’s insistence on terms relating to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process being included in its Association Agreement with Israel, signed in 2000 and not subsequently updated.
Trump pushes for Obamacare replacement
President Trump ordered senators back to the negotiating table on Wednesday for a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, just one day after angrily accepting the measure’s demise and vowing to allow President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement to crater. Mr. Trump, staring down a high-profile defeat on an issue that has confounded him and defied Republican consensus, told the party’s senators they must not leave Washington without acting on a measure to roll back Mr. Obama’s health law and replace it with something better. Simply repealing the bill without an alternative would increase the number of people without health insurance by 17 million in 2018, a figure that would jump to 32 million in 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Kakadu excavations suggest humans migrated to Australia earlier than previously thought
Many scientists already accepted that the shelter, called Madjedbebe, was home to the earliest evidence of humans in Australia. But now, sophisticated dating of sediments at the site confirms it is one of the most significant cultural and archaeological sites in the world. A close-up of three stones, one of which is held in a person’s hands Three axes from different layers of the site and a rectangular sharpening stone from the 65,000-year level. (Supplied: Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation/Dominic O’Brien) Chris Clarkson from the University of Queensland said the new date would have a big impact on our understanding of when humans left Africa and moved through what is now South-East Asia. “This site confirms, once more, that this is an incredibly important region — not only in Australia, but on the world stage, in terms of cultural heritage and understanding human origins,” Dr Clarkson said.
Chelsea confirms Alvaro Morato in 70 million Euro deal
Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, the club have announced. Reports suggest the Premier League champions will pay £70 million for the Spain international, who is yet to agree personal terms or undergo a medical. Manchester United had previously held an interest in the forward, but instead opted for Romelu Lukaku. Morata will arrive at Stamford Bridge and will be tasked with replacing Diego Costa, who is set to join Atletico Madrid after being told he is surplus to requirements by Antonio Conte. He will become the Blues’s fourth signing of the summer, with Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko already secured.
ONGC takes over HPCL in Rs30,000 crore deal
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the sale of its 51 per cent equity in Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL), the country’s second largest fuel retailer, to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). The deal will increase the government’s disinvestment proceeds by about Rs 30,000 crore. Senior government officials told Business Standard ONGC, HPCL and the government would now decide how best to proceed with the deal. Once the process of ONGC buying the Centre’s stake in HPCL is decided upon, the Cabinet will give a final approval for the sale. “HPCL will remain a separate entity, as a subsidiary of ONGC. It also makes operational sense for a merger of HPCL and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL), another subsidiary of ONGC,” an official said.