India-Pakistan talks on August 23
Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor will meet India’s Ajit Doval on the 23rd of August to begin talks about a series of militant attacks and border clashes. A militant strike in Gurdaspur had been the cause for the delay in the scheduling of the talks. Despite the the attacks that Indian officials blamed on Pakistani militants, the Indian government did not cancel the meeting like last year when it cancelled talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in the aftermath of the meeting between Pakistani high commissioner and Kashmiri separatists. The decision to hold the NSA-level talks was taken during a meeting in July between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan at a conference in the Russian city of Ufa.
Criticizing government notices to media about Yakub coverage lands AIR in trouble
The government has demanded an explanation from AIR about why they broadcasted certain news items. In particular, a spot about Editor’s Guild criticized the government for the three notices they gave to TV channels regarding their coverage of the Yakub memmon hanging. Officials from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting reportedly pulled up Mohan Chandak, AIR Director General for clearing four news items that the government found unsuitable. The items included coverage of Manipur chief minister Ibobi Singh’s criticism of the Centre’s peace deal with Naga insurgents, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s reference to former PM AB Vajpayee’s advice to then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi on Rajdharma, and criticism by Kumar and Lalu Yadav of Modi’s speech last week in Gaya. Officials say that Chandak has been asked to explain why he broadcasted the news items and the Ministry is deciding what course of action to take against the broadcasting team.
Toxic waste-burning in Bhopal begins
Three tons of toxic waste was secretly shifted from the Union Factory more than three decades after the tragedy. The waste was shifted to a facility in Dhar district where burning of the waste began on Thursday. Official records suggest, the lethal gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory on the night of December 2, 1984, killed 3,787 people. Civil society groups put the figure at more than 10,000. The burning of the waste follows a Supreme Court order that instructed the government to run trial runs to dispose of the hazardous waste. Several environmentalists and citizens had opposed the move to burn the toxic waste, however the burning of the waste has already begun.
Torture of Tamil detainees continues in Sri Lanka
A U.K.-based human rights organisation’s report has alleged that torture by Sri Lankan state agencies of Tamils seen to have links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued well after the end of the civil war in May 2009. The report shows of 148 survivors being subjected to a range of torture methods that included brutal beatings (100% of the 148 cases), burning (78%) and sexual torture (71 %), as well as asphyxiation techniques (38%), forms of suspension (45 per cent) and solitary confinement (70%).
Ex-BJP official named to SEBI board
Concerns of political interference rise with the appointment of Arun P Sathe, an Ex-BJP National Executive member to the board of the Security and Exchange Board of India. His appointment was made late last month, however, he’s yet to attend a Sebi board meeting. Sathe confirmed his appointment “I was informed about it by someone from the finance ministry. I had not applied for it and in any case it’s only a part-time assignment,” he said. Sathe forms one of the two part time members that can be appointed to the SEBI.
Censor Board chief produces song dedicated to Modi
The chief of the Censor Board of India Pahlaj Nihalani has produced a song titled “Mera Desh hain mahan, mera desh hain jawan”, dedicated to PM Narendra Modi. The song will highlight government schemes like Make in India, Digital India, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat among others. “So much has been done but it has not reached the masses. We would like to reach people and inspire them through this song. The common people should understand what Modiji is doing for them,” Nihalani said. The song is said to have a video that features actors and musicians from across India.
ISIS might have used chemical weapons against Kurds
Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq were attacked with rockets filled with what they suspected was a chemical agent. They said that they believed the agent was chlorine and ISIS fired it. Kurdish officials said their forces were attacked near the town of Makhmour, not far from Erbil. The German military has been training the Kurds in the area, and their officials said that around 60 Kurdish fighters had suffered breathing difficulties from the attack.
Zakia Jafri’s demand for further probe opposed
The Special Investigation Team opposed Zakia Jafri’s demand for a further probe into the killing of her husband Ehsan Jafri on Thursday in the Gujarat High Court. The Supreme Court-appointed SIT gave a clean chit to all accused in its report on her complaint before the magistrate. The Supreme Court was satisfied with the investigation of SIT, said senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan,. The magistrate who upheld SIT’s closure report could not have ordered further probe because it would have been contrary to the Supreme Court’s order, Vaidyanathan said.
Permanent seat for India at UN Security Council meets speed bump
India’s bid for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council met with opposition from the US, Russia and China. The US opposition to aspects of the reform process could be “duplicity” since President Barack Obama has reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, sources told the Press Trust of India.
Smith named new Aussie skipper
Steven Smith will take over the position as Captain of the Australian cricket team following the retirement of Michael Clarke. Smith was the most likely choice as he has played the role in the past during Clarke’s absence from the team. Opening batsmen David Warner will assist him as vice-captain.