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Shashi Tharoor Loses Cool on being asked about Sunanda Death Probe

Senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor lost his cool yesterday and hit out at media when reporters asked him about the investigation on the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. He reacted to the reporters’ questions by calling media as “self-appointed liars and scum”. After the incident, he took on to Twitter and said that he is only answerable to the police, who are probing the matter, and “not to self-appointed vigilante liars”. He also referred to TV news channels as “scummy”, who according to him are accusing Tharoor of evading question s on his wife’s mysterious death. Tharoor also said that he let himself down when he “shouted in fury” on a media person and added that he finally cracked after maintaining public silence for 17 months on his personal tragedy.  

Finance Minister does not feel Inflation to be a Significant Challenge in Coming Days

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that he doesn’t consider inflation to become a major challenge for the government because of the recent moderation of global oil prices. Jaitley acknowledged that inflation in India is low mainly because of the low prices of oil. When asked about that below average monsoon may lead to escalation of food prices, Jaitley said that his “pro-active government” has already taken necessary steps to keep the food prices low, even in case of low rainfall in the coming months. Finance Minister also said that dealing with global economic problems, promotion of private investment, and weak monsoon possibility (forecast by meteorological department) are the three challenges before his government.  

Standoff between Delhi Government and Lt. Governor Escalates

Both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor of Delhi called on President of India Pranab Mukherjee yesterday evening, complaining against each other regarding constitutional overreach and crisis. Kejriwal complained about overreach of Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, when the latter appointed IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary unilaterally without consulting the CM. Najeeb Jung also complained about a brewing constitutional crisis and reiterated his stand to the President about the recent appointments. Jung also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and expressed his concern about constitutional machinery’s complete breakdown. Meanwhile, AAP government has appointed Arvind Ray as General Administration department’s Principal Secretary, bypassing Lt Governor.

Finance Ministry Announces Committee for Reviewing MAT Imposition to Resolve Dispute with Foreign Investors

The Finance Ministry has announced the formation of a committee, headed by ex-chief justice of High Court A P Shah. The committee will mainly look into the grievances of the foreign investors regarding minimum tax on transactions that were done before 1 April 2015. Foreign investors started protesting when Tax Department asked the foreign companies to pay up retrospective MAT tax to the tune of Rs 602 crore. Though Union Government tried to address the issue by saying that MAT will be levied on foreign investors’ income prior to 1 April 2015, foreign investors challenge this aspect too. The finance ministry statement said that the concerned committee will examine judicial/quasi judicial, legal provisions, and other related aspects and suggest on resolving the issue. The committee will also have Ashok Lahiri, ex-chief economic adviser to federal government, and Girish Ahuja, a chartered accountant.

India Inc wants Modi to invest Rs.1 trillion in Infrastructure to Boost Economic Growth

As Narendra Modi government is about to complete one year in office, business leaders of India want the Prime Minister to invest heavily in infrastructure sector in the coming few months so that the multiplier effect sets in and makes the $1.9 trillion Indian economy to increase at a faster pace. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd’s group Chief Financial Officer V.S. Parthasarathy has suggested the Modi government to invest Rs. one trillion on infrastructure in the coming six months time to increase growth rate of the economy. While hoping for a “boom loop”, Parthasarathy went on to say that the economy currently needs to pass two major bills including land acquisition and GST. He also stressed upon the point that the stalled projects must kick start again, where the investment can be channelised either by the government alone or through public-private partnership.       

Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy Urges People to Support PM Modi's Endeavours

Narendra Modi government received a pat on the back from Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, as it is on the threshold of completing one-year in office on 26 May. While delivering CCI lecture, Murthy urged Indians to support the endeavours of the Prime Minister. He reminded everyone in the audience that it is too early to make statements on the achievements of the current government; however he mentioned that a lot of good things are happening. Putting his weight behind the foreign investors, Narayana Murthy vouched for transparency in tax policy and went on to add that it should not be levied in an arbitrary and retrospective manner. While he opined that efficient land allocation will lead to societal benefit, he preferred the running of airports and ports by private players.

Videocon Launches Affordable Z45 Nova+ Smartphone in India at Rs. 4,900

Videocon has introduced a new affordable smartphone, Z45 Nova+, for the budget conscious customers in India at a price of Rs. 4,900. This budget phone boasts of having moderately powerful 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, and Android KitKat 4.4 operating system. Videocon Z45 Nova+ has FWVGA IPS capacitive touch screen of 4.5-inch size that provides customers with crystal clear image viewing experience. It is a dual-SIM phone and comes with multiple connectivity options including 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS/A-GPS, and Bluetooth. This smartphone has been packed with important pre-loaded apps such as V-Secure mobile security app and V-Safe app. While the rear camera has 5MP sensor with auto-focus feature, the front faced camera has 2MP sensor. Videocon has provided enough storage space in this budget phone including 8GB internal storage and up to 32GB expandable storage capacity.  

Apple Launches 15-inch MacBook Pro in India

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro has been launched in India by Apple and the starting price of this series is Rs. 1,59,000. This bigger version of MacBook Pro comes with the new Force Touch trackpad, which comes with force sensors. This device is powered by 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor having Turbo Boost that increases processor speed up to 3.7 GHz. Some of the other important features of the 15-inch MacBook Pro are Intel Iris Pro graphics, 256GB flash storage, and 16GB memory. Another variant costing Rs 1,99,900 comes with AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics, 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost increasing processor speed to 3.7 GHz, 512GB flash storage, and 16GB memory.

2015 Tata Nano GenX Model Launched

The 2015 Tata Nano GenX has been launched in India today and the Delhi ex-showroom starting price of the model has been fixed at Rs. 1.99 lakh. However, the ex-showroom Delhi price of AMT (Easy Shift) version starts at Rs. 2.69 lakh. Tata Motors is trying to renew the Nano brand by replacing the ‘cheap’ or ‘affordable’ car tag to “smart city car”. The refurbished hatchback now comes with openable hatch, automated manual transmission, bigger fuel tank, slightly updated engine (624cc, two-cylinder MPFI petrol engine comes with aluminium block and cylinder head), and better looking cabin. 5-speed AMT (Easy Shift) comes with unit found in Tata Zest diesel AMT version.

BCCI Announces Test and ODI Squads for Bangladesh Tour

BCCI has announced squads for one test match and three one-dayers to be played in Bangladesh from 10 June to 14 June and 18 June to 24 June respectively. Keeping in mind the good performance of Bangladesh cricket team during the World Cup, India has chosen strong teams for both ODIs and test matches. While the ODI team will be led by skipper MS Dhoni, the Test squad will be led by Virat Kohli. Announcement of the teams was done by selector Sandeep Patil and Anurag Thakur, the newly elected BCCI secretary. One of the highlights of the test squad is the comeback of 34-year old ‘turbanator’ Harbhajan Singh, one of the most reliable off spinners who last played test series back in March 2013 against Australia. Indian pacer Mohammad Shami missed out due to knee injury.    

Sports Ministry Issues Guidelines to SAI

The Sports Ministry has directed Sports Authority of India (SAI) to empanel counseling psychologists for one-to-one as well as group counseling of the players and athletes in its centres present all across India. This directive comes after four trainee athletes in SAI’s Alappuzha centre in Kerala tried to commit suicide a few days back. In a press release, Sports Ministry has vouched for setting up a 24x7 helpline where athletes and trainees can report ragging and sexual harassment cases. For emotional wellbeing and holistic development the ministry has emphasized on introducing Yoga in all SAI centres as compulsory activity.  While the ministry has emphasised on bringing all eligible SAI trainees under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, they have vowed to increase security of the SAI hostels.

IPC gives Permission to India's Para Athletes to Participate in International Competitions inspite of Ban on National Body

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has lifted the morale of Indian para-athletes as it allowed them to participate at international competitions under IPC flag licensed through Sport Data Management System. This permission comes as a relief for the para-athletes because their national body, the Paralympic Committee of India, was suspended on 17 April due to internal feud. In fact, government also derecognised the body for treating para-athletes shabbily during Ghaziabad’s National Para-Athletics Championships, held in March. IPC has also appreciated suggestion of the Sports Ministry where the latter asked the former of setting up ad-hoc committee for running paralympic affairs in India. IPC also asked the government for details of persons to be included in this ad hoc committee.  

Al Qaeda calls 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack "Blessed" and "Heroic Fidai" Operation

Reports say that a 15-page Al-Qaeda document "Terror Franchise: The Unstoppable Assassin: Techs Vital role for its success" called the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack in 2008 as a "heroic Fidai" operation by Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists. The document also lists the heinous attack among the "blessed" terror operations. Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified the document and translated it partially. A huge cache of documents were recovered by US Navy SEALs from Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, which are regarded by US intelligence as a “treasure trove of information” on terrorist activities of Al Qaeda throughout the world. The document claims that Global Mujahideen’s mission is to destroy US economy through specific targeting of economic targets world over. It also called Pune’s German Bakery operation by LeT as "beautiful huge" bombing.

Enforcement Directorate Zeroes in on Dawood Ibrahim's Assets in India and Europe

The Enforcement Directorate yesterday launched an investigation that will look into Dawood Ibrahim's Assets in India and Europe. The move comes a day after Indian intelligence agencies tracked Dawood’s house in Pakistan. Source reports say that Indian operations of the terrorist and underworld don was run in India by Iqbal Mirchi. Though Mirchi died in London on 14 August 2013, it is learnt that he sold four Mumbai based properties at an estimated cost of more than Rs. 1000 crore and reinvested them in buying European properties. Some of the tracked properties of Mirchi in several parts of the world include UK, Dubai, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, and Cyprus. Reports say that ED is currently in talks with the foreign countries to crack down on the assets amassed by Dawood Ibrahim and his gang.

Environment Minister Javedkar Questions $100 billion per year Commitment by Developed Countries

Prakash Javadekar, Environment Minister of India, while speaking in Berlin’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue reiterated India’s stand that they will work closely with international community and also undertake responsible, proactive, and constructive role in finding equitable, pragmatic, and practical solutions to climate change problem. However, he questioned the seriousness of commitment made by the developed countries in creating US$100 billion per year global climate fund by 2020 as he noted that the developed countries are nowhere near the agreed upon goal. Javedkar also warned that a formula must be reached which makes the polluters pay up rather than make poor countries pay the price. He also asked the developed nations of making available the climate-friendly technologies at affordable cost to the developing countries.