US Presidential Election, World

US court rules against reinstating Trump’s travel ban

US court rules against reinstating Trump’s travel ban

Washington:

A federal appeals panel unanimously rejected US President Donald Trump’s bid to reinstate his temporary ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations, the media reported.
The ruling late Thursday from a three-judge panel meant that citizens of the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia — will continue to be able to travel to the US, despite Trump’s executive order issued on January 27.

The panel, at the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, San Francisco, in its decision said the administration had pointed to “no evidence” that anyone from the seven nations had committed terrorism in the US, the New York Times reported.

The ruling also rejected the administration’s claim that courts were powerless to review a President’s national security determinations.

“It is beyond question,” the unsigned decision said, “that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action.”

The court acknowledged that Trump was owed deference on his immigration and national security policy determinations, but it said he was asking for something more.

“The government has taken the position,” the decision said, “that the president’s decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections.”

Within minutes of the ruling, Trump angrily vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

“See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

He said the ruling was “a political decision” and predicted that his administration would win an appeal “in my opinion, very easily”, the New York Times said.

The travel ban, one of the first executive orders Trump issued after taking office on January 20, suspended worldwide refugee entry into the US. It also barred visitors from the seven nations for up to 90 days to give federal security agencies time to impose stricter vetting processes.

Immediately after it was issued, the ban spurred chaos at airports nationwide as hundreds of foreign travellers were stranded at immigration checkpoints.

The State Department said up to 60,000 foreigners’ visas had been cancelled in the days immediately after the ban was imposed.

Thursday’s decision reviewed a ruling issued on February 3 by Judge James L. Robart, a federal judge in Seattle.

Judge Robart blocked the key parts of the order, allowing immigrants and travellers who had been barred entry to come into the US.

–IANS

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Health

Australian researchers prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease

Australian researchers prevent progression of diabetic kidney disease

Sydney:

An Australian pharmaceutical company has successfully prevented the progression of Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD) for the first time.
DKD is an often fatal long-term complication of type 2 diabetes which is the most common cause of severe renal disease. It affects one third of people with type 2 diabetes and has no viable treatment until now, Xinhua news agency reported.

An international team of scientists in collaboration with Melbourne-based global biotechnology leader CSL Limited investigated a therapeutic approach that targets the transport of fatty acids, or lipids, from the blood into tissues to treat DKD.

Using 2H10, an antibody developed by CSL, the researchers were able to block Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor B (VEGF-B), a protein that affects the transport of lipids into body tissue. Elevated levels of VEGF-B are a common symptom among patients with DKD.

By inhibiting VEGF-B signalling the researchers were able to reduce the accumulation of lipid deposits within the kidney and moderate the progression of kidney disease in a number of models of type 1 and 2 diabetes.

“This research addresses an important area of unmet medical need and could lead to an entirely new approach to the treatment of type 2 diabetes,” Andrew Nash, Senior Vice President of Research at CSL, said in a statement on Friday.

Professor Ulf Eriksson, the lead researcher on the study, said that “the study reveals some mechanistic understanding of the disease progression and challenges the hypothesis that diabetic kidney disease is simply the result of chronic elevated blood glucose.”

The study, which was published in respected journal Cell Metabolism on Friday, was carried out on mice but a human trial of the protein in humans with DKD has been flagged for the near future.

–IANS

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Health

‘Sexual orientation plays no part in mental health risk’

‘Sexual orientation plays no part in mental health risk’

Canberra:

Homosexual and bisexual people are no more likely to be at risk of poor mental health compared to their straight counterparts, the results of an Australian study have revealed.
Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) studied around 5,000 adults over eight years to determine their long-term risk of developing mental health issues, but Richard Burns from the ANU’s Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing said other factors were more likely to result in mental health problems ahead of sexual orientation, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Childhood sexual trauma, risky health behaviours, smoking, a lack of positive support and negative social interactions pose more of a risk for people’s mental health than their sexual orientation,” Burns said in a statement on Friday.

However, he admitted that those of a homosexual and bisexual orientation were more likely to experience these mental health risk factors compared to heterosexual people.

“Initially, we found there was a long-term risk for depression and anxiety among individuals with a bisexual orientation, and there was long-term risk for anxiety among homosexual individuals. But when we adjusted for these other mental health risk factors, we found no major risk associated with sexual orientation itself,” Burns said.

“We concluded that all things being equal that there is no particular mental health risk for people with a homosexual or bisexual orientation.”

The study comes at a time when the federal government is currently preparing to hold a non-binding national referendum on whether same-sex marriage should be legalised in Australia.

–IANS

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Business Economy Finance

Intel to invest $7 bn in new factory, employ 3,000

Intel to invest $7 bn in new factory, employ 3,000

Washington:

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich after a meeting with US President Donald Trump, announced that the tech giant will invest $7 billion in a new factory employing up to 3,000 people, the media reported.
The factory will be in located Chandler, Arizona, the company said.

Krzanich confirmed to CNBC News that the investment over the next three to four years would be to complete a previous plant, Fab 42, that was started and then left vacant.

The 7 nanometer chips will be produced there will be “the most powerful computer chips on the planet”, Krzanich said in the Oval Office with the Trump administration.

Most Intel manufacturing happens in the US, Krzanich said.

“America has a unique combination of talent, a vibrant business environment and access to global markets, which has enabled US companies like Intel to foster economic growth and innovation,” Krzanich said in a statement.

“Our factories support jobs – high-wage, high-tech manufacturing jobs that are the economic engines of the states where they are located.”

After the announcement, Trump tweeted his thanks to Krzanich, calling the factory a great investment in jobs and innovation, CNBC News reported.

The announcement comes as the technology industry has pushed back against the Trump administration, amid mounting pressure to move manufacturing jobs back to the US.

However, the White House said that there will be no incentives from the federal government for the Intel project.

Intel was one of more than 100 companies that joined together to file a legal brief opposing Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority nations.

–IANS

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World

Hollande calls for calm after violence in France

Hollande calls for calm after violence in France

Paris:

French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday called for calm after violence spread in northern suburbs of the city amid allegations that policemen had beaten and raped a young man they detained.
As quoted by government spokesperson Stephane Le Foll, Hollande said that “in the face of police violence, there are sanctions,” affirming that “justice is independent to do its job.”

The French head of state visited the man on Tuesday at Aulnay hospital, Xinhua news agency reported.

He also called for calm in the capital’s populous suburbs where violent riots in 2005 forced Nicolas Sarkozy, then Interior Minister, to declare a state of emergency.

On February 2, violence erupted in Aulnay-sous-Bois where four police officers were accused of using unnecessary force when arresting a 22-year-old black man and raping him.

The incident ignited riots that spared for the fourth night on Tuesday. Dozens of cars were set on fire and 17 youth were arrested, following the standoff with police.

The victim, Theo, has himself called for calm and to “not launch war,” adding he trusted the justice system to deal properly with his case.

The four police officers have been suspended and placed under formal investigation for suspected rape and excessive violence.

–IANS

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US Presidential Election, World

Supreme Court nominee calls Trump’s tweets ‘disheartening’

Supreme Court nominee calls Trump’s tweets ‘disheartening’

Washington:

US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch said that President Donald Trump’s tweets about the judiciary were “demoralising” and “disheartening”, the media reported.
In a meeting with Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal on Wednesday, Gorsuch, who was nominated last week, took exception to Trump calling a federal judge in Seattle a “so-called judge” after blocking the President’s executive order to temporarily ban citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, CNN reported.

“He said very specifically that they were demoralizing and disheartening and he characterized them very specifically that way,” Blumenthal said of Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge from Colorado.

“I said they were more than disheartening and I said to him that he has an obligation to make his views clear to the American people, so they understand how abhorrent or unacceptable President Trump’s attacks on the judiciary are.”

Gorsuch’s spokesman Ron Bonjean confirmed Gorsuch calling Trump’s tweet about the “so-called judge” “disheartening” and “demoralising” in his conversation with Blumenthal.

Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he brought up examples of Trump’s recent rhetoric, including the tweets and the President’s criticism of the federal court on Wednesday morning before law enforcement officials.

That was when Gorsuch expressed disappointment in Trump’s comments, Blumenthal said.

“He didn’t disagree with me on that point”, CNN reported.

“I said to him if a litigant before your court — and the President of the United States is in fact a litigant right now in the immigration ban cases — said what President Trump said, you would hold him in contempt of court,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal was one of three Democratic senators that Gorsuch met with on Wednesday. He also sat down with Democratic Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Trump’s “so-called judge” tweet came after Washington state-based federal Judge James Robart on February 3 blocked Trump’s executive order.

The Trump administration has appealed Robart’s temporary restraining order.

A panel of judges from the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Tuesday and is expected to rule this week.

–IANS

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World

Myanmar to probe allegations in human rights report

Myanmar to probe allegations in human rights report

Nay Pyti Taw:

Myanmar authorities will investigate allegations made in a recent human rights report on the Rohingya Muslims based in Rakhine state, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) report titled “Interviews with Rohingyas fleeing from Myanmar since October 9, 2016” is based on a report written by its delegation which visited Bangladesh from January 8 to 23, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Myanmar government considers the allegations very serious in nature and is also deeply concerned about the report, the ministry said.

As State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi also made it clear in her telephone conversation with OHCHR High Commissioner Price Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on February 3, where there is clear evidence of human rights abuse and violation, the government will take necessary measures, the ministry said.

Myanmar also facilitated the visits of foreign diplomats, media and international experts including Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur of the situation of human rights in Myanmar, to the affected areas in Rakhine state, adding that international aid organisations are resuming humanitarian aid to affected areas in the state.

Three border outposts in Maungtaw, Rakhine state came under violent attack by armed men on October 9, 2016, in which nine policemen and five soldiers were killed.

–IANS

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US Presidential Election, World

US Senate confirms Jeff Sessions as attorney general

US Senate confirms Jeff Sessions as attorney general

Washington:

The US Senate confirmed Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the new attorney general, the media reported on Thursday.
Sessions — one of Trump’s closest advisers and his earliest supporter in the Senate — was confirmed after there were 52 votes in favour and 47, CNN reported.

The swearing-in of Sessions will take place on Thursday morning at the White House.

“It was a special night,” Sessions told the media on Capitol Hill after his confirmation.

“I appreciate the friendship from my colleagues — even those who, many of them who didn’t feel able to vote for me. They were cordial, and so we continue to have good relations and will continue to do the best I can.”

Shortly before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to sing the praises of Sessions, after Democrats spent hours criticising him, CNN said.

“He’s just a likable guy, one of the most humble and most considerate people you’ll ever meet,” McConnell said. “He’s a true Southern gentleman”.

The Alabama senator passed the vote in the Judiciary Committee last week, the most complex stumbling block, and he only needed a simple majority on the Wednesday vote.

Given his extreme views on immigration and women’s issues, the senator’s difficult road to confirmation became even more controversial after US President Donald Trump removed acting attorney general Sally Yates from office on January 31 for insubordination when she said she would not defend the executive order to temporarily ban the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, Efe news agency reported.

The Democrats praised Yates’ decision and accused Sessions of helping Trump to draft the order, a claim that Judiciary Committee chairman Republican Chuck Grassley denied.

It took more than a week for Sessions to finally succeed in having his position put to the vote, as the Democrats, who are fiercely opposed to his appointment, extended the debate time allocated to these cases in the Senate.

–IANS

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Opinion, UTTAR PRADESH

Uttar Pradesh (UP) braces for a triangular assembly election

Uttar Pradesh (UP) braces for a triangular assembly election

Dr Satish Misra

India’s biggest state, known to impact decisively course of the national politics, is bracing for a close triangular electoral contest next month when voting begins for the first phase on February 11 and ending on March 8 with counting taking place on March 11.

While it was almost certain that the battle for the UP crown will be bipolar between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), but sudden and dramatic turn of events have added another potential player who can upset the outcome of the elections.

Possibly there were very few till last week who were convinced that incumbent Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will return to power winning the assembly electoral battle against formidable opponents like the BJP and the BSP.

But now after the Election Commission recognising him to be head of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and granting his organisation the party symbol it seems that Akhilesh- led alliance with the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is high in the reckoning of the electorate. Family feud over who inherits SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s legacy being settled in favour of the UP Chief Minister, Akhilesh has emerged as one of the main contenders for return to power beating the anti-incumbency factor.

With the announcement of the assembly election schedule for five states on January 4, decks were cleared for a tough, bitter and one of the most keenly contested electoral battles.With the ruling BJP entering into the ring with massive resources and the ruling SP in the midst of a family feud over who controls the party, BSP supremo Mayawati was enjoying the lead that she had got in terms of caste combination as well as announcement of tickets to majority of her party candidates.

Demonetisation and surgical strike against Pakistan on September 29 last year are going to be a major issue in the elections across all the five states but it will be one of the top determining factors in the biggest state of UP. Other issues and themes are going to be development, law and order and caste dominance.

The election is going to be three cornered among the BJP, BSP and the SP-led alliance. Though the BJP big bosses would have loved and liked that Mulayam Singh Yadav-led faction of the SP was also in the fray but that didn’t happen. A four- cornered contest would have given the BJP a definite advantage.

In UP, a victory or defeat will decisively impact the future course of the BJP as the verdict will not only be a referendum on the Modi government but will also decide the outcome of the next presidential election in July-August this year.

UP is very important for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi because if it is not able to at least emerge as a single largest party then the saffron party’s rollback would have begun. Modi, a winning mascot, would have become a phenomenon of the past bringing the internal fault lines into open. Opposition to Modi and party president Amit Shah would begin to grow making governance for the Prime Minister all the more difficult and there would be serious doubts if the BJP would return to power after 2019 general elections.

The BJP had won 47 seats in 2012 assembly elections and had 71 seats in the 2014 general elections when Modi had emerged the main vote catcher and the main icon of the saffron brigade.

Already, Modi has addressed seven rallies in UP in last six months and is going to address another seven in next 10 days. The BJP has undertaken parivartan yatras across the state. The BJP has done its caste homework well and is heavily depending upon non-Yadav OBC castes to catapult it to power in UP.  It is not going to leave any stone unturned and will try every trick up its sleeves to at least emerge as the single largest party but prospects at the  moment are not very bright.

The BJP has yet another handicap as it has not given a chief ministerial candidate and Modi is the only USP of the party. The Prime Minister is expected to address at least a dozen more rallies.

The electoral alliance between the Congress, RLD and Akhilesh faction is going to be a formidable combination reducing the winning prospects of former state Chief Minister and BSP supremo which till recently was giving a tough competition to both the SP and the BJP. The BSP was tipped to emerge as the single largest party.

Mayawati had done her electoral homework well and has fielded candidates according to caste combination. She gave 97 seats to Muslims. She was hoping that Muslim electorate would make the BSP their choice in their determination to defeat the BJP but in the changed scenario she may not have the desired electoral results because Akhilesh with the Congress is not only enjoying support among youth cutting across caste lines but Muslim voters are going to back him convinced that this alliance alone can put the BJP away from power in the state.

Akhilesh is enjoying an advantage of a positive image as even his worst critics are being heard saying that the Chief Minister has performed well by undertaking infrastructure projects and could have done much better if his father and uncles would not have interfered in his administration.

As the campaign picks up in next few days and joint rallies and public meetings of Akhilesh, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on the one hand and Dimple Yadav and Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra are held, the contest is likely to become bipolar between the SP-led alliance and the BJP with the BSP out of the popular reckoning again.

Scenario may change if the Chief Minister says something odd or to the popular distaste but Akhilesh- led alliance has a definite edge over rivals at the time of writing this piece.

(Author is a Senior Fellow at New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, country’s leading think tank)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US Presidential Election

Trump signs executive order on Obamacare

Trump signs executive order on Obamacare

Washington:

US President Donald Trump on Friday night signed an executive order aimed at trying to fulfil one of his most impassioned campaign promises; repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the Obamacare.
The executive order signed in the Oval Office is designed “to ease the burden of Obamacare as we transition from repeal and replace,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told the media.

Spicer did not respond when asked for further details, CNN reported.

In addition to the presidential action on Obamacare, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will also send out a memo to all government agencies and departments calling for a regulatory freeze, Spicer said.

With his signature, Trump sent a powerful signal on Day One of his presidency: His top priority in the Oval Office will be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, a law that covers some 20 million Americans.

The signing of the order also highlighted how deeply divisive Obamacare remains seven years after its inception: passing a health care reform bill was one of former President Barack Obama’s first priorities when he took office in 2009; overhauling it is now an urgent mission of Obama’s successor, CNN reported.

Also on Friday, shortly after Trump was sworn into, the newly updated White House website said the new administration will eliminate the Climate Action Plan, the centrepiece of Obama’s climate legacy that aims to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

Trump also signed papers confirming the appointments of James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and John Kelly as Secretary of Homeland Security.

–IANS

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US Presidential Election

Trump inauguration: 6 policemen injured, 217 protesters arrested in Washington

Trump inauguration: 6 policemen injured, 217 protesters arrested in Washington

Washington:

Six police officers were injured and 217 protesters arrested after they smashed windows, damaged cars and threw rocks at security personnel near US President Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony on Friday in Washington D.C.
At least two police officers and one other person were taken to the hospital for undetermined injuries after run-ins with protesters, D.C. Fire Spokesman Vito Maggiolo told CNN.

After the swearing-in ceremony, demonstrators near 12th and K streets threw rocks and bottles at police, who were clad in riot gear and attempting to disperse the crowd.

A large number of police were on scene and used smoke and flash-bang devices to try to scatter the protesters.

Acting D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told CNN that there were several hundred protesters who were confronting police, while he praised the thousands of other demonstrators who behaved in a peaceful fashion to get their point across.

“We have been pointing out all along that this is a very isolated incident and by and large everything is going peacefully and a lot of folks have come to the city to enjoy this historic day, not only the Capitol but walking all around the city,” Newsham said.

Throughout Friday, demonstrators, some wearing masks and dressed in black, shattered building windows, vandalized police cars and other vehicles, setting some on fire — including a limousine — and toppled news kiosks.

“Pepper spray and other control devices were used to control the criminal actors and protect persons and property,” the police said.

Protester Lysander Reid-Powell, a 20-year-old student from New Mexico told CNN: “I think Donald Trump is a fascist, and it’s very easy for people, especially people who are in pain, to slip into fascism.”

At one checkpoint, about 50 protesters sat down in the street in an attempt to block Trump supporters from entering a secure area to watch the swearing-in ceremony and speech.

Not far away, a group of immigration backers staged a “pop up” protest near another check point.

“We’re here to take a stand against the ideas that Trump spouted throughout the course of this campaign — sexism, Islamophobia, his bigotry and nationalism,” said protester Jed Holtz, from New York City.

There also were anti-Trump protests around the world, including London, Hong Kong and Berlin — where demonstrators held a sign that read, “Walls divide”, CNN reported.

In the West Bank, Palestinians protested against Israeli settlements and Trump’s plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

In New York, seven people were arrested at a demonstration outside of Trump Tower, according to the New York Police Department.

On Saturday, the Women’s March on Washington could attract a quarter million participants, organisers said.

“We’re really trying to set a tone of resistance for the coming years,” Lacy MacAuley, a DisruptJ20 organizer, told CNN.

“Donald Trump represents a shift in our politics in a dangerous, harmful, exclusionary direction. We oppose those policies of hate.”

According to Department of Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, as many as 900,000 spectators were slated to attend inaugural ceremonies.

–IANS

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Arts Culture Books Features

Amal Clooney steps out in loose outfit amid pregnancy rumours

Amal Clooney steps out in loose outfit amid pregnancy rumours

Davos:

Oscar winning actor-filmmaker George Clooneys wife Amal Clooney kept everyone guessing about her pregnancy rumours as she stepped out in a loose-fitting two-piece dress while attending a special dinner here.
The Hollywood couple attended the Women Of Impact dinner hosted by Tina Brown during the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, reports dailymail.co.uk.

Amal opted for a cropped sleeveless beige top that stuck out over her waist.

Her matching skirt featured a semi-sheer panel at the waistband and fell to the knee with side pleats.
Amal went bare-legged in the outfit, squeezing her toes into pointed black pumps.

Amal’s pregnancy rumours started doing the rounds after she was seen wearing a baggy floral smock to an event promoting the documentary “White Helmets” in London a week ago.

–IANS

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Arts Culture Books Features, World

Export ban for Clive of India’s rare jewelled flask

Export ban for Clive of India’s rare jewelled flask

London:

An extremely rare jewelled flask given to Clive of India after the Battle of Plassey in 1757, now has a temporary export bar placed on it by the British government.
Culture Minister Matt Hancock has put temporary export bars on the flask and on Clive’s hookah (a single or multi-stemmed object for smoking flavoured tobacco) smoking set, which has a price tag of 240,000 pounds ($294,600) to give UK buyers the chance to save the Mughal treasures for the nation, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.

Robert Clive, known as Clive of India, was governor and commander-in-chief of British-held India and became famous for his victory over the Nawab of Bengal during the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

The flask, which has a silver interior and a gold exterior decorated in jade, emeralds and rubies, was presented to Clive as a gift after Plassey, a pivotal battle in establishing Britain’s control of India.

He also brought the hookah set, which is set with white sapphires and rubies and was part of an original collection at the imperial court in Delhi, back to the UK from India.

Currently on loan to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the flask can go overseas unless a museum or individual can match the asking price of 6 million pounds (about $73 million).

Hancock put exports ban on the recommendation of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Arts and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), The Telegraph reported.

The committee made its recommendations on the basis of the importance of the treasures to UK history and national life, and for their significance for the study of Mughal India.

“These treasures are not only exquisite, they provide us with a glimpse into the fascinating lifestyle and traditions of the Mughal Court and the British presence in India at the time,” Hancock said on Wednesday.

“I hope that we are able to keep these unique artefacts in the country to learn more about this extraordinary history.”

–IANS

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Business Economy Finance, World

US economy continues modest expansion: Survey

US economy continues modest expansion: Survey

Washington:

US economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace from late November through the end of last year, a new survey released by the Federal Reserve showed.
“Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest pace across most regions,” the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in its latest Beige Book which gauges its 12 districts’ economy.

It showed that firms across the country and industries were optimistic about growth in 2017, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the survey, most districts reported growing retail sales and increased sales for the manufacturing industry, while residential construction and sales were generally mixed.

Labour markets were reported to be tight or tightening, with wages growing modestly. With the tight job markets, pricing pressures intensified, said the report.

Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen said that the US economy is close to full employment and inflation is heading toward the central bank’s 2-per cent target.

She noted that it made sense for the Federal Reserve to gradually lift interest rates.

–IANS

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Business Economy Finance

Samsung shares recover after arrest warrant for heir rejected

Samsung shares recover after arrest warrant for heir rejected

Seoul:

Shares of the Samsung group on Thursday began to recover after a South Korean court rejected a request by prosecutors to arrest the tech giant’s president Lee Jae-yong despite alleged charges of bribery, perjury and embezzlement.
At 9.17 a.m., Samsung Electronics shares – the most important for the group – rose 2 per cent, Efe news reported.

Shares for other companies of the group including Samsung Heavy Industries, battery maker Samsung SDI and construction company Samsung C&T rose 0.96, 0.89 and 2.85 per cent, respectively.

Samsung shares had suffered since prosecutors on Monday requested an arrest warrant for Lee over donations made to foundations and companies allegedly controlled by Choi Soon-il, nicknamed South Korea’s “female Rasputin” and a close friend of President Park Geun-hye, in return for business favours.

Prosecutors, who accuse Lee of bribery and embezzlement, as well as perjury over his parliamentary testimony last month, believe the donations were made in exchange for the support of Park’s government over a controversial merger between two Samsung subsidiaries in 2015.

Lee and other Samsung group executives admitted making donations of 43 billion won ($35 million), but denied that they were in exchange for business favours from the authorities.

–IANS

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