French Prez has a word of praise for Indian PM Narendra Modi for initiating peace in the ongoing Ukraine war. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right when he said that the time is not for war, France President Emmanuel Macron said at the ongoing 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. "Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India was right when he said the time is not for war. It is not for revenge against the West, or for opposing the West against the east. It is the time for a collective time for our sovereign equal states. To cope together with challenges we face," he said.
French Prez statement came in reference to PM Modi and Russia's President Vladimir Putin's conversation where the former said, "Today's era is not of war and I have spoken to you about it on the call. Today we will get the opportunity to talk about how we can progress on the path of peace. India and Russia have stayed together with each other for several decades."
Prime Minister spoke this during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's summit in Uzbekistan's Samarkand. "We spoke several times on the phone about India-Russia bilateral relations and various issues. We should find ways to address the problems of food, medicine, fuel security and fertilizers. I want to thank Russia and Ukraine for helping us to evacuate our students from Ukraine," PM Modi added.
Responding to PM Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he knows about India's position on the Ukraine conflict and "we want all of this to end as soon as possible". "I know about your position on the Ukraine conflict. I know about India's concerns. We want all of this to end as soon as possible," Russian Prez said.
Bhutan King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck met Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed bilateral ties and the ways to further strengthen them.
Wangchuck was in India enroute to London to attend Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, officials said. He also met Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra. India and Bhutan share historically strong ties which have stood the test of time.
Later, PM informed via tweet message that he "had a warm meeting with His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Discussed various ideas to further strengthen the close and unique India-Bhutan friendship. Conveyed my appreciation for the guiding vision provided by successive Druk Gyalpos in shaping our relations." India and Bhutan share historically strong ties.
Priti Patel resigns as the UK Home Secretary and plans not to serve in the cabinet of the newly-elected Prime Minister Liz Truss. In a letter to outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Patel wrote, "It is my choice to continue my public service to the country and the Witham constituency from the backbenches, once Liz Truss formally assumes office and a new Home Secretary is appointed."
Ms Patel congratulated Liz Truss on being elected as the country's new leader, and promised to give her support to her as the new Prime Minister. "From the backbenches, I will champion many of the policies and causes I have stood up for both inside and outside of Government," she added.
Rishi Sunak struck a personal note in the final hustings event before the election for a new Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister concludes, as he thanked his parents and wife Akshata Murty for their support.
Addressing a teeming concert venue at Wembley in London on Wednesday night, the Indian-origin former Chancellor could have been mistaken for a rockstar amid the loud cheers and screams of “Rishi, Rishi”.
Given the sharp contrast between his booming welcome and that of his rival, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, it was clear that at least for this audience Sunak was the winning candidate in the race to succeed Boris Johnson.
“This final hustings is special for me because the two people who inspired me to enter public service are actually here tonight – my mum and dad,” opened Sunak, as the cameras panned to the front row where his general practitioner father Yashvir and pharmacist mother Usha were seated with his wife Akshata.
“It was their example of service and what they did for people that inspired me to enter politics. Mum, dad thank you for always sacrificing and striving to provide a better life for your kids than you had. And, thank you for teaching me that with hard work and belief and the love of your family there is no limit to what someone can achieve in our great country,” he said, to applause and cheers from the crowd.
India has proved the doomsayers wrong; it has progressed a lot in the last 75 years, but it has to do a lot more
The Narendra Modi Government is celebrating the 75the anniversary of Independence with massive fanfare, calling it Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Patriotism is in the air—quite literally—as competing with the Prime Minister in the display of tiranga is Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Then there are intellectuals, most of them Left-
liberal, who are sullenly watching the march of Modi’s nationalism which they intensely dislike. But if one objectively looks at the three quarters of a century of India as an Independent nation, one has to recognise that, despite all the failings and shortcomings, it has been a successful journey. The very fact that our nation still has the same boundaries and the same Constitution is itself a very comforting fact. When India became Independent, not many people in the world gave much of a chance to it to survive for too long as a democratic republic; and the fears and misgivings were real, not the results of conspiracy theories. It was a poor country, beset with all kinds of problems; it was even struggling to feed its teeming millions—a situation that continued for more than two decades after Independence. The net per capita availability of food-grains ranging from 127 to 145 kg in 1946, it was 180.3 kg in 2018. Life expectancy was just 31 years, which has now crossed 70 years. The infant mortality and maternal mortality rates were very high, while education levels were very low.
Besides, there were mind-boggling diversity and divisive forces; apart from the eternal bane of caste, there were Hindu-Muslim communal tensions, militant regional/sub-nationalist movements, and other disruptive elements. But India survived in the early years, which was attributed to the towering personality of Jawaharlal Nehru, so people asked ‘who after Nehru.’ He died 58 years ago, the years in which the country faced humungous problems, from the Malthusian prospects in the 1960s to a brush with dictatorship (the Emergency, 1975-77) to militancy in Punjab and jihadist separatism in Kashmir to the economic crisis in 1991. But India has not perished, neither as a nation nor as a democratic republic. This is not to say that all is well with our democracy and our republic. Our democracy has been weakened by several insidious mechanisms, the prominent among them being the anti-defection law. The republic has been undermined by all governments by way of introducing illiberal changes in the Constitution itself, beginning with the First Amendment in 1951, which curtailed the Fundamental Rights to Freedom of Expression and Property; the latter eventually ceased to be a Fundamental Right, getting reduced to a legal right. Similarly, while a lot of economic development has taken place in the last 75 years, India remains a poor country; with its per capita income of around $2,300, its rank in the world is 144. India has progressed a lot in the last 75 years, but it has to do a lot more.
South Korean and US troops plan to hold preliminary drills this week in advance of their annual combined training involving field manoeuvers, officials said on Tuesday.
The two nations are scheduled to kick off the four-day exercise on Tuesday, focused on crisis management, in the run-up to the Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise set to run from August 22 through September 1, reports Yonhap News Agency.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stressed that the regular practice is defence oriented in nature as it is aimed at strengthening the allies' joint combat readiness.
It is also to "ensure the condition for the stable push for the transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) through the assessment of the full operational capability (FOC)" under an agreed-upon plan for conditions-based Washington-to-Seoul OPCON transfer, it added.
This year,the allies plan to conduct a set of field training including firing drills.
South Korea and the US also held a trilateral missile defence exercise, also involving Japan, in the waters near Hawaii earlier this week to follow up on an agreement in June among their defence chiefs, who gathered in Singapore for a regional security forum.
Participating in the Pacific Dragon ballistic missile detection and tracking exercise were eight warships and two aircraft, which include the 7,600-tonne Sejong The Great destroyer of South Korea, according to an informed source.
Across Europe, drought is reducing once-mighty rivers to trickles, with potentially dramatic consequences for industry, freight, energy and food production - just as supply shortages and price rises due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine bite, local media reported.
Driven by climate breakdown, an unusually dry winter and spring followed by record-breaking summer temperatures and repeated heatwaves have left Europe's essential waterways under-replenished and, increasingly, overheated, The Guardian reported.
With no significant rainfall recorded for almost two months across western, central and southern Europe and none forecast in the near future, meteorologists say the drought could become the continent's worst in more than 500 years, The Guardian reported.
"We haven't analysed fully this year's event because it is still ongoing," said Andrea Toreti of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. "There were no other events in the past 500 [years] similar to the drought of 2018. But this year, I think, is worse."
Germany's Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) said the level of the Rhine, whose waters are used for freight transport, irrigation, manufacturing, power generation and drinking, will continue dropping until at least the beginning of next week, The Guardian reported.
A vital part of northwest Europe's economy for centuries, the 760 miles (1,233km) of the Rhine flow from Switzerland through Germany's industrial heartland before reaching the North Sea at the megaport of Rotterdam.
In Italy, the flow of the parched Po, Italy's longest river, has fallen to one-tenth of its usual rate, and water levels are 2 metres below normal. With no sustained rainfall in the region since November, corn and risotto rice production have been hard hit.
The Po valley accounts for between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of Italy's agricultural production, but rice growers in particular have warned that up to 60 per cent of their crop may be lost as paddy fields dry out and are spoiled by seawater sucked in by the low river level, The Guardian reported.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has warned Washington against using "language of threat" against the Islamic republic.
"History ought to have taught the US that language of threat against Iran and Iranians achieves nothing," Amir-Abdollahian tweeted on Saturday.
"Futile attempts at deflection won't allow the United States to evade responsibility for the thousands of Iranian and other victims of its involvement in terrorist crimes in our region," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
The foreign minister's remarks came after the US Justice Department on Wednesday announced criminal charges against a member of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps for allegedly planning the assassination of former US national security advisor John Bolton.
The accusations were dismissed by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
The FBI agents were looking for documents relating to nuclear weapons, among others, in the unprecedented search they conducted of the premises of former US President Donald Trump earlier this week in Florida, according to a stunning news report.
Neither the US Justice Department, which oversees the FBI, nor the investigating agency denied or confirmed the Thursday evening report by The Washington Post.
The newspaper sourced the report to multiple officials "all unidentified" involved in the investigation of the case that caused the search but gave no further details of the kind of nuclear weapons' documents sought by the agents.
Government officials are worried that these documents could fall in the wrong hands at Trump's Florida home that is also a club frequented by members.
Trump has held on to an undisclosed volume of documents from his presidency that he is required to have turned in for archiving by the government. The National Archive, which is the repository of these documents, has been following up with him and his aides for months.
The FBI agents searched Trump's home in an unprecedented first for a US President on Monday, according to a statement from Trump, who called it a "raid" in a political ploy to both discredit it and rile up his base with a familiar story of victimhood he had used against the Russia investigation and his double impeachment.
As allies and followers predictably poured scorn and outrage on the "raid", Trump and his lawyers did not tell them and the country the details that were available to them by way of the search warrant issued by a federal judge, which would have contained the grounds for it, or the itemized list of articles taken by the FBI "at least 15 boxes" that were duly provided to them.
Trump was once again the hounded hero for his followers "including many lawmakers" who had no idea why his premises were searched.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland, who heads the Justice Department that has oversight of the FBI, called the former President's bluff.
Garland in rare public remarks said "the Justice Department doesn't comment on ongoing investigation" said the government has filed a motion in a Florida federal court asking for unsealing the search warrant and all related documents. He offered no details of the investigation.
The public's clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favour of unsealing, the motion said.
"That said, the former President should have an opportunity to respond to this motion and lodge objections, including with regards to any "legitimate privacy interests" or the potential for other "injury" if these materials are made public."
There was no comment from Trump and his lawyers to this development for hours after Garland's statement.
India has expressed concern over the shelling near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant, the biggest in Europe and among the world's largest, as Moscow and Kiev traded charges over the incidents and the international atomic agency head warned of "serious consequences".
Addressing the Security Council on Thursday, India's Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said: "Any accident involving nuclear facilities could potentially have severe consequences for public health and the environment.
"India expresses its concern over the reports of shelling near the spent fuel storage facility of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant." The Council session was convened at the request of Russia to consider the shelling around the facility.
India is "carefully following" the situation and "attaches high importance to ensuring the safety and security of these facilities", Kamboj added. "We call for mutual restraint so as not to endanger the safety and security of nuclear facilities."
Constrained by its military and economic dependence on Moscow, New Delhi has walked a fine line neither condemning Russia outright nor directly supporting Ukraine.
In repeating what could be interpreted as diplomatically-worded criticism of Russia, Kamboj said: "We continue to reiterate that the global order should be anchored on international law, the UN Charter and on respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states".
The Zaporizhzhya plant in south-eastern Ukraine has been occupied by Russia, but Ukrainian technicians continue to work at the nuclear plant.
Briefing the Council, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that the August 5 shelling caused several explosions near the electrical switchboard and resulted in a power shutdown.
"These military actions near such a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences," he warned. At the same time, he also assured that IAEA experts' initial assessment was that the shelling or other military actions did not pose an immediate threat to nuclear safety.
"This could change at any moment." Russia's Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzya accused Ukraine of using heavy artillery against the plant during a shift change to intimidate its citizens operating the plant.
He alleged that there was an attack using cluster munitions on August 6 and another ont the following day caused a power surge. Ukraine's Permanent Representative Sergiy Kyslytsya accused Russia of "militarising" the site of the nuclear plant.
He said that an international mission that includes military experts should be sent to the plant. Only a Russian withdrawal by Russia from Zaporizhzhia would end the threat to the plant, he said.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement calling on all "to exercise common sense and reason" and stop all military activities around the nuclear plant.
"Regrettably, instead of de-escalation, over the past several days there have been reports of further deeply worrying incidents that could, if they continue, lead to disaster," he said.
This is the second standoff between Ukraine and Russia involving a nuclear facility. In the first wave of the invasion in February, Russian forces captured the Chernobyl nuclear facility, which had suffered the worst atomic disaster in 1986 while Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union.
But Russia withdrew from Chernobyl in March after failing in its attempts to advance on Ukraine's capital Kiev. During the attack on the remnants of Chernobyl's nuclear plant that has been shut down, there were fears of radiation leaks.
Nuclear accidents are an extremely sensitive matter for Ukraine because large amounts of radiation escaped from the Chernobyl plant after an explosion and fire destroyed a reactor in the 1986 disaster rendering a 30-km radius uninhabitable.