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ISIS executes British aid worker

In another barbaric murder the Islamic State militants released a video showing the beheading of British hostage David Haines. This beheading of a British aid worker by the dreaded Islamic State terror group was addressed by British Prime Minister David Cameron as an act of pure evil. He added that his heart goes out to the family members of Haines through this trying period. He vowed to bring the killers of the aid worker to justice. The aid worker David Haines was in custody in Syria from 2013 and was being held by IS militants. This is the third such instance of barbarism followed by the killing of two US journalists previously. The video also includes a threat to kill a second British hostage. The video features a man who appears to be Haines and is dressed in orange overalls kneeling in front of a masked man holding a knife. The victim also declares that he holds David Cameron entirely responsible for his execution. US President Barack Obama has also condemned this barbaric murder of Haines. Earlier James Foley and Steven Sotloff have been executed in a similar fashion by the terrorist group ISIL. The Australian PM Tony Abbott has stated that this murder appropriately demonstrates the sole intention of this terrorist group is in doing evil. The French presidency issued a statement saying that the heinous murder of David Haines shows once again how the international community must mobilize against the...

PM Modi’s Independence Day Speech

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his maiden speech to the nation on the occasion of the 68th Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi. The speech was marked by bold changes and big bang reforms. The government has opened up the doors for bringing in foreign investment in certain sectors. The speech was appropriate for a leader who has been elected by a strong mandate and laid out with policies that depicted conviction. The speech again brought forward the compulsion to perform due to the immense responsibilities laid upon the shoulders of the government by the hopeful people in the first 100 days of its existence itself. However in order to bring in changes for progress some difficult decisions had to be undergone the beginning of which may be the scraping of the Planning Commission in hindsight. India’s 68th Independence Day was remarkable for the massive public participation of almost 10000 who crowded the Red Fort in Delhi where PM Modi delivered the highpoints of his three month-old government and its future policies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi first unfurled the national flag from the Red Fort and then spoke to the nation from the historic podium for the first time after his party’s spectacular electoral victory in May this year. In keeping with the significance of the occasion this national day was turned into a mega festival with the participation of “aam aadmi” to bestow upon the national capital a festive look. The crowd was a departure from previous Independence Day observances where public participation at Red Fort was limited to hundreds of school children, government officials and selected invitees due to security reasons. Modi’s extempore like many others was watched in India and abroad for his vision and major policy announcements. Modi has acquired a status as a persuasive speaker and an appealing orator. The Delhi government has decorated the city with 4,000 flags and 60,000 balloons with many prominent roundabouts either been decked with flowers or a tricolour made of flowers. Modi has especially emphasized upon cleanliness and special drives have been carried out in Delhi to remove garbage and litter from roadsides with streets having been swept clean. Public bus services had announced fare concessions for rides to the Red Fort. Parts of Chandni Chowk the crowded shopping bazaar in old Delhi had been declared a pedestrian zone for part the day with various events planned on roads free of vehicular traffic. Prominent buildings in the city were lit up with tricolour...

Cabinet approves amendments to three labor laws

Modi’s vision for labor reforms moved a step forward as in the country with the Union Cabinet approving amendments proposed to three key archaic labor laws. This will ensure that both employers and employees get a good deal. These amendments are in continuation to a series of measures taken by the government to improve ease of doing business a perspective in which India ranks disappointingly. All the three amendments proposed by the labor ministry will now be tabled in the current session of Parliament. The ministry of labor and employment headed by Narendra Singh Tomar has put forth amendments to the Apprenticeship Act of 1961, the Factories Act of 1948 and the Labor Laws Act, 1988 in the first series of long-overdue labor reforms in India. The changes proposed in the Apprenticeship Act include dropping the clause that mandates imprisonment of company directors that fail to implement the Act of 1961 and doing away with an amendment made during the UPA regime. The Factories Act should improve safety of workers and multiply the provision of overtime from 50 hours a quarter including the relaxation of the norms of female participation in certain industry segments. It has also been projected that benefits like leave with pay be made available to employees after 90 days from the current 240 days of work. The Labor Laws Act, 1988 will be made flexible to allow companies to hire more employees as companies with 10-40 employees will now be exempt from furnishing and filing returns on various aspects with a threshold of 19...

China PM Li Keqiang next on PM Modi’s agenda

Mr Modi after having met all the SAARC leaders on his first day in office has now turned his attention towards China. He has added that China had always been a priority in India’s foreign policy. He added that he would welcome greater economic engagement between China and India in the recent future. PM Modi has extended through Chinese Premier Li Keqiang an invitation to President Xi Jinping to pay a visit to India later this year. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 29 to express his government’s desire to establish a “robust partnership” with India. Mr Modi also expressed “keenness” to work closely with China on all “outstanding issues”. Li is the first foreign leader to call up Mr Modi after he was sworn in. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi is expected at Delhi on June 8. Mr Modi and Li spoke through interpreters for about 25 minutes. The Chinese leader also congratulated Mr Modi for his fabulous victory in the recently concluded LS elections while conveying the Chinese government’s desire to establish robust partnership with the new government of India for furthering the relationship between the two nations. Mr Modi welcomed greater economic engagement between the two countries. He underlined his government’s resolve to deal with any outstanding issues in bilateral relations for long-term benefits to the people. The two leaders agreed to keep up frequent high-level exchanges and communication. Mr Modi also thanked Li for his earlier message of felicitation. China had formally greeted Mr Modi by sending a special message through Indian Ambassador to Beijing Ashok K Kantha. Mr Modi and Xi will have an opportunity to meet during the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa summit to be held in Brazil in...

Rashtrapati Bhavan and India gear up for mega Modi swearing-in

Prime Minister- designate Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony has built up to become a mega event and perhaps the biggest to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26th, 2014. Among the guest list comprising of 4000 people were all the SAARC nation leaders or their representatives, the MPs from LS and RS along with their family members, industrialists, top bureaucrats, Bollywood celebrities, dignitaries along with the President, Vice-President, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, CMs, Governors and the representatives from the media. This is the first such instance of such an opulent display for the swearing-in ceremony of the PM and his team at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mr. Modi had been lodged at Gujarat Bhawan in the New Delhi spending the last few days screening cvs of NDA parliamentarians to pick his best possible team of council of ministers or cabinet. While allocating portfolios the business interests of each of the MPs had been considered. The upcoming government wants to send out a clear message that its council of ministers will be taint-free. There has been avid speculation that Mr Modi is also looking to induct some talented technocrats. As he prepares to take charge as India’s 15th PM he wants to be supported at the helm with a compact and smart cabinet. Modi has signaled from day one that he alone would pick his ministers while his colleagues and the Sangh Parivar could at best be approached for suggestions and consultations. Hence entry had been banned for all except party leaders and government officials summoned by Mr Modi at the Gujarat Bhavan. Military bands were heard rehearsing for the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan’s forecourt. About 6,000 security personnel will be defending over a two-km periphery around the presidential palace during the ceremony having many VVIPs and VIPs on May 26, 2014 at 18:00 hrs IST. The security personnel include paramilitary commandos to police sharpshooters from the ground to the air to guard heads of state and government who will be present at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Modi and his team. Delhi police will throw a net around Raisina Hill on which Rashtrapati Bhavan stands. Even the travel plans of the VVIPs had been considered and all top buildings in the surrounding area will be covered. Dog squads and bomb disposal squads will sanitize the venue in advance. The dignitaries who would be present are Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutanese...

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