Morning Brief: Protests In AMU Over Jinnah’s Portrait; Walmart Nears Flipkart Deal; India To Reconsider Pact With US For Access To High-Tech Weapons
Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.
Protests, Clashes In AMU Over Jinnah’s Portrait
Protests erupted on the Aligarh Muslim University campus on Wednesday over the issue of a portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the wall of the Students’ Union office. Members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and Hindu Yuva Vahini burnt effigies of Jinnah and protested against the university’s decision to defend the portrait. They were confronted by some AMU students, who are in favour of having Jinnah’s portrait. Police were deployed after protesters on both sides of the divide almost came to blows. On Monday, university authorities had justified having Jinnah’s portrait by arguing that the leader was one of its founder members. Students’ Union President had also defended the portrait, calling Jinnah a “hero”. The controversy erupted when BJP MP from Aligarh wrote to AMU Vice-Chancellor asking him to explain why the university has a portrait of Pakistan’s founder. (Also Read: The Problem Isn’t Jinnah’s Portrait In AMU, But The Jinnah Mindset)
Walmart Nears Flipkart Deal
Amazon has reportedly offered to buy a 60 per cent stake Flipkart. This development comes amid reports that Walmart is in the final stage of negotiations with Flipkart to acquire at least 55 per cent stake for $12 billion. Walmart has been in talks with Flipkart since at least 2016 and its offer has the backing of Flipkart's founders and other investors. Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal is overseeing the final negotiations with Walmart and the latter’s team may come to India soon to close the deal. According to reports, Amazon's offer is on par with Walmart's. Additionally, the former has offered to pay a $2 billion breakup fee and is seeking a non-compete agreement with Flipkart’s founders. Soft-Bank, Flipkart’s largest stakeholder, has offered to invest about $4 billion into the Indian e-commerce leader if it pursued an alternate merger with arch-rival Amazon. (Also Read: GAFA & Walmart-Flipkart Are Today’s East India Companies And We Seem Ready To Be Colonised Again)
India To Re-Examine Foundation Agreements With US
After signing the bilateral military logistics pact, known as the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), India is re-examining the two other “foundational agreements” being pushed by the United States. The two countries, reports suggest, are set to hold discussions on two other pacts - Communications Compatibility and Security Arrangement (COMCASA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) - on Thursday and Friday. CISMOA and BECA would enable technology transfer and seamless communication between the military systems of the two countries. The signing of these agreements will facilitate the transfer of sensitive military technology and advance weapon platforms such as armed drones from the US to India.
SC Collegium Split On Justice Joseph’s Elevation
The Supreme Court Collegium deferred its decision on reiterating Justice K M Joseph’s name for elevation to the top court due to a “lack of unanimity”, The Print has reported. According to the portal, the five-judge body is split on the issue and discussed the names of senior judges from the High Courts of Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Telangana & Andhra Pradesh for elevation. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra suggested that the names of more judges be considered, reports say. Last month, the government had declined to accept the recommendation of the Collegium to elevate Justice Joseph to the top court. Justice Joseph, the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, is 42nd in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority List and 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts are senior to him.
India's Manufacturing Sector Growth Rises
India's manufacturing sector activity improved marginally in April. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose from 51.0 in March to 51.6 in April, remaining above the 50-point-mark for the ninth consecutive month. While a number above 50 means expansion, a score below that denotes contraction. Manufacturing activity had fallen to a five-month low in March. According to reports, the manufacturing sector growth in April was driven by a rise in new business orders amid favourable demand conditions and easing inflationary pressures. Inflationary pressures moderated for the second month in a row.
India, China To Set Up Hotline Between Military Headquarters
A long-pending proposal for establishing a hotline between military headquarters of India and China has reportedly been accepted by New Delhi and Beijing. This development comes after the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Wuhan last week. In separate statements issued after the ‘heart-to-heart’ summit between the two leaders, India and China had asked their militaries to “strengthen communication in order to build trust” and "predictability”. India and Pakistan have a hotline between Director Generals of Military Operations. A hotline was first suggested by the 2013 Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) between India and China, but has not materialised so far.
Cambridge Analytica ‘Ceasing Operations’
Cambridge Analytica, the United Kingdom-based marketing analytics firm at the heart of the Facebook data leak scandal, has said that it is “immediately ceasing all operations” and filing for insolvency in Britain and the United States. The firm has been accused of using the personal data of millions of Facebook users to sway the results of the 2016 US presidential election. Facebook has alleged that data of up to 87 million of its users was harvested and passed on to the political consultancy. In a statement released on Wednesday, the firm said media coverage of its use of Facebook data had “driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers”.
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