Morning Brief: Barcelona Bloodbath; Bihar Floods Toll Mounts; Doklam Stand-Off: Japan Backs India

Morning
Brief: Barcelona Bloodbath; Bihar Floods Toll Mounts; Doklam Stand-Off: Japan Backs IndiaInvestigating officials at the attack site. (cnnbrk)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Barcelona Bloodbath: 13 Killed In Terror Attack: More than a dozen people were killed when a van mowed through crowds of tourists on Barcelona's most famous avenue on Thursday, in an attack that was claimed by Islamic State. The head of the Spanish region of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, said “at least 80 people had been taken to hospital and around 13 had died”. He said two people had been arrested. Witnesses said the white van zigzagged at high speed down Las Ramblas, a busy avenue thronged with tourists, knocking down pedestrians and leaving bodies strewn across the ground. Islamic State's Amaq news agency said: “The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states” – a reference to a US-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.

Indian Army To Get Six Apache Attack Helicopters: The Defence Ministry on Thursday gave the green signal for the purchase of a dozen Apache-64E helicopters from US-based defence and aerospace giant Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Indian Army. The six choppers would be in addition to the 22 similar-class Apache helicopters that India purchased from Boeing in 2015 for the Indian Air Force. The go ahead was given at a meeting chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley. This is the first time the Army will get attack helicopters. The Defence Acquisition Council also cleared a proposal to procure two gas turbine engines for naval ships at a cost of Rs 490 crore, sources said. The new helicopters are expected to be delivered beginning in 2020.

Devise Systems For Better Governance: Modi To Start-Ups: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called on young entrepreneurs to devise systems and solutions that help in “improving governance”. Addressing more than 200 start-up entrepreneurs at the Champions of Change event, organised by NITI Aayog, the Prime Minister said that only governments and their initiatives will not make a ‘New India’, while encouraging entrepreneurs to participate in government initiatives. “Change will be powered by each and every citizen of India,” he said. Modi also said that the government is taking steps to uproot corruption that had become institutionalised, and promised more measures to ease the common man’s problems.

Bhagalpur Srijan Scam: Nitish Kumar Recommends CBI Probe: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday pushed for an inquiry by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the multi-crore Bhagalpur Srijan scam. The scam involves transfer of government funds amounting to Rs 1,000 crore to accounts of a non-government organisation, Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti, between 2007 and 2013. The Chief Minister decided to hand over the case to the central investigating agency after a high-level review meeting he had with chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, Director General of Police P K Thakur, Principal Secretary (Home) Amir Subhani and inspector general of police, economic offence unit, Jitendra Singh Gangwar, the government said.

Terror Funding: NIA Arrests Kashmiri Businessman: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday arrested Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali in connection with a terror funding case. Sources say Watali played a key role in receiving the funds received from Pakistan and then forwarding them to the separatists and even kept account books for them. His arrest comes after the probe agency unearthed “highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities”. Zahoor Watali, who is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to the secessionists, terrorists and stone-pelters, was earlier arrested in the year 1990 by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, when some anti-national activists were found present in his house at Bagat Barzulla, Srinagar.

Bihar Floods Toll Mounts To 98: As floods continued to cause havoc in Bihar, the death toll rose to 98 on Thursday. The deluge has so far affected nearly 93 lakh people in 15 districts, forced postponement of examination and cancellation of trains. Araria district accounted for 20 deaths, followed by East Champaran (14), West Champaran (13), Madhepura (12), Sitamarhi (11), Kishanganj (8), Purnea (5), Madhubani (5), Darbhanga (4), Saharsa (3), Sheohar (2) and Supual (1), said Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Pratyay Amrit. The regional MeT office has forecast rain in southern Bihar for one more week. Amrit said 3.59 lakh people have been shifted to safer places, of them 2.13 lakh were put up in 504 relief camps. Food packets are being airdropped in inundated areas.

BJP Top Choice For Corporate Donors: The Bharatiya Janata Party has received the lion’s share of corporate funding in recent years, says an analysis report. Business houses donated a total of 956.77 crore to national parties between 2012-13 and 2015-16 with BJP getting the biggest share at 704.81 crore, shows an analysis by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). The report found that Congress received 198.16 crore from 167 corporate donors. Nationalist Congress Party received 50.73 crore, followed by Communist Party of India Marxist (1.89 crore) and Communist Party of India (0.18 crore). "Between 2012-13 and 2015-16, five national parties received a total of 1,070.68 crore via voluntary contributions above 20,000 out of which 89 per cent of 956.77 crore was from corporates houses," said ADR in its report.

Palaniswami Announces Probe Into Jayalalithaa’s Death: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday announced that an enquiry commission will be constituted under a retired judge to probe the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The development comes at a time when the speculated merger of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) factions, led by Palaniswami and former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam, hit a roadblock when AIADMK leader T T K Dinakaran, nephew of jailed AIADMK chief V K Sasikala, held a show of strength rally in Madurai earlier this week in which 20 party and independent legislators participated. Palaniswami also announced that Jayalalithaa’s Vedha Nilayam residence in Poes Garden will be converted into a memorial.

Doklam Stand-off: Japan Backs India: Japan on Thursday conveyed its unequivocal support to India and Bhutan on the issue of Doklam border stand-off. The Japanese statement comes as an endorsement of the Indian position that China has violated agreements with India and Bhutan in attempting to build a road through the Doklam Plateau. Japan said no country should use unilateral forces to alter the status of Doklam, in the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction, where the standoff between India and China entered the second month. “We recognise Doklam is a disputed area between Bhutan and China and two countries are engaged in border talks… We also understand that the India has a treaty understanding with Bhutan that’s why Indian troops got involved in the area,” Japanese Ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, said. Japan is the first major power to talk openly about Doklam stand-off.

MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS

India Should Offer Permanent Residency To Skilled Foreign Workers: India should offer easy residency to skilled foreign workers and students graduating from Indian colleges. Such a progressive, growth-oriented immigration policy goes well with the philosophy of Vasudhaiva kutumbakam (the world is one family) laid out in the Upanishads.

4.1 Million Jobs That Can Change India: India is home to about 2,000 traditional skill-based clusters. Each cluster, the size of which can vary from 50 households to 5,000 or even more, has the potential to create a minimum of five jobs. It is time for India to restructure itself in order to offer skills and jobs of the future.

India At 70: How Are We Doing? In the seven decades since independence, India has emerged as a robust democracy and a rising economy but it also has a long list of unfinished tasks.

Evolving Internet In India: The number of internet users in India was expected to reach 450-465 million by June, according to a March report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and market research firm IMRB International. Only China, with around 700 million Internet users, has more.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Yogi Adityanath May Have The Policies, But He Needs People For Their Administration: The problem in front of Yogi Adityanath is that he has to overhaul the state’s administration and deliver on the governance front at the same time. And his success or failure of it will be judged sooner than 2022.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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