Morning Wrap: Modi Cancels EU Visit, India-Myanmar Trade Highway Hits Snag

16/03/2015 9:38 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi folds his hands in a sign of respect during his visit to Ruwanwelisaya, a sacred stupa in Anuradhapura, about 230 kilometers northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, March 14, 2015. Modi said on Friday that India's neighbors should be the first beneficiaries of the nation's economic progress as he sought to woo smaller Indian Ocean states away from increasing Chinese influence. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

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Narendra Modi has called off plans to travel to Brussels during his visit to Europe and Canada next month, on a perceived "snub." This even as the EU plans to launch a major initiative to revive a moribund Free Trade Agreement this week.

After garnering significant revenue from auctioning off coal blocks, the Central government will start allocating coal blocks to state governments for commercial mining. The move, likely in a month, will put an end to the Centre's 41-year-old monopoly over the commercial sale of coal.

The CBI has found that papers related to the foreign investment promotion board's (FIPB) clearance to the Rs 2,058 crore Jet-Etihad deal were leaked from the finance ministry. The deal, which followed an increase in the foreign direct investment limit for airlines from 26% to 49% and allowed foreign carriers to acquire shares of Indian players, went through a series of twists and turns before it was finally cleared.

After Haryana, Rajasthan is likely to table a bill on cattle slaughter, BJP party sources told The Hindu. While the party will press for stronger anti-cattle slaughter laws in all states and actively pursue the legislative route in the states ruled by it, it isn't likely to push for a central legislation for such a ban.

Attacks and vandalism on churches and Christian institutions seem to have resurfaced, this time in the larger Indian subcontinent. Following a robbery in a nunnery and rape of a 71-year-old nun in West Bengal, an under-construction church in Kaimri village near Haryana was vandalised by a group and the cross replaced with an idol of Hanuman. These paled, compared to a bomb attack on two Pakistan churches by the Taliban, in Lahore, which killed 15 and injured 80.

In one of the rare archaeological finds in India, fresh evidence--in the form of handcrafted stone tools and ostrich eggs discovered in India's Thar desert--showed that India was populated by humans tens of thousands of years earlier than what is now believed.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy resurrected his quiescent bigotry after he declared in Assam that mosques and churches are "mere buildings" and could be "demolished". An FIR was lodged against him shortly afterwards.

The BJP in Goa has sparked off a fresh row by dropping Gandhi Jayanti from its official list of state holidays. Following strong reactions from the opposition Congress, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar described it as a "printing mistake or a mischief by someone", and said October 2 will remain a holiday.

Silently, agriculture in India has gone through a far-reaching change in the past few decades. The use of mechanical power now makes up for 90% of power used in farm operations compared to 74% in 1991 and animal and human draught power has dipped from 26% to 10% in the same period.

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A senior cop was suspended by the police establishment here in Villapuram, Tamil Nadu after a photograph of him consuming liquor and gutka, which is banned, went viral on WhatsApp.

India's marquee highways project to connect Myanmar and Thailand has run into an unlikely speed bump, as the countries cannot decide on which side of the road vehicles should drive on.

Inspired perhaps by an initiative in Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi's Municipal Council (NDMC) plans to introduce a "Shakti (power)" fleet of taxis with women drivers from April.

Following the alleged leak of official documents from various ministries, the NDA government has issued 26 directives to ministries that include not "throw(ing) secret papers into waste paper baskets" and "fully closing doors of safes unless they are locked", lest they tempt potential thieves.


Andrew Whitehead says in The Hindu that UK's main parties are putting more effort into meeting the challenge from parvenu political outfit UKIP, which has a tough anti-immigration policy, by aping UKIP rather than in courting the migrant vote.

M Rajivlochan, in The Indian Express, says that--like what's seen at present-- Indian history amply testifies that rulers and India's business communities have usually been indifferent to each other.

Julio Ribeiro expresses concern that the country he's served as a senior police official now seems to be abandoning him because of his religion.

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