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Demonetisation has not only unleashed havoc among a section of the population but also revealed the true face of the political classes. Speaking on two occasions yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made some fiery promises. In Goa, he turned emotional, saying he has left home and family for the nation, while asking the people to bear with the inconveniences till the end of the year. Ironically, a couple of days ago, in Japan, he had mocked Indians for complaining about the woes of currency demonetisation. Hours later after the speech in Goa, at a function in Belgaum, he assured his audience that the government will not trouble honest citizens but only go after the corrupt. Earlier in the morning, Arun Jaitley said it would take another 2-3 weeks for banks to recalibrate all the ATM machines in the country and hence for the cash-flow problems to normalise.
While the ministers were busy stoking patriotic feelings among the people, aided by Baba Ramdev's pep talk, people were dying in queues. A farmer fell dead of a heart attack in a queue to get new currency in Gujarat, taking the toll up to five in the last three days. A vegetable vendor in Karnataka was duped with a fake ₹2,000 note. Moments of humanity also emerged out of the bleakness, for instance, when a hospital in Ranchi decided to provide free treatment to patients until the situation was stabilised.
Hillary Clinton blames James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for her defeat to Donald Trump in the US presidential elections 2016. Days before polling, the FBI had released a letter stating that it was investigating a few more emails by Clinton, while providing no further details about them. Although the agency found nothing new in these correspondences, Clinton believes this move led to the swing in votes in Trump's favour.
After staying in the new for the last few months, mostly for the wrong reasons, the President-Elect of the US, Donald Trump, is back to reiterating his campaign promises. In an interview, scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday, Trump has reportedly said as many as three million immigrants living illegally in the US will be deported or sent to jail soon after he assumes office in January. Lawmakers, however, claimed they are not prepared to create a deportation force to execute the president-elect's vision.
After facing flak from the public, who are strapped for cash due to currency demonetisation, the government has asked banks to increase the daily withdrawal limit from ATMs by ₹500 to bring it up to ₹2,500. The exchange limit over the counter has been increased from ₹4,000 to ₹4,500 and the cap of ₹10,000 withdrawal from banks has also been removed.
In the wake of the board examinations in Kashmir starting today, the state government has arranged strict security and transport for students. Most of those appearing for the boards are teenagers whose studies have been disrupted by the turmoil in the valley since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July. A great many of them have severe eye injuries after being shot at by pellet guns or have lost their sight completely.
Off The Front Page
With the sudden rush of customers following currency demonetisation, banks are struggling to cope with their existing staff on duty. Most bank employees are working long and hard hours, including weekends to cope with the crisis, but thankfully, some of the former employees are also pitching in to help out. Retired managers and staff have gone back to help their colleagues to tide over the next few days, especially with a public impatient for cash.
Two people were killed in a powerful earthquake, measuring 7.8, New Zealand, some 91 km north-northeast of Christchurch in the South Island, early on Monday. A tsunami has also been forecast and people have been asked to evacuate the low-lying areas. Several buildings collapsed in the impact and the aftershocks are still felt in parts.
Don't forget to look up at the evening sky tonight and tomorrow. The full moon will appear bigger than it has in the last seven decades on Monday night, "but a moon-and-star waltz on Tuesday night will provide a true spectacle in the sky," The Telegraph reports. The best time to observe the 'supermoon' would be two hours after moonrise.
In The Telegraph, Mukul Kesavan points out that Donald Trump's landslide victory in the US presidential elections might be "intellectually and politically more significant than Indian liberals imagine". He goes on to analyse the various reactions to the victory, from across the political spectrum, to examine the fate of the independent Left since the decline of the Soviet Union. In it, he says, lies a cautionary tale.
An op-ed in Mint by Pronab Sen slams PM Modi's demonetisation move, calling it hollow and unable to make a dent in the real problems that afflict the economy. The prime minister's "publicity coup", as Sen calls it, has put the entire informal sector at a huge disadvantage in one fell stroke, while doing little to curb tax evasion and corruption, which will always find ways to sneak back into the system.
An editorial in The Hindu analyses the impact of India's recent nuclear deal with Japan. The agreement, which PM Modi recently signed on his visit to the country, will give a huge boost to India's renewable energy, boost "the meagre, and dipping, bilateral trade of $15 billion" as well as lift the strategic military and defence relationship between the nations.
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