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The Ancient Times


  • Saturday 21st of October 2017 11:54:04 AM
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  • Temperature 27°C, Weather Clouds, Cloud 40%, Wind 2.6m/s

The Ancient Times

UK's Theresa May says sorry for poor election, vows social reforms

MANCHESTER: British Prime Minister Theresa May apologized to her party on Wednesday for a disastrous election result and promised economic help for struggling families, as she tried to restore momentum to a divided government. In a Conservative Party conference speech full of idealistic language but interrupted by a prankster, May said the election campaign had been "too scripted, too presidential." "I led the campaign, and I am sorry," she said.
The Conservatives are in a sour mood after June's snap election, called three years early in hopes of bolstering the party's majority in Parliament, saw May's government reduced to a minority administration. The poor result has left May weakened and struggling to unite a government divided over Brexit and other issues. May closed the party's annual conference with a speech telling ministers to "shape up" and focus on "the daily lives of ordinary working people." In a bid to appeal to middle- and lower-income voters, May promised to put a price cap on energy bills and to get government back into the business of building public housing. British governments, including Conservative ones, built hundreds of thousands of homes in the decades after World War II.
But Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's decision in the 1980s to allow properties owned by local authorities to be sold to residents marked a major shift, and in the last two decades successive governments have largely left house-building to the private sector. May promised "a new generation of council houses to help fix our broken housing market." Rising prices have made home ownership an increasingly elusive goal for many, especially in London and other big cities.
May needed a strong speech to help fight off rivals to her job, including ambitious Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. But the address did not go entirely to plan. May struggled with a cough and a hoarse voice that forced her to pause repeatedly. Midway through the speech a prankster walked up and handed May a P45, the form given to people being laid off. As he was bundled away by security, the joker, identified in media reports as comedian Simon Brodkin, said "Boris told me to do it." May's office said the prankster had been arrested for breach of the peace and there would be a "thorough investigation" into how he was able to get into the high- security conference venue.

The Ancient Times

Petrol price down Rs 2.50 a litre, diesel by Rs 2.25

NEW DELHI: Petrol price was on Wednesday cut by Rs 2.50 per litre and diesel by Rs 2.25 following the reduction in excise duty on auto fuels.
Petrol in Delhi now costs Rs 68.38 a litre, down from Rs 70.88. A litre of diesel now comes for Rs 56.89 as against Rs 59.14 previously, according to Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's largest fuel retailer.
The government had on Tuesday cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre each to moderate the relentless rise in fuel prices over the last three months.
IOC Director (Finance) A K Sharma said the cut in retail selling price is higher after factoring in its impact on VAT. As things stand, excise duty is levied on fuel produced ex-refinery. Local sales tax or VAT is levied on the total of ex-refinery cost plus excise duty and commission paid to dealers.
So, till yesterday the VAT on petrol in Delhi was Rs 15.07 while today it stands at Rs 14.54. On diesel, VAT today is Rs 8.41 per litre as against Rs 8.73 previously.
The excise duty cut paused the relentless rise in rates witnessed since July 4. While petrol prices had increased by Rs 7.80 to reach Rs 70.88 a litre in Delhi yesterday, the highest since August 2014, diesel rates had risen by Rs 5.70 to touch an all-time high of Rs 59.14.
The excise duty cut would cost the government Rs 26,000 crore in annual revenue and about Rs 13,000 crore during the remaining part of the current fiscal year that ends on March 31, 2018, the government had said yesterday. The government, which had between November 2014 and January 2016 raised excise duty on petrol and diesel on nine occasions to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices, has been criticised for not cutting excise duty despite a sustained rise in fuel prices since early July. In all, duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 11.77 per litre and that on diesel by 13.47 a litre in those 15 months that helped government's excise mop-up more than double to Rs 2,42,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15. While the costliest petrol was sold in September 2013 when it was priced at Rs 76.06 a litre in Delhi, the previous highest rate for diesel was also during the BJP rule in September 2014 when it was priced at Rs 58.97 per litre. On petrol, excise has been cut to Rs 19.48 per litre from Rs 21.48 per litre and on diesel to Rs 15.33 a litre from Rs 17.33 previously. The rise in petrol and diesel prices also reflected in wholesale price inflation, which increased to 3.24 per cent in August 2017, as compared to 1.88 per cent in July.


NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday kept the key interest rates unchanged , as was widely expected. Repo rate - the rate at the which the central bank lends short-term money to banks- thus continues to stay at 6 per cent. The RBI had cut repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) in August.
RBI has also cut the economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 6.7 per cent from earlier projections of 7.3 per cent.
"The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth," RBI said in its fourth policy review of 2017-18.
SLR or statutory liquidity ratio was, however, cut by 50 basis points to 19.5 per cent with effect from October 14. Banks are required to invest certain percentage of their deposits in specified financial securities like Central Government or State Government securities. This percentage is known as SLR. However, with adequate liquidity in the system, the SLR cut is unlikely to have much impact on banks.
The announcement which came at the end of a two-day meeting of the MPC of the RBI, is in sync with what the experts had predicted. Inflation, which in August reached a five-month high of 3.36 per cent, is being billed as the reason behind RBI's decision to maintain status quo. The RBI decision of increasing inflation forecast from 4 per cent to a range of 4.2 to 4.6 per cent for the October to March half backs this proposition. Analysts expect inflation could continue to quicken, given food prices tend to rise during the winter. Reverse repo rate - the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks- was also left unchanged at 5.75 per cent. RBI Governor Urjit Patel also calarified that the central bank continues to maintain a 'neutral' stand. "The MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) decided to keep the policy stance neutral and monitor incoming data closely. The MPC remains committed to keeping headline inflation close to 4 per cent on a durable basis," the policy review said. Commenting upon the RBI's decision, Tushar Arora, Senior Economist of HDFC Bank said, " No surprises as such. Going strictly by the optics of headline inflation is unlikely to result in rate cuts". The government and industry bodies though had been pushing RBI for yet another rate cut. "There is scope for monetary easing because of inflation projections," on Tuesday, news agency PTI had quoted a finance ministry official as saying. Industry body CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) had pitched for a rate cut of 100 bps while Assocham too had written to the MPC. The slowing down of private investments being one of the major reasons behind the slump in growth, industry was hopeful of a rate cut, in order to provide a booster shot to the economy. The central bank said it is imperative to reinvigorate investment activity which, in turn, would revive the demand for bank credit by industry as existing capacities get utilised and the requirements of new capacity open up to be financed. "Recapitalising public sector banks adequately will ensure that credit flows to the productive sectors are not impeded and growth impulses not restrained," it said.

The Ancient Times

The Great Scape Ride of 2017 by Alisha Jebin, Lady in Pink Jacket

Millennial these days have lot of hobbies and passion onto the paper but how far are they willing to take their passion to the next level. Meet Alisha Jebin (24), Bangalore, currently working for Societe Generale - a French Investment bank. She might look like an average everyday 9-5 worker commuting in the never ending world of Bangalore traffic. What if I told you that she is one of youngest and fastest women on a motorcycle! Yes, there was an article that caught my eye couple of months back about a Bangalore Lady Biker completing 1600+ kms within 24 hours, and later few days back the same news populated across Social media that the Bangalore Lady Biker who took up the challenge was recognized by IBR for the fastest and Longest Kilometers covered by a Women biker in 24hours! The lady was none other than Alisha Jebin. In the fast moving world, Alisha took up the challenge to complete a Saddle Sore attempt which is to record 1600+ Kms in 24 hours on a two wheeler of any sort. 12 June 2017 will always be remembered as she recorded 1662 Kms in 22 hours in a Royal Enfield Thunderbird!.She had become the fastest and youngest women rider to complete 1600+kms in 24 hours beating the existing record. The Ancient Times reached out to Alisha after she was recognized by prestigious India Book of Records. When asked about the motive of the ride and her future plans, she said " My passion towards riding a Morotcycle came in early in life during my schooling. After I bought my Royal Enfield Thinderbird 350cc in March 2016, every weekend was a ride of 200kms and more. Once read about Chaitra Priya being the only women in India to have covered 1600kms in 24hours, I also wanted to test my endurance level, which took me one step forward in doing the saddle sore challenge. Through the monsoon rains I rode solo in the roads of Bangalore-Pune-Bangalore, through which I learnt to believe in myself better, and a confidence level I never knew I had. I do not have any future plans now. Maybe when my heart says to do it, I'll just do it :)" Being said that she is all set to conquer what her heart wants, The Ancient times is so happy to interview a young, energetic individual who wants the world to identify her on her passion and we wish Alisha all the best to future endeavors and accolades ahead.


NEW DELHI: Even as the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre and the Haryana government on a plea seeking that the CBI and/or a special investigation team (SIT) probe the murder of a 7-year-old boy in a private Gurugram school , it decided, of its own accord, to examine the issue of safety measures in all private schools. Following the murder of Pradhyumn Thakur at the Gurugram branch of Ryan International School on Friday, a batch of lawyers told the apex court that private schools are not implementing guidelines to ensure safety of students . The lawyers further appealed to the Supreme Court to take suo moto cognisance, or examine of its own accord, safety in private schools. Read this story in Bengali The top court on Monday therefore said it will look into the issue of safety measures in all private schools and not confine itself specifically to the case of Ryan International School. Earlier in the day, Pradhyumn's father, Varun Thakur, filed a plea in the top court asking for a CBI/SIT probe into his son's murder . A bus conductor working at school allegedly confessed to the murder. Late on Sunday, two senior officials of the Gurugram branch of Ryan International School were arrested by police as protests intensified against the school over its alleged inaction in the murder of Pradhyumn. The School's CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents on Monday filed an anticipatory bail plea in Bombay High Court.
"Francis Thomas, Regional head, and J Thomas, HR head, have been arrested under JJ Act on late Sunday night," said police. The area's police station in charge was also suspended for "negligence in maintaining law and order". "SHO, Sadar police station, Sohna Road, was suspended with immediate effect last (Sunday) night. Speedy investigation underway," said Gurugram's police commissioner. Police on Sunday lathi-charged protesters outside Ryan International School in Gurugram. Angry parents and locals gathered outside the school premises to express their dissatisfaction over the investigation being carried out by the Gurgaon Police. They demanded a CBI probe into the murder.
"We're not satisfied with the ongoing investigation, the bus conductor is being framed. School management must take responsibility of students' safety," Jyoti, a parent, told ANI on Sunday. The demonstration took a violent turn as the agitating crowd set a liquor shop close to the school on fire. Police then resorted to lathi-charge to bring the situation under control and disperse the protesters. Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma assured parents that strict action will be taken against the school authorities and the accused would soon be brought to justice. "Under section 75 of the Juvenile Act, action will be taken against school management. The accused will be presented before Court within a week," Sharma told mediapersons at a press briefing. He said the government was open to a CBI probe the heinous crime. "If parents are dissatisfied with the police investigation, then Haryana government will order CBI probe," he said.
Pradhyumn, a class 2 student, was discovered with his throat slit inside a washroom on the school premises on Friday. The very same day, police arrested Ashok Kumar, a conductor of one of the school's buses, who later allegedly confessed to the crime under interrogation. Police claimed that Kumar had tried to sexually abuse the victim, but when the boy resisted, he killed him and fled the spot. The alleged perpetrator told police that he'd gone to the washroom and waited there, intending to sexually assault any student who walked in. Kumar also revealed that he'd been carrying a knife as he knew he wouldn't be frisked by the school guards, who recognised him. "As soon as the boy entered the toilet, Kumar held him. But the boy resisted his attempts with full force and when the accused failed to sodomise him, he slit his throat and right ear," a senior police officer told PTI. However, contradictory reports soon arose, claiming that Kumar was being framed for the murder.

The Ancient Times

Indonesia confronts Beijing's territorial claims in South China Sea

JAKARTA: When Indonesia recently — and quite publicly — renamed the northernmost waters of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea despite China's claims to the area, Beijing quickly dismissed the move as "meaningless." It is proving to

Indonesia's increasingly aggressive posture in the region — including a military buildup in its nearby Natuna Islands and the planned deployment of naval warships — comes as other nations are being more accommodating to China's broad territorial claims in the South China Sea . The two countries had three maritime skirmishes in 2016 involving warning shots, including one in which Indonesian warships seized a Chinese fishing boat and its crew. Indonesia is challenging China , one of its biggest investors and trading partners, as it seeks to assert control over a waterway that has abundant resources, particularly oil and natural gas reserves and fish stocks. The pushback from Indonesia takes direct aim at Beijing's claims within the "nine-dash line," which on Chinese maps delineates the vast area that China claims in the South China Sea. It also adds a new player to the volatile situation, in which the US Navy has been challenging China's claims with naval maneuvers through waters claimed by Beijing. Indonesia "is already a party to the disputes — and the sooner it acknowledges this reality the better," said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, where he researches South China Sea issues.
The dispute largely centers on the Natuna Sea, a resource-rich waterway north of Indonesia that also lies close to Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. Before naming part of the contested waterway the North Natuna Sea "to make it sound more Indonesian," Storey said, Indonesia last year began beefing up its military presence in the Natunas. That included expanding its naval port on the main island to handle bigger ships and lengthening the runway at its air force base there to accommodate larger aircraft. For decades, Indonesia's official policy has been that it is not a party to any territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, unlike its regional neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Last year, however, Indonesia and China had the three maritime skirmishes within Indonesia's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone off its Natuna Islands, which lie northwest of Borneo. After the third skirmish, in June 2016, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it claimed for the first time that its controversial nine-dash line included "traditional fishing grounds" within Indonesia's exclusive economic zone. The administration of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, whose top administrative priorities since taking office in October 2014 include transforming his country into a maritime power, has ordered authorities to blow up hundreds of foreign fishing vessels seized while illegally fishing in Indonesian waters. Joko, during a visit to Japan in 2015, said in a newspaper interview that China's nine-dash line had no basis in international law. He also chaired a Cabinet meeting on a warship off the Natunas just days after last year's third naval skirmish — a move analysts viewed as a show of resolve to Beijing. On July 14, Indonesia's Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries held a conspicuously high-profile news conference to release its first national territorial map since 2005, including the unveiling of the newly named North Natuna Sea. The new map also included new maritime boundaries with Singapore and the Philippines, with which Indonesia had concluded agreements in 2015.
Arif Havas Oegroseno, a deputy minister at Indonesia's Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs, told journalists that the new Indonesian map offered "clarity on natural resources exploration areas." That same day, Indonesia's Armed Forces and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources signed a memorandum for warships to provide security for the highly profitable fishing grounds and offshore oil and gas production and exploration activities within the country's exclusive economic zone near the Natunas. General Gatot Nurmantyo, commander of the Indonesian armed forces, said at the time that offshore energy exploration and production activities "have often been disturbed by foreign-flagged vessels" — which some analysts took as a reference to China. Although several countries take issue with China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, few do so publicly, and the Trump administration has recently sent mixed signals about how willing it is to challenge China on its claims. That has made the Indonesian pushback more intriguing. Frega Ferdinand Wenas Inkiriwang, a lecturer at the Indonesian Defense University, said Indonesia's public naming of the North Natuna Sea "means that Indonesia indirectly becomes a claimant state in the area, perhaps due to territorial integrity issues. "It's in the vicinity of the Natunas," he said, "and the Natunas contain natural resources which are inherited and will be beneficial for Indonesia's development." Analysts say that the Indonesian navy would be no match for the Chinese navy in a fight, although the first of last year's clashes involved only a Chinese coast guard ship and an Indonesian maritime ministry patrol boat. It is unlikely that the two countries' navies would clash within Indonesia's exclusive economic zone, according to analysts.
Members of the 10-state Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, have repeatedly expressed concern about China's aggressive posture in the South China Sea, including its naval standoffs and land reclamation projects in disputed areas, and the stationing of military personnel and surface-to-air missiles in the Paracel Islands — which are controlled by China but are also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. Indonesia, the grouping's largest member and de facto leader, had in the past remained on the sidelines of the various South China Sea disputes and offered to help mediate between ASEAN claimant states and Beijing. Given that China is among Indonesia's biggest investors and trade partners, some analysts say Jakarta will go only so far in challenging China's territorial claims, at least publicly. But its more aggressive military posture and other moves regarding the Natunas are nonetheless sending signals to China. "It doesn't make Indonesia a claimant state," said Aaron Connelly, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia, who follows the South China Sea disputes. "They've never accepted the legitimacy of the nine-dash line, which is why they say there's no overlap" with its exclusive economic zone. "China says it has 'traditional fishing rights,' but Indonesia is doing things in a legalistic way right now," Connelly said. "This is a more effective way of challenging it." Evan Laksmana, a senior researcher on security affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, agreed that the naming of the North Natuna Sea was not specifically done to trigger a dispute with China. "But the international legal basis underpinning Indonesia's new map is clear," he said.