India on Wednesday unveiled the world’s tallest statue in the western state of Gujurat in celebration of her unity.

Towering at 182 metres, the Statue of Unity is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a hero of India’s freedom struggle and the country’s first deputy prime minister.

Patel, a Gujarati, was known as the ‘Iron man of India’ as he went about persuading all the princely states to join the Indian union after independence from British rule in 1947.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also hails from Gujarat, dedicated Patel’s statue to the people of India on the 142th birth anniversary of the statesman’s birth.

The record-breaking monument, which towers over the Narmada River, was built at a cost of 29.89 billion rupees (430 million dollars).

Based on award-winning sculptor Ram Sutar’s creation, the statue was built by engineering firm Larsen and Toubro.

The bronze statue, which depicts Patel wearing the traditional Indian attire of a dhoti and a shawl, took 33 months to build and involved 250 engineers and 3400 workers, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.

“To build this statue, [hundreds of thousands) of farmers from all over India came together to donate their tools, portions of their soil and a mass movement developed around the statue,” Modi said in his speech.

Thousands of policemen guarded the venue during the inauguration, as local tribal people have been holding protests in recent months claiming the project had destroyed natural resources, the Times of India newspaper reported.

The 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China had previously held the record for tallest statue.

 

Source: WorldPress.com

India agreed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface to air missile systems on Friday.
 
The Kremlin said, as New Delhi disregarded U.S. warnings that such a purchase could trigger sanctions under U.S. law.
 
Although there was no public signing, the deal was sealed during President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing visit to New Delhi for an annual summit.
 
“The deal was signed on the fringes of the summit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.
 
The contract is estimated to be worth more than 5 billion dollars and gives the Indian military the ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles at unprecedented ranges.
 
But the United States has said countries trading with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors would face automatic sanctions under a sweeping legislation called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
 
A State Department spokesperson said this week that the implementation of the sanctions act would be focused at countries acquiring weapons such as the S-400 missile batteries.
 
In September, the United States imposed sanctions on China’s military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russia this year.
 
India is hoping that President Donald Trump’s administration will give it a waiver on the weapons systems which New Delhi sees as a deterrent against China’s bigger and superior military.
 
After summit talks between Putin and Modi, the two countries signed eight agreements covering space, nuclear energy and railways at a televised news conference.
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
 
India agreed a deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface to air missile systems on Friday.
 
The Kremlin said, as New Delhi disregarded U.S. warnings that such a purchase could trigger sanctions under U.S. law.
 
Although there was no public signing, the deal was sealed during President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing visit to New Delhi for an annual summit.
 
“The deal was signed on the fringes of the summit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.
 
The contract is estimated to be worth more than 5 billion dollars and gives the Indian military the ability to shoot down aircraft and missiles at unprecedented ranges.
 
But the United States has said countries trading with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors would face automatic sanctions under a sweeping legislation called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
 
A State Department spokesperson said this week that the implementation of the sanctions act would be focused at countries acquiring weapons such as the S-400 missile batteries.
 
In September, the United States imposed sanctions on China’s military for its purchase of combat fighters as well as the S-400 missile system it bought from Russia this year.
 
India is hoping that President Donald Trump’s administration will give it a waiver on the weapons systems which New Delhi sees as a deterrent against China’s bigger and superior military.
 
After summit talks between Putin and Modi, the two countries signed eight agreements covering space, nuclear energy and railways at a televised news conference.
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
The Federal Government has approved the immediate deportation of 36 Indians and two Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nationals with immediate effect.
 
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.- Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, disclosed this in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Mohammed Umar, on Tuesday in Abuja.
 
Umar said the minister who signed the deportation order on Tuesday, in his Office in Abuja said it was pursuant to section 45(2, 3 and 4) of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015.
 
Dambazau in the statement explained that the Indian nationals gained entry into the country with fake visas and counterfeit Immigration stamps, while the Korean nationals failed to regularise their stay upon the expiration of their contract with Zamfara Government.
 
Dambazau gave the names of the affected nationals as:Mr AN CHUN SIK and Mr JON SU GYONG of the Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea.
 
The statement listed the names of the 36 Indian nationals as: -Mr Sajji, Mrs Sajji Arvini, Mrs Sunil Babujumma, Mrs Meemi, Mr Papachi, Mr Deva, Mr Rajani, Mrs Kiran Shivachadra, Mr Shivachadra and Mr Shakthi.
 
Others the statement said are : Mr Prabhukumar, Mr Rajan, Mr Shree Kumar, Mr Jagandeesh, Mrs Mamathaja, Mrs Sheela, Mr Prasad, Mr Pappa and Ms Nirveni
 
Also named are: Mr Shambhu Kumar, Mrs Reshma, Mr Ravi Kumar, Mr Iraji, Mrs Jinotha, Mr Kishore, Mr Nageena, Mrs Sheelavathi and Mr. Nentaraju/Santhosh Kumar.
 
The minister in the statement named other India nationals as Mrs Sumati, Mr Krishna Lokesh, Mr Santhil, Mr Vasantha, Mr Seebu, Mr Vishwanath, Mr Vishwanth Ramya and Mr Rajeshwari.
 
He reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to empower the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to enhance enforcement of the nation’s Immigration Laws.
 
The minister in the statement further stated that all foreign nationals should operate within the provisions of the law as the nation would not compromise its immigration laws.
 
 
NAN

India has overtaken the Netherlands as Nigeria’s major export trading partner in the second quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS had ranked the Netherlands as the country’s leading export trading partner in Q1 2018, having recorded N963.5 billion in value of exported commodities.

But the latest Foreign Trade Statistics by the bureau showed that 16.19 percent of the Nigeria’s Q2 2018 export trade worth N722.6 billion was moved to India against N457.6 billion worth of commodities exported to the Netherlands in the review quarter.

It said other major export destinations of the country include Spain, South Africa and United States with value of commodities at N426.1 billion or 9.6 percent, N359.8 billion or 8.1 percent and N306.5 billion or 6.9 percent respectively.

“In the reviewing quarter, mineral products accounted for N4,275.3 billion or 95.8% of the total export from Nigeria. This category of export was dominated by Crude Oil exports which contributed N3,728.4 billion or 83.5% of total exports,” it added.

According to the statistics bureau, the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade dropped from N7.21 trillion in Q1, 2018 to N6.57 trillion in the second quarter of 2018.

It said the contraction of total trade in the reviewing quarter was mainly driven by the decline in both
imports and exports.

“The trade balance in Q2, 2018 was a surplus of N2,356.60 billion, which is an 8.36% increase from the
figure in Q1, 2018 (N2,174.60 billion) and a 399.82% increase from the figure in Q1, 2017 (N471.48 billion),” it said.

“Total Imports value was N2,106.7 billion in Q2, 2018, -16.3% lower than Q1, 2018 (N2,518.26 billion) and –
19.9%% lower than Q1, 2017 (N2,631.65 billion),” the NBS said.

The top five import destinations for Nigeria were China, Netherlands, Belgium, India and United States which respectively accounted for N531.6 billion or 25.2 percent, N181 billion or 8.6 percent, N170.9 billion or 8.1 percent, N145.0 billion or 6.9 percent and N141.5 billion or 6.7 percent.

The bureau further said, “Total export value amounted to N4,463.3 billion in Q2, 2018, representing a contraction of -4.9% over Q1, 2018 (N4,692.86 billion) and a growth of 43.8% over Q2, 2017 (N3,102.14 billion).”

 

Source: The Ripples

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nagabhushana Reddy, said the trade value between India and Nigeria rose to $12 billion between April 2017 to March 2018.

Reddy, who made the disclosure while speaking with newsmen at a flag hoisting ceremony to mark the 72nd Independence of India in Abuja recently, said the current amount represents 26 percent increase from the previous financial year.

“Looking at the bilateral relations, our financial year is from April last year to March this year. We have been able to register $12 billion of bilateral trade which marks an increase of 26 percent from the previous year,” he said.

He said Nigeria was one of India’s major exporter of crude oil, adding that both countries were exploring other areas of bilateral relations as this year also marked 60 years of diplomatic relations between both countries.

India is Nigeria’s second export trading partner after Netherlands, the value of trade with the Asian country accounted for 18.2 percent of the total value of goods exported from Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“We are looking at bringing more Indian companies here and looking at not just a buyer-seller arrangement but to do more investments.

“As of today, Indian companies have invested about 10 billion dollars and I think there are about 135 Indian companies in Nigeria.

“I can mention that Indian investments are in the field of pharmaceuticals, electrical manufacturing, assembly lines for automobiles particularly agricultural related,” he added.

Source: The Ripples

President Vladimir Putin of Russia said on Friday BRICS leaders were not ruling out the possibility of increasing the number of the bloc’s member states, but the decision on accepting more countries to the organisation should not be taken in a rush.
 
BRICS is the acronym coined by British Economist Jim O’Neill meant for an association of five
major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
 
“The candidates have not backed out, on the contrary, they have demonstrated readiness and to work within BRICS as full-fledged members, but at today’s meeting in a small format all my colleagues approached accepting new members to BRICS with caution.
 
“However, they certainly do wish to work with other states and do not exclude the possibility of BRICS expansion,” Putin said at a news conference after the BRICS summit in South Africa.
 
Putin said that the expansion issue needs further discussions, as such a serious question could not be solved “in one fell swoop.”
 
He also said that all decisions are being taken on the basis of consensus.
 
“There is really no some kind of formal leadership. All issues are resolved, decisions are being taken on the basis of consensus, with full respect for the interests of all participants in this
organisation,” Putin said.
 
“This is its huge advantage,” the president said.
 
 
 
Source: Bloomberg News
25 men were arrested in India after a 2,000-person mob killed a 27-year-old man over baseless rumours that he was a child kidnapper. 
 
The deadly incident was the latest in a flood of deadly lynchings across the country sparked by hoaxes on social media — and now the Indian government is threatening WhatsApp with legal action over them. 
 
AFP reports that the Indian government has now publicly warned that it may take action against WhatsApp over the issue, with the information technology ministry issuing a harshly-worded statement on Thursday.
 
"Rampant circulation of irresponsible messages in large volumes on their platform have not been addressed adequately by WhatsApp," says the statement. "When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief-mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability."
 
"If (WhatsApp) remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action."
 
The Facebook-owned messaging app has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over hoaxes and disinformation circulating on its platform, leading to sometimes deadly mob violence. There have reportedly been at least 20 lynchings in the last two months caused by child abduction allegations, according to The Guardian.
 
WhatsApp's messages are end-to-end encrypted for security, meaning the company cannot monitor users' messages for misinformation or deliberate hoaxes the way Facebook can on its Messenger app. The company is taking some steps to try and tackle the issue, including flagging messages that have been forwarded, to make it clear that the sender isn't the original author of the post. It has also taken out full-page newspaper ads to warn about these hoaxes.
 
Source: Business Insider

The 10th BRICS summit to be hosted by South Africa is going to be closely watched. It comes at a time when extraordinary global political and economic challenges are facing the world.

The BRICS bloc is made up of 5 of the leading countries in the global South — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The challenges facing the world range from country specific problems relating to domestic poverty, inequality and unemployment to climate change and a global economic system that is biased in favour of corporate interests, particularly in finance and technology.

One of the most immediate political challenges relate to the changing dynamics in global economic governance. The current global powerhouse, the US, appears intent on starting trade wars with both China and the European Union. Africa can’t avoid being adversely affected by a trade war between these three economic powers, which are its three largest trading partners.

The US is also pulling back from multilateral governance arrangements that it created. For example, it withdrew from the upcoming United Nations (UN) conference on migration and from the UN Human Rights Council. And Washington is effectively paralysing the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by refusing to agree to the appointment of new judges at the WTO Appellate Body.

These developments are creating a volatile and unpredictable situation for all countries. Small players on the global stage, like South Africa and other countries on the continent, face the prospect of becoming collateral damage in the destruction of the current global governance arrangements.

Given all these complex challenges, how should we judge the success of the BRICS Summit?

We can use three tests: is BRICS being strengthened? What benefits will accrue to Africa? And how is the bloc planning to influence global economic governance reform?

BRICS strengthening

One goal of the upcoming summit should be to strengthen the relationship between the BRICS partners.

A concrete way of measuring this will be to look at the number and quality of agreements to emerge out of the summit. A successful summit will result in a range of substantial agreements being reached. The world will be able to scrutinise the outcome in the communique released at the end of the meeting.

It is important to note that the summit is the apex event in a year-long process. During the year various groups of BRICS government officials, civil society groups and technical experts meet to discuss issues of common interest. They have included technical groups such as the BRICS water forum and a committee looking at customs cooperation. Others have involved political matters, such as meetings of foreign affairs ministers and government officials who help guide their leaders to the summit (known as Sherpas).

The participants in these meetings try to reach agreements on issues of mutual interest – such as establishing a BRICS vaccine research centre – or finding ways to collaborate in sectors like tourism. Their job is also to try and resolve differences.

These efforts feed into the work of the summit as the Sherpas prepare the statement of what has been agreed. Details of the agreements that have been struck will be released in a statement at the end of the summit.

BRICS in Africa

Given that the theme for this year’s summit is: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, it’s reasonable to expect the BRICS summit to produce benefits for Africa.

One area that would be beneficial for the continent would be a signal from the leaders that the BRICS members are willing to commit to funding infrastructure projects on the continent. This is important because Africa is in the process of putting in place an ambitious new Continental Free Trade Agreement. Successful implementation will require constructing infrastructure that can link the continent both internally and with other parts of the world.

BRICS could position itself for a critical role in the funding of these infrastructure projects.

Two obvious vehicles for such funds are the BRICS’s New Development Bank and the funds that China has created to support its One Belt One Road Initiative.

Thus a test for summit success will be whether it generates new financing for sustainable infrastructure in Africa, and the nature of the financing.

Global governance reform

One goal shared by all the BRICS states is reforming global economic governance structures like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). The bloc hasn’t been particularly successful in this mission. But this year may be an opportune time to promote reform.

Actions by the US have undermined its leadership position in the world and may have made other countries more open to governance reforms in key international economic organisations. This is particularly relevant for the IMF which is reviewing its quota allocations. A shift would lead to the world body being more responsive to the concerns of its poorer member countries.

There is a longstanding call for the inclusion of a third African chair on the IMF board. It is unconscionable that the 46 sub-Saharan African countries have the lowest level of representation of any region on the IMF board. South Africa should push BRICS to stand behind this call.

The BRICS should also support making the IMF more accountable to countries affected by its operations. This could be done by demanding that the IMF create an independent accountability mechanism. It is currently the only multilateral financial institution without one.

A key benefit of the BRICS is its potential to lead efforts to meaningfully reform the global economic system. It therefore behoves the citizens of BRICS countries to hold their governments accountable for fulfilling this potential.

 

Danny Bradlow, SARCHI Professor of International Development Law and African Economic Relations, University of Pretoria

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Nigeria and India are making moves to explore opportunities in renewable energy development as part of the international agreements signed by both countries.Indian High Commissioner, Nagabhushana Reddy, at a Business meeting in Abuja, said the home government was committed to deriving at least 30 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy by 2030.

Reddy noted that exploring areas of cooperation in renewable energy would build on existing partnerships between both countries, especially as Nigeria, was member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

According to him, ISA intends to provide dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries and mobilise $1 trillion funds for future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.He said: “We are opening a new chapter of India-Nigeria economic engagement by moving into the power sector relating to renewable energy. India had been present in Nigeria in the power sector mostly in the areas of distribution and transmission.”

Reddy also said that both countries would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the renewable sector to create a joint working group to develop projects for enhanced and effective collaboration.

Earlier, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kayode Adetokunbo, called on the Federal Government to harmonise policies on renewable energy to create single body for the implementation of relevant policies. Adetokunbo said: “There is no clarity in policies and we need all the advantages solar power and renewable energy can offer and put it in one agency that has multi-sectoral approach so that other relevant agencies can work together as a team.”

He added that promoting synergy among stakeholders would create jobs and fast track economic development in line with the government’s economic growth plan.A representative of Nigerian chapter of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, Rajneesh Gupta, said that there are ongoing enlightenment campaigns on promoting renewable energy in Nigeria.

He said: “Simba Solar has been educating Nigerians on renewable energy technologies, and how it can deliver value. We are also training electricians and budding entrepreneurs that can key into these technologies to the end users.”“Electricity generation is fluctuating this year, peaking 5,090megawatts as government continued to show determination to produce an energy mix with 30 per cent component of renewable energy out of the gross energy produced by 2030.”

 

Source: The Guardian

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