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BRICS nations to deny safe haven to economic offenders

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BRICS Summit in Brazil

Brasilia, Nov 15 : The BRICS nations on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to fighting corruption, and joining multilateral efforts in denying safe haven to economic and corruption offenders and facilitate the repatriation of proceeds of crime.

In a statement, the BRICS nations said: “We reaffirm our commitment to fight corruption, inter alia, through the strengthening of domestic legal frameworks, as appropriate, to more effectively address cases of corruption. We remain committed to adopting integrity measures in the public sector and promoting integrity standards in private enterprises and to build a stronger global commitment to a culture of intolerance towards corruption.

“We will maintain our ongoing efforts on anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation and returning of assets, including on civil and administrative proceedings. We will make full use of the BRICS Meeting on Asset Recovery and strengthen experience-sharing and case-cooperation on asset recovery among BRICS countries.

“We will enhance our exchange of views within multilateral frameworks such as UNCAC (United Nations Convention against Corruption) and the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, with the aim of joining efforts in denying safe haven to economic and corruption offenders and to facilitate the repatriation of proceeds of crime,” it said.

The five countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, also acknowledged the continued support provided by the BRICS Revenue Authorities towards implementation of the global standards on transparency and exchange of information and the minimum standards against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) – which refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to “shift” profits from higher-tax jurisdictions to lower tax jurisdictions, thus “eroding” the “tax-base” of the higher-tax jurisdictions.

“We remain committed to addressing the tax challenges of the digitalization of the economy. We look forward to further progress in the discussion of the two-pillar approach developed by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS.

“We welcome the recent achievement on tax transparency including the progress on automatic exchange of information for tax purposes.

“We call on all jurisdictions to sign and ratify the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. We remain committed to enhancing our efforts on the prevention of base erosion and profit shifting, exchange of tax information, and needs-based cap capacity building for developing countries. We commit to deeper exchanges and sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as to mutual learning in taxation matters,” the joint statement said.

The joint statement also noted the progress achieved by the BRICS Customs Administrations regarding the draft BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement and directed their respective appropriate authorities “to work towards its early conclusion and entry into force”.

“We also welcome the substantial progress made in the implementation of the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation, especially with regard to the BRICS Authorized Economic Operator Program, which should be functional by the end of 2022, including the mutual recognition of controls and economic operators.

“We also acknowledge the positive practice of establishing BRICS Custom Training Centres and direct the pertinent authorities to continue this approach in the future. We recognize the potential of the BRICS Customs Cooperation Committee and call for enhanced intraBRICS cooperation at relevant multilateral fora, including in trade facilitation, law enforcement, use of advanced information technologies and capacity building,” it said.

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India

Maharashtra IPS officer Abdur Rahman quits over “blatantly communal and unconstitutional” Citizenship Amendment Bill

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Abdur Rahman
Maharashtra IPS Officer Abdur Rahman

Mumbai, Dec 11 : In what could be a jolt to the government, senior IPS officer Abdur Rahman on Wednesday quit his service, ostensibly in protest against the Citizens (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the post two days.

“Yes, I have quit the service citing personal reasons. I have also released a statement explaining in detail the reasons behind my decision,” Rahman, an IGP rank officer with the Maharashtra Police, told IANS soon after quitting.

Condemning the Bill, he said as a ‘civil disobedience’ move, he decided to resign from the police service and will not attend official duties from Thursday.

He appealed to all those belonging to the poor and deprived sections to oppose the Bill in a democratic manner as it would harm them the most, and also called upon the tolerant, secular and justice-loving Hindus to oppose the Bill, besides activists who should challenge it in the courts.

With 22 years of distinguished police service behind him, Rahman said that the Bill aims to grant citizenship to illegal migrants from all communities except Muslims.

“It clearly discriminates against the people belonging to the Muslim community. The Bill is totally un-Constitutional and against the very basic feature of Equality before Law,” Rahman said in his statement.

He said it is against the very ethos and spirit of the Constitution and violates Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution, and that religion cannot be the basis for giving or denying a person citizenship.

“The whole idea behind the Bill is to divide the nation on religious and sectarian lines. It creates fear among the people belonging to the Muslim community. It also compels Muslims to leave their faith and adopt some other religion to save their citizenship. This is totally divisive and unconstitutional,” Rahman said in the hard-hitting communication, which went viral on social media with thousands of likes and retweets in a short time.

Referring to the Assam example on National Register of Citizens (NRC), the officer said that if it is implemented jointly with the CAB, non-Muslims will be declared refugees and granted Indian citizenship even if they cannot produce the required documents.

“This means that the real burden will be only on Muslims to prove their citizenship. This will cause statelessness and hardships to Muslims who have been living in India for thousands of years and a majority of them are the original inhabitants of India,” Rahman said.

Rahman also apologised to those who wanted him to continue in service and urged for justice to all the deprived people.

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Cities

‘Man-eater’ leopard shot dead in Gujarat

Amreli district collector Aayush Oak said the leopard was spotted in a camera trap. “It was a seven-year-old male leopard,” he said.

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Man eater leopard amreli

Amreli (Gujarat), Dec 11 : A suspected ‘man-eater’ leopard was shot dead on Wednesday evening by forest department personnel near Bagasara village in Amreli district of Gujarat, officials said.

A senior official claimed the big cat had killed at least ten people in the nearby areas and 14 to 15 people in the entire region.

The big cat was lurking behind eucalyptus plantation near a cow shed when it was shot dead by a member of the team of forest guards, they said.

The Amreli region had seen a sharp rise in attacks by leopards in the last few months.

“We shot dead the leopard near Bagasara village at 7 pm on Wednesday. We were hunting for it as it had turned into a man-eater. We are sure that it was the same leopard we were looking for. Other leopards were rescued and shifted out of the area,” said Conservator of Forest (Rajkot), Ashwin Parmar.

Amreli district collector Aayush Oak said the leopard was spotted in a camera trap. “It was a seven-year-old male leopard,” he said.

Oak said the Forest department first tried to capture the big cat, but it attacked the personnel, following which it was shot dead.

“Forest department will analyse the pug marks to ascertain involvement of the killed leopard in recent human deaths. But it is certainly suspected to have killed human beings. If required, the forest department will continue its operation,” he said when asked whether the forest personnel killed the same leopard they were looking for.

Meanwhile, Parmar said a huge team of forest personnel was deployed to either trap or kill the leopard in view of deaths of many people in feline attacks in the region.

“We scanned CCTV footage videos as well as pug marks to ensure that we shoot down the man-eater. We will also get an independent analysis done to find remains of human beings, if any, from the intestine and stomach of the dead leopard,” he said.

Parmar said the leopard had killed at least 10 people in nearby areas. “In all, it might have killed 14-15 people in the entire region,” he added.

In its bid to identify the “man-eater leopard”, the Forest department had formed a team of 150 trained personnel and set up 30 cages at different locations to trap and rescue other leopards from the area.

At least 40 leopards have already been caged in Amreli and neighbouring Junagadh districts.

The state government had told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that the total 14 people were killed while 71 others were injured in as many as 80 attacks by leopards in Junagadh and Amreli districts during the last two years, a significant rise than the previous year.

Recently, two persons were killed in a leopard attack on October 25 and December 5 in Munjiyasar village in Bagasara taluka of Amreli district.

A child was mauled to death by the big cat in Rafala village on November 17 while a 60-year-old man was killed in Visavadar taluka in the same district in September.

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India

Citizenship Amendment Bill passage marks victory of bigoted forces: Sonia Gandhi

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Sonia Gandhi in Cong meeting

New Delhi, Dec 11 : Soon after the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesdday, Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi described it as a “dark day” in the constitutional history of the country and said passage of the Bill marks the victory of “narrow minded and bigoted forces” over India’s pluralism.

In a statement, Sonia Gandhi said, “Today marks a dark day in the constitutional history of India. The passage of the CAB marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism.”

Her remarks came soon after the Rajya Sabha passed the CAB that seeks to give Indian nationality to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan though it was vehemently opposed by major opposition parties who described it “against Muslim community”, which the government rejected saying it does not affect the community residing in the country.

The Bill was tabled for discussion in the Upper House by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The CAB was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Hitting out at the government, the Congreess leader said that the Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that the forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a “disturbed, distorted and divided India” where religion will become a determinant of nationhood.

She said the CAB is not just an affront to the eternal principles of equality and religious non-discrimination that have been enshrined in our Constitution, but represents a rejection of an India that would be a free nation for all her people, irrespective of religion, region, caste, creed, language or ethnicity.

Sonia Gandhi further said that in its design, its grave implications, this flawed legislation is antithetical to the “spirit of the freedom movement and violative of the soul of our nation”.

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