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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam accuses US of ‘double standards’ over protests

According to local lawyers and activists, the legislation could curtail the freedoms enjoyed by the semi-autonomous city.

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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam

Hong Kong, June 2 : Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday accused the US government of double standards when addressing the pro-democratic protests that occurred in the Asian city and the current protests against racism across American.

“We now see how local authorities are handling the revolts in the US, compared to the position they took last year when almost the same riots occurred in Hong Kong,” Lam said during her weekly press conference.

The controversial Hong Kong leader spread this accusation to other foreign governments, although she did not give names: “They are very concerned about their own national security, but about our national security… They see it through tinted glasses,” Efe news reported.

On Monday, the US was still mired in protests and riots, despite the curfews declared in the major cities, a week since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in the city of Minneapolis.

Last week, US President Donald Trump had ordered to start a process to finalize Hong Kong”s preferred trade status.

In this regard, Lam was of the opinion that it would not benefit either party and proove more harmful to both.

This latest decision by Trump is a response to the approval by the Chinese legislature of a controversial national security law for Hong Kong that aims, very broadly, to eradicate any loophole of “foreign interference” in the former British colony and that was endorsed last Thursday by China.

The law could allow Chinese security forces to operate freely in Hong Kong and carry out enforcement techniques such as those commonly practiced in mainland China.

According to local lawyers and activists, the legislation could curtail the freedoms enjoyed by the semi-autonomous city.

–IANS

India

Congress raises issue of students in US affected by change in policy

According to the IIE, F-1 students participate in academic course work while M-1 students are students of ”vocational course work.

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Abhishek Manu Singhvi

New Delhi, July 8 : After the US Department of Immigration and Custom Enforcement said that students whose classes are going completely online will not be issued visas for the next semester nor will such students be allowed to stay, the Congress has lashed out at the government for not paying heed to the sufferings of these students.

The Congress said the government should have settled the issue with their “so called friend Donald Trump.”

The US had more than one million international students enrolled in various graduate and undergraduate programmes in 2018-19, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). That”s about 5.5 percent of the total student community in the country.

Out of these, nearly three-quarters were from Asia – 48 percent Chinese and 26 percent Indians.

According to the IIE, F-1 students participate in academic course work while M-1 students are students of ”vocational course work.

The Congress has also hit out at the government over the law passed in Kuwait which can make 8.5 lakh Indians jobless in the country.

Kuwait has approved the draft of a migrant quota bill and 8 lakh Indians may have to leave the country. The Indian community is the largest expatriate community in Kuwait, with a total population of about 1.45 million. Kuwait has a population of 4.3 million.

Congress Spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi asked what was the government doing when such a law was passed while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting these states frequently.

The party alleged that 120 million jobs were lost in April due to the lockdown imposed to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

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India

RGF has nothing to hide, why holy cows not questioned: Congress

The official said that a Special Director of the Enforcement Directorate will head the committee.

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Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

New Delhi, July 8 : After the Centre set up an inter-ministerial committee to probe alleged violations of legal provisions by the Gandhi family”s Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, the Congress on Wednesday hit back saying the RGF had nothing to hide.

Party Senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “RGF has nothing to fear, you have every ”yantra” and ”tantra”, we are here as law abiding persons.”

“But you have to be ”exposed fully”, you are not asking similar questions to any holy cows, like the Vivekananda Foundation, India Foundation, the Overseas Friends of the BJP and for that matter the RSS,” said Singhvi.

He said, “Whose blue eyed boys and girls are these organisations, which are never asked anything.”

Singhvi said, “There are two laws, for that matter there were many sets of rules for different entities for the government.”

Singhvi said the RGF was not going to be cowed down and will continue its work as an NGO and was prepared to give truckloads of papers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs constituted committee will coordinate investigations into the violation of provisions like the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Income Tax Act and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by these foundations, a Home Ministry Spokesperson tweeted on Wednesday.

The official said that a Special Director of the Enforcement Directorate will head the committee.

The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was established on June 21, 1991. The foundation works on a range of issues, including literacy, health, disability, empowerment of the underprivileged, livelihood and natural resource management. Its current focus areas are education, disability and natural resource management.

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi is the Chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram are members of the board.

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India

Kerala gold smuggling: Brother not in talking terms with accused Swapna Suresh

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from the US on Wednesday, her brother Bright Suresh said that was not in talking terms with Swapna.

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Kerala gold smuggling

Thiruvananthapuram, July 8 : Swapna Suresh, the high-profile lady who moved in the corridors of power, rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty in Kerala, was reportedly not in talking terms with her elder brother.

Swapna Suresh, a consultant with the Kerala IT department, is reportedly on the run after her name came up in the investigation into the gold smuggling scandal, which links her with top smugglers operating from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel from the US on Wednesday, her brother Bright Suresh said that was not in talking terms with Swapna.

“We are three siblings, and I am the eldest one. We were all in the UAE and when I turned 17, I left for the the US from where I graduated. Now I am settled in the US and work with a telecom company. Swapna is the second sibbling while our youngest brother is settled in India,” said Suresh.

Their parents are settled in the suburbs of the state capital.

“When I went home a few years back, she had threatened me and warned me that if I didn’t return to the US, my hands and legs will be chopped. She was upset because she felt that I would get a share of the property, which she didn’t want. Me and my brother occasionally speak, and that’s it. I interact with my mother. My parents will decide on the property. I earn my own living,” said Suresh.

On Sunday, the Air Customs attached to the Thiruvananthapuram airport had seized 30 kg gold that arrived on a cargo flight and was kept in a warehouse for release. The baggage had arrived from Dubai and is understood to have been marked to the UAE Consulate which has its office in the heart of the state capital.

The Consulate’s PRO, Sarith, has been arrested, while the prime suspect in the smuggling racket, Swapna, a woman who wears many hats, is on the run. She also happens to be close to the ruling Left Democratic Front government in the state.

She had worked in the Consulate office here for a while and was in good terms with Sarith.

It was only after the arrest of Sarith that the revelations turned murky as Swapna, who is presently a consultant with the Kerala IT department, was very close to senior IAS officer and Secretary to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, M. Sivasankar, who was also the IT Secretary.

With both the Congress and the BJP demanding that Vijayan should come clean, Sivasankar was on Tuesday removed from his office as well as from the post of IT Secretary.

Sivasankar later applied for a year”s leave, which has been sanctioned.

With the case getting huge media attention, the Union government has taken it up at the highest level, even as Vijayan on Tuesday night said that he was ready to face any probe.

“We have no say in the matter. We are ready to face any probe and the Centre can decide which agency should probe the matter,” said Vijayan.

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