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NATO summit: Europe skeptical about Tillerson-Russia meet

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Trump weighs lifting Russia sanctions

It is still uncertain if US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends North Atlantic Treaty organisation (NATO) summit which is scheduled for 5-6 April 2017 and there is still more anxiety among the allies of United States about the Trump’s administration commitment to the 70 years old alliance because at the same time he will be meeting China’s core leader  and Russian authorities.

It is also speculated that NATO foreign ministers have rescheduled the meeting on March 31 to accommodate the US secretary of State. As US plays a leading role in the alliance its presence is therefore incumbent.

There exists unanswered questions about how Trump will reconcile his desire to have better ties with Moscow and at the same time support NATO which aims at securing Europe against the growing Russian threat especially in the context of Baltic region.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to visit Trump at his Florida golf resort in 6-7 April and Tillerson will also be attending that meeting.

The two important summits of NATO and US-Russia meet  come after Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting with Donald Trump, US President after summing up the meet,took to twitter  to claim that germany owes ” vast sums of money to NATO and the United States” reminding his allies that US allies will have to foot their bills for their security.

During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Merkel, Trump reiterated the US commitment to NATO but said allies must pay their fare share for defence.

Moreover The relationship between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Michael Flynn with Russia will also cast shadows and create distrust and suspicion in the European alliance.

Nato Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said that NATO is adopting to adapting to the change circumstances  and has transformed itself to meet the challenges of the world including Islamic State terrorism. Hungarian troops will be deployed to the Baltics in 2017 and support the alliance Multinational Framework Brigade in Romania as part of Forward Presence in the Black Sea region.

NATO considers Baltic Sea region the coming target of Russia’s aggression. Russia has meantime announced its intention to maintain a military presence in the Atlantic Ocean. According to Russia’s Maritime Doctrine, The Atlantic regional direction encompasses the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Azov Sea and the Mediterranean.

On the issue of Paying for the alliance, all NATO countries including Germany have committed  to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024 and 5 out of 28 NATO countries agree to do so. Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that Romania is on track to spend 2% target in 2017 while Lithuania and Latvia are expected to follow suit by 2018.

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By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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Royal Orchid announces the opening of group’s newest hotel in Nashik

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 Royal Orchid Hotels, the fastest growing hospitality chain in India today announced the opening of its new hotel in Nashik named ‘Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village’. Nashik popularly known as the wine capital of the country has gained immense popularity among the tourist in India.

Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village, with 32 rooms offers boutique accommodation with varied dining and banquet facilities. The glorious property will give travelers a mesmerizing experience and contemporary luxury.

On-site amenities at the hotel include a completely refreshed restaurant, a winery, a state-of-the-art fitness center and outdoor pool, as well as a business centre, and spa services. The hotel has a wide range of facilities that let the guests choose from various room categories designed in keeping the touch of the city with elegance and relaxing atmosphere.

Located in the northern part of the state of Maharashtra, Nashik is developing as a lively city with a blend of the ancient and modern touches attracting tourists from across the country. The city has numerous forts, temples, historic sites as well as a home to industries. The city offers green pastures, mountains and tours of the wine yard.

The most important attraction of the city includes Vineyards and Hindu temples situated in and around Nashik. May it be an important corporate event or a business meet or a simple getaway to explore nature and feel the essence of spirituality, Regenta Resort Soma Vine Village allows enormous options to its guests. The guests can experience the beauty and culture of Nasik just by availing one of the several facilities that the hotel provides to its patrons.

Chander K. Baljee, Managing Director, Royal Orchid Hotels said, “The hotel is the perfect complement to our recently refreshed Regenta portfolio of hotels across India. We are taking continuous steps towards expanding our presence all over India. The new hotel in Nasik is one such move towards achieving our aim. The government push toward tourism sector is giving us the much needed enthusiasm to go aggressive in adding new properties to our bouquet. Going forward we will continue to add more properties to both-explored and unexplored tourist destinations”

By now we have added eight properties – Mysore, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, Kanpur, Dwarka, Indore, Pushkar and now Nasik in the current fiscal year taking the number to 49 hotels. We will continue our efforts in expanding our presence all over India”.

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Nationalism of Narendra Modi is under question

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The economic bungling by Jeweller Nirav Modi, Business tycoon Vijay Mallya  and Lalit Modi has put a serious  question mark on the nationalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His conspicuous silence on  India’s largest banking fraud to the tune of Rs 11,400-crore and still counting is shocking as he repeatedly claimed to have won the huge mandate on the basis of giving achhe din to the people of India but crony capitalists have escaped India with taxpayers’ money and there is no clarification from Narendra Modi who has taken the voter for a ride.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi  to speak on  the Nirav Modi and Rafale scams rather than seeking suggestions for his Mann Ki Baat programme from the general public.

The intentions of Modi government are also conspicuous when the central government  opposed a plea seeking an independent Special Investigation team ( SIT )probe and deportation of billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi in the Supreme Court,citing an FIR has already been filed and that a probe was on.

The Supreme Court has already admitted the PIL, filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud and has now been listed for further hearing on March 16.The PIL has made Punjab National Bank, Reserve Bank of India and the ministries of finance and law and justice as parties.

Modi has been touring the world citing that his government is enhancing the status of India as an investor friendly country and where there is an ease of doing business. On the contrary, his reforms of demonetisation and GST has benefitted selected Business people having links with the ruling party and crony capitalists and general public has been made to bear the burnt. The economic frauds have dented the image of India globally and these types of  incidents would amplify questions about distress in the country’s financial sector reeling under bad loans.

What type of image is being projected when the  picture in which billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is seen with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Davos where the 48th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum took place  from 23 to 26 January 2018. The summit was attended by world’s leading figures .

On January 31, PNB filed a case of “criminal conspiracy and cheating” against the gem trader, members of his family and others two weeks ago alleging a 2.8 billion indian rupee ($44m) fraud.

The Modi government is busy creating eyewash by deploying agencies to probe the scandal  and the Central Bureau of Investigation  on Tuesday arrested five senior executives in connection with the multi-crore PNB fraud including Vipul Ambani (President, Finance, Firestar International/Diamonds group), Kavita Mankikar (executive assistant and authorised signatory of 3 accused firms), Arjun Patil (senior executive, Firestar group), Kapil Khandelwal (CFO, Nakshatra and Gitanjali group) and Niten Shahi (Manager, Gitanjali).

Modi asked people of India in 2014 to vote out corrupt UPA regime then how he and his government is defending the scandals that have occurred under his tenure of just four years . Modi is even trying to bring back the culprits to India .

The question should be asked to the ministers of Modi government what type of nationalism they carry with them when they do not value the life of Indian citizens ,when Dalits are being thrashed ,security personnel get killed on the border when our ruling political class provokes the enemy country just to showoff the Indian voter (woo voters) that they are superior than other political parties. Modi should have strengthened  the country militarily, economically and cohesively as an answer to the huge mandate given by the voters on trust.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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Arun Jaitley blames Auditors, Management for failing to detect PNB scam

PM Modi cannot afford to campaign in 2018 and 2019 elections on giving corrupt free government as massive scams are coming to light and government is assisting capitalists to run away with taxpayers’ money.

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Arun Jaitley

After five days,Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quick to blame the PNB management and auditors for the Nirav Modi’s Rs. 11,300 crore fraud. It is pertinent to remind Jaitley that Dr Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister was charged for being responsible for the 1992 Harshad Mehta scam, therefore in the present context Finance Minister Jaitley cannot acquit himself of the eroding credibility of India’s banking system that has a direct cost on the country and the taxpayer and an indirect cost on borrowings and development as well.

Finance Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot absolve their constitutional and democratic responsibility for the enormous scale of the scam which has many dimensions including fake bank guarantees or letters of Understanding.

Firms associated with Nirav Modi got fake LoUs from the Punjab National Bank (PNB), which is distributed to other banks stationed overseas seeking credit.The fraudulent transactions worth Rs 11,400 crore by Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi has embarrassed the government that claims to provide scam-free governance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot afford to campaign in 2018 and 2019 elections on giving corrupt free government as massive scams are coming to light and government is assisting capitalists to run away with taxpayers’ money.

PM Modi’s silence is amazingly stunning as he is not at all worried about India’s economy,one of the country’s biggest bank frauds, security and other problems of the common man but is rather living in his own false world and brags of giving good governance , acche din and Mann ki Baat where he continues on giving one sided communication.

Modi has fielded Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Education Minister Prakash Javadekar  to defend the government and clean the blot that could not have taken place without “top leadership involvement”.

Modi should step down for the financial fraud as 293 letters of undertaking (LoU), many letters of credit (LC), were issued during March, April and May 2017. Trying to hide failures of NDA government, the centre has sought the aid of seven agencies (Enforcement Directorate, Interpol, Central Bureau of Investigation, Income Tax department, Central Vigilance Commission,Ministry of Corporate Affairs) both at home and abroad to investigate the entire scam and investigators are conducting t searches at PNB branches and Nirav Modi’s properties.

Modi even claimed that his government had deregistered over 3 lakh dormant and shell companies listed with the Registrar of Companies but How is it possible that the ministry of Corporate affairs failed to identify the 200 shell companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi which the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate found to have been used to invest the Rs 11,400 crore of fraudulently obtained money.

The Indian banking sector is already struggling under the weight of bad loans or the NPAs valued as high as $150bn. and the government recently announced it would inject $32bn into the sector to help banks clean up their books, but analysts have questioned whether the money is enough without reforming the banks themselves. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also diverting the attention by saying that the Nirav Modi scam occurred during UPA regime and trying to accuse the Opposition for their failure to detect scams.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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