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PM KP Sharma Oli opens new fronts of Indo-Nepal disputes

Oli claims that his colleagues are being supported by India even though it is the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yonqi, who has been meeting the who’s who of Kathmandu to keep Oli in power.

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KP Oli Napali PM

New Delhi/Kathmandu, Aug 7 : Needling India further, the K.P. Oli-led Nepal government has started the construction of a helipad at a disputed site in Bihar besides beginning the installation of 360-degree CCTV cameras in a no-man’s land near Uttarakhand along the India-Nepal border.

Official sources said that the Nepal government has started the construction of a helipad near the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in Bihar’s West Champaran district and the installation of CCTV cameras near Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district.

The latest aggression follows the Oli government’s decision to include certain parts of Uttarakhand in its new political map. The Nepalese Parliament passed the New Map Amendment Bill (Coat of Arms) to update its map which shows strategically important Indian areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura as part of Nepal.

Sources in Nepal said that the hostility against India is an outcome of the fact that K.P. Oli wants to continue as the Prime Minister even as his two-and-a-half-year tenure in office is over under a pre-decided power-sharing agreement with his party co-leader and Nepalese Communist Party co-chairman P.K. Dahal, also known as Prachanda.

Backed by senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, Prachanda has been asking Oli to step down both as party chair and Prime Minister. Oli’s opponents within his own party, sources said, feel that Oli has concentrated power even as he is critically ill following a second kidney transplant recently. His Communist colleagues have criticised him for using the nationalistic card against India to ensure that he stays in power.

Oli claims that his colleagues are being supported by India even though it is the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yonqi, who has been meeting the who’s who of Kathmandu to keep Oli in power.

Prime Minister Oli’s political ambitions, which are fanned and backed by the Xi Jinping government in China, has not only strained Nepal’s bilateral relations with India, but have also pitted Nepal as an ally of China against the US in their cold war.

Nepal’s 65 per cent imports come from its civilizational and historical ally India and around 13 per cent from China. Thousands of Nepalese are employed in India because of low job opportunities in Nepal.

Sources said the talks between Oli and Prachanda have remained inconclusive with the former refusing to step down from any of the positions. The Dahal faction is now insisting on its ‘one individual, one post’ policy but Oli remains adamant on being both the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Nepalese Communist Party.

Amid the political crisis, Prime Minister Oli is attempting to build pressure on India by opening several border disputes at the behest of China, sources said.

India

India Offers $100 Million Line of Credit To Sri Lanka For Solar Projects

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

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solar plant at Jamia

Colombo: India has offered a Line of Credit worth $ 100 million to Sri Lanka for three solar projects in the country, according to an official statement.

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

They discussed various issues of mutual interest including ways to expedite progress on bilateral power projects currently under discussion between the two sides.

The Indian envoy also handed over a copy of a letter conveying an offer from India to Sri Lanka for a Line of Credit (LoC) worth $100 million for three solar projects announced during the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference held in March, 2018 in New Delhi, the statement said.

The LoC will cover financing for rooftop solar systems meant for 20,000 households and 1,000 government buildings all across the island. The combined generation capacity of these rooftop systems will be about 60 MW, it said.

The LoC will also provide financing for a floating solar power plant. The implementation of the LoC will begin with the conclusion of an LoC agreement between the two sides, it said.

The Indian High Commissioner conveyed that the $100 million LoC is in line with the national priorities of India and Sri Lanka to enhance the share of solar and renewable energy in overall energy generation, the statement added.

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Politics

A vote to confirm Barrett “is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has put “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

“The American people should make no mistake — a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In Judge Barrett, President Trump has found the deciding vote.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

In an early 2017 law review essay, reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the law in 2012.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”

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Politics

Biden urges US Senate not to confirm Supreme Court nominee before election

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Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden released a statement reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and focused on health care and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden said.

He added that the Senate should not act on the vacancy until after the American people select their next president.

Senate Republicans have outlined a possible confirmation hearing for Barrett that could have her confirmed before Election Day.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. The case is brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

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