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US, Russia developing mini tactical nukes for use in conflicts

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Donald Trump
The Trump administration’s new nuclear arms policy calls for modernizing the US nuclear triad by developing mini “tactical” nukes to counter China and Russia’s growing stockpile of nuclear weapons including the “Status-6 system of a nuclear-armed intercontinental torpedo that has the capability to strike  US coastal cities.

Ensuring its right to protect United States,its allies and partners, Trump expresses its right to use nuclear weapons first through NPR,a 100 page document justifying the need of  a nuclear deterrent strategy in today’s 21st century by identifying the nuclear policies, strategy and corresponding capabilities for a steady action to strengthen its deterrence.

Nuclear Posture Review (NPR 2018) acknowledges Russia of “developing” a “new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo” known as the “Status-6” system-a drone-type device fired underwater that can potentially travel thousands of miles and strike US coastal military bases and cities and cause large zones of radioactive contamination.

After”thorough analysis and careful deliberations, the US military plans to quickly develop and deploy sea launched nuclear missiles to ensure a “prompt response option” to counter this threat.

Assessing the global security environment where countries are aggressively contemplating  neo colonialism, US  unveiled the Nuclear Posture Review that identifies Russia and China as direct  threats to international order as they “have added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenals, increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans, and engaged in increasingly aggressive behaviour”.

It also mentions North Korea continuing its illicit nuclear weapons program and missile capabilities while Iran retains the technological capability to develop a nuclear weapon within one year of deciding to do so.

Another potential threat emanates from non-state actors such as terror groups having capabilities to seize nuclear weapons remains at the forefront.

Thus NPR calls for integration of US nuclear and conventional forces, including training and exercising with these integrated forces, so US forces can fight “in the face of adversary nuclear threats and employment.”

The Pentagon is adamant the Nuclear Posture Review walks the line between maintaining a nuclear deterrence and encouraging controls on nuclear weapons.

“Neither recommendation requires developing new nuclear warheads. Neither will increase the size of our nuclear stockpile. They break no treaty,” said Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan at a Pentagon briefing Friday.

“They align with our non-proliferation commitments. They strengthen American deterrence,” Shanahan said.

Appreciating  and expressing readiness to closely cooperate with the United States, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said “Japan highly appreciates the latest NPR which clearly articulates the U.S. resolve to ensure the effectiveness of its deterrence and its commitment to providing extended deterrence to its allies including Japan,
in light of the international security environment which has been rapidly worsened since the release of the previous 2010 NPR, in particular, by continued development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”

US, Russia tensions have extended to confrontational level so much so that Trump administration has named Russia a “rival power,” and decided to give Ukraine anti-tank weapons to help in its fight against Moscow-backed militias.

Washington has accused Moscow for interference in America’s election, destabilizing activities in eastern Ukraine,
intentionally violating de-confliction agreements in Syria, the continued illegal occupation of Crimea, and Russia’s continued violation of other arms control agreements like the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

While Russia has joined us in strategic reductions, including the ongoing implementation of the New START treaty, Moscow retains a large stockpile of non-strategic nuclear weapons and continues to modernize those, as well as its strategic systems.

Under START, both US and Russia may deploy no more than 1,550 strategic offensive nuclear weapons, and deploy no more than 700 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. The new START will expire in 2021.

The Deployment of the long-range nuclear-capable missile by Russia threatens the US and Nato and violates an international arms treaty which  Trump states as Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical ambitions.

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) calls for developing smaller, low-yield nuclear weapons to deter Russia. The strategy would challenge the view that U.S. nuclear weapons are too big to be used and therefore no longer an effective deterrent.

“We cannot afford to let [the U.S. nuclear arsenal] become obsolete,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said at the Pentagon.

North Korea slammed President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and said its nuclear capabilities would “deter Trump and his lackeys from showing off on the Korean peninsula.”

In his address last week,  Trump said that “no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.”

“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies,”  Trump said.

“If Trump does not get rid of his anachronistic and dogmatic way of thinking, it will only bring about the consequence of further endangering security and future of the United States,” the official said, in comments carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

US President Donald Trump’s nuclear posture will accelerate the nuclear arms race among the world powers and there is a great risk that nuclear warheads could be used in the event of any conflict.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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Who is Murari Lal Jalan, the ‘mysterious’ buyer of Jet Airways?

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Jet Airways

New Delhi: The consortium of Kalrock Capital and Murari Lal Jalan won the bid to revive Jet Airways but not much is known about how Jalan made his riches and how he plans to revive the airline.

According to a report in Marketfeed: “According to many in the business world, Murari Lal Jalan is a very mysterious man. There is not much information about how he was able to create all his wealth.”

“He has always kept a very low profile, and is not popular among the business communities in India or abroad. Totally inexperienced in the field, he has confused a lot of people as to how he was able to enter into the airline industry,” it said.

In the 1980s, Jalan started working at his family’s paper trading business in Kolkata. He also worked as a trader for JK Paper and Ballarpur Industries, which were once big paper manufacturing companies.

In 2003, he wanted to expand his paper business, and acquired Kolkata-based Kanoi Paper and Industries. He renamed it Agio Paper, and it currently has a manufacturing facility in Bilaspur (Chattisgarh).

However, in 2010, the paper company faced a lawsuit from government agencies, for pollution-related issues, and its production activities have been suspended since then, as per the report. “So almost his whole career, his focus was on the paper industry and even that did not end well either,” it said.

Jalan then began plans to enter the real estate and healthcare sector.

“In 2015, he approached Dr. Naresh Trehan and Associates Health Services. He went on to acquire a stake in the company for Rs 75 crore, through a secondary share sale transaction. A secondary sale means that Jalan bought-out the shares from an existing stockholder. Around the same time as the acquisition, Dr. Trehan’s Medanta Hospital had plans to establish a hospital in Dubai, with the help of Jalan. Unfortunately, this plan was not implemented,” Marketfeed reported.

Once Jalan moved his base to the UAE, he quickly expanded to sectors such as real estate, mining, fast-moving consumer goods, and construction. He was chairman of the Agio Image group, which sold and distributed photographic and consumer products of well-known companies such as Sony, Panasonic, and Konica.

He also established a real estate development company, MJ Developers. The firm has its headquarters in Dubai, but its main businesses span over countries such as Russia, Brazil, and India. MJ Developers is currently engaged in developing residential and commercial properties in Uzbekistan.

Jalan had partnered with his own family relatives to set up Patanjali India Distribution Ltd. The report says that documents from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs state that this company would be involved in trading, export, distribution, and marketing of milk products and health foods. The list of products also included herbal medicines and ayurvedic cosmetic items.

“Regardless of these claims, the company never opened, and the founders never looked back on it. We do know that Patanjali Ayurved is owned by the yoga guru, Baba Ramdev. However, it is not clear whether the two companies are linked in some way,” the report said.

Some may question as to why there was a sudden need for Jalan to enter into the airline field. Many have suspicions whether this deal would really help the airline to bring back its former glory, the report said.

Jalan, however, said: “Jet Airways is a renowned Indian aviation company with a strong legacy. The aviation sector underwent substantial correction on account of Covid-19 and created an opportune time to enter the sector. Our vision for Jet Airways is to operate the carrier as a full-service airline, both domestic and international.”

But, as per the report: “The point to be noted here is that Jalan has no expertise in this particular sector. However, the management team of Kalrock does have the essential experience from cargo and logistics management through past deals.”

“But now, a major doubt remains to be answered – how was Jalan able to create all this wealth and expand his business to such a large magnitude? We have seen that his initial business in the paper manufacturing industry had failed. Also, when Jalan moved to the UAE, he was not able to contribute effectively towards the implementation of projects in the healthcare sector. He created a company in India that was never launched. Moreover, the fact that most business people don’t know about him, makes everything all the more suspicious. All these facts make us feel very unsure and doubtful about his new deal with Jet Airways,” it said.

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Will work with JPC to set record straight on data privacy: Amazon

Google and Paytm too have been asked to appear before the committee on October 29.

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Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO

New Delhi: Amazon, which has refused to appear before a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) next week, said on Friday that its position on the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 has been “misconstrued” and the e-commerce giant would work with “the JPC to set the record straight”.

The online retail giant is scheduled to appear before the committee on October 28.

In a statement shared with IANS, an Amazon spokesperson said that they have the utmost respect and regard for the important work being done by the JPC on the PDP Bill.

“We have already offered our written submissions for consideration of this august committee. We will continue to engage in any way the JPC considers fit,” the spokesperson said.

“The inability of our experts to travel from overseas due to travel restrictions and depose before the JPC during the ongoing pandemic may have been misconstrued and led to a misunderstanding,” the spokesperson added.

Sources suggest that the committee, which has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha, is of the unanimous opinion that if Amazon representatives indeed fail to show up on October 28, “appropriate actions” can be initiated against the US business giant.

However, there is no clarity so far, as far as the nature of “appropriate actions” is concerned.

Apart from Amazon, companies such as Twitter and Facebook have also been summoned.

Google and Paytm too have been asked to appear before the committee on October 29.

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Urgent need to rationalise weights under retail inflation: Report

“Clearly, the inflation numbers based on a broken CPI methodology hides more things than it reveals and RBI will be constrained in its policy decisions, an irony in itself!”

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Inflation

New Delhi, Oct 23 : There is an urgent need to rationalise the weights under retail inflation, a SBI Ecowrap report said on Friday.

According to the report, inflation numbers based on a broken CPI methodology hides more things than it reveals.

Consequently, the headline inflation constrains the RBI in its policy decisions.

“With the recent changes in CPI (IW), we again raise questions on the validity of continuing with existing weights in Headline CPI,” the report said.

The weighting pattern of food items in CPI, at 45.86 per cent, is based on 2011-12 Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES).

This is significantly different from the share of food and beverages (30 per cent) in the ‘Private Final Consumption Expenditure’ published by the National Account Statistics (NAS).

“Against such a backdrop, we again reiterate there is urgent need to rationalise the weights under CPI,” the report said.

“If we provisionally calculate the new CPI by looking at revised weights of CPI (IW) with 2016 as the base and logically assuming the same trend in CPI, we find that the weights of food in CPI could decline by at least as much as 6 per cent, thus shaving of 50 basis points from current headline CPI at 7.34 per cent.”

Such rebasing of CPI, the report pointed out, also finds mention in MPC minutes.

“However, the weights of services could jump by at least 7 per cent through the postulated increase in service consumption pushing up the weighted contribution of miscellaneous inflation by 42 basis points,” the Ecowrap said.

“Thus, the overall impact will depend on the strength of food and services, though the bottomline is the revised hypothetical CPI is more representative of demand pressures as weights of services and food could be almost in equal proportion.”

However, the report cited that CPI is drawn from “CES and such survey is still pending since 2017”.

“Adding to woes, the Oct’ 20 CPI inflation will be more than 7 per cent due to unexpected rains in major part of the country,” it said.

“Clearly, the inflation numbers based on a broken CPI methodology hides more things than it reveals and RBI will be constrained in its policy decisions, an irony in itself!”

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