14:55 Trump might be the dimmest President the US has ever had: President Donald Trump does not read — except in small doses and when his own name appears prominently. Prior to the presidency, his only activities were work and golf. He does not mingle with intellectuals, cultural trend-setters or artists.
It should come as no surprise – and it has not – that he is sorely lacking in sophistication, knowledge of the world, understanding of government and a rudimentary grasp of economics.
Sitting atop arguably the great resource on the planet – the body of knowledge retained by American government experts on everything from economics to medicine to military history – he remains blissfully ignorant on a range of subjects.
He surrounds himself with dim yes men who know little more than he and, in any event, tremble at the prospect of correcting their “Dear Leader.” But sometimes you wonder whether Trump is just, well, dumb.
The Independent lacerates Trump. Do read
14:38 Donald Trump poisons the world: This week, two of Donald Trump’s top advisers, HR McMaster and Gary Cohn, wrote the following passage in The Wall Street Journal: “The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a ‘global community’ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage.”
That sentence is the epitome of the Trump project. It asserts that selfishness is the sole driver of human affairs. It grows out of a worldview that life is a competitive struggle for gain. It implies that cooperative communities are hypocritical covers for the selfish jockeying underneath. Read more
14:18 Centre confident of 7.5% growth by March 2018: Panagariya : Economic Adviser Arvind Panagariya on Friday said that India’s economic growth is expected to pick up to 7.5 per cent by March 2018, as the government has sustained eight per cent growth rate over the next two years.
“Lot of good things have happened in the presence of the current Government. Inflation has come down nearly three percent, Current Account Deficit (CAD) lowered around one percent and the growth has restored,” Arvind Panagariya said, while sharing the future projections for the Indian economy.
“In terms of reforms, the GST has been the biggest tax reform after the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Act, which is very important for the growth of the country,” added Panagariya.
Adding to this he said the address of the Non-performing assets by the govt. will see substantial growth in the next few months.
Further to this, he announced the launch programmes, which take place for the next few months. He announced execution of two documents that will include the action agenda for next three years, apart from the other documents that will include the strategy and vision of the next 15 years of the Government.
“Under the objective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we are making an effort to bring about an agricultural marketing reform to double the farmers income,” he announced.
However, his comments come days after the data that showed India’s annual economic growth slipping unexpectedly to 6.1 percent in the January-March quarter, its lowest in more than two years.
Former RCA president Lalit Modi’s son Ruchir was fighting the election against the senior Congress leader, who has also been an ex-president, for the top post. Joshi got 19 votes against Ruchir Modi’s 14 votes.
13:39 I eat beef, nothing wrong with it, says BJP’s Arunachal CM: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP leader Pema Khandu on Friday opposed the Union government notification which put a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter.
Khandu told CNN-News18 that the Centre would have to relook the sale of cattle for slaughter ban in consultation with states. “I consume beef myself. There is nothing wrong with that,” he added.
However, he said that the Narendra Modi-led government was sensitive one and senior BJP leader and minister, Venkaiah Naidu, has issued a statement that he would hold consultations with states and relook the ban on cattle sale.
“Not just Arunachal, the northeast as whole is tribal dominated who are mostly non-vegetarian,’ Khandu said.
The gazette notification by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change was issued in May. Titled Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, it stated that no one can bring cattle to an animal market unless he or she has furnished a written declaration that the cattle will not be sold for the purpose of slaughter.
The notification has led to widespread protests, especially from Kerala and West Bengal where the Chief Ministers, Pinarayi Vijayan and Mamata Banerjee respectively, issued strong statements against the ban.
In Tamil Nadu, it led to violence in IIT-Madras where Sooraj, a PhD scholar, was attacked by alleged right-wing activists for a ‘Beef Fest’ in protest against the notification.
12:55 Superstar culture afflicts BCCI, writes Ram Guha in resignation letter from panel: Historian Ramachandra Guha, appointed by the Supreme Court as one of the four administrators of the BCCI, on Thursday, informed the court that he had resigned from the post due to personal reasons.
A vacation bench of Justices M M Shantanagoudar and Deepak Gupta was informed by Guha’s counsel that he had tendered his resignation on May 28 to Vinod Rai, Chairman of the Committee of Administrators of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
In the strongly-worded letter, addressed to Rai, Guha expresses his displeasure about the way current coach Anil Kumble is being treated.
The way in which the contract of Anil Kumble, the current head coach of the senior team, has been handled. The Indian teams record this past season has been excellent; and even if the players garner the bulk of the credit, surely the head coach and his support staff also get some. In a system based on justice and merit, the head coachs term would have been extended. Instead, Kumble was left hanging, and then told the post would be re-advertised afresh, Guha wrote to Rai, quotes CricketNext which is in possession of the letter.
Guha also wrote on the CoAs failure to address a conflict of interest issue. He said national coaches have been neglecting the national team at the cost of IPL. He cites the instance of Delhi Daredevils coach Rahul Dravid who is also in charge of the India A and India Junior team. Guha points out that BCCI contracted commentator Sunil Gavaskar despite he being head of a player management company.
Guha lashes out at the ‘superstar culture’ in the BCCI writing: … The superstar culture that afflicts the BCCI means that the more famous the player (former or present) the more leeway he is allowed in violating norms and procedures. (Dhoni was captain of the Indian team while holding a stake in a firm that represented some current India players.) This must stop and only we can stop it.”
12:39 ED files money laundering case to probe Bihar toppers scam: The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case to probe alleged irregularities in the 2016 Bihar toppers scam case related to the state school examination board. Officials said the agency has booked a criminal case against a total of eight people, including former Bihar School Examination Board chairman and four principals, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The central probe agency took cognisance of a Bihar Police FIR and the findings of the Special Investigation Team to register its own Enforcement Case Information Report, the ED equivalent of a police FIR. They said the agency will probe the possible ‘proceeds of crime’ generated by the accused and the alleged subsequent creation of illegal wealth by them.
The scam had rocked Bihar in June last year after Ruby Rai (pictured), a student of Vishun Roy College in Vaishali district who had topped in the arts category, failed to answer basic questions and went on to describe political science as prodigal science that taught cooking. Embarrassed by the irregularities, the state government had ordered a SIT probe in the matter.
12:24 Can’t recall a time when Muslims were suspected en masse of being unpatriotic: Naseeruddin : “Never before in our country have rational statements of concern and pleas for peace, not only from Muslims, been interpreted as cowardly or seditious. It is almost as if the day was being awaited when this could be done. A Facebook post quoting Einstein’s warning about nuclear warfare received a few likes but the fair share of abuse and vilification of Islam it also got stumped me. I was even warned “not to poke your nose in matters that don’t concern you’! That the survival of the human race does not concern me was indeed news. Evidently, as a Muslim, it should not be my concern to urge India and Pakistan not to hurt each other and if I did I was pro-Pak, “because we are going to bomb the shit out of them’ proclaimed one desi troll whose ideal obviously is the Donald.”
Naseeruddin Shah, one of India’s finest actors, is trending for all the right reasons. His interview to the Hindustan Times, is a must read.
12:06 Game of Thrones’ India connection: Saurabh Mahajan, a former Indian Army officer, is making history in medieval battles grounds. Rediff.com’s Archana Masih meets the man who supplies vintage armour and war props to Game of Thrones, Assassin’s Creed, The Hobbit and knights in shining armour to the Tower of London. Read the story here.
The trial of the surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur near here at around 9.50 am, official sources said.
The trial of the sophisticated missile was successful and the mission objectives were met, they said. The Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines. It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target with precision and accuracy.
The state-of-the-art missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the entire launch activities were carried out by the specially formed strategic force command and monitored by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation as part of training exercise, a DRDO scientist said.
11:53 Body count goes up to 36 in Philippines casino tragedy: Thirty-six bodies were found inside a casino in the Philippine capital today after a masked man burst in with an automatic rifle and set fire to a gaming room, authorities said, but insisted it was not a terrorist attack.
Dozens of others were injured in a stampede as they rushed to leave Resorts World Manila, which is across a road from the Philippines’ main international airport, after the man fired what police said was an M4 assault rifle and started the fire around midnight. The burnt body of the gunman was found in a hotel room inside the complex about five hours later, police chief Ronald dela Rosa said. Dela Rosa said the gunman only fired at a television screen and did not take aim at any people.
But police later reported finding 36 bodies in the casino who they said died from inhaling smoke that had become toxic because of the carpet on the gaming room floors.
“The victims who suffered from suffocation went up to 36,” Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters. The gunman initially disappeared into the chaos of smoke and running people, leading to a manhunt through the complex that ended just after dawn when he was found dead in a hotel room, according to Dela Rosa.
“He lay down on the bed, covered himself with a thick blanket, apparently poured petrol on the blanket and burned himself,” Dela Rosa said. Before the gunman had been killed and police had confirmed any motive, there was an unconfirmed claim of responsibility from the Islamic State group. US President Donald Trump also branded it a “terrorist attack”.
Albayalde also said that the gunman appeared to be a foreigner. But he and Dela Rosa insisted it was most likely a robbery gone wrong, saying the man did not shoot at anyone and appeared to be intent just on stealing gambling chips.
11:32 GDP slump: Chidambaram slams Centre for ‘ridiculing’ Manmohan’s suggestions: Following the release of the GDP and Gross Value Added figures for 2016-17 showing the sliding of the economy by 1.3 percent, former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Friday trained his guns on the Centre for ridiculing the suggestions of former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Reiterating his view, Chidambaram dubbed demonetisation as the biggest scam of 2016.
“The Central Statistical Organisation has released the GDP GVA figures for 2016-17. Finally, the bluff of the Government is called. The economy was slowing down in the middle of 2016 and we had cautioned the Government that unless it takes corrective steps, the economy will slide further. Instead of taking corrective steps, the Government decided to demonetise high-value currency. Suddenly, without any warning, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 were declared legal tender and something like Rs. 14.5-15 lakh crore was pulled out of money supply,” Chidambaram told ANI.
Chidambaram slammed the Government for ignoring his and former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s suggestions on the same, and instead ridiculing them.
“Immediately, we (Manmohan Singh, I) had cautioned that this was a wrong move and it will gravely affect the Indian economy. I had said that the hit to economy will be between 1-1.5 percent. We were laughed at, the Government ridiculed us. Now, what’s the truth. The CSO has said that the economy has taken a hit of 1.3 percent. Right in the middle of the range I had given. That’s going to cost the country Rs. 1.5 lakh crore,” Chidambaram said.
Recalling the ill-effects demonetisation brought upon the country, the Congress leader said millions of people, agricultural workers, daily wage earners, self-employed people were put to misery.
11:28 Nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile successfully test-fired from Odisha.
The second tremor of 3.2 intensity was also felt in Rohtak at 8:13 am at a depth of 10 km. There were no immediate reports of any loss of lives or damage to property.
11:10 Telangana dy CM faints on formation day celebrations : Telangana’s Deputy CM Kadiyam Srihari faints during the Telangana Formation Day celebrations in Warangal. The Telangana government has lined up a slew of programmes to coincide with the third anniversary of formation of the State, starting with the ceremonial parade to be reviewed by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
10:54 Mortal remains of Sukhoi pilot killed in Tezpur crash reaches home: The mortal remains of Flight Lieutenant S Achudev reaches his residence in Trivandrum’s Pongumoodu.
The flight lieutenant along with Squadron leader D Pankaj were killed on May 23, when their Sukhoi-30 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from the Tezpur airbase in Assam.
The wreckage was located near Arunachal Pradeshs Doulasang area only three days later.
The pilots were believed to have died as they were unable to initiate the ejection process, say reports.
Indian Air Force sources said the aircraft went off the radar at 11.10 am, about 40 minutes after it took off from the Tezpur airbase. The pilots were on a routine training mission as part of a two-aircraft formation.
A search-and-rescue operation was launched when the aircraft failed to return.
10:30 Macron responds to US climbdown: Make our planet great again: French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a take-down of President Trump’s new climate policy, calling his decision a ‘mistake’ that threatens the world — not long after a phone call where Trump told him about America’s ‘strong record’ on the environment.’
“Wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility. Make our planet great again. Thank you,” Macron said at the end of videotaped remarks released as counter-programming immediately following the president’s Rose Garden speech announcing the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate accord. Read more
10:28 Sensex, Nifty hit lifetime highs : Markets resumed their record-setting spree to hit fresh lifetime highs in opening trade today on sustained buying amid positive global cues. BSE Sensex, which had lost 21.81 points in the past two sessions, bounced back by 194.97 points, or 0.62 per cent to trade at 31,332.56, breaching its previous record high of 31,255.28 touched on May 31.
All the sectoral indices, led by healthcare, metal, auto, teck and oil & gas were trading in the positive zone with gains up to 0.86 per cent.
The 50-share NSE Nifty recovered by 57.40 points, or 0.59 per cent, to quote at its lifetime high of 9,673.50. The gauge had touched an intra-day high of 9,649.60 on May 31. Stocks of auto majors including Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hero MotoCorp and Tata Motors were in demand and rose by up to 1.90 per cent on the back of strong May sales data.
Other gainers in the Sensex pack were Adani Ports, NTPC, Cipla, TCS, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints, Bharti Airtel, Lupin, Coal India, ITC Ltd, Dr Reddy’s and SBI during initial trade.
10:16 Paris climate deal: Obama accuses Trump of rejecting the future: Former US President Barack Obama lamented the decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate accord saying the deal was meant to “protect the world we leave to our children.”
Accusing Trump for “rejecting the future” by pulling out of the Paris climate deal, the former president warned that the US would risk missing out on the economic benefits of being a part of the Paris agreement, CNN reported.
Obama’s office released the statement in the middle of Trump’s Rose Garden announcement that the US would be withdrawing from the landmark climate pact.
“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” read the statement.
Adding, “This Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future.”
Obama said the US “should be at the front of the pack” when it came to lowering emissions and developing green technology.
“For the nations that committed themselves to that future, the Paris Agreement opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale,” he said.
President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord, a sweeping step that fulfills a campaign promise while seriously dampening global efforts to curb global warming.
He said the deal “hamstrings” America by giving foreign nations an “economic edge”, adding, “that’s not going to happen”.
While Italy, France and Germany have issued collective statement regretting President Donald Trump ‘s decision of United States quitting from the Paris climate accord and dismissed his suggestion that the global pact could be renegotiated.
10:15 Will the BJP make India Veg?: “The BJP and RSS may realise that it is much easier for the ICHR to rewrite textbooks and for the ICSSR to float its bizarre interpretations on social themes than to keep people away from their favourite dishes,” says Amulya Ganguli. Read more
10:06 Drop in GDP a temporary affair: BJP: Retorting to opposition’s criticism against the recent GDP percentage, the BJP on Friday said that the drop in economic activity is a temporary affair and that they will be disappointed soon.
Asserting that the opposition is entitled to criticize the government, BJP leader S Prakash said, “The drop in the GDP is a temporary phenomena, they will be disappointed in coming days.”
Treading on the same path, another BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said, the Congress must not forget that during their tenure, the GDP was as low as 4.25 percent.
“All these people should remember the time when they were in government and the kind of corruption which was going on. They must remember what kind of GDP the Congress government inherited from the BJP government and where they brought it. Would like to remind them that the GDP in their time was 4.25 percent,” Lekhi said.
Former finance minister P. Chidambaram yesterday said the economy is going down rapidly under the Narendra Modi-led government.
“Economy is going down rapidly and if corrective measures are not taken then economy will decline further,” Chidambaram said.
10:04 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Order on Tytler’s lie-detector test today : In national news, The Delhi Court on Friday will pronounce its order on the CBI plea, seeking permission to conduct a lie-detector test on Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.
Earlier, the court had asked arms dealer Abhishek Verma, who is a witness in the case, to explain the conditions for undergoing the polygraph test.
On May 22, Tytler refused to undergo lie detector test before the court.
Tytler and arms dealer Abhishek Verma were earlier asked by the court to appear in person or file an affidavit stating if they wanted to undergo lie detector test or not.
Verma’s counsel informed the Karkardooma Court that the former was not well and hence, sought more time to appear. The court then fixed June 2 for his personal appearance.
On May 9, the court gave two weeks time to Tytler and Verma to file their contentions and appear before the court about their consent on conduction of lie-detector test and provision of security.
Earlier in April also, Tytler refused to undergo a lie-detector test in connection with the case.
In February, the CBI had sought the court’s permission for lie-detector tests on Tytler and Verma.
09:33 UPDATE: Spelling ‘marocain’, 12-yr-old Ananya Vinay wins US Spelling Bee:
Twelve-year-old Ananya Vinay has won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The sixth-grader from Fresno, California, won by spelling ‘marocain’, a French word for dress fabric made of ribbed crepe. She gets more than $40,000 in cash and prizes.
Runner-up Rohan Rajeev missed the word ‘marram’, a Scandinavian-derived word for beach grass.
Ananya’s victory was the first time since 2013 that the bee has declared a single champion. It ended in a tie for three consecutive years.
The bee added a written tiebreaker test this year, but it didn’t come into play.
09:30 JUST IN: Sensex hits all-time high of 31,332.56; Nifty climbs to new peak of 9,673.50
“We’re getting out.” It was with these words that Donald Trump signified the United States’ break from the Paris Agreement.
In a statement from the Rose Garden in Washington DC, Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing its support from the Accord, but would begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris Agreement or an entirely new transaction that would be more “fair” to the U.S economy.
But for those who don’t know what the Paris accord is or needs to brush up on it, here’s all you need to know.
08:44 Cartoon by Tom Toro for the New Yorker.
Image courtesy: New Yorker/Instagram
08:35 New York, California and Washington say they’ll stick to Paris deal as Trump backs out:
Three Democratic governors said they won’t let the US back away from a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from an international pact.
“This is an insane move by this president,” California Governor Jerry Brown said, blasting the decision as “deviant behaviour from the highest office in the land.”
Brown joined Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to form the US Climate Alliance to uphold the Paris climate agreement, a pact involving nearly 200 nations aimed at slowing the warming of the planet.
The three states already belong to an emissions reduction pact of states and cities worldwide, but Thursday’s action marked a direct stand against the Trump administration and a formal commitment to upholding the targets of the Paris agreement.
08:25 Top CEOs tell Trump: You’re wrong on Paris: Dozens of top executives urged Trump not to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement. Now, many are voicing their displeasure.
“Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government,” said General Electronic CEO Jeff Immelt on Twitter.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, announced that he’s quitting the president’s business advisory councils because of the decision.
“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” he said on Twitter.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai also weighed in.
“Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all,” he said.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg shared his own chagrin.
“Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk,” Zuckerberg said.
In recent months, hundreds of companies had lobbied the Trump administration to remain in the agreement. Apple, Starbucks, Gap , Nike, Adidas, L’Oreal and Monsanto all voiced their support for the Paris deal.
08:14 5 effects of US pullout from Paris climate deal: There’s no doubt that US President Trump’s withdrawal will make it more difficult for the world to reach the goals that it set for itself in the Paris agreement – keeping global temperature rises well under 2 degree Celsius. The US contributes about 15 per cent of global emissions of carbon, but it is also a significant source of finance and technology for developing countries in their efforts to fight rising temperatures.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed disappointment over President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Accord, saying he is confident all other parties to the ambitious pact will continue with their efforts to reduce the emissions.
“The decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote international security,” according to a statement read by Guterres’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
02:31 Exiting Paris deal would see US ‘reject the future’: Obama: Former President Barack Obama slammed his successor President Donald Trump today for pulling out of the Paris climate deal, warning that the move would see the United States ‘reject the future’ by not abiding by the agreement.
‘Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got,’ Obama said in a statement.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also lashed at Trump’s decision.
Juncker tweeted that the withdrawal — announced by Trump in a highly anticipated statement from the White House rose Garden — was ‘a seriously wrong decision’. — Agencies
01:16 US withdraws from Paris climate deal: United States President Donald Trump has announced withdrawal from the Paris climate deal.
He, however, said that the US will begin fresh negotiations to enter either the Paris deal or a totally new climate deal.
Announcing the withdrawal, he said the deal caused major job loss to the US while making other countries gain a financial advantage over the US.
He said the deal put the US to a ‘very, very severe’ economic disadvantage.
He called the deal a ‘self-inflicted major economic wound’ on the US.
00:19 Firing at casino complex in Manila, IS claims responsibility: Gunfire was reported at a hotel and a casino resort in the Philippine capital on Thursday night, the operator of the complex said, and the Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility.
‘Resorts World Manila is currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men,’ the company said on its Twitter account.
Philippine media reports that police, firetrucks and SWAT team are in the area.
Resorts World Manila on lockdown. — Agencies