World is looking at India with admiration

President Ram Nath Kovind
Tue, 2017-08-15 03:00

Our country is celebrating its 71st Independence Day today.
On Aug. 15, 1947, we became a free nation. Sovereignty and the responsibility for our destiny moved from the British crown to the people of India. Some have called this process a “transfer of power.”
It was much more than that. It was the culmination of a dream for our country — a dream seen by our forefathers and freedom fighters. We were free to imagine and build our nation anew.
It is crucial to understand that this dream for a free India was rooted in our ordinary villages, in the well-being of our poor and underprivileged, and in the all-round development of our country.
For this,we owe so much to the countless freedom fighters who made great sacrifices to bring us here.
Chennamma, the Rani of Kittur. Lakshmibai of Jhansi. Matangini Hazra, the heroine and martyr of the Quit India Movement. There are so many examples.
Matangini Hazra was an elderly woman, into her 70s. She was shot by the colonial police in Tamluk, in Bengal, while leading a peaceful protest march. She died with “Vande Mataram” on her lips and with the hope of a free India in her heart.
Freedom fighters like Sardar Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Birsa Munda and thousands of others gave their lives for us. We can never forget them.

From the earliest days of our freedom struggle, we were blessed with a galaxy of revolutionary leaders who guided our country.
They spoke of not just political freedom. Mahatma Gandhi emphasised the moral character of India and of Indian society. The principles that Gandhiji spoke about are relevant even today.
Gandhiji was not alone in this nationwide struggle for freedom and reform. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose exhorted our people, saying: “Give me blood and I will give you freedom”. At his word, millions of Indians joined the freedom movement under his leadership and gave their all.
Nehruji emphasized that India’s age-old heritage and traditions — so dear to us — could co-exist with technology and a quest to modernise our society.
Sardar Patel instilled in us the importance of national unity and integrity. And of a disciplined national character.
Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar urged upon us the virtues of constitutional governance, of the rule of law — and of the vital need for education.
I have given only a few examples of illustrious leaders. I could give you many more. The generation that brought us to freedom was diverse. They were men and women who represented all parts of our country and a variety of political and social thought.
We need to draw inspiration from such brave freedom fighters, many of whom sacrificed even their lives for the country. We need to invoke the same spirit today in the task of nation building.
The stress on the moral basis of policy and action, belief in unity and discipline, faith in a synthesis of heritage and science, and promotion of the rule of law and of education – all of it was located in a partnership between citizen and government.
That is how our nation has been built — by a partnership between citizen and government, between individual and society, between a family and the wider community.
A tradition I remember from my childhood was that when there was a wedding in any one family, the entire village shared the responsibility and contributed.
Regardless of the caste or community, the bride became the daughter of not just a single family but of the entire village.
Neighbors and others living in the village looked after guests, and took charge of different arrangements.
Contributions came from many families. One family would send food-grains for the wedding, another would send vegetables, a third would arrive with some other item.
There was a sense of caring and of sharing, and of interdependence. If you helped your neighbors in their times of need, they instinctively helped you in turn.
Today, in big cities we may not even know our neighbors.
Whether in cities or villages, it is important to renew that sense of caring and sharing. This will make us a gentler and happier society and help us understand each other with greater empathy.

This spirit of empathy and of social service and volunteerism is very much alive in India.
There are so many people and organisations that work quietly and diligently for the poor and the disadvantaged.
They could be running schools for street children, caring for stray animals and birds, and providing water to hard-to-reach tribal communities in remote areas. Or cleaning rivers and public places. They are nation builders in action, and we need to draw inspiration from them.
We should also work with unity and purpose to ensure that the benefits of government policies reach all sections of society. For this, the partnership between citizens and government remains essential:
• The government has started the Swachchh Bharat campaign — but it is for each of us to ensure a Swachchh Bharat
• The government is building toilets or helping build toilets — but it is for each of us to use those toilets and make India open-defecation free
• The government is enabling communication infrastructure – but it is for each of us to use the Internet for the right purposes: to bridge knowledge gaps, create opportunities, and enhance educational and information access
• The government is promoting the idea of Beti Bachao–Beti Padhao – but it is for each of us to ensure that our daughters are not discriminated against and get the best education
• The government can frame laws and strengthen law enforcement – but it is for each of us to be a law-abiding citizen. And to build a law-abiding society
• The government is pushing transparency and eliminating corruption in public recruitment and procurement — but it is for each of us to answer to our inner conscience in everyday life
• The government is implementing GST to eliminate multiple taxes and simplify transactions — but it is for each of us to make this an essential part of our everyday transactions and business culture
I am happy that the transition to the GST system has been smooth. It should be a matter of pride for all of us that the taxes we pay are used for nation building — to help the poor and the marginalized, to build rural and urban infrastructure, and to strengthen our border defences.
In 2022, our country will complete 75 years of Independence. It is our national resolve to attain certain desired milestones for a New India by then.
When we speak of a New India, what do we mean? There are some obvious parameters — like a house for every family, power on demand, better roads and telecom, a modern railway network, rapid and sustained growth.
And yet there is more. New India must include that integral humanist component that is in our DNA, and which has defined our country and our civilisation.
New India must be a society rushing toward the future, but also a compassionate society.
• A compassionate society where the traditionally disadvantaged, whether SCs, STs or OBCs, are part of our national developmental process
• A compassionate society where populations in our frontier areas and states, who may sometimes feel a sense of alienation, are embraced as our brothers and sisters
• A compassionate society where the deprived child, the aged and the ailing senior citizen, and the poor and the under-privileged are always in our thought — not an afterthought. And where we take special care to ensure that our brothers and sisters get equal opportunities in all walks of life
• A compassionate and egalitarian society that does not discriminate on gender or religious background
• A compassionate society that enriches our human capital and equips our young people by promoting accessible, affordable and world-class educational institutions. And where quality health-care and nutrition are not a challenge
It is only with all this that we will build the New India we can cherish — where every Indian is equipped to fulfil his or her potential and do so in a manner that leaves each one of us content and happy. And helps each of us contribute to society and our country.
I am confident that a strong partnership between citizens and the government will allow us to meet the goals of New India.
Your immense patience and understanding in the days following demonetisation — and your whole-hearted support in the battle against corruption and black money — reflected a responsible and enlightened society.
Demonetisation has boosted our efforts to build an honest society. We must sustain this spirit and this momentum.
There is also need to adopt technology. We must use technology to empower our people and achieve the goal of poverty elimination in a single generation. Poverty and New India are simply not compatible.
Today, the world is looking at India with admiration. Our country is seen as a responsible global citizen, a growing economy, and a solution provider to various international challenges — such as climate change, disasters, conflicts, humanitarian crises, radicalism and terrorism.
The Tokyo Olympics of 2020 offer another opportunity for us to raise our standing in the world’s eyes. Over the coming three years, we should absorb ourselves in this national mission.
Government agencies, sports bodies and business enterprises need to join hands to identify and support our talented sportspersons and provide them world-class training facilities — so that they can be even more successful in Tokyo.
As citizens and children of India — whether we live at home or abroad — we must ask ourselves how we can add to our country’s pride.

It is natural for us to think of our families, but we must also think of society.
We must heed the call for that extra degree of selflessness, that extra something beyond just duty.
A mother who nurtures and brings up her child is not just doing a duty. She is displaying a unique selflessness.
• Our soldiers who guard our borders, on a hot day in the desert or high up on a cold mountain, are not just doing their duty. They are displaying an extra degree of selflessness
• Our police and paramilitary forces that brave death to combat terrorism or crime and keep us safe are not just doing their duty. They are displaying an extra degree of selflessness
• Our farmers who labour under extremely tough conditions to grow food to feed fellow Indians whom they have never met, and who live in the other corner of the country, are not just doing a job. They are displaying an extra degree of selflessness
• After natural disasters, so many motivated people, civil society groups and public agencies work day-and-night in rescue and relief operations. They display an extra degree of selflessness
Can each of us not imbibe this spirit of selflessness? We can and we have.
On an appeal from the prime minister, more than 10 million families voluntarily gave up their LPG fuel subsidy — so that a gas cylinder could reach the kitchen of a poorer family of fellow Indians. And so that members of that family, particularly women, were saved from smoke from “chulhas” that damaged their eyes and lungs.
I salute those families that gave up their subsidy. No law or government order made them do what they did. Their response came from within.
We should draw inspiration from these families. Each of us must find a way to give back to society. Each of us must choose one thing we can do to help another, less-fortunate Indian.
The single most critical factor for building our nation is to equip our coming generation.
We need to ensure that not one child is left behind.
As such I would urge you, as fellow nation builders, to help educate less-privileged children in our society. Help teach a child other than your own. Enrol and pay the school fees or buy the books of at least one child other than your own. Just one!
Our India is at the door of great achievements. In a few years, we will become a fully literate society.
We must set the bar higher, and aim to become a fully educated society.
We are all stake-holders in this mission. If we achieve it, our country will change before our eyes. And we will become agents of this defining change.
Two thousand five hundred years ago, Gautam Buddha said: “Be a lamp unto yourself …” If we follow his teachings, acting together, with the passion of our freedom movement, we can collectively be the 125 crore lamps that light up the path to a New India.
I wish all of you the very best on our 71st Independence Day.
Jai Hind.
Vande Matram.

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Economic ties constitute key element of Riyadh-Delhi relationship

Ahmed Javed, ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia
Tue, 2017-08-15 03:00

On this auspicious occasion of the 71st Independence Day of India, I have the pleasure to convey my warm greetings and felicitations to all my fellow citizens in Saudi Arabia.
I also avail of this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to King Salman and his government for their continued support and cooperation.
In the past 70 years, India has emerged as the World’s largest democracy, making great strides in the fields of industry, science and technology, IT, space technology, medicine, well–being etc.
Embracing the green, white and blue revolutions to engineer a sound agro sector base, India has transformed from an agricultural economy to a service oriented economy, with a self-reliant manufacturing base.
Our strong democratic institutions, resilient economy, industrial growth, scientific and technological achievements and incredible socio-cultural diversity are testimony to the fact that we have been steadily marching ahead to the noble goals set by our leaders seven decades ago.
The last few years have seen India embark upon implementing radical economic reforms toward ease of doing business, and introducing investor-friendly changes in its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy.

A number of major flagship initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Swatchh Bharat, Smart Cities, and Startupindia, among others, are offering a whole lot of opportunities to the investors.
In a sweeping economic reform, the biggest in the history of the country, India replaced last month its web of multiple central and state taxes with the single Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is expected to minimize the complexities and increase tax revenues manifold, to fuel the economic growth.
These initiatives, coupled with reform programs will propel the Indian economy to greater heights.
This year, we are also commemorating the 75th anniversary of the “Quit India Movement,” which commenced in 1942.
On this occasion, I would reiterate the prime minister’s pledge to achieve (Sankalp se Siddhi).
Let us all take a pledge to free our country from poverty, corruption, communalism, casteism and terrorism, and create a ‘New India’ by 2022.
We attach great priority to our friendly relations with Saudi Arabia.
Our traditionally close ties are anchored in shared interests based on centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties and vibrant people to people contacts.
Our leadership has been working closely with the Saudi leadership toward further deepening our multifaceted ties for the common benefit of our two countries.
Economic ties constitute an important element of the India-Saudi Arabia Partnership.
Saudi Arabia plays an important role in India’s energy security as around 19 percent of our oil imports come from Saudi Arabia. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is one of the largest suppliers of LPG to India. Saudi Arabia is our fourth largest trade partner.
Saudi Arabia is the eighth largest market in the world for Indian exports and is destination to more than 2.44 percent of India’s global exports. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the source of 5.34 percent of India’s global imports.
Indian IT majors like TCS, WIPRO, Tech Mahindra are engaged actively with Saudi Aramco and main Saudi Ministries such as Energy, Education, Finance, Water etc.
These companies are contributing in a big way in imparting training to Saudi youth especially women, in line with Vision 2030 objectives.
TCS’s all-female Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Service Center in Saudi Arabia aims to provide employment opportunities to up to 3,000 women in three years.
Wipro Arabia Limited, a subsidiary of Wipro Limited, Saudi Aramco and Princess Nourah University (PNU), Riyadh jointly established Kingdom’s first Women Business Park (WBP), which is aimed at creating nearly 21,000 jobs for Saudi women in 10 years.
Dedicated to working women, WBP is a first project of its kind aimed at providing knowledge-based employment for women in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is home to over 3 million-strong Indian community, the largest Indian passport-holders abroad.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the contribution made by the Indians in the development of Saudi Arabia is well-acknowledged and appreciated by the Saudi leadership as well as its people.
I express my sincere gratitude to the Kingdom for hosting this large Indian community and also for the excellent services provided by the Saudi authorities to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from India.
I also express my deep sense of thanks to the Saudi authorities for their cooperation during the four-month long amnesty enabling the undocumented workers to the leave the Kingdom without difficulties.
I take this opportunity, once again, to greet my fellow citizens in Saudi Arabia on this occasion of the 71st Independence Day of India.
Jai Hind.

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Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner and major source of energy

Noor Rahman Sheikh, consul general of India
Tue, 2017-08-15 03:00

On the auspicious occasion of the 71st Independence Day of India on Aug. 15, 2017, I have great pleasure to offer my warm and hearty greetings to all Indian nationals, persons of Indian origin, friends and well-wishers of India, especially to those living and working in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia.
On this day in 1947, India won its freedom after a long struggle involving exceptional sacrifices. Therefore, we remember the sacrifices of our freedom fighters and celebrate the day with pride.
India and Saudi Arabia have excellent strategic relationship in various fields. About 3 million Indians are living and working peacefully in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is eighth largest market in the world for Indian exports. It is India’s fourth largest trade partner and a major source of energy.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the ambitious blueprint for economic development, and for huge investments and building of massive manufacturing facilities and infrastructure, offers a range of opportunities for Indians. This year 1,70,025 Indian pilgrims will be performing Hajj.
Elaborate arrangements for Hajis for their stay in Makkah, Madinah and holy sites, transportation and medical needs have been made.

We extend our sincere thanks to the Saudi authorities for their unstinted cooperation to enable Indian nationals to perform Hajj with ease and comfort and for making all the excellent arrangements by Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
We would also like to thank Saudi Hajj Minister Dr. Mohammed Saleh Bentin, all his officials and other Hajj-related agencies for their continuous support to the Hajis.
We remain ready to work closely with Saudi authorities to make Hajj 2017 a grand success.
On this occasion, we express our commitment to the welfare of all Indian nationals living in this part of the Kingdom.
It will be our endeavor to provide quick services to them and all those who approach us.
Jai Hind!

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Responding first as a leading power

Constantino Xavier
Tue, 2017-08-15 03:00

The emerging concept of India as a “first responder” reflects the country’s growing capability and increasing willingness to assume the role of a leading power.
By contributing its resources to prevent or mitigate regional and international crises, India is demonstrating its commitment as a responsible actor in the international order.
Beyond narrow self-interest, such contributions help project India’s soft power abroad and portray India in a positive light.
They also reflect India’s expanding sphere of influence and capacity to shape events abroad.
The international order is facing a variety of transnational challenges that occasionally erupt into acute crises. Whether it is a natural catastrophe, an Internet disruption, or a sudden financial shock, the repercussions are often massive, with regional and global implications.
This is where individual states must take immediate action to mitigate the crisis impact and avoid further escalation. By taking the lead, they are providing a public good to the international order, supporting smaller or less capable states in dire need of assistance.
As the Indian economy surges and the country emerges as one of the key actors in the international order, expectations are consequently growing about India’s capacity to provide such support as a first responder to crises beyond its borders.
Commenting on this rising role, Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar emphasizes that India’s foreign policy dimension is “to aspire to be a leading power, rather than just a balancing power… (and) with a willingness to shoulder greater global responsibilities.”
While the concept of “first responder” has generally been interpreted quite narrowly, focusing on humanitarian disasters, a broader definition illustrates how India has played a crucial role in assuming these “global responsibilities” by responding to a variety of crises in its neighborhood and beyond.
This is particularly apparent in seven issue-areas.

1. Natural disasters
When the forces of nature unleash their fury on South Asia, the Indian government and military forces have played a critical role in supporting neighboring countries in relief operations.
After the 2004 tsunami, India deployed 14 navy vessels, nearly 1,000 military personnel and several dozen helicopters and airplanes to Sri Lanka.
In 2007, in the aftermath of Cyclone Sidr, India was one of the few countries allowed to provide relief to Myanmar, and provided critical rice supplies to address food emergencies there.
In 2015, less than six hours after Nepal was rattled by a tragic earthquake taking almost 9,000 lives, the Indian Air Force flew in National Disaster Response Force rescue team.
Over the next days, India led on the ground, landing 32 flights with 520 tons of relief and more than 50 medical, army engineering and other rescue operation teams.
In 2014, the Indian navy was the first to arrive in the Maldives to provide fresh drinking water to more than 150,000 of its citizens facing an acute supply crisis.
More recently, in response to Cyclone More (2017), India was the first to respond to the devastating floods in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
As reflected in relief provided to Pakistan in 2005 and 2010, Indian support transcends political considerations and is driven by a deep humanitarian drive.

2. Expatriate evacuation
When crises erupt abroad, India is often the first on the ground to protect the lives and assets of its nationals.
By mobilizing its consular officers, New Delhi has also provided safe evacuation to citizens from other countries. In 2015, for example, India extricated almost 2,000 nationals from 48 different countries, including many from the EU, the US and neighboring countries.
The Ministry of External Affairs, Air India, and the navy and air force have emerged as key actors in conflict zones, especially in the Indian Ocean and Gulf region, normally operating as first responders coming to the rescue of thousands of foreign nationals in distress.

3. Non-traditional security challenges
The Indian navy has emerged as the Indian Ocean’s default first responder to non-traditional security challenges.
To combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden since 2008, it deployed almost thirty warships that have escorted more than 1,500 ships and thwarted around 30 piracy attempts.
India was a founding member of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) and has taken a leading role in coordination efforts among different naval forces in the region.
When airplanes or ships go missing in its extended neighborhood, India has often been among the first responders to participate in search and rescue missions.
In 2014, the Indian Coast Guard deployed around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in initial efforts to locate the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

4. Post-conflict relief and rehabilitation
India has often taken the lead in supporting countries going through post-conflict processes which require expert resources and significant funding.
After the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, in 2009, India provided more than $1 billion in lines of credit and grants for projects in education, health, transport connectivity, and training.
Focusing on relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction, India’s early efforts played a crucial role in facilitating Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan’s return to normalcy after years of violent conflict.
As one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions, India’s “blue helmets” have also served as first responders to mitigate dozens of conflicts around the world, leading efforts on the ground to facilitate stabilization and reconstruction.
5. Regime support
Whenever friendly governments face the risk of a coup or instability threatening regional security, India has often stepped in as a first support responder.
In 1988, for example, in response to a request from the Maldives, India activated Operation Cactus to deploy its military and ensure regime continuity in Male.
Located in one of the world’s most conflict-ridden regions, whenever requested by neighboring countries, India has also played a constructive role in offering its mediation services to ensure peaceful and inclusive settlements. New Delhi is also a democratic first responder, deploying expert technical support to assist transitioning democracies to design their new constitutions and hold free and fair elections.

6. Financial assistance
India plays a little known but crucial role as a first responder in the region to support friendly governments facing financial crises.
Under a special currency swap mechanism instituted in 2012, the Reserve Bank of India provided critical assistance to the governments of Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka whenever they face foreign currency liquidity shortages.
By coming to the rescue of their respective monetary authorities, New Delhi has demonstrated its commitment to financial stability and economic growth in the region, strengthening governance to weather crises.

7. Refugee flows
Whenever people fear for their lives in South Asia, they often look up to India first. India has consistently provided an emergency safe haven for refugee and minority populations from across South Asia.
Whether they are affected by violent conflict or any type of persecution, most displaced people’s routes to safety pass through India, taking advantage of its default open-door policy.
Since 1947, this includes people from Tibet, East Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, leading the current UN secretary-general to speak of India’s refugee policy as a model for other countries.
India’s contribution as a first responder in these areas above will continue to increase as its economy grows in size and openness.
In his 2015 message to the heads of Indian missions abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged them “to use this unique opportunity to help India position itself in a leading role, rather than just a balancing force, globally.”
As India expands its horizons, it will keep stepping up to take the lead where other countries are reluctant, unwilling or incapable to do so.
This first respondent tradition must be further studied and promoted, because it reflects India’s deep commitment to assume a driving role in the international order. And it will also have to be endowed with adequate resources and capabilities for India to move even quicker and farther beyond its borders.
• Constantino Xavier is a fellow at Carnegie India. He can be reached at

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Flag-hoisting ceremonies in Riyadh, Jeddah

Arab News
Tue, 2017-08-15 03:00

RIYADH: The Embassy of India in Riyadh and the Consulate General in Jeddah will hold flag-hoisting ceremonies to mark the country’s Independence Day on Tuesday.
On the occasion of 71st Independence Day of India, Ambassador Ahmed Javed will be hoisting the national flag at 8:30 a.m. at the Indian Embassy premises in the Diplomatic Quarters, Riyadh.
The colorful flag-hoisting ceremony will be followed by the reading of the message of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind by the ambassador, who will also greet his compatriots on this occasion and interact with them during the event.
The Indian Consulate in Jeddah will also organize Independence Day celebrations.
The flag in Jeddah will be hoisted by Noor Rahman Sheikh, consul general of India, at the consulate’s building.
All members of the Indian community in Saudi Arabia and friends of India have been invited to attend the event.

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1 Dead, 8 Injured As Car Rams Into Pizzeria In Paris; Driver Arrested

An 8-year-old girl has been killed and at least 8 other people have been severely injured after a car rammed into a pizzeria in the town of Sept-Sorts east of Paris on Monday evening. BFM TV reports that the driver of the vehicle had been arrested. 

As BNO News adds, “a car has crashed into a pizza restaurant in La Ferté-sous-Jouarre near the French capital of Paris, killing at least one person and injuring several others, local officials.

According to initial reports, an 8-year-old girl was killed and 8 others have been injured, including 5 who are critically injured. The driver was arrested, according to French media.

UPDATE: One 8 year old girl dead and 8 injured after a car plowed into a Pizzeria in La Fierté sous-Jouarre, France, driver arrested.

— News_Executive (@News_Executive) August 14, 2017

BREAKING: At least 5 injured, eight year old girl dead after car drives into pizzeria in La Ferté sous-Jouarre, France.

— Warrior Reports (@WarriorReports) August 14, 2017

#BREAKING: 1 killed and At least 8 people injured after car drives into a restaurant Seine-et-Marne #Paris; Driver arrested

— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) August 14, 2017

Une voiture fonce délibérément dans une pizzeria et fait plusieurs blessés à Sept-Sorts, en Seine-et-Marne

— BFMTV (@BFMTV) August 14, 2017


While details are still scarce, BBC is reporting the attack was a deliberate act.

Car driven deliberately into pizzeria in France, killing child, 8, and injuring several others, French TV reports

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 14, 2017

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Stocks, Dollar Bounce On Relief World Did Not End This Weekend

The world did not come to an end this weekend and that’s all the excuse markets needed to squeeze higher again…


World did not end – yay! Buy Stocks, Dump Gold…


But bonds and bullion remain the winners since Trump spoke last week…


December rate-hike odds bounced higher today but remain well below levels before CPI/PPI hit last week…


Trannies and Small Caps were panic bid but one glance at the chart below and its clear that The Dow and S&P went nowhere from the gap higher open…


All the indices remain red post-“fire-and fury”…


The S&P bounced back above its 50DMA but Small Caps remain below theirs…


Financials and Tech outperformed (though notably drifted only marginally higher from the opening gap) and Energy underperformed as oil lagged…


FANG Stocks retraced half the “Fire & Fury” losses then faded…


VIX was clubbed back down towards its 200DMA (at 11.99) but failed to make it…


Another quick rip and dip in vol…


VXX (VIX ETF) tumbled back below its 50DMA..


Treasury yields remain below last week highs but were marginally higher on the day, thanks to comments from The Fed’s Dudley on balance sheet normalization…


However, 30Y yields never even made it back to Friday’s highs…


The Dollar Index rallied on the day…erasing the post-CPI plunge thanks to Dudley’s comments…


With all the majors weaker against the greenback…


We wonder if this is the start of 2016 deja vu all over again…


Gold sank modestly lower after failing to tag $1300 into Friday’s close…


Ugly day for WTI Crude…





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Pakistan marks 70 years of independence with fireworks, air show

Agence France Presse
Tue, 2017-08-15 02:25

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday celebrated 70 years of independence from British India with a patriotic display including a giant flag and a show of airpower, as the military’s top brass vowed to wipe out terrorists hours before a new bomb attack killed six soldiers.
Celebrations began at the stroke of midnight with firework shows in major cities.
At the highly symbolic Wagah eastern border crossing with India, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa raised a massive national flag on a 400 foot (122-meter) pole as crowds chanted patriotic slogans.
Following the chest-thumping performance Bajwa said the country was making progress and promised to “go after each and every terrorist in Pakistan.”
“We have made a few mistakes in the past, but we are on the road to development under the guidance of our constitution,” he added.
Later Monday a roadside bomb in restive Balochistan province’s Harnai district killed six paramilitary soldiers and wounded two others, a spokesman for the troops said. The separatist Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility in a telephone call to AFP.
The attack came days after a powerful bomb targeted a military vehicle in the provincial capital Quetta late Saturday, killing 14 people including several troops.
The military later said the blast, claimed by the Daesh group, was intended to mar independence day celebrations.
Pakistan also faces fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court last month sacked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following an investigation into corruption allegations against his family.
In Islamabad his newly-elected successor Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, along with top generals and foreign dignitaries, presided over a 31-gun salute and flag-raising ceremony to mark the holiday.
“The independence that we got 70 years ago was the fruit of the exemplary struggle of our ancestors,” said Abbasi in an address to the nation.
“Thousands of Muslims have made sacrifices for our future and the future of our children.”
Further south in Karachi the day began with a changing of the guard at the mausoleum of the country’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah, where politicians and military commanders laid floral wreaths.

The skies above the capital were later streaked with multicolored smoke as the air force hosted Pakistan’s largest air show to date.
Fighter jets criss-crossed over the leafy capital in aerobatic maneuvers as thousands packed shoulder-to-shoulder applauded from a park below. Planes from close allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey also took part.
In Lahore students cruised through the eastern city’s streets on motorbikes waving flags and screaming “Long live Pakistan!“
Up north in the Swat valley near the restive border with Afghanistan celebrations were more subdued, with events at schools canceled due to “prevailing law and order” issues.
In nearby Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Christians held special services at a church and freed doves to mark the holiday.
“Four years back my father and brother died in this church in a suicide attack, but I am still here praying for my beloved country,” schoolteacher Neelam Anwar told AFP.
In August 1947 the British Raj was dismantled with the subcontinent divided into two independent states — Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Millions were uprooted in one of the largest mass migrations in history, with experts estimating at least one million died in the communal violence unleashed by partition.
The carnage sowed the seeds of the acrimony that led to three wars, and generations later this defining moment in the subcontinent’s history is still polarized by nationalism and rancour.
The countries still wrangle over a large part of their shared border, especially in disputed Kashmir. They even recognize their independence from British rule on separate days, with Pakistan claiming August 14 and India celebrating the following day.

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Man Arrested In Plot To Blow Up Oklahoma Bank, Had Considered Federal Reserve Building

An Oklahoma man was arrested by the FBI this Saturday on charges that he tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb, acting “out of a hatred for the U.S. government” and an admiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mc­Veigh, according to court papers. Jerry Drake Varnell, of Sayre, Oklahoma, was arrested shortly after an early Saturday morning attempt to detonate a fake bomb packed into what he believed was a stolen cargo van outside a bank in Oklahoma City, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court the Washington Post reports. Varnell was charged with attempted destruction of a building by means of an explosive.

“This arrest is the culmination of a long-term domestic terrorism investigation involving an undercover operation, during which Varnell had been monitored closely for months as the alleged bomb plot developed,” federal prosecutors said in a statement. “The device was actually inert, and the public was not in danger.

Prosecutors said that during the investigation an undercover agent had posed as a co-conspirator and agreed to help Varnell build what he believed was a 1,000-pound (454 kg) explosive.

What is notable is that Varnell, 23, discussed a number of potential targets, including the Marriner Eccles building also known as the home of Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., an IRS building in Maryland and a Bank of America data center in Texas.

Eventually, he settled on attacking a BancFirst building in Oklahoma City which is located a few blocks from where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building stood. A truck loaded with explosives was detonated in front of the Murrah building in 1995 in what was called an act of domestic terrorism.

The complaint filed in the federal court in Oklahoma City said that at the onset of the investigation, Varnell said he wanted to build a team to conduct a bombing. “I’m out for blood,'” the complaint quoted Varnell as saying. “‘When militias start getting formed I’m going after government officials when I have a team.'”

The FBI alleges that over the course of a months-long undercover investigation by the FBI, Varnell made repeated statements about the extent of his hatred of the federal government. The complaint alleges that in one conversation he said he believed in the “Three Percenter” ideology, a form of anti-government activism that pledges resistance against the United States government on the belief it has infringed on the Constitution, according to court papers. As the WaPo explains, “those who subscribe to the ideology incorrectly believe that only 3% of the colonial population participated in the American Revolution, and they see themselves as their heirs.”

According to the complaint, and perhaps taking a hint from a popular 1999 movie, Varnell expressed a desire “to blow up buildings”, but in a way that would minimize deaths or casualties, possibly by detonating the device at night when offices would be mostly empty. Still, he was prepared to take other peoples’ lives:

On June 26, Varnell discussed the possibility that people could be killed, and said, “You got to break a couple of eggs to make an omelet,’’ according to the complaint. “That’s why people don’t do this s— because, you know, you got to be able to overcome that little reality there,” he said, according to the compaint.


As part of that conversation, Varnell said he wanted to do something that would “somehow cripple the government. Something that sends a message that says, ‘You are a target.’ ”


Two weeks later, however, Varnell indicated he wanted to detonate the bomb after work hours to prevent casualties, saying, “I’m down for whatever. Safety is number one.”

The FBI said Varnell watched the construction of the fake bomb around 6:30 p.m. Friday. He then drove the vehicle containing the device to an alley adjacent to the bank building and parked it there. After midnight, he twice attempted to detonate the bomb remotely, and shortly after those attempts was arrested.

U.S. prosecutors said Varnell had prepared a social media message to be posted after the explosion, and helped make and load a device into a stolen van. If convicted, Varnell could serve 20 years in prison.

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