Author: Navrang Ramanathan

India could ease its heightened scrutiny of Chinese investments if the two countries’ border remains peaceful, a senior Indian official said in the first signal that the four-year-old curbs could be lifted. Border tensions, the biggest irritant to relations between the nuclear-armed Asian giants, have eased, which could lead to improved investment ties, top industrial policy bureaucrat Rajesh Kumar Singh told Reuters on Wednesday at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. In 2020, India tightened scrutiny on investments from companies based in countries it borders, adding a layer of vetting and security clearances. The move was widely seen as…

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Along with a major expansion of renewable energy, India is also pushing for big increases in its coal production, casting doubt on its climate commitments. ndia’s environment and climate change minister Bhupender Yadav affirmed the country’s “trust and confidence” in the Paris Agreement, whilst highlighting the country’s achievements in emissions reduction. But this announcement was seemingly at odds with another made just three days earlier, when coal minister Pralhad Joshi confirmed that India intends to increase production for the fossil fuel. Two weeks later, Joshi told the consultative committee meeting of the coal ministry that seven rounds of coal mine auctions had been completed and another…

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As a celebratory atmosphere envelops much of India, many among its 200 million Muslims wonder what’s next for them Wearing her hijab, Yusra Hussain stood in the queue to enter a makeshift temple to the Hindu god Ram in Ayodhya, the northern Indian city believed to be his birthplace. What followed is etched in her mind. “I was jeered [at] and taunted,” the 32-year-old said. “And people started chanting Jai Shree Ram [victory to Lord Ram]. I got a sense of aggressive triumphalism.” That was eight years ago. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate an incomplete Ram temple built in…

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Lack of concrete policy ensures wood-burning bakeries, which impact air quality, still thrive While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has the authority to act against wood-burning bakeries, numerous officials have said that such measures require collaboration and the involvement of multiple departments, which can lead to backlogs. In the end, the buck is just passed on from one department to the other. In the past few days, L ward has served notices to at least 13 polluting bakeries. “The problem has been around for a while. This year, in total, we have taken action against 34 bakeries,” said Nitin Kamble, an official from…

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London (06/11 – 58) France and the United Kingdom (UK) have jointly made a request in favour of Sri Lanka to the court of the Southern District of New York, for a six-month freeze on any litigation in the Hamilton Reserve Bank case until Sri Lanka’s external debt restructuring is completed, the Financial Times reported. Accordingly, last week the two countries filed a joint “amicus curiae” to the New York judge hearing the case, arguing in favour of Sri Lanka’s request for a six-month freeze on any litigation. The co-signatories in their “amicus curiae” want the judge to grant Sri…

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Sri Lanka will get about $600 million, on a staggered basis, from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) releases the second tranche of a $2.9 billion bailout for the crisis-hit country, an official said on Tuesday. Sri Lanka is inching out of its worst financial crisis in decades, triggered by record-low foreign exchange reserves last year that saw its economy contract 7.8% in 2022. The island’s economy has been gradually stabilising after locking down a four-year programme with the IMF in March. Its first review is expected to be approved by the global lender next…

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Brussels (16/11 – 83) Sri Lanka is still dealing with the aftermath of its most devastating economic crisis since independence, a government without popular support and intensifying geopolitical competition in its neighborhood, a year after the Sri Lanka’s massive unrest. Known as the Aragalaya protests which were spurred by the economic crisis, the protests led to mass resignations across the government with former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fleeing the country in July 2022. In the year since, the country has secured an IMF agreement, and its economy has ambled toward a slow path of recovery. However, there have still been concerns on the human rights front as the current government of Ranil Wickremesinghe has…

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting the development of green commercial real estate in the Western Balkans, with a debt package of up to €100 million to be used by CEE BIG B.V. for the company’s regional expansion. The company will use the loan to finance the development, upgrade and acquisition of modern retail parks and shopping centres across the Western Balkans. The developer is also committing to securing BREEAM international sustainability certification for all buildings financed by the EBRD. Austria provided technical assistance through its Delivering Resource Efficiency Investments (DRIVE) programme, helping the company to carry out market, technical, and…

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Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the threat of forced return of Afghan human rights defenders at risk who have sought refuge in Pakistan, especially following the Taliban takeover in August 2021. Human rights defenders facing reprisals for their human rights work in Afghanistan, have been compelled to flee their homes and enter neighbouring countries to seek safety and refuge. Front Line Defenders has repeatedly called for the protection of and for the safety of those defenders remaining in neighbouring countries without recourse to effective protection including from forced return. Human rights defenders in Afghanistan are facing systemic persecution…

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The comment comes amid a diplomatic row with India following Canada’s allegation that Indian officials are involved in the murder of a Canadian citizen. New Delhi: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he has discussed India “and the importance of upholding — and respecting — the rule of law” with Mohamed Bin Zayed, the President of the United Arab Emirates. His post read: “On the phone today, His Highness @MohammedBinZayed and I spoke about the current situation in Israel. We expressed our deep concern and discussed the need to protect civilian life. We also…

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