Trump continually provoking Iran

Trump continually provoking Iran

Washington: President Donald Trump insists that European cultural websites are fair game for the US army, dismissing concerns within his own government that doing so could constitute a war crime under international law.

He also warned Iraq if it expelled troops in retaliation for a US airstrike in Baghdad that killed a top official, that he would levy punishing sanctions.

In what is expected to be a return from a holiday recess, However, Congress is currently pushing back.

Two top Senate Democrats Monday called on Trump to immediately declassify the administration’s reasoning for the attack on the Iranian official, General Qassem Soleimani, saying there is’no legitimate justification’ for keeping the information from the general public.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said late Sunday the House would introduce and vote this week on a war powers resolution to restrict the president’s military activities regarding Iran.

A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate. Congress, which has the power to declare war, has complained that Trump didn’t provide advance notice of his airstrike in Baghdad on Soleimani.

Trump did meet the 48-hour deadline required by the War Powers Act to notify Congress after the deadly drone attack, though the document was classified and no public version has been released.

The government is expected to brief lawmakers on its actions this week.

‘It is critical that national security issues of import be shared with the American people in a timely manner,’ they wrote.

‘An entirely notification that is classified is not appropriate in a democratic society’ Pelosi said the telling’raises more questions than it answers.

This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of this Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran.’

Iran has vowed to retaliate for Trump’s targeted killing of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds force.

Iraq’s parliament voted Sunday in favour of a nonbinding resolution calling for the expulsion of the American forces.

Trump raised the prospect of targeting sites that were Iranian at a tweet.

Speaking with reporters Sunday as he flew back to Washington from his holiday in Florida, he refused to back down, despite international prohibitions.

‘They’re allowed to kill our people. Maim and they’re permitted to torture our people. Blow our people up and they’re allowed to use bombs. And we’re not allowed to touch their sites?

On Iraq, Trump said the US would not leave Iraq without being compensated for its army investments there over the years — then said if the troops do need to draw, he would hit Baghdad with economic penalties.

‘We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before . It is going to make Iranian sanctions look tame,’ he said.

‘If there is any hostility, they do anything we think is inappropriate, we’re going to place sanctions on Iraq, very big sanctions on Iraq.’ He added:’We are not leaving until they pay us back to it.’

The government has scrambled to contend to the killing of Soleimani, which marked a stark escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported more Iranian leaders may well hit if the Islamic Republic retaliates.

He didn’t provide evidence that Soleimani plotted imminent attacks on Americans. Rather than arguing that an attack was imminent, Pompeo said it was inevitable.

Some government officials were, rattled by the threat to attack sites of trump.

One US national security official said the president had captured many in the administration off guard and prompted calls that were internal for many others in the authorities to clarify the matter.

The official, who was not authorised to speak to the matter, said clarification was necessary to affirm that war crimes would not be intentionally committed by the US army.

Oona Hathaway, an international law professor at Yale and a former national security law official at the Defense Department’s legal office, said Trump’s threat amounted to’a pretty clear promise of commission of a war crime.’ The threats to Iran of the president did little to quell the furor of Tehran over Soleimani’s death.

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Must self review says Talmiz Ahmad on Suleimani murdering, Ramesh Venkataram

Must self review says Talmiz Ahmad on Suleimani murdering, Ramesh Venkataram

Secularism’s Brexit moment

Private equity investor and former McKinsey partner

The Indian Express

Venkataraman writes that’the constitutional commitment to secularism of India is under threat’, although because the BJP government’appears determined to undermine the secular ethos of India’ but in the past couple of years’ has grown because’ popular scepticism of secularism.

He writes that during his travels, he discovered that the’perceived anti-Muslim measures’ are seen’as a thing by Hindutva diehards but by the’moderate centre’.’

‘It is not a taboo correspondingly, and to raise questions that were formerly the preserve of the right-wing fringe about patriotism , private law, or Muslim privileges allege a neglect of Hindu concerns,’ he writes.

The’method of self-righteously throwing the Constitution at anybody who supports the Modi regime’s agenda and demonising them as’bhakts’,’Sanghis’, or’chaddiwallahs’ reminds’ him of how’Britain elite lost the Brexit battle’. Indian secularists’must wake up to the fact that the discourse on the ground has altered’.

He suggests that’preserving the country’s secular fabric’ will need’secularism’s advocates to respectfully and urgently engage with the’moderate centre’.’ Moreover,’hardline secularists will need to show some humility’. It’s not’anti-Muslim to take where secularism has been compromised in practise’, India’needs its secularists to participate in open and self-critical debate – rather’.

Talmiz Ahmad

India’s Times

Ahmad states that the’assassination of Major General Qassim Suleimani’ has’exponentially escalated uncertainties and tensions in West Asia’. He argues that the’spoiler for Iran has been the United States’ as President Trump came to power’with a visceral anti-Iran platform that led him to confront Iranian influence across West Asia and even threaten the country with regime change’.

Suleimani’led the fight against the Islamic State and, through his control over the country’s formidable Shia militia, also assured that pro-Iran authorities came to power in Baghdad’. The US’came to view Suleimani because its principal’. Ahmad argues that Trump’certainly needed to remind his constituency that he is a strong and decisive leader who’s totally uncompromising and callous when it comes to protecting US interests’. Moreover, Iran’is unlikely to react peremptorily into the US provocation’. At exactly the exact same time,’it will exact retribution, but at a time and place of its own choosing and will pick a goal which will wound the US but still give Iran a level of deniability’.

Spotting an opportunity in changing fundamentals

Sujan R. Chinoy

The Hindu

Chinoy maintains that the”Stage One’ trade deal between the USA and China gives’either side a reprieve’.

He writes that China’continues to buy Iranian crude oil and is its largest buyer’ and argues that’in tensions with the U.S., Iran sees in China that a sympathiser’. ‘China’s interest in Saudi Aramco’s first public offering and interest in weakening the dollar in the world energy economy has grown, ” he writes, adding it is farther’forging closer ties with oil producers that are in the U.S.’s cross hairs on human rights and governance issues’. He says that’as U.S.-China worries drive supply chains from China, India could emerge as an alternative destination with the perfect policies’. Additionally,’China’s economic success has emboldened it such that it challenges the liberal democracy model and offers an alternative developmental model based on its own system’.

To conclude, Chinoy writes that’U.S.-China competition equates with an upward trajectory in India-U.S. relations’. This is’important for equilibrium and multi-polarity in Asia, even as India and China attempt to build much-needed trust and collaboration’.

Lifting growth, containing inflation

Financial Express

Gulati calls for’bold moves’ in grain management system and agriculture reform. If the government had a strategy for liquidating excess grain stocks, it may save Rs 50,000 crore annually that may help finance its new investment package for infrastructure of about Rs 102 lakh crore, he explains.

At the moment there’s’massive inefficiency in the grain direction system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA)’, writes Gulati. There is’massive accumulation of grain stocks’ and’disbursal of those stocks remains largely restricted to the public distribution system (PDS)’, he adds.

Gulati presents three alternatives to improving food management. First, while the poor get maximum food subsidy,’the issue price ought to be fixed at, say, 50 percent of the procurement price (as was done under Atal Bihari Vaypayee for the BPL category)’; instant,’limit subsidised grain supply under NFSA to 40 per cent of the populace rather than the current 67 percent’ and finally, reduce the procurement of rice especially in states like Punjab and Haryana where the’groundwater table is depleting fast’.

Five banking trends for the new year

Tamal Bandyopadhyay | Writer & senior advisor, Jana Small Finance Bank Ltd

Business Standard

Bandyopadhyay starts by stating the dominant trend in Indian banking in 2020 is that’the pile of bad loans will rise’ and what leads to this, is the growth in’divergence in banks’ estimate of bad assets and the regulator’s assessment’.

This tendency, however, has changed given NPA recovery and improved asset quality, he writes. Around December last year, at least three insolvency cases, such as Essar Steel’s, got resolved and together, the banks regained near Rs 50,000 crore, explains Bandyopadhyay.

‘The not-so-good news is the low credit offtake’ that has been aided by slowing economic growth, poor demand and bankers’ fears of being ‘grilled’ by investigative agencies, he writes.

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Americans can now monitor intake thanks, and their fat, sugar to FDA labeling rules

Americans can now monitor intake thanks, and their fat, sugar to FDA labeling rules

Producers in the US will now have to mention the quantity of calories, sugars, fats and carbohydrates within one’serving’ of the products, as a result of the new nutritional labeling rules in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Manufacturers will have to print two columns: one information for one serving and the other for the whole package.

This rule has been enforced by the agency . But producers earning less than $10 million annually have been given to bring the labels.

He adds,”We know that Americans are eating differently, and the amount of nutrients and calories on the label is required to reflect what people actually eat and drink,”

According to the American Heart Association and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation study, adults now consume an average of 300 more calories each day than they did in 1985. They include that the portion sizes have grown dramatically over the last 40 years, which may have something to do with the rates of obesity in the nation.

As per the rule, manufacturers will have to print two columns: one information for one serving and the other for the entire package.(FDA)

The prevalence of obesity was 39.8percent and affected about 93.3 million US adults at 2015 -2016, reports the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). The cost for men and women that have was 1,429 greater than those of normal weight.

It is in this context that FDA’s new rules find significance. The label includes information on the size that is proper, allowing Americans to accurately estimate the amount of calories consumed.

The new labels will also separate information on naturally occurring sugar in the sugars that are added.

“Hopefully, the information on the new label will not only help consumers make more informed decisions about their food and drink choices, but also motivate food makers to improve nutritional quality of their goods,” Hu said.

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