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7 Must Reads: Congress divided over Sonia Gandhi-Natwar Singh issue; Indians in Saudi Arabia face rights abuses

Friday, 1 August 2014 - 10:04am IST | Agency: dna webdesk

#1 Knives out in Congress: Who asked Sonia Gandhi to visit Natwar Singh?
Even as Congress president Sonia Gandhi said she was not hurt at the revelations of her former aide Natwar Singh and she will write her own autobiography to reveal the truth, knives were out in the Congress against as to on whose advise, she and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi visited Singh's residence, in a bid to block the tell-all book. Senior most Congress leaders in private told dna they were distraught at this immature political step, saying the visit ahead of the launch of book was almost an indirect confirmation and lending credibility to the revelations. Read more

#2 Troubles of Indian workers' in Saudi Arabia start at home
Migrant Indian workers in Saudi Arabia are subjected to a myriad of human rights abuse. Passports of Indian workers are confiscated by employers. Many find that the terms and conditions of employment have been grossly interfered with. A mechanic is told his job is to herd camels. A driver is asked to tend to the garden. Wages are not paid for months. Work hours stretch for 15-18 hours. Read more

#3 WTO fails to reach agreement after India blocks trade deal
Several member states of the World Trade Organisation voiced frustration after India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling led to the collapse of the first major global trade reform pact in two decades. WTO ministers had already agreed the global reform of customs procedures known as "trade facilitation" in Bali, Indonesia, last December, but were unable to overcome last minute Indian objections and get it into the WTO rule book by the July 31 deadline. Read more 

#4 Snooping unacceptable, India tells US
India on Thursday bluntly told the US that surveillance of political leaders and others in India by the American intelligence was "unacceptable" to which the US responded by saying that any differences that may exist can be resolved by intelligence communities of the two countries. This emerged after marathon talks between visiting US secretary of state John Kerry, the highest-ranking dignitary to visit India since the installation of the Modi government, and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj here. The two sides discussed key issues like trade, defence and energy. Read more 

#5 Centre struggles with disasters as NDMA remains headless
Even as the country is being hit by disasters – one after the other -- the latest being a massive landslide at Malin village near Pune that killed at least 30 people and then a cloudburst at Ghansali near Tehri in Uttarakhand where six people died, the foremost body to respond during such exigencies – the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) – lies virtually defunct without a functional head and most of its members. The BJP led NDA government is yet to fill up posts of vice chairman and seven of the eight members that are lying vacant now for more than a month when a call by the union home secretary Anil Goswami forced them to resign. Besides vice chairman, Shashidhar Reddy who put in his papers before being told to do so, others included K M Singh, JK Sinha, Saleem Ali, JK Bansal, B B Bhattacharjee, Harsh Gupta and K N Srivastava. Read more 

#6 World Bank to chip in Rs 6,000 crore for inland waterway project
The government is likely to get assistance between Rs 4,200 crore and Rs 6,000 crore from World Bank for creation of two barrages on the Allahabad-Haldia cargo and human waterway route – one of the pet projects of the NDA government. The pact for the fund is likely to be signed next week. The government is also formulating a cabinet note for Rs 105,000 crore investment in the national waterways projects. Read more 

#7 Kashmir to miss out Haider that was filmed in the Valley
When nation would be watching Haider, Kashmir will be missing out the Bollywood adaptation of the Shakespeare's Hamlet given that no cinema is functional in the restive Valley. Vishal Bhardwaj's much-hyped Haider will not be released in Kashmir. Thanks to the militants who forced the closure of the cinema halls at the onset of militancy in 1989. Haider was completely shot and set in Kashmir. But the irony is that Kashmir will not have the luxury to watch the movie in the theaters like other countrymen. Read more

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