"The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray?s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters," Goelman said.Trump took to Twitter not long after the news broke. "Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI-finally," he said. "The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & long. He was removed from that post after his texts came to light.The texts were criticized by the Justice Department's inspector general in a recent report that examined the FBI's handling of the Clinton email probe. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly pointed to them as evidence the FBI is biased against Trump.

August 13, 2018 16:30 UTC

NEW DELHI: The BJP today made a strong pitch for simultaneous polls to "curb expenditure", amid indications in some quarters that efforts can be made to hold the Lok Sabha election with that for 10-11 assemblies early next year by delaying elections in three BJP-ruled states and advancing the same for others scheduled for later in 2019.BJP sources, however, maintained no concrete proposal is there for deferring and advancing of state polls and the idea has not been discussed formally within the party, as constitutional validity of any such step would need to be taken into account.With the tenure of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assemblies expiring in January next year, a party leader indicated that a brief spell of governor's rule may be explored for these BJP-ruled states so that assembly elections there could be held with the Lok Sabha polls early next year. He, however, clarified that no concrete proposal has been formulated so far.The tenure of the assembly in the Congress-ruled Mizoram is also ending in December this year.Former Lok Sabha secretary general and constitutional expert P D T Acharya, however, questioned the legal validity of imposing the governor's rule in states where assembly elections are due before the Lok Sabha polls.The governor's rule can be imposed only in case of constitutional breakdown, he said.The Lok Sabha elections, which were last held in April-May 2014, are as such expected to be held early next year along with assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana.Some states such as Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra -- all under the BJP's rule -- are scheduled for assembly polls later in 2019 and the idea being floated is to advance the elections there to hold them along with the parliamentary election.Another state where talks of advancing assembly elections are doing the rounds is Bihar, where the election is due in 2020-end. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a junior partner in the state government led by Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United).The JD(U) has in public pooh-poohed the suggestion that the state election be held with the Lok Sabha polls but many political watchers believe that it may suit Kumar as well as he may be given a larger pie in seat-sharing for the assembly and lesser seats for Lok Sabha.Earlier in the day, BJP president Amit Shah wrote to the Law Commission supporting holding Lok Sabha and assembly polls simultaneously. He dubbed the opposition to simultaneous polls politically motivated, and asserted that it will curb expenditure and ensure the nation is not in "election mode" throughout the year.Shah said the BJP is committed to this idea and explicitly believes that in a progressive democracy like India elections should be held at a fixed time and for a fixed tenure so that people's representatives can carry out their duties effectively.Shah's letter to the law panel was handed over by a BJP delegation which met the commission's top brass this afternoon.Holding simultaneous polls is not merely a principle and it was also successfully practised between 1952 and 1967, he said, adding that several institutions, including the Election Commission, Law Commission and parliamentary committee, have supported it since then.Several opposition parties including the Congress has been opposing the idea of holding simultaneous polls, calling such a step against democratic practices. Political observers believe that the BJP is pitching for holding Lok Sabha and state elections together to tackle the anti-incumbency factor and for maximising the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during campaigns.

August 13, 2018 16:06 UTC

KOLKATA: Reliance Jio Infocomm will invest Rs 1,000 crore in a state-of-the-art greenfield data centre in Kolkata’s upcoming 100-acre IT hub that will be the biggest in the state, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday.She was speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the upcoming Bengal Silicon Valley tech hub.People familiar with the matter said Jio has already put in an application to the state government for 40 acres of prime land on long-term lease basis for setting up the proposed data centre at the upcoming tech hub in the city’s eastern fringes.Jio’s eastern India head Tarun Jhunjhunwala, who attended the stone-laying ceremony of Bengal Silicon Valley, said, “The data centre project is a reaffirmation of Reliance’s faith in Bengal, and it will be our contribution towards state chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s goal of digitising West Bengal.”An email ET sent to Jio, seeking details such as investment size, land acquisition plans and potential number of jobs the call centre would create, did not get a reply as of press time Monday.Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani had during the recent Bengal Global Business Summit committed to set up a data centre in the state.Back in January, Ambani had reportedly said RIL would invest as much as Rs 5,000 crore in West Bengal to bolster the telecom arm’s operations, its digital ecosystem as well as the group’s retail and fuel retail businesses.RIL, he had reportedly said, would also be working with multiple partners to explore the setting up of state-of-the-art, next-gen electronics manufacturing facilities to make West Bengal an innovation hub for consumer devices such as mobile phones and set-top boxes.

August 13, 2018 15:45 UTC

NEW DELHI: With a view to further improve corporate governance and excellence, PNB is taking all required steps to check any kind of gap, loopholes and deviations in the system and procedures. "The bank has strong foundations and is committed to implement ethical standards besides tightening the norms wherever required despite demonstration carried out by officers' associations/unions at some centres," PNB said in a statement.The norms are being strengthened and standard operating procedures are being revisited, the bank said.The move in this direction has been appreciated by all stakeholders, it added.PNB was defrauded of about Rs 14,000 crore touted as the country's biggest banking fraud. The scam was unearthed earlier this year. Nirav Modi and his associates in connivance of some employees of PNB defrauded the bank, raising concerns over checks and balances to deal with such kind of scam.

August 13, 2018 15:45 UTC

BENGALURU: The ministry of finance has temporarily stayed the imposition of safeguard duty on solar panels and modules imported from China and Malaysia till the writ petition challenging the decision is disposed off by the Odisha high court.In a letter to all chief commissioners of customs on Monday, the ministry has said that “in compliance with the interim directions issued by the high court of Odisha, it has been decided not to insist on payment of safeguard duty for the time being”. It has, however, added that solar equipment from these two countries should be “in respect of said safeguard duty, assessed provisionally on furnishing of a simple letter of undertaking/bond”. The DGTR in its report said the duty was necessary to protect the domestic solar manufacturing industry.Solar developer Acme Solar challenged the DGTR’s recommendation in the Odisha High Court, which temporarily stayed its notification until it had ruled on the case. It has scheduled its next hearing for August 14. Despite this, the finance ministry notified the recommendation from July 30.In response, another developer, Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure, went to the Madras High Court seeking quashing of safeguard duty on its imported consignment at Chennai port.

August 13, 2018 15:22 UTC

NEW DELHI: Rajasthan's Jodhpur and Marwar railway stations have emerged the cleanliest among the major stations in the country in the latest round of cleanliness assessment study.While Jodhpur secured first position in A1 category stations this year, Marwar took the pole position in A category, according to the study report released by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today.Both the stations fall under North Western Railway zone.A1 and A category stations contribute 80 per cent of the passenger revenue. Vishakapatnam had emerged at the top in last year's ranking of A1 category stations. We will take it up," the minister said, highlighting the unique challenges confronting the zone. Not only that, a central control room, operating round the clock, was set up to monitor daily progress, railways said.Jodhpur and Jaipur stations in Rajasthan scored 977.71 and 972.30 points respectively out of 1000, followed by Tirupati which scored 964.96 points among A1 category stations.In A category stations Marwar and Phulera in Rajasthan scored 972.71 and 961.57 points respectively. Warangal, which is in third position, scored 956.23 points.

August 13, 2018 14:22 UTC

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August 13, 2018 14:15 UTC

KOLKATA: State-owned aluminium major, Naltional Aluminium Company ( Nalco ) has said it is making all efforts to enhance procurement of materials from medium small and micro enterprises ( MSMEs ) to Rs 1,200 crore from the current level of Rs 400 crore after expansion.‘’The time for MSMEs to shine bright is now. India is emerging as the youngest nation with 64 % of population in working group. If this demographic dividend is properly cultivated, it will increase GDP by 2%, which will take the GDP growth to double digits. It can only be possible if the huge workforce is provided productive employment. It has brought a turnaround in investment scenario in aluminium sector when aluminium producers have been apprehensive of new investments due to high cost of production and low (prices) on London Metal Exchange (LME), he added.

August 13, 2018 14:03 UTC

"This is his real problem. "There were your defence ministers. You (Gandhi) have become so irresponsible that you are compromising national security. "Gandhi is lying again. He is so frustrated," Prasad said.

August 13, 2018 13:52 UTC

BEIJING: China is printing currencies for the governments of several countries, including Nepal Bangladesh , Malaysia and Brazil, the Chinese media reported, quoting a top official of the state-owned banknote printer.Liu Guisheng, Chairman of China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, wrote in an article in May in China Finance, a bi-monthly journal run by China's central bank , that China obtained the first international commercial order for printing money from Nepal in 2015.The state-owned firm won the bids of 100 rupees, 1,000 rupees and 5 rupees from Nepal, Liu said.Since then the company had "seized the opportunities brought by the initiative" and "successfully won contracts for currency production projects in a number of countries" including Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brazil and Poland, Liu wrote.The 'China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation' confirmed that money production plants across the country were running at near full capacity to meet an unusually high quota set by the government this year, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.It said that most of the demand comes from participants in the 'Belt and Road Initiative' (BRI).Chinese yuan bills only made "a small proportion of the orders" as most of the Chinese now got used to mobile or digital payments, it added.The BRI focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe. China says over 60 countries have signed up for BRI investments. The BRI includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a project over which India has protested as it traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).The 'China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation', headquartered in Beijing, describes itself as the world's largest money printer by scale. With more than 18,000 employees, it runs more than 10 strictly guarded facilities for the production of paper notes and coins, the paper said.The nation's largest currency paper mill in Baoding, Hebei province, sprang in to action with the sudden arrival of "big orders", according to an employee working in the 604 Factory, a subsidiary of the corporation. "Our machines have been running at full steam for months," the paper quoted an employee working at the facility as saying.

August 13, 2018 12:33 UTC

Rushabh Maru, Research Analyst, Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers, said: “The crisis is unlikely to resolve anytime soon. The absence of aggressive intervention by the RBI has also hurt the rupee. Reliance Industries (RIL), HDFC twins, SBI, YES Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank were the top contributors in the index's decline. On the other hand, IT major Infosys and FMCG firm ITC lent crucial support to the frontline index. Revenues grew by 16 per cent to Rs 1,910.4 crore for the first quarter as compared with Rs 1,650.4 crore in the same period of previous fiscal.

August 13, 2018 12:33 UTC

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August 13, 2018 12:33 UTC

NEW DELHI: The Centre today extended the terms of non-executive chairmen of Canara Bank and Bank of India for two years, according to an official order.The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet ( ACC ) has approved renomination of Thothala Narayanasamy Manoharan as part-time non-official director on the board of Canara Bank for two years with effect from tomorrow, the order issued by the Personnel Ministry said.The ACC has also extended his term as the non-executive chairman of the bank's board for the same period, it said.Similarly, Gopalaraman Padmanabhan has been renominated as part-time non-official director on the board of Bank of India for two years with effect from tomorrow, the order said.His term as the non-executive chairman of Bank of India has also been extended for the period, the ministry said.

August 13, 2018 12:33 UTC

Senior BJP leader and former minister Lal Singh, who has often courted controversy with his remarks, today asked people of the Jammu region to hoist the tricolour at their houses on the Independence Day as they are "nationalists to core unlike the people of Kashmir ". Singh accused Kashmir-based rulers of discriminating with the Jammu region over the past seven decades and said his recently launched outfit called 'Dogra Svabhiman Sangathan' would fight to restore the pride of Dogra community. "We appeal to the people of the region to hoist the tricolour at their houses on the Independence Day and celebrate the day with great enthusiasm. Jammu is about absolute nationalism. We are 100 per cent nationalists unlike those from Kashmir," the former minister said.He said Kashmir-based leaders have ruled the state for the last 70 years and now it's time for the people of Jammu region to come to power.

August 13, 2018 11:37 UTC

HYDERABAD: India , once called as the vaccine capital, is slowly losing its sheen because of various reasons, primarily the aggressive marketing strategy of China and Korea and the lacklustre policies of the government of India, say experts. Vaccine exports from the country plunged by eight per cent during 2016-17 and nearly four per cent in the previous fiscal year.India exported vaccines worth USD 653.40 million in 2017-18 while it was USD 679.28 million in 2016-17, according to data of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council, a body under the Ministry of Commerce.Over 70 per cent of vaccines were exported based on UNICEF requirement, which recently changed its procurement policy from yearly indent to quarterly, resulting in uncertainty over production schedule, said chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech Krishna Ella.The method adopted by the international body on vaccine procurement gave an edge to Korea and China on price bargaining resulting in price erosion, Ella said.Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Biological E Limited were the leading suppliers to UNICEF.He said the government of India needs to shed bureaucracy-centric policies and develop science-oriented ones to encourage vaccine-manufacturers. "The country should have a strategy, make policies and pricing transparent. Besides, the government should sit with the industry and take on China and Korea in the next five years. If the government does not do that, we would lose our grip on the vaccine market in another two years," Ella told PTI.According to industry sources, some of the Korean companies such as LG Chem and Samsung were spending millions of dollars on expansion and modernising their facilities.Koreans and Chinese have become aggressive, both were getting into the markets of developed countries which India has been exporting to, the sources said.When contacted, Director General of Pharmexcil Uday Bhaskar said vaccine constituted 3.78 per cent of the total pharmaceutical exports last year.Though there has been a negative growth of 10.25 per cent till February last year, it recovered in March and ended up at 3.81 per cent, Bhaskar said.

August 13, 2018 10:52 UTC