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News Update, 13th June 2018

  1. North Korea peace deal: Neither a new nor a simple idea

South Korea and a U.S.-led U.N. force are technically still at war with North Korea and the idea of an official peace deal to change that is neither new nor something that can be resolved in a single inter-Korean summit, analysts say.

PEACE AGREEMENT

The two Koreas, ahead of a leaders’ summit next week, are discussing a peace agreement that could officially end the state of war that has technically lasted since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a ceasefire, not a treaty. U.S. President Donald Trump said the effort has his “blessing” if North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal.

SIGNATORIES TO THE PEACE AGREEMENT

South Korea and a U.S.-led U.N. force are technically still at war with North Korea and the idea of an official peace deal to change that are neither new nor something that can be resolved in a single inter-Korean summit. South Korean leaders at the time opposed the idea of agreement between the two regions that left the peninsula divided, and were not signatories to the agreement, which was officially signed by the commander of North Korea’s army; the American commander of the U.N. Command; and the commander of the “Chinese People’s volunteers.

“Technically it’s not possible for the two Koreas to announce an end of the 1953 agreement at next week’s summit,” said Park Jae-jeok, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul. “But South and North Korea could agree on their intention to end the war and work toward a peace agreement, and pursue discussions with the involved countries.”

‘SOLID STATE OF PEACE’

North Korea has previously maintained that it would only negotiate a peace treaty with the United States. The North’s first leader and founder of the ruling Kim dynasty, Kim Il Sung, for example, raised the idea of a peace deal with U.S. President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s.

North and South Korea have seriously discussed the idea before.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES

In 1992, the two sides agreed to “endeavor together to transform the present state of armistice into a solid state of peace”.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for South Korea’s unification ministry said the government was looking to build on that 2007 position.

NEW AGREEMENT

What exactly might replace the armistice has been another point of doubt, and neither South Korean nor U.S. officials have confirmed what a new agreement would look like.

“Denuclearisation and a peace regime are two sides of the same coin, so South Korea would raise both matters next week,” “The problem is that security guarantees – of which key would be a peace deal – are what North Korea needs from the United States, not South Korea.”

“We could think of a scenario under which the two Koreas make a largely symbolic announcement that their war is over, but any such agreement would lack substance until the U.S. makes it formal.” In Seoul, recent government statements have often danced around the term “peace treaty” by referencing a “peace regime” or an “agreement to end hostile acts”.

While North Korea has historically demanded the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South, there are signs that Kim Jong Un may be flexible on that, Park said, although China has also raised concern about the presence of U.S. troops.

The North Korean leader didn’t object to recent U.S.-South Korea military exercises. Some observers, meanwhile, have warned that North Korea could see a peace deal as a way to undermine the South’s alliance with the United States.

OBJECTIVE OF AGREEMENT

A settlement should include agreements to cease hostilities and normalize relations between the United States and North Korea, recognition of the sovereignty of both Koreas, arms reductions and nuclear weapons inspections and security guarantees by the United States and China for both Koreas, the institute said.

The involvement of China in any talks would be a complicating factor, Shin said.

“China would have problems with the U.S. troops staying on the Korean peninsula under a peace regime. Even if it accepts their continued presence, it could demand the United States not to deploy nuclear or other strategic assets, such as an anti-missile defense system,” Shin said.

Both South Korea and the United States have said a peace treaty is possible only if North Korea agrees to give up its nuclear arsenal.

  1. What is the RSS defamation case against Rahul Gandhi?

While the Congress President pleaded not guilty, the court said that the next hearing on the matter will be on August 10.

 

A Bhiwandi court in Maharashtra has framed charges against Congress president Rahul Gandhi for allegedly passing defamatory remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at an election rally back in 2014. The court accepted an earlier application moved by Gandhi’s lawyers, who, on May 2, sought for a detailed recording of evidence instead of a ‘summary trial’. Hearing the arguments last month, the court had ordered Rahul Gandhi to appear before it on June 12.

While the Congress president pleaded not guilty, the court said that the next hearing on the matter will be held on August 10. According to Gandhi’s lawyers, his presence at the court would not be required.

WHAT IS THE DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST RAHUL GANDHI?

While addressing an election rally on March 6, 2014, in Maharashtra’s Thane district, the then Congress vice-president had alleged that the RSS was behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The Congress leader was then quoted by PTI as saying: “RSS people killed Gandhiji and today their people (BJP) talk of him…They opposed Sardar Patel and Gandhiji.”

Following the incident, a defamation suit was filed by Rajesh Kunte, the secretary of Bhiwandi unit of RSS, against the Congress President in a Maharashtra court. He had accused the Congress leader of tarnishing the reputation of the Sangh through his speech.

WHAT ARE THE CHARGES FRAMED AGAINST RAHUL GANDHI?

Rahul Gandhi has been charged under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code that deal with defamation. Nandu Phadke, the lawyer for Kunte, had said, “The court framed charges against Rahul under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code that deal with defamation. Now that the charges are filed, the court will hear evidence from both sides.”

RAHUL GANDHI ON THE CHARGES 

After leaving the courtroom, Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not talking about the rising fuel prices. The Congress President said, “Let the government keep filing cases against me. The current government is just run by around 10 -15 rich people who are making all the profits. Modiji will not talk about the fuel price hike.”

  1. Family helped Nirav Modi launder money, destroy evidence, Enforcement Directorate tells the court

The absconding diamond merchant was aided “knowingly and intentionally” by brother Nehal Modi.

Purvi Modi was an ‘active participant in the generation of proceeds of crime.

The directorate has also identified 17 directors of the dummy companies set up by Modi

 

COMPLAINT FILED BY THE ED

The Enforcement Directorate(ED) has informed a special court that family members helped Nirav Modi concealing the alleged laundering of money and destroying evidence,

The ED said that Nirav Modi was aided by his brother  Nehal Modi  “knowingly and intentionally” to conceal money laundering and destroying evidence. “After the crisis (the Rs 13,500-crore scam at Punjab National Bank), Nehal Modi, brother of Mr. Nirav Modi destroyed all the cell phones of all dummy directors in Dubai and Hong Kong and arranged for their tickets to Cairo — a safe haven,” ED said in its complaint to the court. Also, Nirav Modi’s sister Purvi Modi was an ‘active participant in the generation of proceeds of crime & his father Deepak Modi ‘assisted the activity of money laundering knowingly’.

The ED said that Deepak Modi was a beneficiary of Link High International and Twin Square companies, to which funds were transferred from the dummy firms set by Nirav Modi, said the daily.

The directorate has also identified 17 directors of the dummy companies set up by Modi to allegedly rotate the funds, according to the report.

  1. Delhi High Court halts move to add standard-floor buses

The interim order came on a PIL by Nipun Malhotra, a person suffering from a locomotor disability, challenging the Delhi government’s Cabinet decision taken in September last year to procure standard-floor buses.

 

OBJECTIVE OF RESTRAINING THE GOVT. FROM PROCURING STANDARD-FLOORING BUSES

After observing that the Delhi transport are “bent on treating the disabled as non-existent or, in any case, not having any rights”, the Delhi High Court has restrained the government from procuring standard-floor buses, as these impede senior citizens and the disabled, excluding them from access to public transport.

“Procuring buses which are inaccessible to the disabled infracts the mandate of the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016, and the imperative and repeated directions of the Supreme Court. Not only is it completely impermissible but also reflects callous apathy and gross indifference to environmental degradation as well as infringement of rights of the citizens of Delhi, under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, to a clean and healthy environment,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar observed.

The interim order came on a PIL by Nipun Malhotra, a person suffering from a locomotor disability, challenging the Delhi government’s Cabinet decision taken in September last year to procure standard-floor buses.

  1. Democracy walls, e-campaigns: Delhi High Court guidelines for DUSU campaign

The High Court said that those flouting the guidelines will be disqualified and penalised under The Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, as well as Metro Rail (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, as there have been instances of spray paint being used on the Metro premises to write slogans near university campuses.

OBJECTIVE OF GUIDELINES

Delhi High Court has issued a series of guidelines to prevent defacement of property during the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections.

The High Court said that those flouting the guidelines will be disqualified and penalised under The Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, as well as Metro Rail (Operation and Maintenance) Act, 2002, as there have been instances of spray paint being used on the Metro premises to write slogans near university campuses.

BRIEF FACTS

The May 29 order came after a writ petition was filed by lawyer Prashant Manchanda on defacement of property on university campuses to an extent that publicity material is even pasted in classrooms by leaders of student outfits.

The guidelines mandate forming permanent committees at university and college levels on the first day of the new academic session. The committee has to comprise a police officer, DMRC and civic body officials, and a senior faculty member nominated by the Vice-Chancellor.

THE GUIDELINES STATE:

  1. A workshop to sensitize students about provisions of the laws.
  2. Encouraging candidates and students to use online platforms such as e-mail and apps for the purpose of campaigning.
  3. The university or college shall ensure that the candidature will be accepted only when they furnish an affidavit stating they or their supporters will not indulge in defacement. In case of a violation, they will be liable to be disqualified.
  4. The college committee will also maintain a record of those students who, even before the formal announcements of the election schedule by the university, start sending pamphlets, banners to publicise their names as prospective candidates.
  5. Every DU college should arrange two ‘Walls of Democracy’ within its premises to be used by candidates and their supporters for putting up homemade banners/slogans during the elections. One wall should be dedicated for candidates for DUSU elections and the other for the Students’ Union of the particular college.
  6. UK Judge Orders Operation Blue Star Related Files To Be Made Public

Judge Murray Shanks, who presided over a three-day hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in London in March, ruled yesterday that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public.

LONDON:  A UK judge has ordered to publicize the documents that are expected to shed further light on Britain’s involvement in Operation Blue Star in 1984, dismissing the British government’s argument that the move could damage diplomatic ties with India.

 

Judge Murray Shanks, who presided over a three-day hearing of the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) in London in March, ruled yesterday that a majority of the files relating to the period must be made public and rejected the UK government’s argument that declassifying the Downing Street papers would damage diplomatic ties with India.

 

The judge, however, did accept that one file marked “India: Political”, from the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), could contain information that relates to British spy agencies MI5, MI6 and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) and therefore the Cabinet Office was entitled to rely on a technicality that exempts such material from the Freedom of Information (FOI) request appeal.

 

“We recognise that the period we are concerned with was a highly sensitive one in India’s recent history and the strength of feeling it continues to evoke… it should also be remembered that the fact that 30 years have gone by is bound to have reduced any prejudice that may have resulted from release of the withheld material,” the judgment notes.

 

 

The FOI appeal was handled by KRW Law on behalf of freelance journalist Phil Miller, who has been investigating the exact nature of the then Margaret Thatcher led government’s assistance to the Indian Army operation on Golden Temple in Amritsar.

 

In 2014, UK government documents declassified under the 30-year rule to make such material public had revealed that British military advice was given to Indian forces prior to Operation Blue Star.

“After nearly four years of asking for disclosure of these files, it is a great victory for a judge to rule that more transparency would not harm diplomatic ties or risk national security,” said Miller, who is disappointed that one file has been left out due to a “loophole” relating to the country’s intelligence agencies.

 

“It is no wonder that many in the Sikh community are calling for a public inquiry, as only that would have the power to disclose all relevant material,” he added.

 

  1. SEBI sets up an expert committee on the direct listing of overseas firms on Indian bourses

“Considering the evolution and internationalization of the capital markets, it would be worthwhile to consider facilitating companies incorporated in India to directly list their equity share capital abroad and vice versa,” said a Sebi statement.

 

PANEL SET UP FOR STARTUPS’ LISTING

Sebi has constituted a group to look into the existing framework on Institutional Trading Platform (ITP) and suggest measures to facilitate the listing of startups. Sebi said it had put in place the ITP framework in 2015 with a view to facilitating the listing of new age companies in sectors like e-commerce, data analytics, biotechnology and other startups. However, this framework failed to gain any traction.

After a discussion with various stakeholders, the regulator has now formed a group comprising representatives from the Indian Software Product Industry Round Table (iSPIRT), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA), law firms, merchant bankers, and stock exchanges to look into ITP framework.

 

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