Days after a person was killed and over 60 Dalit houses were burnt in caste clashes in Shabbirpur village of Saharanpur, most of the Dalits living in Thakur-dominated villages of the district have fled to “safer areas” fearing further violence. Mahendar Singh, a Dalit resident of Shabbirpur, told The Hindu that the situation continued to be tense. “Dalits of Shabbirpur are still afraid that violence may erupt any time. After a Thakur youth died during the clash, apparently of suffocation after a fire, the dominant community is very angry. Fear of a violent retaliation have spread to all the Thakur dominated villages in the vicinity of Shabbirpur, forcing the minority Dalits to flee,” he said.Twin fears“The fear among Dalits is two-fold because the police is acting with a bias and can implicate us in false cases,” he said. “Already the Dalit village head of Shabbirpur has been arrested on charges of murder.” Mr. Singh, who was a witness to the clashes on Friday, said that while more than 50 houses were burnt to ashes, allegedly by members of the Thakur community, the police had registered only one FIR from the Dalit side. So far six FIRs have been filed — four by the upper caste, one by Dalits and one by the police. Seventeen people, including the village head, have been arrested on charges of murder and arson. A massive police force has been deployed in Shabbirpur and other villages nearby to prevent further eruption of violence. Director-General of Police Salkhan Singh visited Saharanpur along with the Principal Secretary (Home) Devashish Panda and took stock of the law and order situation. They met delegations of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, which requested the administration to offer compensation to Dalits whose houses were burnt. They also demanded that delegations of political leaders be allowed to visit the affected villages, a request the DGP turned down.Saharanpur district has seen two incidents of rioting in the last one month.Strict actionMr. Singh said the police would take strict action against rioters. Addressing the media at the Circuit House of Saharanpur, Mr. Panda said law and order was the priority of the Government. Thakur and Dalits living in Shabbirpur and nearby Simlana had clashed after Dalits objected to the loud music played during a procession being taken out by the Thakur community in memory of Maharana Pratap. The procession apparently did not have permission from the local administration. An angry mob of Thakurs living around Shabbirpur attacked the Dalits and burnt over sixty households after a Thakur youth was killed during the clash.
A war of words broke out between mainstream and separatist parties on Monday over the Kashmir issue and the ramifications of shutdown politics.“Can [Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali] Geelani show me his reaction to the Pakistan Prime Minister who has repeated many times recently that Azadi (independence) is not an option for Kashmir. Hypocrisy is a Geelani trait,” National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.The former Chief Minister was hurt by Mr. Geelani’s comments on National Conference president Farooq Abdullah’s statement that Azadi was not a reality. “While Farooq Abdullah’s ancestors were engaged in Kashmir struggle, Geelani was fighting elections and aligning with the then Janata Party,” Mr. Abdullah said.A joint statement issued by Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising Mr. Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik took on both NC and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for their remarks.‘Slaves of Nagpur’“The love for chair has completely blinded her [Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufit] and her ilk of opportunists to see what havoc they have wreaked upon Kashmir since their alliance with the BJP. People of Kashmir do not need the largesse of New Delhi to survive as Ms. Mufti suggests and are no beggars,” the statement said.Terming mainstream parties as “slaves of Nagpur”, a Hurriyat spokesman said, “It’s because of these people that our existence, identity, religion, culture and everything is on the verge of extinction.” He said while the NC “pushed Kashmir into a deep gorge, the PDP wants to bury us alive”.The separatists were irked by Ms. Mufti’s criticism of the business community on the shutdown politics on Sunday. “What have people achieved in the past 30 years by self-inflicting protests? An inch of land hasn’t moved. We close our shops and doors when somebody from New Delhi comes to Kashmir but afterwards we go to them asking for money,” she said.
Bhima-Koregaon violence condemned in Rajya Sabha The Pune Rural police have arrested 25 persons in connection with the death, while the Shikrapur police have lodged eight cases of rioting and murder.The names of radical Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote (60), who heads the fringe rightwing outfit ‘Samasta Hindu Aghadi’, and 85-year-old Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’, who heads the ‘Shiv Pratisthan’, have surfaced for allegedly orchestrating the violence. A criminal against the duo was lodged at the Pimpri police station on Tuesday. The Pune city police have filed a criminal case against newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid for allegedly promoting enmity between two groups by delivering allegedly provocative speeches at the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held at Shaniwarwada Fort in the city on December 31.Mumbai police say ‘no’ to event to be addressed by Mevani, Umar KhalidThe FIR was registered against Mr. Mevani and Mr. Khalid under sections 153 (a) [Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race etc], 505 (making statements conducive to public mischief, creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) and 117 (Abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than ten persons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Vishrambaug Wada police station late on Wednesday night.The case was lodged based on a complaint filed at the Deccan Gymkhana police station on January 2 by two youths Akshay Bikkad (22) and Anand Dhond (25), who disclaimed affiliation with any social outfit or political organisation.The FIR quotes the allegedly controversial fragments of speeches made by Mevani and Khalid. Following are speeches of Mevani, KhalidMr. Mevani is quoted as having said: “Nav Peshwai ke saamne agar humein jeetna hain, Bhima Koregaon ke iss ladai ko aage leke jaana hain, uss sangharsh ko aage le jaana hain, us sangharsh se agar prerit hona hain, ye chunavi raajneeti se nahin hoga. Main maanta hoon ki, janata ki ladai ladne wale kuch log, Gujarat ki aur Maharashtra ki assembly mein hone chahiye. Iss desh ke parliament mein bhi hone chahiye. Lekin jaatir nirmoolan toh sadakonki ladai se hoga. Ek varga ka dusre varga pe, jo shasan hain, woh sadakon ki ladai se khatam hoga. [If we have to win against the ‘new Peshwas’, we will have to take forward the battle of Bhima Koregaon, take forward that struggle, and take inspiration from it. This cannot happen through electoral politics. I understand that some of the people who fight for the common masses should be in the Assemblies of Gujarat or Maharashtra, and in Parliament of this country. But annihilation of caste differences would happen only through street fights. The rule of one section of the people over others would end through street fights].”Mr. Khalid is quoted as having said, “Bhima Koregaon ki is ladai ko aanewala kal bana sakte hain. Unhone hamla kiya, palatwar ki baari hain. Ladai ko ladenge aur ye ladai jeetna hi, un shahidon ko shraddhanjali rahegi. Aur Nav Peshwai ka khatma hi Bhima Koregaon ke shahidon ko shraddhanjali rahegi. [We can make this battle of Bhima Koregaon our future. They had attacked us, now it is time for retaliation. We will fight and we have to win this battle. This [our future victory] will be a tribute to those martyrs. The end of the neo- Peshwas will be a tribute to martyrs of Koregaon).”The police said they were analysing these speeches.Mr. Mevani, Mr. Khalid, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar and Radhika Vemula were among the speakers at the Parishad, held to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which 500 soldiers of the Mahar community fought alongside the English to defeat the forces of Peshwa Bajirao II.Clashes on January 1The next day, January 1, violent clashes between two groups marred the bicentenary celebrations of the battle at Koregaon Bhima village, resulting in the death of Rahul Phatangale of Sanaswadi village.Also Read
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Rajasthan was set to abolish a health scheme for the poor, launched by the previous Congress regime, on the purported ground of duplication leading to loss to the exchequer. Congress has cried foul and described it as an instance of BJP’s insensitivity.The State government had decided not to extend the Mukhya Mantri BPL Jeevan Raksha Kosh to the financial year 2018-19 after its expiry on March 31. Medical and Health Minister Kali Charan Saraf said here on Friday that the scheme’s beneficiaries would get free diagnosis and treatment facilities under other plans.Health insurance schemeAccording to the official orders, the patients of below poverty line (BPL) category would get the medical treatment under the Bhamashah health insurance scheme, free diagnostic test scheme and free medicine scheme. A new procedure had been laid down for the cases of hospitalisation, implants and specialised treatment.However, the move would render over 500 contractual employees, including the computer operators, unemployed. They were hired for effective implementation of the Mukhya Mantri BPL Jeevan Raksha Kosh in various districts.BJP insensitive: GehlotSenior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticised the BJP government for discontinuing the scheme, while pointing out that it had turned out to be a blessing for the BPL and other underprivileged families in the treatment of chronic diseases. He said the BJP government ad shown its insensitivity through the decision.“Despite its drubbing in the Lok Sabha and Assembly by-elections, the BJP had the audacity to abolish a scheme which was benefiting the poor. The people of the State would give a suitable reply to the BJP in the upcoming Assembly election,” Mr. Gehlot said.The Congress leader said that the scheme had the provisions for extending all outdoor and indoor treatment facilities to the beneficiaries without any upper limit for medical expenses. Besides, it gave a grant to the childless BPL couples and those with an annual income of Rs.1 lakh for their treatment.Mr. Gehlot said the State government had taken the decision on the pretext of promoting the Bhamashah health insurance scheme. The free diagnostic test and free medicine schemes had also been weakened for ensuring the insurance scheme’s success, he said.
Though Om Prakash Rajbhar, Uttar Pradesh Minister and president of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, has just four MLAs under his fold, the OBC leader is an important part of the BJP’s outreach among the most backward castes in eastern U.P. A year after he aligned with the BJP, which stormed to power with over 300 seats, he is today, however, disgruntled with the way the BJP is treating him. Excerpts from an interview in Lucknow:The Yogi Adityanath government has completed one year and you are constantly complaining that not much has been done for the poor, backwards and Dalits.The work is only on paper. The officials have completed all work on paper and submitted it to the government, but there is nothing on the ground. For example, the Chief Minister recently said that 11.5 lakh new houses have been built [for the poor]. Such high number of houses can be approved, yes, but how many can be built in just four or five months? The first instalment itself takes six months and during the monsoon, sand and morang are unavailable for construction.Where is the lapse? The government or the officials?The officials are solely responsible. They don’t listen to the government. Despite a change in government, it is the same machine that worked during SP and BSP rule that’s operating. The engine and coaches [of the train] are the same, only the driver and guard have changed.Soon after you met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi, you decided to restore support to the BJP. What assurances did he give you?I informed Amit Shah that there is anger against the government on the ground. Those entitled to ration cards, toilets, homes and pension are being deprived of it, whereas those ineligible are enjoying all the benefits. During the elections, I campaigned for the sub-categorisation of OBC reservation into three groups: the Pichda (backward), those dominant castes who have got a share more than their population; the Ati Pichda (very backward), who have got a share but not according to their population, and the Sarvadik Pichda (most backward), those who have not got any benefits. One year has passed but the government has done nothing. Mr. Shah told me that there are elections coming up in Karnataka and the OBC sub-categorisation would be implemented a month after that. He also told me that not just at the national level, it would be implemented in the State as well. Meanwhile, I have demanded that till that happens, no new recruitment must take place in the State.So your main demand is sub-categorisation of the OBC quota?The V.P. Singh government granted 27% reservation to OBC castes in 1990. But the dominant castes which are literate and cunning, are eating up the major chunk, leaving only tiny crumbs for the weak. Just like the big fish leaves nothing for the small fish. Babasaheb achieved reservation for Dalits in 1932 but even today you won’t find a single constable from the Banspbor, Nat, Musahar, Hela and other such castes in the State capital. The same is for smaller OBC castes such as Bind, Prajapati, Kumhar, Mallah, Chauhan, Pal, Rajbhar, Julha and Dhuniya which have reservation but are not getting its actual benefits.So is everything all right with you and the BJP now?Amit Shah has promised to come here on April 10. He will hold a meeting with the CM and people of his organisation to discuss the ground reality. But let me tell you, for a year, the BJP and its government did not give my party the status of a political party. Be it in government functions or meetings, they did not once place a single chair for my party. After I returned from Delhi, for the first time, in the Legislative Assembly party meeting, a chair was put for me next to the CM. Why so? Had I not gone to Delhi, this would not have been possible. And the CM for the first time also had to issue a statement in the Assembly saying that he will divide the OBC reservation. In the presidential election, we also voted but they never thanked my party.But this time [after the RS voting], they remembered us. Only because I went to Delhi.What do you think of the SP and BSP alliance? It is being touted as an alliance of Dalits and OBCs.I believe in the ideals of both Dr. Ambedkar and Lohia. The alliance is absolutely sound.My movement, our ideology won’t get affected by the BJP or depend on it. It is because of Ambedkar and Lohia that I am here today. I am a product of Kanshiramji. He created lakhs of leaders in every caste, be it backward, forward, Dalit or minority; 70-80% of MLAs roaming in the U.P. Assembly are products of Kanshiram.If by coming together the SP and BSP fulfil Dr. Ambedkar’s and Kanshiramji’s ideals, then it is a good thing.Even if BJP, your alliance partner, loses due to it? That means your loss, too.Yes, I have no problem. I am not indentured to ensure the BJP’s victory (laughs).If your demands are not met, what will be the future of the alliance? Will you break up before 2019?How will they not fulfill it? They will have to. There is no question of me breaking the alliance. I have got votes for the BJP.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s successful campaign in the Karnataka Assembly elections has set off speculation over the appointment of a new BJP president in Rajasthan.The turn of events in the southern State is set to affect the decision in Rajasthan, with the party’s central leadership asserting its right to make the choice.The BJP’s Rajasthan unit has been without a chief for a month after Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s loyalist Ashok Parnami resigned on April 18 following the party’s defeat in the by-elections to the Mandalgarh Assembly and Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies. Raje’s discomfortThe delay in finding Mr. Parnami’s successor has also brought to light Ms. Raje’s uncomfortable relations with the party’s senior leaders. The State BJP president’s appointment has assumed significance because of the Assembly elections due later this year. Since the party chief will have a say in the distribution of tickets, the central leadership is keen that all interests are taken care of. Besides, Rajasthan will also be crucial for the 2019 general election, as the BJP had won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2014.BJP national president Amit Shah has reportedly been pushing for Jodhpur MP and Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as well as Minister of State for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal for the Rajasthan BJP president’s post. Ms. Raje has resisted the names of both Mr. Shekhawat, considered close to the party’s central leadership, and Mr. Meghwal.With the Raje camp insisting on the appointment of someone with “strong roots” in the State and bringing in the issue of Jat-Rajput caste rivalry, the deadlock continues.The indecisive state of affairs has also affected the morale of party workers, who are unable to render explanation to both the party’s supporters and those opposed to it.Suspense continues“This suspense will end after the political developments in Karnataka take a final shape. If the BJP is able to form the government, the central leadership will reject all objections and nominate the person of its choice in Rajasthan,” a senior BJP leader said here on Wednesday. In the event of the BJP sitting in Opposition in Karnataka, Ms. Raje is likely to have a greater say.The Chief Minister was also reportedly told during a meeting with Mr. Shah in New Delhi recently that the BJP State chief’s name would be announced only after the Karnataka election results. The move to bring forth Mr. Shekhawat’s name was seen as the party’s attempt to mollify the Rajputs who, despite being the BJP’s traditional supporters, have been opposing it on a number of issues.Other names doing the rounds with the assertion of support by Ms. Raje’s camp are Urban Development Minister Srichand Kriplani, former Minister Lakshmi Narayan Dave and Rajya Sabha MPs Bhupender Yadav and Narayan Lal Panchariya.Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot has said that there is infighting in the BJP. He claimed that no one in the ruling party wants to be a “scapegoat” because they know that they are going to lose this year’s Assembly polls.
In Manipur, all eyes are on the outcome of the two decades of dialogue between the Central government and Naga rebel groups. An agreement is expected to be signed before the monsoon session of Parliament, beginning on July 18, which will bring closure to the Kukis in Manipur. Nagas have been demanding unification of their lands but there are indications that maps will not be redrawn and instead ways would be found for preserving the cultural integrity of Nagas. Manipur has a considerable number of Nagas, with as much as 90% of the territory populated by Nagas and Kukis.There is hope that an amicable settlement will be reached with the Naga and Kuki rebels. However, Manipur’s insurgents have made it clear that if there is any provision in the peace accord which will compromise their territory and authority, they will not remain silent.Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren told The Hindu, “The government is committed to protecting the territory of Manipur. Not a single inch of land will be ceded away.”Army’s pactThe Army has signed a Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact with some Kuki rebel groups. Following this, over 23 Kuki outfits decided to join the mainstream and camps were constructed to house them. There have been six rounds of talks between the Central government, the Manipur government and SoO signatories. The sixth round of talks was held on January 10. Since New Delhi was keen on restoration of peace in the northeast, the Manipur government was asked to galvanise the peace process.Government sources said there could not be durable peace by signing an accord with one group while many others are left out.
After its recent drive against spurious milk and dairy products, the Punjab Food and Drug Administration has launched a crackdown on those involved in adulteration of edible oils.Food safety teams are conducting raids across the State against those involved in adulteration of oil, especially mustard oil, which is consumed by a large section of the population in Punjab.Punjab Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu said the food safety team in Fazilka conducted a raid at NG Oil Mill, Abohar, and found 725 litres of impure mustard oil and 352 litres of edible oil. Samples were taken for further investigation and the stock was seized.“The manufacturer was selling adulterated edible oil as mustard oil. The packaging part of the factory and an oil tanker were sealed. The team also seized 46 litres of Royal Taj cooking medium being sold as desi ghee from Abhey Trading Company being run from a domestic premises,” he said.Earlier, the team sealed an oil manufacturing unit near Ahmedgarh in Ludhiana. “Though the manufacturing unit was located in Ludhiana district, the packaging address was given of Sangrur district. The entire packaged material, nearly 168 litres of mustard oil, was seized and the unit sealed. Misbranded mustard oil was also found at a factory in Khanna,” said Mr. Pannu.Mr. Pannu said an inspection at Krishna Traders, Hoshiarpur, unearthed 180 kg of adulterated desi ghee made from vanaspati. “The stock was seized and samples of desi ghee and vanaspati were taken for investigation,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has said that his administration will terminate the contract granted to Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd., a month after the government rolled out a Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Scheme for employees, pensioners and accredited journalists of the State.Bids not displayed “I studied it (the case) myself. The issue is that the government had not issued any tenders. A private company had asked for tenders on behalf of another company. Those bids were not displayed anywhere on our (government’s) website. The tenders were changed to suit a particular company. I have almost terminated the contract after an investigation. It will take couple of days (for the official cancellation order),” Mr. Malik said in an interview to a Delhi-based news channel.He claimed that the contract signed earlier “was full of frauds”.Annual premium The Governor’s administration had rolled out the insurance scheme on September 20 this year. It had announced that the government had tied up with Reliance General Health Insurance Company Ltd. on an annual premium of ₹8,777 and ₹22, 229 for employees and pensioners respectively.The government had said Reliance General Insurance, headed by Anil Ambani, won the contract to provide health insurance cover to Jammu and Kashmir staff after a “rigorous and transparent competitive tender process”.Many employees have already paid their first instalment for the policy, cumulatively running into around ₹25,000 crore.Kickback chargeThe Governor hinted that “during tendering the amount was changed to suit the company and was opened on a holiday”, also suggesting that top officials took kickbacks in the State’s Finance Department.The Governor’s regime on Wednesday pushed for the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Bureau which will have powers to arrest the corrupt officers and attach their property.
Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat has accepted the resignation of Anil Sharma as Power Minister, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said on Saturday.The Governor accepted Mr. Sharma’s resignation on the recommendation of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, he added. The Chief Minister will take care of Mr. Sharma’s portfolio of Multi-Purpose Projects and Power, Nonconventional Energy Sources, the spokesperson said. Mr. Sharma resigned from the BJP government on Friday, days after the Congress fielded his son Aashray as its candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency. After resignation from the State Cabinet, Mr. Sharma said, “I will not resign as an MLA and from the party. I will remain a BJP MLA.” Meanwhile, party’s State president Satpal Singh Satti has asked him to resign as an MLA and from the BJP as well. In a statement issued here on Saturday, Mr. Satti said that Mr. Sharma had crossed all the limits of “indiscipline” by issuing statements against party candidate Ram Swaroop Sharma. “Anil Sharma has no right to remain in the BJP and he should resign from its membership on moral grounds,” he added.
Read it at Wired Related Items
As many as 7,850 Indians are lodged in jails abroad, with the highest number of over 2,000 nationals in prisons in Saudi Arabia, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said today.In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said due to strong privacy laws prevailing in many countries, the local authorities do not share information on prisoners unless the person concerned consents to the disclosure of such information.“As per the information available with the ministry, the number of Indian prisoners in foreign jails is 7,850 and the number of Indians who have completed their jail terms is 360 as of 28.02.2018,” he said.Read it at NDTV Related Items
ET Intelligence Group: The number of crorepati senior executives in India Inc has increased nearly threefold in the past two years. The number of senior executives of BSE200 companies who earned more than Rs 1 crore in remuneration in FY17 rose to 1,172 compared with 422 in FY15, reveals data from Capitaline and annual reports.Two key factors have contributed to this growth: first, large companies paid better remuneration to the senior management. Read it at Economic TImes Related Items
Talk about one industry that’s growing by leaps and bounds in India, aviation gives a tough beating to most others. The market is expected to cater to 478 million passengers by 2036. * And India seen as the third largest aviation market by 2025. According to global airlines’ body IATA, India has been successfully winning the crown for being the world’s fastest growing domestic aviation market for the three straight years till 2017.Read it at Times of India Related Items
The Indian preference for boys is skewing the country’s gender ratio, according to the latest census data.The 2011 census found 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6. Worldwide the distribution is 986 girls for 1,000 boys. With 774 girls to 1,000 boys, Haryana has the worst gender disparity. The head of India’s census agency said the gender disparity, which was earlier pronounced in Northern states, has now spread throughout the country. Ranjana Kumari, head of the Centre for Social Research, told the BBC, “It’s almost like first step toward eradication of humanity itself — because if there are no mothers, there’ll be no children, and there is going to be nobody ever born.” Demographers estimate that 600,000 girls go “missing” in India every year, primarily because of pervasive sex selection practices and infanticide, accounting for the disparityUnion Minister Farooq Abdullah cautioned, “The day is not far when there will be no girls to marry and we’ll all become gays. That might happen.” Related Items
Antique store owners in lower Manhattan, ticket vendors at India’s Taj Mahal and Brazilian business executives heading to China all have one thing in common these days: They don’t want U.S. dollars.Hit by a free fall with no end in sight, the once mighty U.S. dollar is no longer just crashing on currency markets and making life more expensive for American tourists and business people abroad; its clout is evaporating worldwide as foreign businesses and individuals turn to other currencies.Experts say the bleak U.S. economic forecast means it will take years for the greenback to recover its value and prestige.Negative dollar sentiment is growing in nations where the dollar was historically accepted as equal or better than local currency – and dollar aversion is even extending to some quarters in the United States.At the Taj Mahal, dollars were always legal tender, alongside rupees, for entry into the palace. But because of the falling value of the dollar, the government implemented a rupees-only policy in January. Indian merchants catering to tourists have also turned bearish on the dollar.“Gone are the days when we used to run after dollars, holding onto them for rainy days,” said Vijay Narain, a tour operator in Agra. “Now we prefer the euro. It gives us more riches.” In Bolivia, billboards feature George Washington’s image on a dollar bill alongside a bright pink 500 euro note, encouraging savers to turn to the euro to tuck away money earned abroad or sent home in remittances.“If the dollar’s going down … save it in Euros!!!” say the signs popping up around La Paz for Bolivia’s Banco Bisa.And in neighboring Brazil, the Confidence Cambio money-changing service was the first to start offering yuan so travelers to China no longer have to change the money into dollars first. The service is already a hit because Brazil does big business with China, and lots of Brazilians are heading to the Olympics this summer.“Now we tell people not to take dollars when they go abroad, it’s better to change it directly to the local currency,” said Fabio Agostinho, one of the firm’s managing partners. “If people leave here with dollars and go abroad, they lose when they exchange them. It’s the same thing whether they’re heading to China, Europe or even Argentina.”In Manhattan’s Bowery district, Billy LeRoy, the owner of Billy’s Antiques & Props, prefers payment in euros so he can stockpile the currency for his annual antique buying trip to Paris.“Whip out dollars at the French flea market now, and they’ll shoo you away,” he said at his store near apartment buildings where Europeans are snapping up units because they’ve become dirt cheap. “Before it was like the second coming of Christ, but now they don’t want it or if they do take dollars, they’re going to take their pound of flesh.”The dollar has steadily eroded in value against the euro and other currencies since 2002 as U.S. budget and trade deficits ballooned, but fears of an American recession and credit crisis have sent the dollar to stunning lows amid predictions the slump will continue for a long time.The euro traded for a record $1.5625 while the dollar dropped below 100 Japanese yen for the first time since November 1995. It traded as low as 99.75 yen before recovering some ground to 101.68 yen. The dollar also recently hit a 10-year low against the Chilean peso, and fell to its lowest level against Brazil’s real since the nation floated its currency in 1999.While low dollar cycles have come and gone for decades, experts caution that it’s now much more difficult to predict when this one will end because the euro didn’t exist as competition for the dollar before.During previous U.S. economic downturns, big foreign funds typically snapped up U.S. treasuries, helping to shore up the dollar to a certain degree. But the euro and currencies from other nations are now seen as legitimate options, and interest rates are higher outside the United States – meaning the funds can get better returns on investments elsewhere.“You have the U.S. still holding this trade deficit, but now you have the possibility of a U.S. led recession, and you have a weakening currency. So it’s a very dark outlook for the dollar,” said Gareth Sylvester, senior currency strategist with the British firm HIFX Inc., which executed $40 billion in currency trades last year.Nations that were once seen as incredibly risky for investments -such as Brazil – are now seen as good long-term bets. And countries such as China and Russia, with burgeoning coffers of money to invest abroad, are thought to be shifting some of their reserves or diversifying fresh income to destinations and currencies outside the United States.It used to be important for most countries “to accumulate dollars as a precautionary element against rainy days, but the accumulation of reserves has become so large in most emerging market countries that the balance is way beyond what’s needed for precautionary reasons,” said Eliot Kalter, a fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a former International Monetary Fund official.While most experts believe the dollar will eventually regain strength, no one is willing to predict when that will happen.“I think the factors that are affecting the weakness of the dollar will be reversed, but no time soon,” Kalter said. The problem right now, is that “people just don’t want to be holding U.S dollars and U.S.-based equities,” Sylvester added. “If you are an investor with a million dollars to invest, you look for the highest yield – you’re looking at South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.”And it’s not only the big time investors that are looking for other options.In Peru, where savings in U.S. dollars were long a popular hedge against inflation, many citizens are closing dollar accounts in favor of Peruvian soles.At the same time, businesses like supermarkets, movie theaters and cable TV companies that used to accept dollars are now demanding soles.Edwin Figueroa, a 29-year-old systems engineer, switched his checking account from dollars to soles seven months ago as the dollar’s decline started worrying him. He doesn’t think he’ll be going back anytime soon.The Peruvian sol “is stable now,” he said. “And maybe in a year, the dollar will even go lower.” Related Items
Dear Senator Obama,This letter represents a first for me–a public endorsement of a Presidential candidate. I feel driven to let you know why I am writing it. One reason is it may help gather other supporters; another is that this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril. I will not rehearse the multiple crises facing us, but of one thing I am certain: this opportunity for a national evolution (even revolution) will not come again soon, and I am convinced you are the person to capture it.May I describe to you my thoughts? I have admired Senator Clinton for years. Her knowledge always seemed to me exhaustive; her negotiation of politics expert. However I am more compelled by the quality of mind (as far as I can measure it) of a candidate. I cared little for her gender as a source of my admiration, and the little I did care was based on the fact that no liberal woman has ever ruled in America. Only conservative or “new-centrist” ones are allowed into that realm. Nor do I care very much for your race[s]. I would not support you if that was all you had to offer or because it might make me “proud.”In thinking carefully about the strengths of the candidates, I stunned myself when I came to the following conclusion: that in addition to keen intelligence, integrity and a rare authenticity, you exhibit something that has nothing to do with age, experience, race or gender and something I don’t see in other candidates. That something is a creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom. It is too bad if we associate it only with gray hair and old age. Or if we call searing vision naivete. Or if we believe cunning is insight. Or if we settle for finessing cures tailored for each ravaged tree in the forest while ignoring the poisonous landscape that feeds and surrounds it. Wisdom is a gift; you can’t train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace–that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.When, I wondered, was the last time this country was guided by such a leader? Someone whose moral center was un-embargoed? Someone with courage instead of mere ambition? Someone who truly thinks of his country’s citizens as “we,” not “they”? Someone who understands what it will take to help America realize the virtues it fancies about itself, what it desperately needs to become in the world?Our future is ripe, outrageously rich in its possibilities. Yet unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor, and some may be so frightened of its birth they will refuse to abandon their nostalgia for the womb.There have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time.Good luck to you and to us.Toni Morrison Related Items
PH boxers make rousing 2017 SEA Games debuts Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Denden Lazaro (13) of the Philippines receives the ball as teammate Alyssa Valdez looks on. Photo from asianvolleyball.netKUALA LUMPUR—A day after arriving in Malaysia for the Southeast Asian Games here, national team head coach Francis Vicente and his staff announced that Dawn Macandili has replaced Denden Lazaro as the squad’s libero.“It was hard for us coaches because there was a change in the roster,” said Vicente in Filipino Saturday at Seri Pacific Hotel here in Kuala Lumpur. “And we also need to carefully explain to Denden why she was replaced.”ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games Read Next Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LATEST STORIES “As a player, that change hurt,” said Vicente. “But it was understandable because she was expecting to play but we can’t force her into the role because of medical reasons.”Vicente added Macandili’s award wasn’t part of their decision and that they can’t put Lazaro in further danger because of the injury. READ: Macandili replaces Lazaro in SEA Games lineupLazaro was chosen as the team’s libero a month before they suited up for the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, but the former Ateneo Lady Eagle suffered a hamstring injury in July that hampered her performance.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Atenean was still able to play in the Asian Championship, but Macandili slowly emerged as the team’s first choice as she eventually earned the tournament’s 2nd Best Libero award.Vicente added that their choice to put in Lazaro, who was initially a reserve player, was a hard pill to swallow for Lazaro. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program MOST READ UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games View comments
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Read Next Already, Syquia is being eyed to represent the Philippines in the Asian Games next year. Rhezie Aragon cops silver in taekwondo Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics PLAY LIST 00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games LATEST STORIES Colin Syquia of the Philippines. Photo taken from the official Twitter account of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games @KL2017KUALA LUMPUR — John Colin Syquia was already rethinking his decision of competing in the Southeast Asian Games because of a long flight from Florida.His mount Adventure L took the flight from Florida to New York to Amsterdam, Netherlands to Baku, Azerbaijan before coming here.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension READ: Syquia wins PH’s 23rd gold, rules equestrian show jumpTeam manager Daniella Virata said the horse may have travelled 36 hours.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Imagine what the horse went through, standing on the pallet all those hours,” said Virata.But Syquia remained cool through it all, “he was smiling and sharing the same personality as Adventure, they really jibed together,” she said. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief View comments
Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Grand Slam-seeking Beermen on the right track “After four months, finally a sweet, sweet podium finish,” said Maraño, referring to the period of time she spent with the national team.“Hopefully with more hard work from us players and a strong volleyball program we can achieve our goals,” added Maraño, the former UAAP MVP from La Salle.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe PSL All-Star squad bested Khonkaen Star Volleyball Club, 25-18, 25-22, 32-34, 25-22, for the bronze medal.Other team members were Mika Reyes, Jovelyn Gonzaga, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Remy Palma, Bang Pineda, Frances Molina, Rhea Dimaculangan, Chie Saet, Jheck Dionela, Honey Royse Tubino, and Mar-Jana Philips. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary LATEST STORIES E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad MOST READ For Aby Maraño, it was one tangible indication that Philippine volleyball is on the upswing.The feisty middle blocker helped steer a bunch of Philippine Superliga players to a bronze medal in the 2017 Annual Princess Maja Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup in Sisaket, Thailand, over the weekend.ADVERTISEMENT PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients