Senate report puts CIA in the dock

The interrogation methods used by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on detainees were ineffective, much harsher than previously revealed and often produced wrong information, according to the executive summary of a report de-classified by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released on Tuesday. Only the 528-page summary has been de-classified. The full report of about 6,700 pages remains classified. The very first point under the “findings and conclusions” in the summary is that, “The…

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Obama names Ashton Carter as new defence secretary

US President Barack Obama picked the man who described the US as “the single most important provider of security in the world” as the new defence secretary. The nomination of Ashton Carter as Pentagon Chief comes about a week after Obama reportedly pressured former defence secretary Chuck Hagel to resign. The Senate still needs to confirm the President’s nomination to make the appointment effective. Carter, a former Deputy Secretary of Defence, has a “unique blend of…

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Will India ever overtake China?

Yes, says Goldman Sachs. And as early as 2016, by which time India’s economy is estimated to grow faster than China’s. According to the American investment bank, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 will grow at the rate of 6.8 per cent, while China’s will be 6.7 per cent. If it indeed happens, it will make history in modern times, as it will be the first time India overtakes China. Goldman Sachs’ prediction is…

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Chuck Hagel bears the burden of America’s disillusionment with Obama

OPINION By EMILY SCHAUER Last week it was announced that Chuck Hagel submitted his resignation to President Obama. In the ensuing days, there was more speculation than fact rolling around the wires as America decided how it felt about this news. Since his announcement, there has been significant talk over why—and especially why now—Hagel is leaving, after having been strongly loyal to the administration. The general feeling is that in the world of politics, someone…

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“Forward Together We Go”

Text of speech delivered by US Trade Representative Michael Froman at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, on November 24, 2014.   “I’ve been coming here for the past 15 years, as a tourist, as a business person and as a government official, but this is my first trip to India as the United States Trade Representative. It’s a special honor to be here to co-chair the U.S.-India Trade Policy…

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Obama announces unilateral immigration reform

By EMILY SCHAUER On Thursday, US President Barack Obama announced his plan to act unilaterally on the hot-button immigration issue by issuing an Executive Order. Opponents, primarily members of the Republican Party, decry his action as unlawful, and to some, it is an impeachable offence. In his speech announcing the reforms, Obama was less than subtle as he discussed mounting frustration with a Congress in stalemate, calling out the millions of people whose lives are…

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Obama to be chief guest of India’s Republic Day

US President Barack Obama on Friday set the ball rolling for creating history by accepting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the Chief Guest of India’s Republic Day on January 26, 2015. For one, Obama will be the first US President to be India’s chief guest during Republic Day. In addition, Obama will be the first US President to visit India twice while in office. Obama also visited India in 2010 during his…

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Rajapaksa seeks third term as Sri Lankan president

Seeking a third term, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday announced presidential elections ahead of schedule. The decision to hold presidential polls, expected in January next year, comes two years before the expiry of 69-year-old Rajapaksa’s current six-year term. “I am declaring a secret today. I have signed the proclamation calling for the election, for re-election for the third time. That is democracy,” Rajapaksa said on television Thursday. A statement from his office said,…

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G20 leaders commit to reviving global economy

Ebola and climate change were among the non-economic topics mentioned in a joint statement by the Group of Twenty (G20) after their two-day summit in Brisbane, Australia that ended on Sunday, Nov. 16. On the economic front, the leaders of the G20 committed to reviving the subdued global economy with a $2 trillion, or 2.1  per cent, boost in global GDP over the next five years. Overall, the G20 leaders committed to a package of…

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India, US reach deal to break WTO impasse

In a major victory for India, the US on Thursday agreed to support the former’s demand to be allowed to continue with its food stockpiling scheme. In return, India will lift its veto on a global agreement on streamlining customs rules, known as the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), being negotiated by the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). With this, the TFA – which is estimated to add $1 trillion to the world economy…

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