Can Cameron Bring London Riots Under Control?

British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing his first political test. Since Saturday, London has been witnessing the worst kind of riots and looting. The rioting initially started off in Tottenham on Saturday. The trigger was the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man, Mark Duggan, by armed police officers. Troubled started brewing in Tottenham, which has a long history of police-civilian conflict. A protest march was arranged to the police station on Saturday evening; after…

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America’s Debt Woes

Close on the heels of the US debt ceiling deal, credit agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgraded the US government’s credit rating from AAA to AA-plus. This is the first time in history that US gets a credit lower than the coveted AAA. Now the US is in the same league as countries such as Japan, China, Spain, Taiwan and Slovenia. However, the other two leading credit rating agencies — Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch…

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Ranjan Mathai Is India’s New Foreign Secretary

Ranjan Mathai is India’s new foreign secretary. The appointment is for two years, which can be renewed if the government so wishes. He succeeds Nirupama Rao, who has been posted as India’s ambassador to the United States. Fifty-nine-year-old Mathai hails from Kerala, a tiny state in the southern part of India, which has produced many illustrious diplomats — V.K. Krishna Menon, KPS Menon, Shashi Tharoor, Shiv Shankar Menon, Nirupama Rao, to name a few. A…

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Hina’s Maiden India Visit

The new Pakistani foreign minister’s maiden visit to India began with a lot of hope. “I bring the good wishes of the people of Pakistan and the government of Pakistan,” said Hina Rubani Khar immediately upon landing in New Delhi on Tuesday, Interestingly, Khar chose to meet separatist leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a front organisation that espouses the cause of Kashmiri separatism, before her crucial meeting with her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna…

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Moroccan Plane Crashes, Kills 78

Agence Maghreb Arabe Press, the state news agency of Morocco, has reported that a military airplane belonging to Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces has crashed, killing at least 78 people — 60 soldiers and nine crew members; the rest are civilians. The plane was reportedly about to land at western Sahara, a disputed territory. A statement by Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces ascribed bad weather to the cause of the crash. Western Sahara is a remote mountainous…

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Pakistan Gets A Face-lift

Pakistan’s new foreign minister is only 34 years old. But that’s the least surprising factor of the new minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, who has been promoted from junior minister to the cabinet. In a deeply-conservative Pakistan, it’s the first time a woman has been appointed as a foreign minister. The appointment of the youthful, good-looking Khar in itself appears to be a conscious move. Although Pakistan President Asif Zardari insists that the appointment is purely…

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Hillary Reaches India

Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary of State, arrived in New Delhi on 18 July to attend the second round of Indo-US strategic dialogue. Clinton is accompanied by a large delegation including top US counter-terrorism officials such as Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and Deputy Secretary, Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute. Clinton will have separate meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, and several senior…

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Aishwarya postpones award ceremony

For the second time, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan requested the French government to postpone the ceremony of the second-highest French civilian award. On 13 July, Rai was to receive the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) from Jerome Bonnafont, the Ambassador of France to India, in New Delhi. However, Ash – as the actress is fondly called – declined to accept it as she…

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Terror Revisits Mumbai

In a suspected terror attack, Mumbai, the financial capital of India, was rattled during the evening rush as three bombs ripped through crowded places within minutes of each other, killing dozens and injuring many more. Indo-Pak relations are likely to be the first casualty. Initial reports suggest that at least 20 people have lost their lives and more than 100 suffered injuries in what the Indian home minister termed “a coordinated terror attack”. It is…

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What’s wrong with RBI

Does India want to trade with Iran or not? It seems Indian companies do, but the government doesn’t. Or that is the signal the Indian government is giving out through its thoughtless, preposterous actions. On 27 December 2010, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) through a notice circulated to all Indian banks ruled that all payments for trade transactions would be settled outside the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) mechanism. ACU — set up in 1975…

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