Connect with us

International

If Trump and Kim can meet, why can’t India-Pakistan leaders: Nepali Foreign Minister

Published

on

Mehbooba Mufti

New Delhi | Nepal on Friday strongly pitched for convening of the SAARC summit, saying differences should be resolved through dialogue and the grouping should collectively deal with terrorism and other key challenges facing the region.

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali also cited last year’s historic talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, saying dialogue was the only way to address differences.

“If US President Trump and North Korea’s Kim can meet, then why not (leaders of) other countries,” he asked during an interaction with a group of foreign policy experts and reporters.

It is Pakistan’s turn to host the summit. However, India, citing continued support to cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, has been maintaining that it is difficult to proceed with the summit.

The SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) Summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after a deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir that year, India expressed its inability to participate in it.

The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the meet. Maldives and Sri Lanka are the seventh and eighth members of the grouping.

“There is no alternative to sitting together and mitigating differences. The problems we (the region) are facing cannot be resolved alone. We need to put collective efforts to deal with various key challenges like climate change and terrorism,” Mr Gyawali said.

The Nepalese foreign minister, who held bilateral talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, said his country has been raising the issue of the SAARC summit with India.

“I am hopeful the summit will be held soon,” Gyawali said. SAARC summits are usually held biennially, hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The member state hosting the summit assumes the chair of the Association.

The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Nepalese foreign minister also said he has requested the Indian government to replace Rs. 7 crore worth of old Indian currency notes with new ones. Following the demonetisation exercise in India, people in Nepal deposited the old notes in banks in Nepal. Indian currency is extensively used by Nepalese people and businesses. The Nepalese government last month asked its citizens to refrain from keeping or carrying Indian bank notes higher than Rs.100 denomination.

On Nepal’s ties with China, Mr Gyawali said Nepal has very close ties with India and it will be unfair to compare his country’s relationship with India to that of China. “We have a wonderful relationship with India. I do not want to compare it with our ties with China. We have a good relationship with China and I do not want to compare it with India,” he said. The minister also said the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) on Nepal-India relations was finalising its report covering all aspects of the bilateral ties and asserted that there was no difference of opinion between the two sides on the issue.

The EPG was formed in January 2016 with the mandate to review various aspects of the bilateral relations including Nepal-India Friendship Treaty 1950.

International

Pakistan court grants bail to Nawaz Sharif for his treatment

Published

on

By

sharif

Islamabad | In a relief to Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to the jailed former prime minister for six weeks in a corruption case on medical grounds.

Sharif, 69, is in jail since December last year, serving 7-year imprisonment in the Al Azizia Steel Mills graft case.

He filed appeal earlier this month against a judgment by the Islamabad High Court which on February 25 rejected his bail on medical grounds in the same case.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in a short order granted bail to Sharif for six weeks for his treatment.

But the court ruled he cannot go out of the country during this period.

Three corruption cases – Avenfield properties, Flagship investment and Al-Azizia steel mills – were registered against the Sharif family by the anti-graft body in 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Sharif in the Panama Papers case in 2017.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the Avenfiled corruption case in July 2018 which was related to his properties in London. Later he was given bail in September.

In December, the accountability court convicted him in the Al-Azizia graft case but acquitted him in the Flagship corruption case.

The Al-Azizia Steel Mill case is related to setting up steel mills in Saudi Arabia allegedly with corruption money.

Continue Reading

International

I regret not testifying at my trial: Rajat Gupta

Published

on

By

New York | Rajat Gupta, India-born former Managing Director of McKinsey, feels not testifying at his insider trading trial was a “bad call” and he regrets not taking the stand in his defence.

Gupta, 70, has penned his memoir Mind Without Fear’ that released Monday and tells of his dramatic rise to the top of the corporate and financial world in America and then his fall after being charged in 2012 in one of the largest insider trading cases in the US. He served a 19-month prison term and was released in 2016.

“I always believed that I should testify and I kept telling this to my lawyers. Till the very last weekend (of the trial) I was going to testify,” Gupta told PTI in an interview here.

The former director of Goldman Sachs said he had been telling his lawyers to prepare him to testify in court and he had been preparing himself for it. He, however, said that his lawyers advised him throughout the case that he should not take the stand in the courtroom.

“They kept saying don’t testify, don’t testify. It was a bad call on my part. I always regret it (not testifying in court),” he said adding that it was a very difficult circumstance for him since he did not know anything about the legal system. “Here were my lawyers, my advisers who are supposed to be in my interest. Right? They kept saying don’t testify,” he said.

Gupta said throughout his life as a consultant, he has given advice to his clients and they listened to him. “The situation was reversed. I was the client. So in the end I succumbed to their arguments. I felt it was a moment of weakness. I feel very badly about it that I didn’t testify,” he said.

In 2012, Gupta was found guilty of passing confidential boardroom information to then hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, who is currently serving 11 years in prison for insider trading. One such information the prosecutors alleged Gupta shared with Rajaratnam in September 2008 was about Berkshire Hathaway’s five billion dollar investment in Goldman Sachs.

The prosecutors said Gupta participated in the Goldman Sachs board meeting via telephone and then 16 seconds after the Goldman call ended, he called Rajaratnam’s direct office line at the Galleon Group hedge fund.

Gupta maintains that he did not pass any inside information to Rajaratnam and said that it was routine for him to make phone calls when he got out of board meetings. “They (prosecutors) made a big thing about 16 seconds. I make calls after board meetings all the time, within 16 seconds. I get out of the board meeting, I make a call generally. I make call to my secretary saying who do I have to call, what do I have to attend to,” he said.

Gupta pointed out that Goldman chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein had admitted during the trial he too used to make phone calls after getting out of board meetings. “The fact that I called him (Rajaratnam) after 16 seconds has no particular meaning. It’s just the normal procedure,” he said.

Gupta notes that “all I can remember” about the call was that he had been trying to contact Rajaratnam for information about his account related to the Voyager investment. During the trial, Gupta’s lawyers had presented evidence that Rajaratnam had cheated Gupta out of USD 10 million in the Voyager investment.

Gupta said he had called Rajaratnam on the morning of that September day and had spoken to him for several minutes because he needed some information about the Voyager account, which Rajaratnam was not giving to him.

He said he had been “exasperated” trying to get the Voyager information from Rajaratnam. Gupta’s bank needed the information and Rajaratnam said during the call that he would give Gupta the information later that day. “That I remember clearly,” he said.

“After the board meeting, I called my secretary. If I were to pass inside information to Raj, I would have called him directly. I didn’t. I called my secretary. I said ‘Did Raj send the information’. She said no. I said ‘Get me Raj’,” Gupta said, explaining the circumstances of his call to Rajaratnam after the Goldman board meeting.

He added that as his case began four years later, he didn’t even remember whether he was able to connect with Rajaratnam over phone that day. “I don’t know whether it was just his secretary or he was there or what. Because I don’t remember any conversation,” he said.

Gupta said had he testified at his trial, he would have definitely shared all the details with the jury. Gupta replied “of course” when asked if he feels he was wrongly convicted. “The fact that I appealed every step of the way should tell you that I am not an insider trader,” he said.

He pointed out that insider trading involves three things – there has to be evidence that one passed insider information, there has to be a quid pro quo and that the person giving inside information has to have a significant benefit. The prosecutors “demonstrated nothing of the second two. They had circumstantial evidence, just connecting the timing. But there is no real evidence,” he said.

In January this year, Gupta had suffered a setback when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his bid to throw out his 2012 insider-trading conviction, affirming a lower court’s ruling in the case. Gupta had been arguing that he served time in jail for conduct that is not criminal even though the government lacked evidence to show he “received even a penny” for passing confidential boardroom information to Rajaratnam.

Continue Reading

International

Pentagon authorizes USD 1 bn for Trump’s border wall

Published

on

By

Pentagon

Washington | Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said on Monday he had authorized USD 1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border.

The Department of Homeland Security asked the Pentagon to build 92 kilometers of 5.5-meter fencing, build and improve roads, and install lighting to support Trump’s emergency declaration as concerns the border.

Shanahan “authorized the commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to USD 1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol,” a Pentagon statement read.

Continue Reading

Popular Stories

Copyright © 2018 Theo Connect Pvt. Ltd. info@hwnews.in