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Cabinet Meeting on 7th Pay Commission Today, Likely to Discuss on Allowances

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Today, around 5 pm, 50 lakh central employee will attend a cabinet meeting. It would be intresting to see if this cabinet meeting brings something good for the employees. In this meeting employees are expecting the decision on the issue of 7th pay Commission Allowances. Let us inform you that Narendra Modi has returned from foreign tour in the night and due to this,the meeting which was scheduled this morning will take place in the evening. According to NDTV, the agenda of this cabinet meeting is still not fixed but it is being speculated that in its last meeting of the month Narendra Modi’s cabinet will take decisions on revised allowances for Central government employees.

The issue of allowances for central government employees under the 7th Pay Commission has been reeling for over a year with reviews at different levels. However, a definite outcome has eluded adding to the frustration among the central government employees. The Union Cabinet was expected to approve the proposal on allowances last week but it got delayed as the Prime Minister Modi was visiting Washington.

It was reported that the House Rent Allowance or HRA could be approved at 27 per cent of the basic pay. The Pay Panel had brought down, in its recommendation, the HRA to 24 per cent, 16 per cent and 8 per cent of the basic pay, depending upon the city the employee is posted in.

The sixth pay commission had pegged the HRA at 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent.

The Commission not only brought down the HRA but also done away with as many as 52 allowances. It recommended that out of a total 196 allowances, 52 be discontinued and 36 other allowances should be subsumed under other allowances.

Drastic change in HRA and other allowances did not go well with the central government employees who expressed their opposition and asked the government to take a re-look at the proposed recommendations.

Coming under pressure from nearly 47 lakh central government employees, the Cabinet formed a Committee on Allowances under Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa last year in June. The Committee was tasked to look into the extensive changes suggested by the 7th Pay Commission.

The Lavasa Committee handed over its review report to the Finance Minister in April after consulting representations from various government departments. The report, post approval, was forwarded to E-CoS for their consideration and consolidation.

China Protest Against India, Over Sikkim Incursion for Mansarovar Yatra

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On Tuesday, China accused Indian troops of “crossing the border” in the Sikkim district and ordered for a quick withdrawal, while emphasizing that it has closed the Nathu La Pass entry for the Indian pilgrims traveling to Kailash Mansarovar because of the border confrontation. China also said that it has sheltered diplomatic protests with India in New Delhi as well in Beijing, claiming that the Indian troop’s wrongdoing into Chinese territory in the Sikkim Sector.

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Tuesday that “As to the Indian pilgrims’ journey through the Nathu La pass in the Sikkim section, I think the Indian side is very clear about it. For a long time, the Chinese government has made enormous efforts to provide necessary convenience for those Indian pilgrims. But recently, the Indian border personnel trespassed the Chinese border to obstruct construction so we have taken necessary actions”. “We have lodged solemn representations in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate on our solemn position. Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering. We hope the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and immediately withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border,” he added.

Last night, China has said that it had suspended the visit of Indian pilgrims who enter Tibet through the Nathu La pass “for safety reasons” in order to have an eye on border conflict. In the last night statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “China urges India to immediately withdraw its border guards that have crossed the boundary and have a thorough investigation of this matter. The Indian border guards crossed the boundary in the Sikkim section of the China-India border and entered the territory of China, and obstructed normal activities of Chinese frontier forces in the Donglang area recently, and the Chinese side has taken countermeasures.” His statement came after Indian troops were being accused by the Chinese defense ministry of objecting to building a road which is claimed to be in the territory of China.

The disagreement over the constructing of the road was actually the reason behind China stopped a group of 47 pilgrims from crossing via Nathu La border in Sikkim into Tibet to visit Mansarovar and Kailash. The Chinese defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said yesterday that recently when China started the creation of a road in Donglang region, however, it was stopped by the Indian troops crossing the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In the statement of Geng, he said that the Sikkim region of the China-India border has been defined by agreements, asserting that the Indian government has confirmed again and again in writing that there is no objection to it. The Chinese also requested India to respect the boundary agreements and China’s territorial power to maintain peace and stability in the Indo-China border, Geng said.

To keep an eye on the safety issues, Geng said that China has adjourned organizing for the Indian pilgrims to enter China through the Nathu La pass, and China had informed India of its decision through various diplomatic channels. Geng said yesterday that both the countries were in talks over the same matter. The Geng’s statement came after the tension increased in a main area of Sikkim following a fight between the personnel of the Indian Army and the PLA, which led to Chinese troops smashing up bunkers on the side of the Indian boundary. It happened in the first week of June near the Lalten post in the Doka La general area in Sikkim after a confrontation between both the forces, which increased the tension along the Sino-Indian border. The PLA entered into the Indian Territory and damaged two makeshift bunkers of the Army after the confrontation.

Google Lost its Biggest Regulatory Battle, Fined $2.4 billion For Skewing Searches

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Google lost its biggest regulatory battle yet, getting a record €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) fine from European Union enforcers who say the search-engine giant skewed results in its favour to thwart smaller shopping search services.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has 90 days to “stop its illegal conduct” and give equal treatment to rival price-comparison services, according to a binding order from the European Commission on Tuesday. It’s up to Google to choose how it does this and it must tell the EU within 60 days of its plans. Failure to comply brings a risk of fines of up to 5% of its daily revenue.

“Google’s strategy for its comparison-shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers by making its product better than those of its rivals,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief. “It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services.”

Shares of Mountain View, California-based Google fell 1.5% in pre-market trading in New York. They’ve risen 23% so far this year.

Vestager’s decision marks the end of a lengthy seven-year probe fuelled by complaints from small shopping websites as well as bigger names, including News Corp., Axel Springer SE and Microsoft Corp. European politicians have called on the EU to sanction Google or even break it up while US critics claim regulators are targeting successful American firms.

“I expect the Commission now to swiftly conclude the other two ongoing investigations against Google,” Markus Ferber, a member of the European Parliament from Germany. “Unfortunately, the Google case also illustrates that competition cases tend to drag on for far too long before they are eventually resolved. In a fast-moving digital economy this means often enough that market abuse actually pays off and the abuser succeeds in eliminating the competition.”

Google has been pushing its own comparison shopping service since 2008, systematically giving it prominent placement when people search for an item, the EU said. Rival comparison sites usually only appear on page four of search results, effectively denying them a massive audience as the first page attracts 95% of all clicks.

“As a result of Google’s illegal practices, traffic to Google’s comparison-shopping service increased significantly, whilst rivals have suffered very substantial losses of traffic on a lasting basis,” the EU said, citing figures of a 45% increase in traffic for Google’s service.

Tuesday’s fines could just be the first in a series of EU antitrust penalties for Google, which is fighting on at least two other fronts, including its Android mobile-phone software and the AdSense online advertising service. The decision follows Russia’s $7.8 million antitrust fine and penalties from Italian, German and French privacy authorities. Europe has proved a tough jurisdiction for Google, which fell foul of the region’s top court, losing a high-profile right-to-be-forgotten case three years ago.

“Vestager is proving she means business,” said Thomas Vinje, a lawyer who represents FairSearch, a group of companies that complained to the EU. “This decision will mean that consumers receive comparison-shopping results that offer genuinely the best purchasing options.”

While the penalty is a record, it will do little to faze a company whose parent has more than $90 billion in cash. Of graver concern is the way regulators called on Google to change the way it handles online shopping searches, one of its biggest sources of sales growth and strongest weapons against rivals Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

The EU says that Google doesn’t subject its own service to its algorithm, which ranks search results on quality and relevance to the user.

The EU’s allegations strike at the heart of a type of online advertising known as Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, that is growing at almost three times the rate of traditional text-based search ads, according to digital marketing firm Merkle Inc. The format lets a marketer place an ad for an item with large images and price information in the prime digital real estate at the top of search results.

Vestager doesn’t fear big numbers. She has ordered Apple Inc. to repay some €13 billion in tax advantages and hit truck makers with a record cartel fine of nearly 3 billion euros. The Google fine tops a €1.06 billion penalty eight years ago for Intel Corp., which is still waiting for the final outcome of a court appeal.

Her move against Google risks attracting further criticism that she’s unfairly singled out US companies. While she’s said American firms are “under no specific fire because of their nationality,” transatlantic tensions are already on the rise after President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord, adding to concerns over global trade.

Even so, any backlash against the Google decision from American industry is likely to be reduced. US companies played a big part in lobbying the EU to take action after US regulators ended their investigation into Google search.

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PM Modi to Travel Netherlands to Meet Dutch PM Mark Rutt and CEO's

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Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Netherlands after concluding his visit to the US. He was on the final leg of his three nation tour.

Modi held talks with President Donald Trump in the US during which the two leaders take an oath to strengthen cooperation on terror. Both countries India and the US urged Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch cross border terror strikes.

Gopal Baglay, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson tweeted, ” ending up a historic visit, setting a new milestone in #IndiaUS relations, now PM departs for Netherlands, the last leg of his three nation tour.”

Today, Prime Minister  Narendra Modi will have an official meeting with Dutch PM Mark Rutte in Netherlands with whom he will have a discussion on global issues including terrorism and the climate change in the world.

In Netherland, today he will meet with CEOs of Dutch companies and will encourage them to join the Indian growth story and invite them to become a part of Indian economy.

He said in a Facebook post before leaving on his three nation trip, ” I will call on King Willem-Alexander and will meet Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.”

Also PM Modi will  address the Indian diaspora in the Netherlands.

Philippines Says no Deal With Islamist Who Seized Marawi

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The Philippines prohibited  the negotiations with Islamist militants while holding sacrificial lamb and occupying a southern town, after  getting the reports that a rebel leader wanted to trade a Catholic priest for his parents.

Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesman  said that there would be no deal with the Maute group militants penetrated up in Marawi City because that was against government policy and no one had the authority to do that so don’t try to bargain.

Daily Inquirer of Philippine  reported that on Sunday , one of two brothers named  Abdullah Maute, who formed the militant group carrying their name had told religious diplomat that he wanted discharge of his mother and father in return for Father Teresito ‘Chito’ Soganub vicar general of Marawi.

The authorities believe more than 100  Christians along with Suganob are linked insurgents as human shields which is held by the Islamic State.

The military and our political leaders, Abella told reporters that The government policy not to negotiate with terrorists remains, hence the local religious leader led talks with terrorists and On last Sunday it was one not sanctioned by government.

” therefore, Any demands hold no basis which is made inside” Let us recall the public, the gravity and the supporters of the terrorists offences is immense and  for all of their actions, they must be held accountable.”

On Sunday, Taking advantage of a short  of the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday eight Muslim leaders get entered into the conflict zone along with the rescue teams and briefly met  with Maute, who had fled the battle, a day earlier the  military said.

Cayamora Maute, Maute brother’s father was apprehended in Davao City and on Mindanao island on June 6 which is about 140 km southeast of Marawi. Later after three days, Farhana Maute, their mother who is a  dominant  businesswoman,  was arrested closer to Marawi.

Cause of disintegration

Over the past week, military’s public relations machine has been insisting that the rebel leadership was breaking down and were saying the reason behind that is top commanders had escaped or were killed in action and the group was filled up with disharmony. It also said that the rebels had carry out some of their own members  who want to surrender themselves.

However,  The Military officers have said that the due to shortage of solid proof of such developments they were working to investigate about intelligence reports.

On Tuesday, The army said that there were  sightings of the departure from the battle zone of Isnilon Hapilon, the Islamic State’s anointed ’emir’ in Southeast Asia. Abella said he was not committed to his cause.

Abella said ,”Hapilon for whom the United States has a $5 million bounty. It would be a clear sign of his spiritlessness because he has  deserted his colleagues.”

On Tuesday, Heavy clashes broke out as the battle for Marawi entered into its sixth week with strong bombing raids by planes on a rebel zone.

The unpleasant seizure of the town by the Maute group has worried the region to the extent the Islamic State agenda which may have gained grip in the southern Philippines and used to banditry, piracy and separatism over the radical Islamist ideology.

Use of heavy weapons raised fears in rebel’s organization mainly in the Roman Catholic country that the Marawi fighting could  be the start of a big campaign and portrayed by the Maute as a triumph that could boost their recruitment process.

From may 23, since an operation to arrest Hapilon went wrong the fighting has raged in the town leading to the government that it not just lose Hapilon but has lost the control of the city.

According to government figures at that time round 27 civilians , 70 servicemen and 290 militants have been killed  and 246,000 people have been displaced from a town where the neighborhoods have been reduced to ruins.

Residents believe that large numbers of civilians may have been killed while some of them get trapped in areas under fire from militant snipers and thrashed by airstrikes and heavy weapons.