In-The-News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Aug. 30.What we are watching in Canada …OTTAWA – All six federal party leaders are in Ottawa today for an English-language debate that could shake up an election campaign that’s seen practically no movement in the polls since it began on Sept. 11.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative boss Andrew Scheer, the two front-runners, both have events in Ottawa this morning: Trudeau has a photo-op with teachers and Scheer is promising an announcement at a downtown hotel.The NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and the Greens’ Elizabeth May appear to be fighting for third place, both looking to pick up seats especially on the West Coast.The Bloc Quebecois’ Yves-Francois Blanchet has little to gain or lose in front of a national audience primarily of English-speakers, while the People’s Party’s Maxime Bernier is counting on the national debates to introduce himself as a populist alternative to the major parties.This is the first of two debates taking place this week in a theatre at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que, with a French-language version coming Thursday.Voters go the polls on Oct. 21.—Also this …VANCOUVER – A group of doctors that’s calling on all federal political parties to take action on climate change now has support from four major organizations including the Canadian Medical Association — and 19 more groups are joining the effort this week.Family doctor Melissa Lem is on the board of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and says health professionals are increasingly advocating for a commitment from parties to limit global warming while others push for better policies on issues including gun violence.Lem’s environmental association has met with representatives of all the major federal political parties, except for the Conservatives who formally declined discussions.She says health professionals are on the front lines treating multiple harms based on government policies and they’re combining their scientific knowledge with activism in an effort to improve their patients’ health.—What you may have missed …Inuit are hoping to use the alphabet to help keep their far-flung people together.Canada’s national Inuit organization recently decided on a standard way to write their language that could be understood from Inuvik in the northern corner of the Northwest Territories to Nain on the east edge of Labrador. The new orthography replaces a patchwork of nine different, often mutually unintelligible scripts.“We’ve never done this before,” said Natan Obed of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “It’s the first time we’re exercising our own self-determination to implement our own writing system.”Before European contact, Inuktut was an entirely oral language. Nobody needed to read or write anything down until the 1700s, when missionaries, government workers and businessmen started showing up.Those groups all worked out different ways of translating the sounds of spoken Inuktut into symbols on a page, which they then taught to the Inuit.The orthographic hodge-podge has not only made it harder for Inuit kids to get educational material in their own language, it makes it harder to communicate between the Inuvialuit in the west, the Nunatsiavut in the east and all the groups in between. —What we are watching in the U.S. …WASHINGTON – The disclosure of a second whistleblower threatens to undermine arguments made by U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies that a whistleblower complaint was improperly filed because it was largely based on secondhand information.Attorney Mark Zaid told The Associated Press in a text message Sunday that the second whistleblower, who also works in intelligence, has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog. This person hasn’t filed a complaint but does have “firsthand knowledge that supported” the original whistleblower.Trump has rejected the accusations he did anything improper.The original whistleblower, a CIA officer, filed a formal complaint with the inspector general on Aug. 12 that triggered the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats.The complaint alleged Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 election.—What we are watching in the rest of the world …BEIRUT – U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces in Syria say American troops have begun withdrawing from areas along Turkey’s border.This comes hours after the White House said U.S. forces in northeastern Syria will move aside and clear the way for an expected Turkish assault — essentially abandoning Kurdish fighters who fought alongside American forces in the yearslong battle to defeat the Islamic State group.The Syrian Democratic Forces say the move comes as Turkey is preparing to attack Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria.The statement warns the Turkish invasion would be a blow to the fight against IS militants.The Kurdish Hawar news agency and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also say American troops were evacuating positions near the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad on Monday.—The Canadian Press
When the athletes of Special Olympics Washington were preparing for another game day, they were not expecting to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom star Chris Pratt join them on the field.But a surprise visit from Chris Pratt was exactly what the proud Washington native had in mind in order to experience the impactful work of Special Olympics Washington, a charity providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for people with intellectual disabilities. Chris captured the touching moment in a clip on his Instagram.As part of this powerful initiative, Chris Pratt teamed up with Special Olympics Washington and CrowdRise by GoFundMe, the social fundraising leader, to raise awareness and funds for the athletes in his home state. To sweeten the deal, for every donation, donors will be entered into the opportunity to join Chris at the premiere of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.The campaign is helping uplift the values of unity and empowerment. These values are just as relevant as ever, as the Special Olympics celebrates its 50th anniversary and welcomes an inspiring future for its athletes.
Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The rapper Joey Bada$$ cancelled three shows starting Wednesday as he complained about his vision. (© Iconix Brand Group) Facebook The 22-year-old Brooklyn rapper on Monday shared on social media that he was gazing into the sky without special glasses as the United States witnessed its first coast-to-coast total eclipse in nearly a century.READ MORE Advertisement Login/Register With: For a rapper whose debut single was called “Unorthodox,” Joey Bada$$ isn’t one to accept conventional wisdom. Defying widespread warnings, he proudly stared at the solar eclipse without protection.It didn’t turn out to be a great idea. The rapper cancelled three shows starting Wednesday as he complained about his vision.Am I crazy for watching the eclipse today w no glasses? I’ve sungazed before and afterwards saw colors for a whole day. I didn’t die tho— BADMON (@joeyBADASS) August 21, 2017 Twitter
Advertisement Login/Register With: Tolman got to check out hotel suites usually reserved for Hollywood A-listers and CBC Toronto’s Adrian Cheung tagged along. (Joe Fiorino/CBC News)Volunteering at TIFF is an annual ritual for Tolman, who’s been doing it for 15 years.“It’s a bonding time with my sisters. It’s two weeks my sisters and I have together,” she said. “It’s grown … [we’ve made] great strides, we have 3,000 volunteers. We have over 80 countries represented but the fun factor has also grown too.”Tolman says she likes to see TIFF volunteers get acknowledged during every public film showing with a clip on the screen. When the hottest stars roll into town, local restaurants and hotels pull out all the stops.Some big names who have stayed at the five-star Windsor Arms Hotel include Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Cher, Catherine Zeta Jones, Elton John, Meg Ryan, Ryan Gosling and Robin Williams.Nadine Tolman’s name can now be added to that star-studded list.Volunteering at TIFF is an annual ritual for Tolman. (Joe Fiorino/CBC News) Advertisement Nadine Tolman has been volunteering with TIFF for 15 years. (Joe Fiorino/CBC News Facebook Twitter She may not be famous, but the volunteer at TIFF got the celebrity treatment Friday and CBC Toronto reporter Adrian Cheung tagged along. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
Twitter Facebook “We regret to inform you that because of a disagreement with Bell Media, which owns the Crave + Movies + HBO channel, they are depriving our customers of access to the GO platform indefinitely,” reads a number of Videotron24_7 tweets in response to customer confusion.1/2 We regret to inform you that because of a disagreement with Bell Media, which owns the Crave + Movies + HBO channel, they are depriving our customers of access to the GO platform indefinitely. We apologize for the inconvenience.— Videotron24_7 (@Videotron24_7) November 5, 2018A follow up tweet explains that Videotron subscribers looking to access Bell’s new Crave + Movies + HBO content services can navigate to “channel 900 on [their] illico terminal and select “Crave Movies and HBO” in the “On-demand Channels” section, or program your PVR to channels 811 to 815 HD.”Read more at MobileSyrup.com: Bell Media launches $100 million trademark infringement suit against Videotron Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With: Toronto-based media subsidiary Bell Media has launched a court action against Montreal-based telecommunications service provider Videotron over claims of trademark infringement.According to a November 5th, 2018 statement of claim filed through the Federal Court’s Vancouver registry office, Bell Media is demanding at least $100 million CAD in damages from Videotron — $20,000 per each individual episode of the approximately 2,700 television shows and films currently secured by Bell’s copyright — for failing to agree to new content distribution terms by an October 31st, 2018 deadline.The lawsuit has been repeatedly referenced by Videotron24_7 — the service provider’s technical support line on Twitter — as a “disagreement with Bell Media.” Advertisement
APTN National NewsAn Alberta non-profit organization that supports teen parents has wrapped up their third-annual diaper drive.The Edmonton group hopes to receive donations of 150,000 diapers.But the real story is the teen ambassadors who help with the drive and share some of the life lessons they’ve learned as young mothers with their fellow teens.APTN National News reporter Noemi LoPinto has this story.
APTN National NewsAs part of Friday’s Global Day of Action, Toronto’s Dundas Square was the scene of an Idle No more demonstration.Armed with signs in support of the Idle No More movement and despite the damp weather, people sang and round danced in a peaceful demonstrationPeople at the rally say they want to keep the Idle No More momentum going.But as for the meeting in Ottawa, many felt very little, if anything would come out of it.
APTN National NewsThe National Day of Action across Canada was a huge success, according to many Idle No More supporters.In British Columbia, a Vancouver Island First Nation shut down a major highway linking Victoria to B.C. ferries and the airport.APTN National News reporter Tina House has this story.
APTN National NewsThe long awaited independent review of the Mount Polley tailings pond spill was released Friday.It details what went wrong when one of the walls burst sending millions of cubic metres of toxic sludge and waste water into the surrounding waterways in north central British Columbia.APTN’s Tina House has the story.
Tom Fennario APTN National NewsThere are provisions in the Canadian legal system that take into account the harsh realities of many Indigenous offenders.But in Montreal, they’re not always being implemented.Now, a new organization is looking to change that, and more.
Todd LamirandeAPTN NewsIn front of the new Indigenous space on the sidewalk of Wellington Street sits a small wigwam.It went up overnight and has space for one person.At the moment, that person is Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council Grand Chief Verna Polson.“The Algonquin people are here,” she said. “And this is why I’m here, to send a clear message: the Algonquin Nation has had enough.”(The wigwam set up in front of 100 Wellington St. in Ottawa across from Parliament Hill. Photo: Todd Lamirande/APTN)Two years ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the former United States embassy to the three big national Indigenous organizations—the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Metis National Council— to be re-purposed as an Indigenous space.At a news conference on Monday, the Algonquin announced that since the former embassy sits on their traditional unceded territory, they should be equal partners in the building and be able to make decisions about its use.“And it’s time we take our rightful place here at the capital city where our people are from. Our ancestors gave up this land for everyone to live here in harmony.Still yet, they don’t respect Algonquin people,” Polson said today.Polson said the lack of respect comes from the Inuit and Metis and that MNC President Clem Chartier and ITK President Natan Obed have refused to sit down and meet the Algonquin.“We want to sit down with the presidents. We don’t want to sit down with their advisory councils. We just want to have that discussion and hear from them,” said Polson.The ITK declined to comment on this situation to APTN News, while the Metis ignored requests altogether.In a statement to APTN, Crown Indigenous Relations said the Algonquin have been invited to all meetings regarding the Indigenous space and that they are merely facilitators.Polson says Crown Indigenous Relations told her she has to work things out with the other three organizations herself.“That’s not an answer. She’s the decision maker here. She should at least help us, help us get to that table and have those discussions.”Polson said she will stay in the wigwam at least through the Indigenous Day long weekend and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of legal email@example.com@toddlamirande
NEW YORK — Cozy sweaters and soft pyjamas are in for adults. Kids, meanwhile, are asking for board games featuring fake poop and pimples.Those are just some of the trends expected this holiday season, when shoppers are projected to spend as much as $720 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.Here’s what to expect:LET’S GET COZYBlame it on holiday stress: Target, Kohl’s and other retailers are pushing “cozy” goods. That means pyjamas for the family, weighted blankets, fuzzy mules and everything Sherpa — from socks to sweatshirts.“This holiday season we will see this trend in all of its furriness,” says Maria Rugolo, an apparel industry analyst for NPD Group, in a company blog .Kohl’s is making it easy to choose soft and snuggly fashions by prominently displaying the looks near store entrances and in nearly a dozen gifting areas. Greg Revelle, Kohl’s chief marketing officer, told reporters last month that “cozy knits” was one of the most searched for terms on its website last year.PIMPLES, POOP AND SOMETHING CUTE“Gross definitely sells in the toy business,” says Jim Silver, the editor in chief of toy review site TTPM.com.In one game, called Don’t Step In It, players are blindfolded and have to avoid stepping in soft, clay-like “poop.” A unicorn version of the game features poop in bright colours. Both have been on Amazon’s list of bestselling toys.Another popular game is Pimple Pete, says Silver. Players pull, wiggle or twist out squishy “zits” from a plastic face. Losers get squirted with water.It’s not all gross. The LOL Surprise brand is a hot seller again so far this year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online spending. With LOL Surprise, kids peel each layer of a shrink-wrapped plastic ball to reveal dolls, stickers or other trinkets.SPRUCED UP APPS AND websiteSOld-guard retailers are adding some new features to their shopping apps and websites.Using Target’s app, shoppers can scan its physical toy catalogue so they can find more details about the items and add them to their shopping cart.The Kohl’s app offers the option to scan and store Kohl’s cash and redeem the store’s rewards points and gift cards in a digital wallet for easy access to checkout. Shoppers can also use the app to take photos of products and then find similar items at Kohl’s.Walmart has been revamping its website over the past year to allow shoppers to easily discover more items. The discounter recently introduced WalmartToyLab.com, a new digital playground where shoppers can play with 20 top toys on their computer or tablet. They can also share their favourites on a digital wish list. At the store, Walmart’s app now helps shoppers find the exact location of a particular item.The Macy’s app comes with an augmented reality feature that lets customers virtually design and experience the interior of a room. The app also lets shoppers scan items and pay with a pre-registered credit card. They then walk to a checkout counter so that a worker can verify their purchase.ONLINE RETAILERS GO OLD SCHOOLAmazon and eBay are taking a page from traditional retailers and printing their own toy catalogues.Amazon is shipping its toy book to shoppers’ mailboxes while eBay placed a shortened six-page version inside People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. Amazon’s will also be available at its physical bookstores, and eBay handed out a longer version at a New York pop-up shop.One thing missing from Amazon’s toy book: prices. The online retailer tells readers to pick up a phone, open the Amazon app and take a snap of the toy to see how much it costs.Both companies are trying to make a play for former shoppers of Toys R Us, which sent holiday toy catalogues each year before shutting down this summer.“Kids love them,” says Silver, noting how they like to circle what they want. “It’s a different experience than sitting at the computer.”Ap Retail Writers, The Associated Press
“Someone else will take it over,” she said, adding demand is low now because depressed natural gas prices have stalled local activity in the sector.The loss of Greyhound’s package service in Western Canada stirred up memories for Calgarian Gary Blaney, 50, who recalled dozens of packages delivered over the years by Greyhound to his far-flung family members.“For as long as I can remember, my family has used Greyhound to send boxes of presents at Christmas time,” he said. “It was the most affordable way and the most reliable way.”He said his family’s flow of packages sent by Greyhound peaked when he was growing up in a small town in Saskatchewan when it was the best way to connect with relatives in Ontario, Alberta and B.C.But that traffic has almost entirely stopped since he moved to Calgary more than a decade ago.“That’s the world we live in. Lots of other ways to send stuff these days.”By Dan HealingTHE CANADIAN PRESS Transport companies like his compete with Greyhound’s lower prices by offering services tailored to customer needs, he said.Steele said his company, started by his parents in 1957, has about 30 drivers who mainly serve the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, but it offers a wider range of delivery points through interline and third-party carriers.David Butler, Greyhound’s regional vice-president for Eastern Canada, said the areas being closed accounted for about 1.15 million of the 1.2 million packages Greyhound delivers each year, adding about two-thirds of the shipments were made under contract by commercial customers.Greyhound’s freight service cost less than most, but its schedule was also usually less convenient as it depended on the passenger bus schedule, Butler said.“It’s a very competitive marketplace and there’s a lot of options for the customers from the package business to look at,” he said.Greyhound said it was ending passenger service after years of adjusting schedules and prices because ridership had fallen by nearly 41 per cent across the country since 2010. Butler said the package service is down 35 per cent in the same period. A spokeswoman for Purolator Canada wouldn’t comment directly on Greyhound’s service, but said the closing won’t affect its business plans.“We don’t expect this news will affect Purolator going forward. In fact, we have been growing and expanding our services and capabilities,” Courtney Reistetter wrote in an email.James Anderson, a spokesman for FedEx Canada, wouldn’t comment on the Greyhound service, but said his firm is well able to handle delivery demand with a total of 38 hubs or facilities throughout Western Canada.Margaret Becker, who operates a “hotshot” delivery business at Fort St. John in northeastern B.C., said the oil and gas sector uses Greyhound as an equipment parts delivery service and to transport workers to towns near their drilling sites. CALGARY, A.B. – Package delivery firms say they are prepared to fill the gap when Greyhound Canada closes most of its Western Canada operations this fall.The company says its Greyhound Package Express service will no longer be available in most parts of B.C., northern Ontario and all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba after it ends passenger service at the end of October.“It might create some opportunities for us on our small package delivery side of things,” said Dennis Steele, owner of Steele’s Transfer in Calgary.
The Achievers Toastmasters Club 25 Year Celebration is taking place on April 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Whole Wheat & Honey.Tickets for the event are $15.00.For more information, and to purchase tickets, you can visit the Achievers Toastmasters Club’s Facebook page. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Achievers Toastmasters Club is celebrating 25 years of leadership and communication as a non-profit organization in Fort St. John.In honour of this milestone, the Toastmasters Club will be holding a celebration on April 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Whole Wheat & Honey.According to event organizers, it will be a night of good food and inspiration with Guest Speaker Lowry Olafson who will speak on the ‘Path to Success’.
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday allowed a plea by the CBI for taking on record additional submissions in the anticipatory bail plea of former Union minister P Chidambaram in connection with the INX media case. Justice Sunil Gaur took the submissions on record and again reserved the order on the anticipatory bail of the senior Congress leader. The court had earlier on January 25 reserved its order on Chidambaram’s anticipatory bail plea in the cases lodged by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! In the INX Media case, the CBI had registered an FIR on May 15, 2017 alleging irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to the media group for receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister in the UPA I government. The ED lodged a money laundering case in this regard last year. In its application filed through central government standing counsel Ripu Daman Bhardwaj, the CBI said it wanted to file additional submission regarding ongoing investigation in larger interest of justice. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed Earlier, while opposing the anticipatory bail plea, the CBI and the ED had asserted that custodial interrogation of Chidambaram was required in the case as he was evasive during questioning. The high court had reserved its order and said that the interim protection from arrest granted to Chidambaram will continue till the decision is passed on his plea for anticipatory bail. It had on July 25, 2018 granted interim protection from arrest to Chidambaram in both the cases and it was extended from time to time. The senior Congress leader’s role had come under the scanner of various investigating agencies in the Rs 3,500-crore Aircel-Maxis deal and the INX Media case involving Rs 305 crore. It was during his tenure as finance minister that clearances from the FIPB were given to the two ventures. A trial court here had also on May 30, 2018 directed the ED not to take coercive action against Chidambaram in the Aircel-Maxis money laundering case. He was also granted protection from arrest in the Aircel-Maxis case, in which he and his son Karti have been named in the charge sheet filed by the CBI. The interim protection has been extended from time to time. Chidambaram’s petition had said that though no summons had ever been served on him by the ED in this case, he had an apprehension of arrest in view of the summons issued to him by the CBI, which was investigating the scheduled offence.
NEW DELHI: AAP on Friday slammed PM Narendra Modi over the issue of climate change. AAP used PM Modi’s video clip to make people understand his grasp over a serious issue like climate change. AAP, in its Twitter handle, titled the old video of Modi’s interaction as “This is why India needs educated leaders”.AAP tweeted, “Actually Climate change nahi hua hain, hum change hogaye hain”: @narendramodi #BestQuotesOfModi.” In the video, a girl child can be heard saying, “We in Assam feel very concerned about the climate change. Sir, how can you help and guide us to protect our pristine environment?” Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderReplying to the child’s question, the Prime Minister says, “Even small children these days are discussing climate change and environmental change.” At the end of the video, Prime Minister is heard saying, “Similarly, it is not the climate but we have changed.” Meanwhile, the AAP also mocked BJP after former cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined BJP on Friday and also likely to fight from Delhi. AAP MP Sanjay Singh reminded BJP that in 2015 BJP brought Kiran Bedi against the AAP party but the citizens rejected her leadership and at the same way the people of Delhi will reject Gambhir. Earlier, Gambhir also slammed the AAP for spending money in the advertisement before the election. After receiving a warm welcome from the ministers on Friday, Gambhir addressed the media saying, “I would like to thank Ravi Shankar Prasad ji and Arun Jaitley ji for giving me this opportunity, to do something special for the country. I have been impressed with PM Modi’s leadership and that is why I decided to join the party.”
New Delhi: A 44-year-old bus driver was shot dead in front of his five-year-old son by multiple assailants on Sunday night around 11 pm near New Usmanpur in Delhi. The deceased, identified by police as one Akemuddin was returning home with his son and sister after visiting a relative in Seelampur when he was shot dead not 100 m from his home. The victim’s family did not know about the incident until Akemuddin’s son walked home and recounted what he had witnessed. Police sources said that a PCR call regarding the incident was received around 11 pm and the victim was immediately rushed to the nearby Jag Pravesh Chandra hospital, where he was declared dead. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccording to a senior police official, multiple gunshot wounds were inflicted on the victim by around two-three assailants, based on preliminary investigations. However, the victim’s family has reportedly alleged that there were five assailants along with their mother waiting for Akemuddin at the spot. The grieving family added that the culprits were known to them. Speaking to Millennium Post, a senior police officer confirmed that they are probing personal rivalry as the prime motive behind the crime. He added that they have ruled out a robbery in the case as there are no signs pointing in that direction. Police said they have more than three suspects lined up, who they are investigating thoroughly in the case. The victim’s body is currently being held at the government hospital near Shastri Park, where post mortem procedures are to be undertaken. Sources familiar with developments said that a complete report on the nature of wounds inflicted and cause of death will not be available for at least a week. A case against the accused has been registered under section 302 of the IPC at the Usmanpur police station. Police said further investigations in the case are proceeding with full force.
Ranchi: Three Maoists and a CRPF jawan were killed in an encounter in Jharkhand’s Giridih district on Monday, officials said.They said the encounter between the two sides took place around 6 am in the forests of Belbha Ghat area of the district when troops of the 7th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were undertaking an anti-Naxal operation. The district is about 185 kms from state capital Ranchi. Three bodies of Maoists along with an AK-47 Rifle, three magazines and four pipe bombs have been recovered from the encounter site till now, the officials said. CRPF constable Biswajit Chauhan was also killed in the encounter, they added. The constable hailed from Udalguri district of Assam. The force is looking for more recoveries and a search is being conducted in the encounter area, they said. Jharkhand will go to polls in the final four phases of the seven-phase Lok Sabha election.
The Trump-driven trade war does not seem to relent. In the latest development, the US has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 per cent, up from 10 per cent imposed last year. China, on its part, has threatened to retaliate. India has never been far from the skirmish. In fact, just a few days ago, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross accused India of following restrictive trade policies that create significant market access barriers for foreign companies. The evidence of this claim, according to him, lay in the fact that the US was India’s biggest export market, accounting for a fifth of its total exports, while India was only the 13th largest market for American exports. India has been called out numerous times by the Trump administration before for its tariffs and duties on imports. In October last year, Trump himself dubbed India the ‘tariff king’. In March, he even expressed his intention of ending the favourable treatment that India enjoyed under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), which allows many products from developing countries like India to enter the US duty-free. Although the decision to revoke the GSP has been postponed until after the new government comes into power in India, the trade war is beginning to impact the country more directly. The fact that has particularly irked Trump is the substantial trade deficit that the US has with India to the tune of $24.2 billion in 2018. The question, thus, remains whether there is any truth to the claims of Trump and Ross with respect to India’s tariff structure. There is no second opinion about the fact that India imposes high duties on many items of import – 150 per cent on whiskey and wines; about 75 per cent on automobiles; 50 per cent on mango juice and so on. However, India is not alone in doing so and, in fact, it is also not close to the highest tariffs charged by other countries in the global economy. As per the World Tariff Policies 2018 published by WTO, the highest tariff charged by some of the major economies are 736 per cent by Japan, 807 per cent by South Korea, 350 per cent by the US, 163 per cent by Australia and 150 per cent by India. Merely looking at the highest tariff rate provides only a limited view of the country’s tariff structure. A better representation that takes into account all imported goods can be obtained by assessing the average tariff and trade-weighted tariff of the country. India’s average tariffs at 13.8 per cent turn out to be higher than most major trading economies like China (9.8 per cent) and the US (3.4 per cent). South Korea (13.7 per cent) is one of the few major economies that come close to India’s average tariffs. However, when the tariff rates are weighted by the volume of traded goods for a more accurate representation of imposed tariffs, the trade-weighted average tariffs for India fall to 7.6 per cent. This is much below Brazil’s 10.3 per cent and South Korea’s 9 per cent. Moreover, the trade-weighted average tariffs for industrial goods, which account for over 90 per cent of Indian imports, is merely 5.5 per cent. Finally, the Trump administration also needs to understand that trade imbalances are rarely a result of policy rather than competitive and comparative advantage. The bulk of Indian exports to the US comprise goods like gems and jewellery, textiles and apparel, IT services, generic drugs and refined petroleum products, where India possesses a comparative advantage of labour cost. The US, on the other hand, finds a similar advantage in the export of high-end manufactured goods like aircraft, medical devices, patented drugs and so on as it has a comparative advantage in their production. Tariffs have evidently played little role in defining such a trade portfolio. The US is also an exporter of capital to India in the form of foreign direct and portfolio investment. These provide huge returns to investors back in the US. Thus, running deficits in merchandise trade with the developing world is not a harmful outcome for the US but a reflection of where its competencies lie. Consumers are the only ones who gain with higher and freer trade. That being said, India must also make sure it reduces import duties and tariffs wherever it possible. In the automobile sector, for instance, Indian automakers need not be protected with 60-75 per cent import duties. The US is a major trade partner of India and both economies would be better off by adopting an accommodative stance rather than a combative one. The bilateral trade between the two countries has grown over six-fold in the last two decades from $20 billion in 2000 to $126 billion in 2017. The continued growth of this trade relationship will be a big win-win for the largest economy in the world and the fastest-growing one.(The author is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. The views expressed are strictly personal)
CAIRO – Gunmen shot dead an Egyptian officer in charge of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood file at the interior ministry’s national security agency, the ministry said on Monday.The officer was gunned down while in his car outside his home late on Sunday, it said.Security officials named the dead man as Mohamed Mabruk and said his work had focused on Islamist groups that have escalated their attacks since the July 3 overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi. One security official said Mabruk had been involved in drafting the charges against Morsi and Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie that led to trials for both of them.Mabruk had been due to testify this week against the Islamist Morsi who is accused of working with groups such as Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah to escape from prison during the popular 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.Police said Mabruk was hit by seven bullets fired by three gunmen in the Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City.A security official said the attack rattled the interior ministry and that it “will be investigated at the highest levels”.In a statement, prime minister Hazem al-Belawi condemned Mabruk’s “assassination by treacherous hands”.“The government will not tolerate criminal and terrorist groups who raise their arms to terrorise security officials,” Beblawi said.He said the authorities are “able to cleanse the country of all criminal hands, returning security and safety to all corners of Egypt”.No one has yet admitted responsiblity for Sunday’s attack. Al-Qaeda-inspired groups have claimed previous attacks in the capital, including a September bombing that targeted interior minister Mohammed Ibrahim’s convoy.He survived the bombing.The attack on Ibrahim was seen as a precedent by Sinai militant groups that had previously limited their operations to the restive peninsula.Unrest has spiked in Egypt since the military overthrew Morsi more than four months ago.A subsequent crackdown against supporters of the Islamist leader and his Muslim Brotherhood has left more than 1,000 people dead and upwards of 2,000 behind bars.The army has also sent tanks and aircraft to north Sinai to battle Islamist militants who have killed more than 100 police and soldiers since Morsi’s overthrow.