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US stresses equal protection for all under India’s Citizenship Act

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On Jammu and Kashmir, Wells said she was “pleased to see some incremental steps, including the partial return of internet service” in Kashmir

Amid protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act in India, a top American diplomat has underscored the importance of the principle of equal protection under the law.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, who has just returned from a trip to the region besides attending the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, said on Friday that her visit offered an opportunity to hear more regarding developments with the new citizenship law.

According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution there will get Indian citizenship.

“The visit also offered an opportunity to hear more regarding developments with India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which is undergoing I would say a vigorous democratic scrutiny, whether it’s in the streets, by the political opposition, media, and the courts,” she said.

“We continue to underscore the importance of the principle of equal protection under the law,” Wells added.

On Jammu and Kashmir, Wells said she was “pleased to see some incremental steps, including the partial return of internet service” in Kashmir.

The restrictions were imposed on August 5 last when India abrogated the Article 370 that gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.

Wells described the visit by US ambassador Kenneth Juster, and other foreign diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir as “a useful step”.

“We also continue to urge the government to permit regular access by our diplomats, and to move swiftly to release those political leaders detained without charge,” she said.

In the first such trip by foreign diplomats post August 5, envoys of 15 countries, including the US, early this month visited Jammu and Kashmir where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as top military brass with the Indian government rejecting criticism that it was a “guided tour”.

While in New Delhi, Wells had meetings with her Indian counterparts, which she said were focused on how to build on the diplomatic and defence gains achieved during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue in December.

With continued progress on defense cooperation, peacekeeping operations, space, counterterrorism, trade, people-to-people initiatives, and more, she said the quality and frequency of India-US naval cooperation, especially the information sharing, have reached unprecedented levels.

First Published: Sat, January 25 2020. 16:20 IST

Source: Business Standard

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Best of BS Opinion: Trump’s India visit, SC blow on AGR dues, and more

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Policy flip flops have reduced the once vibrant telecom sector to crisis point, and the Supreme Court’s decision to reject telecom companies’ petitions seeking an extended duration to pay hefty dues linked to the (AGR) is another example of judicial fixation on form over substance. Now is the time for the top political leadership to back the Department of Telecom to get the financially stressed telecom sector back on track, says the top edit here. Elsewhere on the pages, columnists assess the government and central bank’s efforts to kick-start the economy. Kanika Datta sums up the views

India’s economy has grown beyond the stage where it needs a ma-baap sarkar.

The Central and State Governments must now step back from direct engagement in the economy and focus on what they need to do to correct market distortions, says Nitin Desai. Read it here

The Reserve Bank of India’s long-term repo operations (LTROs) will probably boost the value of speculative, not productive assets and curb consumption by lowering interest income rather than spurring credit growth. Debashis Basu explains why here…

Tamal Bandyopadhyay says despite some improvements, the public sector banks are not out of the woods yet, not least because impending mergers reduce visibility on future performance. Read it here…

With direct accounting for nearly half the government’s gross tax collections, the big challenge is to prevent fresh disputes. A K Bhattacharya assesses the current regime’s ability to do so. Read it here…

The US president visits India at a uniquely opportune moment, says the second edit, explaining what’s at stake for both countries in the upcoming talks. Read it here…

“I want to work by taking everyone along. We forgive our opponents for whatever remarks they made during the poll campaign. The election is over,” Arvind Kejriwal at his oath-taking ceremony at Delhi’s Ram Lila Maidan.

First Published: Mon, February 17 2020. 07:10 IST

Source: Business Standard

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British asset manager Jupiter Fund Management closing in on takeover of its smaller rival

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British asset manager Jupiter Fund Management is closing in on a takeover of its smaller rival Merian Global Investors.

An announcement about the deal could come as early as today after Jupiter confirmed over the weekend it had been in talks to buy Merian ‘for some time’.

Deal: Jupiter has £45.2bn of assets under management, while Merian oversees £22.4bn

Deal: Jupiter has £45.2bn of assets under management, while Merian oversees £22.4bn

Deal: Jupiter has £45.2bn of assets under management, while Merian oversees £22.4bn

The tie-up would create a £67 billion fund giant. Jupiter has £45.2 billion of assets under management, while Merian oversees £22.4bn. 

Jupiter will pay Merian’s American private equity owner TA Associates up to £500m in cash and shares, according to Bloomberg.

Although Jupiter said both companies are confident the tie-up would benefit investors, it stressed there was ‘no certainty’ an agreement would be reached.

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Unilever fires starting gun on review of its health and beauty business

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Dove soap-owner Unilever has fired the starting gun on a review of its health and beauty business that could see it sell off under-performing brands.

Review: The Dove soap-owner wants to offload brands that are growing at a slower rate

Review: The Dove soap-owner wants to offload brands that are growing at a slower rate

Review: The Dove soap-owner wants to offload brands that are growing at a slower rate

The FTSE 100-listed company wants to offload brands that are growing at a slower rate. Unilever will spend up to a year reviewing the beauty and personal care unit, the Sunday Times reported.

Analysts believe skincare line Simple and US haircare product Suave could face the axe. City insiders told the Mail that Unilever is not trying to make the business smaller, as it is still keen to buy new companies that are growing at a fast rate.

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