Healthy macro-data, coupled with the government’s efforts to build consensus on the bankruptcy bill and renewed interest of foreign investors, fuelled the rise of the Indian equity markets during the just concluded weekly trade.Both the bellwether indices of the Indian equity markets gained over one percent each during the week under review.The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (S&P Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), rose 319.49 points or 1.25% to 25,838.71 points from its previous weekly close at 25,519.22 points.Similarly, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) gained during the week under review. It ended higher by 99.1 points or 1.27% to 7,861.05 points.”Markets continued to rise for a second week in a row led by strong data coming out of the US,” Vaibhav Agarwal, vice president and research head at Angel Broking, said. “New home sales data rose for a second consecutive month in November, while personal spending also rose by 0.3 percent.”Global markets rallied, after a series of key macro-economic data indicated healthy growth in the world’s largest economy, which is a major trading partner of India.”With the uncertainty of the fed behind us, volatility has reduced sharply since then,” Agarwal added.The India VIX (volatility index) has declined by more than 20 percent to 13.7, as against 17.8 on December 14 — when it peaked ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meet.The US Fed’s FOMC had decided to hike key interest rates by 25 basis points. This had led to a selling frenzy by the foreign investors in the Indian equity markets.Even the domestic macro economic data which showed a narrowing of current account deficit (CAD) for quarter ended September 30, 2015, improved sentiments.In addition, government’s efforts to build a consensus to pass the crucial bankruptcy bill during the last days of the parliament’s winter session restored investors’ confidence.The bill has been referred to a joint parliamentary committee which will iron out any differences on the legislation before the budget session which is slated for February.”The decisive action on the bankruptcy bill by sending it to a joint parliamentary committee gave a boost to the markets,” said Anand James, co-head, technical research desk with Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.Besides, renewed buying interest by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and strong rupee improved the market’s sentiments.”Rebound in commodity and crude prices after sharp sell off, renewed buying interest by FPIs and strong rupee help the sentiments of the market,” said Sandeep Sharma, equity research analyst with Hem Securities.The National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) figures showed that the FPIs were net buyers during the week ended December 24. They bought Rs.961.76 crore or $145.04 million in equity and debt markets from December 21-24.The data with stock exchanges showed that the FPIs bought stocks worth Rs.479.89 crore in the week ended December 24.Nevertheless, the FPIs had taken out Rs.23,352 crore during the period August-September. In November alone, the foreign investors off-loaded stocks worth around Rs.9,000 crore.Not just equities, even the rupee rose on a weekly basis. It strengthened by 19 paise at 66.21 (December 23) to a US dollar from its previous close of 66.40 (December 18) to a greenback.However, on the downside the government’s inability to get the crucial GST (Goods and Services Tax) bill passed during the winter session of parliament continued to weigh heavy on investors’ sentiment.”One big disappointment locally was on GST. The winter session of parliament was not very fruitful and dashed the hopes that GST could become a reality from 1st April 2016,” Pankaj Sharma, head for equities with Equirus Securities told IANS.”Now, a bigger worry is that the way political narrative is evolving, it doesn’t look very easy how the contentious issues like this would be resolved politically.”Moreover, lack of investors participation in the cash markets segment during the week under review subdued sentiments.Data with the stock exchanges showed that the volumes in cash markets across key bellwether indices eased to Rs.16,000 crore in the last couple of trading sessions from a robust Rs.20,000 crore level seen last week.
Twitter/Cricket World CupIndian skipper Virat Kohli surprised some people by excluding Rohit Sharma from the Test squad of the Indian team for the first Test against West Indies. Team India decided to go with Hanuma Vihari instead of Sharma. After the match got over, Virat Kohli mentioned that they picked Vihari because of the combination as he can be an effective part-time bowler. According to him, Team India had a group discussion to decide on the best playing eleven.”Vihari got a nod because the combination is important. He’s an effective part-time bowler and helps us when we need to catch up with the over-rate. We have a group discussion and then we decide what’s best for the team. There will always be opinions about the XI, but people will know that it’s in the interest of the team,” Kohli said.Vihari actually performed really well for the team in the Test as he scored a match-winning 93 runs and partnered with Ajinkya Rahane to build a 135-run partnership which helped India set a target of 419 runs for the Caribbean team to chase.But the question arises, why was Rohit Sharma not selected? Team India could have actually given him an opportunity in the Caribbean as after this it will much more difficult for the right-handed batsman to get a chance against South Africa considering the Proteas have a much better team. Rohit SharmaICC TwitterMany former cricketers like Sourav Ganguly and Shoaib Akthar wanted Rohit Sharma to feature in the Test squad due to his brilliant performance in the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The two formats may be different but Sharma could have been given a chance. He even scored 68 runs against the West Indies A before the start of the Test series. But he was not considered in the playing eleven much to the surprise of cricket fans.Is exclusion of Sharma because of rift with Kohli?The Indian skipper and the 32-year-old opener have been in the news in recent past for reasons other than cricket. There were speculations that there is a rift between the two experienced campaigners. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.ReutersThe rumours of the rift started making rounds after India’s exit from the World Cup. They said that there are two groups in the Indian team, one on the side of Kohli and the other showing their allegiance towards Rohit Sharma. Kohli had rubbished all the rumours before going for the West Indies tour stating that everything is fine.But the activities of both the players on social media indicated something else. So, there is a probable chance that if there is a rift then it may have affected the selection of Sharma in the Test team as Kohli and Shastri take the final decision.But the point Kohli made was also logical that Vihari can contribute with the ball which can be more effective for Team India and moreover India got the desired results. Time will tell what is going on in the dressing room of the Men in Blue.
Photo: BSSUNHCR is working with the Bangladesh authorities on a transit centre to prepare for a potential refugee influx in the coming days.”This is in view of yesterday’s sudden increase in people arriving from Myanmar,” said UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Tuesday.Quoting Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), the official said more than 11,000 Rohingya refugees crossed by land on Monday into south-eastern Bangladesh through several points.UNHCR sources say that many of the new refugees came from the Buthidaung area in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. Buthidaung town is some 25 kilometres east of Maungdaw.Some said they fled torching and killings back home; one boy was seen with a big gash across his neck. Others said they left in fear ahead of anticipated violence.To reach Bangladesh, they walked for up to 14 days. Many were carrying children and baskets containing whatever they could pack at short notice.”We are also coordinating with the government and partners to provide urgent services – food, water and healthcare – to these new refugees,” said the spokesperson.To prepare for possible further new arrivals, UNHCR’s government counterpart, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), has agreed to set up small first aid stations at entry points to provide water and attention for major medical emergencies among the fresh arrivals.In addition, RRRC has allocated land to set up a transit centre in the Kutupalong extension site. It will lead preparedness activities with UNHCR in coordination with partners including WFP, UNICEF, IOM, WHO, ICRC and ACF. Basic assistance will also be provided at the entry points.
Sheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina has been included on the list of Time magazine’s 100 world’s most influential people for 2018, according to UNB.The list published by the New York-based weekly on Thursday contains the names of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, US president Donald Trump, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, North Korean president Kim Jong-un, South Korean president Moon Jae-in, Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi, crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Indian actress Deepika Padukone .In the article on Sheikh Hasina, Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said, “I first met Sheikh Hasina in the 1990s, when she was fiercely campaigning to end military rule in Bangladesh. Our last meeting was in 2008, when she was campaigning against another military regime. The following year she became prime minister after a landslide election victory.””While for this she deserves praise, Hasina is stumbling badly on human rights. Her government has presided over extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, including those of political opponents, and does not tolerate criticism or dissent. For one who railed against unfairness when out of office, Sheikh Hasina needs to curb this tendency toward authoritarianism and be an example to Myanmar and others to show that democracy embraces disagreement and diversity,” she added.Meenakshi also wrote, “Bearing the legacy of her father, who led Bangladesh’s liberation war, Hasina has never been afraid of a fight. So when several hundred thousand ethnic Rohingya refugees started streaming into Bangladesh last August to escape atrocities by the Myanmar army, she accepted the humanitarian challenge. An impoverished country, Bangladesh had not welcomed massive influxes of refugees in the past, but she could hardly turn back the traumatised victims of ethnic cleansing.”In 2017, Sheikh Hasina ranked 30th on the list of Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in the world.Forbes’ another list of the ‘World’s 22 Most Powerful Women in Politics’, Sheikh Hasina had reserved the 9th rank with her political achievements.
Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an attack in Jalalabad. Photo: ReutersGunmen attacked a building of Afghan state television in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday and engaged in a gun battle with security forces, the provincial governor’s spokesman said.“We can confirm that a number of insurgents have entered the building,” said Attaullah Khughyani. “Who they are, and what their target is, is still not clear.”He said there appeared to have been at least three attackers, two of whom had blown themselves up while at least one was still fighting.Heavy gunfire could be heard from around the building of RTA, Afghanistan’s national broadcaster, located close to the provincial governor’s compound.Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar, the eastern province on the border with Pakistan where Islamic State fighters have established a stronghold, but there is also a strong Taliban presence in the region.Insurgents fighting to oust the Western-backed government in Kabul have conducted a series of high-profile attacks this year on targets including Afghanistan’s largest military hospital and a military base in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
“I am really disappointed to know that you have allotted a land belonging to a school to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for constructing its office,” Sisodia said in a letter to Jung.“I request you to withdraw your decision.” Sisodia, the education minister, said in his letter to Jung while referring to the 809 square metres of land on Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg.Presently, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) headquarters is 11, Ashoka Road in capital’s Lutyen’s Zone where colonial-era bungalows are located. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airportThe minister urged Jung to change the use of land earmarked for opening school in the capital.Jung, whom the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government accuses of sabotaging its functioning at the behest of BJP-led Central government, is the chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).DDA is capital land owning agency which reports to the Central government.Expressing displeasure over Jung’s move, Sisodia said how could the governor of could do this in a state where in each class room 100-150 children were studying. Also Read – Disqualified AAP MLA Kapil Mishra, women’s wing chief join BJP“I am surprised over the expeditious manner in which the land use in this matter was changed,” he said.“It is unprecedented that the matter was wrapped up in a few months whereas DDA has several proposals pertaining to education are pending for years,” he added.The minister said the political parties had the right to ask for land to construct offices, but being the “owner of land in Delhi” it was Jung’s discretion to allot the land.Sisodia said the Jung was free to allot the BJP the bungalow of any officer or minister, but urged him to save the land for school.