Monday Morning News Brief, December 11

Monday morning brief Dec 11 2017
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Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
In first winter stay, around 1,800 Chinese troops have virtually established a permanent presence in the Doklam area. “After the 73-day eyeball-to-eyeball troop confrontation at Doklam between India and China ended on August 28, the PLA troops have stayed put in what we consider to be Bhutanese territory with the construction of two helipads, upgraded roads, scores of pre-fabricated huts, shelters and stores to withstand the freezing winter in the high-altitude region. But the status quo prevails at the earlier face-off site,” Indian security establishment sources said.
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47% of bills in the last 10 years were passed without any debate in Parliament. There has also been a steady reduction in parliamentary hours, a comparison with records of the first 20 years since 1952 show. Between 1952 and 1972, the House ran for between 128 and 132 days a year, according to parliamentary sources. In the last 10 years, it ran for 64 to 67 days a year on an average. Another alarming trend is the decline in standards of educational qualifications of lawmakers in the last 20 years.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has written to her counterpart Khawaja Asif blaming Pakistan for all truce violations and saying that firing by Indian forces was only retaliatory. Swaraj’s letter was in response to a letter which Asif had written to her, asking India to end ceasefire violations. Pakistan has now, after it received the rejoinder from Swaraj, accused India of rejecting its “message of peace” and is again threatening to raise the issue with the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) which is not recognised by India.
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About a quarter of all rural households and one in five urban families in India are forced into debt or sale of assets to meet hospitalisation costs. This is true across income levels, revealed the National Health Profile 2017 published recently by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence. In rural India, about two-thirds – ranging from 65.6% in the poorest to 68% for the richest – depend on the household income or savings, while 27% of the poorest household and 23% of the richest households depend on borrowings for hospitalisation costs. In urban India, 68% of the poorest and about 80% of the most well-off households depend on their own income and savings.
Arab foreign ministers have demanded that the United States rescind President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Calling it a “grave” development that violates the international law, the ministers also called for the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning Trump’s decision, but acknowledged that Washington would most likely veto it. A two-page resolution adopted by the emergency meeting, which began Saturday night, said the ministers would meet again within a month and held out the possibility that an emergency Arab summit would be held in Jordan to discuss Jerusalem.
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