Monday morning news brief, May 21

Monday morning brief May 21 2018
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy will today meet Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi over govt formation in Karnataka. According to sources, Congress, which has offered unconditional support to JD(S), will not make any demands in the interest of keeping the coalition stable. In addition to the chief minister’s post, JD(S) is expected to keep plum portfolios like finance, public works department (PWD) and irrigation. Read
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Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed hopes of excise duty cut to soften the impact of oil prices. Dharmendra Pradhan blamed the decision of Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to reduce production, political instability in Venezuela and the prospect of US sanctions against Iran for the rise in fuel prices. Last week, global benchmark Brent hit $80/barrel , the highest since November, 2014.
Pakistan sent a high-level delegation to Washington to raise India’s alleged violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) with the World Bank. The move comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 330-megawatt Kishanganga hydropower station, one of the projects that India has been working on in Jammu and Kashmir, amid protests from Islamabad. Islamabad argues that the Kishanganga project not only violates the course of the river but also depletes its water level.
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The malign shadow of US sanctions hangs over the informal summit between PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. The so-called Caatsa (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) legislation has become Washington’s poison-tipped arrow threatening New Delhi’s long-cherished and long-nourished defence ties with Moscow which Washington is trying to whittle down.
The PMO suggested that IAS officers be allocated cadre and services only after their three-month foundation course. The ministry of personnel has written to all cadre-controlling authorities and ministries and sought their comments on the possibility of probationers being allocated the services and cadre based on their performance during the foundation course. This might provide a better assessment of candidates and their suitability to various cadres, it is felt.
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