Tuesday Morning News Brief, June 20

Tuesday morning brief Jun 20 2017
Good morning!
Here’s everything you need to know to start your day…
Punjab became the third state to waive farm loans. After UP and Maharashtra, Punjab announced a total waiver of all crop loans up to Rs 2 lakh for small and marginal farmers (up to 5 acres) and a flat Rs 2 lakh relief for all other marginal farmers, irrespective of their loan amount. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh announced the waiver, one of his key poll promises, in the state assembly. The waiver will cost the debt-ridden state Rs 24,000 crore.
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India became the 71st country to join the United Nations TIR Convention. The TIR system is the international customs transit system with the widest geographical coverage. It is more than a transport agreement and has a strong foreign policy element. In a world where China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) is the dominating project straddling economics and geopolitics, India has no option but to play a better game if it wants to be counted as a serious rising power.
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha cadres set afire a Sikkim-bound truck with its driver. Aniket Chetri, the driver, suffered 70% burn injuries and is fighting for life in hospital. Chetri’s truck, ferrying bricks from the plains to Sikkim, was stopped at Kalijhora on National Highway 10. Chetri, a resident of Teesta Bazaar, was prevented from alighting while the GJM activists poured petrol and then set fire to the truck. It was only when locals stepped in that the GJM workers relented. But by then, Chetri had suffered severe burns.
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Don’t differentiate between good and bad terrorists, India said to the BRICS countries. “Terrorists cannot be differentiated by calling them good or bad,” V K Singh, minister of state for external affairs, said at a joint press conference after the meeting of BRICS foreign ministers in Beijing on Monday. Pakistani leaders have been trying to propagate this theory to protect a section of extremists, and China has shown no signs of discomfort about this narrative.
India and Afghanistan established a direct air freight corridor. The first flight from Kabul to Delhi was received on Monday by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. The flight carried 60 tonnes of cargo (mainly asafoetida). The connectivity established through the air freight corridor will provide Afghanistan greater access to markets in India, and will allow Afghan businessmen to leverage India’s economic growth and trade networks for its benefit.
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