By Elton Gomes
US President Donald Trump has imposed strict tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and Europe. The imposition of tariffs did not go down well with the US allies, with some of them considering to do the same with the US. A merger is likely on the cards as Microsoft held talks to acquire GitHub. Back home, Gurdwara authorities received a reprieve as the Centre waived off GST on all services at langars.
Trump imposes tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and European Union
The Trump administration imposed steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Tariffs amounting to 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium imports took effect on May 31. In addition, the Trump administration plans to place volume limits instead of tariffs on South Korea, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil. The move has been widely criticized by all stakeholders, with Mexico saying that it would, in return, impose tariffs on the US. Furthermore, the move comes in the backdrop of the US’s apparent trade war with China.
Microsoft holds talks to acquire Github
American tech giant Microsoft is reportedly in talks to purchase software developer platform GitHub. According to CNBC, a person privy to the matter said that the two companies were considering a joint partnership that was valued at around $35 million. The source also stated that GitHub’s price for a complete buyout was more than what Microsoft was willing to pay. Microsoft has been in talks to purchase GitHub since 2016. An official buyout would be of immense benefit to Microsoft, as owning GitHub would give it access to numerous developers.
SEBI bans Vijay Mallya for three years
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has banned liquor baron and fugitive Vijay Mallya from accessing the securities market for three years. Additionally, SEBI has barred Mallya for five years from holding any apex position in a listed company due to his involvement in fraud cases. Mallya is currently facing an extradition trial in the United Kingdom, and SEBI’s ban will further dent his hopes of hoodwinking the authorities. Previously, in January 2017, the regulatory body had banned Mallya and six other officials from the securities market in cases linked to illegal fund diversions.
Centre waives GST on food in langars
In a much-needed relief to Gurdwaras in India, the centre Thursday decided to waive the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all langar items. Under the Seva Bhoj Yojna, items purchased by “charitable institutions for distributing free food to the public” will be re-reimbursed, as per a statement by the Ministry of Culture. The Shiromani Akali Dal and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had been demanding for the withdrawal of tax for services in langars. Before the GST was introduced, no tax was levied on purchases made for food prepared at langars.
By Elton Gomes
Russian journalist and a strong critic of the Kremlin faked his own death to counter a potential threat to his life. Human rights campaigners criticised Denmark for passing a law that bans the burqa and the niqab in public places. Denmark has now joined France, Belgium, and Austria in banning the garment that covers the face. There are the important developments from around the world this week.
James Mattis accuses China of ‘intimidating neighbours’ through South China Sea
United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis Saturday accused China of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea. Mattis strongly criticized China for continuing militarization of several islands in the South China Sea. The US Defense Secretary called the presence of military equipment a “flagrant show of military power.” Mattis was speaking in Singapore and questioned Beijing’s broader goals. A Chinese military official, however, said that Mattis’ comments were “irresponsible.” Mattis’ accusations come under the backdrop of an intense trade standoff between Washington and Beijing.
Spain gets a new Prime Minister
After the tumultuous Barcelona referendum, the political scenario in Spain has made headlines again. Spanish Socialist Pedro Sanchez was sworn in as the country’s new prime minister on Saturday. Sanchez, an atheist, took his oath sans a bible or a crucifix – the first prime minister to do so in Spain. Sanchez managed to overthrow his predecessor Mariano Rajoy who was ousted courtesy of a no-confidence vote. Rajoy also saw mounting allegations of corruption within his party. Sanchez, a 46-year-old former economics professor, has promised that he will address the “pressing social needs” of Spain’s citizens.
Denmark bans the burqa
Denmark joined France, Belgium, and Austria in banning garments that cover the face including the burqa and niqab. The law was presented by the Centre-right coalition and was approved by Danish lawmakers. The Danish government, however, said that the ban does not target any religions and that no ban is imposed on headscarves, turbans, and the Jewish skull cap. The law will come into effect on August 1. First-time offenders will be fined 1,000 kroner. The move has been condemned by human rights campaigners; it has been widely termed as the “Burqa ban” that targets Muslim women who chose to cover themselves from head to toe.
Dissident Russian journalist fakes death to expose Russian plot
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko used pig’s blood, a make-up artist, and an ambulance trip to the morgue to fake his own death. Babchenko was reported dead on Wednesday, and several people including British politician Boris Johnson offered their condolences. However, Vasily Gritsak, the head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), called a press conference and said that the entire fiasco was a hoax. Babchenko then stepped in wearing a hoodie. The Russian journalist had learned that a contract had been taken out on his life, and hence he felt the need to stage his own death. Babchenko claimed that faking his death was necessary to gain evidence of communication between the hit man and the perpetrators whom, he claimed, worked for the Russian security services.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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