Need to strengthen existing laws to fight the menace against smuggling & counterfeiting: M Venkaiah Naidu, Former Vice President of India - The Daily Guardian
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Need to strengthen existing laws to fight the menace against smuggling & counterfeiting: M Venkaiah Naidu, Former Vice President of India

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Venkaiah Naidu
Picture Credits: DNA India

M Venkaiah Naidu, Former Vice President of India today said that it is imperative for all stakeholders to reform, perform and transform in order to end the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling. “There is a need to strengthen the existing laws. Unless all of us join together, the fight against illicit trade and smuggling cannot be won,” he emphasized.
Addressing the 8th edition of FICCI-CASCADE ‘MASCRADE 2022’, Mr Naidu asserted that sharing of ideas, experiences and sharing of views in formulating a more effective legislation with implementation is required to create awareness and industry to play a critical role in this. “Transformation of the system, society, governance, is required for the happiness of the people and is required to create awareness among the consumers,” he added,
Former Vice President of India also stated that it is imperative to protect the rights of the consumers. “Consumer awareness has to be taken as a mission with a passion for the sake of the nation and then the real change will come,” stated Mr Naidu.
India, he said that is on the move and one of the fastest growing economies in the world and we must all join together to end the menace of counterfeiting and smuggling.
Sandeep Kumar, Member, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs said, “Due to technology advancements, the industry today has the opportunity to create tools that can empower consumers to take on smuggling and counterfeiting. This, along with strong enforcement can make a big difference on the ground. The fight against illicit trade has to become a mass movement.”
Sanjiv Mehta, President, FICCI, said, “Strong cooperation between different stakeholders and innovative action is required to free India of illicit trade. Smuggling and counterfeiting is all-pervasive and industry, government and society directly bear its brunt.” He further added that consumer Protection Act is a stepping-stone towards empowering the consumers.
Anil Rajput, Chairman, FICCI CASCADE said, “Smuggling is the deadliest form of Illicit Trade. Besides causing severe damage to the exchequer, in the form of loss of revenue, proliferating terrorism by allowing terror groups to get funds, and impacting consumer health and safety, it also leads to large scale unemployment by exporting jobs out of the country.
Emphasizing on the role of consumers he said, “While consumer rights are important as it safeguards their interests, I strongly believe that consumer duties are equally significant as it indicates that they have a specific responsibility towards the society and other consumers. This shared responsibility will most certainly lower the detrimental impact of illicit trade.”
Arun Chawla, Director General, FICCI said that illicit activity, whether it is counterfeiting, smuggling, is a bane for society as a whole. The drive against counterfeiting and illicit trade is gaining momentum. FICCI CASCADE is fully committed to contributing its bit to this noble cause, he added.
During the event, FICCI CASCADE-TARI report ‘Illicit Markets: A Threat to Our National Interests’ was released. The study examines the size and scale of illicit market in five key Indian industries and assesses its impact on individual industries, employment, government tax collection, and the overall economy.
According to the study, illicit market in 5 Key Indian industries, including mobile phones, FMCG-household and personal goods, FMCG-packaged foods, tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages is valued at Rs 2,60,094 crore. The combined FMCG industry — household and personal goods, and packaged foods — accounts for 3/4th of the total illicit value of goods in these industries. The study finds that illicit trade leads to an estimated legitimate employment loss of 15.96 lakh, with the combined FMCG industry accounting for about 68.5% of job losses.
The estimated tax loss to the government due to illicit goods in these industries is Rs 58,521 crore, with two highly regulated and taxed industries, tobacco products, and alcoholic beverages, accounting for nearly 49% of the overall tax loss.
In terms of the percentage of the illicit market, the FMCG-household and personal goods industry is ahead of the other four sectors at 34.25%. This means that out of every 100 household and personal goods, nearly 34 were traded illegally. The sector is followed by FMCG-packaged foods industry at 25.09%, tobacco products industry at 20.04%, alcoholic beverages industry at 19.87%, and mobile phones industry at 7.56%.

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Twitter confirms Elon Musk’s buyout offer

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Elon Musk

Twitter on Tuesday (local time) confirmed that Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent a letter saying he will go through the deal he signed early this year to buy the platform for USD 44 billion.

“Twitter issued this statement about today’s news: We received the letter from the Musk parties which they have filed with the SEC. The intention of the Company is to close the transaction at $54.20 per share,” the official account of Twitter Investor Relations wrote. After the news broke, that the billionaire is proposing to continue with USD 54.20 per share to buy social media platforms, Twitter’s share price increased to 12.7 per cent before trading was stopped for the second time. On the contrary, Tesla’s shares dropped by about 3 per cent. Musk has been locked in a bitter legal battle with Twitter since announcing in July this year that he was pulling the plug on his USD 44 billion purchase of the company following a complex, and months-long courtship.

Musk had cancelled the deal, claiming that he was misled by Twitter concerning the number of bot accounts on its platform. These allegations were forthrightly rejected by the company. The latest report on the Twitter buyout deal comes ahead of the Delaware Court hearing on 17 October, where the two sides are expected to clash over the multi-billion dollar buyout deal. Earlier, Twitter had sought an order directing Tesla CEO to complete deal at $54.20 per share.

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Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, Barry Sharpless awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, Barry Sharpless awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Wednesday awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless.

Bertozzi from Stanford University, US; Meldal from University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Sharpless from Scripps Research, US have been awarded “for the development of click chemistry and bio orthogonal chemistry”.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2022 #NobelPrize in Chemistry to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” the official Twitter feed of the Nobel Prize said in a tweet.

Barry Sharpless became the fifth individual to receive the Nobel Prize for the second time. He follows in the footsteps of John Bardeen, Marie Sklodowska Curie, Linus Pauling, and Frederick Sanger, all of whom received two Nobel Prizes.Prior to this, Sharpless was awarded the chemistry prize in 2001. Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal have laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry—click chemistryin which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. Carolyn Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started utilising it in living organisms.

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Danish Queen Margrethe apologises for stripping grandchildren of royal titles

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Danish Queen Margrethe apologises for stripping grandchildren of royal titles

Danish Queen Margrethe II apologized for stripping four of her eight grandchildren of their royal titles.

The queen said that she was ‘sorry’ for stripping her grandchildren of royal titles. However, she is not changing her mind about the move. The 82-year-old monarch announced in late September that the children of her younger son, Prince Joachim, would no longer be known as prince and princess from next year.

Instead, they will only be able to use their titles of count and countess of Monpezat and will be addressed as excellencies, as their HRH titles will be “discontinued,” according to the royal household. Helle von Wildenrath Lovgreen, press secretary to Countess Alexandra, the former wife of Prince Joachim, said that Joachim and his children were “sad” and “shocked” by the decision, which Queen Margrethe views “as a necessary future-proofing of the monarchy,” according to a statement from the Queen.

“In recent days, there have been strong reactions to my decision about the future use of titles for Prince Joachim’s four children.

 “That affects me, of course,” the monarch said in the statement. “My decision has been a long time coming. With my 50 years on the throne, it is natural both to look back and to look ahead. It is my duty and my desire as Queen to ensure that the monarchy always shapes itself in keeping with the times. Sometimes, this means that difficult decisions must be made, and it will always be difficult to find the right moment,” she added.

The Queen said that she made the “adjustment” to allow the junior royals to lead more normal lives, while following a similar decision by other royal families to slim down the monarchy. 

“Holding a royal title involves a number of commitments and duties that, in the future, will lie with fewer members of the royal family,” she said.

Crown Prince Frederik, the Queen’s older son, is first in line to the throne. His oldest child, Prince Christian, is second in line. 

All four of Frederik’s children retain their titles. 
His younger brother, Joachim, lives in Paris with his wife Princess Marie, and has two children, Henrik, 13, and Athena, 10. 

The prince also has two older sons, Nikolai, 23, and Felix, 20, from his first marriage to Alexandra, the Countess of Frederiksborg. 

While Joachim’s children will lose their royal titles, they will maintain their places in the order of succession.

The monarch said, “I have made my decision as Queen, mother, and grandmother, but, as a mother and grandmother, I have underestimated the extent to which much my younger son and his family feel affected. 

That makes a big impression, and for that I am sorry.”
She added, “No one should be in doubt that my children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren are my great joy and pride. I now hope that we as a family can find the peace to find our way through this situation.”

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Pakistan defence sector continues to enjoy grants, subsidies despite economic crisis

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Pakistan defence sector continues to enjoy grants, subsidies despite economic crisis

As Pakistan always cries for funding in the name of development and disaster management, the so-called defence sector of the country continues to enjoy grants, subsidies and loans despite the financial crunches.

A Canada-based think tank International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), has highlighted the freebies to the elite military of the country. According to it, defence and debt servicing make up about 58 per cent of the budget for 2022-23, which is an increase of 24.3 per cent over the previous year.

While the funds for development expenditure have been cut in Pakistan and subsidies withdrawn for items like petroleum products and electricity, the defence sector continues to enjoy grants, subsidies and loan write-offs to the tune of PKR116 million in the current fiscal year.

The Pakistani Armed Forces also generate additional sources of income through their public sector enterprises and their business welfare models. These have been traditionally exempted from excise and taxation, as per the think tank.

Report says that in 2021-22 alone, PKR26 billion (USO 110 million) worth of tax exemptions were given to military-managed business entities. Apart from these direct expenditures, a large number of military related requirements are cross subsidized and met through funds allocated to other ministries.

IFFRAS reported that Pakistan which has been continuously plunging from one economic crisis to another, the deliberate opaqueness built into the defence expenditure needs to be addressed holistically to ensure economic security.

At present, Pakistan has been witnessing the devastating floods which impacted the country’s economic situation.

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USS Gerald R Ford, American aircraft carrier, deployed in Atlantic

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USS Gerald R Ford, American aircraft carrier, deployed in Atlantic

Five years after it was commissioned into service, the USS Gerald R. Ford left on its first deployment in the Atlantic region on Tuesday from Norfolk, Virginia. 

The US Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier will exercise with allies in North America and Europe in the Atlantic region. 

The USS Gerald Ford and the carrier strike group will operate with allies and partners in both the 2nd and 6th fleet areas of responsibility in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea, a US Navy official said. The deployment will be shorter than a standard six-month deployment, the official added. 

“This deployment is an opportunity to push the ball further down the field and demonstrate the advantage that Ford and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 bring to the future of naval aviation, to the region, and to our allies and partners,” Carrier Strike Group 12 Commander Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman said in a statement.

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Armed forces to stay away from politics, says General Bajwa

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Armed forces to stay away from politics, says General Bajwa

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa assured the nation on Tuesday that the armed forces have distanced themselves from politics and want to stay away from it in the future as well. While addressing the gathering during the lunch at Pakistani Embassy in Washington, Pakistan Bajwa said that he will leave after the completion of his second three-year term in two months, Dawn reported. He reminded the nation that reviving the country’s ailing economy should be the first priority of all segments of society, adding that without a strong economy the nation would not be able to achieve its targets.

“There could be no diplomacy either without a strong economy,” said the army chief in his address to an audience which included a large number of Pakistani diplomats. After lunch, Bajwa went to the Pentagon for a meeting with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

According to Dawn citing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Bajwa called on retired General Lloyd James Austin III, Secretary of Defence; Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan, National Security Adviser; and Wendy Ruth Sherman, Deputy Secretary of State. During the meetings, matters of mutual of interest, regional security situations and bilateral cooperation in various fields were discussed. 

The army chief thanked the US officials for their support and reiterated that assistance from “our global partners shall be vital for rescue/rehabilitation of the flood victims in Pakistan”, as reported by Dawn. 

US had provided $56.5 million in aid to Pakistan for flood relief and humanitarian assistance this year.

During his meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed his sorrow over the devastation and loss of life throughout the country caused by catastrophic flooding. 

“He reaffirmed the US commitment to the people of Pakistan, noting the nearly USD 56.5 million in flood relief and humanitarian assistance provided this year as well as the additional USD 10 million of food security assistance announced today,” read the US State Department press release.

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