UK raised Oxfam FCRA licence refusal issue with India: Minister to LokSabha
The UK had raised India’s refusal of a licence under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2020 to the global British charity, Oxfam, during a recent bilateral meet, Union minister NityanandRai told the LokSabha on Tuesday, adding that India has apprised the British side of the grounds for the refusal.
Oxfam India, the India arm of the British charity, works for development of marginalised people, according to its website. All non-profits, including Oxfam India, need a permit renewed periodically to receive foreign funding under the FCRA.
The Union government rejected Oxfam India’s application for renewal of its foreign-funding licence in December 2021. Besides Oxfam India, the government cancelled FCRA licences of nearly 6,000 non-profits on various legal grounds last year.
“The government of United Kingdom (UK) raised the issue of the status of the Oxfam India under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2020 during the bilateral dialogue held on February 10, 2022. The status of the Oxfam India was shared with the UK side during the dialogue,” Rai, the minister of state for home affairs, told the Lower House in a written statement during the ongoing second leg of the Budget Session.
The minister also said that “registration, renewal and cancellation of registration are done based on the criteria specified in the FCRA, 2020 and rules made thereunder”.
Rai said India shared with UK the criteria for such licences and that Oxfam India did not fulfil some of these.
After its foreign-funding licence was rejected last year, Oxfam India had issued a statement saying the “government’s decision to refuse renewal of its licence” would impact its “ongoing humanitarian and social work in 16 states across the country”.
Russian court fines woman for protesting Ukraine war on state TV
A Russian court on Tuesday fined a woman 30,000 roubles ($280) after finding her guilty of flouting protest legislation when she interrupted a live news bulletin on state TV and condemned the war in neighbouring Ukraine, the RIA news agency reported. Marina Ovsyannikova, a Channel One employee, was released later after paying the fine.
The mother of two could have faced a maximum punishment of 10 days in detention for calling for illegal protests. She, however, pleaded not guilty of violating demonstration laws. She had held up a sign behind a studio presenter reading the news on the channel on Monday night and shouted slogans condemning Russia's invasion of the east-European nation about three weeks ago.
According to reports, as Andreyeva started speaking about relations with Belarus, Ovsyannikova, who wore a dark formal suit, burst into view, holding up a hand-written poster saying "No War" in English.
Earlier in the day, the United Nations' human rights office called on Russian authorities to ensure Ovsyannikova, who was also reportedly missing at the time, was not punished for exercising her right to free speech.
Ravina Shamdasani, the UN's human rights spokesperson, said officials in Moscow should ensure she “does not face reprisals for exercising her right to freedom of expression”.
Oil price hike may be delayed as crude plunges below $100
The price of petrol and diesel may not rise as much as feared because the price of crude oil has declined by about 30% after hitting an intraday peak of $139 per barrel for Brent Crude on March 7. The government, however, is evaluating all options to shield consumers from a price shock that will also fuel already high inflation, officials tracking the development said.
Although international oil prices have softened to below $100 a barrel on Tuesday for the first time since March 1, the situation is dynamic as state-run oil marketers are bleeding because their revenue losses are somewhere between ₹5 and ₹7 a litre, they said, requesting anonymity.
The price of Brent Crude dropped to an almost three-week low of $97.44 per barrel on Tuesday on slower anticipated demand due to surging Covid-19 cases in China, ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine, and hope for resumption of the Iran nuclear deal.
“A fuel price hike is still inevitable, but its quantum and timing are yet to be decided,” a government official said. “Certainly, there is some relief now due to softening of international oil prices.”
::Science and tech::
North Korea fires 'unidentified projectile' but launch fails
North Korea fired an "unidentified projectile" Wednesday but the launch appears to have immediately failed, South Korea's military said.
"North Korea fired an unknown projectile from the Sunan area around 09:30 today, but it is presumed that it failed immediately after launch," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Japanese media reported that North Korea had launched a possible ballistic missile, citing an unnamed defence ministry official.
The failed launch would have been Pyongyang's tenth weapons test this year, following seven missile tests and two of what North Korea said were a "reconnaissance satellite".
South Korea and the US said last week those tests were actually of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system -- a so-called "monster missile" that has never been test-fired before.
North Korea is already under biting international sanctions over its missile and nuclear weapons programme but the US said the tests were a "serious escalation" and would be punished.
The world watches as India’s Anirban Lahiri falls one short
AnirbanLahiri created Indian golfing history as he capped an astonishing run through the world’s most lucrative tournament to finish second -- one agonising stroke from forcing a play-off.
Lahiri, 34, shot 12-under par 276 at the Players Championship, dubbed the “fifth Major”, to finish a shot behind Australian winner Cameron Smith at the Stadium Course at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, as the golfing world watched the world No 322 mount an unexpected challenge over the 72 holes.
The Pune-born, Florida-based player was at the cusp of what would have been the greatest achievement by an Indian golfer -- his second place still ranks alongside other PGA Tour and European Tour wins for the enormity of the tournament -- to earn a prize money of $2.18 million, easily the biggest pay day for an Indian athlete.