Covid-19 crisis: Right time for radical change, says Maruti’s RC Bhargava


The Covid-19 pandemic is creating a greater awareness among people in India that this is the time to make radical changes and take steps for faster growth of the manufacturing sector and the economy, Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava said on Wednesday.

“In the last five-six years, many changes have been made by the government in policies, which are making conditions much more conducive to competitive manufacturing. To the best of my understanding and knowledge, the government is very aware of all other steps which are needed to ensure and bring about competitiveness of the Indian industry,” said Bhargava.

Despite the implications of Covid-19, he said, “As I said, the conditions looked hopeful. I believe the pandemic is creating greater awareness among all the people in the country that this is the time to make radical changes in the way we do our work. This is the time when we should take steps which must lead to much faster growth of the economy. This means much faster growth of manufacturing.” Exuding confidence that it is possible, Bhargava said, “The first thing is that there has to be a national

Nobel Laureate Refuses To Answer Belarus Investigators


Belarusian Nobel Prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich said Wednesday she refused to answer investigators’ questions after she was summoned as a witness in a criminal probe into the opposition.

Opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko formed a Coordination Council to oversee a peaceful transition of power after they rejected his claim to have won a sixth term in an August 9 presidential vote.

Lukashenko dispatched the security services to violently crack down on mass protests against his re-election and opened a criminal probe into the council, accusing its members of attempting to topple his government.

Alexievich was named a member of the council’s presidium but has not attended its sessions.

“I am completely calm. I do not feel guilty. Everything we are doing is legal and necessary,” Alexievich told AFP as she arrived at the Investigative Committee’s headquarters in Minsk with other members of the presidium.

She left shortly afterwards, saying she had invoked her right not to testify against herself and that the council’s only goal was “to unite society”.

Belarus opposition figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is in exile in Lithuania

Alexievich, who won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2015, is an outspoken critic of Lukashenko and has

Blackmores FY profit down 66 per cent


Vitamin and pet food supplier Blackmores has reported a 66 per cent full-year profit dive after Chinese shoppers limited spending amid COVID-19.

Vitamin and pet food supplier Blackmores has reported a 66 per cent full-year profit dive. Photo: Blackmores

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Public procurement: Bidders from neighbours to require security clearance


Companies bidding for public procurement from countries, which share a land border with India, will now need to separately register with the government and secure a security clearance before engaging in the bidding process.

On Tuesday, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) released a new format for the registration of entities based in neighboring countries. The move is set to affect mostly companies in China, which have hitherto had a major presence in both central and state level public procurement.

Now, bidders will have to submit an application for “Security Clearance” and “Registration” with the Office of Joint Secretary (MKN), the department said on Tuesday. The list of bidders who have been registered with competent authority shall henceforth be displayed on the department’s website.

Earlier in July, the Department of Expenditure mandated that bidders having beneficial ownership in countries which share land border with India will be eligible to bid in public procurement, only if they are registered with the competent authority.

This came after the government announced in April – in the wake of the Ladakh skirmishes with China- that firms need to

After US, Facebook plans to launch news service in UK, India, Brazil


Inc said on Tuesday it plans to launch its service in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and in the coming months, after having introduced the feature in the last year.

The social media giant’s service currently pays U.S. publishers for content and has original reporting from more than 200 outlets, including thousands of local organizations.

Facebook, which has 2.7 billion monthly active users, has come under fire for its lax approach to fake news reports and disinformation campaigns, which many believe affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, won by Donald Trump.

Following the criticism, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg had said the company would prioritize “trustworthy” news in its feed by identifying high-quality outlets.

Pakistan Urges Taliban Leaders To Start Peace Talks


Pakistan’s foreign minister urged senior Taliban leaders Tuesday to start delayed peace talks with Kabul, telling them the Afghanistan war has “no military solution” just hours after the insurgents claimed another deadly bombing.

Kabul and the Taliban were supposed to have begun talks in March, but are at loggerheads over a controversial prisoner swap that includes hundreds of militant inmates tied to high-profile attacks conducted over the past 19 years.

“Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi underscored Prime Minister Imran Khan’s consistent stance that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a political settlement was the only way forward,” the Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Islamabad meeting between Qureshi and the Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the group’s co-founder who spent eight years in Pakistani custody, came shortly after a suicide bombing near an army base in the northern Afghan province of Balkh.

The Taliban-claimed assault comes amid continued violence in Afghanistan, with insurgents conducting daily attacks across the country and in Kabul.

It killed two civilians and one commando and wounded more than 40 other people, military spokesman for the region Hanif Rezayee said. Many houses were damaged or

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