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Jan 27, 2018 08:33 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

News highlights of the day: Car bomb kills 95, wounds 158 at checkpoint near embassies in Afghan capital

This blog will keep track of key global and local developments impacting business and markets through the day. Important local and global political developments will also find resonance here.


Top Headlines:
1. FM says GST stabilised in short time, hints at further rejig of rates
2. SoftBank said to be eyeing 49% stake in PolicyBazaar, values co at $800m, reports Bloomberg
3. IPL auctions: Rahul, Stokes get huge bids; Gayle goes unsold
4. Blackstone-backed Embassy is planning India's first REIT, reports Bloomberg
5. LS Speaker calls meeting of House leaders on Sun ahead of Budget session, reports PTI
6. AIADMK expels over 140 office-bearers from Tuticorin district
7. Prasoon Joshi not to attend Jaipur lit fest due to Padmaavat row
8. Indian-American woman sues Weinstein for sexual harassment, reports PTI

9. 13 killed as minibus falls into river in Maharashtra, reports PTI

20:29 That's all for today, readers. Thanks for staying on with our coverage of the day's action. Your enthusiasm encourages us to better our coverage every day. Do come back tomorrow for more news, views and insights.

15:00 Car bomb kills 98, wounds 158 at checkpoint near embassies in Afghan capital

A car bomb in an ambulance killed  persons, and wounded least 151 people at a police checkpoint in the Afghan capital on Saturday in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings, the latest reports suggest.

Last week, a deadly attack took place on the Intercontinental Hotel, reports Reuters. Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament who was nearby when the explosion occurred, said the ambulance approached the checkpoint, close to an office of the High Peace Council and a number of foreign embassies, and blew up.

He said a number of people were lying on the ground. Health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said 18 wounded had been brought into city hospitals. There was no word on any fatalities. A plume of grey smoke rose from the blast area in the city centre and buildings hundreds of metres away were shaken by the force of the explosion. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blast came after heightened security alerts following the Intercontinental Hotel attack. That attack, which killed more than 20 people, was claimed by the Taliban.

17:52 WHO lauds launch of global partnership to tackle leprosy

With over two lakh new cases of leprosy reported each year on an average globally, WHO has lauded the launch of a global partnership to stop leprosy, saying stronger force with a common vision was needed for speeding up efforts to end the disease.

The Global Partnership to Stop Leprosy was launched by a host of organisations with the support of the global health

body.

The new partnership, launched ahead of World Leprosy Day, 2018, brings together leading agencies and organisations

working towards achieving zero leprosy in various parts of the world.

Advocating for enhancing efforts against leprosy, World Leprosy Day is observed every year on the last Sunday of January.

This year, the day focuses on the critical target of zero leprosy-related disabilities in children by 2020.

The partnership aims at supporting roll-out of global policy options, scale up interventions and mainstream leprosy

under the aegis of universal health coverage.

Globally, elimination of leprosy as a public health problem was achieved in the year 2000 with its prevalence reduced to less than one case per 10,000 population, each year.

On an average, more than 2,00,000 new cases are reported.

17:27 Law no solution to social ills: Asaduddin Owaisi on triple talaq bill

Law is not the solution to social problems, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi has said,claiming that triple talaq bill was a ploy to send Muslim men

to jail.

"Will triple talaq stop after the law is brought?" a release from the AIMIM quoted Owaisi as saying at 'Tahafuzz e Shariayat' ('Save Sharia') public meeting here late last night.

Dowry deaths and other crimes against women did not stop even when specific laws were made against these practises, he said.

"Between 2005-2015, there were more than 80,000 dowry deaths in India. Twenty-two women die daily on account of dowry, and even after the Nirbhaya incident, there was a rapid increase in number of rape cases. Law is not the answer," he said.

Further, triple talaq bill is a conspiracy against the minority community, Owaisi alleged. "It is a ploy to bring the women of the community on road and send the men to prison," he alleged.

The BJP-led NDA government tried to push the bill through Parliament without consulting Muslim clerics, he alleged.

17:06 California wants 5 million 'green' cars on roads by 2030

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an executive order detailing aims to have five million electric cars on the state's roads by 2030 -- by accelerating the production of such vehicles using financial incentives and rebates.

The USD 2.5 billion, eight-year plan also involves the installation of 250,000 electric vehicle charging stations and 200 hydrogen fueling stations by 2025. "To continue to meet California's climate goals and clean air standards, California must go even further to accelerate

the market for zero-emission vehicles," the governor's office said in a statement.

The order aims to "dramatically reduce carbon emissions from transportation -- a sector that accounts for 50 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions and 80 percent of smog-forming pollutants," it added.

The previous target, from 2012, aimed to get 1.5 million "green" vehicles on the roads of the most populated US state

-- which boasts the biggest automobile market, with around 14.5 million vehicles for 40 million people.

California, where the number of zero emissions vehicles has risen by 1,300 per cent in six years according to the order, will need to maintain similarly exponential growth to meet its latest goal.

 

15:21 Possible for India to be in top 50 on ease of biz index: FM

Improving India's ranking in the World Bank's ease of doing business index is "reasonably possible" if various machineries, including the tax department, make concerted efforts to improve the three laggard parameters, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. He also said that WTO talks have not made much headway in most areas except trade facilitation, which helps cut costs and make it more efficient.

"Therefore, even without international agreement to that effect, it is even within larger benefits and interest of our domestic economy to ensure that trade facilitation takes place," he said addressing officials on the International Customs Day. Citing success achieved by India in Ease of Doing Business ranking, Jaitley said the country has moved ahead from 142 to 100th position in the last three years and the last 30 being in one year, reports PTI.

 

14:53 SBI found guilty of deficiency in service by Akola consumer court

A district consumer forum has held State Bank of India (SBI) guilty of deficiency in service for debiting money from a bank account despite a failed ATM withdrawal and awarded a compensation of Rs 3,000 to the account holder, reports PTI. Besides awarding the compensation, the consumer forum in Akola district also directed the bank to refund the wrongly debited amount of Rs 5,000 and pay Rs 2,000 towards legal cost to the account holder.

The complainant, Pradeep Shitre, had approached the forum in September 2017 saying the bank had wrongly debited Rs 5,000 from his account in January that year although he did not receive the cash from the ATM. Shitre (51), a farmer, said that he had gone to an ATM to withdraw Rs 5,000. When he failed to get the cash from one machine, he used another one, which dispensed the cash.

According to Shitre, he immediately received a text message saying that Rs 10,000 was withdrawn from his account. He told the forum that when he followed up with the bank on the matter, it assured him that he would get the refund. However, this never happened, which prompted him to approach the forum.

14:39 FM says GST stabilised in short time, hints at further rejig of rates

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Goods & Service Tax (GST) has stabilised in a very short time that provides an opportunity to widen its base and further rationalise the rates in the future, reports PTI. Also, he said the GST has brought about an entire change in the indirect tax system in the country. Jaitley further said the GST has "stabilised in a very short time in India" as compared to various other countries. "Therefore, it gives us an opportunity in the times to come to increase its base and rationalise the structure as it continues to evolve," he said at an event to mark the International Customs Day. At present, the GST has four rates of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.

14:36 Concept of censoring films is faulty: Nandita Das

The concept of censoring films by a board is "faulty", says noted actor-filmmaker Nandita Das, asserting that a handful of people cannot decide what an entire nation wants to see, reports PTI. The 48-year-old film personality said it was very "dangerous" that some self-proclaimed custodians of culture were telling people what was right and wrong.

"Larger censorship issues are coming up now. If art has to flourish, it needs freedom. The whole concept of a censor board and to censor films in itself is faulty. How can a handful of people decide what all of us as a nation want to see?," she said at the Jaipur Literature festival in Jaipur on Friday.

Breaking: Huge blast rocks Kabul

A huge blast rocked Kabul, reporters and witnesses said, in latest apparent attack in the capital of war-torn Afghanistan. AFP reporters heard a loud explosion that rattled the windows of their compound and photos posted online purportedly of the blast showed a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky.

14:11 Won't use potable water for ground maintenance during IPL this year: MCA to HC

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has told the Bombay High Court that it will not use potable water, either purchased privately or provided by the BMC, for watering the pitch and for other maintenance work at the Wankhede stadium during this year's IPL matches, reports PTI.

In a hearing conducted on January 24, MCA's counsel AS Khandeparkar told the HC that the association will only use water that is conserved from its rainwater harvesting system and from its own 'ring wells' constructed at Wankhede stadium last year, for watering the pitch, for the toilets and for cleaning and maintenance purposes.

Khandeparkar said that around 330,000 litres of water will be required for the above purposes on each day of the IPL match in the city. However, when a bench of justices AS Oka and PN Deshmukh asked if the MCA will also follow the same practice in the future IPL matches in Mumbai, Khandeparkar said that he could not make such a statement about the future matches.

14:03 Start of 4th day's play between Ind-SA delayed because of overnight rain

The start of the fourth day's play in the third and final cricket Test between India and South Africa has been delayed by half an hour because of wet ground conditions due to overnight rain, reports PTI. The onfield umpire Ian Gould and Aleem Dar are now scheduled to inspect the pitch at 10.30 am local time to take a call on the resumption of play.

13:47 Nikki Haley slams rumours about affair with Trump

Indian American Nikki Haley, the top US diplomat to the UN, has described rumours about her having an affair with President Donald Trump as "highly offensive" and "disgusting", reports PTI. "It is absolutely not true," she said on Friday. Haley the first ever Indian-American Cabinet-ranking official in any presidential administration strongly quelled rumours in this regard as "highly offensive and disgusting," in the interview with 'Politico'.

"I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there," Haley said. "He says that I've been talking a lot with the president in the Oval about my political future. I've never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him," she said referring to allegations against her in a recent book 'Fire and Fury' by New York-based author Michael Wolff.

13:39 Pak again rakes up Kashmir during UNSC debate

Days after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres ruled out any mediation effort between India and Pakistan, Islamabad's top envoy to the world body raised the Kashmir issue during a UN Security Council debate on West Asia, reports PTI. As usual there were no takers for Maleeha Lodhi, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, during the debate on the current volatile situation in West Asia. "Pakistan will continue to support the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, as indeed, people living under foreign occupation elsewhere as for example in Kashmir," Lodhi said while participating in the Security Council discussion on Thursday.

13:26 AIADMK expels over 140 office-bearers from Tuticorin district

Continuing to crack the whip, top AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami sacked more than 140 party functionaries belonging to Tuticorin district for bringing 'disrepute' to the organisation. In a joint statement, the two leaders announced expelling 144 office-bearers belonging to AIADMK's different organisational units in that district.

The said persons were being axed from AIADMK as they went against party principles and "brought disrepute" to it, PanneerselvamAIADMK coordinator, and Palaniswami, its co-coordinator, said in the statement. They asked their party workers not to have any truck with the expelled persons.

13:15 Prasoon Joshi not to attend Jaipur lit fest due to Padmaavat row

Censor board chief Prasoon Joshi has pulled out of the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in the wake of the Padmaavat controversy, saying he wished to avoid any discomfort to the organisers and fellow writers due to the row, reports PTI. The 46-year-old poet-lyricist's statement came following threats from the Rajput group Karni Sena which had attacked Joshi for clearing Sanjay Leela Bhansali's controversial film 'Padmaavat' and had protested the JLF's invitation to him. Joshi said he does not want the "dignity" of the prestigious event to be compromised by the Padmaavat controversy.

13:06 Idea Cellular seeks govt nod for raising FDI limit to 100%

Telecom operator Idea Cellular has approached the government for raising foreign direct investment (FDI) level in the company to 100%, reports PTI. "Application made to DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) for 100% FDI in Idea," the company said in an investor presentation filed late on Friday evening.

Foreign investors hold around 27% stake in Idea, as per shareholding pattern of the company till December 2017. At present, 100% FDI is allowed in telecom companies, of which up to 49% can be done through the automatic route. The inflow of overseas investment beyond that level requires government approval because of security reasons.

13:00 Indian-American woman sues Weinstein for sexual harassment

Disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been sued by his former Indian-American personal assistant who has alleged that she was subjected to sexual exploitation and a "sexually hostile" work environment while working for him, reports PTI. Sandeep Rehal, who was Weinstein's personal assistant for two years from 2013 to 2015, has sought trial by jury in an 11-page lawsuit.

For over two years Rehal was "forced to work in a pervasive and severe sexually hostile" work environment at Weinstein's company and "defined by endless offensive, degrading, and sexually harassing actions, statements, and touching at the hands of her boss," alleges a lawsuit filed in the Southern District Court of New York on January 25.

A day later, on Friday, the court issued summons to Weinstein and his company to respond to the charges within 21 days. Weinstein's used Caverject shots, which he tossed on the floor in his office, hotel rooms and his apartment. She also had to "pick up his used condom, and clean up rooms" and semen off his couch, before housekeeping personnel would do their work, the lawsuit charges. "

Rehal was required to be involved in and aware of the preparations for, and clean up after, Harvey Weinstein's extremely prolific sexual encounters," it alleged. "Throughout her employment with Defendants Ms Rehal was required, as a condition of her employment, to work with Harvey Weinstein when he was naked. On an almost weekly basis, she was required to take dictation of emails from him while he was naked," the lawsuit alleged.

Weinstein subjected Rehal to "unwelcome touching", the lawsuit alleges. Almost every time she accompanied Weinstein in his chauffeured Lexus SUV, he made her sit in the back with him and touched her thigh. "After Ms Rehal started wearing pants instead of skirts, Harvey Weinstein would rub between her thighs. When Ms Rehal sat cross-legged in an attempt to prevent him from being able to touch her thigh, Harvey Weinstein would touch the back of her legs and butt," the lawsuit alleged.

"Among Ms Rehal's responsibilities was to maintain Harvey Weinstein's list of contacts with a special asterisk that identified Harvey Weinstein's 'girls', his many sexual partners," the lawsuit said, adding that Weinstein also ordered Rehal to obtain and set up an apartment close to the office for him to "use with one of his sexual liaisons," and purchase lingerie for the woman in that apartment as well as gifts for other women.

12:46 Woman among two naxals shot dead in Sukma

Two naxals, including a woman, were gunned down in an exchange of fire with security forces in a dense forest area in Chhattisgarh's insurgency-hit Sukma district on Saturday morning, police said. The skirmish took place in the forests between Tadmetla and Morpalli villages under Chintalnar police station limits, Sukma Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena told PTI.

"A joint team of CoBRA (commando battalion for resolute action) 201st battalion - a CRPF specialised unit, and local police had launched the counter-insurgency operation in the jungles of Chintalnar, around 500 km away from Raipur," he said. While the security forces were cordoning off the forests between Tadmetla and Morpalli, they came under fire from a group of armed naxals that led to an exchange of fire, he said. After the guns fell silent, the security forces searched the area and recovered the body of two Maoists including a woman, along with two weapons, he said.

12:08 LS Speaker calls meeting of House leaders on Sun ahead of Budget session

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called a meeting of House leaders of all political parties on Sunday, on the eve of Parliament's Budget Session during which the government and the opposition are likely to clash over a host of issues, including the triple talaq bill, reports PTI. A similar meeting has been convened by the government on Sunday during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top opposition leaders are expected to express their mind on pertinent issues, which they would like to be taken up in the session.

The first leg of the session will be between January 29 and February 9 during which the government will present the economic survey on January 29 followed by the Union Budget on February 1. The session will begin with President Ram Nath Kovind's address to a joint sitting of members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In his first such address to Parliament, Kovind is expected to outline the government's thrust on development and empowerment of people, especially those from backward and weaker sections, official sources said. Following a recess after February 9, Parliament will meet again from March 5 to April 6.

12:00 India has turned into a nation of offended people, says Srijit Mukherji

National Award winning filmmaker Srijit Mukherji has said India has turned into a nation of offended people and getting offended has sort of become a national pastime, reports PTISrijit, the director of 'Begum Jaan' said this while speaking at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet in Kolkata on Saturday evening. "It has become a national pastime, what you are doing today I am getting offended - that kind of thing. In case I take up certain work my plea will be don't burn us, don't behead us,” he said. "If you troll us fine, may be there can be a peaceful demonstration in front of our house, this much," Srijit said, referring to the protests and agitation over screening of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Padmaavat' in many parts of the country, indirectly.

11:44 South Korea's Moon visits hospital fire scene, agonises over series of disasters

South Korean officials rushed to identify 37 victims of a hospital blaze and pinpoint the cause on Saturday as President Moon Jae-in visited the burnt-out building and decried “one tragedy after another” to strike the country, reports Reuters. Flames and toxic smoke swept through the Sejong Hospital in the southern city of Miryang on Friday, injuring more than 150 people, just weeks after a fire killed 29 people at a fitness centre. All the hospital victims died from smoke inhalation.

Moon visited the fire scene where he spoke to grieving family members and firefighters. “Its tragic, and it hurts me to see this kind of one tragedy after another, even as the government has vowed to make this country safe,” Moon said. He ordered a full inquiry and said “utmost government efforts” were needed to support the injured and families of the victims.

11:37 Sherin's parents give up custody fight for biological daughter

The Indian-American foster parents of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old Indian girl who was found dead in a culvert in Dallas, relinquished custody and parental rights to their biological child, reports PTI. In a custody hearing, Wesley and Sini Mathews stood in shackles before a judge and agreed to relinquish their parental rights - an irrevocable decision, Dallas News reported.

Sherin went missing on October 7 and her body was found on October 22 in a culvert in suburban Dallas by a cadaver dog after an intense search. Her body was identified days later. Wesley, 37, has been charged with capital murder in Sherin's death. Sini, 35, was arrested on a charge of child abandonment or endangerment based on her husband's admission to investigators that they went out to dinner and left Sherin alone the night before she died.

Sini "made the extremely difficult decision to give up her parental rights because, given the circumstances and the pending criminal cases, this is in the best interests of the child. She wants what's best for her remaining daughter," said attorney Mitch Nolte who represents the mother. Last month, a Dallas judge blocked the couple, hailing from Kerala, from having contact with their 4-year-old surviving child after prosecutors argued that they failed to protect Sherin, who was adopted by the Indian American couple, from an orphanage in Bihar.

11:25 Jaipur to host Royals' home games in IPL 11

BCCI Acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary welcomed Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) back in the Board's fold and said decks have been cleared for Jaipur's Sawai Mansingh Stadium (SMS) to host Royals home games in the upcoming IPL.

"There were two impediments over RCA and the ground in Jaipur. Now, RCA is back into the fold. A recce has been done at the SMS and the court has ordered termination of lease and it will now be extended till the end of the IPL. So things looks settled for Jaipur," Chaudhary said in his opening remarks before the start of IPL auctions.

The Royals last played at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in 2013. They later had to shift base to Ahmedabad and then to Pune due to the suspension on RCA.

11:13 IPL auctions: Stokes, Starc get huge bids, Gayle goes unsold

Controversial England all-rounder Ben Stokes expectedly triggered a bidding war before going to Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.50 crore but West Indian swashbuckler Chris Gayle went unsold after the opening round of the IPL auctions in Bengaluru. Gayle, an established T20 player, surprisingly found no bidders despite being a big draw for around last seven seasons of the cash-rich league.

Australia pacer Mitchell Starc was bought for Rs 9.40 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) while Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) got lucky getting Ashwin for Rs 7.60 crore. It was another big pay day for Stokes, who was bought for Rs 14.5 crore by Rising Pune SuperGiant during the last auctions, and proved to be a worthy buy with his all-round performances taking the team to the final.

There were multiple bids from Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings but Steve Smith, Stokes' captain at the Pune franchise wanted him desperately and thus his owners respected his wish. Kieron Pollard was predictably bought by Mumbai Indians using their Right to Match (RTM) card for Rs 5.40 crore while Sunrisers Hyderabad bought back Shikhar Dhawan for Rs 5.2 crore after heavy bidding from KXIP. Faf Du Plessis was retained by CSK for only Rs 1.60 crore while Rajasthan Royals used RTM to get Ajinkya Rahane back in their fold for Rs 4 crore.

11:07 Rahul seat row: BJP says its leaders were even denied seats in VIP enclosures

The BJP on Friday hit back at the Congress over the issue of sitting position of Rahul Gandhi during the Republic Day parade, saying in the past its chiefs were not even given seats in the VIP enclosure, reports PTI. Congress President Gandhi attended the annual event and took the designated seat in the sixth row, prompting an angry reaction from the Opposition party which accused the ruling BJP government of setting aside tradition and indulging in "cheap politics". "Where did Rajnath Singh ji and Nitin Gadkari ji sit as BJP chiefs at Republic Day events during the Congress-led UPA government," BJP National Spokesperson Anil Baluni said. He said that BJP leaders were not given seats in the VIP area during the Congress-era.

11:05 13 killed as minibus falls into river in Maharashtra

At least 13 persons were killed as a minibus carrying 17 passengers fell into Panchganga river at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra, police said. The incident took place at around 11.45 pm on Friday when the vehicle carrying three families was returning from Ganpatipule, a picnic destination of coastal Konkan, an official told PTI.

The deceased include three men, three women and seven children, including a nine month baby, he said. The speeding minibus was on the Shivaji Bridge of Panchganga river when its driver lost control of the vehicle. The bus later fell into the river, the official said.

Police and fire brigade rushed to the spot as an onlooker alerted the Kolhapur police about the incident. Rescue and search operations were launched immediately, he said. The rescue teams managed to trace 16 passengers of the ill-fated bus, wherein 13 had died. Three persons are admitted to a hospital for treatment, the official said.

11:01 Fire breaks out in commercial complex in Mumbai, no casualty

A fire broke out in a commercial complex in suburban Goregaon this morning, civic officials said. The blaze erupted at Cama Estate around 8 am, an official of the Disaster Control Cell of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told PTI. The fire brigade personnel rushed to the spot and the firefighting operation was launched with the help of seven water tankers and eight fire engines, he said.

10:59 Karnataka polls: Rahul asks party cadres to prepare 'people's manifesto'

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has asked party leaders from poll-bound Karnataka to prepare "people's manifesto" and undertake mass outreach programmes, taking a cue from similar exercise during the party's recent electoral outing in Gujarat, reports PTIKarnataka goes to polls this year.

"The exercise has already been undertaken by a team headed by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily and it is expected to come out with an 'all-encompassing manifesto' much ahead of polling in the state," a senior party leader said. "The party president has asked leaders to come out with a manifesto that truly reflects the expectations of the people of Karnataka. The Congress will seek feedback from all stakeholders," AICC secretary in-charge for KarnatakaMadhu Goud Yaskhi, said.

10:48 SoftBank said to be eyeing 49% stake in PolicyBazaar

SoftBank Group Corporation is in talks to back leading online insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar at a valuation of at least $800 million, sources told Bloomberg. The two sides are examining how the Japanese company can take a stake without pushing foreign investment in PolicyBazaar above 49%, the limit under India’s regulatory policies, sources said. The discussions are still fluid and may not result in a final agreement.

The start-up’s existing foreign investors, including Tiger Global Management and Temasek Holdings, hold about 48% of the start-up. It was valued at $500 million in its last funding round, signed at the end of 2016 and finalised a year later. PolicyBazaar is part of a wave of upstarts seeking to challenge the dominance of banks and government insurers in India’s insurance market. E-commerce companies such as Flipkart Online Services Pvt are seeking to push their way in with their own insurance products. The government has kept tight control over the sector where local giants such as Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group exert wide influence.

10:29 Blackstone-backed Embassy is planning India's first REIT

Embassy Group, an Indian partner of Blackstone Group and a commercial real estate developer, is laying the groundwork for the nation’s first real estate investment trust, which would open a market that’s attracted billions overseas, reports Bloomberg. There will probably be some progress by June, Embassy Office Parks Chief Executive Officer Michael Holland said of its plan to issue the bond-like securities. A draft prospectus may be filed by mid-year with the listing to follow a few months after, sources said.

10:02 Track Moneycontrol's live blog that brings to you live updates from the mega Indian Premier League auction which is slated to start soon in Bengaluru. 578 players from 13 nationalities are vying for 182 slots.

10:01 Detained Saudi billionaire Alwaleed says he expects to be released in days

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained in the kingdom’s sweeping crackdown on corruption, said he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing and be released from custody within days. Prince Alwaleed was speaking in an exclusive interview with Reuters at his suite in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel, where he has been confined for over two months along with dozens of other suspects. It was the first time the prince, one of the nation’s most prominent businessmen, has spoken publicly since his detention.

Prince Alwaleed said he was continuing to maintain his innocence of any corruption in talks with authorities. He said he expected to keep full control of his global investment firm Kingdom Holding Co without being required to give up assets to the government. “There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government,” he said. “I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days.”

09:32 US to fine UBS, Deutsche Bank, HSBC for spoofing, manipulation, says sourcesThe US derivatives regulator is set to announce it has fined European lenders UBS, HSBC and Deutsche Bank millions of dollars each for so-called “spoofing” and manipulation in the US futures market, sources told Reuters. The enforcement action by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the result of a multi-agency investigation that also involves the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - the first of its kind for the CFTC, sources said. The fines for UBS and Deutsche Bank will be upward of ten million, while the fine for HSBC will be slightly less than that, sources added.
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  • January 27, 2018 07:47 PM IST

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  • January 27, 2018 03:00 PM IST

    Car bomb kills 63, wounds 151 at checkpoint near embassies in Afghan capital

    A car bomb in an ambulance killed 63 persons, and wounded least 151 people at a police checkpoint in the Afghan capital on Saturday in an area near foreign embassies and government buildings, the latest reports suggest.

    Last week, a deadly attack took place on the Intercontinental Hotel, reports Reuters. Mirwais Yasini, a member of parliament who was nearby when the explosion occurred, said the ambulance approached the checkpoint, close to an office of the High Peace Council and a number of foreign embassies, and blew up.

    He said a number of people were lying on the ground. Health ministry spokesman Wahid Majroh said 18 wounded had been brought into city hospitals. There was no word on any fatalities. A plume of grey smoke rose from the blast area in the city centre and buildings hundreds of metres away were shaken by the force of the explosion. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blast came after heightened security alerts following the Intercontinental Hotel attack. That attack, which killed more than 20 people, was claimed by the Taliban.

  • January 27, 2018 11:26 AM IST

    Top Headlines:

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    4. Blackstone-backed Embassy is planning India's first REIT, reports Bloomberg

    5. LS Speaker calls meeting of House leaders on Sun ahead of Budget session, reports PTI

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  • January 27, 2018 08:29 PM IST


    That's all for today, readers. Thanks for staying on with our coverage of the day's action. Your enthusiasm encourages us to better our coverage every day. Do come back tomorrow for more news, views and insights.

  • January 27, 2018 06:40 PM IST

    Rex Tillerson insists Russia to blame for Syria chemical attacks

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today said he stands by his claim that Russia bears responsibility for recent chemical attacks in Syria, despite strong denials from Moscow.

    "These are just unacceptable deployments of chemicals in ways that violate all conventions which Russia itself has signed up for. It violates agreements that Russia undertook to be responsible for identifying and eliminating the chemical weapons inside of Syria," Tillerson said during a visit to Warsaw.

    "The chemical weapons are clearly there, they're being used against civilian populations -- and the most vulnerable are children -- inside of Syria," Tillerson told reporters, in a joint press conference with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.

    "So we are holding Russia responsible for addressing this. They are (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad's ally. They are members of those conventions and they made commitments. They need to deliver on those commitments."

  • January 27, 2018 06:32 PM IST

  • January 27, 2018 06:32 PM IST

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  • January 27, 2018 06:19 PM IST

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