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News In Brief


    Syrians who approached Israeli Golan frontier walk back towards refugee encampments

    Golan Heights: Dozens of Syrians who approached Israel’s frontier fence on the Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary, began walking back towards nearby refugee encampments after being warned off by the Israeli military. 

    “Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back,” an Israeli officer on the Israeli side of the frontier told the crowd in Arabic through a megaphone. “Get a move on.”


    SC reserves verdict on pleas challenging constitutional validity of section 377 of IPC

    New Delhi: SC reserves verdict on pleas challenging constitutional validity of section 377 of IPC which criminalises consensual gay sex.


    Russia central bank says latest sanctions dented ruble

    Moscow: The Russian ruble would have been firmer by 2-4 percent as of end-June if not for the latest round of U.S. sanctions imposed in April and the threat of more to come, the central bank said on Tuesday.

    The central bank also said inflationary expectations among investors in Russian government bonds increased in June, which could have been linked to the decision to lift value-added tax from next year. Investors now see annual inflation some 40 basis points higher than earlier thought until 2023, the central bank said in a report on banking sector liquidity.


    IAG to expand long-haul network from Vienna with budget brand Level

    Vienna: British Airways parent IAG plans to expand its long-haul network from Vienna with its new budget brand Level, its Chief Executive Willie Walsh said on Tuesday.

    “One of the reasons we chose the Level brand to operate from Vienna (is) that we are looking for opportunities to further expand long-haul flights,” Walsh said at a news conference in Vienna, adding that a decision had not been taken yet. Level will initially provide low-cost flights between Vienna and destinations in Europe.


    UN seeks access to Nicaragua prisons, asks fate of missing activists

    Geneva: The United Nations human rights office called on the Nicaraguan government on Tuesday to provide information on two activists missing since they were detained at the airport last week and to open all prisons to monitors. 

    It called for a halt to violence that has taken 280 lives in three months, “overwhelmingly perpetrated” by the Nicaraguan state and loyal armed elements, U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing. A law passed on Monday has a broad definition of terrorism, raising concern it could be used against people simply exercising their right to protest, he said.


    62 militants killed in Afghan airstrikes

    Kabul: At least 62 militants were killed in airstrikes in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, a military official said on Tuesday. 

    "The Army aircraft targeted Taliban hideouts in Maroof district in the past 24 hours during which the militants including a key commander were killed," the official told Xinhua news agency.


    Syrian civilians approach Israeli frontier fence in Golan Heights

    Golan Heights: Dozens of people walked on Tuesday from Syrian refugee encampments on the Golan Heights to Israel’s nearby frontier fence, where they stopped some 200 metres (yards) away and were ordered by an Israeli soldier to turn back. 

    “You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, we don’t want to hurt you,” the soldier shouted in Arabic through a loudspeaker at the crowd, live Reuters TV footage showed. The Syrian army is pressing a Russian-backed offensive against rebels in the area.


    Hyundai Motor India to hike GRAND i10 prices

    New Delhi: Automobile major Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) on Tuesday said that it will hike the prices of its "GRAND i10" by up to 3 per cent due to increase in input and material costs. 

    According to the company, the revised prices will be implemented from August 2018.


    Bombardment in Syria's southwest kills at least six as Damascus keeps up assault: Monitor

    Beirut: Heavy bombardment killed at least six people in a village in southwestern Syria on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, as the Syrian government pressed a Russian-backed offensive in the area. 

    UOSSM, a medical charity that operates in the area, said a barrel bomb dropped by government forces had killed more than 10 people in the village, Ain al-Tineh, most of them women and children. Ahmad al-Dbis, UOSSM safety and security manager, said another 35 people had been wounded in the attack which he said had hit a school. The casualties had fled to the village from nearby parts of the southwest, where government forces have been waging an offensive for one month.


    India prepared to impose 'safeguards' if steel imports rise: Govt source

    New Delhi: India is planning to impose “safeguards” on steel imports if the volumes coming into the country increase beyond a certain level, a government source said in New Delhi on Tuesday. 

    India, which was a net exporter of steel until March 2018, saw a rise in imports since the beginning of fiscal year 2018/19, making it a net importer for the first two months of the fiscal year, according to government figures. The source did not specify the measures that would make up the safeguards but said steps were under discussion.


    Ashok Leyland first-quarter profit tops expectations

    India’s Ashok Leyland Ltd reported a better-than- expected first quarter net profit on Tuesday, driven by higher sales in its medium and heavy commercial vehicles business.

    Net profit rose to 3.70 billion rupees ($54.13 million) in the quarter ended June 30 from 1.11 billion rupees a year ago. The year-earlier quarter included a foreign exchange loss of 26.7 million rupees. Analysts on average had expected 3.54 bn rupees for the latest reported quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data. Revenue from operations increased about 38% to 62.50 bn rupees, while domestic sales of medium & heavy commercial vehicles rose 60%. 


    Amplats, PIC invest $200 million in platinum venture funds

    Johannesburg: South Africa’s Anglo American Platinum has invested $100 million in two venture capital funds focused on increasing demand for platinum group metals, it said on Tuesday.

    The investment in the two UK-based funds, managed by AP Ventures, will be matched by a similar commitment from the South African state pension fund, the Public Investment Corporation. “Developing the market for PGMs is a strategic priority for Anglo American Platinum and this investment with AP Ventures is a key initiative,” Anglo American Platinum said in a statement.


    Earthquake of magnitude 6 strikes off Vanuatu in South Pacific: USGS

    Singapore: An earthquake of magnitude 6 struck north of the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Tuesday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

    There was no immediate tsunami warning or any reports of damage or casualties from the quake, which hit at a depth of 73 km (47 miles) about 474 km (295 miles) north of Vanuatu’s island of Santo, the USGS said.


    Fined Vote Leave group says no evidence of wrongdoing in Brexit campaign

    London: Vote Leave, the officially designated pro-Brexit campaign group in the 2016 referendum, said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing after Britain’s Electoral Commission on Tuesday fined and referred it to the police for spending breaches.

    “The Electoral Commission’s report contains a number of false accusations and incorrect assertions that are wholly inaccurate and do not stand up to scrutiny,” a spokesman for Vote Leave said in a statement. He accused the Commission, which said Vote Leave has resisted its investigation and committed serious breaches of the law, of being motivated by a political agenda and said the group was confident that the findings would be overturned.


    Protesters gather at entrance to Iraq's Zubair oilfield: Police

    Basra, Iraq: About 250 protesters gathered at the main entrance to Iraq’s giant Zubair oilfield on Tuesday, police said, amid growing unrest in southern cities over poor public services and corruption. 

    Officials at the field, run by Italy’s Eni, said production operations were running normally.


    Arbuthnot Banking's first-half profit rises, to set up secured lending business

    Britain’s Arbuthnot Banking Group Plc (ARBB.L) reported a jump in first-half pretax profit and said it would set up a specialist secured lending unit to provide short-term secured loans to property businesses and entrepreneurs. 

    Arbuthnot, which has its roots in 185-year-old private and commercial bank and wealth manager Arbuthnot Latham, said pretax profit increased to 3.5 million pounds ($4.6 million) from 2.5 million pounds a year earlier.“In line with our diversification strategy we have also reached an agreement with an incoming management team to establish a new lending division that will be named Arbuthnot Specialist Lending,” Chairman Henry Angest said.


    TalkTalk adds 80,000 customers in first-quarter, guidance unchanged

    London: Britain’s TalkTalk (TALK.L) added 80,000 net broadband customers in its first quarter helped by demand for its fixed low price plans, which grew to 2.1 million subscribers in spite of the first wave coming to the end of their contracts.

    The company, which said the additions took its customer base to 4.22 million at the end of June, said on Tuesday its guidance of 15 percent year-on-year growth in headline core earnings for the year was unchanged.


    Carige CEO to remain if he can press on with plan agreed with ECB: Paper

    Milan: Paolo Fiorentino, Carige CEO, told daily Il Sole 24 Ore he would remain at the helm of the Italian bank only if he could press on with a restructuring plan agreed with the European Central Bank, which foresees a merger in a reasonable time.

    Genoa-based Carige (CRGI.MI) has been dogged by governance issues which investment bankers say complicates its search for a merger partner.The bank’s top shareholder and Deputy Chairman Vittorio Malacalza had resigned on Monday as director due to ongoing disagreements with the board over the management of the lender and its governance.



    SC condemns mob lynching, asks Parliament to make law

    New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday condemned mob lynching incidents across the country and asked Parliament to make a law to curb this crime.


    Mexico's Damojh says steep take-off caused Cuba plane crash

    Mexico City: Mexican aviation company Damojh said on Monday a very steep take-off angle led one of its planes to crash in Cuba in May, killing 112 people, according to black boxes retrieved from the wreckage. 

    “The crew led the plane to take off with a very pronounced ascent, creating a lack of lift that caused the aircraft to plunge as a result,” the company said in a statement. The May 18 accident just outside Havana prompted Mexico’s civil aviation authority to suspend Damojh’s operations while it looked into the firm and investigated the causes of the crash.  The little-known company had leased the Boeing 737 that crashed to Cuba’s flagship carrier Cubana.


    China state planner approves $39 billion in fixed-asset investment projects in first-half

    Beijing: China’s state planner said on Tuesday it has approved 102 fixed-asset investment projects in the first half of this year, worth a combined 260.3 billion yuan ($39 billion). 

    Yan Pengcheng, spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), did not give further details on the projects approved.  In a separate statement, the NDRC also said it approved a high-speed railway project in the north-central Ningxia region worth 12.87 billion yuan ($1.93 billion).


    UK junior defence minister resigns, votes against government: BBC

    London: British junior defence minister Guto Bebb resigned after voting against a government-backed amendment on the customs bill, part of plans for Britain’s exit from the European Union, BBC news reported on Monday. 

    Bebb, minister for defence procurement, voted against the amendment that will stop Britain collecting tariffs for the European Union after Brexit unless there is a reciprocal arrangement.  It was narrowly approved by parliament on Monday with the government’s support.


    UK government wins approval for customs bill in lower house of parliament

    London: British Prime Minister Theresa May won approval from the lower of house of parliament on Monday for a law designed to create an independent customs policy after Brexit.

    Lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 318 to 285 in favour of the customs legislation, known as the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, which will allow the government to levy duties on goods after leaving the European Union.  The bill must also be passed by the House of Lords to become law.


    Amazon suffers glitch during summer marketing event Inc (AMZN.O) on Monday said it was working to fix a technical issue that had prevented some shoppers from placing orders during the company’s summer marketing event, Prime Day.

    The company’s shares were down more than 1 percent in after-hours trading. In a statement, the world’s largest online retailer said many shoppers were ordering items successfully despite the glitch.



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