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India suspends visas for Canadians

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India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens amid an escalating row over the killing of a Sikh separatist on Canadian soil.

Visa service provider BLS posted a message from India’s mission blaming “operational reasons” for the decision.

Tensions flared this week after Canada said it was investigating “credible allegations” linking India with the murder of the separatist leader.

India angrily rejected the allegation calling it “absurd”.

Analysts say relations between the countries, which have been strained for months, are now at an all-time low.

The message about the suspension of visas was first posted on the BLS website on Thursday.

“Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” it read.

India’s foreign ministry refused to comment on the matter and asked the BBC to refer to the BLS website.

The move comes a day after India issued an advisory urging its citizens travelling to or living in Canada to “exercise utmost caution” in view of the “growing anti-India activities and politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada”.

Canada has 1.4 million people of Indian origin, making up 3.7% of the country’s population, according to the 2021 census. India also sends the highest number of international students to Canada – in 2022, they made up 40% of total overseas students at 320,000.

(BBC News)

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Trump nominated Republican presidential candidate

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Donald Trump won formal nomination Monday as the Republican presidential candidate and picked a right-wing loyalist for running mate, kicking off a triumphalist party convention in the wake of last weekend’s failed assassination attempt.

Trump announced 39-year-old Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his vice presidential pick, rewarding a one-time harsh critic who became one of his most reliable — and uncompromising — supporters in Congress.

Trump, 78, is guaranteed a hero’s welcome at the convention in Milwaukee, where delegates delivered their formal nomination two days after the scandal-plagued former president survived an assassination attempt at a rally.

“As Vice President, J.D. will continue to fight for our Constitution, stand with our Troops, and will do everything he can to help me MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,” Trump posted on Truth Social.

While Trump is increasingly confident of a shock return to the White House — despite multiple legal problems and two impeachments during his first term — President Joe Biden is reeling from weak polls and Democratic concerns over his health.

In the delegates count in Milwaukee, Eric Trump put his father over the threshold on behalf of the Florida delegation, calling him “the greatest president that ever lived.”

Vance had been widely expected as Trump’s pick. He will bolster the ticket on the right wing, but with less chance of expanding appeal to more moderate voters and women.

The standard-bearer for a new kind of populism that has come to the fore under Trump, Vance is also one of the least experienced VP picks in modern history.

But he embraces the ex-president’s isolationist, anti-immigration America First movement. Vance is further to the right than his new boss on many issues including abortion, where he embraces calls for federal legislation.

He initially made his name with the 2016 memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” a best-selling account of his Appalachian family and modest Rust Belt upbringing, which gave a voice to rural, working-class resentment in left-behind America.

Turning his back on previous opposition to Trump, whom he once said might be “America’s Hitler,” Vance reinvented himself and ultimately won the ex-president’s key endorsement in the 2022 Ohio Senate race, launching his meteoric rise.

Trump’s convention comes as the country is still reeling from a botched attempt by a gunman to kill Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday.

Some 50,000 Republicans descended on the shores of Lake Michigan for the four-day gathering, four months before election day.

The attempted assassination — in which one bystander was killed, two more wounded and Trump received a light wound in his ear — was expected to dominate proceedings.

The Secret Service, which is battling criticism it failed to protect Trump from the shooter, said it was “fully prepared” to ensure security at the convention.

Leading in multiple polls, despite being convicted at his hush-money criminal case in New York, Trump is exuding confidence.

At 81, Biden is facing calls from his own side to quit the race over concerns around his age.

His campaign released a statement saying the Trump-Vance agenda would “take away Americans’ rights, hurt the middle class, and make life more expensive — all while benefiting the ultra-rich and greedy corporations.”

Trump scored another victory Monday as a judge dismissed the criminal case against him over accusations he endangered national security by holding on to top secret documents after leaving the White House.

He immediately took to Truth Social to call for the dismissal of all legal cases against him, insisting again that he was being targeted for political reasons.

Trump told the New York Post he had “prepared an extremely tough speech” about Biden’s “horrible administration” to deliver at the convention.

As some Republicans — including Vance — sought to blame Democrats’ anti-Trump rhetoric for the attack, Trump also said he hopes to “unite our country.”

Still, that would see him have to rein in the instinct to settle scores — demonstrated by his cry for supporters to “fight” in the seconds after Saturday’s attack.

The Milwaukee gathering is largely designed in Trump’s image, with digital banners beaming out a message in the cavernous convention arena: “Make America Great Once Again.”

The branding reflects his takeover of the party.

A diminished figure after his 2020 election loss and a subsequent riot at the Capitol by his supporters, Trump has spent much of the last four years reshaping Republican politics.

Installing loyalists including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump atop the Republican National Committee, the billionaire has effectively crushed dissent.

Source: Agencies

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K P Sharma Oli appointed Nepal’s new Premier

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K P Sharma Oli was appointed Nepal’s Prime Minister for the third time on July 14 to lead the new coalition government that faces the daunting challenge of providing political stability in the country.

Mr. Oli, 72, succeeds Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda who lost the vote of confidence in the House of Representatives on July 12, leading to the formation of the new government process as per Article 76 (2) of the Constitution.

President Ram Chandra Paudel appointed Oli as the new Prime Minister of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)-Nepali Congress (NC) coalition.

Mr. Oli along with the new Cabinet will be sworn in on July 15.

Late on July 12 night, Mr. Oli staked his claim to become the next Prime Minister with the backing of NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba and submitted the signatures of 165 House of Representatives (HoR) members — 77 from his party and 88 from the NC.

Mr. Oli served as Nepal’s Prime Minister from October 11, 2015, to August 3, 2016 and then, from February 5, 2018, to July 13, 2021.

(PTI)

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Xi leads China’s reform, opening up in new era

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In December 2012, Xi Jinping, then newly elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, chose Guangdong, a frontier of China’s reform and opening up, as the destination of his first inspection tour.

During this trip, he issued a mobilization order to the whole Party and country.

“The decision to launch reform and opening up was right. We must keep to this correct path, ” he said. “We must stay unwavering on the road to the prosperity of the nation and the people.”

For over a decade, Xi has continuously planned the overall direction of reforms and promoted implementation.

2024 marks another significant year for deepening reform in the new era. Xi will lead the 1.4 billion Chinese people in jointly writing a new chapter of reform in the new era.

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