Modi With King Charles III

Modi Discusses Climate Action With King Charles III Of the UK

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with King Charles III of the UK on the telephone on Tuesday and discussed several subjects including climate change, biodiversity conservation, and solutions for the financing energy transition.

As this was PM Modi’s first conversation with King Charles III after he assumed the Office of Sovereign of the United Kingdom, he conveyed his best wishes to Britain’s monarch for a very successful reign.
A PMO release said that a number of subjects of mutual interest were discussed during the call, including climate action, conservation of biodiversity, and innovative solutions for the financing energy transition.

The Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for the abiding interest and advocacy of King Charles III on these issues.

The Prime Minister briefed him on India’s priorities for its G20 Presidency, including the propagation of digital public goods.

He also explained the relevance of Mission LiFE – Lifestyle for Environment, through which India seeks to promote environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

The leaders exchanged views on the Commonwealth of Nations and how to further strengthen its functioning.

They also appreciated the role of the Indian community in the UK in acting as a “living bridge” between both countries and enriching bilateral relations.

King Charles III was officially announced as Britain’s monarch in September last year following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

India and UK are engaged in negotiations for the finalization of a Free Trade Agreement. UK Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch visited New Delhi last month to carry forward the FTA negotiations. She held discussions with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. The two sides also discussed bilateral trade and economic relations. (ANI)

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High Commission

India-UK Free Trade Agreement On Cards

UK’s Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch on Monday begins her India visit with a first face-face meeting with counterpart Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal as the sixth round of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations kicks off between the countries.

Badenoch’s visit marks the sixth round of formal negotiations between the UK and India. The goal of strengthening bilateral ties and reviving talks on an ambitious bilateral trade deal between the two nations, according to an official statement.

Badenoch is scheduled to address both the teams of negotiators teams before the round of talks begin. The negotiations will take place throughout the week

The UK Trade Secretary will also meet with business leaders to better understand their needs for a modern UK – India trade relationship.

This will include a meeting with envoPAP, a UK company investing over 10 million pounds in India to construct a plant producing Fairtrade paper and packaging products.

The talks, the first formal round since July, will aim to reach an agreement to reduce tariffs and expand opportunities for UK services such as financial and legal, making it easier for British businesses to sell to the world’s third-largest economy – with a middle class of 250 million people – by 2050.

“I’m here in New Delhi to kickstart round six of UK-India trade negotiations and meet my counterpart Minister Goyal in person to drive progress on this agreement,” Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch said in a statement.

“India and the UK are the 5th and 6th biggest economies in the world. We have a long shared history, and are in pole position to do a deal that will create jobs, encourage growth and boost our 29 billion pounds trading relationship,” added the minister who was appointed to her role this September.

According to the official announcement, major UK brands such as Pret A Manger, Revolut, and Tide have announced plans to expand in India.

Following a franchise deal with Reliance Brands, British coffee and sandwich retailer Pret will build its first outlet in India in early 2023. The chain’s first location will be in Mumbai, as part of a goal to open 100 locations around the country.

“Bringing Pret’s freshly made food and organic coffee to more people around the world is a key part of our transformation strategy, and I’m delighted to be launching Pret in India,” Pano Christou, CEO, of Pret A Manger said.

According to International Director of the Confederation of British Industry, Andy Burwell the UK-India Free Trade Agreement remains a high focus for the industry.

Earlier in October when Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rishi Sunak on assuming charge as UK Prime Minister, the two leaders emphasized the importance of an early conclusion of “a balanced and comprehensive” Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.

India and the UK were looking to conclude the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) pact but missed the deadline after the resignations of former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

On July 29, the two countries concluded the fifth round of talks for an India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA). (ANI)

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E-Visa For UK Nationals To India

E-Visa Facility Resumes For UK Nationals Travelling To India

For the first time since the COVID outbreak in March 2020, India is all set to resume the e-Visa facility for UK citizens travelling to India, the High Commissioner of India to the UK, Vikram K Doraiswami announced in a video message on Monday.

Doraiswami said that the service will be made available to the citizens forthwith and the dates will be announced shortly. He further added that the resumption of the facility will enable friends from the UK to travel far more easily to India.
“We are rolling out e-visas once again and this service will be made available to you forthwith. (Dates will be announced shortly). That should enable friends from the UK far more easily to India. So welcome back, e-visas are up ahead and all of our other services including visas at your doorstep remain available to you. We look forward to a good winter season in which everyone gets to celebrate their festivals in India which is the land of festivals,” the High Commissioner said.

The Indian High Commission in London on Monday tweeted, Team @HCI_London is delighted to confirm that the e-Visa facility will again be available for UK nationals travelling to India. A system upgrade is underway & the visa website will soon be ready to receive applications from friends in the UK. Here’s a video on the subject. @MEAIndia.”

Earlier in August, UK Immigration Statistics said that Indian nationals were issued the largest number of UK study, work, and visitor visas.

India has now overtaken China as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas in the UK.

India and UK are engaged in negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. On November 28, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasised the importance of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.

“By 2050, the Indo-Pacific will deliver over half of global growth compared with just a quarter from Europe and North America combined. That’s why we’re joining the Trans-Pacific trade deal, the CPTP, delivering a new FTA with India and pursuing one with Indonesia,” Sunak said in his address at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at London’s Guildhall. (ANI)

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UK Population

For The 1st Time, Christians Are Less Than 50% Of UK Population

For the first time, fewer than half of people in England and Wales describe themselves as Christian, the Census 2021 has revealed, according to a report by BBC News.

The proportion of people who said they were Christian was 46.2%, down from 59.3% in the last census in 2011, said the report. In contrast, the number who said they had no religion increased to 37.2% of the population, up from a quarter.

Those identifying as Muslim rose from 4.9% in 2011 to 6.5% last year. The census is carried out every 10 years by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

People were asked the broad question of what their religion was rather than being asked more specifically about their beliefs or religious practices, in the voluntary question included in the census since 2001.

Ticking “no religion” does not mean having no beliefs, says Prof Linda Woodhead, from King’s College London. “Some will be atheist, a lot will be agnostic – they just say, ‘I don’t really know – and some will be spiritual and be doing spiritual things,” she said, according to the BBC report.

Separately when people were asked about their ethnic group, 81.7% of residents in England and Wales identified as White, down from 86.0% a decade earlier, according to the census.

And 74.4% of the total population identified as White as well as English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, or British.

The next most common ethnic group was Asian, Asian British, or Asian Welsh accounting for 9.3% of the overall population – 5.5 million people, up from 4.2 million.

The number of people identifying as Black, Black British, Black Welsh, Caribbean, or African was 2.5% of the population, up from 1.8%, taking the figure from 990,000 to 1.5 million.

One in 10 of households across England and Wales are now made up of people from two or more different ethnic groups – an increase from 8.7%, reported the BBC.

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Asthma attack post Covid 19

Asthma Attack Cases Have Doubled After Covid in UK: Study

After Covid-19 limitations were loosened in the UK, adults with asthma experienced about a doubled risk of having a severe asthma attack, according to recent research.

Episodes of progressive worsening of asthma symptoms, termed exacerbations or asthma attacks, are the major cause of illness and death in this condition. Asthma affects more than 5 million people in the UK and more than 300 million globally. Symptoms include breathlessness and chest tightness as well as wheezing and coughing.

Published in Thorax and presented at a British Thoracic Society meeting, the research found an increased risk of these attacks after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed. When restrictions were lifted, fewer people wore face coverings and there was more social mixing, and subsequently a higher risk of Covid-19 and other acute respiratory infections. The research also found that Covid-19 was not significantly more likely to trigger asthma attacks than other respiratory infections.

In April 2021, when social mixing restrictions and the need for face coverings started to be relaxed, 1.7 percent of participants reported having a severe asthma attack in the previous month. In January 2022, this proportion more than doubled, going up to 3.7 percent.

The study analyzed data from 2,312 UK adults with asthma, participating in Queen Mary’s COVIDENCE UK study between November 2020 and April 2022. Details on face covering use, social mixing, and asthma symptoms were collected via monthly online questionnaires.

Professor Adrian Martineau, the lead author of the research and Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity at the Queen Mary University of London, said: “This research shows that relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions coincided with an increased risk of severe asthma attacks. Our study was observational, so it can’t prove cause and effect. But our findings do raise the possibility that certain elements of the public health measures introduced during the pandemic – such as wearing facemasks – could help in reducing respiratory illnesses moving forward”.

Dr. Florence Tydeman, the first author on the paper, added: “It is also reassuring to see that Covid-19 was not significantly more likely to trigger asthma attacks than other respiratory infections in our study participants.”

The study is the first to compare the influence of COVID-19 versus other respiratory infections on the risk of asthma exacerbations. And it is one of few studies that look at the impact of lifting national restrictions on people with asthma. (ANI)

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Car Bomb Explosions Somalia

2 Car Bomb Explosions Near Somalia’s Education Ministry, 100 Dead

As many as 100 people were killed and more than 300 others were wounded in Somalia on Saturday after two car bombs exploded near the education ministry in the capital Mogadishu.

The two car bombs exploded near a busy intersection in the capital and near the Ministry of Education, according to an official with the president’s office, reported CNN.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in a video statement posted on his official Twitter account claimed that the Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia was responsible for the deadly attack.

“Today’s cruel and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent people by the morally bankrupt and criminal al-Shabaab group cannot discourage us but will further strengthen our resolve to defeat them once and for all,” Mohamud wrote on Twitter.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Islamist group Al-Shabaab has claimed other recent attacks, reported CNN.

“Our government and brave people will continue to defend Somalia against evil,” Mohamud added.

The intersection, Zobe junction, was the same location as a deadly bombing attack on October 14, 2017, which killed more than 500 people and injured around 300 others.

“By the will of God, no other October like this will happen. They won’t get the chance to commit such a thing,” Mohamud said, calling Saturday’s attack a repeat of the 2017 bombings.

The recent siege of an upscale hotel in the capital Mogadishu killing at least 20 people is a grave reminder of the security challenges the country is facing.

Al-Shabaab emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.

Al-Shabaab advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufis.

It has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.

It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK.

There have been numerous reports that Al-Shabab may have formed some links with other militant groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Qaeda.

Somalia has long been called a failed or fragile state that has seen one of the biggest failures of international counter-terror operations.

Somalia has not had an effective national government for more than 20 years, during which much of the country has been a war zone.

Al-Shabaab gained support by promising people security, but its credibility was knocked when it rejected Western food aid to combat a 2011 drought and famine.

In 2022, there was a peaceful transition of power in Somalia after the successful completion of the legislative and presidential elections.

In recent years, despite international counter-terror measures, Al-Shabab has grown in strength, cashing in on the humanitarian crisis in Somalia and the security crises in neighboring countries. (ANI)

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Sunak As UK PM: Mehbooba Attacks NDA Over Minorities

As Rishi Sunak is now set to become the first Indian-origin Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday took the opportunity to attack the central government.

The PDP chief said the UK has accepted an ethnic minority member as its PM but India is still shackled by divisive and discriminatory laws like the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Taking to Twitter, Mufti said, “Proud moment that UK will have its first Indian origin PM. While all of India rightly celebrates, it would serve us well to remember that while the UK has accepted an ethnic minority member as its PM, we are still shackled by divisive and discriminatory laws like NRC and CAA.”

Hitting out at Mufti, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell head Amit Malviya said India need not learn about diversity and inclusivity from any other country.

“India, which has had three Muslim and one Sikh President, a Sikh PM for 10 years, minorities in top judicial positions and even the armed forces, need not learn about diversity and inclusivity from any other country. But Mehbooba must walk the talk and back a Hindu for J-K’s CM,” tweeted Malviya.

On Monday, Britain’s Conservative Party announced Rishi Sunak as their leader. Thereby, Rishi Sunak is now set to become the first Asian-origin person to lead the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rishi Sunak on Monday and said he is looking forward to working closely together on global issues.

“Warmest congratulations @RishiSunak! As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,” PM Modi tweeted.

Sunak’s change in fate was triggered by the resignation of Liz Truss as PM after high-profile sackings and resignations in her Cabinet, following a heavily criticized mini-budget that left the UK pound tumbling.

Following Truss’ short stint as British prime minister, Rishi Sunak and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson were seen as frontrunners for the UK PM bid.

But Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the Conservative party leadership race despite claiming he had the required support. The former UK PM said he had come to the conclusion that “this would simply not be the right thing to do” as “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”

Sunak is born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa. (ANI)

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Son-In-Law Will Do Best For UK: Narayana Murthy On Rishi Sunak

NR Narayana Murthy, Infosys founder and father-in-law of next UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak congratulated his son-in-law as he exuded confidence that the first Indian-origin PM will do his best for the people of the United Kingdom.

An Oxford, and Stanford University alumnae, Sunak is famously married to Akshata Murthy, the daughter of billionaire Narayana Murthy.
“Congratulations to Rishi. We are proud of him and we wish him success. We are confident he will do his best for the people of the United Kingdom,” Infosys founder said in a statement.

On Monday, Britain’s Conservative Party announced Rishi Sunak as their leader. Thereby, Rishi Sunak is now set to become the first Asian-origin person to lead the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rishi Sunak on Monday and said he is looking forward to working closely together on global issues.

“Warmest congratulations @RishiSunak! As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,” PM Modi tweeted.

Sunak’s change in fate was triggered by the resignation of Truss after her high-profile sacking and resignation in her cabinet, following a heavily criticized mini-budget that left the UK pound tumbling.

Following Truss’s short stint as British prime minister, Rishi Sunak and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson were seen as frontrunners for the UK PM bid.

But Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the Conservative party leadership race despite claiming he had the required support. The former UK PM said he had come to the conclusion that “this would simply not be the right thing to do” as “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”

Sunak is born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa.

Earlier in April, reports of Akshata’s non-domicile status and alleged tax evasion had created a furor. Sunak had said his wife has been paying all taxes. Her spokesperson had earlier said that Akshata Murthy “has always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income”. (ANI)

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Indian British Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak Becomes First Indian Origin British Prime Minister

In a historic development, Britain got its first Asian-origin Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to lead the nation. Sunak also becomes the first Indian-origin British Premier.

Liz Truss, who stepped down as the PM of the United Kingdom on October 20, congratulated Sunak on being appointed as Leader of the Conservative Party and the UK’s next Prime Minister.

“Congratulations @RishiSunak on being appointed as Leader of the Conservative Party and our next Prime Minister. You have my full support,” tweeted Truss.

Here is a quick guide to the UK’s next PM Sunak.

The former chancellor of the exchequer made a high-stakes gamble. He launched an attack that helped to end Boris Johnson’s premiership, put himself forward as his replacement, but ultimately lost to Liz Truss. Admitting defeat, he retreated to the parliamentary back benches.

He lost to Liz Truss in September, but she resigned six weeks later. In the latest leadership contest, Sunak racked up the support of his fellow MPs early, and fast.

He crossed the 100 nominations he needed long before the deadline – including from MPs that had previously backed Truss or Boris Johnson.

He will become the first Indian-origin person to lead the UK – and at the age of 42, he is also the youngest person to take the office in more than 200 years.

Sunak first publicly declared on Sunday morning that he would be standing in the contest. In a tweet, he wrote, “The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis. That’s why I am standing to be the Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister. I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country.”

Sunak, whose parents came to the UK from East Africa in the 1960s, is of Indian descent. His father was a local doctor while his mother ran a pharmacy in southern England, something Sunak says gave him his desire to serve the public.

He will also be the first Hindu to become British prime minister, securing the position on Diwali, the festival of lights that marks one of the most important days of the Hindu calendar. Sunak himself made history in 2020 when he lit Diwali candles outside 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the UK chancellor.

He has faced challenges over his elite background, having studied at the exclusive Winchester College, Oxford and Stanford universities. He is known for his expensive taste in fashion and has worked for banks and hedge funds, including Goldman Sachs.

Sunak’s election on Monday marks the pinnacle of what has been a speedy rise to power. He was first elected as an MP in 2015 and spent two years on the back benches before becoming a junior minister in Theresa May’s government. Johnson gave Sunak his first major government role, appointing him as chief secretary to the Treasury in 2019 and promoting him to the chancellor in 2020.

He was the first person who ‘predicted’ financial problems under Truss. He clashed with the former PM during the previous leadership race, claiming her plan to borrow money during an inflation crisis was a “fairytale” that would plunge the economy into chaos.

Sunak was first elected as an MP in 2015 – for Richmond in north Yorkshire – but rose quickly, and was made finance minister – or chancellor – in February 2020 under Boris Johnson.

Sunak was in charge of Covid support cash, the financial aid during lockdowns – including furlough payments and the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme for restaurants.

His wife is Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy.

He faced controversy over his wife’s tax arrangements.

Over the summer, it emerged that Akshata Murthy paid no UK tax on big earnings abroad – which is legal. Sunak defended his wife saying, “to smear my wife to get at me is awful” – but eventually she agreed to start paying extra taxes. It was also found he temporarily had a US green card, allowing him to live permanently in America while he was the UK’s chancellor.

He campaigned for Brexit and deregulation. “Free ports” are one of his long-time favourite ideas: areas near ports or airports where goods can be imported and exported without paying taxes, to encourage trade.

In 2016, he told a group of schoolchildren that he originally wanted to be a Jedi Knight when he grew up. His favourite Star Wars film is The Empire Strikes Back.

However, Sunak faces an enormous task. The UK is in the midst of a deep cost-of-living crisis and soaring inequality. Financial markets are still spooked after Truss’ disastrous economic policy missteps.

The Conservative party, already unpopular after 12 years in power, has plunged itself into a state of utter chaos over the past four months and is now well behind the opposition Labour party in opinion polls. The only comfort for Sunak is that he doesn’t have to call an election until January 2025. (ANI)

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Rishi Sunak As PM

UK Ex-Home Secy Priti Patel Backs Rishi Sunak As PM

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel on Monday came out in support of Rishi Sunak taking over at 10 Downing Street as the Conservative Party leader after her former boss, Boris Johnson withdrew from the leadership contest.

“In these difficult times for our country, we must unite by putting public service first and working together. We care about our country and with the enormous challenges upon us, we must put political differences aside to give @RishiSunak the best chance of succeeding,” tweeted Patel.

Notably, earlier she supported former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“I’m backing @BorisJohnson to return as our Prime Minister, to bring together a united team to deliver our manifesto and lead Britain to a stronger and more prosperous future,” tweeted Patel.

She added that Johnson has the mandate to deliver an elected manifesto and a proven track record of getting the big decisions right.

“I am backing him in the leadership contest,” she said.

However, on Monday she said that the Tories must put political differences aside to give Sunak the best chance of succeeding as the new leader.

It seems now that this Diwali, the UK could get its first Indian origin and Hindu PM Rishi Sunak who is the favorite in the conservative leadership.

Earlier, Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the Conservative party leadership race despite claiming he had the required support. Johnson said he had come to the conclusion “this would simply not be the right thing to do” as “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament,” reported Independent. ie.

He also added that this was due to the failure to reach a deal with Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt. “I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds,” he said.

It is pertinent to note that Johnson’s campaign team has earlier told supporters they have secured the 100 nominations needed from MPs for the former prime minister to get on the ballot paper.

The contest was triggered by outgoing leader Liz Truss’s resignation on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Sunak as per media reports had crossed that threshold by Friday night, ahead of declaring his candidacy on Sunday and amassing nearly 150 public nominations from Tory lawmakers.

He is a wealthy Hindu descendant of immigrants from India and East Africa.

Sunak is born in Southampton to parents of Indian descent who migrated to Britain from East Africa.

An Oxford and Stanford University alumnus, Sunak is famously married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of NR Narayana Murthy, the billionaire businessman who founded Infosys.

Earlier in April, reports of Akshata’s non-domicile status and alleged tax evasion had created a furor. Rishi Sunak claimed that she has been paying all taxes.

Her spokesperson said that Akshata Murthy “has always and will continue to pay UK taxes on all her UK income”. (ANI)

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