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Israel-Iran flare-up raises spectre of major confrontation

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Deadly strikes by Israel against alleged Iranian sites in Syria have raised fears of a dramatic escalation in regional conflict
Deadly strikes by Israel against alleged Iranian sites in Syria have raised fears of a dramatic escalation in regional conflict, but the situation remains shrouded by conflicting accounts and uncertainty. Israel says its raids early Thursday were in immediate response to Iranian missiles raining down on the occupied Golan Heights. But there has been no official statement from Iran, and analysts in Tehran say any missile strikes were conducted by the Syrian military. Outside observers see a dangerous game of brinkmanship. “The rules of the game are worked out by trial and error, by push and shove. The pushing and shoving has become more intense,” said Heiko Wimmen, of the International Crisis Group. “We are getting closer to the brink,” he said. Israel has repeatedly warned that it considers an entrenched Iranian military presence in war-ravaged Syria to be a …

Australian police find 7 dead, including 4 children, with gunshot wounds

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Australian police found seven dead people on Friday, including four children, in a rural town in the Margaret River wine-growing region

India at greater risk of crude prices staying high for a long period

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Oil is India’s biggest import and elevated prices along with a weaker rupee will widen the trade deficit, fuel imported inflation and squeeze government finances. India sees a greater probability of global crude oil prices remaining high for a longer period, a scenario that threatens to dent growth and fan inflation in Asia’s third-largest economy. The government will have to watch crude prices before preparing any policy response, a finance ministry official told reporters in New Delhi, asking not to be identified, citing rules. Oil supplies from Iran are also likely to be constrained after the US reinstated financial sanctions on the Islamic Republic, the official said. Brent crude rose as much as 3.1% Wednesday to $77.20 per barrel, its highest level since November 2014. India’s central bank estimates oil at $78 a barrel would shave off 10 basis points from its 7.4% forecast for gross domestic product growth in the year to March 2019. Moreover, it expects costly crude could stoke i…

Walmart’s $16 billion deal makes Flipkart’s Bansals billionaires again

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Flipkart’s founders have been billionaires before, but they lost that status as the firm’s valuation dipped. It was valued at about $12 billion last year, according to researcher CB Insights. The world’s wealthiest family has just bestowed billionaire status on two of India’s most feted tech entrepreneurs. Walmart Inc., controlled by the Walton family, led a group that bought a 77% stake in Flipkart Online Services Pvt. The deal valued the Indian company at about $21 billion. Flipkart co-founders Binny and Sachin Bansal (who aren’t related) were both Amazon.com Inc. employees who quit to start their own e-commerce firm. Before the deal they each owned about 5%, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the company’s annual return filed in Singapore. Sachin Bansal will sell his entire stake to Walmart while Binny Bansal will sell part of his to the American retailer. The deal should give each a fortune of about $1 billion, although that status may be short-lived as the pair may have to pay …

Setback to Vijay Mallya as Indian banks win $1.55 billion debt recovery case in UK court

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A UK judge said banks can enforce an Indian court ruling that relates to allegations that Vijay Mallya willfully defaulted on about $1.4 billion in debt for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. India businessman Vijay Mallya arrives for a hearing for his extradition case at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on April 27.(AP File Photo) Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya lost a UK lawsuit filed by Indian banks seeking to collect more than 1.15 billion pounds ($1.55 billion) amid allegations that he committed massive fraud. Judge Andrew Henshaw in London Tuesday said the lenders, including IDBI Bank Ltd., can enforce an Indian court ruling that relates to allegations that Mallya willfully defaulted on about $1.4 billion in debt for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. Henshaw also refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya’s assets. The 62-year-old is fighting numerous lawsuits in the UK and his native country over fraud and money-laundering allegations. He was arrested i…

Congress believes in dividing over caste and religion, says PM Modi in Karnataka

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Ahead of Karnataka elections, PM Narendra Modi said that there is not a single minister in the Siddaramaiah government who is not facing allegations of financial wrongdoing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Congress of pursuing the policy of “divide and rule”, and asserted the party would be uprooted from Karnataka in the assembly elections. Modi lashed out at the Siddaramaiah government over alleged corruption, saying there is not a single minister who is not facing allegations of financial wrongdoing. “Congress believes in the policy of divide and rule... divide on the basis of caste and religion....make brother fight brother. But people of this land of Basaveshwara will not allow it to happen,” he told an election rally in Vijayapura in Bijapur district. Modi repeatedly referred to Basaveshwara, the 12th century reformer-statesman, who is worshipped by the Lingayats, in an apparent effort to win over the numerically strong and influential community. The state’s r…

Hafiz Saeed kicks off Milli Muslim League’s election campaign in Pakistan

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Milli Muslim League has not been yet registered by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has kicked off campaigning for the Milli Muslim League, the political front of the JuD, with an eye on the general elections in Pakistan this year. The US last month designated the Milli Muslim League (MML) as a foreign terrorist organisation, saying the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members make up MML’s leadership and the so-called party openly displays Saeed’s likeness in its election banners and literature. The MML has not been yet registered by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Saeed on Saturday held the MML’s first rally in Haroonabad, some 400 km from here, asking the participants to vote for the MML and canvass for it. Former military dictator gen Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq’s son Ijazul Hasan was also present on the occasion. Saeed said the enemies of Pakistan want clash of institutions in the country so that it could achieve its nefarious designs. “We …