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UK, India To Start Formal Free Trade Agreement Talks Within Month



UK, India To Start Formal Free Trade Agreement Talks Within Month

UK, India To Start Formal Free Trade Agreement Talks Within Month

Boris Johnson’s office said it expects the deal preceding FTA talks to create over 6,500 jobs. (File)


Britain and India will begin formal free trade deal talks later this year, the UK government said Tuesday, after they agreed an initial package to boost bilateral trade and investment.

With its massive population and growing economy, India has been high on London’s list of trade deal targets since Britain left the European Union last year.

Under a post-Brexit “Global Britain” strategy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is pivoting its foreign policy priorities towards the Asia-Pacific region, signing trade deals with countries including Japan and Singapore.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said India and Britain would start negotiations on an agreement “in the autumn”, following the announcement of a preliminary “Enhanced Trade Partnership” deal.

“We want to get these negotiations completed as soon as possible,” she told Sky News during a round of broadcast interviews touting the partnership package worth 1 billion ($1.4 billion, 1.2 billion euros).

“Of course, FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) take longer, this is the immediate gains that we can get for both countries, driving jobs here in Britain and in India,” Truss added.

She said both countries were looking for “early wins” reducing barriers to trade from an FTA, noting Britain wants tariffs lowered or removed on various exports to India, from cars to whiskey.

The comments come ahead of virtual talks between Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Tuesday.

That follows Johnson postponing for a second time an official visit to India last month, due to the worsening coronavirus situation.

‘Self-Reliant India’

The partnership announcement with India includes lower trade barriers for some UK exports such as fruit and medical devices.

It also includes investment in Britain by vaccine maker the Serum Institute of India, which could eventually see more of its inoculations made in the UK.

Johnson’s office said it expects the deal preceding FTA talks to create over 6,500 jobs.

But there are signs India may be reluctant to sign a more wide-ranging trade pact, as PM Modi pushes “Made in India” and “Self-Reliant India” agendas.

Last year PM Modi abruptly baulked at joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement among 15 Asia-Pacific nations, because New Delhi feared its agricultural, dairy and services sectors would be disadvantaged.

Former US president Donald Trump disparaged India as the “tariff king” for its duties on imported goods, hobbling trade talks despite his friendly relations with PM Modi.

Talks are due to resume between India and the EU on a free-trade deal later this month, eight years after 16 rounds of talks broke up in deadlock.

Trade negotiations are also reportedly set to resume with Canada soon after a gap of four years.

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Olympian Wrestler Sushil Kumar Named In FIR Over Murder At Delhi Stadium



Olympian Wrestler Sushil Kumar Named In FIR Over Murder At Delhi Stadium

Olympian Wrestler Sushil Kumar Named In FIR Over Murder At Delhi Stadium

Sushil Kumar did not answer his phone when contacted to comment on the issue.

New Delhi:

Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar’s role is under scanner after his name emerged in connection with a brawl that led to the death of a wrestler inside the Chhatrasal Stadium complex in north Delhi, police said on Wednesday.

Sushil Kumar, the county’s only athlete to have won two individual Olympic medals, was named in the FIR, they said.

According to police, a 23-year-old wrestler died and his two friends got injured after they were allegedly brutally assaulted by other wrestlers inside Chhatrasal Stadium in northern part of city.

Police said that on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, an information regarding firing inside the Chhatrasal Stadium was received at Model Town police station.

Police reached the spot and found five cars parked in the parking area of the stadium.

During enquiry, it was found that a quarrel had taken place allegedly between Sushil Kumar, Ajay, Prince, Sonu, Sagar, Amit, and others in the parking area. Thereafter, police registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act at Model Town police station in this regard, they said in a statement.

The injured were shifted to BJRM Hospital for treatment. They were identified as Sagar, a resident of Model Town, Amit Kumar, 27, a resident of Rohtak in Haryana, and Sonu, 35, a resident of Sonipat in Haryana, they said.

“The crime scene as well as all the five vehicles were inspected. During inspection, one double barrel loaded gun with five live cartridges were found in one Scorpio and two wooden sticks were also recovered from the spot.

“All the five vehicles and weapons of offence were seized. The crime scene was further inspected by forensic experts of FSL, Rohini,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (northwest) Guriqbal Singh Sidhu said.

During the investigation, information regarding the death of Sagar and injury to Sonu was received from Trauma Centre, Civil Lines, following which sections 302, 365, 120B of the IPC were registered, he said.

Several teams have been formed to trace the alleged persons. Technical evidences relating to this incident have been obtained. The details of the recovered vehicles are also being obtained from the concerned authority, police said.

One Prince Dalal, 24, a resident of Jhajjar in Haryana, has been apprehended in this case, along with one double-barrel gun, they said. Police said they have recovered two double-barrel guns, seven live cartridges, two wooden sticks, and five cars.

Official sources claimed that the incident took place due to a property dispute in the Model Town area.

“It was not a case of trespassing. The accused took the victims inside the stadium where they assaulted them in the parking area. Sushil Kumar was present at the spot when the incident happened, however, police are investigating his role in the assault,” an official source said.

However, Sushil Kumar did not answer his phone when contacted to comment on the issue.

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‘It’s more personal’ – Alvarez warns Saunders



‘It’s more personal’ – Alvarez warns Saunders

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez
Alvarez arrived for his Texas fight on a private jet
Date: 8 May (9 May UK) Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Belts: WBC & WBA world super-middleweight titles (Alvarez), WBO belt (Saunders)
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text commentary on BBC Sport website at around 0400 BST

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez says Billy Joe Saunders’ pursuit of him has made Saturday’s fight “more personal”.

The Mexican, 30, has been called out in recent years by Britain’s Saunders, who insists he can land a shock win.

Saunders did not turn up for the first face-to-face of the week and is angry about the size of Saturday’s ring.

“It’s always been 20ft and now he wants 24ft,” Alvarez told 5 Live Boxing. “If he wants I will give him the whole stadium. I don’t care.”

“It’s a little more personal,” added Alvarez, who will risk his WBC and WBA world super-middleweight titles while Saunders puts his WBO belt on the line.

“He’s been talking a lot about me for the last four years. In a couple of days it will happen and it’s a little more personal.”

When the pair did meet face-to-face for the first time on Wednesday, Saunders goaded Alvarez and warned his rival “you have not seen someone with this heart”.

‘A rare breed’ – analysis

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders
Saunders (right) did not turn up for media obligations on Tuesday but faced Alvarez on Wednesday

BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:

At times, Alvarez glared at us across the Zoom divide but also found room to smile, indications of a man so at ease and in control of his emotions on the doorstep of a big fight.

Tyson Fury has said Saunders and his ilk are a different breed. Canelo is a rare one too.

‘I have no worries’

Saturday’s bout – which will take place in front of more than 60,000 fans at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium – will be aired on BBC Radio 5 Live at around 04:00 BST on Sunday morning.

Alvarez says he can recall “very few” occasions where he has felt this way about an opponent.

Saunders’ team have pushed for the use of a bigger ring as his evasive style would benefit from added space in which he could move.

Alvarez says Saunders’ style will prove “complicated” but he does not expect surprises from his rival, adding: “I don’t see anything that would worry me.

“At this level I have to adapt to anything and I will be ready for anything. I know his qualities and know he’s an elusive fighter but I trained 100% for this to show I’m in my best moment right now.”

Saunders – unbeaten in 30 contests – is a betting underdog against a fighter who has lost just once in 58 fights.

Alvarez admits he will go after the fourth significant belt at super-middleweight if he beats Saunders.

His rise from entering the sport after being bullied while selling ice creams as a teenager has seen him win world titles in four weight categories across a professional career spanning almost 16 years.

“I love boxing and what I do,” he added. “It’s something to show people you can reach your goals and do big things. I used to sell popsicles and look at what I have done now. It’s good to show people.”

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London Chef Refused To Close Restaurant In Lockdown, Here’s Why



London Chef Refused To Close Restaurant In Lockdown, Here’s Why

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses and industries across the world. Among the hardest hit has been the restaurant and hospitality sector, which is still reeling from the effect of the past year. The restaurant industry has come forward to help those in need during the times of the pandemic. In spite of suffering losses, the spirit of doing good is still intact among eateries across the globe. This can be seen in the thinking of a fourth-generation Indian restaurateur, who kept his Covent Garden restaurant open even when the city was in lockdown.

The Punjab restaurant at Covent Garden recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. It specialises in North Indian cuisine and was founded by Gurbachan Singh Maan. Rather than keeping the restaurant functioning as normal, present generation owner Amrit Maan decided to cook meals for the needy and provide supplies to food banks. “I made a conscious decision not to close. For us Covent Garden is a village, it’s a community. I just refuse to have the kitchens closed. It doesn’t make sense. It gives you hope,” he said.

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Thus, Amrit Maan moved out of his family home to stay at the restaurant in order to keep his parents from getting infected. Seven of the forty staff members stayed at the premises to help Maan’s mission. Many volunteers in London also found a calling in the noble cause of providing food to the homeless.

Maan has presently provided over 100,000 meals to the homeless and about 50,000 to food banks. “You could sit at home and just shut the curtains and watch TV but I knew I was sitting on a blessed asset our kitchens are industrial kitchens. We have been helping the homeless for three or four years.”

Thus, the business has also never shut its kitchens in its entire history. What did you think of the heartwarming gesture by the restaurant? Tell us in the comments below.

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