Working In A Hybrid Environment? Tips On How To Deepen Relationships Between Team Members, Leaders & The Community

New Delhi [India]: Almost all employees are back at the workplace after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, but it now seems that a hybrid work environment would be the norm in future. One of the drawbacks of a Work From Home environment is the difficulties in establishing relationships.

Here are some tips on how to deepen relationships between team members, leaders and the community when people are working in a hybrid mode, that is working sometimes from home and sometimes from office.

1. Rebuild relationships

It is a psychological fact that feeling connected with colleagues could help people feel more satisfied at their workplace. Some in-person interaction among the employees can prove to be fruitful for engaging and deepening relationships with team members and the leaders.

2. Train employees to upgrade from old-school methods to new technology

Merely introducing new technology to your employees cannot raise your output. For that, leveraging the old-school methods to what the new technology has in the store for you can help. The handwritten drafts and notices may be the traditional methods of conveying something important to the employees but in the new era of Zoom, Teams and emails, being upgraded to the technology becomes important.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

A simple rule says ‘Find being comfortable in uncomfortable’. Most of the conversations can be initiated when a person asks for help in terms of work from colleagues. In that way, people build a network of people who are alike.

4. Expand your network

One must not be confined to one’s own team or department. Having a mindset that the colleagues are a family can expand one’s networks beyond who they interact with every day.

5. Connect digitally

Connecting digitally on social networking platforms can also help the workforce to know about one another and stay linked. Professional platforms like LinkedIn, Slack and others can help employees to establish strong relations with each other. (ANI)

Sonia Gandhi meets Himachal Cong leaders, advises to stay united for polls

New Delhi [India]: After the poll debacle faced by Congress in Punjab due to infighting, party president Sonia Gandhi asked leaders of Himachal Pradesh to avoid a Punjab-like situation and stay united as the state goes to Assembly polls later this year, said sources.

According to sources, Sonia Gandhi took a jibe on party leaders, “You all are sitting together right but otherwise you don’t even talk to each other.”
Congress Himachal Pradesh in-charge Rajiv Shukla was also present in the meeting.

Having lost Punjab to Aam Aadmi Party, Congress leaders briefed Sonia Gandhi about the present position of AAP in Himachal Pradesh.

“AAP is not an issue in Himachal Pradesh. Only those people who will not get tickets from BJP or Congress will contest from AAP’s ticket,” said Rajiv Shukla.

Sonia Gandhi deliberated on the AAP position in the state with the party leaders and asked them to prepare a poll strategy to take on rivals.

“All leaders from Himachal Pradesh promised Sonia Gandhi that they will remain united and a situation like Punjab will not be repeated there. Party leaders assured AICC president that state leaders will accept whatever decision the central leadership takes,” said sources.

Sources say that state party president and legislature party leader can also be changed if the situation demands.

“Central leadership is not changing any officer bearers right now but the option is open,” sources added.

The Congress had done well in the bypolls held in Himachal Pradesh last year, winning the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and three assembly seats. The party is trying to repeat this success in the upcoming assembly polls.

It was also decided in the meeting that the results party witnessed in the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and three other assembly seats will only be repeated if the party moves ahead together with a full proof strategy to take on the BJP.

After the demise of Virbhadra Singh, Congress is witnessing a vacuum in the top leadership in the state. There are many leaders trying to take the position of party’s face in the hilly state but Anand Sharma is being seen as a frontrunner for that post.

However, his being a part of G-23 might emerge as a barrier for his candidature to lead the Congress in Himachal Pradesh.

The 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly is due for polls in October this year. (ANI)

Mallikarjun Kharge terms Union Budget ‘pro-capitalist’


New Delhi [India],: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday termed the Union Budget 2022 “pro-capitalist” and alleged that it has been made keeping in mind the states going to polls only.

He further added that the Budget has nothing to offer to farmers, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) workers, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) and Other Backward Class (OBC) communities.
Speaking with ANI, Kharge said, “This is a pro-capitalist Budget that has nothing to offer to farmers, MGNREGA workers, and SC/ST and OBC communities. This Budget has been prepared, keeping in view of the ensuing Assembly elections.”

Expressing displeasure over Nirmala Sitharaman calling Rahul Gandhi’s statement a “UP kind of an answer”, Kharge said that the statement of the Finance Minister reflects “frustration” as the government has nothing to say on the Budget.

Speaking on the statement made on the basis of regionalism, he said that it is not in the interest of the country and is also an insult to the nation.

Sitharaman, during a press conference, commented on Rahul Gandhi for his remarks terming the Union Budget as “zero-sum” and said, “I think he (Rahul Gandhi) has given a very UP kind of an answer, which is good enough for an MP who ran away from Uttar Pradesh.” IMAGE-(instagram)

Rahul Gandhi, other Cong leaders move adjournment motion in LS over Lakhimpur Kheri incident

New Delhi [India]: Several Congress MPs in Lok Sabha, including Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday have moved an adjournment motion in the House over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident demanding the removal of Ajay Kumar Mishra as Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs.
MOS Home Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra is involved in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident which took the lives of eight people including four farmers, earlier in October. In his letter to Secretary-General of Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi said, “I hereby give notice of my intention to ask for leave to move a motion for the adjournment of the business of the house for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent importance namely: the UP Police SIT report has highlighted that massacre of farmers at Lakhimpur was a pre-planned conspiracy and not a negligent act.”
“The SIT has recommended for the modification of the charges against all the accused. The Government should immediately sack the MoS Home Affairs, Ajay Kumar Mishra and ensure justice is delivered to the families of the victims,” the Wayanad MP stated in his letter.
Speaking to ANI, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “Rahul Gandhi has given an adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. We will demand that the Government sack the minister.”
“If PM Modi has even an iota of devotion for Ganga Mata, he must advise his minister (Ajay Misra Teni) to resign or he himself should decide and sack him. I think it will further enhance his image because he is working on an image makeover right now,” he added.
Other than Rahul Gandhi, Congress Chief Whip in Lok Sabha K Suresh and Congres MP Manickam Tagore and Deepender Singh Hooda have also given the adjournment motion over the issue.
K Suresh demanded MoS Home Ajay Misra “to step down immediately so that a fair investigation is carried out (in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident), culprits are brought to book, and farmers are delivered justice.”
Suresh added, “Revelation of SIT that a planned conspiracy to murder farmers protesting in Tikunia (Lakhimpur Kheri) on 3 October and SIT seeking permission to book Ashish Mishra, is an expose of those behind the intentional attempt to murder protesting farmers.”
On October 3, a vehicle allegedly crushed down farmers who were protesting against the farm laws. Reportedly, the vehicle belonged to Ashish, who is the son of Union MoS Ajay Mishra.
Uttar Pradesh police have so far arrested three people including Ashish Mishra.

DMK leaders offer prayers at Dargah for Udhayanidhi Stalin’s successful political career

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India]: Special prayers were offered at Hazrath Syed Moosa Shah Khaderi dargah here for party youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin’s successful political career.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader K S Masthan and other party leaders offered prayers at the dargah.
Speaking to ANI, here in Chennai, K. S. Masthan, who is Minister for Minorities Welfare and Non-Resident Tamils Welfare, said, “We offered a special prayer for DMK president MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi Stalin’s good health and lifetime service for people. The time for Udhayanidhi Stalin will come soon. His political career is going on a good pace.”

Trustee of the dargah, Syed Manooruddin, said, “Udayanidhi Stalin is now a political figure of state who is well known by everyone. We prayed that he should come as the Deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu.”
DMK’s Udhayanidhi Stalin had made his political debut this year in state assembly elections and won from the Chepauk constituency.

Priyanka Gandhi takes Congress leaders, MLAs from different states on board for upcoming UP polls

New Delhi [India]: In her stride towards ‘Mission Uttar Pradesh’, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will also be laying responsibilities to party leaders and MLAs from the different states for the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.
Priyanka Gandhi held a meeting with leaders of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana at 15 Gurudwara Rakabganj Road in the national capital on Thursday. They will be given the responsibility of the Legislative Assemblies in the Uttar Pradesh polls. Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda and UP PCC chief Ajay Kumar Lallu were also present in the meeting.
After the meeting with Priyanka Gandhi, Congress MLA from Chhattisgarh Arun Vora said, “There was a wave of enthusiasm in the meeting. The whole country is looking towards Congress. Chhattisgarh MLAs will work with their full strength and will form the Congress government in Uttar Pradesh.”
He told that he will work as Priyanka’s associate. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh is the observer.
Congress MLA from Chhattisgarh Kuldeep Juneja said that all Congress workers will fight together to form the party’s government in Uttar Pradesh. “Everyone has been called in Lucknow on December 15, then it will be decided who will be given which assembly. We will have to stay in Uttar Pradesh for two and a half months and work for the party,” Juneja said.
Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu said that a meeting of observers has been held.
“Priyanka is fighting on the road and chalking out the direction. Candidates have to work hard. There are signs of change. Congress workers are fighting, even Priyanka Gandhi was sent to jail four times. Congress will form the government in the state,” Lallu said.
According to sources, the Congress leaders from other states will be leaving for Uttar Pradesh after December 14 and will be there till the elections.

Farmers suspend protest, farm leaders to hold review meet on Jan 15

Singhu Border (New Delhi) [India]: Farmers, who have been protesting against the three farm laws on different borders of Delhi since November 26 last year, announced on Wednesday that they are suspending their year-long agitation and would vacate the protest sites on December 11.
The announcement came after the protesting farmers received a letter from the Central government, with promises of forming a committee on Minimum Support Price (MSP) and withdrawing cases against them immediately. “As far as the matter of compensation is concerned, UP and Haryana have given in-principle consent,” it read.
While addressing a press conference, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Charuni said, “We have decided to suspend our agitation. We will hold a review meeting on Jan 15. If government does not fulfill its promises, we could resume our agitation.”
“Protesting farmers will vacate the protest sites on December 11,” another farmers’ leader Darshan Pal Singh said.
On November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre will bring necessary bills in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning later this month to repeal the farm laws.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill on the first day of the winter session on November 29. President Ram Nath Kovind has also given his assent to the Bill that completes the process of repealing the three farm laws.
The SKM called off a planned tractor march to Parliament on November 29 and said that it would wait until December 4 for the Union government to formally respond to its demands, which it had stated in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

Three BSP leaders likely to join Samajwadi Party ahead of 2022 UP polls

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: Bahujan Samaj Party might face another setback ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, as BSP leaders Vinay Shankar Tiwari, Kushal Tiwari and Ganesh Shankar Pandey might join the Samajwadi Party soon, sources said.
Sources say the three leaders met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Saturday. Vinay Shankar Tiwari, son of Hari Shankar Tiwari, is an MLA from Chillupar constituency whereas Ganesh Shankar Pandey was the chairman of the Legislative Council at the time of the BSP government.
“Joining date will be fixed after Jayant Chaudhary led-RLD and SP’s joint rally in Meerut on December 7,” said a source.
Earlier in October, six suspended BSP MLAs joined Samajwadi Party in the presence of party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow.
These MLAs include Hargovind Bhargav, Mujtaba Siddiqui, Hakim Lal Bind, Aslam Raini, Sushma Patel and Aslam Chaudhary.
Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to go for Assembly polls in 2022.
Previously, in the 2017 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged 312 seats out of the 403-seat Uttar Pradesh Assembly while Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) won 19 and Congress could manage to win only seven seats. The rest of the seats were bagged by other candidates.

Shiv Sena questioned Maharashtra BJP’s silence over Gujarat CM’s meet with business leaders in Mumbai

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], December 5 (ANI): After the Bharatiya Janata Party accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of ‘diverting’ businesses from Maharashtra to West Bengal, Shiv Sena questioned Maharashtra BJP’s silence over Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel’s Mumbai visit and his meeting with the business leaders and leading industry executives here.
“Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel visited Mumbai along with half his cabinet. He came to invite the industrialists in Mumbai to participate at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. They need the help of the industrialists of Mumbai to make a ‘self-reliant Gujarat’. Why is BJP silent now?” Shiv Sena asked in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana. The BJP had earlier hit out at Mamata for trying to ‘migrate’ business to West Bengal after the latter met the industrialist in Mumbai during her visit to the city.
“BJP believes that industries must be spread across the country. But is the ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra asking her to take the industries away from Maharashtra, is a crucial question. Is the ruling Shiv Sena helping Mamata didi to take away employment opportunities, businesses and industries from Maharashtra?” BJP MLA Ashish Shelar had alleged.
The Saamana editorial further alleged the Centre is obstructing the work of the state government in West Bengal by defaming the MPs and MLAs of the state with the help of the Central Agencies.
“Mamata, during her visit to the state informed that the Centre has sent 50 officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to West Bengal so that they could register false cases against the MPs and MLAs in the state. They are trying to defame West Bengal but the state will not back off and will put up a fight like Maharashtra,” the editorial said.
The editorial added that Mamata during her three-day visit to Mumbai inspired us to fight.

NDA floor leaders meeting concludes, National People’s Party demands repealing of CAA

New Delhi [India]: In the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) floor leaders meeting held on Sunday at Parliament, alliance partner National People’s Party demanded the Centre to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
In the meeting held ahead of the winter session of the Parliament, scheduled to start from Monday, National People’s Party MP Agatha Sangma told media, “in the floor leaders’ meeting of NDA parties, I demanded the Centre to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, keeping in mind sentiments of the people.” Another alliance partner AIADMK assured the BJP-led Central government to support the party in the passing of bills.
Earlier today, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Parliamentary executive meeting also took place in the Parliament.
These meetings came ahead of the winter session of Parliament which is beginning on November 29.
The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session beginning November 29 with its legislative business including 26 new bills.
The government has indicated that the bill to repeal three farm laws will be taken up on priority. The agenda also includes the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021.
The winter session is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

Chinese leaders ‘don’t understand variety of cultures’, prefer to remain in India: Dalai Lama

Tokyo [Japan]: Tibetian spiritual leader Dalai Lama has slammed the Chinese leadership, saying they “don’t understand the variety of different cultures”, while at the same time lauding India as a centre of religious harmony.
The 86-year-old spiritual leader made these remarks on Wednesday during an online news conference anchored in Tokyo, English-language news channel Al Jazeera reported. Dalai Lama further criticised the leaders of China, saying that the “narrow-minded Chinese Communist leaders” did not appreciate the unique culture in Tibet and Xinjiang.
He said that the problem emanates from “too much control by Han people,” the largest ethnic group in China. “I know Communist Party leaders since Mao Zedong. Their ideas (are) good. But sometimes they do much extreme, tight control,” Dalai Lama was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
The Dalai Lama, along with his followers, fled to India from Tibet in 1959 during an invasion by the Chinese forces. China calls the Buddhist monk a ‘separatist’, seeking to secede Tibet from China.
During the event, Dalai Lama also praised Taiwan, saying the island was the true repository of China’s ancient culture since on the mainland it was now “too politicised”.
Furthermore, the leader said he had no plan to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, expressed a wish to visit again to see old friends.
“I prefer to remain here in India, peacefully,” he added while praising it as a centre of religious harmony.

SAD chief, leaders, workers protest outside Punjab CM’s residence over petrol, diesel prices

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India : Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal along with party leaders and workers staged a protest outside Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s residence in Chandigarh demanding compensation to farmers for reducing the prices of petrol and diesel.
Prices of petrol and diesel have been seeing an upward trend over the past few weeks. The prices of the two petroleum products reduced after Centre announced a cut in excise duty of petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10 respectively. Subsequently, several states and union territories reduced Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel. Meanwhile, Punjab, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand are yet to take a decision.
Taking to Twitter, Badal said, “Akali workers today conducted a political surgical strike on CM Charanjit Channi by succeeding in gherao of his residence despite garrisoning of MLA flats & multiple barricading. Akali Dal has sent a clear message to CM – stop photo-ops and fulfil promises made to Punjabis.”
He further said, “This corrupt Congress government and it’s CM who is only interested in loot and scoot lathi-charged peaceful Akali workers raising voice of farmers demanding compensation of Rs 50,000/acre for cotton growers and reduction in State VAT on petrol and diesel by Rs 10/Ltr in front of CM residence.”
Badal also tweeted saying: “Akali workers also took on Gandhi family & demanded it stop protecting Cong leaders like #JagdishTytler who conducted ’84 genocide besides asking Charanjit Channi why he agreed to elevation of Tytler. I thank our brave workers who resolved to continue to fight rights of Pbis (Punjabis).”

G20 leaders have reached historic agreement for effective international tax system, says Italian PM

Rome [Italy]: Leaders of G20 nations have reached an “historic agreement” for a fairer and more effective international tax system that would set a 15 per cent global minimum corporate tax.
“We reached a historic agreement for a fairer and more effective international tax system,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at the opening of the G20 summit on Saturday. The OECD had finalised a major reform of the international tax system earlier this month under which Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) will be subject to a minimum 15 per cent tax rate from 2023. The deal was agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions representing more than 90 per cent of global GDP.
The global minimum tax seeks to block corporations from moving jobs or profits overseas in order to avoid paying taxes.
According to Hill, the agreement would set a 15 per cent global minimum corporate tax rate that administration officials say would generate $60 billion or more in additional revenue annually in the U.S. alone.
The first session of the G20 Rome Summit kicked off on Saturday as world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi gathered to discuss the global economy and health
Over the next two days, the heads of state and government of the world’s major economies, together with invited countries and representatives of international and regional organizations, will address several key topics of the global agenda. Finance Ministers traditionally attend the event as well.
Draghi said in his opening remarks that “multilateralism is the best answer” to deal with the problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
“The pandemic has kept us apart. Earlier we have faced protectionism, unilateralism, nationalism, but the more we go with all our challenges, the more it is clear the multilateralism is the best answer to the problem we face today,” he said.
“In many ways, it (multilateralism) is the only possible answer from the pandemic to climate change to fair and equitable taxation, going it alone is simply not an option. We must do what we all can do to overcome our differences. We must recall the spirit that led to the creation of this group,” he added.
The Italian Prime Minister said that almost two years since the start of the pandemic, “we can finally look at the future with some optimism”.
“Successful vaccination campaigns and coordinated actions from government and central banks have allowed the global economy to rebound,” he said.

Priyanka Gandhi suggests greater use of regional media by state leaders at Congress meeting

New Delhi [India]: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra suggested to state party leaders at a meeting here that they should make more use of regional media in their districts for improving connect with people, highlighting the “failures of the BJP-led government” and for creating awareness about party’s policies and programmes.
The meeting of PCC chiefs, AICC general secretaries, in-charges and secretaries was called by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The sources said Priyanka Gandhi’s announcement of 40 per cent reservation for women in forthcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh was lauded at the meeting.
They said Priyanka Gandhi urged the leaders to get connected with the regional media in their districts. All Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs spoke at the meeting.
With the party seeing factionalism in various state units, Nagaland PCC chief Kewekhape There said “there should be discipline in the party and rules and regulations should be followed”.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu is learnt to have emphasised the need for “justice” in the case of incidents of sacrilege at Bargari in October 2015 when the Shiromani Akali Dal government was in power in the state.
Sources said Sidhu, who has sought replacement of new state Director General of Police (DGP) and Advocate General(AG), raised the issue at the meeting. The appointments of the new DGP and AG were made after Charanjit Singh Channi was chosen Chief Minister of Punjab following the resignation of Capt Amarinder Singh.
The sources said some leaders demanded that Rahul Gandhi should again become party chief.

Andhra police books Nara Lokesh, other TDP leaders for attacking police reserve inspector at Mangalgiri

Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) [India]: Andhra Pradesh Police on Wednesday filed a case against TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh and other party leaders for abusing, confining and attacking a police reserve inspector at Mangalgiri TDP party office while he was performing his duties.
“The Mangalgiri police of Guntur District has registered a case against Nara Lokesh, MLC Ashok Babu, former MLA Alapati Raja and few other TDP leaders for abusing, confining and attacking a police reserve inspector at Mangalgiri TDP party office while he was performing his duties,” the police said. The case has been registered in various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
This comes after TDP’s Mangalagiri office and the residence of Pattabhi Ram’s residence in Vijayawada were vandalised on Tuesday.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu have blamed workers of the YSRCP for the attack and the TDP has called for a bandh today in Andhra Pradesh over the attack on its offices and workers.
Earlier today, TDP leader Pattabhi Ram conducted a press conference and allegedly abused the state Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for police raids conducted at the former minister and TDP leader Anand Babu’s residence.

Before abrogation of Article 370, 80 pc of funds used to land in political leaders’ pockets, alleges RSS Chief

Nagpur (Maharashtra) [India]: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday alleged that before the abrogation of Article 370, about 80 per cent of funds allocated to Jammu and Kashmir used to land in the pockets of political leaders.
Speaking in an event in Nagpur, Maharashtra, Bhagwat said, “Before the abrogation of Article 370, 80 per cent of what was done for Kashmir valley, used to end up in the pockets of political leaders and not reach people. Now, after the abrogation people of Kashmir valley are experiencing direct access to development and availing of benefits.” Bhagwat added, “I visited Jammu and Kashmir and saw the current situation. After the abrogation of Article 370, the path to development has opened for all. On the pretext of Article 370, Jammu and Ladakh were discriminated against earlier. That discrimination doesn’t exist anymore.”
In August 2019, the Central government scrapped Article 370 which gave special rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two categories- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

EU leaders discuss EU-NATO declaration, alliance’s new strategic concept

Brussels [Belgium]: The leaders of the European Union countries discussed on Tuesday updating the EU-NATO declaration on counteracting mutual threats as well as the alliance’s new strategic concept, an EU official said.
Earlier in the day, the leaders met for an informal working dinner in Slovenia. “PEC (European Council President Charles Michel) announced member states will need to agree on a new EU-NATO declaration and the preparatory discussions leading up to a new strategic concept of the alliance,” the official told media.
Another important issue at the dinner was the concept of the bloc’s strategic autonomy and development of its own defense capacities, the source added.
“A central theme which keeps coming back is strategic autonomy. But this principle also needs to be clear/clarified among member states,” the official stated.
In June, the NATO leaders adopted a new strategic concept for the next decade, however, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) defense pact will have an impact on the alliance’s strategy in the future. On September 22, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said NATO partners, at the initiative of France and Germany, agreed to revise the strategic concept of the alliance.

Pandora Papers: Hidden riches of world leaders ‘exposed’ in ‘unprecedented’ leak

Washington [US]: A group of 600 investigative journalists on Sunday published new papers over the alleged involvement of a number of world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah II of Jordan and other high-profile individuals in tax haven schemes.
In an “unprecedented leak”, the financial secrets of 35 current and former world leaders, more than 330 politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories have been exposed, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ, a US-based non-profit group, is a global network of reporters and media organisations. Their network of members encompasses investigative reporters from more than 100 countries and territories.
The massive trove of private financial records has been dubbed as ‘Pandora Papers’. The investigation involves more than 600 journalists from 117 countries as well as over 11.9 million leaked files “covering every corner of the globe.”

The new papers exceed the dimensions of the leak that was at the centre of the Panama Papers investigation five years ago, The Washington Post reported.
The financial records expose vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and citizens around the world.
The revelation includes more than USD 100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan on luxury homes in Malibu, California, and other locations.
It also includes the revelation of cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The files detail the financial activities of Russian President Putin’s “unofficial minister of propaganda” and more than 130 billionaires from India, Russia, the United States, Mexico, and other nations.
As per the reports, the Pandora Papers also uncovered dealings of the Presidents of Ukraine, Kenya and Ecuador, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The files include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts and other records that unlock otherwise impenetrable financial schemes and identify the individuals behind them.
“The offshore financial system is a problem that should concern every law-abiding person around the world,” said Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI officer who served as lead agent on dozens of financial-crimes cases.
The leaked records come from 14 offshore services firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients often seeking to keep their financial activities in the shadows. The records include information about the dealings of nearly three times as many current and former country leaders as any previous leak of documents from offshore havens.
In an era of widening authoritarianism and inequality, the ICIJ said: “The Pandora Papers investigation provides an unequaled perspective on how money and power operate in the 21st century – and how the rule of law has been bent and broken around the world by a system of financial secrecy enabled by the U.S. and other wealthy nations”.
The ICIJ added that these new findings spotlight how deeply secretive finance has infiltrated global politics – and offer insights into why governments and global organizations have made little headway in ending offshore financial abuses.

Taliban faces discord among top leadership

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The recent disappearance of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan from the public eye, shows that all is not well within the Taliban top leadership.
There have been reports of divisions among the Taliban leadership, raising questions about the unity within the group which took over Afghanistan last month, reported Al Jazeera. Sources told Al Jazeera the discord is “very real” and if disharmony grows, it will spell trouble for the people.
The public’s doubts about the group’s unity only increased earlier this month, when Baradar seemed to have disappeared from public view, with some reports suggesting he was killed.
When Baradar did reappear, it was in a pre-recorded video. Clearly reading from some sort of a statement, Baradar said his fading from the public eye was the result of travel, and that the Taliban, “have compassion among ourselves, more than a family”, reported Al Jazeera.
In a final bid to ease suspicions about his death or injury, Baradar was photographed attending a meeting with United Nations officials on Monday.
However, a writer and reporter who has spent several years covering the Taliban said the divisions are the result of a political-military divide. The hardliners, he said, “feel that they are owed things for 20 years of fighting”, reported Al Jazeera.
A political source who has a decades-long relationship with the Taliban’s top brass agreed and said that the effects of the rift extend from the halls of power to the streets, where the Taliban fighters have been going through major cities and forcefully taking the belongings of former officials and their families.
“Right now, all they care about is taking people’s cars and houses,” the source said.
Families of former officials have told Al Jazeera that Taliban fighters have tried to seize their belongings, including homes they rented and their private cars.
This is despite the Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Zabihullah Mujahid, saying two days after the Taliban took over the country that “we have instructed everyone not to enter anybody’s house, whether they’re civilians or military”.
On August 17, during a media briefing, Mujahid went on to say, “There’s a huge difference between us and the previous government.”
However, to those familiar with the situation, the current Taliban leadership is facing many of the same issues with factions as the government of former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country the day the Taliban took Kabul.
Sources told Al Jazeera that as with other Afghan governments, the divisions among the Taliban fall along personality lines.
But unlike previous administrations, the Taliban does not just suffer from overly ambitious members or opposing political views, its split is much more fundamental.

Fault lies with opposition : BJP

New Delhi [India]: Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said that the fault lies with the opposition leaders so they are shying away from a probe into the ruckus in the Rajya Sabha.
Speaking to ANI, the minister said that, “Following the parliament ruckus, everyone asked for a fair investigation. However, now the opposition parties are shying away from it and not participating willingly.” Mentioning that the opposition members destroyed the decorum of the upper house, Naqvi said, “This only means that the fault lies somewhere in their head and heart.”
Earlier today, the Congress party refused to be a part of the proposed inquiry committee of MPs being set up to investigate the ruckus that took place during the monsoon session, this year.
On August 11, there was turmoil in the Rajya Sabha with the opposition alleging misbehaviour by marshals, while the ruling party alleged violence against parliament staff and others by opposition MPs.
Two Congress women MPs, Phulo Devi and Chayya Varma had alleged that they were manhandled during the ruckus in the House. As per official sources, an official complaint has been lodged against the MPs who created ruckus in Rajya Sabha during the recently concluded monsoon session.

Leaders Become Successful When Able To Mentally Reattach To Work: Study

Getting into the right mindset for work can set the tone for the rest of your day – and it’s an especially beneficial practice for managers.

The findings of a new study suggest that on the days that leaders and managers were better able to reattach to work in the morning, they experienced higher positive moods and work focus, allowing them to be more successful throughout the day.

The findings of the study were published in the ‘Journal of Vocational Behavior’.

Getting into the right mindset for work can set the tone for the rest of your day – and it’s an especially beneficial practice for managers, the Portland State University study found.

Mentally reconnecting to work – thinking about what you want to accomplish that day, what’s on your day’s agenda or what situations you might encounter before you even open your work email – better prepares an employee to be engaged throughout the workday.

The study found that on the days that leaders and managers were better able to reattach to work in the morning, they experienced higher positive moods and work focus and that in turn allowed them to be more successful throughout the day.

Reattachment to work can occur while still at home (thinking about the upcoming day during breakfast), during the commute (anticipating events at work that day) or when arriving at work (mentally running through the day’s to-do list after parking).

For those working from home, the time saved by not commuting can be used to sit down in front of the computer and mentally get into a work mindset before opening your email or logging into a Zoom meeting.

Charlotte Fritz, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of industrial-organisational psychology at PSU, previously found that employees who mentally reconnect to work in the morning are more engaged at work, but she said that this study’s focus on leaders is important as they are also responsible for the work and engagement of their employees.

This study found that by successfully reattaching to work at the start of their day, managers were better able to accomplish their own work tasks, felt more energetic throughout the workday and engaged in more transformational leadership behaviours.

“These leader behaviours are crucial for a variety of employee outcomes,” Fritz said.

“Providing a vision, being inspirational and motivating for employees, listening carefully and supporting employee needs and providing them with opportunities for growth,” Fritz added.

More than 400 leaders filled out daily surveys throughout the workweek and Fritz said their levels of vitality, goal accomplishment and positive leadership fluctuated based on how they mentally reconnected with work in the morning.

“On days when leaders do this, they’re going to do better at work,” Fritz said.

Fritz’s co-authors include Dana Auten, a 2020 PhD graduate who now works as a senior people scientist at The Predictive Index; and David Caughlin, a senior instructor of management at PSU’s School of Business.

Sonia Gandhi to meet opposition leaders

New Delhi [India]: As part of efforts to take forward the opposition unity displayed during the monsoon session of parliament, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has called a virtual meeting of like-minded opposition leaders on August 20, sources said.
The meeting will be held at 4 pm. The sources said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackrey, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin are among the leaders who will take part in the meeting.
The opposition parties forced repeated adjournments during the monsoon session of parliament on their demands including a probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware and repeal of farm bills. The session was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days before its scheduled conclusion.
Mamata Banerjee visited the national capital in the last week of July and discussed opposition unity with Sonia Gandhi as part of efforts to build momentum against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government which has completed two years in office in its second term.

K’taka: Anand Singh relents after CM assures him of taking portfolio matter with senior leaders

Bengaluru, Aug 11: The disgruntled Tourism Minister Anand Singh at last has relented from taking any extreme step after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai assured him of taking up the matter of changing his portfolio with senior leaders.
He also agreed to unfurl the tricolor on Independence Day celebrations on August 15 in Vijayanagara.
“It is true that he (Anand Singh) had requested for a good ministry, but I explained to him about the present situation. He came and met me the day before yesterday. I had informed our meeting to B S Yediyurappa. Also he had met Yediyurappa. I also told him that I will talk with our senior leaders about the issue. Keeping all this in view, he has agreed,” Bommai told reporters here.
Bommai said Singh had understood the circumstances under which he had expanded the cabinet and distributed the portfolios.
“In politics, everything does not happen as per the wishes of an individual, but I have told him the necessity of going together in the present circumstances. Therefore, with a large heart, he has agreed to go together and make decisions together,” he said.
Bommai also said he has directed Singh to unfurl the flag on Independence Day celebrations on August 15.
Standing beside Bommai, Singh refuted media reports of him tendering resignation and assured his support to Bommai’s government and work unitedly.
“It is true that I had requested for the change of portfolio. He (Bommai) has considered my request and said he would talk to the senior leaders about the issue. I will absolutely give all my support to him and move together,” Singh added.
Replying to a query on his plans of resigning, Singh reverted, “Did I tell anywhere that I will resign? I haven’t said anywhere, and there is no question of me resigning.”
Soon after reaching Bengaluru in a helicopter, Singh, along with his close aide and BJP ML Raju Gowda, met Yediyurappa at his residence and put his demands before him. He could only meet Bommai after 7 pm because of the chief minister’s busy schedule.
The two hours meeting was attended by R Ashok, Gowda and Singh, besides Bommai.
Earlier in Vijayanagara, Singh had left everything to the decision of Lord Krishna regarding his political career. He had hinted at resigning if his demands were not met.
“I want to tell one thing to the media. I started my political life from this very Venugopala Krishna temple. I do not know whether my political life will end or will restart from this very temple. We have to wait and watch. My political fate is in the hands of Lord Krishna,” he said.
He made these remarks after performing a “Maha Puja” at Sri Venugopalakrishna temple, which was built by his grandfather.
He had started his political life after conducting puja in 2008. Singh pins great importance to the divinity of the temple. Before resigning as Congress legislator, he had performed a similar Maha Puja in this temple.
Singh has been nursing disappointment over the portfolio allocated to him. Bommai has allocated a tourism portfolio, but he is reportedly demanding energy or public works ministries. Apart from this, he has yet visited the Vidhana Soudha and not occupied his chamber.
Earlier, Singh had refused to drop his demands and raised doubts about the senior leaders trusting him, though he trusted them and Lord Krishna. “I have faith in Lord Krishna, who protected Arjuna in the battlefield of Mahabharata. Likewise I have faith in our leadership, but whether they have faith in me? I am beginning to doubt,” he said.
Anand Singh’s political drama in Vijayanagara
Yesterday, Singh’s staff had taken down the name board at his legislator’s residence-cum-office at Vijayanagara city. This had created political ripples in the state.
A video depicting the same also had gone viral on Twitter. His staff also had informed the people of Singh’s unavailability to receive their pleas and grievances.
All these days, he had not even once visited the Vidhana Soudha and he is yet to occupy his chamber. Sources say Singh is demanding energy or public works portfolios. Energy ministry has been allocated to Sunil Kumar.
Earlier in Ballari, Singh had hinted that he would resign if his demand was not met. “I am a stubborn man. I will not bog down for any reason. I will even resign from my assembly membership if my demand is not met,” he had threatened.
These threats from Singh are not new. He had issued such threats during the JD(S)-Congress coalition government while demanding district status to Vijayanagara.
When the JDS-Congress coalition government refused to heed to his demand, Singh resigned as Congress legislator and paved the way for other rebel JD(S) and Congress MLAs to resign.
After their resignations, the rebel JD(S) and Congress legislators joined the BJP and toppled the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy and paved the way for BS Yediyurappa to win trust vote in the state assembly and form the government.
After assuming charge as a minister in the BJP government, Singh had allegedly pressured Yediyurappa threatening to resign as a minister and quit the party if the Vijayanagara district was not carved out of Ballari.
Apparently sensing the danger it could cause to the government, Yediyurappa’s government approved the new district on November 18, 2020, and finally announced Vijayanagara as the 31st district in its gazette notification.

Why ED raids on Zameer, why not on BJP leaders: KPCC Chief DK Shivakumar

Bengaluru, Aug 5: Reacting to ED raids on Congress leader Zameer Ahmed Khan’s properties in the IMA ponzy case, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar on Thursday questioned the inaction of the central investigating agency over the money spent allegedly to topple the previous JDS-Congress government to form BJP government in the state.

“Where did these departments go when JDS MLA Srinivasa Gowda stood up in the Assembly and said that he was offered Rs 5 crore by BJP MLAs – Ashwathnarayan, SR Vishwanath and CP Yogeshwar. Where did they go when Ramesh Jarkiholi said that CP Yogeshwar has taken crores of rupees in loan to fund Operation Lotus? Aren’t these cases of corruption, money laundering? Why did these departments not issue notices to them?” he told reporters at New Delhi in a veiled attack on the BJP-led central government.

If the Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and the ACB are really serious of preventing corruption, they should have taken action against Gowda and others for carrying out Operation Lotus, Shivakumar said. “There cannot be two laws. One for BJP and the other for the Congress,” he said.

Both I-T and Enforcement Directorate are central government agencies. These two agencies are being misused to gain power, he said.

Shivakumar said the raids on Zameer is reprehensible and unnecessary because he had given answers to the investigating agency’s queries two tears ago. “Zameer is competent to deal with it within the legal parameters. Two years ago ED had summoned him and interrogated him, and he answered to their queries then. In the present case, the raid was unnecessary. I know how these agencies harass you,” he said.

Earlier in the morning, the ED had raided properties of Baig and Zameer in connection with the multi-crore I Monetary Advisory (IMA) Ponzi scam.

The raids were held in their homes and offices. As many as 40-odd officials conducted the raids.

The IMA and its units had allegedly dispossessed thousands of investors and depositors of nearly Rs 4,000 crore.

The CBI had arrested Baig in November 2020 after prolonged interrogations after IMA’s Managing Director Mohammed Mansoor Khan had alleged that Baig had arm-twisted and taken Rs 400 crore from him and was refusing to return the money. The allegation was made in an audio clip that had gone viral. Since then, the suspended Congressman has been on the radar of the investigating authorities.

Even Khan alleged that Baig had taken about Rs 400 crore from him, a charge rejected outright by the latter. Mansoor Khan had fled from Bengaluru and was later traced in Dubai on June 9.

Baig had harbored deep disappointment against the Congress-JDS coalition government for ignoring him and began to hurl allegations against the Congress state leaders for not giving a ministerial berth in the cabinet.

He had launched a scathing attack on Congress general secretary KC Venugopal where he called him a buffoon. Baig had resigned from his assembly seat and tried his luck to join the BJP, but the saffron party not only denied him entry and the ticket for the by polls held last December.

The investigations into the IMA Scam has so far led to suicide by a senior IAS office BM Vijayashankar who was charged with bribery in the scam in exchange for a clean chit to the company in an internal probe. The Karnataka government had prosecuted two senior IPS officers Hemanth Nimbalkar and Ajay Hilori and suspended other three police personnel.

Opposition leaders attend Rahul’s breakfast meet to discuss Pegasus snooping row

New Delhi, Aug 3: Leaders from 14 political parties and over 100 MPs on Tuesday attended the breakfast meeting called by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to chalk out a joint strategy to corner the Centre over Pegasus scooping controversy in remaining part of the Monsoon session.

While leaders from Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI(M), IUML, RSP, Trinamool Congress, KCM, JMM, National Conference, DMK and LJD attended the meeting, Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party leaders gave it a skip.

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