Of Obama’s Retaliation Against Russia, Demonetisation Last Day & Revolt In SP [Dec 30]

BY Edit Platter Desk | PUBLISHED: 30 December 2016

‘As I See It’ with Sanjeev Srivastava | Here’s our editor’s take on day’s top stories only on Edit Platter.

Good morning and welcome to EditPlatter.com from your daily host Sanjeev Srivastava. Please allow us to take you through day’s top stories which we have skimmed off from the world of news and views for our readers.

Let us begin with talking of an international news which is likely to hog the headlines today. With just 20 days left before President Barack Obama made way for his successor Donald Trump, he has taken a retaliatory measure aimed at punishing Russia for its alleged interference into last month’s presidential elections. The US Thursday expelled 35 Russian diplomats posing as “intelligence operatives”, giving them 72 hours to leave the country.

The Obama administration also slapped new sanctions on state agencies and individuals suspected in the hacks of U.S. computer systems. The US will close two compounds used for Russian intelligence-gathering as well.

Obama had called for action against Kremlin for allegedly directing hacks against the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help Trump take the White House. He had sought reports from intelligence agencies in this regard which were submitted to him in the past few days.

Declaring the 35 Russian diplomats from the Washington DC embassy and the consulate in San Francisco “persona non grata”, The US state department gave them and their families 72 hours to leave the US.

Russia has denied any involvement, calling the decision “ungrounded”.

In response, Russian authorities have ordered the Anglo-American School of Moscow to close. A vacation house in Serebryany Bor, near Moscow – used by the American embassy – will also be shuttered.

Meanwhile, Trump – who is likely to make Russia his first stop as President – issued a statement late Thursday saying, “It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things.”

“Nevertheless,” he added, “in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.” It is to be noted that Trump had earlier declined to take daily intelligence briefings saying he was a “smart person” and would like to be briefed when needed.

In India, it is the last day of government’s demonetisation drive. However, things are not likely to change much from tomorrow on wards, for restrictions on cash withdrawal from banks and ATMs are likely to continue in view of the cash crunch.

In his first interview after his November 8 demonetisation announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told weekly India Today that the note ban was aimed at ridding the Indian economy and society of the “menace” of black money, corruption, and terrorism.

Defending his demonetisation drive which has come under severe criticism from various quarters, Modi called the move a “difficult” but apolitical decision that was taken in the best interest of the country.

As we discussed yesterday morning, speculations were rife about the prime minister’s likely address to the nation on the new year eve at 7.30 pm. An announcement in this regard has been made. So, India will be glued to their television sets on the new year eve to listen to what Modi has to say now. Will he talk of demonetisation, new year resolutions or a new government drive against corruption? Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope the prime minister ensures his next steps are well-considered unlike demonetisation which has caused hardships to the people. The government perhaps had its heart in the right place, but its implementation was far from being flawless.

Various opinion polls and WhatsApp discussion groups echo Modi’s view, which he also expressed in his interview, that India’s oppressed class and the poor are with him in his fight against black money and corruption.

The third biggest story relates to political developments in Uttar Pradesh. Is Samajwadi Party on the brink of a split? Has chief minister Akhilesh Yadav crossed the rubicon? These were some of the questions on the minds of many late Thursday when Akhilesh, defying his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, put out his own list of candidates for upcoming assembly elections. The chief minister’s list included names of many ministers and MLAs who did not figure in the list issued by the party chief a day earlier. A minister was quoted as saying by The Indian Express that they would be contesting “in the name of and as the face of Akhilesh”.

Mulayam, who is a grass-root leader and stalwart, will along with political pandits should accept that he is a thing of the past now and the future is Akhilesh. And Akhilesh, as our editor tweeted yesterday, has to rise to the occasion, break-free and take a decision about his future course of action. Else, history will keep on repeating itself in the state. If polls are held today, the BJP is likely to emerge victorious comfortably. If Akhilesh wants to pose a serious challenge to the saffron party, he will have to part ways from his father and uncle Shivpal Yadav, and form an alliance with the Congress and Ajit Singh’s RLD.

There are other interesting opinion pieces and stories on Edit Platter which you should read. Also, you can download our app which is there on Android and iPhones.

Stay tuned to Edit Platter because now we are bringing to you some of the best voices with their take on day’s top stories from different states. Listen to podcasts of Shivkant Sharma for his excellent analysis of world affairs, Mani Kant Thakur from Bihar, Ram Dutt Tripathi from UP, Deepak Khajuria from J&K, Narayan Bareth from Rajasthan and renowned journalist Omer Farooq from Hyderabad every morning. Manzar Alam is likely to join us from north east soon. Please do share your valuable feedback with us and also enjoy the last day demonetisation.

Source - Sanjeev Srivastava / Edit Platter

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30 December 2016