QBullet: Pak Cross-Border Shelling Kills 5; AB de Villiers Retires

1. US Disinvites China From Multinational Military Exercise

The Hague rejected China’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of the South China Sea in a verdict in July 2016. 

The Pentagon said on Wednesday, 23 May, it has withdrawn an invitation for China to participate in a multinational naval exercise the US is hosting this summer, a sign of fresh tension between Pacific powers.

The move comes amid high-stakes maneuvering over North Korea’s nuclear programme, which is scheduled to be the subject of a meeting in June between President Donald Trump and the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un. Mr Trump on Tuesday said he suspected that the North’s recent talk of scrapping the summit could reflect influence from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently met with Mr Kim.

Washington also is engaged in a sprawling trade dispute with China over US complaints about market access and technology policy.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: China Disinvited from Major US Military Exercise: Pentagon  

2. 'Human Shield' Major Briefly Detained With Woman in Hotel

Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi of the Rashtriya Rifles 53rd battalion.

Police on Wednesday, 23 May, detained Major Leetul Gogoi, who had triggered a row after he tied a civilian on his jeep’s bonnet as “a human shield” in central Kashmir’s Budgam in April last year, along with a young Kashmiri woman and a middleman, identified by cops as Sameer Malla, following an altercation over getting a room in hotel Grand Mamta at Kohona Khan Dalgate.

Police recorded the statement of Major Gogoi before letting him join his 53 Rashtriya Rifles (Punjab Regiment) unit at Beerwa in Budgam later. The statements of the woman and the hotel staff have been recorded.

“We have ordered a probe, headed by SP North, who will submit a report soon. If it is a cognisable offence, action will be taken as per the law. It is too early to comment,” said IG, Kashmir Range, SP Pani.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Exclusive: ‘Human Shield’ Farooq Dar On Battling Scars, A Year On

3. Public Sector Banks’ Losses Near Record Rs 50,000 Crore in Q4

The Reserve Bank of India. 

Losses of public sector banks (PSBs) for the quarter ended March 2018 are set to hit a record Rs 50,000 crore — more than double the losses of Rs 19,000 crore in the preceding quarter ended December 2017. The huge losses are a fallout of new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) norms scrapping all loan-restructuring schemes and will put pressure on the government to infuse more capital into public sector unit (PSU) lenders than planned earlier.

Of the 15 PSU banks that have announced their results, 13 have reported net losses and only two lenders — Indian Bank and Vijaya Bank — have reported profits. The consolidated earnings of the 15 lenders added up to losses of Rs 44,241 crore. The overall losses are likely to cross Rs 50,000 crore, considering that several large lenders — including IDBI Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, United Bank and Indian Overseas Bank — are yet to announce their results. Of all these, only Bank of Baroda had reported a profit in the preceding quarter.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Public Sector Banks’ Bad Loans More Than Doubled Over Two Years 

4. Five Killed, 40 Injured in Cross-Border Firing; India Summons Pak Envoy over 7-Month-Old’s Death

A villager shows tails of mortar shells, claimed to be fired from the Pakistani side, along the International Border at Gopper Basti in Jammu.

At least five civilians were killed and 40 people, including three BSF jawans, injured on Wednesday, 23 May, as Pakistan pounded Indian posts and villages along the 198 km-long border in Jammu and Kashmir for the seventh straight day, officials said.

The escalation in hostilities, which coincided with the government calling off operations in Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan, has forced around 100,000 people to leave their villages for safer locations.

“Five civilians died and 37 others were injured in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts in the latest round of Pak shelling on Wednesday,” state police chief SP Vaid said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: In Pics: Pak Cross-Border Firing Forces People to Flee J&K Hamlets

5. Kumaraswamy Takes Oath as Karnataka Chief Minister, Opposition Steals Show

HD Kumaraswamy.

Opposition parties, which have had little reason to cheer since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started dominating national and regional elections in 2013 (the party-led National Democratic Alliance, or NDA, has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha and it is in power, solely or with partners, in 20 of India’s 29 states) came together to celebrate the swearing-in of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) and his JD(S)-Congress government on Wednesday, 23 May.

Their show of unity comes amid increasing momentum of talks and efforts to build a front to take on the BJP, now clearly in pole position in Indian politics.

Joining Kumaraswamy, his father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, who is clearly relishing his second coming as paterfamilias of the opposition, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, and his mother, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, were a clutch of other leaders.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Mamata Banerjee Reprimands K’taka DIG at Kumaraswamy Swearing-In

6. Nipah Virus Infection Contained, No Need to Panic: Centre

Patients wear safety masks as a precautionary measure after the Nipah virus outbreak, outside the medical college, in Kozhikode.

The highly contagious Nipah virus infected 18 and killed 11 persons in Kerala before it was contained, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday, 23 May, of the viral disease that has triggered panic in the southern state.

Seven infected persons were being treated in isolation wards. Another seven, including three persons from Karnataka’s Mangaluru who travelled to the Nipah-hit Kerala districts, were under observation though they had not shown symptoms of the infection.

“It was a highly localised infection and we have been able to contain it well,” Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said, adding the state had not reported new cases.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Watch: How Nipah Virus Outbreak Occurred & How to Stay Safe

7. Another Anti-Sterlite Protester Killed; Tuticorin Collector, SP Transferred

Police personnel tackles agitators in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin. 

A protester was killed after being hit by a rubber bullet in southern Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi on Wednesday, 23 May, a day after 10 persons were shot dead when police opened fire on a rally against a Sterlite copper plant.

The government also ordered Internet services to be suspended in Thoothukudi and neighbouring districts of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari as anger and resentment against Tuesday’s police action continued to smoulder.

District Collector N Venkatesh and superintendent of police P Mahendran were transferred. Venkatesh was replaced by his Tirunelveli counterpart, Sandeep Nanduri, while Mahendran made way for Nilgiris district police chief Murali Rambha.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Anti-Sterlite Protests: What Vedanta Did & How the People Reacted

8. US Alert After American in China Reports Brain Injury Caused by Sound

A new form of hostility and warfare appears to be surfacing in the world with the Trump administration on Tuesday, 22 May, sounding an alarm about possible sonic attacks against its citizens after a US government employee in China reported unusual “sensations of sound and pressure,” and, on his return to America, was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

The case, the first that Washington has reported out of China, is reminiscent of a wave of so-called “sonic attacks” on US diplomats in Cuba that resulted in the withdrawal of a large number of American personnel, including many who complained of symptoms like hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, visual difficulties, headaches and fatigue.

American officials said no other case had been reported from China but "the US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event."

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: US Claims ‘Abnormal’ Sounds Injured Consulate Worker in China

9. AB De Villiers Quits International Cricket, 'Tired' and 'Running out of Gas'

File photo of Ab De Villiers. 

South African superstar AB de Villiers has announced his retirement from international cricket, four days after his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore exited the 11th season of the lucrative Twenty20 league in which his exhilarating batting and pyrotechnics in the field have further endeared him to a legion of Indian fans.

He announced his decision on Twitter on Wednesday, 23 May, bringing to a close an International career that spanned 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 Twenty20 internationals from which de Villiers scored over 20,014 runs. The 34-year-old bows out as South Africa's fourth most successful Test batsman with 8765 runs at 50.66, second-highest run-getter in ODIs with 9577 at 53.50 and second in T20Is with 1672 at 26.12. He scored 22 Test centuries and 25 in ODIs, with a best of 79* in T20Is.

In announcing his retirement from the international game, de Villiers said he was "tired" and "running out of gas".

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Watch: AB de Villiers Thanks RCB Fans, Hopes for Stronger Comeback

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