Briefing :- 4/7/17

Here is CurrentHow’s Daily Briefing™ for the 4th of July, 2017 :-

1. Israeli PM welcomes Indian Prime Minister Modi to Israel :-

Indian Prime Minister Modi landed at Ben Gurion airport in Israel on Tuesday evening.

He was received at the airport by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — a singular accord for a visiting dignitary.   Modi’s visit to Israel is being seen as a “coming out” of the relationship between the two countries since they opened diplomatic relations in 1992.

Modi landed at Ben Gurion dressed in the colours of the Israeli flag — white and blue.  He was wearing a white bandhgala and a blue pocket square.  Modi was welcomed by Netanyahu — the two leaders hugged on the tarmac — as “mere dost”.

“Aapka swagat hai mere dost,” said Netanyahu in his welcome address.

“Mr Prime Minister, we have been waiting for you for a very long time. In fact, we have been waiting for you for 70 years. This is truly a historic visit,” said Netanyahu.  This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel.

“We love India, admire your culture, history, democracy and commitment to progress,” Netanyahu added.

“I am confident of the real mathematics of life, of success of our partnership for many reasons; talent of our people,” he added.

And: “Formula for success is simple, it’s I-squared & T-squared which equals Indian talent & Israeli technology equals India-Israel ties for tomorrow.”

Modi, in his address, reciprocated with: “It is my singular honour to be the first-ever PM of India to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel.”

“Alongside building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies,” Modi added.

This is a 3 day visit, and PM Modi will leave to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on Thursday.

2. Bangladesh factory explosion death: Death toll rises to 10, several injured :-

At least 10 people were killed and dozens injured when a boiler exploded at a garment factory in Bangladesh, authorities said.

The incident occurred late Monday on the outskirts of Dhaka.

“Nine people were killed in the blast and one died in hospital,” fire service official Palash Chandra Modak told Reuters. This number has since gone up, and this article will be updated to reflect any more changes in the death toll.

The company said the plant was functioning well and the boiler had just been serviced.

“This was an accident. Everything was fine,” Mahiuddin Faruqui, company chairman and managing director informed Reuters.

“The boiler was running well. After servicing when workers were trying to restart it, it went off.”

According to AFP, dozens of labourers were on site at the factory when a blast tore through the six-storey building.

“It is a terrible scene. Fire brigade officers have arrived and are doing rescue work. The factory’s boiler exploded and the blast also affected other buildings near the factory,” police officer Harunur Rashid told AFP.

Al Amin, a worker at a nearby garment factory, said he was attending evening prayers at a mosque some 300 yards (metres) from the factory at around 7pm (1300 GMT) when the explosion shook the whole area.

“I ran to the spot instantly and saw a huge smoke. I saw blood all over the bodies of some injured workers and instantly called the fire brigade,” he told AFP.

According to factory director Mesba Faruqui, the main site was closed on Monday but a group of workers were overseeing maintenance of the boiler.

Bangladesh has more than 4,500 garment factories employing four million mostly female workers at a minimum monthly wage of $68.

The industry is notorious for poor workplace safety, with many of the factories lacking basic equipment such as ventilation and air coolers.

In April 2013, the nine-storey Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people in one of the world’s worst industrial disasters.

3. Russia and China tell N Korea, US and South Korea to embrace de-escalation plan :-

Russia and China joined diplomatic forces on Tuesday and called on North Korea, South Korea and the United States to sign up to a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang’s missile programme.

The plan would see North Korea suspend its ballistic missile programme and the United States and South Korea simultaneously call a moratorium on large-scale missile exercises, both moves aimed at paving the way for multilateral talks.

The initiative was set out in a joint statement from the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries issued shortly after President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping held wide-ranging talks in the Kremlin.

“The situation in the region affects the national interests of both countries,” the joint statement said. “Russia and China will work in close coordination to advance a solution to the complex problem of the Korean Peninsula in every possible way.”

North Korea said on Tuesday it had successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time, which flew a trajectory that experts said could allow a weapon to hit the US state of Alaska.

Russia and China both share a land border with North Korea and have been involved in past efforts to try to calm tensions between Pyongyang and the West.

Moscow and Beijing used the same joint declaration to call on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move Washington says is necessitated by the North Korean missile threat.

The statement said Washington was using North Korea as a pretext to expand its military infrastructure in Asia and risked upsetting the strategic balance of power in the area.

“The deployment … of THAAD will cause serious harm to the strategic security interests of regional states, including Russia and China,” the statement said.

“Russia and China oppose the deployment of such systems and call on the relevant countries to immediately halt and cancel the process of deployment.”

4. 8 wounded in shooting outside French mosque :-

Eight people were injured late Sunday in a shooting outside a mosque in southern France, AFP cited the prosecutor’s office as saying.

The incident took place in front of the Arrahma mosque in the French city of Avignon at around 10:30 pm last night.

Police said they were not treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

“From what we know this evening, the mosque was not targeted. The fact that it happened in the street of the religious establishment was unconnected with it,” AFP quoted the prosecutor as saying.

According to AFP, at least two men got out of a car around 10:30 last night near the mosque and opened fire.

None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries, the prosecutor’s office said.

The shooting comes a few days after a man on Thursday attempted to drive his car into worshippers outside the Creteil mosque in southeast Paris.

5. Saudi Arabia and allies extend Qatar deadline by 48 hours :-

Saudi Arabia and its allies said early Monday they had decided to extend by 48 hours the deadline for Qatar to accept their list of demands to lift a de facto blockade.

With the deadline expiring at midnight Sunday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed to give Doha an extension to respond positively to their demands.

The move came after a request by the Kuwaiti emir who is acting as mediator in the Gulf crisis, according to a joint statement issued by the official Saudi SPA news agency.

The Kuwaiti government had requested the extension following Qatar’s announcement that it was due to hand over its response to the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced on June 5 they were severing ties with their Gulf neighbour, sparking the worst diplomatic crisis to hit the region in decades.

They accused Doha of supporting extremism and of being too close to regional arch-rival Iran, which Qatar has strongly denied.

On June 22 they presented a list of 13 demands and gave Doha 10 days to comply.

Riyadh’s demands include ending Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the closure of Al-Jazeera television, a downgrade of diplomatic ties with Iran and the shutdown of a Turkish military base in the emirate.

The four countries indicated in their statement that they would study and evaluate Qatar’s response before delivering their own reply to Kuwait.

Doha has so far indicated that it rejects the demands.

“The list of demands is made to be rejected,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said Saturday in Rome.

“The state of Qatar… is rejecting it as a principle,” he said, adding: “We are willing to engage in providing the proper conditions for further dialogue.”

6. Tour bus bursts into flames after collision in Germany; 18 killed :-

Eighteen people were killed when a tour bus burst into flames after colliding with a lorry on a motorway in the German state of Bavaria on Monday, police said.

Thirty people were injured, some seriously, in the crash, which occurred shortly after 7 am local time near the town of Stammbach, around 90 kilometres (56 miles) northeast of Nuremberg, police said. The cause was unclear.

“It’s clear now that all 18 of the missing people on the bus died in the accident,” police said on Twitter.

Forty-eight people were on the bus. They were between 41 and 81 years old and most were from the eastern state of Saxony, police said.

The identities of some passengers had yet to be established, but police do not think foreigners were among the passengers, spokeswoman Irene Brandenstein said. The lorry driver was not injured, she added.

Speaking at the scene of the crash, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said two people were in a critical condition.

“The heat’s development must have been intense, because there is nothing flammable left on the bus. Only steel parts are recognisable, so you can understand what that meant for the people in this bus,” he said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel described the crash as “terrible” and said: “Our thoughts are with the victims’ relatives and we wish all of the injured a quick recovery, from the bottom of our hearts.”

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