Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un pledge stronger ties in Vladivostok

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have pledged to boost ties at their first ever summit.

The pair shook hands on Russky Island near the port city of Vladivostok, in Russia’s far east.

The Kremlin said the leaders would discuss denuclearisation, but Mr Kim is also expected to be seeking support after talks with the US collapsed.

The talks in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal on North Korea’s nuclear programme.

At their opening remarks the Russian and North Korean leaders referred to their two countries’ long history of ties and Mr Putin said he wanted to help calm Korean tensions.

“I am confident your visit today to Russia will help us to better understand how we can resolve the situation on the Korean peninsula and what Russia can do to support the positive processes currently taking place,” Mr Putin said.

Mr Kim said he hoped for “a very useful meeting in developing the relationship between the two countries, who have a long friendship and history, into a more stable and sound one”.

The North Korean leader greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived on Wednesday.

Mr Kim was entertained by a brass band before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?
This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of nuclear talks with the US in February, the BBC’s Laura Bicker says.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit.

Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US, our correspondent adds.

Mr Kim may also try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts believe this summit is a chance for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have pledged to boost ties at their first ever summit.

The pair shook hands on Russky Island near the port city of Vladivostok, in Russia’s far east.

The Kremlin said the leaders would discuss denuclearisation, but Mr Kim is also expected to be seeking support after talks with the US collapsed.

The talks in Hanoi with US President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal on North Korea’s nuclear programme.

At their opening remarks the Russian and North Korean leaders referred to their two countries’ long history of ties and Mr Putin said he wanted to help calm Korean tensions.

“I am confident your visit today to Russia will help us to better understand how we can resolve the situation on the Korean peninsula and what Russia can do to support the positive processes currently taking place,” Mr Putin said.

Mr Kim said he hoped for “a very useful meeting in developing the relationship between the two countries, who have a long friendship and history, into a more stable and sound one”.

The North Korean leader greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived on Wednesday.

Mr Kim was entertained by a brass band before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?
This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of nuclear talks with the US in February, the BBC’s Laura Bicker says.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit.

Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US, our correspondent adds.

Mr Kim may also try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts believe this summit is a chance for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

The Valence Group Advises INEOS on Its Sale of INEOS Melamines and Paraform to Prefere Resins Holding GmbH

Business Wire India

The Valence Group Advises INEOS Enterprises, a division of INEOS (“INEOS”), on its sale of INEOS Melamines and Paraform to Prefere Resins Holding GmbH.

 

The Valence Group acted as financial advisor to INEOS Enterprises on its announced sale of INEOS Melamines & Paraform to Prefere Resins Holding GmbH. The agreement covers sites in USA, Germany and Indonesia.

 

INEOS Paraform is Europe’s second largest producer of Paraformaldehyde. INEOS Melamines is a world leader in the supply of melamine resins into coatings, paper, textile, tyre, rubber, and decorative laminates industries.

 

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

 

About The Valence Group

 

The Valence Group is a specialist investment bank offering M&A advisory services exclusively to companies and investors in the chemicals, materials and related sectors. The Valence Group team includes a unique combination of professionals with backgrounds in investment banking and strategy consulting within the chemicals and materials industries, all focused exclusively on providing M&A advisory services to the chemicals and materials sector. The firm’s offices are located in New York and London.

 

About INEOS

 

INEOS is one of the world’s largest chemicals companies and the 50th largest business in the world, employing around 20,000 people across 171 sites in 24 countries. It is a privately owned company with sales in 2017 of $60bn and EBITDA of $7bn. In addition to its growth in petrochemicals, it has acquired oil & gas fields in the UK, Denmark and Norway and is a top 10 company and the biggest private enterprise operating in the North Sea.

 

About INEOS Enterprises

 

INEOS Enterprises comprises a portfolio of businesses manufacturing chemical products in Northern Europe USA and Canada, with sales of €2bn around the world. The business is focused on the developing needs of its customers and rapid growth through investment in new products and manufacturing facilities or by acquisition. It employs c. 2,000 people across sites in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. INEOS Enterprises is not part of the INEOS Group Holdings bank group.

 

About Prefere Resins

 

Prefere Resins is a leading European producer of phenolic resins, headquartered in Erkner, Germany and operates production sites in Finland, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Poland and Romania. The company also runs three R&D sites (Germany, Austria and Finland) and four regional sales offices (Germany, UK, Finland and Austria). The Company produces around 350,000 tonnes in volume per year and employs over 320 people.

 

 


Source: Businesswire

“Rich And Powerful Playing With Fire”: Top Court On ‘Conspiracy’ Claim

Three Supreme Court judges today examined an affidavit by lawyer Utsav Bains claiming a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi with sex harassment allegations. The allegations of “bench fixing are so serious that it requires investigation”, said the judges, who are expected to order an independent inquiry this afternoon.

“The day has come when we have to rise and tell the powerful and rich people – you can’t run the institution,” said the bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta. “Whenever big persons are involved these things are happening.”

The court made it clear that the inquiry would not affect the in-house probe into the allegations against the Chief Justice.

Utsav Bains, in his affidavit, said he was offered Rs. 1.5 crore by one Ajay to represent a former employee of the Supreme Court and arrange a press conference against Chief Justice Gogoi at the Press Club.

The Chief Justice has strongly denied the allegations, asserting that the independence of the judiciary is “under threat” and it was being made a “scapegoat”.

The court said it wanted to know who approached Utsav Bains and expressed concern about the “fixing game”.

“Rich and powerful of this country are playing with fire and this must stop. People try to run by money power. When someone tries to improve malign them, kill them. This can’t go on,” it said.

“The fixing thing is serious. Don’t think the Supreme Court can be run by a fixer or money power. The way this institution has been treated for the last three years, it would die.”

Yesterday too, the judges used strong words while considering the case. “We have to find out the truth. Is there any fixing going on here? The entire country will lose faith if we shut our eyes… In case this affidavit is false, we will not tolerate it,” they had said.

The unprecedented allegations against a top judge of the country have added to a series of setbacks the judiciary has been facing over the last year – starting with a press conference in January 2018 by four of the senior-most judges who spoke against the Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Later, an attempt was made by the opposition parties to impeach Justice Dipak Misra.

On Tuesday, the full court, after a meeting, set up a three-judge bench to look into the allegations against Justice Gogoi.

The judges met the CBI chief, the chief of the Intelligence Bureau and the chief of Delhi Police and asked them to look into the documents submitted by Utsav Bains in a sealed cover.

NEW DELHI: Three Supreme Court judges today examined an affidavit by lawyer Utsav Bains claiming a conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi with sex harassment allegations. The allegations of “bench fixing are so serious that it requires investigation”, said the judges, who are expected to order an independent inquiry this afternoon.

“The day has come when we have to rise and tell the powerful and rich people – you can’t run the institution,” said the bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RF Nariman and Deepak Gupta. “Whenever big persons are involved these things are happening.”

The court made it clear that the inquiry would not affect the in-house probe into the allegations against the Chief Justice.

Utsav Bains, in his affidavit, said he was offered Rs. 1.5 crore by one Ajay to represent a former employee of the Supreme Court and arrange a press conference against Chief Justice Gogoi at the Press Club.

The Chief Justice has strongly denied the allegations, asserting that the independence of the judiciary is “under threat” and it was being made a “scapegoat”.

The court said it wanted to know who approached Utsav Bains and expressed concern about the “fixing game”.

“Rich and powerful of this country are playing with fire and this must stop. People try to run by money power. When someone tries to improve malign them, kill them. This can’t go on,” it said.

“The fixing thing is serious. Don’t think the Supreme Court can be run by a fixer or money power. The way this institution has been treated for the last three years, it would die.”

Yesterday too, the judges used strong words while considering the case. “We have to find out the truth. Is there any fixing going on here? The entire country will lose faith if we shut our eyes… In case this affidavit is false, we will not tolerate it,” they had said.

The unprecedented allegations against a top judge of the country have added to a series of setbacks the judiciary has been facing over the last year – starting with a press conference in January 2018 by four of the senior-most judges who spoke against the Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Later, an attempt was made by the opposition parties to impeach Justice Dipak Misra.

On Tuesday, the full court, after a meeting, set up a three-judge bench to look into the allegations against Justice Gogoi.

The judges met the CBI chief, the chief of the Intelligence Bureau and the chief of Delhi Police and asked them to look into the documents submitted by Utsav Bains in a sealed cover.

Health Is Wealth 2018 Contest Gets an Enthusiastic Response From Employees

Business Wire India

  • Mr. Ashwin Muthiah, Chairman Manali Petrochemicals & Founder Chairman of AM International Group, Singapore, gave away prizes to the winners
  • Mr. Praveen Kumar, aged 28 years and a part of the mechanical department, received a cheque of Rs. 59,000/-; he lost 11.8 kg weight in 3 months

Manali Petrochemicals Limited (MPL), one of India’s premier petrochemical companies with a commitment to science and innovation concluded the “Health is Wealth” 2018 contest for employees. Mr. Praveen Kumar, aged 28 years, walked away as the winner, with a cheque of Rs. 59,000/- having lost an incredible 11.8 kgs in 3 months. Mr. Ashwin Muthiah, Chairman Manali Petrochemicals & Founder Chairman of AM International Group, Singapore who is a fitness and health enthusiast himself, gave away the prizes, showcasing the group’s commitment towards employee awareness for healthy living.  
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ashwin Muthiah, Chairman Manali Petrochemicals & Founder Chairman of AM International Group, Singapore said, “At MPL and all our AM International group companies, we believe the health of an employee is as important as the health of the organization. A physically active life leads to mental alertness and healthy living. I am personally committed to ensuring that our employees and their families imbibe fitness in their daily routines. It goes with our HR philosophy of supporting work-life balance for our staff.”
 
The “Health is Wealth” 2018 contest was conceptualized with the aim of creating awareness about physical fitness, healthy living among employees and join the global fight against obesity. The HR team observed that with increased state-of-the-art mechanization and computerization at plants, employees were spending long hours at the desk and were in the danger of falling prey to obesity. The program was launched among all the 3,000 employees across the company’s three plants in Chennai, Tuticorin, and Pondicherry. It ran for a period of three months, starting December 15, 2018. A total of 772 participants enrolled for the challenge across various management grades, where weight loss for healthy living was the key criteria. A nutritionist from Qua Nutrition guided the participants and offered guidance pertaining to mindful eating – after all, ‘what we are is what we eat’.
 
Mr. Praveen Kumar from Mechanical department, who lost a whopping 11.8kg in three months, was the winner; he was handed over a cheque of Rs. 59,000/- by the Chairman, Mr. Ashwin Muthiah, in a ceremony in the Chennai plant in the presence of the leadership team and all employees. According to Mr. Praveen Kumar, the contest inspired him to inculcate a regular fitness regime. His new daily routine included necessary lifestyle course corrections – 45 minutes of regular exercising and walking in the morning and evening. Next, he took care of his diet, by cutting down on tea and coffee, controlling the intake of sugar and sweets, and focusing on not overeating. Mr. Charles Fernandez from Electrical and Mr. M Rajesh from Mechanical engineering departments lost 6.2 kg and 4.3 kg respectively and won the second and third prizes, winning Rs. 5,000/- for every kg lost.
 
Employees have received the initiative with great enthusiasm. Initial observations suggest that the launch of “Health is Wealth” contest has led to an increased awareness among employees towards weight management and fitness. It has resulted in reduced absenteeism, and many employees have provided feedback about feeling more energized, fit, and healthy, due to this initiative. The company plans to continue such awareness programs that encourage employees and their families to lead a fitness routine and contribute to work-life balance.
 
“Health is Wealth” will now become an annual wellness event for all employees at Manali Petrochemicals. Other group companies of AM International, Singapore across India, Singapore and the United Kingdom, are actively considering rolling out such initiatives for their staff. At MPL, employees are now preparing themselves to take a winning shot for the “Health is Wealth” Contest 2019!
Source: Businesswire

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: PM Modi’s Varanasi Roadshow Today In Mega Prelude To Filing Papers

Varanasi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin a two-day visit today to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, in a mega BJP show that will lead up to the PM filing his election papers on Friday to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

PM Modi will reach the holy city on the banks of the Ganga this afternoon and lead a roadshow starting from the gates of the famous Banaras Hindu University (BHU), passing through ancient temples and ghats before finally ending in the holiest ghat of them all, the Dashashwamedh. The prime minister will also attend the evening aarti at this ghat. He will end the day with an address to eminent people of the city.

“Main Bhi Chowkidar”, screams an LED flotilla on the river, greeting the Prime Minister with his main theme this election.

Top BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah, top union ministers and chief ministers are expected to attend the roadshow going from Lanka near Banaras Hindu University to the Dashashwamedh Ghat via Godoliya.

Among allies, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray are likely to be seen tomorrow.

The show of strength takes place amid heightened buzz over the Congress fielding Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the city, setting up an outsized contest towering over the 2019 election.

On Friday, the Prime Minister will address a gathering of BJP workers before visiting the famous Kal Bhairav temple in the city. He will then visit the city’s collectorate to file his nomination papers.

PM Modi remains an immensely popular figure in Varanasi, despite some resentment over a UP government-funded project to widen roads that lead to the landmark Kashi Vishwanath temple – a process that has led to the demolition of many homes and temples in the area, some of them centuries old.

But of equal interest this election in the city is whether PM Modi’s opponent will be Priyanka Gandhi. “The chances are 50-50,” Congress sources have told NDTV, revealing that discussions are on between its top leaders.

Priyanka Gandhi has said more than once that she would contest from Varanasi “if the party asks me”.

Sources say Priyanka Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi, former Congress president, is among those who have reservations about sending her to battle in the very first election after she joined politics in January. But the sources add that Priyanka Gandhi has conveyed strongly that she is not worried about winning or losing.

It is not clear if the opposition “gathbandhan” (alliance) of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP will back Priyanka Gandhi and withdraw their own candidate. On Monday, the Samajwadi Party named Shalini Yadav, the daughter-in-law of a former Congress lawmaker, as the opposition candidate from Varanasi.

In 2014, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal was Mr Modi’s main opponent in Varanasi. He managed an impressive number of votes but ended up as the loser.

Varanasi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin a two-day visit today to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, in a mega BJP show that will lead up to the PM filing his election papers on Friday to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

PM Modi will reach the holy city on the banks of the Ganga this afternoon and lead a roadshow starting from the gates of the famous Banaras Hindu University (BHU), passing through ancient temples and ghats before finally ending in the holiest ghat of them all, the Dashashwamedh. The prime minister will also attend the evening aarti at this ghat. He will end the day with an address to eminent people of the city.

“Main Bhi Chowkidar”, screams an LED flotilla on the river, greeting the Prime Minister with his main theme this election.

Top BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah, top union ministers and chief ministers are expected to attend the roadshow going from Lanka near Banaras Hindu University to the Dashashwamedh Ghat via Godoliya.

Among allies, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray are likely to be seen tomorrow.

The show of strength takes place amid heightened buzz over the Congress fielding Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the city, setting up an outsized contest towering over the 2019 election.

On Friday, the Prime Minister will address a gathering of BJP workers before visiting the famous Kal Bhairav temple in the city. He will then visit the city’s collectorate to file his nomination papers.

PM Modi remains an immensely popular figure in Varanasi, despite some resentment over a UP government-funded project to widen roads that lead to the landmark Kashi Vishwanath temple – a process that has led to the demolition of many homes and temples in the area, some of them centuries old.

But of equal interest this election in the city is whether PM Modi’s opponent will be Priyanka Gandhi. “The chances are 50-50,” Congress sources have told NDTV, revealing that discussions are on between its top leaders.

Priyanka Gandhi has said more than once that she would contest from Varanasi “if the party asks me”.

Sources say Priyanka Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi, former Congress president, is among those who have reservations about sending her to battle in the very first election after she joined politics in January. But the sources add that Priyanka Gandhi has conveyed strongly that she is not worried about winning or losing.

It is not clear if the opposition “gathbandhan” (alliance) of Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP will back Priyanka Gandhi and withdraw their own candidate. On Monday, the Samajwadi Party named Shalini Yadav, the daughter-in-law of a former Congress lawmaker, as the opposition candidate from Varanasi.

In 2014, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal was Mr Modi’s main opponent in Varanasi. He managed an impressive number of votes but ended up as the loser.

Get an Affordable Interest Rate on Your Loan Against Property With These Tips

Business Wire India
By availing a loan against property in India, you can put your immovable asset to good use by pledging it as collateral. This way you can avail the funding you need to pay for a grand wedding or dream college for your daughter, invest in business expansion or purchase a holiday home. However, the interest rates on a loan against property, just like any other loan, determine its affordability. As securing a lower loan against property interest rate will make repayment easy, here are 6 things you can do to ensure this.
 
Lower your principal
While you may wish to borrow a little more than you need for unexpected expenses, it is important that you do not overborrow. Borrowing more than you are eligible for can result in higher interest rates as the lender may view your application with a higher risk for default. To be on the safe side without a spike in interest rates, consider the Flexi facility offered by Bajaj Finserv’s Loan Against Property. With this, you can borrow as you need from the sanctioned amount and pay interest only on the used sum.
 
Choose the right kind of interest
Decide between a fixed and a floating interest rate for your loan with care. The key to choosing between the two is to assume the best possibilities of future lending rates. Those who borrowed on floating interest rates are sure to have benefited from the two drops in the repo rates recently. What’s more, there are zero prepayment and part-prepayment charges on floating interest loans, so you end up saving even more when you decide to make prepayments.
 
Shop for a loan from top lenders
While you may have had an enduring relationship with your bank or a certain lender, explore your options with top lenders who may have better interest rates and other features. Bajaj Finserv, one such reputed lender, offers funding up to Rs.5 crore on nominal loan against property interest rates while offering online application and online account management.
 
Pledge the right kind of property
Pledging a property in a prime location that has a high value can help you get lower interest rates and even a higher loan sanction. However, if the property is old, not maintained, in a location that is unpopular, the lender may not offer you favourable terms. This is because, as per the lender, recovering the borrowed amount, in case you default, is more difficult with such a property.
 
Check your eligibility beforehand
Taking note of your lender’s loan against property eligibility criteria not only helps you avoid rejection when you apply, but also reduces chances of lowering your credit score. Once you check if you qualify, find out about the loan against property documents required and have them ready before applying for a seamless experience.
 
One way to check the amount you are eligible for and unlock a world of customised deals is to check your pre-approved offer. This way you can also enjoy instant approvals and cut-down processing times on the best deals for a loan against property in India. 
Source: Businesswire