‘AI, energy to be in focus’: PM Modi leaves for Italy to attend G7 outreach session

News Network
June 13, 2024

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New Delhi: As he embarks on a visit to Italy to attend an Outreach session at the G7 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said its focus would be on artificial intelligence, energy, Africa, and the Mediterranean.

Modi said this in a departure statement before leaving for the European nation in his first foreign trip after becoming prime minister for a third term.

The prime minister said issues crucial for the Global South will also be deliberated upon at the Outreach session.

The G7 summit, to be held in the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Italy's Apulia region from June 13 to 15, is expected to be dominated by the raging war in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza.

"At the invitation of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, I am travelling to Apulia region in Italy to participate in the G7 Outreach summit on June 14," Modi said.

The prime minister said he was glad that his first visit in the third consecutive term is to Italy for the G-7 Summit.

"During the discussions at the Outreach session, the focus will be on artificial intelligence, energy, Africa, and the Mediterranean," Modi said.

"It will be an opportunity to bring greater synergy between the outcomes of the G20 Summit held under India's Presidency and the forthcoming G7 Summit, and deliberate on issues which are crucial for the Global South," he said.

Modi will have a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Meloni.

"Prime Minister Meloni's two visits to India last year were instrumental in infusing momentum and depth in our bilateral agenda," he said.

"We remain committed to consolidating the India-Italy strategic partnership, and bolstering cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean regions," he said.

The prime minister is likely to hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit. "I am also looking forward to meeting other leaders participating in the Summit," he said.

The G7 comprises the US, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan.

Italy is holding the current presidency of the G7 (Group of Seven) and is hosting the summit in that capacity.

A key focus of the Italian presidency has been to defend the rules-based international system.

According to Italy, Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine has undermined its principles and triggered growing instability, with multiple crises unfolding worldwide. The G7 will give equal importance to the conflict in the Middle East, with its consequences for the global agenda, it says.

The bloc expanded into the G8 between 1997 and 2013, with the inclusion of Russia. However, Russia's participation was suspended in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea.

In line with the grouping's tradition, representatives of a number of countries and international organisations are invited to the summit by the host nation that holds the chair.

Besides India, Italy has invited leaders from 11 developing countries in Africa, South America and the Indo-Pacific region to attend the summit. Though the European Union is not a member of the G7, it attends the annual summit.

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News Network
July 6,2024

Mangaluru: District minister Dinesh Gundu Rao directed the district administration of Dakshina Kannada to conduct an inquiry into the alleged substandard work in the Riverfront project, which is being undertaken by Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL) in the city.

At a Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) meeting on Friday, MLC Ivan D’Souza and Mangaluru City South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath brought the issue of the collapse of a retaining wall constructed by the side of the Nethravati River in Boloor to the minister’s attention.

The minister stated that a detailed report should be submitted within a week. Raising the issue, D’Souza mentioned that despite having access to advanced technologies, MSCL has failed to ensure the quality of work.

He added that people have been blaming the representatives for the lapses of officials. Officials of the MSCL explained that a 740-metre-long retaining wall was constructed by the side of the river, as part of the 2.1km riverfront project. Since soil could not be filled during the work, a portion of the retaining wall, about 12-metres-long, collapsed during the rain. The contractor has been asked to reconstruct the wall, the official said.

In response to a query, an MSCL official stated that two cases pertaining to the riverfront project are pending before the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

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Agencies
July 12,2024

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New Delhi: Retail inflation increased to 5.08 per cent in June as kitchen items became dearer, according to government data released on Friday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based retail inflation was 4.8 per cent in May 2024 and 4.87 per cent in June 2023 (previous low).

Inflation in the food basket was 9.36 per cent in June, up from 8.69 per cent in May, according to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The government has tasked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure that the CPI inflation remains at 4 per cent with a margin of 2 per cent on either side.

The RBI projected the CPI inflation for 2024-25 at 4.5 per cent, with Q1 at 4.9 per cent, Q2 at 3.8 per cent, Q3 at 4.6 per cent, and Q4 at 4.5 per cent.

The central bank mainly factors in the retail inflation while deciding its bi-monthly monetary policy.

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News Network
July 7,2024

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Henley & Partners Passport Index revealed India's passport strength improved by three position in 2024. The Indian passport is currently ranked 80th place as it has weakened during the past ten years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. It has dropped from 76th position to 80th. 

The Index is based on exclusive International Air Transport Authority (Iata) data. In addition, publicly available and reliable online sources were also used to cross-check each passport against all 227 possible travel destinations.

List of countries Indian nationals can visit visa-free or get visa-on-arrival in 2024:

Africa: Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde islands, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zimbabwe

Asia: Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macao (SAR China), Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines (valid or unexpired American, Japanese, Australian, Canadian, Schengen, Singapore or UK visa, or permanent residence permit from these states) Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste

Americas: Bolivia, El Salvador

Caribbean: Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago

Oceania: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau Islands, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Middle East: Jordan, Oman, Qatar

NOTE for UAE: As of December 6, 2023, Indian nationals with a normal passport valid for a minimum of six months from the arrival date, holding a visit visa or green card issued by the US which is valid for a minimum of six months or a UK or EU residence ID which is valid for a minimum of six months, can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days for a charge of Dh191 (subject to change). They can apply to extend their stay for an additional 14 days for Dh250 (subject to change) through Amer offices in Dubai.

Indian nationals holding an extension letter for US residency are not eligible for a visa on arrival. (According to a note published on Emirates airline website).

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