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Former Chancellor of the Exchequer
might become UK’s first
Indian-origin prime minister
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JULY 15, 2022
MCI (P) 034/10/2021
FOR 90 METRES
KAMAL IN MANI
AFTER 35 YEARS
Customs officials at New Delhi’s
Indira Gandhi International
Airport on Wednesday arrested
an Indian couple arriving from
Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam
after 45 guns worth over Rs22
lakh ($38,500) were seized from
two bags in their possession.
The couple were identified as
Jagjit Singh and his wife
“They admitted they had
previously smuggled in 25
pieces of guns (from Turkey)
valued over Rs12 lakh,” a senior
customs officer told news agency
“Ballistics reports will
confirm whether the guns are
real or not. But in a preliminary
report, NSG (National Security
Guard, the country’s elite
counter-terrorism unit) has
confirmed the guns are fully
functional and can be used.”
Photos tweeted by ANI show
a collection of handguns laid out
on a table with more pieces in a
Pilgrimage in Kashmir resumes
even as many go missing in floods
Thousands of Hindu pilgrims resumed
their trek to the popular Amarnath
cave shrine in the mountains of
Kashmir on Tuesday, even as scores
remained missing after flash floods hit
one of their camps.
On Friday, a sudden cloud burst
triggered flash floods that swept away
hundreds of tents and three large
community kitchens that serve the
pilgrims free food, leaving behind a
metres-thick layer of mud and debris.
The authorities have confirmed
16 deaths and said on Monday that
another 47 people were missing.
Retail inflation remains above 7%
in June, more rate hikes seen
India’s annual consumer inflation
remained painfully above the 7 per
cent mark and beyond the central
bank’s tolerance band for the sixth
month in a row, official data showed
on Tuesday, raising prospects of more
rate hikes next month.
Economists said retail prices
showed little sign of cooling despite
the Reserve Bank of India raising its
benchmark repo rate by 90 basis
points over the last two months and
the government slapping export curbs
on wheat and other food items.
June’s print of 7.01 per cent was
almost in line with the 7.04 per cent
forecast by economists in a Reuters
poll and higher than 6.26 per cent in
the year earlier period.
Top court holds Mallya guilty of
The Supreme Court sentenced tycoon
Vijay Mallya on Monday to four
months in jail for refusing to disclose
his assets after defaulting on a loan of
Rs90 billion ($1.13 billion) since the
collapse of his defunct Kingfisher
The businessman, with interests
ranging from aviation to liquor, is now
in London and the Indian government
has made efforts to extradite him.
Mallya has refused to appear before
the court despite several summons.
Uber tried to blame Indian system
for 2014 Delhi rape by its driver
Uber staff in its San Francisco
headquarters panicked after a woman
passenger was raped in a cab by its
driver in New Delhi on Dec 5, 2014,
a tranche of leaked documents has
The company immediately took the
line that it was the “flawed” Indian
system of background checks of
drivers that led to the accused
Shiv Kumar Yadav to commit a
second sexual harassment case.
The Indian Express, which received
these leaked documents, said in a
report that an unmistakable effort was
made to pitch the blame on local
Swiggy identifies ‘mystery’
horse-rider in viral video
Popular Indian food aggregator Swiggy
has clarified that a man riding a horse
in a recent viral video is not one of its
The video showed the man
galloping on a rain-soaked road in
Mumbai, carrying a bag bearing
Swiggy’s logo. It generated a range of
responses, from appreciation of the
man’s commitment to his job to
criticism towards Swiggy.
But Swiggy said the horse-rider was
a teenager who had “borrowed” a
Oppo evades $770m in import tax
An investigation by the Directorate of
Revenue Intelligence has found that
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo
evaded customs duty worth Rs43.9
billion ($770 million), a government
statement said on Wednesday.
Indian investigators found evidence
that Oppo wrongfully used duty
exemptions for imported items for use
in mobile phone production, the
They also allege Oppo made royalty
payments, which were not added to
the transaction value of imported
goods, as required by Indian law.
A notice “has been issued to Oppo
India, demanding the customs duty”,
the government said.
SpiceJet sees another technical
glitch after flight to Dubai
SpiceJet, the Indian airline already
under scrutiny from regulators, had
another technical issue after a flight to
Dubai, according to people familiar
with the matter.
The plane, an eight-year-old Boeing
737, flew from India to Dubai on
Monday and after landing was
discovered to have a technical issue
with its nose wheel.
The incident wasn’t life-threatening,
and all passengers and crew safely
International trade settlements
The Reserve Bank of India is putting
into place a mechanism for
international trade settlements in
rupees, which banks will need seek
prior approval to use, it said in a
statement on Monday.
The order takes immediate effect
and the mechanism is designed to
“promote growth of global trade with
emphasis on exports,” the RBI said.
Raja, one of the oldest tigers in
One of the oldest tigers in India – Raja
– died at the age of 25 years and 10
months at a rescue centre in north
Bengal in the early hours of Monday.
“It was one of the oldest tigers in
India and was brought to the
Khairabari Leopard Rescue Centre at
Jaldapara in north Bengal in August
2008,” said divisional forest officer of
Jaldapara Deepak M.
Normally, tigers live up to 16 years
in the wild and up to 30 years in
Raja was taken to the rescue centre
in north Bengal after a crocodile
partially bit off its right hind leg.
Autorickshaw crammed with
27 passengers seized
When police in in Fatehpur, Uttar
Pradesh, stopped a speeding
auto-rickshaw on Monday, they were
surprised to find 27 people crammed
into the small vehicle.
A video showing a policeman
counting the passengers as they exit
the vehicle has gone viral on social
The autorickshaw was seized for
violating the speed limit and
Gujarat man has rare blood group
A 65-year-old man from Gujarat has
been identified with a blood group
which is India’s first and the world’s
10th unique group, IANS reported.
The man, who is a heart patient in
Ahmedabad and needed blood for
surgery, has been identified with EMM
negative blood group, a unique blood
type which cannot be categorised into
the existing groups of A, B, O or AB.
There are only nine people in the
world who fall into this rare blood
Couple with 45 guns arrested at Delhi airport
An SPH Media Limited publication
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
(International & Transactional Sales)
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July 15, 2022
“It will be a great feeling to see
an Indian as the PM of a country
which very ruthlessly ruled India
for a very long time!”
– Netizen Emon Mukherjee on UK’s Prime Minister
candidates Rishi Sunak (above) and Suella Braverman (left)
Half a world away from the political
drama in London, many Indians are
closely following the twists and turns
in the search for the next UK Prime
Minister to replace Boris Johnson.
The distant spectators are curious to
see how two candidates with Indian
Bookmakers’ favourite Rishi Sunak
and attorney-general Suella Braver-
man are campaigning for the Conserva-
tive party leadership.
On Wednesday, former Chancellor
Sunak won the first round of voting by
MPs to choose the next Conservative
leader and prime minister. He got 88
votes – ahead of Trade Minister Penny
Mordaunt with 67 and Foreign Secre-
tary Liz Truss with 50.
Ms Suella came in sixth with 32
votes, while Chancellor Nadhim Za-
hawi and former Health Secretary
Jeremy Hunt were eliminated from the
The six still in the contest faced
another round of voting on Thursday.
The field is expected to be narrowed
to two by the end of next week,
before around 160,000 Tory members
decide on the next party leader and
If either Mr Sunak or Ms Suella is
announced the next prime minister on
Sept 5, it will mark the first prime
minister of Indian origin in the UK.
Both their Indian families migrated
to Britain in the 1960s in search of
Britain ruled India for about 200
years before the South Asian country
gained independence in 1947 after a
prolonged freedom struggle.
“It will be a great feeling to see an
Indian as the PM of a country which
very ruthlessly ruled India for a very
long time!” tweeted netizen Emon
There are around 1.4 million Indi-
ans in Britain, making them the coun-
try’s single largest ethnic minority.
The two countries enjoy friendly
relations. Bilateral trade stood at £21.5
billion ($35.6 billion) in 2020-21.
Leading Indian industrialist Anand
Mahindra joined the steady stream of
online reaction to the possibility of a
UK prime minister with Indian her-
He posted a doctored image of 10
Downing Street, the prime minister’s
official residence, with its famous
black door adorned with marigolds
and mango leaves – symbols of an
auspicious beginning in the Hindu
Some netizens have tweeted photos
of Mr Sunak under the slogan “The
Empire Strikes Back”, while Indian
newspapers have paid unusually close
attention to the race.
Mr Sunak, 42, was born in the UK’s
Southampton. His father was a general
practitioner for the National Health
Service (NHS) while his mother ran a
His grandparents were born in Pun-
jab and migrated to East Africa before
moving to the UK in the 1960s. They
were believed to have taken up admin-
Mr Sunak attended elite schools in
the UK, including Oxford, before get-
ting an MBA from Stanford University
in the Unites States. His impressive
resume includes working as an invest-
ment banker at Goldman Sachs and
various hedge funds.
In 2009, Mr Sunak married UK-
based Indian fashion designer Akshata
Murty, daughter of Indian billionaire
N. R. Narayana Murthy, founder of
Indian outsourcing giant Infosys.
That connection threatened to dent
Mr Sunak’s popularity in the UK after
it was revealed that his wife had not
been paying UK tax on her foreign
income through her “non-domiciled”
status, which is available to foreign
nationals who do not regard the UK as
their permanent home.
Ms Akshata later said she would
start to pay British tax for her global
income. She is an Indian citizen and
owns a 0.9 per cent stake in Infosys.
She and Mr Sunak entered The
Sunday Times UK Rich List ranked at
No. 222 with a reported net worth of
£730 million, the newspaper reported
Mr Murthy’s family, based in Ben-
galuru, has largely avoided discussing
Mr Sunak’s political journey.
Mr Sunak’s colleague Suella, cur-
rently the UK’s attorney-general and
also in the race to succeed Mr John-
son, was born into a Christian family
of Indian origin.
Her parents are Christie and Uma
Fernandes, who emigrated to the UK
in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauri-
Her mother, born into a Tamil
Hindu family, was a nurse and a
councillor. Her father, who is of Goan
ancestry, worked for a housing associa-
Ms Suella is the niece of former
Mauritian High Commissioner to Lon-
don Mahen Kundasamy.
She had talked about how her
parents came to the UK with nothing.
In 2017, she posted on Facebook
that her mother was awarded the
British Empire Medal for 45 years of
service in the NHS as a nurse and for
voluntary work abroad.
“It was Britain that gave them
hope, security and opportunity. This
country has afforded me incredible
opportunities in education and career,
and I owe a debt of gratitude to this
country,” Ms Suella said in a recent
She attended Cambridge University
and got her master’s degree in Euro-
pean and French law at Pantheon-Sor-
bonne University. She then went on to
specialise in commercial litigation, judi-
cial review, immigration and planning
law at No. 5 Chambers in London. She
entered politics in 2005.
Married to Briton Rael Braverman,
the mother of two’s maternity leave
famously brought about an overdue
law change last year to allow her to
remain a Cabinet minister while away
to give birth.
Announcing her PM bid on ITV, Ms
Suella said she wanted to cut taxes
and public spending, stop migrants
illegally crossing the English Channel
and “get rid of all this woke rubbish”.
Making her pitch to Conservative
activists and lawmakers, she said:
“Don’t vote for me because I’m a
woman. Don’t vote for me because
I’m brown. Vote for me because I love
this country and would do anything
US Vice-President Kamala Harris is
another example of a politician of
Indian origin who made it big abroad.
Residents of her ancestral village in
Tamil Nadu celebrated her inaugura-
tion with firecrackers and gifts of food.
Indian-origin frontrunners in UK PM race
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