The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran has shown commitment to its end of the nuclear deal struck last year while visiting Tehran December 18.
Iran has complained about the US extending a sanctions package for another decade. The US says these sanctions are unrelated to the deal; Iran disagrees.
“We are satisfied with the implementation of the [nuclear agreement] and hope that this process will continue,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told the press in the Iranian capital, Reuters reports, citing the IRNA news agency.
“Iran has been committed to its engagement so far and this is important,” he said. Amano was in Tehran to meet head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi. After the White House said earlier this week that the sanctions bill would become law even without President Barack Obama’s signature, Iran requested a meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) commission to discuss the situation and ordered its scientists to start developing nuclear systems to power ships. Salehi presented the maritime nuclear propulsion project to Amano and said the country would provide more details on it in three months, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The initial outline did include what is so far the most controversial issue of the project: the level of uranium-enrichment powering the ships will require.
Even though India is not a party to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, it has vital commercial and strategic stakes that keep its interest alive in the troubled waters.
Soon after an international tribunal in The Hague ruled that China’s claims to historical rights in the South China Sea have no legal basis, India said the countries involved in the row should resolve their disputes through peaceful means “without threat or use of force” and show “utmost respect” to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which establishes the global legal order of the seas and oceans.
“India supports freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in UNCLOS,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.
India and the South China Sea
In reality, this issue is not someone else’s problem for India. ONGC Videsh — the overseas arm of India’s state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp.,known as OVL — has been searching for hydrocarbons in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam, which it entered in the late 1980s after securing the exploration license for block 06.1. About a decade ago, Vietnam permitted India to explore two more blocks — 127 and 128 — which lie in waters also claimed by China.
As an arbitration court in The Hague gets ready to make a decision regarding an ongoing territorial dispute between China and the Philippines, China has reportedly told some other Asian countries that it may leave the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea if it disagrees with the ruling.
The Philippines has been the most vocal critic of China’s activities in the South China Sea, and filed a case with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013 in an attempt to invalidate China’s “nine-dash line”, China’s version of what territory it owns.
Here is a map showing different maritime claims each country has, many overlap each other.
The Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, has alleged that an equipment lobbyist offered him a bribe of Rs. 14 crore, which he reported to Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony.
In a recent interview General Singh spoke on a variety of issues, including the controversy surrounding his date of birth and the “shocking” state of affairs in the Army which had allowed the Chief to be offered a bribe.
The General said the lobbyist offered him the bribe in order to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles of a particular make cleared for purchase. He said the vehicles, 7,000 of which were already in use in the Army, had been sold over the years at exorbitant prices with no questions asked. He said there was no proper facility where they could be serviced and maintained and yet they continued to be sold to the Army: “Just imagine, one of these men had the gumption to walk up to
me and tell me that if I cleared the tranche, he would give me Rs. 14 crore. He was offering a bribe to me, to the Army Chief. He told me that people had taken money before me and they will take money after me.” Read More
A few days after raging a controversy over the Jaipur pitch, former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi has once again hogged the limelight by backing an investigation by a magazine, ‘Sports Illustrated’ into rampant spot-fixing in the subcontinent.
The magazine has claimed that the second edition of the IPL, which was held in South Africa and some of the matches in the recently-concluded World Cup were fixed by a sophisticated bookmaker network.
“Some of the incidents described are factual. Quite an accurate story. Well researched I must say,” Modi wrote in his twitter page yesterday. Modi had earlier raised a controversy by suggesting that the change of pitch for the IPL match between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings in Jaipur had been done at the behest of BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan.
The controversy has been raked up because of a fine legal quibble over what exactly was being transferred when an overseas company licences an end-user in India to use its copyrighted software.
The companies have strenuously argued that they weren’t transferring the copyright to the software but only the rights to use a copyrighted software.
The hairsplitting logic came to the fore in a case that came before the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR) in the case of Geoquest Systems, a Dutch company that provides specialised software used in the exploration and production of mineral oils.
Geoquest supplied the software to an Indian company; the software packages were supplied outside India and the payment was also received abroad.
When the case came up before the AAR, Geoquest argued that it retained the copyright over the software and it had only transferred the rights to use a copyrighted software. The revenue authorities characterised the income as fees for technical services (FTS), which were taxable as royalty.
The AAR said since the Indian company could not change the source code in the software, the copyright always remained with the overseas company. It accepted the Geoquest argument that a mere transfer of software would not qualify as a transaction that could be characterised as a royalty payment and was therefore not taxable.
Recently, however, the Delhi tax tribunal refused to buy the same argument in a case involving Microsoft Corporation. It held in favour of the tax authorities by upholding the argument that the right to use software had to be treated as a royalty payment and therefore taxable.
In a third case, the Mumbai tax tribunal upheld the view that where the payment was made to obtain rights limited to enabling limited effective operation of the software, it could not be treated as royalty. It ruled in this case in favour of Reliance Industries.
Mukherjee could settle the raging controversy over this issue because of the conflicting verdicts once and for all.
Another area that has been mired in legal debate is that of withholding tax obligations on payments to a non-resident.
Tax rules make it mandatory for a person making a payment to a non-resident which is chargeable to tax in India to withhold tax.
The Karnataka high court in the case of Samsung Electronics held that any payment to a non-resident will be subject to withholding tax in India irrespective of its chargeability to tax in India.
However, the Supreme Court in the case of GE India Technology Centre held that any sum remitted to a non-resident which was not chargeable to tax under the income tax act did not require tax to be withheld in India.
Tax experts hope that this Supreme Court decision will not be overturned in the Finance Bill 2011.
Under the terms of the tax treaty between India and Mauritius, a tax resident in the island nation doesn’t have to pay capital gains on a transaction in shares on the local bourses. Read More