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Tue, 25th April 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “Supreme Court of the United States” Tag

ARBITRATION ON COMPENSATION DEMAND IN RIL-ONGC ROW

A three-member arbitration panel has started hearing validity of the Government’s demand of $1.55 billion as compensation from Reliance Industries for “unfairly” producing ONGC’s gas.     The panel, headed by Singapore-based arbitrator Prof Lawrence Boo, had its first hearing on March 3 where the timetable was drawn, sources privy to the development said.

RIL will first file its statement of claim, followed by a statement of defence by the Government. This will be followed by rejoinders, counter-rejoinders and oral hearing, sources said, adding that the panel plans to wind up the hearing in a year.

The Central Government has named former Supreme Court judge G S Singhvi as its nominee on the three-member arbitration panel while RIL and its partners BP Plc of the UK and Canada’s Niko Resources have named former UK High Court Judge Bernard Eder to the panel.

RIL-BP-Niko had slapped an arbitration notice on November 11 last year.

This was against the oil ministry’s November 3, 2016 notice to RIL, Niko and UK’s BP seeking $1.47 billion for producing about 338.332 million British thermal units of gas in the seven years ended March 31, 2016 that had seeped or migrated from the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) blocks into their adjoining KG-D6 in the Bay of Bengal.

Subramanian Swamy ARGUES ED PROBE ALSO IN TATA-UNITECH DEAL

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday argued in 2G Court that apart from CBI, the Enforcement Directorate should also be directed to probe the covert financing of Rs 1700 crore by Tata Group to Unitech to acquire telecom licenses during 2G Scam. Producing CBI’s communication to him before the Court, Swamy said the investigating agency confirmed that they are still probing the matter, found by the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO).

Swamy argued that for the past three years CBI is taking the stand that they are probing the matter, hence, the Court should seek a status report. Judge OP Saini, however, did not oblige Swamy asking him to provide more info or documents, if any on the next hearing May 31.

The BJP leader said the manner of the illegal money transfer of Rs.1700 from Tata group companies to Unitech was nothing but money laundering and a case under PMLA should be registered. In his petition, Swamy said that apart from Ratan Tata, Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra and controversial lobbyist Nira Radia should be prosecuted.

“The issue pertaining to certain land deal investments by Tata Group in Unitech, as reflected in the Report of SFIO, has been examined by CBI and findings thereof have been reported to Supreme Court vide progress reports/affidavits filed in sealed cover including progress report dated July 6, 2011. “Further investigation on some aspects relating to the role of Tata in 2G Spectrum case is continuing under due intimation to Supreme Court vide progress report dated Jun  12, 2014.

Japan Press : Coming not so soon: Trump’s ‘historic’ tax plan

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s bluster on “historic tax reform” and $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, his visions still remain short on specifics, while the Congress appears headed to an epic clash over a contentious corporate tax plan.

American stocks surged in euphoria after Trump said Feb. 9 that he would announce something “over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax.” Yet his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, his first, contained nothing but generalities — a far cry from the promised “phenomenal” plan.

Female lawmakers in the opposition Democratic Party wore white at Trump’s address Wednesday to show support for women’s rights. © AP 

During the campaign, Trump called for cutting the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have drawn up a proposal of their own that would introduce a 20% border adjustment tax to fund a corporate tax rate cut to 20%. This plan would impose no taxes on exports but would bar companies from deducting import-related costs from taxable income.

Trump has not taken a clear stand on the border adjustment tax, and Tuesday’s address only alluded to the issue. “When we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes,” he said. “But when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them nothing, or almost nothing.” Read More 

Beijing Blasts Washington for Plans to Launch High Taxes on Chinese Steel

On Friday, the US Commerce Department announced its plans to raise import tariffs for the Chinese stainless steel products from 63 percent to 190 percent citing a probe that found they were selling on US market at dumping-level price.

“China is disappointed that the United States continued to launch high taxes on Chinese steel export products and calls into question the unfair way the US conducted its investigation,” Wang said, as quoted by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The United States did not take into the account the evidence previously submitted by the Chinese steel manufacturers and avoided cooperation with the Chinese government, violating the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Chinese official underlined.

This is a second blow for the Chinese steel importers in the recent months. The European Commission imposed in January anti-dumping duties on Chinese stainless steel tubes and pipe butt-welding fittings to protect its industry from steel overcapacity.

According the European Commission, Chinese imports will be taxed with duties ranging from 30.7 to 64.9 as its investigation commission confirmed that Chinese stainless steel products had been sold in Europe at dumping prices.

US court refuses to immediately restore Trump travel ban

A U.S. appeal court late on Saturday denied a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately restore a immigration order from President Donald Trump barring citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries and temporarily banning refugees.

The court ruling dealt a further setback to Trump, who has denounced the judge in the state of Washington who blocked his executive order on Friday. In tweets and comments to reporters, the president has insisted he will get the ban reinstated.

 Trump says the temporary immigration restrictions on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and on all refugees, are necessary to protect the United States from Islamist militants. Critics say they are unjustified and discriminatory.

The judge’s order and the appeal ruling have created what may be a short-lived opportunity for travelers from the seven affected countries to get into the United States while the legal uncertainty continues.

In a brief order, the appeals court said the government’s request for an immediate administrative stay on the Washington judge’s decision had been denied. It was awaiting further submissions from Washington and Minnesota states on Sunday, and from the government on Monday.

The government’s appeal says the decision by judge James Robart in Washington poses an immediate harm to the public, thwarts enforcement of an executive order and “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment about the quantum of risk posed by the admission of certain classes of (non-citizens) and the best means of minimizing that risk”.

Trump denounced the “so-called” judge in a series of tweets on Saturday and told reporters: “We’ll win. For the safety of the country, we’ll win.”

IRAQI FAMILY

The president’s Jan. 27 order has drawn criticism even from U.S. allies and created chaos for thousands of people who have, in some cases, spent years seeking asylum in the United States.

Iraqi Fuad Sharef, together with his wife and three children, spent two years obtaining U.S. visas, and had packed up to move to America last week, but were turned back to Iraq after a failed attempt to board a U.S.-bound flight from Cairo.

US jettisoning ‘One China’ would trigger geopolitical earthquake

In the less than two weeks since his inauguration, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a series of controversial actions that have rocked the world.

But he has not yet offered any clue about his real intentions regarding the so-called One China policy, which is a matter of great concern to East Asia. 

 Trump indicated his willingness to reconsider this long-established principle, which, simply put, means Taiwan cannot become an independent nation.

If the U.S. abandons its commitment to this principle, it would be a historic policy shift that could violently shake East Asia’s security architecture and the structure of economic relations among countries in the region. 

One beginning

On Jan. 23, the online Japanese-language version of South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper carried an intriguing article on the issue written by one of its columnists.

In the article, titled “Trump: ‘How about Three Chinas?'” the author, quoting a source who has contacts within Trump’s inner circle, said Trump, after being elected, asked former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger whether he should maintain the “One China” policy. Kissinger reportedly floated the idea of three Chinas instead of two.

The Uncanny Similarities Between President Trump And FDR

Trump and Roosevelt: two peas in a pod?

For the record, I voted for Donald Trump. Not that I was in love with the guy. It was really a matter of default. On the Oklahoma state ballot, I had the choice of Hillary “Crimes Against Humanity + Here Comes World War III” Clinton, the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Mr. Trump. I chose Trump, a populist, sometimes demagogue and buffoon, but a real outsider who might shake the establishment up.

It is still early, but no one can say that the first two weeks of Trump’s administration have been boring or predictable. He loudly called the outgoing CIA director, John Brennan, a liar and said that the agency’s Russia dossier was all fake news. John F. Kennedy said just as much in private and paid the ultimate price for his honesty. Trump has apparently kept on his own private security services, since getting elected, to avoid the same fate as JFK.

President Trump canceled the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), which was bad for everybody involved, except the transnational corporations who bribed, extorted and blackmailed some Pac Rim countries into signing on. But even America’s corporate owned Senate and Congress were resisting. Why? Because a signatory country gives up its national sovereignty to a corporate picked “international arbitration commission”.

Under the TPP, any company can take any country’s laws to this “unbiased” group of corporate jocks and claim that they are an “infringement on trade”. Think GMOs, agricultural chemicals, cultural and religious laws, subsidies to promote national industries and infrastructure; media and internet regulations; medicine and social security; environmental, worker and civilian safety laws, taxation, and on and on. Once this unelected, corporate board rules against any and all national laws, then the signatory country’s legislature is required to abolish those law and regulations, in the name of “free trade”.

Federal Judge Grants Partial Block Of Trump Immigration Order

Symbolic war broke out between the Judicial and Executive branches shortly before 9pm on Saturday evening, when federal judge Ann Donnelly in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn issued an emergency stay halting Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim nations entering the US, and temporarily letting people who landed in U.S. with valid visa to remain on US territory, saying removing the refugees could cause “irreparable harm”.

The court’s ruling was in response to a petition filed on Saturday morning by the ACLU on behalf of the two Iraqi men who were initially detained at JFK International Airport on Friday night after Trump’s ban, and were subsequently granted entry into the US.

The ACLU issued the following statement following the court ruling:

 A federal judge tonight granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a nationwide temporary injunction that will block the deportation of all people stranded in U.S. airports under President Trump’s new Muslim ban. The ACLU and other legal organizations filed a lawsuit on behalf of individuals subject to President Trump’s Muslim ban. The lead plaintiffs have been detained by the U.S. government and threatened with deportation even though they have valid visas to enter the United States.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, said:

“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, had this reaction to the ruling:

“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country. Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.

However, while some media reports present the court ruling as a wholesale victory over Trump’s order, the stay only covers the airport detainees and those currently in transit, and it does not change the ban going forward.

Judge Donnelly has ordered the federal government to provide a list of all people currently held in detention. Where the stay falls short is that according to the ACLU’s lawyer, there still can be no new arrivals from countries under the ban, but the ACLU and other organizations are working to file additional suits to roll back other portions of the order.

* * *

A detailed read of Judge Donnelly’s ruling, per Josh Blackman, reveals that the order states that petitioners have shown a “strong likelihood of success” and that their removal would violate the Due Process and Equal Protection clause, and cause irreparable injury. (Note, this order only applies to those already in the country, and thus protected by the Constitution; the same analysis does not apply to those outside the United States).

As a result, the court issues what is effectively a nationwide stay, enjoining all of the named respondents, including President Trump, Secretary Kelly, and the acting director of the CBP, from the “commission of further acts and misconduct  in violation of the Constitution as described in the Emergency Motion for Stay of Removal.

The key part is what they are enjoined from doing:

Emerging Markets -An Update

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he won’t seek a second term.
Korea’s parliament voted 234-56 to impeach President Park.
Czech National Bank raised the possibility of negative rates to help manage the currency.
A Brazilian Supreme Court justice removed Senate chief Renan Calheiros from his post, but was later overturned by the full court.
Brazil central bank signaled a possibly quicker easing cycle.

In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, UAE (+6.2%), Poland (+6.0%), and Mexico (+5.9%) have outperformed this week, while Czech Republic (-0.6%), Hong Kong (-0.2%), and China (+0.6%) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 2.8% this week while MSCI DM rose 2.8%.
In the EM local currency bond space, Brazil (10-year yield -60 bp), the Philippines (-59 bp), and Indonesia (-40 bp) have outperformed this week, while India (10-year yield +20 bp), China (+5 bp), and Czech Republic (-1 bp) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield rose 3 bp this week to 2.41%. 
In the EM FX space, BRL (+3.1% vs. USD), COP (+2.9% vs. USD), and CLP (+2.8% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while EGP (-2.3% vs. USD), CNH (-0.8% vs. USD), and SGD (-0.7% vs. USD) have underperformed.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he won’t seek a second term.  He cited family reasons.  The next chief executive will be selected in March by a committee of 1,200.  China has veto power over the final selection, and so it’s clear that another establishment leader will be chosen. 

Court tells govt: Spell out figure – Lens on withdrawal sum; govt bares retention plan

The Supreme Court today directed the government to spell out by December 14 a minimum weekly withdrawal limit that banks cannot deny to customers, after the Centre said the previously announced Rs 24,000-a-week limit was a “ceiling, not a minimum”.

Many banks have been refusing this amount citing a cash crunch and forcing customers to settle for sums ranging anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000, senior counsel and Congress politicians Kapil Sibal and P. Chidambaram had earlier told the court.

While clarifying on the matter, attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi said the government had no intention of replacing the entire volume of the old notes in new currency: it would leave a gap of Rs 1.5 lakh crore to promote cashless transactions.

 The bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing a batch of 32 petitions and applications from individuals, groups and political parties complaining about the hardship caused by demonetisation.

At the next hearing on December 14, the court will sift through them and frame the questions it needs to answer, including one on the constitutional validity of the demonetisation and the curbs on cash withdrawals.

Justice Thakur indicated that if necessary, the court might refer the matter to a five-judge Constitution Bench.

“We assume you (the government) are capable (of replacing the withdrawn currency). Your estimate shows you are in a position (to do so) but what has happened?” Justice Thakur asked.

Rohatgi said the government needed time till December 31.

“Are you agreeable that if there is a (lower) limit imposed by us, then no bank will deny withdrawal of the money? We will make sure that Rs 24,000 is withdrawn by each person?” the Chief Justice said.

Rohatgi clarified: “The Rs 24,000 limit is a ceiling, not a minimum limit.”

The bench then said: “If he (customer) has a legitimate right, then let there be a limit below which banks cannot deny.”

Rohatgi said the government would then have to rework the limit. “If not Rs 24,000, let it be Rs 10,000, but it must be given,” the Chief Justice said.

The court quizzed the government on the speed of currency replenishment. “How much money is being printed? How much is being infused?” it asked.

Rohatgi said the government had so far collected between Rs 11.5 lakh crore and Rs 12 lakh crore in old currency, having initially expected about Rs 10-11 lakh crore. “It (the government) may get another Rs 1 lakh crore.”

Justice Thakur said the court was conscious of the “larger objective” of the demonetisation but asked whether the government had “properly applied (its) mind” while undertaking the drive.

“Was there any material before you that were apprised? How much money will be lost? How we will meet the situation? Was there a plan (about what the) banks should have to take care of when a situation like this arises?” he asked.

“It is one thing to completely stop (the use of old notes) and another thing to intelligently regulate.”

Rohatgi acknowledged “some amount of inconvenience” to the people but cited the incentives for digital transactions that the government had announced yesterday by offering concessions at petrol stations and in insurance payments, among other things.