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Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal.ReutersThe court suggested that the payment of Rs 420 billion by LN Mittal-led ArcelorMittal be distributed among financial and operational creditors in the ratio of 85:15. If the court’s suggestion is accepted, operational creditors will get Rs 46 billion as against their total claim of Rs 47 billion, while financial creditors such as Standard Chartered will have to take a big hit.Former promoters Ruia family’s last-minute offer to pay over Rs 540 billion to allow the steel company exit bankruptcy proceedings further complicated the case. Pointing towards continued litigation, last week after the NCLT order was delivered, an Essar Group spokesperson had said, “We continue to believe that our settlement proposal of Rs 543.9 billion is the most compelling one available to Essar Steel creditors and fulfils the IBC’s declared overriding objective of value maximisation, which has been established time and again by courts at all levels.” Prashant Ruia, Director, Essar Capital speaks during a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Mumbai, India August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Danish SiddiquiReutersStandard Chartered Bank and Prashant Ruia, member of Essar Steel promoter family, have filed separate appeals in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal against the bankruptcy tribunal’s order last week, which awarded the steelmaker to ArcelorMittal. The British financial services giant is the third largest secured financial creditor of the beleaguered Essar Steel.The bank has requested the higher tribunal to quash the Ahmedabad bench of National Company Law Tribunal’s order that approved the Luxembourg-based steel company’s Rs 420 billion debt resolution plan for Essar Steel. Standard Chartered has also sought the rejection of the plan, The Economic Times reported. The bank has maintained that the implementation of ArcelorMittal’s plan will lead to its dues being curtailed to just Rs 600 million from the current outstanding amount of Rs 34.9 billion.Similarly, Prashant Ruia, a member of the suspended board, has decided to file an appeal to seek a stay on the resolution plan. An official appeal has not been filed yet as the written order of the Ahmedabad bench is still awaited. He has mentioned his intention to appeal before a two-member bench, headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, which asked it to be listed after the NCLT posts its full written order. Ruia contends that members of the superseded board of the company should have been included in all creditor meetings that approved the plan. The argument draws parallels with the recent apex court judgement in the Ruchi Soya case, where the judge had ruled that resolution plans be shared with the suspended board members of the company.A Tricky AffairEssar Steel’s resolution has turned out to be one of the trickiest ones under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC). The case has been dragging on for over 580 days as against the stipulated 270 days under the law due to multiple litigations by the former promoters, Standard Chartered bank and some operational creditors. Last week, NCLT had cleared the decks for Essar Steel’s acquisition by ArcelorMittal after mollifying the operational creditors through a larger payout from the resolution amount.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday hoped that the members of Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) will work for the development of the country maintaining their discipline strictly.”I always want this force (BGB) to maintain its discipline strictly and work for the development of the country,” she said.The prime minister said this while addressing the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Day 2017 at its Peelkhana headquarters in the city.Sheikh Hasina said the loyalty and trustworthiness among the BGB members are above all questions. “I believe that the mutual confidence, respect, discipline, humanity and above all mutual sympathy among the officers and members will strengthen the bonding of this force,” she said.The prime minister asked the BGB members to discharge their duties with patriotism, honesty and in a disciplined manner.She also mentioned that BGB is the ‘resort of confidence’ for the nation when it comes to safeguarding the border, maintaining internal law and order and tackling manmade and social calamities.She recalled the destructive politics and activities, including arson attacks by the BNP-Jamaat clique, during the last general election, and praised the BGB members for their extraordinary efforts to maintain the law-and-order situation in the country.Describing the various development programmes taken by her government for the welfare of the BGB and its members, the PM said the government’s support and assistance will continue for the development of this force.The prime minister said helicopters will be provided to the BGB soon for travelling to remote areas across the borders by its members and perform their duties.Highlighting the glorious role of the then EPR members during the Liberation War in 1971, the prime minister said they had put up a strong resistance against the Pakistani forces in the early hours of the Liberation War responding to the call of Bangabandhu.She said the EPR members were the first who had transmitted Bangabandhu’s proclamation of Independence across the country through their wireless system for which Subedar Major Showkat Ali along with his four colleagues were martyred.Earlier, on her arrival at BGB headquarters, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan and director general of BGB major general Abul Hossain Ahmed received the prime minister.On the occasion, an attractive parade was arranged at Bir Uttam Anwar Hossain Parade Ground at the BGB headquarters. The prime minister inspected the parade and took salute.Cabinet members, PM’s advisers, parliament members, the chiefs of the three services, diplomats and high civil and military officials were present.The prime minister handed over BGB Medal (BGBM), President Border Guard Medal (PBGM), BGB Medal-Service (BGBMS) and PBGM-Service (PBGMS) to 51 BGB members for their courageous and brilliant contributions to various activities of the BGB.The prime minister witnessed the attractive drills of the BGB during the parade.A group of representatives led by Indian Border Security Force director general Krishan Kumar Sharma and another group of representatives headed by police commander of Myanmar’s Border Guard Police Brigadier General Myint Toe witnessed the parade.
An Algerian man raises a placard as he takes part in a weekly demonstration in the capital Algiers on June 14, 2019. Demonstrations have continued since the ailing president stepped down, as protesters demand that regime insiders also exit as a precursor to independent institutions being set up. Photo: AFPWhile tens of thousands of Algerians have been gathering for four months in the capital to demand sweeping political reforms, former fighters who led the last confrontation with the establishment have been warning people not to rock the boat.In the 1990s, they drove an uprising against the military after it cancelled a landmark multiparty election that Islamists were poised to win. This time they say protests could bring a repeat of the chaos and bloodshed their actions unleashed.”I deeply regret what happened in the 1990s,” once such fighter, Sheikh Yahya, said at his home in Haizer, a village in the Kabyle mountains 120 km (75 miles) east of the capital Algiers where he now works as a butcher.”This is why I will never participate in any action that might end up violent.”Some 200,000 people died in Algeria’s decade-long civil war, leaving many Algerians fearful of radical change now that longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has given into the pressure from the streets and stepped down.Following Bouteflika’s departure in April, the protesters have been pressing for the exit of the entire elite in control since the North African country’s independence from France in 1962 – the same cause the jihadists took up arms for in 1991.But Yahya and other former jihadists now support the army and other security forces, the strongest part of that elite. It also includes business tycoons and former independence fighters in Algeria’s ruling FLN party as well as labour unions in a state-dominated economy sustained by oil and gas production.The ex-fighters are Salafists, a literalist Sunni school of Islam whose adherents range from the radical jihadists of Islamic State to an overwhelming majority which shies away from politics.Salafi influence in Algeria is far wider than their numbers – an estimated one in 40 people – would suggest, analysts say. This makes their anti-protest messages a significant counterweight to calls for radical change.”Algeria has around 18,000 mosques, most of them are under Salafi influence,” said political analyst Mohamed Mouloudi. One Salafi cleric has a website with a million followers.By contrast leading Sufis, a more inclusive Sunni school that most Algerians belong to, have kept a low profile since the ouster of Bouteflika, their most high-profile member.Salafists are social conservatives heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis. They reject both political Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which led Egypt in a 2012-2013 interlude from military-backed rule, as well as Western influence – from clothing to political systems.They were part of the reason the 2011 Arab Spring pro-democracy movement bypassed Algeria, after Sheikh Ali Ferkous, a Salafi icon, declared “unrest is forbidden in Islam”, and they continue to argue that stability is paramount.Military Chief, Conservative LeaderThe Army chief, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, played a key role in toppling Bouteflika by saying the president’s poor health made him unfit for office.Upper House Chairman Abdelkader Bensalah became interim president but is now under pressure from demonstrators to quit, due to his links with Bouteflika and pledge on June 6 to stay in office until elections, which have been postponed indefinitely.A group of protesters and some Salafi clerics have suggested Bensalah hands over to former conservative minister Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, son of well-known cleric Bachir Ibrahimi who played a role in the independence war against France from 1954 to 1962.Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi is a fierce opponent of Bouteflika, who did not allow him to set up a political party. Ibrahimi, 87, has promised to end of what he called “dirty money”, referring to corruption under Bouteflika, and introduce transparency.“Ibrahimi is one of the rare clean politicians in Algeria who can reconcile the youth with politics. We believe he can play a very positive role,” said Seif Islam Benatia, a dentist prominent among protesters who encompass a wide array of views.Yahya, who spoke to Reuters with two of his fellow former fighters Akli and Mohamed sitting alongside, also supports Ibrahimi, as well as army chief Salah. “We want stability to remain,” he said.Their village lies in what was known in the 90s as the “triangle of death” — the flashpoint of the civil war, which the army said it was fighting to prevent Taliban-style rule. The mountains with its caves and valleys were ideal hiding ground for fighters to store arms and prepare ambushes on the army.Yahya gave up the fight in 2006 after accepting amnesty from Bouteflika and persuaded others to make peace with the state.Algeria’s welfare state rewarded him with $6,000 in aid to build a modest house where the ground floor serves as his poultry butchery. Two sons got jobs at state firms — a livelihood they fear losing if chaos erupts.”Gift from god”Salafists have been quietly working to influence society, identifiable here, as elsewhere, by their long beards, white robes and short trousers emulating the Prophet Mohammad.Their clout can be seen in Haizer, where Yahya’s house is a gathering point for youth, neighbours and other ex-fighters he persuaded to lay down arms.”Marches, protests, unrest and all the tools used in democracies to topple leaders are illicit in Islam,” Yahya said.Such messages resonate in Algeria, analysts say, because many people fear protracted unrest would undermine a state that provides jobs, health insurance and housing.They also undermine Islamist political parties, which have struggled since the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which almost took power in 1991, was banned the following year.”Salafi are influential because they focus on the youth, and society,” Mouloudi told Reuters. “Political Islam’s leaders are divided, fragmented and hold little influence politically.”In Algiers, some of the young protesters, who include many women and some children, oppose any kind of Islamist takeover.”We want radical change, but I don’t want to end up with Islamists ruling the country,” said Nadia Beigacem, 21, who studies English at Algiers University and does not wear a veil. “Western democracy is my model, not the Saudi Arabian model.”Rather than Ibrahimi, she wanted a young Algerian as leader, like former US president Barack Obama or French president Emmanuel Macron. “We are a young nation,” she said.Salafist leader Ferkous has not commented on recent protests but other followers have rejected them. “What is forbidden remains forbidden, even if everyone does it,” said Mohamed Al-Habib, a prominent Salafist in a video message.The weekly Friday protests have been continuing, but numbers have declined in recent weeks, indicating the resignation of Bouteflika and prosecution of his younger brother and closest former advisor Said and others have slowed their momentum.”After chaos and 200,000 people killed, we now have peace and stability, this is a gift from God,” Yahya said.”Let’s preserve it.”
Kolkata: The state Forest department will take up work for the second phase of Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri from January next year. An aquarium with a variety of local fish, a toy train along with a flower garden and children’s park are among the facilities that the department plans to develop in the second phase at Safari Park.”The underground aquarium will take the visitors to a wondrous underwater journey with glass walls on either side as the fish species in the rivers and other marine animals will swim by your side. It will be most thrilling and the feeling will equal to venturing into the river. We are preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and will submit it to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her final approval in January,” state Forest minister Binay Krishna Barman said adding that the project will entail an investment of more than Rs 100 crore. The minister added that his department also plans to set up the infrastructure for running toy train and develop a garden with beautiful flowers. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”Our plan is to make the Safari Park more attractive for children. We will put up facilities like a merry-go-round, seesaw, swings and slides for the children around the flower garden. There are some more plans which will be divulged later,” Barman added.Spread over an area of 297-hectare, the animal park that was unveiled in January 2016 has already emerged as a major attraction for tourists and locals. As of now, there are three Royal Bengal Tigers with three cubs, a rhinoceros, gharials, over 400 deer, two elephants and an aviary with birds of different species at the park. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThere are a number of safaris in the park that have become extremely popular.The safari of the herbivores is spread across an area of 100 hectare. There are bear safari, the Royal Bengal Tiger safari and the recently introduced leopard safari spreading over an area of 20 hectare each.”We are awaiting the nod of the Centre for the commencement of work for a leopard safari of international standards at South Khayerbari in North Bengal which will be spread over an area of 23 hectare,” Barman added.