Dear Editor,Regrettably, the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) investigations are more bent on shaming and embarrassing people than bringing a conviction against them. This certainly left me to wonder why the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers are confirming charges based on the recommendations of SOCU.My understanding of the law is that there must be compelling evidence to bring a conviction against someone before charges are laid against them. The DPP Chambers is a constitutional body which is free from the Executive arm of Government and should not be subjected to political pressure.When an innocent person is dragged before the court the trauma is unspeakable. The career and character of that person is tarnished for life; family members are humiliated, visas are being cancelled and when cleared by the courts, it cannot be replaced, rather difficult to replace.Many people’s visas have been cancelled because of the recklessness, attitude and actions of these bodies.Reports are SOCU has been submitting to the embassies names of genuine businessmen and women who take monies to various countries to conduct business even though all the necessary declarations have been made in Guyana and the countries of destination.One should realise that Guyana is more a cash-based economy and cash is the medium of exchange that is currently used.The world’s largest economy, the United States of America, accepts large amounts of cash monies from all parts of the world. The important issue is that proof of its legitimacy must be established and the correct and proper declarations must be made.I hope that good sense prevails and these constitutional departments operate more impartial and independent.I also hope that the embassies, particularly the US Embassy, should review those B1 visas that were cancelled.Please give justice even if it is against yourself for one day you shall be held accountable.May God Almighty bless and guide us all.Yours truly,Hana Mohamed
“The first rain of the season is always a little difficult,” said Kim Hughes of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Leaves and debris that have accumulated over the summer can contribute to lines falling. Areas affected by outages included Playa del Rey. Along the coast, canyons and storm drains sent dark, roiling, pollution-laden blasts of urban runoff cutting through the sand to mix into the ocean. Health advisories were issued for high bacteria and virus levels that can be expected until Tuesday. The cold, northern storm swirled around some on Saturday, but chances of rain decreased to about 20 percent Saturday night. “Things should be clear the rest of the week,” Hoffer said. “It’s going to be real nice through the weekend.” firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Josh Grossberg STAFF WRITER Summer limped out of town in soggy fashion Saturday, when a rare September storm hit the South Bay with its first decent rainfall since April. Autumn begins today. “You could call it a late summer storm,” said Bill Hoffer, a meteorological technician with the National Weather Service. “Mother Nature is finishing her stage performance.” While unusual, it’s not unheard of to have rain this time of year, Hoffer said. “You can usually look for this to start somewhere in early October and continue through late April, Hoffer said. “But it can happen in this time frame.” The storm, which included flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder late Friday, dropped 0.78 inches in Hawthorne and 0.5 inches at Los Angeles International Airport. The storm brought power outages to many parts of Los Angeles, including Torrance, partly due to lightning and partly due to the fact that it hasn’t rained in so long.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United have been hit by an injury crisis Aiming high ready? LATEST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEWS getty 3 Romelu Lukaku will be key for Man United against PSG Atletico handed huge boost for Liverpool tie with Diego Costa returning from injury Ancelotti tells fans he has Champions League dream for Everton Liverpool set for Champions League boost as Takumi Minamino will be available 3 BOOST To make things worse for the Premier League giants, they have been hit by an injury crisis with as many as ten first-team stars out.The European showdown will be live on talkSPORT tonight and here’s how will be starring at the Parc des Princes. Paris Saint-Germain vs Man United: Team newsUnited are set to have 10 first-team players out and Solskjaer has included a host of youngsters in his travelling squad.Alexis Sanchez is out and will be sidelined for up to six weeks out after sustaining a knee injury in Saturday’s win over Southampton.Paul Pogba is suspended following his red card in the first-leg while Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera remain absent.Juan Mata, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian are also unavailable. on target Top scorer in 2019: Messi, Mbappe and Sterling trailing Europe’s top marksman Teenagers Tahith Chong, James Garner, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood are all in the squad.PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has opted to pick the same side as the first-leg and Edinson Cavani is back among the substitutes following his injury.Superstar Neymar is still out due to a broken metatarsal. 3 Paris Saint-Germain host Manchester United tonight in the second-leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.PSG are two goals up in the clash following their win at Old Trafford last month meaning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are facing a huge task if they are to reach the quarter-finals. Paris Saint-Germain vs Man United: Line-upsPSG: Buffon, Kehrer, Silva, Kimpembe, Bernat, Verratti, Marquinhos, Alves, Draxler, Di Maria, Mbappe.Subs: Areola, Paredes, Cavani, Meunier, Choupo-Moting, Kurzawa, Dagba.Man United: De Gea, Lindelof, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw, Young, McTominay, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Lukaku, Rashford.Subs: Romero, Rojo, Dalot, Garner, Chong, Gomes, Greenwood.Referee: Damir Skomina
Ryan Christie has vowed to play his way into contention for a Scotland starring role by continuing his fine form with Celtic.The 23-year-old picked up the Premiership Player of the Month award for November after producing a string of impressive displays for the Hoops.Christie built upon his Celtic showings when he linked up with Scotland for the Nations League deciders, playing an integral role as Alex McLeish’s men topped their Nations League group.Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying opponents and Christie is determined to be in amongst the thick of the action. He said: “Of course, but that will only come by playing good football at my club.“The last trip away with Scotland was brilliant, there was a real hype coming away from it.“Seeing the draw come out, there was a buzz amongst the boys.“It will be brilliant when that rolls around again but there’s plenty of football to play for my club before that. “Hopefully I keep playing well and that will play in for me Scotland.”Christie took his Premiership goals tally to four by netting Celtic’s opener in the 1-1 draw with Motherwell on Wednesday.The ex-Inverness and Aberdeen playmaker said it was imperative he continued to find the net to ensure he remains key to Brendan Rodgers’ plans.He added: “Target-wise, I’m keeping that to myself but that’s my job, you need to carry a goal threat from midfield for this club.“I’m happy to be doing that just now, long may it continue.”The champions’ Fir Park draw means Kilmarnock now lead the way in the top flight.Christie paid tribute to Steve Clarke’s work in Ayrshire but insisted it’s too early to gauge Killie’s title-credentials.He continued: “It’s too early to say, there is such a big run of games for everybody up until the break.“Once we’re back after the break, then you can start talking about it.“Obviously they have been playing really well, the manager there has done a fantastic job.“But they are coming to our patch on Saturday and we want to be top of the league so are looking to win.”
A little over a month after the Doklam stand-off ended, a video of Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s interaction with Chinese soldiers at Nathu La has gone viral — both in India and China. Her unscripted camaraderie with the soldiers, who greeted her with a “Ni hao”, has made experts as well as common netizens appreciate her “goodwill gesture”.Sitharaman, India’s first woman defence minister, visited the forward post to meet Indian troops on Oct.7. Chinese media outlets too shared the video, in which Sitharaman is seen teaching the meaning of the word “namaste” to the neighboring country’s soldiers. Her gesture received largely positive comments on Weibo, the Chinese social media equivalent of Twitter.“The Indian woman defence minister directly faced the tough border problem. Such a brave woman,” wrote Tu Yueyue on Weibo. However, some Chinese social media users felt their army’s interpreter was “too humble”.Qian Feng, an expert at the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies, believed that the greeting “sent a goodwill signal towards mending bilateral ties and putting relations back on track toward normality”, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported.“Though leaders of the two countries are exploring more cooperation, the focus and priority of the two countries is to avoid friction and conflict,” another expert, Hu Shisheng, said to the publication.In a separate editorial, the newspaper said that the Indian defence minister’s “friendly interactions with Chinese soldiers” had “diluted” her “aggressive gesture” of inspecting the airport near border area, which will be put to use in November, during her visit to Sikkim.“New Delhi needs to exercise restraint,” it said. “It can only strengthen military infrastructure on its own soil when and where international law permits. It should consider deepening strategic security communication with China, which can enhance mutual trust between China and India.“China advocates good-neighborliness and exercises enormous restraint and patience during the Doklam crisis.”The Doklam stand-off, which began in June this year, ended in August, a few days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Beijing. The conflict was over the construction of a road by China at Doklam plateau, which Bhutan also claims as part of its territory. Tensions escalated when India deployed soldiers to stop the Chinese construction activities in the area. The two countries announced the withdrawal of their troops in August-end. China is said to have started constructing another road on the Doklam plateau, with 500 soldiers protecting construction crew, NDTV reported last week.Watch the video here:Sharing another snippet from Smt @nsitharaman ‘s interaction with Chinese soldiers at the international border at Nathu-la, Sikkim pic.twitter.com/TIRdnhixeL— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) October 8, 2017 Related ItemsChinese soldiers DoklamIndo-China relationsLittle IndiaNirmala Sitharaman ChinaNirmala Sitharaman DoklamNirmala Sitharaman Nathu La
Leaflets and letters encouraging acts of violence on Muslims sent to people in at least six communities across the United Kingdom sent waves of alarm and prompted a national counter-terrorism investigation, the New York Times reported.The letter declared that April 3 would be “Punish a Muslim Day” where points would be given for various acts of violence: 25 points for pulling off a woman’s headscarf, 50 points for an acid attack, 500 points for murdering a Muslim and 1,000 for bombing a mosque.The letters also put down countries with migrant, minority and Muslim populations. It said: “Are you a sheep like the vast majority of the population? Sheep follow orders and are easily led. They are allowing the white-majority nations of Europe and North America to become overrun by those who would like nothing more than to do us harm and to turn our democracies into sharia-led police states.”The leaflets, reported in West Yorkshire, Midlands, London, Cardiff, Leicester, Sheffield and Birmingham, carried an image of a dagger with the letters MS, indicating links to so-called Muslim Slayer which targeted mosques in London and the United States last year with similar threats, the Mirror reported.Riaz Ahmed, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Bradford, West Yorkshire County, told the media that he received one of the letters at his business address. “It seems strange that anyone would send something like this to an address in a predominantly Muslim area,’’ Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Mirror. “When I opened it and saw the content, I was horrified.”According to Tell Mama, an organization that monitors anti-Muslim activities, the letters have caused a lot of “fear within the community.” It released a statement, saying: “It is essential that all letters and envelopes are kept and handled minimally to preserve evidence for the police to investigate. Incidents like this are rare but we urge vigilance and calm as we remind Muslim communities that our confidential support service is available to assist in this matter.”The organization said that some of the letters appear to have been mailed out of Sheffield, the NYT reported.‘Punish a Muslim Day’ – we continue to receive reports of letters received from across the country. Now into double figures. Please report them into us at Tell MAMA or to 101. We are working with police forces on this malicious campaign. pic.twitter.com/4bph2RVBcv— TellMAMAUK (@TellMamaUK) March 10, 2018The Metropolitan Police spokesperson said they do not “tolerate hate crime,” and added: “Anyone believes they have been a victim of such an offence we would encourage them to report it to police so it can be fully investigated.”Bradford West MP Naz Shah took to Twitter and Facebook, saying that the situation has become distressful not only for those who have received the letter but also for “wider communities.”According to the 2011 census, Muslims make up slightly more than 4.4 percent of the population in the United Kingdom. As per Home Office statistics, 80,393 hate crime offenses were recorded in 2016-17, as compared to 62,518 in 2015-16. This increase, at 29 percent, was the largest since the Home Office began recording hate crime figures in 2011-12. Related Itemshate crimeIslamUnited Kingdom
Life has changed dramatically for Malan Mane in the past two years. The 50-year-old wicker basket weaver was once considered unintelligent and was often disregarded by her fellow villagers. Today, Mane manages her cash flow efficiently, has a grip on market dynamics and trades with panache. Her income has increased from $30 a month in 2010 to $100 at present.Mane still makes baskets out of bamboo — the woody grass that grows in the tropics — but now saves on raw material cost by buying directly from the farmers instead of through a middleman. Encouraged by her success and her growing respect in the community, Mane’s husband, who earlier used to stealthily sell her baskets to buy liquor, now helps her in the business. This has enabled Mane, who lives in Vaduj village in Satara district, 270 miles from Mumbai, to supply her goods to a larger customer base of vegetable vendors and store keepers. She can now also reach out to neighboring villages.With the increase in sales, Mane is able to save $10 every month. She has taken two microloans totaling $150 from the local Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank, a co-operative bank run by women for women. Mane used the first loan to attach a tin roof to the family hut. She also bought a television. With the second loan, she wants to build a shed to stock her baskets and raw materials. “People who used to call me names, now respect me,” she says.Mane didn’t become business savvy overnight. She’s a product of the Mann Deshi Business School (MDBS), a unique business school for unlettered women. Set up in 2006, MDBS, which has its main center in Mhaswad in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, is a symbol of empowerment for rural women. Over the past six years, it has set up four branches in Maharashtra and one in the southern state of Karnataka and has transformed over 40,000 women into successful entrepreneurs.Like Mane, the other women who have been educated at MDBS have little in common with the well-heeled students in MBA programs around the world. They are an eclectic mix of ages ranging from 19 to 50. They include a potter, a spice and noodle maker, a seamstress, a goat and sheep herder, a farmer, a homemaker and a bangle vendor. Most of the women come from families that earn less than a dollar a day. And in most cases, the women are the sole breadwinners trying to make ends meet.“Most women came to us for loans to either start a new business or scale up their existing ones. That’s when we decided to start the b-school,” according to 53-year-old Chetna Gala Sinha, founder of the Mann Deshi Bank and MDBS. “We didn’t want to provide [the women] just business capital. We wanted to also offer skills, knowledge and motivation to run their enterprises.” Sinha, who is married to a farmer in Mhaswad, adds that MDBS is probably the world’s first — and so far only — business management school of its kind.All the MDBS branches are co-located with the Mann Deshi Bank, except in the district of Satara where the classes are conducted in any available space, be it a field, ground, temple or a student’s house. In Mhaswad, MDBS has acquired an 18,000 square-foot plot and is currently constructing a three-story building, which will house the Mann Deshi Bank, four classrooms — with a total seating capacity of 200 for MDBS, and also a small guest house. By 2015, Sinha aims to have nine branches of MDBS, four mobile B-schools and reach 100,000 women.Ajit Rangnekar, dean of the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, points out that India’s education needs are huge and extremely diverse, from global top leadership to dairy farmers, and one will have to try out many different models to meet those needs. “Some of these ideas will succeed, some may evolve, while others may fail,” he says. “The real challenge in India is not about doing these experiments, but about codifying the learning from such initiatives, and scaling the successful ones rapidly so that the growth can be shared across the society.”It was in 1997 that Sinha, an economist, first set up the Mann Deshi Bank to provide microloans to day laborers working on farms so that they could purchase and sell fruits and vegetables. The objective was to draw the women out of a day-to-day existence and nudge them to consider other enterprises. The business school was a logical extension of the bank. “The capital provided by the bank goes hand-in-hand with the women’s business goals,” Sinha notes. “The bank is a patient investor and the b-school provides mentorship and grooms women to become entrepreneurs.”Vishal Kapoor, portfolio associate at Dasra, a Mumbai-based nonprofit organization, says the microloan and business school enterprises are a good fit. “Most microfinance institutions focus on providing loans without the backend education piece, which is important to ensure that the loans are used [effectively] for business purposes,” he notes. Dasra came on board in 2009 to enhance MDBS’s product delivery and help it scale up, build systems and processes, and manage growth.MDBS is funded primarily by grants from various partners including HSBC Bank, Godfrey Phillips, the Gibraltar-based Bonita Trust, Accenture and the British Asian Trust. The grants have grown from Rs. 7 lakhs (around $13,500 at the current exchange rate of $1 = Rs. 51) in 2006 and are expected to touch Rs. 2 crore ($ 387,000) this year. “For the past several years, Mann Deshi has proven that poor women are bankable,” according to Naina Lal Kidwai, country head for HSBC India and director of HSBC Asia-Pacific. “The B-school has helped the women to be creative, resourceful and business savvy, enabling the mainstreaming of a significant number of women into India’s economy.”HSBC became a sponsor of MDBS in 2006. At that time, the company had offered the Mann Deshi Bank a microfinance-loan at 9% interest as part of its mandatory priority sector lending obligation laid down by the Reserve Bank of India. When Sinha requested HSBC to step in as the founding sponsor of the business school, the firm obliged. After an initial seed funding in 2006, HSBC now gives an annual grant of around $100,000 to MDBS.A Five-Day MBAAt present, MDBS offers a menu of 25 courses, largely developed in-house. These include classes in financial and marketing management, and also vocational skills like computer training, dress designing and English language instruction. Typically, the women start by learning a skill at MDBS and then go on to take a management course before embarking on an entrepreneurial enterprise. A five-day homegrown MBA program introduced in 2010 and branded Deshi MBA educates entrepreneurs on branding, advertising, packaging and marketing their products. It also provides market access and visits to big and small business entities. “The women are exposed to concepts like sourcing and the benefits of purchasing raw material in advance so as not to go through price volatility,” says Dasra’s Kapoor. A Deshi MBA student is also provided with a mentor for a year.Last year staff at Accion, an American nonprofit organization, developed teaching modules on cash management and self-management for the Deshi MBA program.Accion trained 19 MDBS coordinators in these new modules and also helped then to become more interactive in their teaching. “Earlier, they did not have a professional approach to training methodology. For instance, financial literacy was taught with savings as a means to an end,” notes Usha Gopinath, director for client education at Accion.The women who come to MDBS undergo a free counseling session to gauge their skillsets and interests to help them choose courses. For a nominal fee ranging from less than US three cents to $6, a woman can enroll in MDBS at any time, irrespective of her age or educational background. The duration of the different courses vary from a day to around three months. Vanita Shinde, chief administrative officer at MDBS, says that since most of the women are farm laborers or housewives, classes are scheduled to suit them — between 11a.m. and 3 p.m. The trainers are handpicked by Sinha and her team. They earn a nominal salary of $60 a month, plus 50% of the fees paid by each of their students. The rest of the fee amount goes to MDBS. “This structure motivates trainers to bring more students to the school,” says Rekha Kulkarni, CEO of the bank.In order to expand MDBS’ reach, in 2007, Sinha got Sycamore Networks’ Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande to sponsor a mobile school in his hometown of Hubli in Karnataka. The interiors of the bus are designed like classrooms to offer courses including computer training, fashion design and tailoring. Electricity is provided by an eight-hour battery back-up. The MDBS mobile school also offers financial products like savings accounts, loans, pensions and insurance backed by financial literacy training. “The women cannot afford to come to us, so we go to the people,” Sinha notes. Another mobile school caters to women in the villages surrounding Mhaswad.Attracting more students is important not just for MDBS, but for the country as a whole. In the drought-prone Mhaswad village alone, nearly three-quarters of the population live below the poverty line. Around 65% of the women are illiterate and lack access to education and job opportunities. This is a longstanding issue across India. According to UNICEF India, 90 million women in the country are illiterate and 20% of children between the ages of 6 and 14 are not in school. The government’s inability to solve this problem has spurred social entrepreneurs like Sinha take on the responsibility to educate women at the bottom of the pyramid. Abha Thorat-Shah, director at the British Asian Trust, the London-based social fund that supports high impact charities in education, enterprise and health in South Asia, says her organization doesn’t typically fund hybrid businesses, “but Mann Deshi is an exception. I love the fact that it’s rural, training and skilling people in the state, and not promoting migration.”The gradual rise of the semi-literate housewife Vanita Pise, who has become the public face of Mann Deshi, is an interesting example of the impact that MDBS can have. In 2006, when avian flu destroyed her family’s poultry business, Pise, who reared buffaloes and also ran a small tailoring class in her house, became the main earner. She wanted to boost her income and approached the Mann Deshi Bank. When Sinha suggested she take up the manufacturing of disposable paper cups, Pise defied her family and approached the bank for a loan to buy a machine to kick off the new business. Though she mastered the art of manufacturing cups, Pise had no clue about marketing. So she joined the business school. Armed with her new knowledge, she expanded into disposable plates, and saw an exponential growth in business. Pise now owns 12 machines to make cups and plates, and earns $300 a month. She is also looking at further expanding into making cardboard folders and spice powder.Pise’s grit and entrepreneurial skills secured her a seat on the Mann Deshi Bank Board in 2011. “The eighth grade-educated Vanita now handles demand drafts and check clearances. She is definitely a role model for our women,” Kulkarni notes.Challenges AheadBut the road ahead for MDBS is not without roadblocks. Pointing out that the school aims to serve 100,000 women by 2015, HSBC’s Kidwai says: “The biggest challenge for the organization is to be able to extend its reach to remote geographical areas and reach out to a greater number of underserved women without compromising on the quality of services currently offered. As the organization expands its base and scales up its operations, it will also need to ensure that it has a viable model in place for the school to be financially sustainable in the long run.” ISB’s Rangnekar notes that there is an important role in India for micro and small firms. “Such initiatives [like MDBS] will hopefully further foster and boost the development of small entrepreneurs. [The organization’s] challenge will be geographic growth, and evolving the program over time,” he states.Rangnekar makes another point. “The students of Mann Deshi b-school may initially require more support than their urban counterparts, and the institution is right in recognizing this and providing the support, but it must be careful not to directly or indirectly subsidize these ventures.” According to Rangnekar, business schools have to recognize that students must take responsibility for their actions. “A school can guide and support students in their initiatives, but cannot take over the primary responsibility for their success,” he adds.There is also another issue. Some observers note that the entire organization is centered on the founder, Sinha. She does not agree though. She points out that efforts are already underway to gradually project Pise as the face of Mann Deshi. Other women are also being mentored to take over key operations. “People knew only Chetna [Sinha] earlier, now they know the Mann Deshi brand,” Sinha says. “As a big organization evolves, you develop a brand.” Related Items
United States President Donald Trump has been facing backlash for his comments about the violent white supremacist rally in Virginia earlier this week. Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and some other lawmakers are now planning to introduce a congressional resolution to censure Trump for the comments.“Not even a week has passed since the tragedy in Charlottesville. But on Tuesday, the President poured salt on the nation’s wounds by defending those who marched with white supremacists,” Jayapal said in a media statement.Trump Blamed “Both Sides” AgainJayapal referred to the press conference in which Trump blamed “both sides” for the events at the ‘Unite the Right’ rally, leading to a white nationalist allegedly ramming his car into counter-protesters, killing one woman and wounding 19 others in Charlottesville, Virginia.The ‘Unite the Right’ march was a rally planned to protest against the removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces during the American Civil War.Jayapal said that the press conference showed “the real and unfiltered Donald Trump — the logical endpoint for a man who has consistently trafficked in racism throughout his career.”Trump Failed to Take a StandThe resolution, which is to be introduced in the US House of Representatives on August 18, is sponsored by Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Bonnie Watson Coleman.A total of 47 lawmakers led by Jayapal unveiled the resolution, which asks Trump to take a stand against the white nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups responsible for the violence. In the resolution, they have also urged the President to remove individuals who support white supremacists, including Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka, from the White House and the Trump administration.“President Trump not only failed at condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis, he stood up for them — for that he must be censured. The President’s conduct is un-American and it must stop,” Jayapal added.Senators Call for Urgent ActionSenators Mazie K. Hirono and Maria Cantwell also called for action following the recent outburst of violent racism by white supremacist organisations and individuals in Charlottesville.“President Trump’s reluctance to quickly and directly condemn the hate, bigotry, and racism of the white supremacists and members of the Ku Klux Klan that gathered in Charlottesville was deeply alarming to us and to millions of Americans,” the Senators wrote in a statement. Related ItemsCharlottesville violenceDonald Trump Virginia violenceIndian AmericanIndians in USLittle IndiaPramila Jayapal Trump resolutionPramila Jayapal VirginiaTrump AmericaUnite the Right rally VirginiaUS lawmakers resolutionVirginia rallyWhite supremacy
European automaker Skoda plans to produce a new mid-sized sport utility vehicle in India, it said on Monday, as part of a 1 billion euro ($1.16 billion) investment by its parent Volkswagen to revive sales in one of the world’s fastest growing automobile markets.Volkswagen also plans to expand its manufacturing unit at Aurangabad in western India and set up a new engineering center to help raise its market share to 5 per cent by 2025.Skoda’s expansion comes as its Wolfsburg, Germany-based parent embarks on a de centralisation drive aimed at handing responsibility for managing different global regions to its various brands.Skoda’s vehicle sales in India rose 30 per cent in 2017, powered by demand for Skoda Rapid cars as well as Kodiaq SUVs.VW, however, has lagged rivals including Ford and Toyota in India despite growing sales marginally last fiscal year.”This year’s sales figures show that customers are very excited about our models. It is also true, however, that the Volkswagen group has struggled in recent years to achieve its growth targets in India,” Skoda Chief Executive Bernhard Maier told reporters.Its new cars will use an Indian version of Volkswagen’s MQB A0 vehicle platform, which will adhere to stricter emission and safety standards that are expected to come into force in 2020.Also Read: Skoda’s India 2.0: Made in India, for India and probably with slightly lower pricesSome 90 per cent of each new Skoda vehicle will be produced locally, Maier said, adding that the Czech brand will also explore the possibility of exporting Indian-made cars.advertisement”We think VW group may focus on technology and electric cars and try to hold on to their market share in developed markets, while Skoda may become the front runner for mass products in emerging markets,” said Puneet Gupta, associate director of automotive forecasting at research firm IHS Markit.Though Skoda and India’s Tata Motors scrapped a proposed partnership last August to develop cars for emerging markets, the company remains open to tie-ups, Maier said. Skodais not currently in talks with other parties, he added.