Citizens' Issues
IS terrorist threatens to kill two Japanese hostages

The terrorist, in a video, says that the $200 million ransom demand is to compensate for non-military aid that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to support countries affected by the campaign against IS

 

The Islamic State (IS) group had threatened to kill two Japanese hostages unless it receives a $200 million ransom within 72 hours. However, Japan on Tuesday vowed it would not give in to terrorism. 
 
“Our country’s stance – contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in – remains unchanged,” chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
 
IS has murdered five Western hostages since August last year, but it is the first time that the jihadist group – which has seized swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq – has threatened Japanese captives.
 
In footage posted on jihadist websites, a black-clad militant brandishing a knife addresses the camera in English, standing between two hostages wearing orange jumpsuits.
 
“You now have 72 hours to pressure your government into making a wise decision by paying the $200 million to save the lives of your citizens,” he says.
 
The terrorist says that the ransom demand is to compensate for non-military aid that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to support countries affected by the campaign against IS during an ongoing Middle East tour that on Tuesday saw him in Jerusalem.
 
But the Japanese government said it would not bow to extremism.
 
An official in the foreign ministry’s terrorism prevention division had said earlier that the government was investigating the threat and the authenticity of the video.
 
Since August, IS has murdered three Americans and two Britons, posting grisly video footage of their executions.
 
US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, American aid worker Peter Kassig and British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines were all beheaded.
 
The militant who appeared in the video threatening the Japanese hostages spoke with a very similar southern English accent to the militant who appeared in the footage posted of the executions of the Britons and Americans.
 
Abe, who was due to give a Jerusalem new conference at 0800 GMT, pledged a total of $2.5 billion in humanitarian and development aid for the Middle East on the first leg of his tour in Cairo on Saturday.
 
He promised $200 million in non-military assistance for countries affected by the Islamic State (IS) group’s bloody expansion in Iraq and Syria, which spurred an exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries.
 
The first hostage – Kenji Goto – is a freelance journalist who set up a video production company, named Independent Press in Tokyo in 1996, feeding video documentaries on the Middle East and other regions to Japanese television networks, including public broadcaster NHK.
 
The second hostage appeared in previous footage posted last August in which he identified himself as Haruna Yukawa and was shown being roughly interrogated by his captors.
 

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Govt discusses Ordinance issue after President’s snub
Senior minister in the Modi government discussed issues involving procedures to be followed for replacing Ordinances with Bills and the preparatory measures in the upcoming Budget session of the Parliament
 
Senior ministers from the Narendra Modi cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss how to ensure that the Ordinances issued recently are followed up with legislative action in the upcoming Budget session next month. This follows an objection raised by President Pranab Mukherjee on the ‘Ordinance route’. 
 
The meeting called by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and six others deliberated upon the implications that some sectors such as coal will have if the Ordinances are not followed up by passage of bills in Parliament.
 
The Government has issued at least eight Ordinances, including one on raising the FDI limit in the insurance sector to 49% from 26% and the e-auction of coal mines.
 
The meeting significantly took place a day after the President voiced his objection to the ‘Ordinance route’ used by the Government and cautioned it against the move.
 
The meeting discussed issues involving procedures to be followed for replacing Ordinances with Bills and the preparatory measures in the coming session in Parliament, likely to begin in the third week of February.
 
The meeting took note of the possible implications in the event some of these Ordinances are not backed up by Bills in Parliament.
 
For example there will be a problem in auctioning of coal mines if the Coal Ordinance is not replaced by the Bill.
 
“I held an informal meeting with my Cabinet colleagues and about nine Ministers were present along with their secretaries to discuss the procedures to be followed for bringing Bills replacing Ordinances such as the Insurance Bill that is pending, the Coal Bill and also the Mines Bill, the Land Acquisition Bill and the Citizenship Amendment Bill,” Naidu said after the hour-long meeting.
 
“We discussed these Bills threadbare. I apprised them of the procedures to be followed, the earlier precedents and also the need to give advance notice and getting translated into both languages, circulating copies, etc,” he added.
 
Naidu said he tried to “familiarise them with the procedures and ask the secretaries to be ready by the first of next month. That was the purpose of the meeting today.”
 
Coal Minister Piyush Goel, Rural Development Minister Rao Birendra Singh, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, MOS for Surface Transport Radha Krishnan, Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda and all senior officials of the concerned ministries were present in the meeting.
 
According to the rules, an Ordinance has to be converted into legislation within 42 days of commencement of Parliament session else it lapses and an Ordinance can be repromulgated only three times.
 

 

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COMMENTS

vishal

2 years ago

It is not clear why the Government brought the ordinances in the first place, if they are not sure of getting it approved by the Parliament with in the stipulated time of Parliament session. What purpose it will serve? This might have occurred to the President and hence the snubbing to the Government.

Banks to Act as Insurance Brokers?
Who will curb mis-selling: IRDA or RBI?
 
Under Dr Raghuram Rajan’s dispensation, banks have been given far greater freedom to do business. At a time when consumer organisations have been agitated about the rampant mis-selling and arm-twisting by bankers to purchase insurance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given them a further boost. On 16th January, RBI allowed banks to act as insurance brokers (with no risk participation), permitting them to sell multiple insurance policies. 
 
The move is ostensibly aimed at increasing insurance penetration in India. Banks have been allowed to opt for the broking model, or a corporate agency model, for selling insurance through a subsidiary, joint venture or even departmentally. Insurance brokers have far more onerous responsibility compared to agents; they are supposed to be on the customers’ side unlike agents who represent the insurer’s interest. Will banks be interested in broking?
 
Banks have been asked to ensure that there is no mis-selling and products are appropriate for customers’ needs. There is also a prohibition on cash and non-cash incentives being paid by the insurance company to staff of the insurance broking entity. Who will check this—the RBI or the insurance regulator? Given the rampant arm-twisting of borrowers that is already public knowledge, isn’t it clear that banks have little interest in stopping it because they earn commission? 
 
Insurance broking rules ask banks to frame policies for redress of consumer complaints, albeit with the warning that “Violation of the above instructions will be viewed seriously and will invite deterrent penal action against the bank.” The question is: Will RBI initiate this action or push customers to the insurance regulator whose record of grievance redress is pathetic and most cases land up in consumer courts?
 
RBI has adopted a similar, hands-off approach with regard to its consumer charter which it touts as a big step forward in customer protection. On paper, the charter is supposed to ensure that consumers are treated fairly and makes banks responsible for the suitability of products sold to the customer. But what happens when banks fail to redress grievances or mis-sell a bunch of third-party products? RBI has not prescribed any penalties for failure to comply with the charter. 
 
After persistent questioning, Moneylife learns that each bank has been asked to chalk out its own policy for ensuring compliance with the charter. Only if banks fail to put in place a comprehensive policy, or adhere to it, will the central bank intervene. It is not clear in what way this would happen. However, as things stand, the consumer charter will remain a statement of good intent and it will probably be a long time before a bank customer can actually hope for fair treatment and swift grievance redress.

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COMMENTS

IndiraMishra

2 years ago

yes true but I also agree to the views of other who said ,bank area should be separate and remain cutoff from insurance sector. It is also difficult to manipulate all insurance rules ,regulations being guided by IRDA.Insurance companies are being abided by IRDA .They carry one autonomous body. The agents ,brokers all work together in insurance. Banks have facilities more to control the policy holders who actually come for bank loans usually in need if they do insurance they get loans easily. One more thing is banks can invest more share market, mutual funds,other commercial policies where the customers get more benefit and interest.small industries and business groups prefer more to invest in bank insurance. one more thing is true that pure insurance companies will also loose their investment or business if banks enter in insurance business,the access of foreign companies in insurance sectors a s the shareholders they may choose more to invest in bank insurance sectors like icici prudential, ,HDFC and SBI also than autonomous insurance companies like maxlife and LIC.

Gopalakrishnan T V

2 years ago

As it is banks are failing in doing banking business and if they are entrusted with insurance broking also, they will miserably fail both in banking and insurance and will amount to inviting additional head ache of regulating the banks. Insurance area has lot of issues and unlike banking it has not been regulated and supervised adequately is a well known truth. IRDA has not been an effective regulator is experienced by the people and there are several complaints against many an insurance companies. The mis -selling in bnks and misuse of customers confidential details would be an issue which RBI cannot effective regulate once the banks take up insurance. Frauds and loss of deposits may be the results and banks health will further deteriorate. It is not a healthy move which should not be attempted even on a trail basis.

REPLY

IndiraMishra

In Reply to Gopalakrishnan T V 2 years ago

yes true but I also agree to the views of other who said ,bank area should be separate and remain cutoff from insurance sector. It is also difficult to manipulate all insurance rules ,regulations being guided by IRDA.Insurance companies are being abided by IRDA .They carry one autonomous body. The agents ,brokers all work together in insurance. Banks have facilities more to control the policy holders who actually come for bank loans usually in need if they do insurance they get loans easily. One more thing is banks can invest more share market, mutual funds,other commercial policies where the customers get more benefit and interest.small industries and business groups prefer more to invest in bank insurance. one more thing is true that pure insurance companies will also loose their investment or business if banks enter in insurance business,the access of foreign companies in insurance sectors a s the shareholders they may choose more to invest in bank insurance sectors like icici prudential, ,HDFC and SBI also than autonomous insurance companies like maxlife and LIC.

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to IndiraMishra 2 years ago

they will destroy banking as well as insurance sector. you can always pledge your insurance policy as security for loan. for getting loan you should not have an insurance.

P M Ravindran

2 years ago

Banks TO act as insurance brokers? Which times are you referring to Ms Dalal? More than three years back my son availed loan for his higher studies in the US. I had to pledge my house as collateral. But the day before he was to leave the bank manager came to us with an LIC agent and thrust a policy to cover the full sanctioned (not availed!) loan! I, an army pensioner, am still reeling from the shock and real financial burden thrust on me!

REPLY

Dayananda Kamath k

In Reply to P M Ravindran 2 years ago

Ravindranji you take up the case with rbi with a copy to irda seeking compensation for mis selling and action on the banker for the same. So that such things do not recur to others.

Dayananda Kamath k

2 years ago

It is reinventing wheel. earlier banks used to get a commission on the insurance effected on their financed assets. but somebody in rbi at that time rightly thought that this is not banking income hence what they suggested is the wherever assets financed by banks are involved the premium will be less to the extent of their commission. because insurance is compulsory for financed assets. and it was continued till recently when irda is formed.
how you can avoid misselling and conflict of interest when banks are financing the borrower. the best thing is banks should be entirely barred from insurance solicitation. they can have a separate entity for insurance at arms length principle. so the issue of dual control by two regulators also is avoided.

Sudheer M

2 years ago

First of all, customer will not get a right advice. Banks will try to maximize the commission they get. Secondly, it will be like some RTOs and Govt offices forcing people to buy army stamps., etc.. People will be forced to take an insurance policy in case they want a locker irrespective of the need of the customer. Even now, I understand some banks are forcing people to take a policy when approaching for a housing loan. I have also seen some instances when a car loan is being applied, bank forces the customer to take the car insurance policy through them.

Jagdish Motwani

2 years ago

It is not just misselling but also further deterioration of banking services by banks' staff. I understand PNB was first to take broking in last decade followed by HSBC but both ventures failed.

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