Army commanders to review situation in Ladakh at 4-day conference

In a four-day conference, top commanders of the Army will carry out a comprehensive assessment of India’s combat readiness in eastern Ladakh as well as other sensitive areas along the Line of Actual Control with China.

The commanders will also talk about long-pending reform measures like cutting down on ceremonial practices and non-military activities to ensure a rational distribution of resources, they said.

Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane will chair the Army Commanders’ Conference (ACC). It will be attended by all Army Commanders, Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of the Army headquarters and other senior officers.

According to sources, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria will address the commanders on Tuesday.

“The Army Commanders will carry out a comprehensive review of the security challenges facing the nation including the situation in eastern Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir,” said a source.

The commanders will exclusively deliberate on matters relating to human resource management in the Army and carry out an in-depth discussion on on various agenda points highlighted by the top Army Commandersduring the conference.

There will be a discussion on issues flagged by the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, which is India’s only tri-services command.

Besides reviewing the security challenges facing the nation, the Army commanders will attempt to finalise various reform measures recommended by separate internal committees in utilisation of limited resources while at the same time focusing on enhancing operational capability of the 1.3-million strong force, the sources said.

Some of the proposals to be on the table at the conference include discontinuing or at least bringing down the scale of the Army Day and Territorial Army Day parades, cutting down on various ceremonial practices and reducing the number of officers’ mess within individual peace stations, the sources said.

Similarly, the top Army brass will also examine a proposal to bring down the number of guards at official residences of senior officials and another one on reducing the number of CSD canteens if several such facilities are operating within one station, they said.

Another proposal on the table for discussion would be to asking various units to cut costs on celebrating Raising Day and Battle Honour Day.

The sources said the last day’s agenda of the conference will include a briefing by the Director-General of Border Roads on the various infrastructure development projects being undertaken by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and allied formations.

They said “automation initiatives” to optimise utilisation of manpower at various levels of the Army will also be discussed.

“The conference will end with the presentation of sports trophy and flight safety trophy, followed by the closing address by the Chief of Army Staff,” said a source.

Also read: Army Commanders conference to be held next week with China, reforms on agenda

Also read: Eighth round of India, China military talks likely this week

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Wall Street drifts lower as a 4-day rally loses momentum – Long Island Business News

Stocks are moving broadly lower on Wall Street Tuesday, on pace to give up some of their recent gains as earnings reporting season gets underway for big companies.

The S&P 500 was down 0.8% in afternoon trading, giving back about half the gains from a day earlier, when another surge by Big Tech stocks capped a four-day winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 216 points, or 0.8%, at 28,622, as of 2:48 p.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite gave up an early gain and was 0.2% lower.

The pullback in stocks comes as many forces are pushing and pulling on markets simultaneously. Coronavirus counts are rising at a worrying degree in many countries around the world, and Johnson & Johnson said late Monday it had to temporarily pause a late-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine “due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.” Uncertainty about the prospects for more stimulus for the economy from Washington is also hanging over markets.

“Absent of getting any kind of fiscal stimulus, we’ve already seeing a leveling off in economic growth and some weakening under the surface, ” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “There’s concern that without that additional fiscal stimulus the economy could run into a little bit of trouble here.”

Some measure of clarity is arriving as CEOs line up to report how their companies fared during the summer. Wall Street is expecting another sharp drop in profits for the third quarter, nearly 21% for S&P 500 earnings per share from a year earlier. But if that proves correct, it would not be as bad as the nearly 32% plunge for the spring, according to FactSet.

Several companies kicked the season off on Tuesday with better-than-expected reports. JPMorgan ChaseJohnson & JohnsonCitigroup and BlackRock all reported stronger results for the summer than analysts had forecast.

Their stocks, though, were mixed following the releases. BlackRock rose 4.2%, while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup gave up initial gains and fell 2% and 4.8%, respectively. Johnson & Johnson dropped 2.5%.

Delta Air Lines reported a worse loss than Wall Street had forecast, as the pandemic keeps many fliers grounded, and its shares slid 2.2%.

Other airlines and travel-related companies were also weak, and Royal Caribbean dropped 13.2% for the biggest loss in the S&P 500. The cruise operator said it will sell up to $575 million of stock to raise cash.

On the winning side was The Walt Disney Co., which climbed 3.1% for one of the bigger gains in the S&P 500 after it announced a major reorganization of its company to focus on Disney Plus and its other streaming services.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.72% from 0.79% late Friday. Treasury markets were closed Monday for a holiday.

A government report showed that prices for consumers were 0.2% higher in September than August. That matched economists’ expectations, and it also showed that month-over-month inflation has slowed since strengthening in the summer.

Lower inflation gives the Federal Reserve more leeway to keep interest rates low, though it has said it may keep its benchmark rate at nearly zero even if inflation tops its 2% target.

While the Federal Reserve keeps the accelerator floored on its support for the economy and markets, a deep partisan divide has Congress and the White House struggling to deliver more aid of their own. Extra unemployment benefits for laid-off workers and other stimulus that Congress approved earlier this year has already expired.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he’s scheduling a vote on a scaled-back GOP coronavirus relief bill for Oct. 19. Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month and recent talks on a larger deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fell apart this past weekend. In a letter to colleagues Tuesday, Pelosi called the White House’s latest proposal insufficient and said significant changes are needed.

President Donald Trump has said that Capitol Hill Republicans should “go big” rather than the limited approach they’ve been advocating. If stimulus can’t arrive before the election, some investors have gotten more optimistic about the chances of a big support package next year if Democrats sweep the upcoming election.

“There’s a greater likelihood for a stimulus package, and an even bigger one, should we get a Blue Wave,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. “And investors are probably responding to the poll numbers that are implying that we won’t have a contested election.”

Smaller stocks, which tend to move more with investors’ expectations for the economy than the biggest stocks, were weakening more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks was down 0.8%.

European markets ended lower, while Asian markets were mixed.

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University of Regina professor weighs in on 4-day work week

There has been a lot of talk about moving to a four-day workweek in Canada, after New Zealand’s prime minister suggested the idea in May.

This would mean condensing the traditional five-day, eight-hour work week into a four-day, 10-hour work week.

But University of Regina economic’s professor, Jason Childs, said this idea wouldn’t necessarily work in Saskatchewan.

New Zealand mulls 4-day workweek post-coronavirus. Could that work in Canada?

With the Saskatchewan economy relying heavily on blue-collar type work such as mining, trade and agriculture, Childs said implementing 10-hour work days can sometimes cause further problems in terms of fatigue.

“If you’re on any type of job where fatigue is an issue, and have fatigued workers with higher health risks, they’re more likely to make mistakes or injure themselves or others,” Childs said.

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“We do see (that) thing in farming. We see injuries increase during harvest and seeding when people are going as hard as they can,” Childs said.

‘Nothing is off the table’: B.C. premier on a 4-day workweek following coronavirus pandemic

However, Childs said there have been studies done in white-collar settings where a four-day work week has shown increased levels of productivity.

Still, he added a four-day work week can create staffing challenges.

“If you are expected to be open five, six, seven days a week, then you are compressing everybody’s hours into these four-day blocks,” Childs said.

During a Facebook Live in May,  New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern floated the idea of shifting to a four-day workweek saying it “certainly would help tourism all around the country.”

A 4-day workweek boosted productivity by 40% at Microsoft Japan. Would it work in Canada?

“I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day workweek,” she said. “Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees, but as I’ve said, there’s just so much we’ve learned about COVID-19 and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that.”

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While this idea has been thrown around in Canada for some time, Childs said there isn’t any legislation preventing Saskatchewan from making the jump.

“We see very few employers opting for the four-day week opposed to the five-day, eight-hour work week,” Childs said.

“It would suggest to me that there isn’t a lot of gain here in terms of productivity for the employer.”

It can happen suddenly – a workplace accident. Every year in Canada, nearly 1,000 workers die as a result of their jobs

It can happen suddenly – a workplace accident. Every year in Canada, nearly 1,000 workers die as a result of their jobs

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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