Is $3,800 Enough for PM’s ‘Lavish’ Lifestyle? Netizens Question Narendra Modi’s Personal Expenses



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A new Right to Information reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office has revealed that the Indian taxpayer hasn’t paid anything for maintaining the leader’s lifestyle since he first assumed office in 2014. Moreover, the PM hasn’t drawn any of his monthly pay checks of $3,824 since 2014, as per records.

Several social media users have raised doubts over the personal expenses of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after a new Right to Information (RTI) reply revealed that the Indian taxpayer hasn’t been bearing the expense for the last six years.

​“The information sought regarding expenditure on PM’s personal hairdresser, hairstylist, make-up team and grooming team is personal in nature and is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (j) of the Right to Information Act. It may, however, be noted that expenditure on personal hairdresser, hair stylist, make-up team and grooming team for PM is not borne on Government Account, says the RTI reply”, according to information shared by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in its reply.

Another RTI reply from the PMO claimed that no government funds have been spent on maintaining the dietary habits of the prime minister.

​The RTI reply was shared by journalist Saurav Das on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

When questioned by social media users that the PM could be bearing the expenses for his lifestyle from his monthly pay check of $3,824 (280,000 INR), Das cited records from India’s lower house of parliament that claim he hasn’t drawn a single salary since 2014.

​Various allegations against the popular Indian PM have been thrown around by social media users after the RTI replies were made public, with some wondering how Modi has been getting by financially for all these years.

In a legal affidavit filed with India’s Election Commission (EC) before the 2019 federal election, PM Modi stated that he owned movable and immovable assets to the tune of $341,000. The affidavit revealed that the PM owned fixed bank deposits worth $173,000 in India’s public banker the State Bank of India (SBI).

Details of the election affidavit, as reported by India Today in April 2019, revealed that PM Modi had $530 (38,750 INR) as cash in hand and $56 (4,143 INR) in retrievable bank deposits (different from fixed deposits).

The affidavit stated that PM’s primary source of income was his salary and the interest he earned on his savings. It has further been reported that PM Modi’s movable and immovable assets had risen by 52 percent between 2014 and 2019.

Modi was state chief of Gujarat since 2001 before he assumed office as prime minister in 2014.

While the prime minister has often claimed that he espouses a humble lifestyle, opposition leaders, mainly those from the Congress Party, have time and again picked on several of his photographs to mount political attacks against him.

A picture tweeted from the PM’s personal account last year showed him donning Mayback sunglasses, which some claimed cost $1,912.

Pawan Khera, a Congress spokesperson, has alleged that the PM gets a “diamond facial” regularly. Delhi state chief Arvind Kejriwal also claimed in 2016 that the PM “never repeats his clothes”.



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The fundamental question investors must ask about Tesla


It can be well argued that on fundamentals Tesla should not be trading at as high as its current $US800 per share level. So buying in now carries significant risk.

Those investors that understood that the future of the automotive industry was electric and that Tesla was the best way to play that trade shouldered the early risk. Even those that bought the stock as recently as the start of 2020 have ridden the share price up from the $US100 level.

They have profited from the index money that has poured in in recent months.

But active fund managers with offshore portfolios who stood on the Tesla sidelines over the past year have seen their relative performance eviscerated.

On a risk adjusted basis and using the usual valuation criteria Tesla shouldn’t be trading anywhere near this price. For the most part analysts agree. On average those from mainstream investment banks have a valuation of roughly half the current price.

Elon Musk is now the world’s second richest man having flirted with the number one spot last week.Credit:Getty

In recent weeks a few major analysts have updated their price targets to be closer in line with Tesla’s current share price. But in most cases, they have needed to throw out conventional valuation criteria to do so. In other words they have adjusted their models to justify the current share price.

In part the meteoric rise in Tesla’s share price has caught analysts apparently wrong-footed. It is very difficult for analysts to endure the pressure of placing a valuation on a stock at half (or less) of its trading price.

It is additionally tricky when their institutional clients are buying in at elevated prices.

Based on near term earnings -in other words profits that can reliably be modelled – the price earnings multiple of Tesla is nonsensical.

And it is the six months to two years out revenues and cash flow on which most valuations are based.

Instead those valuing the stock at closer to today’s trading price have estimated manufacturing volumes, and sales on what Tesla might achieve in five, six or seven years.

That itself is a risky methodology because a lot can change and many snafus can take place over such an extended time frame.

(Having said that Musk has delivered on most of his promises, albeit not in the precise time frame.)

If one assumes Tesla can move seamlessly from its current annual production of half a million cars to say 4 or 5 million and produce earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation of $US40 billion in 2027 – the multiple based on today’s share price would be around 20 times. (There are very reputable analysts quoting these kinds of numbers – even though Tesla isn’t.)

That is an acceptable multiple on which a company like Tesla should trade.

Whether Tesla can get there is another matter.

Firstly it should be noted that most sensible people now understand that the future of motor vehicles will be electric.

Even the petrol engine car makers appreciate this and many are already manufacturing small numbers of electric cars.

The history of disruption has demonstrated that the ‘disrupted’ are slow and unwilling to ditch the incumbent products and the vast capital invested manufacturing them to re-tool – even if it is in their long term interests.

Thus to the extent there is a moat protecting Tesla from existing petrol engine manufacturers,it is time.

Additionally there are a few new electric-only car makers emerging including China’s answer to Tesla – NIO which is backed by Tencent. Another Chinese entrant in the electric car space is Baidu sponsored Geely. Even Amazon has dipped its toe in the EV pond with the 2020 acquisition of self-driving taxi company Zoox.

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Soul raises a big question for our surreal year


To dramatise an adventure sprung from such angst, Docter and fellow filmmakers, including writer Mike Jones and writer/co-director Kemp Powers, decided to send their lead character to a space beyond Earth, removing all that is familiar.

In Soul, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is a 45-year-old band teacher and aspiring professional jazz pianist. After Joe has an accident on a bustling New York street, he finds himself mentoring a soul in training (Tina Fey) in a wispy and trippy space where spirits arrive and depart in high volume, like some otherworldly Heathrow Airport.

Docter says the grand visual challenge became: “How do you make a world that doesn’t exist anywhere?” And then, how do animators even populate a supernatural world with characters that cannot appear to be as solid and corporal as Earthbound creatures?

“We developed new technology to handle the volumetric fog of the souls,” Docter says of the fuzzy and translucent beings floating along in the film’s so-called Great Before and Great Beyond. Pixar also created digital line work to help define the ethereal characters – a first for the studio.

The luscious art works in service to story, and Soul encourages viewers to ponder – partly through the metaphor of jazz – what moments do you appreciate in the improvisational acts of daily life, and what connections do you create that matter?

Soul urges viewers to think about living purposefully, producer Dana Murray says, “whether it’s about a piece of pizza or to put that phone down.”

Through one lens, Joe Gardner’s sudden loss of his daily rituals reflects what people have experienced during the pandemic. How do we treasure time in a surreal 2020, and how do we stay alert to the mindful moments?

“I’m aware daily of how much I miss,” Docter says. “The idea of just stopping and valuing what you have, of feeling the breeze in your face – that’s what life is about.

“I hope that the film kind of allows people to wake up a little bit, and recognise the amazing things and the gifts that they have all around them.”

So did Docter gain any midlife clarity through the making of this movie?

“I want to do something that is meaningful,” the director says, “that makes the world a richer place than it was before this movie.”

The Washington Post



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AFL Draft 2020: Burning draft questions, analysis, every club’s biggest question, draft picks, top prospects, latest news


It’s one of the trickiest AFL drafts in years, thanks to the pandemic – which makes it very interesting for those watching at home.

All 18 clubs will go into Wednesday night’s national draft with different goals in mind, from nailing early picks, to finding late gems, or simply making sure they can get their Academy and father-son prospects through the door.

We run through every team’s biggest draft question.

Watch the 2020 AFL Draft Live on Fox Footy on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >

Grand Final

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NRL 2020: Every club’s biggest roster question, Roosters halves, Anthony Milford, Brodie Croft, Broncos, Cameron Smith, Storm


Pre-season is getting back into full swing which means the transfer market for next season is starting slow down as players find and settle in at their new clubs.

But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t time to recruit, release and make major changes to how will look come Round 1.

A number of clubs need some bolstering in certain positions while others are travelling just fine but their coaches face some selection headaches before kick-off in March next year.

Here is each club’s biggest roster question ahead of the 2021 season.

Round 1

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Future of Gandhi’s statue in Wales in question after slave trade review


LONDON: There is a question mark over the future of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Wales after an official Welsh government review into Britain’s colonial and slave trading history drew up a list of memorials that require a rethink.

‘The Slave Trade and the British Empire: An Audit of Commemoration in Wales’ report released this week also shortlists the commemoration of Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Robert Clive, referred to as Clive of India for his role in establishing Britain’s colonial hold in India, as “persons of interest” to move to a second stage of the review process.

Wales has a bronze sculpture of Gandhi at Cardiff Bay, unveiled in 2017 to mark the 148th birth anniversary of the leader of the Indian national movement. In the audit, he has been classified under Category E of persons of interest who “require examination as having been highlighted by campaigners”.

“His comment in a speech in 1896 that whites were degrading Hindus and Muslims ‘to a level of Kaffir’ is taken as suggesting that he believed Indians to be better than Black Africans.

“Historians have taken a range of views of his culpability, saying that it would have been premature to expect equality in turn-of-the-century South Africa or identifying Gandhi as having turned a blind eye to brutality against Africans,” notes the audit document.

“Nevertheless, Gandhi’s later leadership in India inspired leaders in Africa, including Nelson Mandela. A statue of Gandhi in Pietermaritzburg was unveiled in 1993 by Desmond Tutu,” it adds.

The inclusion of Gandhi on the list is mainly linked with some online campaigns against similar sculptures in Leicester and Manchester. However, those campaigns have had widespread counter-campaigns in favour as well.

“It was a matter of great pride that our city with the generous support of the donors was able to celebrate the life of Bapu who was so inspirational in the creation of modern India and such an example to the rest of the world,” said Peter Soulsby, the Mayor of Leicester as he pledged to protect the city’s Gandhi statue earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Churchill also falls under Category E, with the audit taking note that “specifically, he has been accused of failing to take sufficient action to relieve the Bengal famine of 1943 through his antipathy to Indian independence”.

“He expressed a belief in the superiority of the ‘Anglo-Saxon race’ and was opposed to dismantling the British Empire, taking a romanticised view of its achievements. These were not unusual attitudes in his Victorian-born generation,” it adds.

The assessment on Robert Clive, after whom a street is named in Wales, falls under Category A or “people who took part in the African slave trade”.

“The East India Company took part in the slave trade from 1621 to 1843 (its territories were excluded from the abolition act of 1833). Robert Clive began as a junior employee in 1744, commanded military campaigns in India and rose to be the Company’s Governor General until 1767,” it reads.

The Welsh government audit was launched in July this year in the wake of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, which included the very public toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol in southern England.

“This audit is concerned with purposeful commemoration in the form of statues, street names and building names. Such commemorations in some cases put people who were responsible for slavery and exploitation literally or metaphorically ‘on a pedestal’, often without any accompanying interpretation,” the report explains.

“The culpability of several of these individuals in slavery or other abuses is open to debate and interpretation. Several shifted their positions considerably as they considered issues in depth or as attitudes changed around them,” it adds.

The Task and Finish Group behind the review states that its audit is intended to capture information and not provide any answers, with its findings now likely to progress to a next stage of analysing any actions required.





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Top-10 draft hopeful “gobsmacked” by “bizarre” Crows question


Tanner Bruhn was left “gobsmacked” when in an interview with the Adelaide Crows recently.

The Geelong Falcons and Vic Country midfielder says he was surprisingly asked a question relating to recently-signed Essendon youngster Jye Caldwell and cricket.

Bruhn, who is being tipped to go in the top 10 in next month’s AFL National Draft, admits it was a bit “bizarre” to answer such a query.

“Adelaide asked me how would I get Jye Caldwell out in cricket,” he said on SEN’s The Sporting Capital.

“Which just come out of nowhere. I was gobsmacked.”

The connection is that Bruhn and Caldwell both attended Geelong Grammar and did play some cricket together.

“I used to play with him. He went to Geelong Grammar and I’m studying there now,” he said of the Caldwell connection.

“But it was just out of the blue, just one of those bizarre ones.”

Bruhn explained how he responded.

“It just came to my mind straight away, I thought this is bloody bizarre,” he added.

“I just said LBW I think. He’s been out LBW a few times so I just threw that one in there.”

And how did the Crows recruiters react?

“They sort of watch you closely just to see how you respond,” he said further.

“I think (to see) if you crumble under the pressure, if you look curious or little things like that, your body language as well.

“They started talking about cricket as well. They really got into it asking, ‘What’s your highest score?’, ‘Off how many balls?’

“I think I’d faced almost 200 balls and they were like, ‘Nice, that’s good, shows you’re patient’.”

As for his exploits on the footy field, Bruhn says he has been keeping close tabs on a certain West Coast midfielder in order to draw inspiration.

“I’ve been watching Luke Shuey the last five or so years,” he said when asked how he plays.

“I’m a West Coast supporter so I’ve been keeping a close eye on him.

“He’s someone I model my game on.”

AFL Media draft guru Cal Twomey has Bruhn ranked at pick 7 on his latest phantom list ahead of the National Draft on December 9.







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Christian Porter avoids question over alleged staff relationship


Attorney-General Christian Porter has failed to answer an Independent Australia question regarding his 10 November interview with radio station 6PR about intimate relationships with staff.

During the interview with Gareth Parker on 6PR, he was asked:

“Did you, or have you ever had, an intimate relationship or intimate relations with a staffer?“

IA put it to Mr Porter in an email on 15 November:

‘You did not answer that question as such and questioning switched to the ministerial code of conduct relating to ministers and staffers.

 

In this regard, you answered: “I’ve never breached that ministerial code of conduct and there’s never been any suggestion that I have.”’

However, the ministerial code had been introduced in February 2018. The alleged incident involving a staff member took place in 2017.

Porter was Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Abbott from December 2014 to September 2015 and Minister for Social Service in the Turnbull Government from then to December 2017.

The IA question echoed the question put to him by Parker: 

“Did you, or have you ever had, an intimate relationship or intimate relations with a staffer?”

IA emailed the question to Mr Porter’s office on Sunday 15 November after the 6PR interview had been featured on ABC’s Insiders and checked with the office the following day to ensure the question was being dealt with.

When a reply had not been received by Wednesday, a call was made to a media advisor who said:

“The statement Christian put out last Monday is the statement he stands by.”

This was the statement of 10 November. It makes no mention at all of intimate relationships with staffers.

Mr Porter, a man used to being careful with his choice of words, had told Parker in the interview that he had never breached that code of conduct — introduced by Malcolm Turnbull on 15 February 2018.

Now, for the second time, he has failed to answer the question regarding intimate relationships with staffers.

Tudge Tudge, wink wink, say no more!

Mr Porter, I note that during the interview with 6PR, excerpts of which were played on Insiders on 15 November, you were asked: 

“Did you, or have you ever had, an intimate relationship or intimate relations with a staffer?”

You did not answer that question as such and questioning switched to the ministerial code of conduct relating to ministers and staffers.

In this regard, you answered:

“I’ve never breached that ministerial code of conduct and there’s never been any suggestion that I have.”

I note that the ministerial code was introduced in February 2018.

My pedantic question, as put by Gareth Parker on 6PR: 

“Did you, or have you ever had, an intimate relationship or intimate relations with a staffer?”

Steve Bishop is a journalist and author. You can read more from Steve at stevebishop.net

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NO QUESTION SAS COMMITTED WAR CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN, FACILITATED BY FAILURE OF COMMAND – 16 News


Australian Greens Peace and Disarmament spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said there was no question now that Australian special forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan that are the result of a toxic warrior culture, facilitated by failures within the chain of command.

“The crimes outlined in the Brereton report – even in the limited detail we’ve been given so far – are horrendous and shameful,” Steele-John said.

“Innocent people, including children, are dead, families have been torn apart and villages have been left in ruin. Compensation must be given to the families and to the communities affected by these disgusting crimes.

“For their role in these crimes, the perpetrators and their direct chain of command – the officers who sanctioned, and often ordered these unlawful killings – must be held to account.

“So too must the higher levels of command within the armed forces who served during the Afghanistan War who either failed to act when they should have, or turned a blind eye and allowed the sanitisation of reporting.

Senator Steele-John said there were significant questions that still remained unanswered after ADF Chief General Angus Campbell’s press conference.

“Both the Office of the Special Investigator and the Oversight Committee must be independent, without any personal or professional ties to the Australian Defence Force. So far, these assurances have not been given.

“General Campbell stated that the commanders who either didn’t know what was happening on the ground, or turned a blind eye to sanitised reporting, would be disciplined internally and not referred to the Special Investigator. When negligence results in an unlawful killing, there are pathways for prosecuting that as a criminal matter and these must be explored.

“Any deliberations between General Campbell, as Chief of the Defence Force, and Lt. General Burr, as the Chief of Army, about consequences for commanders who failed to act must be transparent so that the Australian public can be assured that this toxic warrior culture is being properly addressed.

“And finally, the public have a right to seriously question the involvement of both General Campbell and Lt. General Burr’s in the implementation of the report’s recommendations and in future disciplinary actions related to this investigation, given both played leadership roles in the Afghanistan War.

“General Campbell was the Commander of Joint Task Force 633 responsbile for all Australian forces deployed in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, between January 2011 and January 2012. Lt. General Burr was a Commander of SASR on two separate deployments during the Afghanistan War.”

I and my team will be examining this report and its ramifications in detail, and consulting with experts and stakeholders to provide a more detailed response over the coming days.



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