Monday October 22, 2018
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Modi to Putin: Russia trusted friend of India in hour of need

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Moscow: India sees Russia as a reliable friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin as the 16th annual summit between the two countries got underway here on Thursday.

After exchanging greetings at the start of the talks with the Putin, Modi said India and Russia were now cooperating in the international and political arenas more actively, TASS news agency reported.

The prime minister said he saw Russia as a reliable friend that had always supported India at difficult times, adding that his country aimed to continue its strategic partnership with Russia.

Putin, on his part, said that Russia and India were consistently and confidently developing the strategic partnership.

“I am pleased to note, and I am happy to do that, that we are consistently and confidently developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia,” Putin said.

The Russian president noted that the bilateral relations were developing in all directions – in international politics, economy and the humanitarian area.

He added that a number of issues required special attention, “especially in today’s challenging economic environment.”

According to Putin, Modi’s visit was very timely and would make it possible to “synchronise watches” on the main areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Modi also offered his condolences to Putin over a terrorist attack against a Russian A-321 passenger airliner in the Sinai and the downing of a Su-24 warplane over Syria saying the Indian people were mourning together with Russia.

Russian Kogalymavia Flight 9268 came down about half-an-hour after leaving the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh while on its way to St. Petersburg in a terrorist attack on October 31. All 224 people on board the plane were killed.

In another tragic development on November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which, Ankara alleges, violated the country’s airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian defence ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.

Ahead of Thursday’s talks, Modi laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located by the Kremlin wall in the Alexandrovsky Garden.

Earlier in the day, Modi visited Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), also known as EMERCOM, in Moscow and was given a rundown on how its works.

Modi and Putin are scheduled to meet a delegation of Indian and Russian CEOs in the Kremlin.

Modi will address a gathering of Friends of India and also meet members of the Indian community in Russia.

Modi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday and was hosted for a private dinner by President Putin.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)