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US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley opens to ideas on expanding UN Security Council

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New York, March 30, 2017: US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley has said she is open to ideas on adding permanent members to the UN Security Council but did not made a categorical endorsement of India’s bid for one of the permanent seats.

“I’m open to hearing anyone on what they have to say and looking at it and going further,” she said answering a question on Wednesday by Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) President Richard Haas about Security Council reform.

She candidly admitted, “First of all, I’m in learning mode. And as I look at that, I know there is conversations of reform of Security Council.”

Haas had mentioned previous administrations raising Council expansion with India being mentioned as a candidate for a permanent seat and asked for President Donald Trump administration’s or her views about it.

Former President Barack Obama had endorsed several times India’s bid for permanent membership in Council.

In her speech at the CFR, Haley outlined a bold plan to shake up the UN and lead campaign for drastic reforms to both achieve its goals and to make it more efficient.

Washington is the biggest financier of the world body putting up 22 per cent of the regular budget and 28.36 per cent of the peacekeeping outlay. President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed a 31 per cent cut to the State Department budget, which could impact its contributions to the UN.

Haley said that she would focus in the coming weeks on UN peacekeeping operations, an area with major involvement by India, which has 7,606 troops under the UN banner.

She criticised the peacekeeping operations and said it was shocking that there was no basic evaluation of its missions. Rather than concentrating on finding a political solution through peacekeeping, the UN got bogged down in “parochial questions” about troop-contributors, operation-funders, and the UN establishment.

When the US assumes the presidency of the Council, she said: “We will lay out a comprehensive vision for how peacekeeping missions should be reviewed moving forward. We will go back to first principles and ask hard questions.”

Human rights would be the other priority area, she said. “The fact is, peace and security cannot be achieved in isolation from human rights,” she added. “Human rights abuses are not the by-product of conflict; they are the cause of conflict, or they are the fuel that feeds the conflict.”

She noted that the Council had not held sessions devoted exclusively to the subject and said she intended to call one on the connection between human rights and security.

“We intend to challenge member states to start walking the walk and not just talking the talk of human rights,” she said.

“We will see which countries rise to the challenge and which resort to the same old tired excuses. It will be very telling if any country tries to block this debate. (IANS)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)