Donald: Brexit talks must settle ‘people, money, Ireland’ first

EU President Donald Tusk said Friday that Britain must first settle the divorce issues of “people, money and Ireland” before any talks on a post-Brexit trade deal. In a letter to the other 27 EU leaders ahead of a key summit Saturday, Tusk said that “before discussing our future, we must first sort out our past.” The EU 27 are set to adopt guidelines for the negotiations on Brexit at the summit, following British Prime Minister Theresa May’s formal triggering of the two-year divorce process last month. Tusk said the “only possible approach” was phased talks, in which Britain must make “sufficient progress” on the divorce issues before negotiations on future ties.

Another EU leader,Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says that the EU must fundamentally change and get closer to its citizens if it is to survive. Renzi said in Brussels, where he is finishing his campaign to reclaim leadership of the Italian Democratic Party, that “Europe needs radical change” after last year’s British vote to leave the bloc and the rise of populism across the continent. Renzi is hoping this Sunday’s DP primary will see him rebound from the embarrassing defeat Italian voters dealt him last year in a referendum on reforms he made a centerpiece of his government. media agencies

Merkel on Global issue

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Emmanuel Macron would make a “strong president” for France, throwing her weight behind the centrist favorite to win a run-off on May 7 against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Asked in an interview if Germany would accept future French demands that it increase its contributions to the European Union, Merkel said: “We will see. I can’t anticipate the discussions with the future French president.”

Germany rejected on Friday demands to halt Turkey’s bid to join the EU, even as some EU states said Ankara’s membership dream was dead after Turks voted to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who will discuss the issue on Friday with his EU counterparts and with Turkey’s top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu, said such a step would be counterproductive. “The German government is strictly against canceling the [accession] talks, that would be totally the wrong reaction,” he said in Malta. “Those who would like to win applause at home because they say ‘We do not talk to Turkey any more’ will not change anything in Turkey,” he said

German government has said there are no plans to invite Russia to return to the club of leading industrialized nations. A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said “a change to the G7 format isn’t up for debate at the moment.” Steffen Seibert spoke to reporters Friday ahead of Merkel’s upcoming trip to Russia, AP reported. The chancellor meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Tuesday to discuss the situations in Ukraine, Syria and Libya. Germany hosts a summit of the broader G20 club of leading and emerging economies, of which Russia is a member, in July. Russia said earlier it is not seeking a return to the G8. Media agencies

Veiby grabs lead as Gill suffers damper issues

Whangarei (New Zealand), April 29: India’s Gaurav Gill of Team MRF Tyres, struggling with an errant damper, saw his slender advantage vanish as team-mate Ole Christian Veiby from Norway literally splashed his way to a 33.2-second lead in the International Rally of Whangarei which is also the first round of the 2017 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, here on Saturday that marked by heavy rains in the afternoon.

Gill (co-driver Stephane Prevot), the reigning APRC champion and Veiby (Stig Rune Skjærmoen) were locked in a thrilling and close battle through the morning. Delhi-based Gill, winner here last year, led Veiby by just 1.7 seconds on completion of four of the day’s eight Special Stages, one of which was cancelled in the afternoon following an accident that blocked the route.

On the second loop of the same Stages in the afternoon, Gill encountered problems with the front dampers that led to lack of grip, while in contrast, Veiby had a flawless run that helped him not only move to the front, but also finish the day with a sizeable lead.

With another 108 Kms spread over six Special Stages to be run on Sunday and more rains forecast, Veiby and Gill, both piloting the Skoda Fabia R5, are way ahead of the field. Third-placed Jari Ketomaa (Ville Mannisenmaki), in a Mitsubishi Mirage, trails Gill by one minute, 42.5 seconds as Team MRF Tyres eye a possible 1-2 finish.

Reflecting on his day’s performance, Veiby who started with a 2.5-second deficit following Friday night’s Super Special Stage, said: “We started at a comfortable pace initially, but stepped up the speed in the second loop. I particularly enjoyed the long Stages which were amazing and I could make time on Gill, but he was quicker on the shorter tight and twisty Stages.

“Overall, I am happy as we didn’t have any issues with the car. The last Stage was very difficult as it was raining very heavily and we could barely see. The MRF tyres worked extremely well today in difficult conditions and I have become more comfortable with them.”

On his part, Gill felt that there was still a big battle ahead on Sunday despite the deficit he faced. “I had a good run in the morning though I started first and had to sweep the gravel off the track.

“In the afternoon when it rained heavily, I had problems with the dampers due to which there was no front-end grip. I lost confidence thereafter and couldn’t really push. Also, there was plenty of water on the route and every time I went through at speed, I lost pace while the going was much clear for those behind me. Tomorrow is another day and I am up for the challenge.”

Provisional classification (after Leg-1):

APRC: 1. Ole Christian Veiby / Stig Rune Skjærmoen (Team MRF Tyres, Skoda Fabia R5) (01hr, 31mins, 33.8secs); 2. Gaurav Gill / Stephane Prevot (Team MRF Tyres, Skoda Fabia R5) (01:32:07.0); 3. Jari Ketomaa / Ville Mannisenmaki (Mpart Sport, Mitsubishi Mirage) (01:33:49.5).

Meeting of the Committee for Review of Public Procurement Policy for Defence Supply

Sub: 1st Meeting of the Committee for Review of Public Procurement Policy for Defence Supply on 1st May, 2017.

Dear

Government has constituted the above committee to connect MSMEs with Defence Procurement and I am pleased to inform that FISME has been taken as a permanent member of the Committee.

As you may be aware, the present public procurement policy for MSMEs reserve 20% of Government purchases from MSMEs, however, defence procurement has not been included in the policy.

By this initiative Government may have started stakeholders’ consultation on the feasibility of reserving some percentage of defence purchases from MSMEs.

We request your comments and past experiences on the barriers MSMEs generally face in defence supplies.

As the meeting of the Committee is slated on 1st May, 2017, we request your inputs by 27th April, 2017

Yours faithfully,

(C S Prakash)

Chairman

MSME Defence Suppliers’ Group

FISME