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Putin signs decree legalizing some Donetsk, Lugansk documents in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Saturday that will immediately legalize documents issued by authorities in the troubled Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in the territory of Russia. “Based on the norms of international humanitarian law,” IDs and other documents, such as education diplomas, marriage certificates, and car license plates issued for Ukrainian citizens and persons without citizenship in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, will be “temporarily” regarded as legal in Russia, until the Ukrainian conflict is settled based on the Minsk agreements, the decree states. It also stipulates that people with such IDs can enter Russia with no visas required. Kiev and authorities of the self-proclaimed people’s republics signed a peace agreement in Minsk almost two years ago, with the document aiming at a full ceasefire in the region, as well as providing for constitutional reforms that would give both the LPR and DPR greater autonomy and special status.

Iran not to produce nuclear weapons

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has once again assured that his country has no plans to produce nuclear weapons. He added that it would take forever for Iran, as quoted by RIA Novosti. According to the Iranian official, it is time to destroy nuclear weapons worldwide, rather than think about ‘joining the club,’ because “it is a dangerous club,” he concluded.

Avigdor Lieberman believes in 2-state solution

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he supports the possibility of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, but only if it is based on an exchange of territories and population. “I believe that there is a […] misunderstanding because today on the table we have a proposal to establish a Palestinian state without a single Jew and Israel will become a binational state where more that 20 percent of the population are Palestinians,” he told the Security Conference in Munich, as cited by Sputnik news agency. “I think that the basic principle of solution must include an exchange of population. It doesn’t make sense or create one homogenous Palestinian state and binational state of Israel,” the minister noted. Earlier in the week, Lieberman also stated that Israel was ready to invest in infrastructure and create jobs in the Gaza Strip, but that Hamas has to “give up the terror tunnels and the rockets” first

Thousands take part in procession at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg

Around 8,000 people have taken part in a sacred procession near the iconic St. Isaac’s Cathedral in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region said on Sunday, as cited by TASS. The procession which marked Orthodox Youth Day ended without incidents, he added. Between 10-12 thousand people attended the march, according to estimates by the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The landmark cathedral, currently run as a museum, has been the focus of an escalated dispute sparked by the city authorities’ decision to hand it over to the ROC. St. Petersburg has seen multiple protests; by those who support the handover and others who oppose the move.

 GOVT ABSORB TRANSACTION CHARGES ON DIGITAL PAYMENTS 

In the wake of recently released RBI Data showing digital payments lower by 10.2 per cent in volume and 7 per cent lower by value in January,2017 in comparison to December,2016 as also increasing trend of usage of cash among Merchants & Consumers due to availability of cash, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has suggested the Government to subsidise transaction charges directly to Banks and absolve either the Merchant or the consumer from the liability of paying such charges. Transaction charges are one of the major deterrent in adoption of digital payments in the Country since neither the merchant and nor the Consumer is willing to pay transaction charges.
The CAIT said that the Country was effectively going on path of digital payments but lack of structured planning, non- inclusion of stakeholders in digital payment initiative and in effective role of National Payments Council of India has brought a break on fore sighted vision of Prime Minister. It suggested the Government to hold Digital Payment Camps in commercial markets across the Country for promotion of adoption of digital payments.Incentives to shopkeepers accepting payments in business transactions through digital payments will encourage traders to embrace e-payment system.
The recent proposal of RBI to subsidise charges on digital payments made for Government revenue is not sufficient. All sorts of digital payments made either for personal expenditure or for business to business or for making payments of Government revenue should be included in the proposal to ensure faster adoption of digital payments in the Country-said Mr. B.C.Bhartia, National President & Mr. Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the CAIT. Both leaders further said that another proposal of RBI prescribing different slabs of transaction charges will make the system more complicated and as such transaction charges as a whole should be subsidised by the Government directly to Banks.
Both Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that in order to curtail flow of cash, the Government should levy a nominal surcharge on withdrawal of cash from ATM machines. They have also called for a comprehensive incentive policy for the persons and business entities using any mode of digital payments.
The trade leaders also suggested to make a separate body for regulating Rupay Card and the National Payment Council of India should be made an independent regulator to regulate payments market of India. They have further suggested that to intensify digital payments in the Country in a structured way, the Government should form a Digital Payment Promotion Board and representatives of trade & commerce may be included beside officials. The Non-Banking Finance Companies & Micro Finance Institutions should also be brought under the landscape of digital payments to install white label POS terminals by encouraging a scheme to subsidize POS terminals directly or indirectly across both urban and rural areas.
India is predominantly a cash-based economy, with less than 5 per cent of Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) of INR 70,000 crore transacted by electronically payments. Those cards are used almost entirely at ATMs rather than at the point of sale (a ratio of 10 cash transactions to 1 at the point of sale). Considering just currency, the ratio of currency to GDP in India (12.2%) is higher than countries such as Russia (11.9%), Brazil (4.1%) and Mexico (5.7%). It is an admitted fact that true value of electro

Gender and Public Transport in India:

Italy’s Renzi defies foes

Italian PM Matteo Renzi has resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Party (PD) on Sunday, triggering a leadership battle in which he will take on rivals threatening to split the center-left. Renzi quit as prime minister in December after losing a referendum on constitutional reform, but is eager to return to power and is pushing for national elections to be held this year rather than early 2018 as scheduled. Renzi did not say when the leadership ballot would be held, but allies say he is keen to hold it before local elections in June, fearing that defeat for the PD then could sink his chances. Recent opinion polls have put the PD neck and neck with the 5-Star Movement, founded by comedian Beppe Grillo, which wants a referendum on Italy’s euro membership.

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