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India approves $1 billion plan to boost IT product exports

India on Wednesday approved a 73.5 billion rupee ($1.02 billion) plan to boost local manufacturing and exports of IT products such as laptops, tablets, personal computers and servers, the technology minister said.

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India on Wednesday approved a 73.5 billion rupee ($1.02 billion) plan to boost local manufacturing and exports of IT products such as laptops, tablets, personal computers and servers, the technology minister said.

The production-linked incentive (PLI) plan will help India export IT goods worth 2.45 trillion rupees, minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a news conference.

It provides manufacturers cash-backs of between 1% and 4% of additional sales of locally made goods over four years, with 2019-2020 as the base year.

“The focus of the scheme is to get global champions to India and to make national champions out of local manufacturers,” Prasad said, adding that the plan could create roughly 180,000 jobs.

The PLI plan is also likely to help U.S. tech giant Apple Inc assemble some of its iPad tablets in India, Reuters previously reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy push in the electronics sector has prompted Apple suppliers Foxconn and Wistron to expand in India, and driven Pegatron to set up base there.

The three Taiwan companies have committed to invest roughly $900 million to make iPhones in India as part of a $6.7 billion PLI plan launched by the government last year.

Modi’s strategy, coupled with India’s huge market, have also helped turned the country into the world’s second-biggest mobile maker after China.

New Delhi now wants to replicate the success of smartphone manufacturing with other electronics in a bid to cut imports.

The federal cabinet last week approved a $1.68 billion plan to promote local manufacturing and export of telecoms and networking gear.

Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal, editing by Louise Heavens and Nick Macfie

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-manufacturing/india-cabinet-approves-1-billion-plan-to-boost-it-product-exports-idUSKBN2AO15N

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Reuters

Myanmar security forces with rifle grenades kill over 80 protesters – monitoring group

Myanmar security forces fired rifle grenades at protesters in a town near Yangon on Friday, killing more than 80 people, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group and a domestic news outlet said.

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(Reuters) – Myanmar security forces fired rifle grenades at protesters in a town near Yangon on Friday, killing more than 80 people, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group and a domestic news outlet said.

Details of the death toll in the town of Bago, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Yangon, were not initially available because security forces piled up bodies in the Zeyar Muni pagoda compound and cordoned off the area, according to witnesses and domestic media outlets.

The AAPP and Myanmar Now news outlet said on Saturday that 82 people were killed during the protest against the Feb. 1 military coup in the country. Firing started before dawn on Friday and continued into the afternoon, Myanmar Now said.

“It is like genocide,” the news outlet quoted a protest organiser called Ye Htut as saying. “They are shooting at every shadow.”

Many residents of the town have fled, according to accounts on social media.

A spokesman for Myanmar’s military junta could not be reached on Saturday.

AAPP, which has maintained a daily tally of protesters killed and arrested by security forces, has previously said 618 people have died since the coup.

That figure is disputed by the military, which says it staged the coup because a November election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party was rigged. The election commission has dismissed the assertion.

Junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun told a news conference on Friday in the capital, Naypyitaw, that the military had recorded 248 civilian deaths and 16 police deaths, and said no automatic weapons had been used by security forces.

An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar that has opposed the junta’s crackdown attacked a police station in the east on Saturday and at least 10 policemen were killed, domestic media said.

The police station at Naungmon in Shan state was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the media reported.

Shan News said at least 10 policemen were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay news outlet put the death toll at 14.

Myanmar’s military rulers said on Friday that protests against its rule were dwindling because people wanted peace, and that it would hold elections within two years.

Ousted Myanmar lawmakers urged the United Nations Security Council on Friday to take action against the military.

“Our people are ready to pay any cost to get back their rights and freedom,” said Zin Mar Aung, who has been appointed acting foreign minister for a group of ousted lawmakers. She urged Council members to apply both direct and indirect pressure on the junta.

“Myanmar stands at the brink of state failure, of state collapse,” Richard Horsey, a senior adviser on Myanmar with the International Crisis Group, told the informal U.N. meeting, the first public discussion of Myanmar by council members.

Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Pravin Char

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-politics-idUSKBN2BX0D5

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Reuters

Factbox: Russian central bank considers digital rouble in 2023

(Refiles to remove superfluous word in headline; no change in text.)

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(Refiles to remove superfluous word in headline; no change in text.)

FILE PHOTO: A Russian flag flies over Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow, Russia December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

(Reuters) – The Russian central bank is considering limiting future transactions with a digital rouble to smooth the impact of its implementation, planned for 2023, Deputy Governor Alexei Zabotkin said on Thursday.

Russia is working on introducing the digital rouble on top of existing cash and non-cash roubles, to facilitate payments for individuals and businesses and make the use of its currency more global in the face of Western sanctions.

“The emission of the cryptorouble will be akin to cash emission,” Zabotkin said.

“It will be feasible to introduce limits on the transactions from non-cash form into the digital rouble,” Zabotkin said, adding that the central bank will stand ready to compensate for possible liquidity shortages when introducing the digital rouble.

Russia is joining other central banks across the world that are stepping up efforts to develop digital currencies to modernise financial systems, speed up payments and counter a potential threat from other cryptocurrencies.

Below are the key aspects that are known about Russia’s digital rouble project:

* The central bank first floated the idea of the digital rouble in October, citing the need to make payments more convenient;

* The digital rouble will be issued by the central bank and will not substitute for cash in circulation or accounts in banks;

* The first test-drive stage is planned for 2022 and will include transactions with banks. Other operations, such as tax payments and budget settlements, will be tested later;

* Russia is leaning towards a two-tier system for its digital rouble, with banks opening digital wallets with the central bank and serving as intermediaries for customers and companies;

* Russian banks expressed concern about the digital rouble, pointing at cyber risks, possible liquidity shortages and damage to their profits;

* Russia gave cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, legal status in 2020. But it banned them from being used as a means of payment, stressing that only currencies issued by central banks can be used for that;

* Russia eyes the digital rouble introduction at times when major central banks including the U.S. Federal Reserve have teamed up with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to explore central bank digital currencies.

Reporting by Anna Rzhevkina and Elena Fabrichnaya; editing by Andrey Ostroukh, Larry King

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-cenbank-rouble-factbox/factbox-russian-central-bank-considers-digital-rouble-in-2023-idUSKBN2BV2AH?il=0

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Left-wing party opposed to big mining project wins Greenland election

A left-wing party that opposes a large rare earth mining project has become the biggest in parliament after securing more than a third of votes in a snap election.

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – A left-wing party that opposes a large rare earth mining project has become the biggest in parliament after securing more than a third of votes in a snap election.

Members of IA (Inuit Ataqatigiit) celebrate following the exit pools during Greenland’s election in Nuuk, Greenland April 6, 2021. Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS

The result of Tuesday’s election casts doubt on the mining complex at Kvanefjeld in the south of the Arctic island and sends a strong signal to international mining companies wanting to exploit Greenland’s vast untapped mineral resources.

The Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party won 37% of votes, compared to 26% in the last election four years ago, overtaking the ruling social democratic Siumut party which secured 29% of votes, according to official results.

The pro-mining Siumut party has been in power most of the time since 1979.

Though not opposed outright to mining, IA has a strong environmental focus. It has campaigned to halt the Kvanefjeld project, which aside from rare earths including neodymium – which is used in wind turbines, electric vehicles and combat aircraft – also contains uranium.

“This will without doubt hamper mining development in Greenland,” said Mikaa Mered, lecturer on Arctic affairs at HEC business school in Paris.

While most Greenlanders see mining as an important path towards independence, the Kvanefjeld mine has been a contention point for years, sowing deep divisions in the government and population over environmental concerns.

“It’s not that Greenlanders don’t want mining, but they don’t want dirty mining,” Mered said, referring to uranium and rare earth projects. “Greenlanders are sending a strong message that for them it’s not worth sacrificing the environment to achieve independence and economic development.”

CHALLENGES AHEAD

The island of 56,000 people, which former U.S. President Donald Trump offered to buy in 2019, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but has broad autonomy.

IA leader Mute Egede, 34, will be first to try to form a new government. A potential government ally could be the Naleraq, an independence party that also opposes the Kvanefjeld project.

Support from Prime Minister Kim Kielsen and his governing Siumut party helped license-holder Greenland Minerals gain preliminary approval for the project last year, paving the way for a public hearing.

The Australian firm has already spent more than $100 million preparing the mine and has proven processing technology through its Chinese partner Shenghe Resources.

“The challenge for IA will be to explain to the world that Greenland is still open for business and still an attractive mining jurisdiction,” said Dwayne Menezes, head of London-based think-tank Polar Research and Policy Initiative.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Timothy Heritage

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-greenland-election-idUSKBN2BU0V1

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