Republican leaders to date have not made any decision as to how long a fiscal 2017 continuing resolution (CR) would extend, but House conservatives are making clear their preference for a stopgap spending measure that lasts until March 2017.A CR almost certainly will be needed for most, if not all, spending bills to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins in October, as the regular appropriations process appears to be coming to an end. Conservatives are pushing for a CR that lasts about six months to avoid the last-minute negotiations on an omnibus spending measure that typically take place behind closed doors as the December holidays approach.“The last thing we want to see is some kind of a shutdown scenario in December, and then basically giving the president everything that he asks for,” Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) told CQ.Other Republicans, especially appropriators, favor a shorter stopgap, including Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.“I would, yeah,” Rogers told reporters. But he added, “It’s just beginning to be talked about.”Discussion of a six-month stopgap has largely taken place only in the House, with at least one Senate appropriator leaning toward finishing work on FY 2017 appropriations before the end of the congressional session.“The problem with pushing these things out too far [is] you’ve got the old year to consider and you’ve got the new year to consider, and you really get into a time crunch,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told CQ.Democrats similarly favor finishing the process in 2016. Placing spending on autopilot for the first half of the fiscal year cheats agencies out of the opportunity to start new programs, said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the chamber’s Democratic whip and a senior appropriator.“Try to run the Department of Defense on a CR. You know the bottom line or top dollar number, but to put into each one of your agencies, sub-agencies, the same amount of money as last year, is not a good way to govern and it’s certainly not a good way to respect the taxpayers’ dollars,” Durbin said. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
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COPY LINKAD Loading … Close Ericsson later earned a verdict from the Supreme Court that signalled immediate crisis for cash-strapped Anil Ambani. The court ordered Anil and two RCom directors to clear Ericsson’s dues worth Rs 4.5 billion within four weeks or face a three-month jail term for contempt of court. The last date of making the payment was March 19.With the wireless sale deal stalled, Anil frantically sought other ways to pay off the debt and escape impending jail term. But he suffered another blow when National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) refused to free up to Rs 260 crore tax refunds withheld by lenders saying it did not have jurisdiction to do so. Banks had opposed the release of the tax refunds. Anil was now looking down the barrel.Dramatic turnHowever, a day before the expiry of the apex court’s deadline, RCom said it paid a whopping Rs 458.77 crore to Ericsson, clearing outstanding dues. The money came from Mukesh. A long-standing rivalry apparently ended with the victor bailing out the one who fell.Anil then profusely thanked Mukesh, his brother and Asia’s richest man, and his wife Nita, for extending timely support. “My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” Anil said in a statement issued by Reliance Communications. “I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply grateful and touched with this gesture.” Mukesh Ambani (left) with brother Anil Ambani.ReutersOne of the biggest sibling rivalries in the corporate world has apparently come to end with Anil Ambani publicly thanking elder brother Mukesh and his wife Nita for throwing a lifeline at the last minute that saved him from going to jail in the Ericsson case. The nearly two-decades-long struggle for one-upmanship between the billionaire brothers started when their rags-to-riches father Dhirubhai Ambani died without leaving a will in 2002.When India’s biggest ever corporate satrap died, he left his gigantic company in the hands of his sons Mukesh and Anil, whose personalities were a study in contrast. A long saga of internal conflicts wracked the company for years, with bad blood between the brothers occasionally spilling out in the open. After years of pushing and shoving, which was worsened by the coteries of professional managers loyal to each of the Reliance scions, the matriarch, Kokilaben Ambani, stepped in and brokered a truce between them in 2005.The formal division of the empire left both Mukesh and Anil evenly rich but their onward journey was destined to witness different tones of success and fortune. Mukesh got control of the flagship oil-refining and petrochemicals business, while Anil got the newer businesses such as power generation, financial services and telecom.Quirks of destinyIn one of the quirks of destiny, while the wealth of Mukesh grew exponentially, Anil saw his riches dwindling over the years. His ranking in the international rich list suffered first and what we saw next was that he slipped horrendously in the India rich list as well.Anil was still leading a charge in the new businesses of the Reliance empire but Mukesh saw future threats in his core business, with crude oil prices climbing, threatening to erode refiners’ margins. He waited for the end of a non-compete clause with the brother, which had kept him out of the telecom arena. When the agreement was scrapped in 2010, Mukesh quickly returned, pumping in more than $34 billion over the next seven years to build a speedier 4G wireless network for his Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.And thus, finally, the killer blow to Anil’s business empire came from Mukesh himself. The elder Ambani’s re-entry into the telecommunications business with Reliance Jio Infocomm served a grim notice not just to Anil’s Reliance Communications, but a lot of other competitors as well. His nationwide 4G network, which debuted with free services in 2016, disrupted the business, forcing rivals including RCom to bleed, merge or exit the industry.”It was a very, very big bet,” said James Crabtree, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. Jio also gave Mukesh the chance to forge his own legacy beyond the shadow of the businesses he had inherited. “Jio in that sense was an all-in bet,” he added.Like his elder brother, Anil had also invested billions to expand his portfolio, but the younger brother didn’t have a cash cow like the oil refinery to finance growth. Instead, like other businesses in India and elsewhere, many of his firms increased debt. The Jio onslaught was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. The already indebted Anil had to seek ways to shed assets in order to service debts and pay them off eventually. Under pressure from lenders, Anil broached selling RCom assets to quell investor concerns and deal with a sinking stock. The shares of Reliance Naval & Engineering Ltd saw the worst decline last year, losing 75 percent. Bought in 2015 as part of his bet on defence as the next engine of growth, the warship and submarine maker has proven hard to turn around.First signs of a thaw in sibling rivalryAnother of Anil’s defence firms also came under scrutiny over the 2016 negotiations between France and India for the $8.7 billion deal for Rafale warplanes from France. In a statement on August 20, Anil and his firm denied allegations from opposition lawmakers that the Rafale deal unfairly benefited his firm, saying the lawmakers had been “misinformed, misdirected and misled by malicious vested interests and corporate rivals.”Amid all this crisis, the first signs of a thaw in the sibling rivalry emerged when Mukesh agreed to buy the wireless assets of RCom for a whopping Rs 18000 crore, a deal that would help Anil lighten his debt load and stay in the business. However, it was not meant to be a fairytale ending for Anil Ambani. The wireless asset deal went into a tailspin after the DoT insisted it that its liabilities would be passed off onto the buyer, who would have to pay off the creditors and associates.Meanwhile, Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson was tightening the noose around the neck of the fallen business magnate. Back in 2017, Ericsson moved a bankruptcy court alleging it had not been paid dues of around Rs 1,600 crore after signing a deal in 2013 to operate, maintain and manage the telco’s nationwide network. It extracted a personal guarantee from Ambani to pay the dues. Mukesh Ambani helped his younger brother Anil Ambani to pay off debt owed to Sweden’s Ericsson
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at a media briefing at her official Ganabhaban residence on Wednesday. Photo: BSSPrime minister Sheikh Hasina has said it is the government policymakers, not the students, who should think of quota reform.“Quota reform is not a matter of students. It is rather a matter of the policymakers. As students demanded annulment of the system, we’ve scrapped it. What’s the point of raising question over the matter now?” prime minister Hasina told a media briefing at her official Ganabhaban residence.Also the ruling Bangladesh Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina organised the briefing on the outcome of her recent visits to Saudia Arabia, United Kingdom and Australia. Hasina went on saying, “The students have demanded and we’ve accepted it. What is the point of repentance now?”She said none should complain now that they are lagging behind as the district quota has also been abolished.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia (C) looks on as she is escorted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in Dhaka on 6 October, 2018. Photo: AFPBangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson, Khaleda Zia, transferred to hospital last weekend from the 19th-century jail where she is the only prisoner, can no longer use her left hand, her physician told AFP on Tuesday.Khaleda Zia, 73, was jailed in February for corruption and has been on trial in a special room in the abandoned Dhaka Central Jail on additional graft charges that her supporters say are politically motivated.On Saturday Zia, a long rival to prime minister Sheikh Hasina, was transferred to hospital because of poor health following an order from the High Court.”Her symptoms have worsened in the last few months,” Abdul Jalil Chowdhury, one of the physicians at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) hospital who has since examined her, told AFP.”She has developed deformity of left hand in the last few months due to long standing rheumatoid arthritis. She can’t use her left hand,” he said.”In addition, she has developed left frozen shoulder,” he said, adding Khaleda Zia was also suffering from neck and back pain and she is a diabetic.Lawyers for Zia, prime minister from 1991-1996 and 2001-2006, had argued that the government was putting her health at risk by refusing her specialised care in prison.When Khaleda Zia — who leads the Bangladesh Nationalist Party — was jailed in February for corruption, the sentence triggered clashes between police and thousands of BNP supporters.She was found guilty of embezzling money intended for an orphanage.Khaleda Zia is appealing against the verdict — which bars her from standing in the general election set for December — and was granted bail earlier this year.However she remains in custody while she fights dozens of other violence and graft charges.Last month the authorities turned a room of the jail into a court — a move her lawyers said was illegal.Khaleda Zia already had health issues including arthritis, diabetes and knee replacements when she was sentenced.She is the only inmate in Dhaka Central Jail, built in the 19th century under British colonial rule and declared abandoned in 2016.Her party boycotted the 2014 election in which Sheikh Hasina returned to power but is expected to contest the election due in December.