News Wrap


India is seeking entry in the world wine market. The Indian industry started in a small manner from the 1980s, and has only 6000 acres planted with vineyards, which produces 30 million bottles per year. From western perspectives much of the wine is not fully palatable. An increasing amount of Indian wine is being tailored to the western market, with one wine, Krsma Estates ‘cabernet sauvignon’ selling for $45 (£31) a bottle in USA. ‘Marks and Spencer’ has experienced a surprise hit in Britain, in another wine, produced by Sula Vineyards and labelled Jewel of Nasik. Wine lovers are keen to try Indian wines, because they like to experiment with new regions and producers. The subcontinent’s wines match well Indian food, with the warm climate producing ripe fruit flavours and soft tannings. Indian restaurants are increasingly branching out from basic curry dishes, to more adventurous cooking, where red, white and rose wine are in demand. Indian bear remains usually gassy and tasteless. Wine growers are trying to produce wines which pair well with Indian food and spices. Indian wines are now stocked in around 1000 Indian restaurants in Britain.

Spirituality and Irrationality
Jawahar Bagh, the 280-acre horticulture department land, was converted to a personal fiefdom, by Ram Vilas Yadav, leader of the Swadheen Bharat Subhas Sena (SBSS), since February 2014, in Mathura (Uttar Pradesh). Yadav is one of the three main disciples of Mathura’s first and most revered godman, Jai Gurudev. The district court is a five minute walk from Jawahar Bagh, and the army cantonment is just a kilometre away. Demands of the SBSS included an ‘Azad Hind Sarkar’ with Subhas Chandra Bose as the ‘‘first citizen’’, and an Azad Hind currency, in place of the existing rupee. Jawahar Bagh had at least 2500 people and even sported a flag of its own. Squatting on prime real estate, in the administrative heart of Mathura, the SBSS converted the massive illegal settlement into a self sufficient mega residential complex. On March 2016, the UP state horticulture department had sent a team to harvest potatoes it had sown in Jawahar Bagh. The SBSS reacted violently, forcing the team to retreat.

Allahabad High Court had issued directives for removal of the illegal encroachments in Jawahar Bagh, following a public interest litigation. Clashes broke out on 02 June 2016, when police were trying to evict illegal occupants of a plot in Jawahar Bagh. 3000 encroachers, said to be activists of Azad Bharat Vidhik Vicharik Kranti Satyagrahi, pelted stones and later opened fire at the police team, as they reached the spot. Police opened fire in retaliation. Gas cylinder explosions were set off by the encroachers. At least 30 people, including Superindent of Police, Mathura and station house officer, Farah, were killed in the clash. Scores were injured. Police recovered 47 guns, 6 rifles and 179 hand grenades from the camp. Yadav, the chief of the violent encroachers, is among those killed in the clashes. The UP state government has ordered a judicial enquiry, to be probed by a one-man commission, into the violence.

Saudi oil
To counter dwindling oil revenues and reserves, Saudi Arabia has raised $10 billion from a consortium of global banks, on its first international borrowing in twenty five years. The landmark five-year loan is a sign of Riyadh’s newfound dependence on foreign capital. This is Saudi Arabia’s first international bond issue. The low price of crude has encouraged other Gulf governments such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Oman, to tap bond markets. Oil rich Saudi Arabia in mid-April 2016, blocked a deal among oil producers to freeze output and bolster prices. It has burnt through about $120 billion in reserves since late 2014. The country’s fiscal deficit is set to widen to 19% of gross domestic product in 2016. The kingdom is transformed from a creditor nation to a debtor nation, making a significant moment of change in the debtor market. The lead lenders, each pledged about $1.3 billion, including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, HSBC and J P Morgan. The banks were required to lend at least $500 million to participate.

Representing almost half of global crude oil production, talks in Doha in mid-April 2016, was attended by major non-Opec producers, such as Russia and Mexico, alongside countries from the cartel. Attempts by some of the world’s biggest oil producers to freeze output ended without a deal after Saudi Arabia insisted that Iran should be part of any agreement. Teheran had refused to join the oil production freeze, as it rebuilds its oil exports after years of sanctions.

Vol. 49, No.3, Jul 24 - 30, 2016