Why we are obsessed with money

What a way to exist!

For most of us, practically the whole day all we are thinking is about money and more specifically how to have more money!

As if money was the only thing in life. Unfortunately for most of us, circumstances just do not permit any other thought!

We are running behind money most of the time which is almost akin to have become obsessed with money. Everything that we are doing in life is centred around money.

Unfortunately, this is because we need money for anything and everything that we do. There’s nothing wrong and what are you doing, however the problem is that over time, it becomes a compulsive habit to keep earning more.

That’s where the danger is. The problem is that there is a point where from we chase money as an addiction, we chase money because we like to do so. If we did not chase money we would not know what to chase now because we get out identity from money and the amount of money we have.

Another thing is that right from childhood we are always taught and our minds are conditioned that everything that we are doing is going to be for the sake of earning money.

There is no one who told you that money is just a means, and then there is something greater in life to achieve. Some examples are legacy; building something, charity; to giving something / helping someone, passion; pursuing something and living; simply to enjoy life and your money

We have got addicted to this and how!

There are three reasons for this:

First, we are what we do. It is the human behaviour. I know I should exercise and I don’t. I know I should eat healthy and I don’t. I know I should spend time with my kids and I don’t. I know that, yes, money isn’t going to make me happy and I still keep trying to make money.

We live by the laws of inertia, in a pattern which is hard to break. But we have to break it. For ourselves and for the sake of people and reasons for which we are chasing money.

Secondly, we need signals of progress. Money is a measure of how far you have progressed in life. The more the money you have the more you can make sure your progress. It’s simply the logic of evolution. People need validation of their success. Bigger house, bigger car, branded goods and list goes on.

Thirdly, it’s the easy way out. It’s only human to avoid difficult things. Important things are very difficult to measure.  Have I been a good father or husband? Have I groomed my child well?  Such things take years to measure and we still don’t have answers.

So, should we not be focused on creating money for ourselves?

I’m not saying that. Definitely create. Take care of yourself for sure!! Use it to the maximum to make yourself happy!!! You need a certain amount and beyond that is extra.

The definition of their certain amount is naturally different from one person to another. If that extra is going to happen easily, without stress and without your involvement, then its fine. Basically don’t kill yourself for that extra. Be Smart.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a certified financial planner, wealth manager and financial freedom coach.

How the RBI actually helps you

RBI

Most of us in Mumbai, see this huge structure called the Reserve Bank of India and wonder what it really does. It’s also a tourist attraction!! It has so many other offices and again one wonders why they need to have so many offices. I’m going to try and highlight a very interesting part of RBI’s work and how it helps us directly on a day-to-day basis.

The RBI does a review of the monetary policy of the country at frequent intervals during the year. So how does the monetary policy help us investors to take smart decisions?

Monetary policy is a tool by which the RBI decides to raise interest rates or reduce interest rates or keep them steady.

In our country, as we’re an oil importing nation, this decision is very closely linked to Oil. Oil to a large extent contributes to inflation. We all know what happens when inflation keeps rising. We in India unfortunately do not see too much of inflation falling and things becoming cheaper.

Oil is Not Well

So when oil prices rise i.e. we see a rise in crude oil prices almost instantly we can expect rising food prices. This is because there is going to be a rising cost pressure for manufacturing & services. This rise obviously gets passed onto the retail consumers.

When this happens RBI adopts a hawkish stance, tries to pull money out of the system by raising interest rates. Now when interest rates rise no one seems to be interested in borrowing. This immediately puts a brakes on money circulation.  Less money chasing goods decreases the demand for money. This way it controls inflation.

There is yet another tool that the RBI has and that is known as the CRR or the cash reserve ratio.  This ratio in simple words means the amount of cash that the bank must maintain with the RBI as the percentage of the total assets. So when this increases banks are forced to park more with the RBI and this is also a way to control inflation.

On the other hand when things look dull, when there is a recession of sorts, the RBI comes to the rescue and gets into action to kickstart growth in the country. It does this by lowering the interest rates. This we all will understand quite easily because we see a direct benefit of this happening. We see a fall of interest outgo in our EMI’s for the home loan that we are carrying. New loans become cheaper.

Individuals are motivated to go out and make purchases, whether it is for a washing machine or a piece of real estate. Businesses are motivated to go out and borrow to buy more machinery, to expand capacity, to hire more staff and manpower and basically do everything that will add to the growth of business.

Economic growth results as a result of all this. It is also during this time that stock market rises, we see a rally in stock prices and mutual fund NAV’s jumping higher and higher each day. There is prosperity all around.

Critical Role

As you can see that the central bank of the country has a very very important role to play.  If it makes a mistake, things can go really wrong.  Imagine like the USA or Japan if our interest rates were very low; everyone would run to borrow, they would borrow more than they require because it would be cheap and easy to borrow. And that is very individuals would run into what is known as the debt trap, because someday you’ll have to pay back.

Each day the central bank attempts to make sure that everything in our country remains stable and financially there’s nothing that goes wrong dramatically.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager & Financial Freedom Coach.

The year of the bond, once again!

We are not talking of James Bond, we are talking of investment bonds.

We are in a situation where the fixed deposit rates are at a general low and there is a lot of discontent among depositors of fixed deposits.

Whenever we see a situation like this, one way or the other, the bond markets come to the rescue. It comes to the rescue of smart depositors, who are agile to move their money from fixed deposits to bond funds.

Let’s understand what is happening and why.

What Exactly is Happening in the Bond Markets?

It is likely that in this year, investors of bond funds will make handsome gains. Bond prices may rise and there may be capital gains. Investors of bond funds not only earn the rate of interest, but also earn capital gains. So that way, they make more than the return they would make on fixed deposits. The returns could be a high single digit or sometimes as high as double digits.

Over three years, this will become practically tax free or the tax would be a very small amount. So, basically, I am thinking that a rally will happen in the bond market. There are three main reasons for this — reduction in government borrowing (which is favourable), recovery of trading losses (which is favourable) and no change in monetary policy (which is neutral).

A word of caution, however, that such bond market investments are also subject to bond-market volatility and should be considered ideally with the help of a financial expert.

Before proceeding further, let us, therefore, quickly explain a bond, bond fund and bond market. We need to do this because few people understand the bond markets and even fewer invest in the bond markets.

Bond is nothing, but a commercial transaction where the borrower is issuing a bond to the lender and the lender will earn a certain rate of interest. When interest rates fall, everyone becomes interested in owning that bond.

As a result, the demand for the bond increases, the price of the bond increases and the bondholder makes capital gains.

A bond fund is a fund where ordinary investors pool in their money and a fund manager buys them a portfolio of bonds.

Moving onto the Reasons For a Rally in Bond Funds…

Now, the fundamental reason for a rally is reduction in interest rates as it stimulates economy and growth.

Firstly, the government is a massive borrower of funds. So a reduction in government borrowing reduces the demand for money in the economy. As a result, prices of bonds rise and this contributes to capital gains for bond holders.

Secondly, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently announced that the commercial banks and RBI, which are the largest lenders to the government, will have another year to offset losses they have incurred on account of buying government bonds in the past. This action will lead to a rise in the price of bonds and this contributes to capital gains for bond holders.

Lastly, on one side due to the rise in oil prices, there is more inflation and thus more money is needed for circulation in the economy. On the other side, many government bonds are maturing, which will provide money supply. So, it is likely that we see a neutralising effect and thus RBI will take no action. This inaction here will support capital gains as explained above. Hence, this year might be a year of good gains for the bond investors.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager & Financial Freedom Coach.

Five new financial goals for you this summer

I am going to try and explain to you why the summer holidays of April and May are great months to get a lot of things started, financially speaking.

This time period in a way resets the financial clock. You also have the option to hit the reset button on everything you have done so far; financially speaking of course and hope to do better things better than you did last year.

Let’s look at some of the new and unusual things to do in April.

  • Make a learning budget

Learn something about money or anything you like. The best way to make money is to learn something about money. Just like if you wanted to learn cooking you will get into the cooking class. If you wanted to learn swimming you would enrol in the swimming class. If you find learning about money is too daunting task than learn something which is close at to your heart or related to your work. If you learn something new, there’s a possibility that you will use your new ideas to generate new income and in turn that will generate new wealth for you.  So make a budget, enrol somewhere and spend that budget. How about a % of your annual income? Spend it for sure!

  • Plan a unique holiday 

When you’re by yourself and without your mobile phone you will have the opportunity to think! When you have time to think, suddenly good ideas will come to your mind.  You may think this is silly but you can be sure that you will be amazed if your drivers experiment just once. So it might be a good idea to go for a holiday just by yourself. If you find that too intimidating, join a group of strangers. You can combine that with the adventures experience if you like.  Be extra careful if you’re going with your special buddies. Do this only if they are going to be in a position to help you discuss your idea and make it bigger. They must play the role of complimenting your thoughts. So make a schedule to do this holiday and obviously make a budget to make it happen. Think & create new ways of making wealth.

  • Make a prediction and make it happen

Be brave. Let’s aim to grow and multiply net worth by 50% by the time you come to the end of this financial year. This is not a joke and it is easier than you can imagine.  I’m speaking about NETWORTH and I’m not talking about return on investment. If your networth is Rs. 100 today, all I’m saying is that let’s aim to make this a 150 by the end of this year. This networth comprises of all your savings till date. This can be achieved by simply saving aggressively every month for the next twelve months. Just put this into a recurring deposit or liquid fund so you don’t spend it.  We just have to prove to ourselves that this is possible. Where and how we will invest this money will think about that later.

  • Eliminate a negative belief 

I want to give you an exercise here. Write down all your negative beliefs you have about money and wealth. Most people are not able to achieve the desired level of wealth because they think about wealth negatively. So even if you are earning a good amount of income you will never see yourself becoming wealthy. Examples are money causes problems, money causes a fight, managing money is complicated etc. Then for each negative thought, you have written down the positives i.e. the opposite for a few months. Soon negatively biased feelings will evaporate.

  • Make a new investment; something you have not done before

Again here you do not have to be a financial expert. The idea is to learn something new. There are hundreds of investment options. Our objective here is to learn something new. Talk to your advisor and seek his or her guidance. Just a word of caution here; don’t do anything which is speculative or is something that you just can’t understand. Do what do find easy you understand and do that then.

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager & Financial Freedom Coach.

Seeking financial freedom? The time is NOW!

John Lewis famously remarked, “If not now, then when? If not us, then who?” This is so appropriate in the current financial world that we live in.

That statement will leave to rest every other argument that is conservative and against the idea of wealth creation. We are often faced with the situation where there is no option but to create wealth. Read on to know why!

Interest rates are painfully low. For all those diehard fans of guaranteed investment returns, there’s hardly any place to go to. Thinking of fixed deposits? Feeling happy with 7%? And fully taxable? That period is over. Period.

That doctrine of investing into pure fixed deposits and similar instruments is unfortunately standing challenged. There is no option but to sprinkle it with a combination of a little something that will add to the returns earned from fixed income type of securities. In fact this category of investors are in a way, best placed in terms of the current tax laws.

They can earn about 9-10% with minimal or near zero tax over about five years and more. Starting to generate rate of return above the inflation level of 7% is starting to create wealth. So there it is; there is no option but to move in the direction of creating wealth.

For more evolved investors, who invest in equities and who and still sitting on the sidelines tend to run out of patience every now and then. They are sometimes waiting for the right time, sometimes waiting for correction, sometimes waiting for valuation and sometimes waiting for just nothing. Sometimes, just too busy to take action!

I totally understand not wanting to lose hard-earned money. But if the money does not move it will stagnate. That’s the problem with money.

Hit the Ground Running

Inaction and inactivity kills it. Makes it costly to hold. Makes us lose opportunities, sometimes small and sometimes significant. I know of many people including my dad, who just kept investing into equities and holding forever. No doubt they were hugely (big HUGELY) better off then the people in the same time zone. I think they could have done far better with some smart lessons on asset allocation. This is because if they compare the growth rate of their holding over a period of 20 or maybe 30 years the compounded rate of return earned is often not impressive.

It is just marginally better or a few percentage points above the fixed deposit rate. Hence the need for asset allocation, which simply put is not to have all eggs in one basket at any given point in time. These sections of investors anyways create wealth, and, asset allocation is the tool that ensures that the process of wealth creation continues uninterrupted. So again there it is; even for this section there is not option but to start enhancing their wealth creation activities, else returns will continue to remain forever mediocre.

Then there are skeptics and there is nothing much for skeptics of everything, except that they need a serious dose of financial education. Perhaps what if needed is a proof of concept and for that, which better country to live in other than India where financial transparency in investments is so high that I sometimes feel, it comes from another planet.

 Your Money Needs Action

Today, there is a whole lot of variety to choose from and we have never been more spoilt for choice. But the most important thing in all this is to understand that your money needs action. It needs activity and for that the time is now!

And furthermore, if you asked me this question 10 years ago; I would have said that, the Time is NOW. If you ask this question 10 years hence, I will still say the Time is NOW. Any time is the right time to start the process of creating wealth. All that is important is that you take your first step; then continue it all the way with zeal and determination… till you have the level of wealth that you desire. And if you accumulate more than you need, still do it and share it with the world.

If you want your financial freedom; then the Time is NOW!

Kartik Jhaveri is an expert at planning money, life and aspirations. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Wealth Manager and Financial Freedom Coach.

Young Turks: Here’s the success story of venture fund Aspada

Venture fund Aspada was co-founded by Kartik Srivatsa and Thomas Hyland in 2012 and has made 17 investments so far across Fin-tech, agriculture, health and edu-tech startups.

Young Turks takes a look at their investment thesis, their differentiated VC model and meet three of their portfolio companies – Capital Float that underwrites unsecured loans to startups and SMEs; Dunzo, a hyper local concierge and delivery player that is also Google’s first direct startup investment in India; WayCool, a Chennai-based agriculture-tech startup.

Pakistan senate chairman cancels UAE visit after PM Modi honoured by Gulf nation

Modi UAE civilian honour Order of Zayed

Pakistan’s senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Sunday cancelled his official trip to the UAE, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with the Gulf nation’s highest civilian award during his visit to the country, according to a media report.

Sanjrani was scheduled to visit the UAE from August 25 to August 28 with a parliamentary delegation on the invitation of the UAE government. His delegation was to hold meetings with the UAE parliamentarians and government officials, Geo TV reported. He, however, decided to cancel the trip as Pakistan vehemently supports Kashmiri people, the channel said, citing a statement from the senate secretariat.

Prime Minister Modi was honoured with the ‘Order of Zayed’, the UAE’s highest civilian award, on Saturday as a mark of appreciation for his efforts to boost bilateral ties between the two nations.

Modi thanked the UAE government for the honour and dedicated the award to the skills and abilities of 1.3 billion Indians. The UAE in April had announced to confer the country’s highest award on Modi.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.

These are the first reactions of brokerages to FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s measures to revive economy

Nirmala Sitharaman

As the economy goes through a slowdown and with the markets showing no sign of arresting continuing slide, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a series of measures on Friday in a bid to stimulate growth.

The Union minister’s announcements came amid a clamour from the industry and other stakeholders to revive the sluggish state of affairs.

Among the measures announced by Sitharaman included the withdrawal of enhanced surcharge on foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and domestic investors, restoring the pre-Budget position, a walk-back on treating corporate social responsibility (CSR) violations as civil offence from criminal offence.

Further, the government has withdrawn angel tax provisions for startups. All pending goods and services tax (GST) refunds until now to be paid in 30 days and future GST refunds to be paid in 60 days.

Sitharaman announced that all income tax notices must be disposed off within three months. Issue of I-T notices, letters, orders, etc shall go through a centralized system.

Automobile has been among the worst affected industry due to the slowdown. In a bid to boost the continuously falling demand for vehicles, the government will lift ban on purchase of new vehicles to replace old ones in government departments and is likely to announce new scrappage policy soon.

Also read: Here’s what experts make of Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcements to boost Indian economy

Brokerages have lauded the government’s initiatives to boost growth.

Sanjeev Prasad, managing director and co-head at Kotak Institutional Equities, said that the announcements will improve the prevailing market sentiment. However, he emphasized upon the need for structural reforms.

“The government’s August 23 measures will help improve market sentiment and demand to some extent. However, the absence of any fiscal stimulus in the form of GST cuts may disappoint a section of the market,” Prasad said.

“Also, the sharp escalation in China-US trade issues will weigh on global investment sentiment and macro-economic conditions. The government would do well to follow up the recent measures with structural reforms to turn an increasingly adverse global situation into an opportunity,” he added.

Mahesh Nandurkar, India strategist at CLSA, said that the measures are likely to give the economy a short-term boost.

“Measures announced by the government and expectations for more over the next couple of weeks will likely improve investor sentiment and should drive at least a short-term bounce, as the government has given a clear signal that it acknowledges an economic slowdown and is willing to act promptly to address the issues. The economic outlook will depend on how big the measures to boost housing turn out to be,” said Nandurkar.

Ridham Desai, head of India equity research and India equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, said that measures announced on Friday will reverse the economy’s under performance thus far.

“Given valuation and sentiment support and the first of three sets of actions from the government, we think India’s relative under performance year-to-date to EM may reverse in the weeks ahead. From a portfolio perspective, we like financials, consumer discretionary and industrials both large and mid-caps,” said Desai.

“The key risk is that our view on global equities is cautious and this should cap absolute upside from Indian stocks,” he added.

Abhiram Eleswarapu, head of India equity research at BNP Paribas, said that the government’s bid will boost the markets in the short-term and some of the ailing industries, including automobiles and housing finance companies will benefit from the newly announced measures.

“[We] see the announcements, and especially the government’s flexibility and focus on ensuring such confidence-boosting measures continue, as a short-term positive for the market,” said Eleswarupu.

“In particular, we see autos (commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles), PSU banks and housing finance companies, and infrastructure stocks reacting positively, and the moves as modestly negative for IT services near-term,” he added.

PV Sindhu creates history, becomes first Indian to win badminton world championship

PV Sindhu 2019 BWF World Championships

Ace shuttler PV Sindhu on Sunday became the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships, crushing Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in just 36 minutes in a one-sided final.

Sindhu’s gold is the second medal that India won at the World Championships this year with Sai Praneeth winning a bronze in men’s singles category.

The last time Sindhu and Okuhara met in a World Championships final was in 2017. In a pulsating encounter that lasted nearly two hours and involved a 73-shot rally, Okuhara emerged victorious in the end. Sindhu again reached the final in 2018, only to go down to Carolina Marín of Spain. However, she finally broke the jinx this time, brushing aside her opponent with a dominant show from start to finish.

In stark contrast to world No. Sindhu, the Japanese world No. 4 on Sunday looked completely at sea against the Indian star’s relentless attacks.

Although Okuhara won the first point of the first game, Sindhu won eight straight points after that to race to a 8-1 lead. Okuhara managed just one more point before the interval with Sindhu leading 11-2.

The mauling continued for much of the second period of the opener, which ended in just 16 minutes. Okuhara got a few consecutive points towards the end to extend her score to 7 but Sindhu sealed the issue on her first game point.

In the second game, Okuhara briefly kept pace until the score was 3-2 in Sindhu’s favour after which the Indian took six consecutive points to race to a 9-2 lead.

Okuhara won two more points but Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal and went into the interval with a 11-4 lead.

Okuhara went on to take just three more points in the second period as Sindhu continued to storm her way to the title. Once again, she managed to get over the line on her first match point.

This was the 16th match between Sindhu and Okuhara. Sindhu now leads 9-7 head-to-head, including three victories in the last five meetings before Sunday’s clash.

Both players had not won a title this year. While Okuhara reached the final after a hard fought 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 win against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, Sindhu swatted aside China’s Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in her semifinal clash.

This is Sindhu’s fifth medal at the World Championships, which is the joint highest in women’s singles in the history of the tournament along with Xhang Ning of China, a two-time Olympic gold medallist. Apart from the two silvers Sindhu won in the last two editions, she had also won the bronze in 2013 and 2014.

British airports to introduce 3D screening for carry-on bags

airport security

Putting small containers of liquids in plastic bags could soon be a thing of the past for airline passengers in Britain after the government announced plans Sunday to introduce 3D screening equipment for carry-on luggage at all major airports.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement that the new technology will improve security and could also mean “an end to passengers having to use plastic bags or rationing what they take away with them.”

Under current security restrictions, passengers are not allowed containers carrying more than 100 milliliters (3.38 fluid ounces) of liquids in their carry-on luggage and the containers have to be in a clear plastic bag.

That could come to an end under the new screening regime and passengers may also be able to keep electrical equipment such as their laptops in their cabin bags.

The screeners already are being used in trials at London’s Heathrow Airport and they will progressively be rolled out to other British airports by December 1, 2022, the government said.

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye says the technology “will transform the passenger experience, making air travel simple, streamlined and more secure through the UK’s only hub airport.”

Chinese casino hub Macao’s elite choose new leader

Macau

An elite pro-Beijing panel on Sunday chose a new leader for the Chinese casino gambling hub Macao.

Ho Iat-seng was picked to be the next chief executive of the former Portuguese colony in a selection process with no other candidates.

Ho, a pro-establishment businessman and politician, will become the city’s third leader since China took control of Macao in 1999 after more than four centuries of Portuguese rule.

Ho will replace the city’s current leader, Chui Sai-on, whose term expires in December.

Macao and nearby Hong Kong are former European colonies that were handed back to Beijing, becoming Chinese special administrative regions that retain considerable control over their own affairs under a formula known as “one country, two systems.”

Residents of the two cities can elect some politicians, but the top leader is handpicked by members of an elite committee who fall in line with the wishes of China’s communist leaders.

While Hong Kong has been gripped by two months of turbulent anti-government protests demanding full democracy, Ho’s anointment went ahead with little controversy, highlighting Macao’s much weaker opposition movement. Officials said the 62-year-old Ho garnered 392 votes from Macao’s 400-member “election committee.”

He said he was confident that Hong Kong’s protest movement, which began with calls to scrap an unpopular China extradition bill, would not last.

“The protests against the extradition bill will end,” Ho said at a news conference, adding that the demonstrations were taking a toll on the enclave’s tourism industry.

Residents in Macao, who have benefited from economic growth supercharged by casino revenues, showed little interest in changing the system.

“As long as no major incidents occur now and it won’t affect the livelihoods and income of the Macao people, I won’t be against Macao’s electoral system,” said Gavin Au, 16.

Macao, an hour by high-speed ferry from Hong Kong, is the world’s biggest casino gambling market, raking in revenues dwarfing the Las Vegas Strip and fueled by high-rolling mainland Chinese gamblers wagering at glitzy resorts run by companies including Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts.

White House says Donald Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher

Donald Trump China trade tariffs

US President Donald Trump‘s only regret in hiking tariffs on China is that he didn’t raise them higher, his press secretary said Sunday after the president had earlier signaled some remorse for an escalating trade war with China.

Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France. During a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump suggested he has qualms about the spiraling conflict. “Yeah. For sure,” Trump told reporters when asked if he has second thoughts about escalating the conflict, adding he has “second thoughts about everything.”

But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump was “greatly misinterpreted,” saying Trump only responded “in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”

Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the US ahead of his reelection. Trump’s counterparts, including Johnson, are trying to convince him to back off his trade wars with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening.

The meetings come days after Trump escalated his trade war with China, following China’s announcement Friday that it would slap new tariffs on $75 billion in American goods. Trump responded with more tariffs of his own and issued an extraordinary threat to declare a national emergency in an attempt to force US businesses to cut ties with China.

Johnson praised Trump for America’s economic performance during the jovial breakfast, their first since his elevation to the prime minister post in July. But he chided Trump on his hardnosed China policy. “Just to register a faint sheep-like note of our view on the trade war,” he told the American leader. “We’re in favour of trade peace.”

Trump told reporters he has “no plans right now” to follow through on his emergency declaration threat, but insisted he would be within his rights to use a 1977 law used to target rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers as the newest weapon in the clash between the world’s largest economies

“If I want, I could declare a national emergency,” Trump said. He cited China’s theft of intellectual property and the large US trade deficit with China, saying “in many ways that’s an emergency.”

Trump then entered the first official summit meeting, initially set to be a discussion of foreign policy and security issues. But White House aides claimed he engineered a late change to the summit schedule, adding economic issues to the agenda.

Trump planned to press leaders about what can be done to spur growth in the US and abroad, as well as to open European, Japanese and Canadian markets to American manufacturers and producers. Trump has imposed or threatened to impose tariffs on all three markets in his pursuit of free, fair and reciprocal trade.

The meeting of the Group of Seven nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US — in the beach resort town of Biarritz comes at one of the most unpredictable moments in Trump’s presidency, when his public comments and decision-making increasingly have seemed erratic and acerbic of late.

Only hours before his arrival in Biarritz Saturday, Trump threatened anew to place tariffs on French wine imports to the US in a spat over France’s digital services tax; the European Union promised to retaliate. That was the backdrop for a late addition to his summit schedule — a two-hour lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron outside the opulent Hotel du Palais.

The summit host said the two men were discussing “a lot of crisis” around the world, including Libya, Iran and Russia, as well as trade policy and climate change. But he also echoed Trump’s calls for Europe to do more to address the global slowdown, including by cutting taxes. “When I look at Europe, especially, we need some new tools to relaunch our economy,” Macron said.

Trump disputed reports Sunday of friction with other G7 leaders, saying that he has been “treated beautifully” since he arrived.

But moments later cracks emerged anew between Trump and his counterparts, after the French government said that it was agreed at Saturday’s opening dinner that Macron would deliver a message to Iran on behalf of the group. But Trump disputed that he had signed off on any message. “No I haven’t discussed that,” he told reporters during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “No I haven’t.”

Macron, in recent months, has tried to play intermediary between the US and Iran, as tensions flare over Iran’s nuclear program and the Trump administration’s increasingly restrictive sanctions on that country.

Many of the summit proceedings will take place largely behind closed doors, in intimate settings designed for the leaders to develop personal relationships with one another. Their first meeting Sunday was at a circular table in a conference room in the opulent Centre de Congrés Bellevue.

The annual G-7 summit has historically been used to highlight common ground among the world’s leading democracies. But in a bid to work around Trump’s impulsiveness, Macron has eschewed plans for a formal joint statement from this gathering.

Trump has scheduled individual meetings with several of his counterparts, including Macron, Trudeau, Merkel, Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

‘Breaking Bad’ movie set for Netflix release later this year

El Camino Breaking Bad movie

Netflix on Saturday released a trailer of Breaking Bad film and announced its release date.

Titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, the film will be released on October 11, 2019 on Netflix and will be broadcast on AMC later.

The film is based on the premise of Jesse Pinkman’s (played by Aaron Paul) plight after the events of the five-season TV show that aired on AMC between 2008 and 2013. It is written and directed by Vince Gilligan who performed the same roles in the original series.

The 70-second trailer shows Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) being interrogated by law enforcement officials about the whereabouts of Pinkman but he denies having knowledge, adding that he wouldn’t let on even if he knew.

Also read: Netflix aims to get 100 million members in India, says CEO Reed Hastings

“In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future,” a release from Netflix explains.

The original Breaking Bad series tells the story of a high school teacher who is diagnosed with lung cancer and the extent he goes to secure his family’s financial future when he is gone.

Regarded among the greatest television series of all time, Breaking Bad won a plethora of awards, including 16 Primetime Emmys.

The series enjoys a 9.5/10 rating on online database platform IMDb and a 96 percent Tomatometer average on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, comfortably placing it among the top five all-time shows on both the platforms.

Arun Jaitley cremated with full state honours

Former finance minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley was cremated with full state honours at the Nigambodh Ghat in New Delhi on Sunday.

His son Rohan performed the last rites.

The cremation was attended by Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javdekar, Smriti Irani, vice-president Venkaiah Naidu, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

Also present were BJP veteran LK Advani as well as other party leaders including BS Yediyurappa, Gautam Gambhir, along with opposition leaders Sharad Pawar.

Jaitley passed away at AIIMS on Saturday after a prolonged illness.

Brazilian troops begin deploying to fight Amazon fires

Amazon forest fires Brazil

Backed by military aircraft, Brazilian troops on Saturday were deploying in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region and prompted anti-government protests as well as an international outcry.

President Jair Bolsonaro also tried to temper global concern, saying that previously deforested areas had burned and that intact rainforest was spared. Even so, the fires were likely to be urgently discussed at a summit of the Group of Seven leaders in France this weekend.

Some 44,000 troops will be available for “unprecedented” operations to put out the fires, and forces are heading to six Brazilian states that asked for federal help, defence minister Fernando Azevedo said. The states are Roraima, Rondonia, Tocantins, Para, Acre and Mato Grosso.

The military’s first mission will be carried out by 700 troops around Porto Velho, capital of Rondonia, Azevedo said. The military will use two C-130 Hercules aircraft capable of dumping up to 12,000 liters (3,170 gallons) of water on fires, he said.

An Associated Press journalist flying over the Porto Velho region Saturday morning reported hazy conditions and low visibility. On Friday, the reporter saw many already deforested areas that were burned, apparently by people clearing farmland, as well as a large column of smoke billowing from one fire.

The municipality of Nova Santa Helena in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state was also hard-hit. Trucks were seen driving along a highway Friday as fires blazed and embers smoldered in adjacent fields.

The Brazilian military operations came after widespread criticism of Bolsonaro’s handling of the crisis. On Friday, the president authorized the armed forces to put out fires, saying he is committed to protecting the Amazon region.

Azevedo, the defense minister, noted US President Donald Trump’s offer in a tweet to help Brazil fight the fires, and said there had been no further contact on the matter.

Despite international concern, Bolsonaro told reporters on Saturday that the situation was returning to normal. He said he was “speaking to everyone” about the problem, including Trump, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and several Latin American leaders.

Bolsonaro had described rainforest protections as an obstacle to Brazil’s economic development, sparring with critics who say the Amazon absorbs vast amounts of greenhouse gasses and is crucial for efforts to contain climate change.

The Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries who believe Bolsonaro has neglected commitments to protect biodiversity. Protesters gathered outside Brazilian diplomatic missions in European and Latin American cities Friday, and demonstrators also marched in Brazil.

“The planet’s lungs are on fire. Let’s save them!” read a sign at a protest outside Brazil’s embassy in Mexico City.

The dispute spilled into the economic arena when French leader Emmanuel Macron threatened to block a European Union trade deal with Brazil and several other South American countries.

“First we need to help Brazil and other countries put out these fires,” Macron said Saturday.

The goal is to “preserve this forest that we all need because it is a treasure of our biodiversity and our climate thanks to the oxygen that it emits and thanks to the carbon it absorbs,” he said.

In a weekly video message released Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Group of Seven leaders “cannot be silent” and should discuss how to help extinguish the fires.

Bolivia has also struggled to contain fires that swept through woods and fields. A U.S.-based aircraft, the B747-400 SuperTanker, is flying over devastated areas in Bolivia to help put out the blazes and protect forests.

On Saturday, several helicopters along with police, military troops, firefighters and volunteers on the ground worked to extinguish fires in Bolivia’s Chiquitanía region, where the woods are dry at this time of year.

Farmers commonly set fires in this season to clear land for crops or livestock, but sometimes the blazes get out of control. The Bolivian government says 9,530 square kilometers (3680 square miles) have been burned this year.

The government of Bolivian President Evo Morales has backed the increased cultivation of crops for biofuel production, raising questions about whether the policy opened the way to increased burning.

Similarly, Bolsonaro had said he wants to convert land for cattle pastures and soybean farms. Brazilian prosecutors are investigating whether lax enforcement of environmental regulations may have contributed to the surge in the number of fires.

Brazil’s justice ministry also said federal police will deploy in fire zones to assist other state agencies and combat “illegal deforestation.”

Fires are common in Brazil in the annual dry season, but they are much more widespread this year. Brazilian state experts reported nearly 77,000 wildfires across the country so far this year, up 85% over the same period in 2018.

More than half of those fires occurred in the Amazon region.

India needs single corporate tax rate of 25%, says KPMG

income tax

The Indian government should move towards a simple tax structure with a single corporate tax rate of 25 percent, without any surcharge or cess above it, global advisory KPMG has said in a report.

The report titled “India: Redefining its growth path” observed that the Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) should be withdrawn and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) should be replaced by the witholding tax.

“Following the global trend on lowering of corporate tax rates and maintaing competitivenesss, India should move to a simple tax rate strucutre — single corporate tax rate of 25 per cent with no surcharge and cess,” it said.

In the 2019 Union Budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to raise the annual turnover threshold limit from Rs 250 crore to Rs 400 crore for availing a lower corporate tax rate of 25 percent, thereby, lowering the corporate tax rate of companies earning up to Rs 400 crore from the previous 30 percent.

The minister also said recently that the tax rates for companies with over Rs 400 crore turnover will be gradually cut to 25 percent and the government would support wealth creators.

The KPMG report also said that the tax rate for foreign companies should be correspondingly lowered from the current rate of 40 percent (plus surcharge and cess).

“It is hoped that the remodelling of the tax structure, through further simplification of the GST structure and promulgating a new Direct Taxes Code, is likely to make the Indian tax system more equitable for all classes of taxpayers.

“There is also the hope that lower tax rates for all corporates and indeed, all taxpayers, along with a fair, rational and even-handed tax administration will help Indan businesses become more competitive in the global space,” said Hitesh Gajaria, head of tax, KPMG India.