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Wall Street opens flat as investment banks fail to fuel optimism

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Wall Street opened flat on Tuesday as upbeat earnings from big investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley failed to fuel the optimism that has led the major indexes to record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15.01 points, or 0.07 percent, to 22,971.97. The S&P 500 lost 0.5 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,557.14. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.44 points, or 0.05 percent, to 6,620.57.

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3,250 killed in Raqqa battle, including 1,130 civilians: Monitor

Representative image. Photo: Reuters

The more than four-month-long battle for Raqqa, which US-backed forces declared over on Tuesday, has left at least 3,250 people dead, more than a third of them civilians, a monitor said.

The said that at least 1,130 were among those killed since the start of the operation in early June. Hundreds more were still missing and may have been buried alive in their homes by shelling, and 

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Islamic State lost 87% of territory seized in 2014: US-led coalition

Islamic State lost 87% of territory seized in 2014: US-led coalition

The Islamic State (IS) group has lost 87% of the territory it controlled in 2014, when it proclaimed a “caliphate” straddling Iraq and Syria, the US-led coalition said today.

The announcement by the coalition, which has carried out thousands of air strikes against the jihadists and deployed advisers in both countries, came on the day of its third anniversary and as the Kurdish-Arab force, it supports captured IS’s one-time bastion of Raqa.

“Our partners have removed ISIS from 87% of territory they once held and liberated over 6.5 million people,” coalition spokesperson Ryan Dillon said on social media, using another acronym for IS.

Attacking from bastions it consolidated in Iraq and especially in war-torn Syria, the organisation that eventually re-branded itself “Islamic State” swept through Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland in June 2014 and conquered roughly a third of the country.

In a separate statement, the coalition, formed after former US president Barack Obama sent warplanes to Iraq in a bid to stop the IS genocide of the Yazidi minority, said it had trained close to 120,000 forces in Iraq and more than 12,000 in Syria.

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12 Turkish police officers wounded in bus explosion

A bus carrying police officers still burning shortly after a bomb went off as the bus was passing by in Mersin in southern Turkey. (Photo: AP| PTI)

A bomb exploded as a bus carrying police was passing by in a southern Turkish city on Tuesday, wounding a dozen officers, officials said.

The blast occurred on a main road in the Mediterranean coastal city of Mersin, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Mersin chief prosecutor told Anadolu that at least 12 officers were wounded in the attack. Three prosecutors were assigned to investigate, he told Anadolu.

Several police officers, ambulances and firefighters were sent to the scene, the agency reported earlier.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged a three-decade long insurgency in southeast Turkey, has targeted police in similar attacks in the past. The group is designated as a terror organisation by Turkey and its allies.

Left-wing militants and members of the Islamic State group have also carried out deadly attacks in the country.

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Trump warns McCain after his speech on ‘half-baked’ American foreign policy

President Donald Trump sits for a radio interview in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington. (Photo: AP| PTI)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a warning shot after Republican Senator John McCain questioned “half-baked, spurious nationalism” in America’s foreign policy.

Trump said in a radio interview with WMAL in Washington that “people have to be careful because at some point I fight back.” The president added “I’m being very, very nice but at some point I fight back and it won’t be pretty.”

McCain, a former Navy pilot who spent 5 years in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp and is battling brain cancer, offered a simple response to Trump: “I have faced tougher adversaries.”

In Philadelphia last night, the six-term Republican senator from Arizona received an award for a lifetime of service and sacrifice to the country.

In addition to recalling his more than two decades of military service and his imprisonment during the war, McCain took a moment to go a step further than the night’s other speakers, who lamented what many described as a fractured political climate.

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UK hate crimes surge on Brexit, terror attacks

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The UK has registered a 29 per cent surge in hate crimes in the wake of Brexit and terrorist attacks in the country, according to new Home Office figures released today.

There were 80,393 offences in 2016-17, compared with 62,518 in 2015-16, the largest increase since the UK Home Office began recording figures in 2011-12.

The number of hate crime incidents recorded by British police forces reached a record monthly level of 6,000 incidents in June this year.

This peak was higher than the previous monthly peak of 5,500 in July 2016, seen in the aftermath of the referendum in favour of Briatain’s exit or ‘Brexit’ from the European Union (EU).

“The increase over the last year is thought to reflect both a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack (March 2017), as well as ongoing improvements in crime reporting by police,” the Home Office report noted.

The crimes continued to rise after the Westminster Bridge attack on the Houses of Parliament when terror suspect Khalid Masood rammed a car into pedestrians and stabbed a policeman on duty at the Parliament gates, followed by the Manchester suicide bombing in May and terror attacks in London in June.

85% Indians trust government, 55% favour autocracy: Pew survey

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More than four-fifths of Indian citizens trust their government, but interestingly, a majority of Indians also support military rule and autocracy, a latest Pew survey said on Tuesday.

“In India, where the economy has grown on average by 6.9 per cent since 2012, 85 per cent (of people) trust their national government,” Pew Research said in a report based on its survey on governance and trust among key countries across the world.

Notably, in India, which has strong democratic credentials since the last seven decades, according to Pew, a majority (55 per cent) of its people support autocracy in one way or the other.

In fact, more than one-fourth (27 per cent) of them want a strong leader.

Nearly half of Russians (48 per cent) back governance by a strong leader, but rule by a strong leader is generally unpopular, it said.

A global median of 26 per cent say a system in which a strong leader can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts would be a good way of governing.

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Modi flays Congress, assures traders on GST in Gandhinagar: Key highlights

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dared the Congress to contest the Gujarat Assembly election on the development plank while addressing a massive rally in what is likely to be his last speech at a big public rally before the Election Commission’s model code of conduct kicks in.

Sounding the poll bugle, the Prime Minister mounted a fierce attack on the Congress during the public meeting, which comes on the heels of the Gujarat government announcing a series of sops.

While PM Modi said the Gujarat election was a fight between “vikasvaad” (development politics) and “vanshvaad” (dynasty politics), BJP President Amit Shah made it clear that the party was seeking votes in the name of the Prime Minister to retain power in Gujarat, and set a target of over three-fourths majority in the 182-member Assembly.

ALSO READ: Rahul forecasts ‘jumlon ki baarish’ by Narendra Modi in poll-bound Gujarat

Modi and Shah were in Ahmedabad to address the Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan rally, which concluded the Gujarat Gaurav Yatra that the party had launched across the state on October 1.

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News digest: INS Kiltan joins Navy, wholesale inflation falls, and more

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Markets sparkle ahead of Diwali as Sensex, Nifty gain 0.6% each

The Diwali week started on a positive note with the benchmark Sensex and Nifty indices ending at new record highs. Positive global markets and the ebbing of foreign investor selling saw the benchmark indices gain 0.6 per cent and the rupee appreciate 0.3 per cent against the dollar. Read more

Like all its predecessors, INS Kiltan joins Navy with major vulnerabilities

Like numerous Indian warships before it, the navy’s newest anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, INS Kiltan, joined the fleet on Monday without equipment crucial for discharging its primary role – detecting and destroying enemy submarines. Read more

Wholesale inflation falls to 2.6% in September

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation data released on Monday provided yet another indicator of improving macroeconomic parameters.

Wholesale inflation fell to 2.60 per cent in September from 3.24 per cent in August due to a subdued rate of price rise in food items, particularly vegetables.  Read more

RBI governor calls for better access to currency swap lines

The governor of the Reserve Bank of India on Sunday called on major central banks to extend their network of currency swap lines deep into emerging markets, saying a type of “virtual apartheid” in the provision of foreign currencies hampers efforts to fight financial instability

iPhone X debut: Should Apple worry as model 7 outsells 8 in US?

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Apple Inc’s older iPhone 7 models are outselling the recently launched iPhone 8 ahead of the early November debut of the premium iPhone X, broker KeyBanc Capital Markets said, citing carrier store surveys.

Traditionally, new editions of the iPhone have sold quickly as fans queue for the latest upgrade, but early surveys have added to chatter that the iPhone 8 is not proving as popular as its predecessors.

US wireless carrier AT&T said last week its third-quarter postpaid handset upgrades were fewer by nearly 900,000 from a year ago, and brokerage Jefferies attributed it to weak iPhone 8 demand.

“Many respondents indicated that a meaningful portion of customers are buying iPhone 7 in lieu of the new iPhone 8, given the lack of significant enhancements in the new phone,” KeyBanc analyst John Vinh wrote in a client note.

Vinh also said feedback from stores indicated that customers were waiting to purchase the iPhone X or to compare the iPhone X with other models before buying the iPhone 8.

Apple last month introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which resemble the iPhone 7 but have a glass back for wireless charging. While iPhone 8 starts from $699 in the United States, iPhone 7 is retailing from $549 after a price cut.

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