Germany lobbies India to buy Eurofighters, submarines

Updated 27 May 2015
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Germany lobbies India to buy Eurofighters, submarines

NEW DELHI: Germany’s defense minister held out the prospect of more talks on a possible sale of Eurofighter jets to India and, on a visit to New Delhi, said on Wednesday Berlin stood ready to back a multi-billion-dollar Indian submarine project.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has just marked his first year in office, cut through an impasse over a troubled tender for high-end combat jets by announcing a deal in France last month to buy 36 Rafales from Dassault.
India has since said the original tender, launched by the last government to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, is all but dead, but rival jet makers are hoping the $14 billion tender will be reopened.
The Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, was knocked out in the final round of the tender by Rafale. But controversy over the lifetime cost of operating the French plane blocked a final deal. “I again conveyed to the defense minister the interest of the Eurofighter nations in continuing talks, should the Indian side be interested,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
“That was was taken on board positively,” she added, after meeting her counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, on Wednesday evening. Germany has taken the lead in the sales pitch to India for the Eurofighter, made by Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, Airbus Group and BAE Systems.


Irish PM urges voters to see through last minute abortion ‘tactics’

Updated 11 min 9 sec ago
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Irish PM urges voters to see through last minute abortion ‘tactics’

  • Leo Varadkar: “What I see now in the final days of this campaign is a tactic by the ‘No’ campaign to try and make out that there is some sort of alternative amendment that we could put into our constitution.”
  • ‘No’ campaigners, which include more than half of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party, say the government’s proposals go too far.

DUBLIN: Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar accused campaigners opposing a referendum on liberalising Ireland’s abortion regime of trying to dupe voters into thinking the government could still change the laws even if they voted ‘No’.
Voters will be asked on Friday if they wish to repeal a constitutional amendment inserted following a 1983 referendum that enshrined the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child, and to enable parliament to set the laws.
Some politicians appealing for a ‘No’ vote have suggested in recent days that if the referendum fails, the constitution could instead be amended again to allow for abortions in cases such as rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality.
A complete ban was lifted in Ireland five years ago for cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
“What I see now in the final days of this campaign is a tactic by the ‘No’ campaign to try and make out that there is some sort of alternative amendment that we could put into our constitution,” Varadkar, who is campaigning for a ‘Yes’ vote, told parliament.
“I would ask those people 30 years after that amendment was put into our constitution, why has nobody put forward an alternative that would deal with all these hard cases? Why only three days from the vote are people only suddenly raising that?“
“It’s not a realistic alternative. It is just a tactic and I believe the Irish people will see through that.”
While not on the ballot paper, much of the campaign has focused on the legislation Varadkar intends to bring forward if the referendum is carried, which calls for terminations with no restrictions to be allowed up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
That was in line with recommendations made by an all-party parliamentary committee, which came to a more liberal position than some had anticipated after concluding that legislating for termination for reasons of rape and incest was too complex.
The leaders of Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein, the two largest opposition parties, backed Varadkar in saying amending the constitution for such cases was impossible.
However ‘No’ campaigners, which include more than half of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party, say the government’s proposals go too far.
“The government has used difficult, tragic cases to push through extreme abortion on demand. This is why people are increasingly voting “NO” to abortion this Friday,” Clare McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the LoveBoth group said in a statement.
Opinion polls have put those who favor liberalising one of the world’s most restrictive regimes in a clear lead and while there has been some tightening in the margin, two surveys on Sunday showed the ‘Yes’ side pulling further ahead.