Putin says worst is over for Russian economy

Updated 16 April 2015

Putin says worst is over for Russian economy

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said Thursday the worst was over for Russia’s crisis-hit economy as he shrugged off widespread concerns over the impact of the Ukraine crisis in his annual phone-in.
Russians from around the country sent in questions in record numbers with many focusing on current financial hardships during the four-hour show.
But Putin played down the economic troubles and sought to portray Western sanctions over Ukraine as a blessing in disguise.
“In fact, these sanctions only helped the government and the Central Bank,” a bullish Putin said.
The Kremlin strongman, who in March marked 15 years since first being elected president, fielded questions from farmers, grandmothers and children with a confident demeanour and the occasional smile.
Organizers of the phone-in said the president received some three million questions, although this year’s televised session appeared to lack the razzmatazz of Putin’s past phone-ins.
Putin painted a rosy picture, saying the ruble exchange rate would have changed irrespective of sanctions, calling it “an element of revitalising our economy.”
“The ruble has stabilized and strengthened,” said the Kremlin chief.
“Experts believe that we have passed the peak of the problems.
“Nothing burst and everything is working,” he added.
Following the shock collapse in the ruble late last year, the currency has bounced back to a five-month high as fighting in eastern Ukraine has waned and oil prices have steadied.
The ruble pushed below the psychologically important threshold of 50 rubles per dollar on Wednesday, its most robust level since November.


Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

Updated 23 February 2020

Protests in New Delhi against India’s citizenship law ahead of Trump visit

  • Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it
  • The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India

NEW DELHI: Police used tear gas to disperse large crowds in India’s capital of New Delhi on Sunday in the latest eruption of violence at protests over a new citizenship law, police officials said.
Hundreds of people supporting the new law clashed with those opposing it, with the two groups pelting each other with stones in the Maujpur area in the northeastern part of the city, according to television footage.
“There must be some miscreants who want to spoil the peace in the area. We will identify them and take action against them,” Alok Kumar, a senior Delhi police official, told reporters about the protest.
“The situation is under control now,” he added.
The protest comes just a day before US President Donald Trump begins a two-day visit to India, where he is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom in the country with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority nations to gain citizenship, has triggered weeks of sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government.
The Indian law is seen by opponents as discriminating against Muslims and has deepened concerns that Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.
Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against the country’s 180 million Muslims.
On Sunday, a separate protest also erupted in the northern Indian city of Aligarh, where protesters threw stones at the police, state administration official Chandra Bhushan Singh said.
The Internet in the area had been suspended until midnight, he added.