MediaEye RSS Feedhttps://www.mediaeyenews.comMediaEye news RSS Feeden-usCopyright (C) 2016 mediaeyenews.comEtailers log record Rs 61 253 crore sales in India festive month

Bengaluru,  The festive online sales in India beat industry estimates to clock $8.3 billion (nearly Rs 61,253 crore) in the October 15-November 15 period -- an impressive growth of 65 per cent (on-year), a new report said on Friday.

The gross merchandise value (GMV) numbers increased from $5 billion last year upto $8.3 billion this year, riding on the massive orders coming from smaller cities and towns, according to homegrown consulting firm Redseer.

According to the market research firm, Flipkart Group emerged as the leader during the whole festive month with 66 per cent share of the total sale.

"The overall growth story has been very bullish this festive season. We had forecasted $7 billion of sales but the actual figures surpassed our expectations fairly comfortably, showing how comfortable consumers have become with shopping online even in this pandemic hit year," said Mrigank Gutgutia, Director at RedSeer.

The festive season for this year saw 88 per cent customer growth from last year which was driven by about 40 million shoppers from tier 2 and above cities.

Further, mobiles continued to dominate across all the products and with further increasing share of users from Tier 2 and above cities, GMV per customer dropped to Rs 6,600 from Rs 7,450 in last festive season.

One clear lesson from this festive season is that e-commerce has become more mainstream than ever.

"It has proven that with the right assortment at the right prices which is delivered quickly in the safety of customer's homes, the value proposition of eCommerce is very powerful," Gutgutia said in a statement.

"It is imperative for brands and sellers to shift their focus to online quickly and enable a seamless online experience for the customer in order to thrive in a post COVID world".

Factors like high pre- sale awareness and anticipation driven by an impactful campaign, wide selection across the categories and seamless supply chain planning enabled minimal product stock outs, along with multiple affordability constructs, helped Flipkart and Amazon to drive growth this festive season.

Smartphones worth Rs 1.5 crore were sold every minute across online platforms in the first week of festive sales -- enabled by value selection, affordability schemes and fast delivery.

The biggest growth lever this year was the massive addition of shoppers.

Over 55 per cent of shoppers came from tier II cities like Asansol, Ludhiana, Dhanbad and Rajkot, among others.

Given the Tier 2+ skew of the shoppers, buyers preferred affordable price ranges this year for almost all product categories, instead of expensive items.

Earlier reports had suggested that online retailers were expected to generate approximately $6.5 billion (Rs 47,751 crore) in sales during the festive month (October 15-November 15).


Fri, 27 Nov 2020 10:24:01 +0530
Will leave WH if Electoral College votes for Biden Trump

Washington,  US President Donald Trump has said that he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden in December.

The President made the remarks on Thursday while reporters after concluding a teleconference with US troops to mark the Thanksgiving holiday, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said if the Electoral College confirms Biden's victory when it meets on December 14, he "certainly" will relinquish presidential power.

"It's going to be a very hard thing to concede... If they (the electors) do (vote for Biden) they made a mistake," the President said.

Trump doubled down on the claim that there was voter fraud in the November 3 election.

"No one wants to see the kind of fraud this election has come to represent," he said.

"I know one thing, Joe Biden didn't get 80 million votes."

Biden has won 80,218,808 popular votes to date, compared to Trump's 73,947,962 votes, according to The Cook Political Report, an influential analytical site focused on US presidential, congressional and gubernatorial elections.

US media have projected that Biden has won 306 electoral votes, surpassing the 270-vote threshold for clinching the presidency.

Biden has declared victory and announced the first tranche of his Cabinet nominees, including national security and foreign policy officials.

The General Services Administration has initiated Biden's formal transition into the White House, but Trump, despite having directed his administration to facilitate the process, has vowed to continue the legal fight to challenge the election results.

Fri, 27 Nov 2020 09:22:36 +0530
After braving tear gas water cannon farmers halt in Panipat for night

Chandigarh, Tens of thousands of farmers up in arms on Thursday braved tear gas shells and water cannons to break through police barricades at several places on the Punjab-Haryana border while heading to the national capital to lodge their protest over the Centre's new agriculture laws.

Marching through Haryana where there were joined by local farmers, the farmers decided to stop for the night at Panipat close to the national capital.

In a major late night development, the Bharti Kisan Union Ekta-Ugrahan also decided to start their journey from the Khanauri border in Punjab's Sangrur district on Friday.

BKU-Ugrahan President Joginder Ugrahan said: "If we are not allowed to cross Haryana and head towards Delhi, our protest destination will be the border points for a week."

Meanwhile, Punjab legislators Parminder Dhindsa and Sukhpal Khera were taken into preventive custody by Delhi Police.

Earlier in the day, several protesters and policemen were injured as farmers broke barricades and threw them down from a bridge ahead of the Punjab-Haryana border in Shambhu in Punjab's Patiala and near Haryana's Ambala.

Bracing overnight rains and chilly winds, thousands of protesting farmers assembled at various places along the Haryana-Punjab borders on Thursday morning to head towards the national capital for their 'Dilli Chalo' protest, but were stopped by the Haryana Police.

Thousands of farmers had been staging sit-in protests ahead of the Dabwali barrier between Punjab's Bathinda and Haryana's Sirsa districts and at Khanauri border in Sangrur district, awaiting the decision by their leaders to move towards Delhi.

While activists of the Bharti Kisan Union Ekta-Ugrahan and Sidhupur factions had been camping on the border at Khanauri and Moonak, respectively, since Wednesday evening, other farmer unions changed their plans and decided to head for Delhi from other entry points, like Shambhu.

A huge contingent of police comprising the Rapid Action Force had been deployed at all entry points in Haryana, while residents of several towns located along the Punjab-Haryana border faced a harrowing time due to the heavy deployment of the security forces and snapping of the bus services in the past 24 hours.

Unfazed by the heavy security deployment and barricading on the highway with mounds of earth and huge rocks, protesting farmer Gurdev Singh told the media at the Shambhu border that "We will break all the barricades if we were not allowed to move ahead."

Farmers said they were ready to face bullets also.

Despite the use of water cannons and tear gas, the protesting farmers, comprising men and women -- both young and old -- and school and college students riding tractor-trailers, cars and motorcycles, managed to enter Haryana from Shambhu.

Angry farmers threw stones at security forces deployed to control the crowd at the Shambhu border.

They were later joined by thousands of their counterparts from Haryana.

As they reached Kurukshetra district, the local farmers joined them.

As per the police estimates, around 300,000 farmers from both states are set to reach Delhi.

The farmers affiliated to 33 organisations are part of the United Farmers Front, an all-India body of over 470 farmers' unions that will participate in the indefinite protest in the national capital.

Appealing to the agitating farmers, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said: "Will leave politics if there's trouble on MSP (minimum support price)."

He also blamed his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh for "inciting the farmers".

Reacting to his accusations, Amarinder Singh replied on Twitter: "Shocked at your response. It's the farmers who've to be convinced on MSP, not me. You should've tried to talk to them before their 'Dilli Chalo'. And if you think I'm inciting farmers then why are Haryana farmers also marching to Delhi?"

Meanwhile, condemning the use of water cannon and tear gas, former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal said: "Today is Punjab's 26/11. We are witnessing the end of the right to democratic protest. The Akali Dal condemns the Haryana government the Centre for choosing to repress the peaceful farmer movement."

He said the battle for the rights of Punjab farmers cannot be throttled by using water cannons against them.

Supporting the protest by farmers, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the peaceful demonstration was a constitutional right of the farmers.

The Delhi Police has already asked the farmers not to enter Delhi as they don't have permission to protest in the city.

Farmers protesting against the farm laws have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporate entities.

Fri, 27 Nov 2020 09:13:24 +0530
Governor visits Asiatic Society on its 216th Foundation Day

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari visited the Asiatic Society of Mumbai on the occasion of its 216th Foundation Day and and saw the collection of books, manuscripts, maps, coins and rare artefacts.

Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar P, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, Dr Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India, Dr Bhalchandra Munagekar, former Vice Chancellor of University of Mumbai, Sharad Kale, former President of Asiatic Society and Prof. Vispi Balaporia, President of the Society and members of the Managing Committee of the Society were present. The Governor is the Patron of Asiatic Society.

Thu, 26 Nov 2020 17:47:33 +0530
IT Ministry partners with IBM to equip youth with future ready skills

New Delhi,  IBM India on Thursday said it has collaborated with the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to create a robust education and skilling ecosystem that creates critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and next generation innovators through the Common Services Centre Academy.

As part of the partnership, CSC Academy - part of Common Services Centre (CSC) scheme of India's flagship Digital India programme -- and IBM will foster the capability and development of learners with diverse backgrounds and educational needs.

They will extensively use technology, teaching and delivering of specialised courses/ training programmemes in areas including Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to train learners such as village level entrepreneurs, functionaries and stakeholders of the CSC programme.

As a part of the collaboration, IBM will curate and provide content from its key skilling programme - SkillsBuild and STEM for Girls -- to be used for the training services and in community development programme that is currently being conducted across the 6,000 CSC Academies.

"This collaboration with IBM aligns with the National Education Policy's emphasis on learning 21st century skills to ensure the future-readiness of India's youth and realising the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat," Dinesh Tyagi, Managing Director, CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd., said in a statement.

As India moves into post-Covid industry transformation, there is a huge requirement of skilled manpower in futuristic technologies like computer-aided design, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, image processing, Internet of Things (IoT), data science, cloud computing, blockchain, etc.

"Exponential technologies like AI and Hybrid Cloud can drive path-breaking innovations and fuel the nation's digital India vision. To make this a reality there is a need to create the right avenues and platforms for learners to be equipped with industry-ready skills," said Sandip Patel, Managing Director, IBM India/South Asia.


Thu, 26 Nov 2020 16:37:38 +0530
SpiceJet launches dedicated freighter services to Leh

New Delhi,  Airline major SpiceJet on Thursday launched dedicated freighter services connecting Leh with the rest of the country.

Accordingly, the airline operated its first freighter flight from Delhi to Leh carrying 13 tonnes of cargo supplies.

The flight was operated by SpiceXpress, the dedicated cargo arm of SpiceJet.

According to the airline, a Boeing 737 freighter has been deployed on this route.

Besides, the new flights launched are seasonal and will operate during the winter months when surface transportation is disrupted owing to harsh weather conditions.

"Our flight services are especially significant considering the extreme weather conditions during winter months when temperatures fall below sub-zero levels hampering the movement of essential supplies and cargo for the local populace and administration in Leh," said Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet.

"Our freighter services to Leh will ensure seamless and timely transportation of essential supplies to this most beautiful part of our country throughout winters."

In addition, the airline said that the dedicated cargo flights will help transport fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, perishables, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other general cargo. Besides improving logistics and connectivity, the new freighter service will ensure transportation of these essential commodities remains unaffected due to dipping temperatures and adverse weather conditions during these winter months.

At present, SpiceJet operates a fleet of 17 cargo aircraft including three wide-body planes and is the only Indian carrier to operate long-haul non-stop cargo flights to Europe, Africa and CIS countries.

Thu, 26 Nov 2020 16:03:01 +0530
Small scale development projects completed in Afghanistan s Ghor province

Kabul,  A total of 15 small-scale uplift projects have been completed in the relatively peaceful and poor province of Ghor, said a statement of the Ministry for Rural Development and Rehabilitation on Thursday.

The projects include the provision of potable water, solar energy to light houses and water reservoirs implemented in Lal-o-Sarjangal district at a cost of 25 million afghani, Xinhua reported.

The projects provided by the Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation would benefit some 1,000 families.

According to the statement of the ministry, the construction of the 5km road has been completed in the Giti district of central Daikundi province and 3km road in the Burka district of northern Baghlan provinces recently respectively.

Thu, 26 Nov 2020 15:58:26 +0530
3 killed as cyclone Nivar wreaks havoc in TN

Chennai/Puducherry, Three persons were killed and an equal number injured as the very severe cyclonic storm Nivar wreaked havoc in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Thursday.

According to the Tamil Nadu government, three persons lost their lives due to rain related incidents and three got injured. The state government also said that 26 cattle had also died in the storm.

On its way the cyclone also damaged several houses, uprooted trees and power lines in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore, Marakkanam and in Puducherry also.

A total of 101 houses, including thatched huts and tiled houses were damaged by cyclone, the Tamil Nadu government said.

According to the government, about 380 trees were uprooted by Nivar and 14 acre banana plantation was also damaged.

In Tamil Nadu's Villupuram district, police said the fallen trees have been removed to ease the flow of traffic.

The government said it was carrying out the repairs quickly to restore power lines. A total of 19 electric poles, which fell down, have been repaired.

At Marakkanam near Puducherry, several power poles fell down and the fishermen community requested the Tamil Nadu government to restore the power lines at the earliest.

In the suburbs of Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, water got logged due to rains affecting the residents as well as the traffic flow.

Bus services that were stopped from November 24 afternoon ahead of the cyclone were resumed on Thursday afternoon in seven districts of Tamil Nadu.

Suburban train services in Chennai will also be resumed at 3 p.m.

About 2.27 lakh persons have been housed in 3,085 relief camps.

Chief Minister K.Palaniswami appreciated the work done by the Greater Chennai Corporation and Greater Chennai Police in removing the fallen trees and helping the needy.

Palaniswami also visited Cuddalore to inspect the cyclone damages and meet the affected people.

In Puducherry also several trees were uprooted by the cyclone and the power supply was disrupted.

Puducherry Chief Minister V.Narayanasamy told a news channel that power supply will be restored in a phased manner on Thursday itself.

He said, a lot of trees have fallen due to the cyclone and rain was continuing.

Narayanasamy said the low lying areas were inundated and work was on to drain the water. "Fallen trees were being removed. Power supply was disrupted and it will be soon restored in a phased manner in 12 hours", he said.

As regards the cyclone damage to life and property, Narayanasamy said the assessment will be made and by this afternoon an estimate of damage will be known.

He said 80 relief camps have been set up in Puducherry. Camps have also been set up in Karaikal.

Narayanasamy said, "By God's grace people of Puducherry escaped the fury of Nivar."

He also inspected the cyclone damaged areas and urged the people to stay indoors and fishermen not to venture into the seas.

According to the weather department the cyclone lays centered over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry about 25km north of Puducherry with wind blowing at a speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph.

Nivar will move northwest and weaken further into a cyclonic storm during the next three hours, the IMD said.

The cyclone began its landfall on Wednesday night about 10.30 p.m. after moving at a speed of 16 kmph for six hours.

In an early morning tweet, Puducherry's Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi said: "Good #MorningNutrition. Puducherry has faced the Cyclone, collectively and resolutely. Making us a stronger and a more experienced team."

Even after landfall, the cyclone was likely to maintain its intensity for about six hours and weaken gradually.

The sea along the coast was very rough with huge waves were hitting the shores.

The IMD said, "Under its influence rainfall at most/many places with heavy to very heavy fall at a few places with isolated extremely heavy falls are likely to occur over Ranipet, Tiruvannamalai, Tirupattur, Vellore districts of Tamil Nadu and Chittoor, Kurnool, Prakasam and Cuddappa districts of Andhra Pradesh.

Gale wind speed reaching 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph very likely to prevail over interior districts (Ranipet, Tiruvannamalai, Tirupattur, Vellore) of Tamil Nadu and Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh in the early morning to forenoon, the weather department had said.

The Puducherry government too has announced Thursday as a public holiday.

Twenty five teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh.

Thu, 26 Nov 2020 15:56:35 +0530
Football legend Diego Maradona passes away at 60

Buenos Aires, Football legend Diego Maradona has died, aged 60, according to Argentine media reports. He had been discharged from hospital just two weeks ago after undergoing surgery for a blood clot in the brain.

Maradona underwent surgery on November 3 after which his personal doctor Leopoldo Luque said that Maradona was suffering from confusion caused by "abstinence". He, however, recovered enough to leave the hospital and was taken to a house in Tigre, on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires.

His lawyer Matias Morla said the 1986 FIFA World Cup winner was feeling well after overcoming "maybe the toughest time of his life".

Widely rated as the greatest player of all time, Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup. The tournament featured a number of sublime performances from the legendary forward, the most prominent of which came in a quarter-final match against England and the goal he scored in the match which came after a 60-yard run with the ball from midfield, dribbling past six English players has since been dubbed 'Goal of the Century'.

Born in a slum area in the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires on October 30, 1960, Maradona made his senior debut for Buenos Aires-based Argentinos Juniors in 1976. He went on to a play for Argentine giants Boca Juniors in the 1981-82 season. He then shifted to Europe where he spent two tumultuous seasons with Spanish giants Barcelona. His tenure with the Catalan club ended with a nasty brawl that triggered crowd trouble in the 1984 Copa del Rey final.

Maradona then went to Italian club Napoli, where he had arguably the most productive period of his career. He won two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia and one UEFA Cup in his seven seasons with the club, leaving as their all-time highest goalscorer, a record that stood until Marek Hamsik overtook his tally in 2017. He went on to spend a season each at Spanish club Sevilla and Argentine club Newell's Old Boys before ending his career at Boca Juniors.

As a coach, Maradona notably managed Argentina between 2008 and 2010. He was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina's top flight at the time of his death.

Thu, 26 Nov 2020 15:53:41 +0530
India s ban on 43 Chinese apps draws mixed reactions

New Delhi,  While Indian startups have largely welcomed the government's move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, taking it to a total of 267 in a span of about five months, experts have also cautioned that users deserve more information and transparency about the reasons behind the actions.

Extending its support to the latest "digital strike" on Tuesday that banned 43 more Chinese apps, homegrown short video-sharing platform Chingari said that some of the apps in the new list "were banned earlier as well but they just cloaked themselves under a new identity to enter the Indian market."

"The ban is a very smart move and sends out a clear message that Chinese apps cannot use such tactics to engage in activities that are 'prejudicial to India's sovereignty'. At the same time, we would like to assure our Chingari family that the safety of their data is our highest priority," Sumit Ghosh, CEO, Co-founder Chingari, said in a statement.

One of the banned apps include Snack Video which offered homegrown short video apps, that gained traction following ban on TikTok, very tough competitions.

"This is yet another welcome move from the government to stand against Chinese apps that always have had serious privacy issues. We happily extend our support to all the language users and creators of Snack Video especially who are residing in tier 3/4 cities to come and join Bolo Indya," said Varun Saxena, Founder and CEO, Bolo Indya.

However, Mishi Choudhary, Founder of, a legal services organisation working on law, technology and policy, said that the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology "has made it a practice of issuing orders banning websites citing vague reasons without offering details that users deserve when being deprived of access to information."

Earlier on June, 29, the government had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and on September 2, 118 more apps were banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

In addition, the government in late July, cracked down on 47 more mobile apps, most of which were reportedly clones or lite variants of the Chinese apps banned in June.

Launching the fresh assault on 43 Chinese apps on Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the "action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order."

While announcing the ban on 59 apps in June, the ministry also said that it received "many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps."

"What started with the ironical assertion that the government was worried about personal data -- considering we are still dithering on a personal data protection law and stories about data theft are so rampant that they don't even make it to front page news anymore -- has now turned into an unfortunate trend," Choudhary said.

"If these Chinese apps are indulging in notorious practices which they might be, more information and transparency would help users see these orders as necessary instead of what they look like now --a sign of controlling choice," she added.

SafeHouse Technologies, a cyber security tech enterprise that provides solutions to secure mobile phones, has welcomed the government's move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, saying that "the government has yet again proved that the security and hygiene in the Indian smartphone and app ecosystem needs to be maintained."

Wed, 25 Nov 2020 15:33:25 +0530
Markets zoom on hopes of Covid vaccine in India banking stocks rise

Mumbai, Optimism over the introduction of an Civod-19 vaccine in India along with continued foreign fund inflows boosted the Indian stock markets on Tuesday.

In terms of global cues, positive development over US President-elect Joe Biden's team getting a formal go-ahead to begin the transition process boosted investor sentiments.

Back home, broad based buying took place on hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine will be available in India soon.

Besides, another key factor for the markets' rise was attributed to the healthy FII inflows worth more than Rs 50,000 crore in November so far.

Accordingly, both the major benchmark indices the -- S&P BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty50 -- continued their gaining streak for the third straight day to touch their respective intra-day highs and made new closing highs in the process.

Consequently, NSE Nifty50 touched an all-time high of 13,048.75 points on Tuesday, and the BSE Sensex hit a record high of 44,499.62 points.

The NSE Nifty50 closed at 13,055.15, up 128.70 points or 1 per cent from its previous close. Similarly, the BSE Sensex closed on a high note of 44,523.02 points, up 445.87 points or 1.01 per cent from its previous close.

Among the sectors, banks emerged as the biggest gainers followed by financials, auto, realty, metals and pharma.

"The overall market mood is already bouyant from the progress made on the Covid-19 vaccine front and the prospects for a speedy global economic revival. Going ahead, the market momentum is likely to continue given the optimism over vaccine progress," said Siddhartha Khemka, Head - Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

"Investors would closely watch the transition of Joe Biden as the US President and developments over stimulus announcement from the new government. On the domestic side, the market would look for cues from the monthly F&O expiry and the rollover data, especially on FII position. Moreover, the expected MSCI inflow of more than $4 billion on Friday would keep the momentum positive," Khemka added.

According to Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities: "Asian shares were mostly higher and European stocks rose on Tuesday, buoyed by optimism that vaccines will end the coronavirus pandemic. Intra-day dips are being bought into. Advance decline ratio remains very positive. Stable and gradual move towards Nifty 13,200-13,250 continues on expected lines."

The top gainers on the Sensex on Tuesday were Axis Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki India, while the major losers were Bharti Airtel, HDFC and ONGC.

Wed, 25 Nov 2020 14:41:47 +0530
Have lost comrade colleague friend Sonia on Patel s demise

New Delhi,  Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday while condoling the death of Ahmed Patel said she has lost a dedicated Congress colleague.

"In Sh. Ahmed Patel, I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress Party." she said

She said, "His faithfulness and dedication, his commitment to his duty, his always being there to help, his generosity were rare qualities that distinguished him from others."

"I have lost an irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend. I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support," she added

Scores of Congress leaders condoled Ahmed Patel's death, "It is very hard to come to terms with Ahmed patel Ji's passing. He was a political troubleshooter par excellence & will be sorely missed by all. "Ahmedbhai" was also a close friend of my late father's & a mentor to me," tweeted Milind Deora.

B.K. Hariprasad said in a tweet, "Its very saddening to know about the demise of Shri Ahmad patel ji. Congress has lost one of its greatest son. I am at loss of words at his death. May his soul rest in peace. May god give strength to his family to cope up with this terrible loss."

Wed, 25 Nov 2020 13:06:58 +0530
Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71

New Delhi, Congress leader Ahmed Patel passed away this morning at 3.30 a.m. at the age of 71 years after Covid-19 complication in Gurugram Hospital.

His son Faisal Patel tweeted ,"With profound grief I regret to announce that sad and untimely demise of my father on 25/11 at 3.30a.m."

More than month after testing positive for Covid-19 infection, Patel was under treatment at a Gurugram-based hospital. He was being monitored by a team of doctors.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tweeted, "Deeply shocked and saddened to learn that my dear friend Ahmed Patel passed away in the early hours of today...For two decades, he was one of the staunchest pillars of the Congress party and a trusted counsellor. He will be profoundly missed...I offer my tribute to his memory and convey my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family."

Wed, 25 Nov 2020 13:03:46 +0530
SC mulls issuing notice to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker in a letter to Arnab Goswami

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that it is contemplating issuing notice to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker while hearing a plea by Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami challenging the show-cause notice issued by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for initiation of breach of privilege motion against him. The notice was issued for Goswami's reporting in connection with case of death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Goswami, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde that a notice should be issued to the Speaker in the matter. On November 6, the top court had asked the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly assistant secretary to show cause in two weeks why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for his October 13 letter to Goswami for showing Assembly notice issued to him in the apex court.

Salve contended before the bench also comprising Justices A.S Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian that the response of the assistant secretary of the Assembly indicated that the contentious letter was issued on the direction of the Speaker. However, the bench noted it has not gone through the response of the Assembly, which was filed late last night. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the assistant secretary, submitted, "I can prove that there is no contempt."

The Chief Justice replied that Salve is saying is that the speaker should be served a copy first, and the apprehension is Speaker should not say that proceedings went on without his knowledge. Dave replied not needed, as you will drop the contempt proceedings on next hearing. Chief Justice told Dave, "You do not have to tell us what to do."

Chief Justice, citing Salve's response, noted that the assistant secretary made a statement that he sent the letter on direction of the Speaker. "So, the Speaker needs to be served a notice?", queried Chief Justice. Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who is amicus curiae in the matter, submitted this means the assistant secretary acted as an agent; thus, the Speaker needs to be served. The bench adjourned the matter for two weeks.

Earlier, the top court had granted protection from arrest to Goswami in a breach of privilege motion case. On the last hearing, the bench had pulled up the assistant secretary stating that every citizen has right under Article 32 of the Constitution to approach the Supreme Court directly and because Goswami came to Supreme Court, he cannot be threatened in this manner. Chief Justice had said: "How dare he do this?" The Chief Justice added the letter to Goswami as threatening and intimidating.

Chief Justice said there is no doubt that if a citizen is deterred from approaching Supreme Court in exercise of his right under Article 32, it would amount to a serious interference in administration of justice. "No authority in the country can penalise someone for approaching this court. This is in teeth of Article 32. How dare this officer wrote something like this in his letter", said the Chief Justice.

Chief Justice emphasised that this is a serious matter. "The statements are unprecedented and have a tendency to bring the administration of justice into disrepute", the Chief Justice had observed.

Tue, 24 Nov 2020 17:03:26 +0530
Google Pay to remove payments on web app add transfer fee

New Delhi, Google Pay is set to kill the peer-to-peer payments facility on its web app in January and is going to add a fee for instant money transfers, the media reported.

Google Pay offered the ability to manage payments as well as send money from both a mobile app or from

Now, Google has released a notice on the web app that notifies users that the site will no longer work from January next year.

"Starting early in 2021, you won't be able to use to send and receive money from other people. To send and receive money, use the new Google Pay app," the company informed.

While you can still manage payment methods on the web app, peer-to-peer payments will cease to exist.

Google also clarified on a support page that the original Google Pay app will stop working in January, reports 9to5Google.

Google Pay will also add a fee on instant money transfers.

"It can take 1–3 business days when you transfer money to your bank account. Debit card transfers are usually instant. There is a fee of 1.5% or $.31 (whichever is higher), when you transfer out money with a debit card," the company said on its support page.

Google last week introduced several features in its Pay feature for both Android and iOS users which have been first rolled out in the US.

The company said it is working with trusted financial institutions to create Plex, a new mobile-first bank account integrated into Google Pay.


Tue, 24 Nov 2020 12:24:50 +0530
Nifty hits 13K for 1st time Sensex above 44 400

Mumbai,  The Indian equity indices surged to fresh record highs on Tuesday morning with the NSE Nifty50 crossing the 13,000 mark for the first time ever.

Nifty has touched a record high of 13,029.50 points, while the BSE Sensex hit an all-time high of 44,422.26.

Around 9.30, Nifty was at 13,011.30, higher by 84.85 points or 0.66 per cent from its previous close of 12,926.45 points.

The BSE Sensex was trading at 44,415.16, higher by 338.01 points or 0.77 per cent from the previous close of 44,077.15.

Healthy buying was witnessed in banking, finance and auto stocks.

The top gainers on the Sensex so far were Maruti Suzuki India, HCL Technologies and HDFC Bank.

Tue, 24 Nov 2020 10:46:35 +0530
Gang selling fake protein supplement caught in UP

Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), The Muzaffarnagar police have arrested three members of a gang that was making and selling fake protein powder after sticking labels of top US and European brands on them.

One of the accused is absconding.

Abhishek Yadav, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Muzaffarnagar, said, "We were getting regular inputs about the activity of the gang. Our crime branch teams silently worked on getting enough details before raiding multiple locations in the district.

"We have recovered 1.5 lakh labels, hundreds of kgs of fake protein supplement in 572 containers with stickers of renowned firms like 'Universal', a US-based company. Over 9,500 empty bottles and boxes, 28 sacks of carbohydrate powder, hundreds of prohibited drugs and steroids were also recovered."

The raids were carried out at multiple locations on Monday.

Police are questioning the three arrested accused -- Zubair Alam, Arsi and Amil -- to know more about the racket.

"The supply chain is spread wide and deep. It goes to various states, including Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi," the police officer said.

Talking about the ill-effects of fake supplements, he said, "These supplements have high proportions of anabolic steroids like Deca Durabolin, testosterone, androsterone, etc., which immediately and substantially increase muscle mass and athletic power and are banned all over the world particularly in sports.

The presence of these substances can only be traced through urine examination. The abuse of these drugs also leads to kidney ailments and impotency. However, these relatively cheap and fake products are being increasingly used by those who frequent gyms.

According to a study CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy) in 2015, roughly 1/5th of all the packaged food in the market could be counterfeit, posing a serious threat to health.

Tue, 24 Nov 2020 10:14:23 +0530
UNICEF working with over 350 partners to deliver Covid 19 vaccines

United Nations, The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is working with more than 350 partners, including major airlines, shipping lines and logistics associations from around the world, to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to over 92 countries, as soon as doses become available, the agency said on Monday.

Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF Supply Division, highlighted the importance of the partnership to ensure capacity for the massive undertaking, the Xinhua news agency reported.

"As work continues to develop Covid-19 vaccines, UNICEF is stepping up efforts with airlines, freight operators, shipping lines and other logistics associations to deliver life-saving vaccines as quickly and safely as possible," she said.

"This invaluable collaboration will go a long way to ensure that enough transport capacity is in place for this historic and mammoth operation. We need all hands on deck as we get ready to deliver Covid-19 vaccine doses, syringes and more personal protective equipment to protect front line workers around the globe," the UNICEF official added.

To kick-start preparations, UNICEF along with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) briefed major global airlines last week on the expected capacity requirements and discussed ways to transport close to 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine doses next year. This is in addition to the 1 billion syringes that need to be transported by sea-freight.

In the coming weeks, UNICEF is also assessing existing transport capacity to identify gaps and future requirements, said the agency.

"The procurement, delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is anticipated to be the largest and fastest such operation ever undertaken," it added.

UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and deliver vaccines from manufacturers that have agreements with the COVAX Facility. In collaboration with PAHO, UNICEF will coordinate the purchase and delivery for 92 low- and lower middle-income economies as quickly and securely as possible.

The efforts build on UNICEF's longstanding efforts with the logistics industry to transport supplies around the world despite restrictions related to the pandemic. Since January, it has delivered over 190 million U.S. dollars worth of Covid-19 supplies such as masks, gowns, oxygen concentrators and diagnostic test kits to support countries as they respond to the pandemic.

As the largest single purchaser of vaccines in the world, UNICEF normally procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries.

This unparalleled expertise includes the coordination of thousands of shipments with various cold chain requirements, making the UN agency an expert in supply chain management of temperature-controlled products, which is especially needed during this historic undertaking.

Tue, 24 Nov 2020 10:12:05 +0530
Panipat SP two cops booked for abetment to suicide

Chandigarh, Nov 23

The Haryana Police has booked its Superintendent of Police Manisha Choudhary and two other cops on charges to abetment to suicide a former municipal councillor of Panipat town, officials said on Monday.

The case was registered under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code on a complaint given of victim Harish Sharma's daughter, who alleged that her father was harassed by police officials, comprising Choudhary, who is posted in Panipat.

Sharma had allegedly committed suicide by jumped into the canal on November 19.

The family claimed that Harish was mentally disturbed since a case was registered against him and his councillor daughter along with 10 people for selling crackers on Diwali night.

His body was fished out from Delhi parallel canal in Sonepat district on Sunday.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed the Haryana government over the incident, saying Sharma was "forced to take the extreme step due to the alleged harassment by the state authorities".


Mon, 23 Nov 2020 18:10:08 +0530
Market opens higher Sensex hits fresh high

Mumbai, Nov 23

The key Indian equity indices opened in the green on Monday with the BSE Sensex touching a new record high within just minutes into the trade.

Healthy buying was witnessed in metal, energy and oil and gas stocks.

Sensex touched an all-time high of 44,271.15 points.

Around 9.25 a.m., it was trading at 44,134.49, higher by 252.24 points or 0.57 per cent from its previous close of 43,882.25.

It opened at 44,164.17 and has touched an intra-day low of 44,094.54 points

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 12,930.85, higher by 71.80 points or 0.56 per cent from its previous close.

Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:41:27 +0530
Israel army thwarts bomb attack in West Bank

Jerusalem, Nov 23

 The Israeli army has said that it thwarted a Palestinian attempt to carry out an attack against soldiers in the occupied West Bank using makeshift bombs.

The incident took place near the village of Al-Mughayyir in northeast of Ramallah city, reports Xinhua news agency.

An Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement on Sunday that during "routine searches" in the area, troops spotted improvised explosive devices.

The explosives were "camouflaged in order to harm IDF (Israel Defence Forces) troops," said the statement.

Police explosive specialties were dispatched to the scene to neutralize the bombs.

No injuries or damages were reported.

The West Bank was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and controlled by it ever since, despite international criticism.

The Palestinians wish to build their future state on these lands.

Over the past years, Palestinians have carried out sporadic attacks against Israeli security officers and settlers in the West Bank, but these attacks have recently decreased, especially since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:37:58 +0530
The Undertaker says final farewell to WWE Universe

Stamford (the US), Nov 23 

Wrestling legend The Undertaker has laid his stellar career to rest with an emotional farewell at Survivor Series.

The Undertaker, whose real name is Mark Calaway, had made his WWE debut at Survivor Series on November 22, 1990. And exactly 20 year later on Sunday, he walked down to the WWE ring for the final time in his career while remaining in his character.

Shane McMahon, Big Show, JBL, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Godwinns, Savio Vega, Rikishi, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Kane entered WWE ThunderDome to show adulation to Undertaker, followed by McMahon sharing a warm homage to one of the most legendary Superstars in WWE history.

The 55-year-old's last match in WWE was at WrestleMania 36 when he and AJ Styles fought in a Boneyard match in April in which 'The Deadman' had emerged victorious.

In an interview to IANS last week, The Undertaker had said that he was proud of his career and couldn't have asked for more in terms of accomplishments and love he received from the fans.

"I have wrestled all over the world. I have wrestled against almost every wrestler of my generation. When I look back at my career, I have experienced so much and was able to do so much that I can easily look back and say that I haven't missed anything, be it a match against a wrestler or anything," The Undertaker had said.

"After 30 years of career in wrestling, there's not a whole life that I didn't get to accomplish. I am very proud of my career. It's very humbling to know that you have an effect on people and their everyday lives. When you are wrestling, you are into the zone and don't realise the effect you are having on the lives of people. Sometimes, you give them hope, sometimes you give them the courage to do something during their difficult times," he pointed out.

John Cena took to Twitter to pay tribute to The Undertaker and said: "After three decades of The Undertaker committing wholeheartedly to the WWE, tonight we bear witness to the end of an extraordinary body of work. For all the in ring moments and as a member of the WWE Universer, I say #ThankYouTaker! #SurvivorSeries #Undertaker30."

Dwayne Johnson said he was 'honoured' to share the ring with 'The Deadman'.

"30 years ago today, he made his iconic #SurvivorSeries debut. Like EVERYONE - I was in awe as a rookie in the WWE when his first words pierced my soul as he walked in the dressing room and said, "Muthafucka" True story. Honored to share the ring with you, my brother," 'The Rock' tweeted.

During his stellar career, The Undertaker participated in some of the greatest matches in history against Hall of Famers such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley. He had multiple WWE Championship reigns and held an unmatched and astounding undefeated streak at WrestleMania that lasted 21 years.

Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:35:17 +0530
Ravi Shankar Prasad to inaugurate global virtual conference on law schools

New Delhi, Nov 23

Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) is presenting truly international, first-of-its-kind global academic Conference from November 25-27 on the theme ‘Reimagining & Transforming the Future of Law Schools and Legal Education: Confluence of Ideas During & Beyond COVID-19.

The Conference will be inaugurated by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law and Justice. The Inauguration ceremony will also have a keynote address delivered by Cyril Shroff, Managing Partner of one of India's leading law firms, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

This conference aims to bring together nearly 170 thought leaders from 6 continents and over 35 countries over 30 thematic sessions and two keynote addresses to reimagine the future of legal education.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India will deliver the Constitution Day lecture on November 26. Justice Gita Mittal, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu & Kashmir will deliver the keynote address in the Constitution Day Forum on November 26.

Justice U.U. Lalit, Judge, Supreme Court of India to will deliver the Presidential Address and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Member of Parliament will deliver the Valedictory Address on November 27.

"In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, it is very important for leaders of legal education from all over the world to come together to re-define the future of legal education which will impact the future of students, academics, and institutions. Jindal Global Law School wanted to live up to its commitment to generate important dialogues with a global perspective. This conference is an outcome of that very vision. We are deeply humbled to have an extraordinary forum of nearly 170 thought leaders from over 35 countries including Law School Deans, Scholars, Supreme Court Judges, Lawyers, Law Firm Partners and representation from all spheres of the legal profession and legal education. We look forward to this conference by bringing a comprehensive and inclusive perspective on the future of legal education, creating the desired response of the legal community to the ongoing pandemic." said C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University & Founding Dean, Jindal Global Law School.

On the very special occasion of India's Constitution Day, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India will deliver a special Constitution Day Lecture. This lecture will be Presided over by Upendra Baxi, Research Professor of Law and a Distinguished Scholar, Jindal Global Law School, who will deliver the Presidential Address. Also, the Constitution Day Forum will pay a special tribute to the women leaders in the world of law, as a part of which there will be a Keynote Address by Justice Gita Mittal, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, a special address by Pallavi Shroff, Managing Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, and a Presidential Address by Geeta Ramaseshan, Advocate, Madras High Court.

The Conference will be concluded in the esteemed presence of distinguished members of the Indian Judiciary and the Legal Profession. The Valedictory Address will be delivered by Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Member of Parliament, and the Presidential Address will be delivered by Justice U.U. Lalit, Judge, Supreme Court of India.

"We are truly excited and grateful to have leaders from all spheres of the world of law with us at this Conference to create a truly global response to the ongoing pandemic. From the academic community over 100 Vice Chancellors, Current and Former Deans, Principals, Heads, Directors and other Senior Leaders of Law Schools will be speaking at this event. This Conference will also be honoured by the presence of 8 Judges from India, Singapore, Tanzania and the United States of America which includes 6 Former and Current Supreme Court Judges of India and USA. All the leaders will reflect and deliberate across 3 days of the Conference to reimagine the future of legal education," said S.G. Sreejith, Executive Dean, Jindal Global Law School.

Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:30:50 +0530
India s expectations from Biden Presidency

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his success and used the occasion to emphasise on the importance of strategic partnership between the two countries. There is little doubt that the change of regime in the US will not affect the tested foundations of this friendship that were in fact laid with Obama administration declaring India as a major defence partner of the US.

The deep convergence that Modi government struck with the US in the Presidentship of Donald Trump on most matters relating to security and economic development established a bench mark in Indo- US relationship and this will have to be sustained by the two sides through a new set of interactive meetings at various levels.

Much water has flown down the bridge since the times of Obama-Biden rule in US and the government of Dr Manmohan Singh in India -the geo- political changes revolving round Xi Jinping's China and the transition of 'war on terror' to a broader global conflict between Islamic radicals and the US -led West, warrant a new effort by the two nations to steer the democratic world towards greater safety and security. India would keenly watch President Joe Biden unfolding his foreign policy agenda. So far he has not spoken on Pakistan or on the rise of Islamic militancy on the latter's soil. Also, his approach to China may be firm without replicating the hard line of Trump while in respect of Putin's Russia- with whom Trump seemed to have an even tie - Biden's view is that the former superpower is an adversary that should be made to pay for its alleged interference in the last US election. Unlike Trump who was cool towards Europe, Biden wants to restore American ties with it- this fits in with his attitude towards Russia. Biden does not share the visceral dislike of Islamic militancy that Trump displayed through his tenure. The stand of the Democrat President on Pakistan, China and Afghanistan will therefore be of great strategic interest for India.

The President elect has in his statements and write ups focused entirely on the domestic scene that prevails in the US in the aftermath of a bitterly contested election and pledged to unite the nation, get on with the effective handling of Covid and work for restoring 'decency' in America's socio-political life. It is a fact that the political divide has been sharpened by ideological, demographic and class polarisation cumulatively caused by the appeal of America First, economic downturn resulting from the pandemic and the tensions on the street generated by the campaigns. Some analysts term this as the after effect of 'Trumpism' on American politics. The democratic environ at home will reestablish itself with passage of time but for the world outside, particularly India, Biden's foreign policy package would be eagerly awaited as that would have to define the new regime's stand on a vast spectrum of global hot spots like America's trans- Pacific policy, security of Indo- Pacific, trade imbalance between US and China, peace in Afghanistan and climate change. President Trump would be remembered for breaking from the traditional polity to confront the new challenges of the present, for shifting the focus from the international politics to the economic situation of Americans at home and for being straightforward about not letting the growing threat of Islamic militancy reach the US soil again.

An area of possible strain for India could crop up in the Biden administration at some point of time because of the ideological proneness of a Democrat dispensation to getting easily influenced by the motivated campaign of liberal lobbyists who had lately become active also against Modi government in India -particularly in its second spell. A politically inspired combine is forming in India around the so called left liberals including Maoists, practitioners of minority politics who ran down nationalism and some sections of the opposition, with the aim of somehow pulling down the Modi rule. This axis is rapidly linking up with forces outside - led by the Pak lobby against India- and building a narrative that human rights were in jeopardy in the Modi regime. It is significant that this anti-Modi 'alliance' has suddenly assumed a high profile in Kashmir - well after the completion of an year since the abolition of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution by the Indian Parliament. It comprises the pro-Pak separatists, the valley based politicians seeking to benefit from an anti- India stance and some forces in the national opposition. They are inclined to invite the intervention of the Sino-Pak alliance to keep Kashmir separated from India. Somewhere these desperate elements might be thinking that a democrat regime in US - unlike the Trump presidency- would be easier to influence with a narrative of 'suppression of Kashmiris'. If the past conduct of Pakistan is an indicator a desperate attempt would be made by that country also to precipitate violence in Kashmir to draw attention of the new US President. India will no doubt take an early opportunity to convey it to the Biden administration that the problem in Jammu and Kashmir- that was an integral part of India -was one of infiltration of Mujahideen by Pakistan from across the LoC and not of democratic pro-development governance of the state that the Centre was now ensuring. If necessary Biden-Harris leadership would have to be reminded that there was no room for a third party intervention in the affairs of Kashmir.

The big picture about the likely course of Indo- US relationship under Biden regime is that the strategic partnership between the two countries will remain undiminished at the level of complete interoperability and exchange of military intelligence that had already been reached- this is primarily because the two largest democracies do share a common threat from an ambitious China. However, in respect of the forces of radical Islam which considered the US as their prime enemy, ambiguities may arise if the Democrat leader underestimates the potential for global disruption that Pakistan- known to be harbouring Islamic extremists and radicals on its soil- carried today. The old legacy of American administration looking at Pakistan as an 'ally' who had ensured success of the anti- Soviet armed campaign in Afghanistan and therefore ignoring the Pak mischief of unleashing cross border terrorism against India in Kashmir, might play out again because of the reliance Biden might still put on the 'helpful' role of Pakistan in Afghanistan. Indian diplomacy is on test on Afghanistan since Pakistan with its special relationship with Taliban could regain its say at the cost of democratisation of that country and to the detriment of India's strategic interest there.

It is good that former President Barak Obama has in his just published book revealed that Pakistan Army knew of the hideout near Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was living before the American SEALs took him out in a covert operation conducted at the back of that army. Indian diplomacy has this challenge of counselling the new policy makers in US of the increasing hold of radicalisation in the Muslim world- enlarged by the trio of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia acting as its patron and doing this at the cost of US-led West, ultimately. The threat of faith-based terror arising from within the Muslim world should not be allowed to be diluted - the experience of Europe in recent times and the play of Islamic card by Pakistan in South Asia should be taken note of. Interactions between US and India at the official level as also through credible think tanks must adequately focus on this danger of the future facing the democratic world. Once it is understood that the problem in Kashmir was caused by the plan of Pakistan to replicate the Afghan Jehad there to lay claim on the territory and also by the communal agenda of the valley based parties to join hands with the pro- Pak separatists to gain political power, it would become clear that the repeal of temporary Art 370 was necessitated by the desire of India to give the state its due as an integral part of the nation. The valley- based parties have never condemned Pakistan for infiltrating terrorists in Kashmir and China for illegally occupying a large part of undivided J&K and their expression of support for these enemies of India has finally exposed them for what they are- a set of anti- India leaders not deserving of any latitude from this nation.

India should be prepared to face a situation where Biden presidency is fully geared to dealing with Chinese aggressiveness in Indo- Pacific region militarily through QUAD but is not able to see the threat of Sino-Pak collusion against this country with the same alarm. India has to continue building its defence forces to counter any joint mischief by Pakistan and China on our borders even as our military level talks with China for disengagement on LAC in Ladakh are kept up. Also, India has to use all international forums to warn the democratic world against the grave threat of terrorism that it faces on account of the spread of radicalisation not only in the Islamic countries but also in the countries that had significant Muslim minorities. It is also necessary to expose the trend developing in India of pro-Pak lobbies working with the left liberal- anti-Modi opposition combine to play up Minority politics here on issues ranging from CAA to Kashmir. The political calculation that drives this trend is that so long as the majority community was divided in multiple ways the minority was a match winner in an electoral contest. This is the time for reaching out to the minorities with assurances of development without discrimination and equal protection of law to everybody in India on one hand and coming on with a ton of bricks on those who filled the community with exclusivist and communal thoughts and even disparaged the idea of nationalism as a uniting factor for the country, on the other. Biden-Harris team must understand that India puts all citizens on the same footing regardless of creed, class or region and that this was an example other democracies would do well to follow.

Mon, 23 Nov 2020 11:19:16 +0530
PM Modi to review Covid situation with CMs on Tuesday

New Delhi, Nov 23

Amid the rising cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to review the situation on Tuesday with the Chief Ministers, sources said.

Sources also said the Prime Minister will discuss the rollout of the vaccine programme in the states.

He will hold virtual meetings with the Chief Ministers of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Kerala.

After this meeting, the Prime Minister is scheduled to discuss the vaccine delivery roll out with all the states and Union Territories.

The Centre is preparing on a war footing the vaccine delivery system as the Covid cases have surpassed nine million. With 44,000 new Covid-19 cases, India's tally reached 91,39,866 on Monday.

According to the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 511 new deaths occured due to the deadly virus in the last 24 hours taking the toll to 1,33,738.

While the active cases stood at 4,43,486, a total of 85,62,641 have recovered from the virus and have been discharged of which 41,024 were discharged in the last 24 hrs.

It is also, however, the 16th straight day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. The last time daily new cases crossed the 50,000-threshold was on November 7.

While the recovery rate stands at a whopping 93.86 per cent, the fatality rate is at 1.46 per cent, the Ministry data revealed.

Maharashtra remains the worst hit state with 82,521 active cases and 46,623 deaths so far. The recoveries in the state stand at 16,51,064.

Apart from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka have reported the highest number of cases. National capital is also witnessing a surge. On Sunday, it recorded 6,746 new cases and 121 deaths.

Mon, 23 Nov 2020 10:55:03 +0530
After Twitter Facebook to transfer presidential accounts to Joe Biden

San Francisco,  After Twitter, Facebook has now confirmed it will also transfer the official POTUS account on its platform to President-elect Joe Biden after he is inaugurated on January 20, regardless of whether incumbent leader Donald Trump concedes before that.

Twitter on Friday said it was going to transfer the @POTUS account to Biden the day he is sworn in.

Facebook on Saturday joined the micro-blogging platform in doing the same.

"In 2017, we worked with both the Obama Administration and incoming Trump Administration to make sure the transition of their Facebook and Instagram accounts was seamless on January 20th, and we expect to do the same here," the company said in a statement, reports The Verge.

According to Twitter, all existing tweets on those accounts will be archived and Twitter will transfer the accounts -- reset to zero tweets -- to Biden.

Trump will continue to control his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, after Biden's inauguration.

From January 20 next year, Trump will lose special privileges on Twitter and his tweets will be treated as any other user.

Facebook, however, did not say anything about special privileges.

Sun, 22 Nov 2020 12:55:16 +0530
Resume mining to overcome jobs economy issues CII to Goa govt

Panaji,  The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Goa chapter has emphasised the need for prompt resumption of mining activities in the coastal state to overcome disruption in economy and unemployment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alterations to the National Mineral Policy, phasing out of mining activities from eco-sensitive areas, setting up of a comprehensive regulatory mechanism to deter illegal mining, and effective management of iron ore deposits are some of the key recommendations made by the industry body in a White Paper titled 'Accelerating the Goan Economy - A White Paper'.

"Since the halt on mining in Goa during 2012 and later again in 2018, after only a brief resumption, tourism has been one of the key employment generating sectors. However, with the sudden and highly disruptive emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of Goa's traditional economic engines and employment generators are facing significant challenges," it said.

"Resumption of mining can play a huge role in generating employment and restarting traditional economic engine," it added.

The CII document points out that the National Mineral Policy which has prioritised import substitution, value addition and discourages exports leans in favour of bigger ore-producing states like Karnataka, Jharkhand, and Odisha and is against the interests of Goa which mines low-grade iron ore.

"This is on account of significantly lower ore quality compared with the rest of India, and therefore not suitable for domestic steel production. The export of Goan ore does not burden the national assets, thanks to the excellent inland waterways. The Goa government should therefore press for the removal or reduction of export duty from low-grade Goan iron ore," the White Paper said.

The document has called for regulation of the mining sector, especially near green zones.

"Well-regulated and authorised mining in Goa should be allowed outside the sensitive zones. If it pose any significant threat or danger to a sensitive zone, mining activities should be phased out," the document said, adding, that mines whose ore deposits were exhausted should be rehabilitated as per the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act.

Mining activities in Goa was banned by the apex court in 2012 following the unearthing of a Rs 35,000 crore scam by a judicial commission appointed by the central government. But it was resumed in 2015 with restrictions before it was halted again after the apex court in 2018 found irregularities in the renewal of 88 mining leases.

When the mining industry was at its peak, mining extraction, trade and export accounted for 30 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Sun, 22 Nov 2020 12:47:31 +0530
Trump campaign to seek expedited appeal of ruling on mail in ballots

Washington,  The re-election campaign of US President Donald Trump has announced that it would seek an expedited appeal after a federal judge in the state of Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit which sought to block millions of mail-in ballots cast in the November 3 presidential election.

In a joint statement late Saturday, Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani and the campaign's senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis said that they would seek an expedited appeal to the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals, reports Xinhua news agency.

They said the latest development will help quicken their effort to push the case to the US Supreme Court.

The lawsuit claimed that some counties in Pennsylvania allowed mail-in voters to fix problems with the ballots by casting provisional ballots, which the campaign said were cast illegally for Democrat Joe Biden.

Saturday's ruling by US District Court Judge Matthew Brann was made on the grounds that the lawsuit provided "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence".

"In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state," wrote the judge, who was appointed by former Democratic President Barack Obama.

US media have projected that Biden has won 306 Electoral College votes, surpassing the 270 votes needed to clinch the presidency.

The watershed moment came on November 7, when Pennsylvania was called for Biden, who now leads Trump in the state by over 81,000 votes, a margin believed to be insurmountable even if those erroneously cast ballots were excluded.

For the Trump campaign, time is ticking away as Pennsylvania is scheduled to certify its election results on Monday, all but certain to grant its 20 Electoral College votes to Biden.

While Biden has claimed victory, Trump launched a slew of litigations challenging the results in states that, in addition to Pennsylvania, also include Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona.

Most of those efforts have either been withdrawn by the campaign itself or rejected by the courts, which cited the lack of proof as the reason.

On Friday, Georgia certified the results of the election following the full hand recount, making it official that Biden won the state's 16 electoral votes.

The recount of roughly five million votes found that the former Vice President received 12,284 more votes than the President in the traditional Republican stronghold.

Most counties saw only minor changes in their tallies, with the recount vote totals differing by single digits.

A federal law sets what is called the "Safe Harbor" deadline, falling on December 8 this year, the day by which states must submit the winner of the presidential election if they are to be insulated from legal disputes.

Electoral College representatives will meet six days later, on December 14, to formally select the next US President.

Sun, 22 Nov 2020 12:38:35 +0530
India reports less than 50K new corona cases for 15 straight days

New Delhi,  India reported less than 50,000 new single-day coronavirus cases for the 15th consecutive day on Sunday as its total tally reached 90,95,806.

With 45,209 new cases and 43,493 more patients discharged in last 24 hours, the country's active cases totalled 4,40,962, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data said. As many as 85,21,617 persons have recovered so far from the disease.

In all 501 more fatalities in the last 24 hours took its death toll to 1,33,227.

The last time the daily new cases crossed the 50,000-mark was November 7.

While India's recovery rate is 1.46 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.46 per cent, the data said.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state with 80,878 active cases and 46,573 deaths so far. The recoveries in the state total 16,47,004.

Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka also reported high number of cases, while states like Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal witnessed a surge in infection too.

According Indian Council of Medical Research data, 10,75,326 more samples were tested on Saturday. So far, 13,17,33,134 samples have been tested across the country.

For the second day in a row, recovered patients outnumbered new infections by 1,084 in Delhi, yet the number of fatalities remained a cause of worry.

The national capital reported 5,879 new infections and 6,963 more recoveries in the last 24 hours. However, Delhi's fatalities totalled 111, Delhi government data showed.

Across the world, 5,80,95,887 persons were infected across 191 nations, of which the maximum numbers were in the US. The global coronavirus death toll totalled 13,79,839, with maximum reported in the US (2,55,830).

TUS remains the worst-hit country with 1,20,88,409 corona cases, followed by India, Brazil, France and Russia.

Sun, 22 Nov 2020 12:25:14 +0530
Petrol diesel prices rises for 2nd straight day

New Delhi, Nov 21

Oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Saturday raised the retail price of petrol and diesel for the second consecutive day after a break of almost two months.

The price of petrol has increased by 15 paisa per litre in the national capital to Rs 81.38 from Rs 81.23 a litre on Friday. Similarly, retail price of diesel has been increased by 20 paisa per litre to Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi.

With the price revision, the retail price of both the auto fuels has also been increased across the country but the level of increase is different across the cities due to variable taxation structure pursued by the states.

The increase in petrol and diesel prices was expected as global oil market has shown signs of firming up after positive news on successful introduction of a coronavirus vaccine soon. Moreover, the demand for oil and falling inventory levels in major consuming markets has also firmed up crude price.

The benchmark Brent crude price is hovering close to $45 a barrel for some time now while US WTI crude is also over $42 a barrel. The two have remained firm since the beginning of the month after remaining soft in most parts of October at close to $40 a barrel or less.

OMC sources said that auto fuel hike on Friday and Saturday may not end just yet and the price of the two petroleum products may increase gradually over the next week as well. This is required to keep OMCs from incurring losses on the sale of petrol and diesel.

While India has brought both petrol and diesel out from an earlier administrative price regime and their retail prices are revised daily based on global movement product prices, holding the retail price revision for almost two months was surprising. At a time when globally prices change by the hour, in India it could be kept static for such a long period.

Every dollar increase in price of crude results in retail price of petrol and diesel to be increased by up to 40 paisa per litre. This would mean that the fuel prices should be up by at least Rs 1.20 per litre by now. However, oil companies have kept fuel prices static even when there was a need to revise it downwards last month. That saving prevented OMCs from increasing petrol and diesel prices by a higher margin. Now that the option is exhausted, regular price revision could restart.

Sat, 21 Nov 2020 10:52:54 +0530
Portuguese Prez announces renewal of state of emergency

Lisbon, Nov 21

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa announced the renewal of the "state of emergency" in the country until December 8 to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I have just decreed the renewal of the state of emergency. The later measures are taken, the less effective they will be," Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying in a televised address on Friday.

"Despite the slowdown in the growth of cases, the number of deaths, intensive care (patients), inpatients in general is increasing and may reach maximum values between the end of November and the beginning of December," he explained.

The President also warned of a possible third wave of the pandemic, saying: "A third wave is likely to occur between January and February, that will be even worse than we had now."

The renewal of the state of emergency for another 15 days was approved by the Portuguese Parliament on Friday, requiring compulsory confinement or active surveillance of people infected, as well as the total or partial closure of establishments, services and companies.

As of Saturday, Portugal has reported a total of 249,498 coronavirus cases and 3,762 deaths.

Sat, 21 Nov 2020 10:47:56 +0530
UP roadways bus collided with a tree in Delhi 20 injured

New Delhi, Nov 21

A Uttar Pradesh Roadways bus collided with a tree in South-East Delhi's Sukhdev Vihar area near New Friends Colony injuring at least 20 people in the early hours of Saturday. The driver of the bus absconded after the accident.

At about 3:22 am a call about accident near Sukhdev Vihar was received in Police station NFC. The police team rushed to the spot immediately.

"A UP roadways bus collided with a tree on Mathura road opposite CRRI office, near CNG pump. Bus was coming from Bah, Agra and enroute to ISBT Sarai Kale Khan. Many people were injured," said R.P. Meena, DCP South-East Delhi.

Local police shifted the injured to Trauma Centre, AIIMS. PCR and CATS ambulances also reached on the spot.

A case of accident has been registered and investigation is in progress.

"The driver of the bus is at large. The Agra depot officials have been informed in this regard," the officer added.

Sat, 21 Nov 2020 10:45:39 +0530
ISL 2020 21 Football takes centre stage in new normal India

Panjim, Nov 20

When ATK took on Chennaiyin FC in the last Indian Super League (ISL) season's final, the Covid-19 pandemic was just starting to become a frightening reality across the country. Played behind closed doors, the final was one of the last sporting events held in the country before normal life essentially shut down.

Fast forward eight months, ISL will become the first major sporting event in the country to return in the daily lives of people as the action unfolds in Goa starting Friday with the tournament opener between Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan. Once again, there will be no fans with all teams converging in Goa under the protection of a bio-secure bubble.

But that won't be the only thing different about this season.

For starters, the 2020-21 season will be the biggest ISL to date, with the addition of SC East Bengal taking the total number of teams to 11 and the number of matches to 115, up from 95 last season.

East Bengal's entry and defending champions ATK's merger with Mohun Bagan mean that two of the oldest names in Indian football will go head-to-head in the ISL for the first time. The much awaited Kolkata Derby in ISL will kick off on November 27.

"After the fixtures came out, we have been told about the derby and how big the derby is," new East Bengal recruit and former Norwich City star Anthony Pilkington was quoted as saying in an ISL media release. "So, I really cannot wait to get the season going and it is going to be really exciting I am sure."

Fans will be able to see a number of exciting new stars on their television screens, with the likes of former Reading striker Adam le Fondre and former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor deciding to make the trip to India. Others, like last season's joint top scorer Nerijus Valskis, who has now joined Jamshedpur FC, and India's rock-at-the-back Sandesh Jhingan, who signed for ATK Mohun Bagan, will exchange their old jerseys for new ones.

And while fans will have to stay at home, the three stadiums hosting matches this season in Goa -- Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, GMC Stadium in Bambolim, and Tilak Maidan in Vasco -- will not be devoid of their presence. The innovative 'fan wall' concept will see home and away fans cheer on their teams through two LED screens mounted in the stadiums.

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:47:19 +0530
I didn t realise I had effect on people s daily lives The Undertaker

New Delhi, Nov 20

Wrestling legend The Undertaker, who is all set to bid adieu to the arena, is proud of his career which spanned over three decades and feels he couldn't have asked for more in terms of accomplishments and love he received from the fans.

"I have wrestled all over the world. I have wrestled against almost every wrestler of my generation. When I look back at my career, I have experienced so much and was able to do so much that I can easily look back and say that I haven't missed anything, be it a match against a wrestler or anything," The Undertaker told IANS in an interview.

"After 30 years of career in wrestling, there's not a whole life that I didn't get to accomplish. I am very proud of my career. It's very humbling to know that you have an effect on people and their everyday lives. When you are wrestling, you are into the zone and don't realise the effect you are having on the lives of people. Sometimes, you give them hope, sometimes you give them the courage to do something during their difficult times," he pointed out.

The Undertaker, whose real name is Mark Calaway, had made his WWE debut at Survivor Series on November 22, 1990.

Ever since making his debut with Brother Love, The Undertaker participated in some of the greatest matches in history against Hall of Famers such as Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley.

The 55-year-old's last match in WWE was at WrestleMania 36 when he and AJ Styles fought in a Boneyard match in April in which The Deadman had emerged victorious.

When asked about what he will miss the most about WWE post his retirement, The Undertaker said: "The hardest part for me would be not to hear that music, the light going out and the reception from the fans whenever I entered the ring. That's something I am going to miss the most because that has been something which has sustained me for so long."

If he were not The Undertaker, Calaway said he would've wanted to play the character of Rick Flair in WWE. "It would be very tough not to be Rick Flair. He was the epitome of success, a world champion. I always felt that Rick Flair's character was so over the top which actually he is not. He is the bar which guys of my generation measured themselves with."

During his illustrious career, The Undertaker had multiple WWE Championship reigns and held an unmatched and astounding undefeated streak at WrestleMania that lasted 21 years.

However, one thing which he wishes he had was an extended program with AJ Styles, his last opponent in WrestleMania.

"Although I am proud of the Boneyard match, I wished I could have a "traditional" kind of match with AJ Styles in a wrestling ring. I told him on several occasions: 'Man, I wish you could've been here 10-15 years earlier'."

"I love the way he works and what he does in the ring. I have called him the modern-day Shawn Michaels. I would have really loved to have an extended program with AJ Styles," he said.

The wrestling legend believes the current WWE misses the storytelling part, something which, according to him, is the root of what wrestlers are supposed to do.

"Storytelling is the root to what we do. It is something which I tell the young talent who are unbelievably fit, but what we do is storytelling and that's the most important thing in my opinion," he said.

"It is not about the wrestling moves, it's about the moves that help us tell our story. That's what captivates and keeps people interested. To me, it starts and finishes with a story," he added.

When asked about his plans after retirement, he said: "I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet. When I look back, I am still amazed that I have been there for 30 plus years with wrestling."

"I don't think I am not going to be a part of the WWE.

"One of the things that really interests me a lot is paying it forward, working with the talent that is coming up and trying to give them something of my insights and something from my experience. I think there's a lot of what I did, aspects to storytelling, which is missing in today's games. So, I think that's where I can be an asset for the next generation guys," he added.

The wrestling legend also plans to meet in person his fans a bit more often now that he will not be as busy with the fights.

"Although I may not be in the ring very often, I will still be around."

The Undertaker will be returning to the WWE this weekend at Survivor Series, as part of his final farewell which airs in India on November 23 at 5.30 a.m. on Sony Network.


Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:44:47 +0530
Train To Busan sequel Peninsula has emotions in action scenes

New Delhi, Nov 20

Filmmaker Yeon Sung-ho says he infused emotions in the action scenes of his upcoming Korean zombie thriller, Peninsula, because he was confident that actor Gang Dong-won will be able to pull it off.

"Peninsula" is a sequel to the 2016 global hit, "Train To Busan". Also starring Lee Jung- hyun, the sequel is set four years after the virus outbreak in Korea as shown in "Train To Busan", and follows a former soldier who is sent along with his team to retrieve a truck full of money from the wastelands of the Korean peninsula, which is now inhabited by zombies.

"We created a character only Gang Dong-won can pull off by asserting plenty of emotions even in action scenes. Emotions conveyed with his eyes are so full that you can't help but get sucked in," Sung-ho said.

Talking about getting Jung-hyun on board, the director said: "For the role of Min-jung, Lee Jung-hyun was the first actress I thought of."

To this, Lee added: "I was so incredibly happy that the character I envisioned, from concept to styling, matched to the tee with what Director YEON was thinking of."

The film is being released in India by Zee Studios and Kross Pictures. It will open on November 27.


Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:33:14 +0530
FB awards 1 98mn to researchers for findings bugs in 2020

New Delhi, Nov 20

Facebook awarded over $1.98 million to researchers from more than 50 countries this year for reporting bugs on its platforms and the biggest bug bounty of $80,000 was given for identifying a low impact issue in its Content Delivery Network (CDN).

The top three countries based on bounties awarded this year are India, Tunisia and the US, Facebook said in a statement on Thursday.

"Since 2011, we've received more than 130,000 reports, of which over 6,900 were awarded a bounty. This year, we received around 17,000 reports in total, and issued bounties on over 1,000 reports," Facebook informed.

The Facebook bug bounty programme helps it detect and fix issues faster.Over the past 10 years, more than 50,000 researchers joined this programme and around 1,500 researchers from 107 countries were awarded a bounty.

Security researcher Selamet Hariyanto identified a low impact issue in Facebook CDN, a global network of servers that deliver content to people accessing its platform around the world.

"After fixing this bug, our internal researchers found a rare scenario where a very sophisticated attacker could have escalated to remote code execution," Facebook said.

This fall, Natalie Silvanovich of Google's Project Zero reported a bug that could have allowed a attacker logged in on Messenger for Android to simultaneously initiate a call and send an unintended message type to someone logged in on Messenger for Android and another Messenger client (i.e. web browser).

"After fixing the reported bug server-side, our security researchers applied additional protections against this issue across our apps that use the same protocol for 1:1 calling. This report is among our three highest bug bounties at $60,000, which reflects its maximum potential impact," the social network said.

Facebook recently launched Bug Description Language, a tool that helps researchers quickly build a test environment to show how it can reproduce the bug.

"We also created Hacker Plus, our own rewards programme, to add bonuses, badges, early access to soon-to-be-released products and features, exclusive invites to bug bounty events, and more. Since its launch just last month, we've awarded $40,000 in bonuses".

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:29:35 +0530
Summer of 2021 will be almost normal Bill Gates

New York, Nov 20

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes that a "lot of things" will be back to "normal" by the summer of 2021 if Covid-19 vaccine approvals don't turn up any nasty surprises.

"Very likely by the summer, a lot of things will be back to normal... If vaccine approvals come along quickly," Gates said in a television interview on Thursday night.

Two vaccines, one each from Pfizer and Moderna, have already turned up more than 90 per cent efficacy results and are moving fast towards applying for emergency use approval.

The first vaccinations are tipped to begin in the US late December.

"We will be able to go back to offices and open up those restaurants and bars and say okay, we are in a completely different stage than right now," Gates said about his summer of 2021 vision.

He thinks a 2021 school year that is "completely normal" is within reach.

"We can get the whole country, every city back in school. I think that's achievable and a very important goal to have in mind," Gates told CNN.

He spoke in some detail about the "daunting" work of distributing the vaccines which are round the corner.

"The urgency and the numbers are pretty daunting. You know if you end up with all today's vaccines, we need over 10 billion doses to get to a high percentage of the world," Gates said.

Gates' remarks come at a time when the US is experiencing its worst coronavirus surge in months, with daily cases smashing records day after day. The US has the world's highest coronavirus caseload and death toll.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $350 million to support the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:25:35 +0530
Centre s reforms can raise medium term growth rate Fitch Ratings

New Delhi, Nov 20

Global ratings agency Fitch expects that the Centre's reform agenda in response to the coronavirus pandemic shock has the potential to raise India's medium-term growth rate.

Nevertheless, the agency pointed out, there are also downside pressures to growth and that it will take time to assess "whether the reforms are implemented effectively".

"In recent years, the Indian authorities' strategy to keep the public debt ratio and broader public finances under control has relied heavily on expectations of sustained and rapid nominal GDP growth," the ratings agency said.

"The pandemic will slow the medium-term growth, as we believe that damaged corporate balance sheets will dampen investment for years. Renewed asset-quality challenges in banks and generally fragile liquidity for non-bank financial companies could also constrain growth prospects and jeopardise the stability of the medium-term government debt or GDP trajectory."

Accordingly, it said, raising medium-term growth rates under these circumstances will require reforms to support investment and boost productivity.

"We noted the GDP growth outlook as a key rating sensitivity when we revised the Outlook on India's 'BBB-' rating to 'Negative' from 'Stable' in June," Fitch Ratings said.

"Several reforms passed by Parliament since the pandemic set in could lift medium-term growth prospects. The most notable are agricultural reforms to give farmers more flexibility over where to sell their produce."

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:20:38 +0530
Scottish writer Douglas Stuart s Shuggie Bain wins 2020 Booker Prize

London, Nov 20

Scottish writer Douglas Stuart's "Shuggie Bain" was on Thursday evening named the winner of the 50,000 pounds 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction, at the heart of which are the memories he carries of his mother's struggle with drink, with men and with her modest dreams, at the culmination of a star-studded "ceremony without walls" at London's Roundhouse.

"'Shuggie Bain' is destined to be a classic - a moving, immersive and nuanced portrait of a tight-knit social world, its people and its values," Jury Chair Margaret Busby said while naming Stuart the winner from among the six authors, among them Indian-origin writer Anvi Doshi, who had been shortlisted for the Prize, which is awarded to the best original novel in English published in the UK and Ireland in the previous year.

"Gracefully and powerfully written, this is a novel that has impact because of its many emotional registers and its compassionately realised characters. The poetry in Douglas Stuart's descriptions and the precision of his observations stand out: nothing is wasted," Busby added.

Stuart, 44, told the BBC he was "absolutely stunned" to win.

Dedicating the book and his prize to his mother, who died of alcoholism when he was 16, he said the book was "a love story looking at that unconditional, often tested love that children can have for flawed parents".

"I'm sorry if I make it sound like a bleak book, it's actually very funny, it's tender and there's a lot of intimacy and love. I think that's the Glaswegian spirit. Growing up in Glasgow was, I think, probably one of the greatest inspirations of my life," he said.

The novel, set in the Thatcherite Glasgow of the 1980s, follows the life of Agnes Bain, who is descending into despair and struggling with alcohol after the breakdown of her marriage.

All but one of her children have been driven away by her deterioration, and that child, Shuggie, struggles to help Agnes while suffering huge personal problems of his own.

"Part of the reason Shuggie is queer is because I am queer and I grew up in Glasgow. I also liked the balance Shuggie offered to Agnes because it's really about how these two are receding from the world, and how they cling to each other and rely on each other," Stuart added.

"For 30 years, I've carried a lot of loss and love and pain, so I wanted to say what it is like... to write this has been hugely cathartic", he said.

Stuart said he would like to give his fellow nominees "a hug" and that the "greatest gift" was being able to "touch readers' lives".

The ceremony was broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, BBC iPlayer and BBC Arts Digital. It was hosted by BBC Radio 4's John Wilson and included contributions from The Duchess of Cornwall, former US President Barack Obama, and three former Booker Prize winners: Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo.

"It's no easy task to write a book," former US President Barack Obama, whose memoir "A Promised Land" has just been published, said in a message, adding that writing "helps in putting ourselves in other peoples' shoes".

The six books on the shortlist were:

The New Wilderness by Diana Cook (Oneworld Publications)

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Faber & Faber)

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books)

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)

Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)

After Margaret Busby had announced Douglas Stuart's win, he appeared via a special screen to be awarded the prize and deliver an acceptance speech. He received a trophy, a designer-bound edition of his book and a further 2,500 pounds for being shortlisted.

Margaret Busby was joined on the 2020 judging panel by Lee Child, author; Sameer Rahim, author and critic; Lemn Sissay, writer and broadcaster; and Emily Wilson, classicist and translator.

Shuggie Bain is Stuart's first novel. After graduating from the Royal College of Art, he moved to New York to start a career in fashion design, working for brands including Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Gap. He started writing in his spare time a decade ago. His work has since appeared in LitHub and in The New Yorker, which has published two of his short stories this year.

Stuart said in an interview for The Booker Prize website that the 1994 Booker winner "How Late It Was, How Late" by James Kelman changed his life because it was one of the first times he had seen his people and dialect on the page. He is currently finishing his second novel, "Loch Awe", also set in Glasgow.

Stuart will take part in his first official public event as winner for Southbank Centre on Monday (November 23) as part of its "Inside Out" series, interviewed by Bernardine Evaristo, the joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

He will also be interviewed by author and former prize judge Natalie Haynes for the Hay Festival Digital Winter Weekend on Friday (November 27). Guardian Live will host a Book Club for "Shuggie Bain" in 2021.

As part of The Booker Prize's continuing partnership with Doncaster Creates dynamic arts programme, there will be a virtual Open Mic night on Thursday (November 26) hosted by 2020 Booker judge, writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay and 2017 shortlisted author Fiona Mozley; both will read passages from their work alongside Doncaster writers. As both the finale and legacy of the partnership, Fiona Mozley will lead the search for a Doncaster New Writer whom she will mentor. The writer will be announced in January 2021.

The Booker Prizes podcast series will be releasing a winner podcast, featuring an interview with Douglas Stuart, available from Wednesday (November 25).

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:18:51 +0530
New age actors redefine stardom propped by OTT wave

New Delhi, Nov 20

Gone are the days when stardom used to be more about image and less about the craft. A breed of new-age stars in Bollywood are not only redefining and reinventing the content library of the entertainment world, but also scripting new-age stardom.

The change is being driven by the ever-expanding world of digital entertainment in India, which comes with the power to shun the concept of over-the-top stardom with cliched content.

Today, stars have the liberty to take risks, break image and come out of comfort zone, all thanks to the booming OTT scene in India. It gives them a bigger playground to break ground, court instant fame and be a part of this whole changing system.

"With OTT coming in, I believe everything is about actors, about playing different characters and about playing them well. I hope there are actors getting better opportunities -- that you are cast not because you are a star but because you are apt for the role. I hope OTT brings this trend rather than again making stars out of people who are artists," said actress Kirti Kulhari, who has found a new standing as an actor mainly thanks to her digital shows with "Four More Shots Please!" and "Bard Of Blood".

The movement was started by Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the late Irrfan Khan in the new era, and the cue was picked up by Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Rajkummar Rao. The success of these actors have prompted a new genre of artistes in the realm of Hindi entertainment -- the star born out of on-screen realism.

IANS takes a look at some of the most promising actors in this genre, who are breaking and creating new rules of success and stardom.

Aparshakti Khurana

He started out in films as a comedian and is now gearing up for his solo debut as a hero. From "Dangal", "Badrinath Ki Dulhania", "Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi", and "Stree" to his latest release "Luka Chuppi", Aparshakti, the younger brother of Ayushmann Khurrana, has made his presence felt in the narrative irrespective of the length of the supportive characters. Now, he is looking forward to his first solo hero project, the social comedy "Helmet".

Divyenndu Sharma

Divyenndu Sharma was noticed in the role of Liquid in the 2011 release, "Pyaar Ka Punchnama", and went on to star in films like "Chashme Baddoor", "Dilliwali Zaalim Girlfriend", "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" and "Batti Gul Meter Chalu". He has attained major fandom as Munna bhaiya from the web-series "Mirzapur". Now, Divyenndu is looking forward to the web series "Bicchoo Ka Khel".

Vijay Varma

Vijay made his acting debut in 2012 with "Chittagong". He was then seen in films like "Rangrezz", "Monsoon Shootout", "Raag Desh" and "Manto". It was only in 2019 that he found fame, after he featured in the Ranveer Singh-starrer "Gully Boy". Ever since his breakthrough performance as Moen Bhai in "Gully Boy", he has been flooded with work, from starring in Zoya Akhtar's segment in "Ghost Stories", Tiger Shroff-led "Baaghi 3", the web series "She", Mira Nair's "A Suitable Boy" to the second season of "Mirzapur".

"I think I got content as soon as I found the recognition that I was so craving for, which I feel I was rightfully deserving. It's been nice," Vijay told IANS.

Priyanshu Painyuli

Actor Priyanshu Painyuli did the film "Bhavesh Joshi Superhero", and went on to explore the digital space. His performance in the recent second season of the web show "Mirzapur" has been a talking point, after he played the role of a Bangladeshi crime lord in Sam Hargrave's directorial debut "Extraction", starring Chris Hemsworth. At the moment, he is working on "Rashmi Rocket", which also stars Taapsee Pannu.

Siddhant Chaturvedi

He roared as the rap star MC Sher in "Gully Boy", and life has never been the same for him. Before his big break, he featured in "Life Sahi Hai" and "Inside Edge". The actor already has much-hyped three films in his bag. He teams up with Deepika Padukone in an untitled upcoming film that also stars Ananya Panday. With Katrina Kaif and Ishaan Khatter, he will share screen space in the horror comedy "Phone Bhoot". He will also be seen in the sequel of the 2005 hit, "Bunty Aur Babli".

Rasika Dugal

She has featured in critically acclaimed films such as "Qissa", "Manto" and "Hamid", but her role as bold Beena Tripathi in web show "Mirzapur" made her a household name. Her role of a young police officer in "Delhi Crime" added to her popularity. She also starred in "Out Of Love", which revolved around marriage, infidelity and insecurity.

Shweta Tripathi Sharma

She impressed as an upper caste girl in the 2015 film "Masaan", and went on to do a few films. She caught the attention of fans as Golu in the series "Mirzapur". She also showed her versatility in web series like "Made In Heaven" and "The Gone Game", and the web movie, "Cargo".

Radhika Apte

She is famously called the "Netflix girl" by netizens due to her association with the OTT platform. Radhika has acted in films such as "Badlapur", "Phobia", "Pad Man" and "Andhadhun", but her association with Netflix through the anthology film "Lust Stories", the series "Sacred Games" and the limited series "Ghoul", gave her a wider reach.

Pankaj Tripathi

He comes from a theatre background, and proved his mettle in Bollywood first. Be it comic or villainous roles in films like "Stree", "Bareilly Ki Barfi" and "Gangs Of Wasseypur", he has done it all. He became a phenomenon on OTT as the dreaded gangster Kaleen Bhaiyya in the web series "Mirzapur", and "Sacred Games", where he played the power-hungry Guruji.

Gajraj Rao

Gajraj Rao made his Bollywood debut in 1994 with Shekhar Kapur's "Bandit Queen" and was later seen in films like "Dil Se...", "Black Friday", "Talvar" and "Rangoon". But 2018 changed the game for him after he featured in "Badhaai Ho".

"The recognition I am getting now, definitely if I had gotten it 10 years ago I would've felt better about it. I have got it now, it's still a good thing," said the actor, who was last seen in web show "Pariwar".

Amol Parashar

He rose to fame with his character Chitvan Sharma in "TVF Tripling", and was last seen in film "Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare", which stars Bhumi Pednekar and Konkona Sen Sharma in the lead role.

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:14:39 +0530
CBI books UP Shia Waqf Board ex chief in 2 cases

Lucknow, Nov 20

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered two FIRs, naming Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board's former chief Waseem Rizvi and others regarding alleged anomalies in the sale, purchase, and transfer of properties by the Board.

The FIRs were registered late on Thursday evening on the basis of cases lodged at Hazratganj police station on March 27, 2017 and another in Prayagraj in 2016.

The first FIR was registered on the complaint of one Tauseeful Hasan who had alleged that despite the fact that he was 'mutawalli' (caretaker) of a plot in Kanpur, he was deprived of his rights by Rizvi and his aides Vijay Krishna Somani, Naresh Somani, Ghulam Rizvi, and Waqar Raza, who stole original documents of the property.

The CBI booked Rizvi and four others on charges of criminal breach of trust by a public servant, cheating, and criminal intimidation.

In the second FIR, complainant Sudhank Mishra had accused Rizvi of illegally constructing shops at the Imambara on the Old GT Road in Allahabad. On the basis of Mishra's complaints, Rizvi was booked for criminal trespassing.

The state Home Department had recommended a CBI probe into the matter in October 2019.

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:08:09 +0530
Bharti Infratel Indus Towers merger complete VIL gets Rs 3 760 Cr

New Delhi, The much-delayed merger of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers completed on Thursday.

Post the completion of the transaction, Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) has received cash
consideration of Rs. 3,760.1 crore for its 11.15 per cent shareholding in Indus.

"The said transaction had been executed and completed on November 19, 2020 ("VIL closing")," the filing said.

Further, the Board of Bharti Infratel has allotted 757,821 ,804 equity shares of Rs 10 each to the Vodafone group and 87,506,900 equity shares of Rs 10 each to PS Asia Holding Investments (Mauritius) Limited (Providence) aggregating to 28.12 per cent and 3.25 per cent respectively in the post-issue share capital of the company.

"Accordingly, the paid-up equity share capital of the company stands increased to Rs 26,949,369,500 divided into 2,694,936,950 Equity Shares of Rs 10 each fully paid-up," it said.

The board has appointed Bimal Dayal as the CEO of the company eith immediate effect and Manish Dawar will be the CFO with effect from December 1, 2020.

Fri, 20 Nov 2020 10:42:56 +0530
WHO warns against remdesivir for Covid 19 treatment

Geneva, The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday warned that the antiviral drug remdesivir should not be used to treat Covid-19 patients no matter how ill they are as there is no evidence it works.

"The panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others," Xinhua news agency quoted the WHO's Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel ass aying in a sattement.

"Any beneficial effects of remdesivir, if they do exist, are likely to be small and the possibility of important harm remains," the panel added.

The WHO recommendation, published in the British Medical Journal, was based on an evidence review that included data from four international randomised trials among more than 7,000 hospitalised patients.

After reviewing the evidence, the panel concluded that remdesivir has no meaningful effect on death rates or other important outcomes for patients.

"Especially given the costs and resource implications associated with remdesivir... The panel felt the responsibility should be on demonstrating evidence of efficacy, which is not established by the currently available data," it said.

The antiviral is one of only two medicines currently authorized to treat Covid-19 patients across the world.

It has been approval for use in the US, the European Union and other countries after initial research found it may shorten recovery time in some Covid-19 patients.

Made by the US company Gilead, remdesivir is extremely expensive and has to be given intravenously.

Gilead said last month that the drug had boosted its third quarter sales by about $900 million.

The WHO's warning comes as the overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 56.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.35 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Friday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 56,817,667 and 1,358,489, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 11,710,084 and 252,484, respectively, according to the CSSE.


Fri, 20 Nov 2020 10:32:48 +0530
New Delhi Nov 19 IANS Barely days ahead of her 78th birthday Mridula Sinha a prolific writer s

San Francisco, Nov 19

Google has introduced several features in its Pay feature for both Android and iOS users which have been first rolled out in the US.

The new Google Pay app is designed around relationships with people and businesses.

"It helps you save money and gives you insights into your spending. It's built with multiple layers of security to keep your money and information private and safe. And in 2021, it will give you the chance to apply for a new kind of digital bank account with trusted financial institutions," said Caesar Sengupta, General Manager and VP, Payments and Next Billion Users.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday it is working with trusted financial institutions to create Plex, a new mobile-first bank account integrated into Google Pay.

"Plex Accounts are offered by banks and credit unions, include checking and savings accounts with no monthly fees, overdraft charges or minimum balance requirements and help you save toward your goals more easily".

The new Google Pay app focuses on the friends and businesses you transact with most frequently.

"You can pay, see past transactions and find offers and loyalty infoeall organized around conversations".

Google Pay can also help you save money and redeem offers without the hassle of clipping coupons or copying and pasting promo codes.

"If you choose to connect your bank account or cards to Google Pay, the app will provide periodic spending summaries and show your trends and insights over time, giving you a clearer view of your finances," said Sengupta.

Google Pay can now understand and automatically organize your spending.

"Google Pay alerts you when you might be paying a stranger, protects you with advanced security, and gives you transparency and control to choose the privacy settings that are right for you. You can change these settings at any time", the company said.

Starting in 2021,e11 banks and credit unions, including minority-owned depository banks, in the U.S. will start offering Plex Accounts in Google Pay.


Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:38:22 +0530
Goa s first woman Guv noted author passes away

New Delhi, Nov 19

Barely days ahead of her 78th birthday, Mridula Sinha, a prolific writer, senior BJP leader and the first woman Governor of Goa, passed away on Wednesday.

Born on November 27, 1942 in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, Sinha went on to become a name to reckon with in Hindi literature. Though, she has been the wife of Ram Kripal Sinha, a former Union minister and herself a senior functionary of the BJP; her identity revolves around her contribution in the field of writing.

The former Goa Governor wrote more than 46 books on various issues.

'Jyon mehandi ko ranga', 'Nayi Devyani' and 'Gharwaas' are some of the many novels she wrote.

She had also penned the biography on late Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia, a co-founder of the BJP.

Among Sinha's story collections, 'Sakshatkar', 'Ek Diye Ki Diwalia', 'Apna Jeevan' are particularly special. But her domain of writing was vast, which even led her to write for children. 'Aine ke saamne', 'Maanvi ke Naate' are some of them.

A proud Bihari herself, one of her works for children was 'Bihar Ki Lok Kathaye'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his condolence message said, "She was also a proficient writer, making extensive contributions to the world of literature as well as culture."

In her political stint, she has been a former president of the BJP's Mahila Morcha.

She had been associated with the BJP since the party's Jana Sangh days. Being from Bihar and politically conscious, Sinha also participated in Jai Prakash Narayan-led 'Samagra Kranti'.

Union WCD Minister who herself has been the BJP's women wing Chief, tweeted, "With the passing away of Mridula Sinha ji we have lost a prolific writer , a kind administrator and a guiding light for many of us who had the privilege of serving in BJP Mahila Morcha."

As Governor of Goa, she has seen many Chief Ministers change within a not-so-long span of time. Late Manohar Parrikar, Laxmikant Parsekar and Pramod Sawant, who is the current CM of Goa -- she had administered oaths to all of them as Chief Ministers of the state.

Sawant said, for her, the former Goa Governor has been a 'motherly figure'.

BJP President JP Nadda said he is 'pained' at the news.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:34:21 +0530
3 booked in UP for attempted murder over celebratory firings

Pratapgarh (UP), Nov 19

Two cases of attempted murder have been registered against three persons at the Kotwali police station after two video clips of celebratory firings went viral on the social media on Thursday, police said.

Though its was not clear where exactly the incidents took place, the Pratapgarh police registered two FIRs under Sections 307 (murder attempt) and 286 (negligent conduct concerning explosive substance) of the IPC on the basis of video evidence.

Pratapgarh SP Anurag Arya said that police officials concerned had been instructed to ensure the arrest of all three accused, adding that they were trying to obtain details on the two incidents.

The SP said that police would seize the weapons of the offenders and get their arms licences cancelled.

In the first case, one Prince Singh of Awas Vikas Colony was booked for celebratory firing from his licensed pistol and a rifle without permission.

In the second case, brothers Aman Singh and Guddu Singh of Sadar Bazar area were booked for celebratory firing. Their acts caused discomfort and brief confusion among residents in that area, the FIR said.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:32:14 +0530
1 058 new corona cases push Telangana s tally over 2 60 lakh

Hyderabad, Nov 19

Telangana's coronavirus cases' tally crossed 2.60 lakh on Thursday as the state logged 1,058 new cases, health officials said.

After recording a daily surge of less than 1,000 cases for the last few days, the numbers surged beyond 1,000 during the last 24 hours, pushing the cumulative numbers to 2,60,834.

According to the government's daily media bulletin, active cases in Telangana now total 12,682, of which 10,352 are in home or institutional isolation.

As many as 1,440 more patients recovered during the last 24 hours, taking the total recoveries to 2,46,733. The recovery rate improved further to 94.54 per cent as against the national average of 93.6 per cent.

Four more people succumbed to the virus, taking the state's death toll to 1,419.

The fatality rate remains at 0.54 per cent as against the national average of 1.5 per cent. According to Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 44.96 per cent of the deaths were due to COVID-19 while remaining 55.04 were on account of comorbidities.

Greater Hyderabad continues to report daily count of less than 200 new cases. During the last 24 hours ending at 8 pm on Wednesday, the state capital added 168 corona cases to its tally. Medchal Malkajgiri reported the second highest 93 cases, followed by Rangareddy (91), Bhadradri Kothagudem (58), Karimnagar (53), and Nalgonda (43).

Laboratories in the state conducted 38,757 tests during the last 24 hours, taking cumulative tests to 50,11,164. Eighteen government-run laboratories, 50 private laboratories and 1,076 Rapid Antigen test centres are conducting the tests.

Out of 38,757 samples tested during the last 24 hours, 35,779 samples were tested in government-run laboratories and 2,978 samples in private ones.

Samples tested per million population ratio rose further to 1,34,636. The daily testing target for the state is 5,600 per day as against the World Health Organisation (WHO) benchmark of 140 per million per day.

Out of 2,60,834 total positive cases so far, 70 per cent (1,82,584) were asymptomatic while the remaining 30 per cent (78,250) were symptomatic.

The data shows that 63.92 per cent of those tested positive so far were aged between 21-50, 22.91 per cent aged above 51, and 13.18 per cent below 20.

In 61 government-run hospitals treating COVID patients, 7,634 out of 8,561 beds are vacant while in 221 private hospitals, 6,670 out of 8,073 beds are vacant.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:30:08 +0530
New system of contact tracing in Prayagraj

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 19

In an attempt to check the resurgence of Covid cases, the district health department in Prayagraj has made testing mandatory for the adjoining five houses of a patient.

This will be applicable, irrespective of whether the patient has been admitted to a hospital for treatment or is under home isolation.

According Dr. Rishi Sahai, nodal chief medical officer, "Once a patient (all genders and ages) tests positive for the Covid-19, health department teams will conduct testing of the patient's family members and those living in the five houses (from all four directions) of the patient's house."

He added that this exercise would help the health authorities to contain the spread of Covid-19, and the department would also be able to identify fresh patients and treat them.

"We are conducting testing of around 6,000 people every day and efforts are underway to increase testing in the urban, semi-urban and rural areas, even though the caseload in Prayagraj district is less than 1,000 patients. The focus is on those pockets and colonies from where the increasing number of patients have been reported in the recent days," he said.

Besides testing, a mass-level awareness campaign on the three safety norms of wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and observing proper hygiene like hand washing, has also been launched in the city.

Health department statistics show that 24,094 out of the total 25,395 patients have already been cured and the recovery percentage in the city is 94.87.

Health officials said that the city had reported more cases in the past two days.

Prayagraj, which is bracing up for the Magh Mela in January, where a congregation of lakhs of devotees will take place, is taking possible steps to keep Covid cases in check.


Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:28:06 +0530
2020 has taught me importance of being mentally strong says Karkera

Bengaluru, Nov 19

Goalkeeper Suraj Karkera had decided to stay back at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) facility in Bengaluru when the Indian men and women's hockey core probable groups, in June, were allowed to take a break to be with their families after a series of nationwide lockdowns.

He made the decision as Covid-19 cases were high in Mumbai and instead of going to his parent's house, Karkera spent most days in his room at the SAI facility, reading books and watching matches from previous years.

Unfortunately for Karkera, when his teammates returned to camp in August after a six-week break, he was admitted in the city hospital due to dengue.

"This year has been an absolute roller coaster ride. I had decided to stay back in SAI because I felt travelling to Mumbai was not safe for me as it had too many cases of Covid-19. But as fate would have it, I got dengue just when we were getting together to restart the camp. It has since been a steady road to recovery and full fitness," said the young goalkeeper.

Karkera, who was part of the Indian team that won bronze in the 2017 Hockey World League Final and was part of the team that witnessed Asia Cup success in Dhaka in 2017 as well, feels fortunate to have had the support of the coaching staff all through this period.

"When I was alone in the hostel, I was constantly checked on by our chief coach and scientific advisor. It has not been easy for them either to have not seen their families back home for more than ten months now, so there used to be a lot of talks about being resilient and at times, we would also talk about Graham's playing days," he said.

"He has a lot of interesting stories to share with us, and they are all quite inspiring. I personally feel this year has taught us a lot in terms of 'anything can happen in life' and we need to be mentally strong to face it."

And now, Karkera's primary focus is to make the most of his time with senior stalwarts like PR Sreejesh, SV Sunil, Akashdeep Singh, Manpreet Singh among other players to hone his skills as a goalkeeper.

"I feel fortunate to have been in the national coaching camp with stalwart players including someone like Sardar Singh who had so much experience," Karkera said.

"Now with senior players like Sreejesh, Manpreet, Sunil, Akashdeep etc around, there is a lot that I learn from them. They are constantly guiding me on the field and off it. My focus now is to improve my skill, footwork and timing to be ready for the next assignment and be in the reckoning for team selection," he added.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:24:42 +0530
New WhatsApp feature to allow users to mute videos before sending

New Delhi, Nov 19

Instant messaging app WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature that would let users mute their videos before posting those to their friends and family members or putting them up as status.

As spotted by WABetaInfo, a website that tracks WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned company is now developing a mute video feature and it has appeared on a beta update. 

In the screenshot shared by the WhatsApp features tracker, one can see the option of muting the video along with the trimming option. 

"After enabling Advanced Wallpaper features and Disappearing messages, WhatsApp is working on new features now. The next feature, available in a future update, will allow muting videos before sending to contact or your status updates," a report by WABetaInfo read. 

WhatsApp has also started rolling out advanced wallpaper features to more users.

This feature lets users set a different wallpaper for each chat. You can choose to set one wallpaper for all chats on WhatsApp, or manually select a different one for each chat. 

Recently, WhatsApp introduced the much-awaited 'Disappearing Messages' feature.

As the name suggests, the feature allows user to send messages that will appear for a limited period of time. 

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:22:03 +0530
Netanyahu threatens more strikes on in Syria

Tel Aviv, Nov 19

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to carry out more airstrikes in Syria if Iran continues to maintain a military presence in the war-torn country.

"We will not allow Iranian military entrenchment against us in Syria and we will not tolerate any attempt to attack us from Syrian territory," Xinhua news agency quoted Netanyahu as saying in a statement issued by his office on Wednesday hours after a deadly Israeli airstrike in Syria.

"This morning, the air force attacked significant Iranian Quds Force targets and Syrian military targets in Syria," the Prime Minister said, in a rare acknowledgment of Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

The airstrike was carried out as part of "a clear policy that I have been leading for years", he noted.

"Whoever tries to attack us or attacks us will bear the consequences," Netanyahu warned.

At least 10 Syrian soldiers and pro-government fighters were killed in airstrikes on Syrian military sites in the capital Damascus on Wednesday, the UK-based watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

In recent years, Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian-linked targets in Syria.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:07:08 +0530
K taka BJP takes pain to rename Maratha Development Authority

Bengaluru, Nov 19

In an effort to put an end to the raging controversy over the formation of the Maratha Development Board last week, the ruling BJP in Karnataka on Wednesday decided to rename it as Maratha Community Development Corporation (MCDC).

Speaking to reporters here after the Cabinet meeting, Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J.C. Madhuswamy clarified that the MCDC is a community corporation for the all-round development of the community, and not to promote any language per se.

"The Cabinet has officially adopted this (MCDC) name," he said, adding that he didn't know why some people are opposed to the setting up of a body for the development of a community.

Last week, Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa had decided to set up the Maratha Development Board, just ahead of the announcement of bypolls to the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, and the Basavakalyan and Maski Assembly seats, which have a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.

Since then, the ruling BJP has come under severe criticism by the opposition Congress as well as pro-Kananda activists across the state. A section of Kannada activists even called for a statewide bandh on December 5.

A senior BJP leader told IANS that Yediyurappa's problems worsened when Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday stated in Maharashtra that inclusion of Belagavi, Nippani and Karwar would only complete the unification of Maharashtra, which was the dream of the late Balasaheb Thackeray.

The statement triggered a barrage of angry reactions and protests in Karnataka.

Tempers run high across the state whenever Maharashtra lays claim to the border district of Belagavi on linguistic grounds.

Karnataka even built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the state legislature building in Bengaluru, in Belagavi to assert its claim that the district is an integral part of the state.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:04:59 +0530
Remember her as beloved grandma Rahul on Indira

New Delhi, Nov 19

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 103rd birth anniversary at Shakti Sthal here and later tweeted about remembering her as his beloved grandmother.

"Tributes to an efficient and embodiment of strength Prime Minister. The whole nation still gives examples of her leadership, but I remember her as my beloved grandmother. The lessons she taught keep inspiring me," he tweeted.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said: "Humble tributes to the first woman PM of the nation Smt Indira Gandhi ji on her birth anniversary. She dedicated her entire life to the service of the nation. Her values, decisive leadership and supreme sacrifice can never be forgotten. Indira ji's life remains an inspiration."

Scores of Congress leaders across the country also paid their tributes.


Thu, 19 Nov 2020 11:01:21 +0530
New WhatsApp feature to allow users to mute videos before sending

New Delhi, Instant messaging app WhatsApp is reportedly working on a new feature that would let users mute their videos before posting those to their friends and family members or putting them up as status.

As spotted by WABetaInfo, a website that tracks WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned company is now developing a mute video feature and it has appeared on a beta update. 

In the screenshot shared by the WhatsApp features tracker, one can see the option of muting the video along with the trimming option. 

"After enabling Advanced Wallpaper features and Disappearing messages, WhatsApp is working on new features now. The next feature, available in a future update, will allow muting videos before sending to contact or your status updates," a report by WABetaInfo read. 

WhatsApp has also started rolling out advanced wallpaper features to more users.

This feature lets users set a different wallpaper for each chat. You can choose to set one wallpaper for all chats on WhatsApp, or manually select a different one for each chat. 

Recently, WhatsApp introduced the much-awaited 'Disappearing Messages' feature.

As the name suggests, the feature allows user to send messages that will appear for a limited period of time. 

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:58:59 +0530
Bigg Boss The most controversial fights

Mumbai,  Bigg Boss is rightfully tagged as controversial. Over 14 season, the reality show has seen contestants indulging in nasty fights that are recalled even today.

IANS lists some of the most controversial fights that took place on the show, which made its debut on small screen in 2006.

Rakhi Sawant vs Kashmera Shah

Friends turned foes! The two featured in the first season. Kashmera got into plotting and turned all the housemates against Rakhi, which led to numerous fights in the house. Rakhi ended up having a fight with almost everyone in the house, over the smalles of things like a coffee mug.

Kamaal Rashid Khan vs Rohit Verma

In the third season of Bigg Boss 3, Kamaal Rashid Khan, popularly known as KRK, had a verbal spat with fellow contestant Rohit Verma. The spat got so aggressive that KRK threw a bottle at Rohit after which the former was evicted from the house.

Dolly Bindra vs Manoj Tiwari and Shweta Tiwari

The "Baap pe mat jaana" fight between Dolly Bindra and Manoj Tiwari is one of the biggest hits in the history of Bigg Boss. The two got into an altercation after Bhojpuri singer and actor Manoj wanted some eggs for breakfast, which led to chain reaction.

Dolly also got into a physical fight with actress Shweta Tiwari. The two started a fight the first day when Dolly went into the show as a wild card.

Akashdeep Saigal Vs Mahek Chahal

This one was quite ugly to even watch. The two never got along. Akashdeep, who is popularly known as Sky, was upset with Mahek certain comments she made about him. Reacting on the issue, he started digging up her past and had even shared that he knows who Mahek was. Later, Mahek was seen crying her heart out in the bathroom.

Pooja Missra vs Shonali Nagrani

This has been one of the most entertaining fights on the show. Pooja's fight with Shonali has become an object of memes over the years. But nine years ago, in season five, Pooja's behaviour came across as erratic. She was seen in a fight with her co-contestant Shonali and, in a fit of trademark rage, kicked the dustbin and broke a wiper. Her line "Get off my back" got instantly famous.

Imam Siddique VS Urvashi Dholakia and Aashka Goradia

Imam was the most eccentric contestant Bigg Boss had seen. From clothes, wigs to behaviour -- everything about him was loud and loony. Imam was seen arguing and making comments about Urvashi Dholakia's life . He was seen questioning her parenting skils.

In another incident, for which Imam was thrown out of the house, he shed all his clothes and slipped into a skin coloured body suit to irk fellow contestant Aashka Goradia. He had an undergarment to cover his privates but he soon shed that, too.

Swami Om vs Rohan Mehra and Bani J.

Many feel Swami Om has been one of the most disgusting housemates Bigg Boss ever had. In the tenth season, the self-proclaimed godman, during a task, did something no one could have ever imagined. He threw his urine on contestants Bani J. and Rohan Mehra. He was eliminated from the show, of course.

Sidharth Shukla vs Rashami Desai

In the last season, actors Siddhant Shukla and Rashami Desai got into a very heated fight when Sidharth asked Rashami if she is a "naukrani" of fellow contestant Asim Riaz. It happened when Rashami had intervened when Asim and Siddhant were talking about a task. Rashami got angry and questioned: 'Tere ghar mein kaisi ladkiyaan hoti hain (what kind of women are there in your house)?'. To which, Sidharth replied: 'Teri jaisi nahi hoti (Not like you)'. Rashami then asked: 'Kaisi (like how)?', and he said: 'Rashami Desai jaisi'. The whole scene ended with the two screaming at each other.

Eijaz Khan vs Kavita Kaushik

The two have created history with their fights in the show hosted by Salman Khan. The first time when the two locked horns was when Kavita kept repeating she is not his friend, and that it is because of him no one in the house is her friend. The two again got into a fight recently when Eijaz wanted to make some eggs and Kavita passed some comments. She was later seen pushing Eijaz four times in anger. Their fight is still escalating.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:34:55 +0530
Equity indices open in red LVB shares fall 20

Mumbai,  The key Indian equity indices opened on a negative note on Thursday due to profit booking along with weakness in the Asian markets.

It opened at 43,902.24 and fell over 350 points to an intra-day low of 43,821.39 points.

Around 9.35 a.m., it was trading at 44,056.33, lower by 123.72 points or 0.28 per cent from its previous close of 44,180.05

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 12,898.10, lower by 40.15 points or 0.31 per cent from its previous close.

Selling pressure was witnessed in banking, finance and telecom stocks.

Shares of Lakshmi Vilas Bank fell around 20 per cent for the second consecutive day after the Centre on Tuesday put the bank under moratorium.

Its shares on the BSE were at Rs 9.95, lower by Rs 2.45 or 19.76 per cent from its previous close.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:27:58 +0530
BRICS should expand cooperation in fighting Covid 19 reviving economy

Brasilia,  The BRICS member nations should expand cooperation in tackling the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and reviving economy, Brazilian experts said after the bloc of five major emerging economies held its 12th Summit virtually.

BRICS -- Brazil, China, Russia, India, South Africa -- should strongly commit to improving global health systems and assisting the World Health Organization in its efforts to fight the pandemic, Mauricio Santoro, a professor on international relations at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, told Xinhua news agency on Wednesday.

The idea behind the creation of BRICS is that developing countries will become increasingly important to the world economy, he said.

Partnerships and dialogues between the BRICS members and countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative for global growth are another prominent aspect of stepped up cooperation, especially given the importance of promoting multilateralism in both economic and social matters, said the expert.

"All this will be essential to resume the growth of the world economy."

Alexandre Ganan de Brites Figueiredo, author and director of the Global South Institute, believes that the union of efforts and common interests, which has represented BRICS from the beginning, is the best answer to the challenges presented by the pandemic.

The 12th BRICS Summit is "certainly another step towards recovery", although it is also "important to note that the BRICS (countries) have already demonstrated that they have their own institutional means to help themselves overcome the crisis", said Brites.

This year, even before the summit, the New Development Bank made a large loan available to help the partner countries fight the pandemic, said the expert.

The BRICS countries together represent about 42 percent of the global population, 23 per cent of global GDP, 30 per cent of world territory and 18 per cent of global trade.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:25:07 +0530
4 JeM terrorists killed in Jammu encounter

Jammu, Four terrorists travelling in a truck were killed on Thursday morning during an ongoing encounter near Nagrota in J&K' Jammu district, top police officials said.

"Four terrorists have been neutralised and one police constable injured in an encounter at Ban Toll Plaza Jammu with Police, CRPF and Army. Area is being sanitized," police said.

Speaking to IANS, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said a group of four JeM terrorists had infiltrated into India through the International Border in Samba on Wednesday night.

They were travelling in a truck on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, which was intercepted by the police at a toll plaza near Nagrota.

After they were intercepted the heavily armed terrorists threw grenades at the police party. During the gun battle the truck caught fire.

The area was cordoned off and additional forces were rushed to the spot.

This is the second such encounter on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway this year.

According to the police, the terrorists belong to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group.

In January three terrorists were gunned down by the security forces. They had adopted the similar modus operandi by hiding inside a truck.

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:18:16 +0530
Governor Koshyari condoles demise of former Goa Governor Mridula Sinha

The Governor of Maharashtra and Goa Bhagat Singh Koshyari has condoled the demise of former Goa Governor Smt. Mridula Sinha.

In his message, the Governor has said: “Smt. Mridula Sinha was a writer, social worker and a kind hearted person.  As  Governor of Goa, she took keen interest in cultural and academic matters. With her affable nature, she endeared herself to the people of Goa. I pay my respects to the memory of the departed soul and convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family.”

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:25:19 +0530
Nature may protect mental health during pandemic Study

Tokyo, Nov 18

Researchers have said that nature around one's home may help mitigate some of the negative mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During this extraordinary time, nature around the home may play a key role against adverse mental health outcomes, according to the study, published in the journal Ecological Applications.

For the findings, the research team from the University of Tokyo in Japan, conducted an online questionnaire of more than 3,000 adults.

The online questionnaire survey quantified the link between five mental health outcomes (depression, life satisfaction, subjective happiness, self-esteem, and loneliness) and two measures of nature experiences (frequency of green space use and green view through windows from home).

More frequent green space use and the existence of green window views from the home were associated with increased levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness, as well as decreased levels of depression and loneliness.

"Our results suggest that nearby nature can serve as a buffer in decreasing the adverse impacts of a very stressful event on humans," said study lead author Masashi Soga of The University of Tokyo.

"Protecting natural environments in urban areas is important not only for the conservation of biodiversity, but also for the protection of human health," Soga added,

With the recent escalation in the prevalence of mental health disorders, and the possible negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on public mental health, the findings suggest that urban nature has great potential to be used as a "nature-based solution" for improved public health.

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:24:01 +0530
Of mangoes bridge and a bygone era

New Delhi, Nov 18

Families are like the sweet mangoes of Aamnagri -- messy, filled with juicy secrets and sticking together through all times.

The Awasthis of Aamnagri are the quintessential Indian family, who bumble through their lives encountering missing jewels and stolen eggs, deaths foretold, averted and a suspected suicide with no body. The mysteries are solved by the inquisitive minds of young Lakshmi and Guddu and the saffron-clad Guruji.

With charming agility, the Awasthis sail through life and its quirks. The advent of God-men, genuine and fake, is a source of both relief and embarrassment for them. But not for the Lady of the Mansion - Mataji.

She is the 'sutradhar' who strings this tale of silk sarees and talking parrots together, who handles bedridden bahus and in-danger bhaiyyas with equal ease, who is tyrannical and vulnerable at the same time. And through whom the Awasthi family discovers that happy endings come for a price-of truth and love.

All over a game of bridge!

Shubha Sarma's "The Awasthis of Aamnagri" (Niyogi Books) is a simple story about a quintessential Indian family of a bygone era, when people were closer to each other and spent leisure together. It's a very exciting read, especially for children and young adults, who are losing the simpler pleasures of life, pursuing the bigger ones.

Born and brought up in Lucknow, Sarma is an alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College and Jawaharlal Nehru University and a member of the Indian Administrative Service. A Yoga practitioner, she enjoys travelling, swimming and tending to her bonsai collection.

Her debut book, "Fly on the Wall & Other Stories" was launched in 2013 and was translated into Hindi and Italian. It received rave reviews from readers and critics alike. Her body of work displays strong characters and reflects the changing times that confront us.

This is her second novel.


Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:20:41 +0530
Twitter apologises in writing for showing Ladakh in China

New Delhi, Nov 18

Twitter on Wednesday apologised to a parliamentary panel in a letter, stating that it will fix the issue of geo-tagging Ladakh as part of China by the end of this month and Ladakh will be added as a region administered by India as a union territory.

According to reliable sources, the micro-blogging platform sent the letter to the panel's chairperson Meenakshi Lekhi and apologised for the geo-tag error.

A joint committee of Parliament led by BJP MP Lekhi which has 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha, last month issued summons to Twitter, seeking an explanation in form of an affidavit.

Taking strong exception to the "misrepresentation" of India's map, the government wrote a stern letter to the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, saying that any attempt by the platform to disrespect the sovereignty and integrity of India, which is also reflected by the maps, was totally unacceptable.

Representatives of Twitter India had apologised but were told by the panel that showing Ladakh as part of China was a criminal offence.

In a separate incident, after courting controversy for wrongly showing Jammu and Kashmir as part of China, Twitter last month said it has resolved this particular geo-tag issue.

The issue was first brought to attention by national security analyst Nitin Gokhale after he went live on Twitter from the Hall of Fame, a war memorial at Leh.

The matter was later also raised by Kanchan Gupta, Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) after tweets showed J&K as a part of China.

Several netizens also asked Prasad and the government to take action against Twitter India.

The controversy erupted amid India's border standoff with China in Ladakh.

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:18:39 +0530
Children awareness week inaugurated

A children safety awareness week was inaugurated by Dharavi Police station jointly with  World Vision India to save children from harassment, kidnapping , child marriage and child labour. Parents had been advised to take a pledge to ensure that their children are safe from all these. The people who had attended had pledged to support this move to create an environment for their children's safety. A young girl child is seen signing the pledge for her own safety.

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:18:15 +0530
Hrithik Roshan I have become more forgiving with time

New Delhi,  His two-decade journey in Bollywood has helped Hrithik Roshan evolve as an actor and as a human being.

"Earlier I used to have a toolbox method but with Kaabil and post Kaabil my process as an actor has evolved. I think I have become more forgiving and at the same time I think I trust myself more now. This allows me to explore better. Without the fear of being wrong," he told IANS.

Hrithik, who made his debut as a hero with the hit film Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai, completed 20 years in the industry in January this year. At 46, when he looks back at his journey in filmdom, all he has is immense respect and passion for work.

"The last 20 years, as an actor, have been a joy ride! Filled with learnings and diverse experiences. It has been enriching. I think I work because a working environment helps build virtues . And virtues is what one needs to become the best version of oneself . That in itself is my overall mission in life. Looking ahead, our industry is at a juncture where the audience, storytelling and technology are constantly evolving - there is so much out there to explore, to depict. It is an exciting space to be in, as an artist. I am excited for the next phase of my career," he shared.

He continued: "As an artist, I have always given my all to my work. I wouldn't say my productivity has had any kind of shift (during the lockdown). I have missed my film sets, the hustle of each stage of production. But I'm glad that we as an industry evolved to working remotely. I have been working on multiple projects throughout the pandemic, with the unlock, there have been developments."

Hrithik opened up about his plan of action for the future, too. "The last few months have been a lot of discussions with writers and directors. I've been reading a lot of scripts and writing as well. We brainstormed some very interesting and exciting story ideas and I am looking forward to present these on screen in the capacity of an actor and producer," he said.

How does he select his films? "A story that speaks to the audience, while keeping them engaged and entertained. So my selection process is not genre centric, but content centric," he replied.

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 09:29:51 +0530
Displaced Syrians eager to leave refugee camp for home

Hasakah, After years of tough displacement at a refugee camp run by the Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria, displaced people are happy now that they are able to leave the camp and return to their homes.

Khawla Ahmad, a 40-year-old woman, is among a batch of around 500 people that were ready to leave the al-Hol camp in the countryside of the Hasakah province and return to their home in the nearby eastern province of Deir al-Zour, Xinhua news agency reported.

The woman told Xinhua that her agony and pain will soon be over as the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has started emptying the camp of its residents, particularly the Syrians who want to return to their areas.

"We have been suffering here for four years and we lack everything," the woman said.
She will head back home. "If we found our home that would be good, while if not, we will build a new home of stone and mud. We can do anything as long as we don't have to pay because we have no money."

Other people in the camp were busy packing their belongings to leave the camp, where they suffered from the lack of all life necessities.

The SDF set up a room inside the camp for those people who want to leave to register their names. The room was jam-packed with people submitting their information in order to leave the camp.

Fatima Kassar, who is originally from the town of Tayaneh in Deir al-Zour, told Xinhua that she cannot believe she is going back home and see her neighborhood again.

For his side, Jassam Shalash, a 60-year-old man, said that his house has been damaged and half of it was completely destroyed. However, he is still happy to return to his home and land.

A public relations employee at the camp told Xinhua that the people who are leaving the camp will go to their original areas that are controlled by the SDF.

"The fifth batch is for families from the Deir al-Zour province, which are around 515 people, making 120 families, who will return to their areas in Deir al-Zour," he said.

The al-Hol camp, precisely located on the southern outskirts of the al-Hol town in Hasakah countryside, was originally established for Iraqi refugees in early 1991 during the Gulf war, and was later reopened after the 2003 invasion of Iraq as one of three camps at the Iraqi-Syrian border.

At the beginning of 2019, the camp held about 10,000 people. Its size increased dramatically with the collapse of the Islamic State (IS) during battles with the SDF in northeastern Syria. By April 2019, the camp's population was estimated at around 74,000.

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 09:22:29 +0530
All for artists in times of Corona Yasmin Kidwai

New Delhi, Nov 17

She remembers going to the Nizamuddin Dargah when it opened after Covid struck. There was something amiss. The place was just not the same without the qawwals. The silence was brutal.

"Honestly, I did not know how I could help. Offering money to the artists might have seemed disrespectful. Also, they must be craving for an audience. And that is how the idea of 'Artists for Artists' was conceived," says documentary filmmaker Yasmin Kidwai, also the Councillor (INC) from Daryaganj, Delhi's largest MCD constituency.

In face of the little assistance offered by the government and state akademis flushed with funds to artists when the pandemic struck, Kidwai was convinced that structural changes were indispensable to ascertain that the artist community did not get hit so severely when such disasters strike in the future. The result was 'Artists for Artists', a fundraising platform with an aim to spread the new reality faced by artists across the country and help develop avenues to support them. "Now, we all know that all artists are not tech savvy, hence there was a need to create a platform for these musicians that not only celebrates their craft but also provides much needed resources to support them and their families. We started with folk artists as they have suffered the most. Musician Amit Kilam and Neeta Raheja also came onboard," Kidwai tells IANS.

With a line up boasting of Nizami Brothers from Delhi, Raju Das Baul from Bengal, Prabha Yadav from Chhattisgarh, Kaluram Bamaniya from Madhya Pradesh and drummer Nathu Lal Solanki from Rajasthan, the folk artists have been performing live every Friday (from October 23 - November 20). The concerts can be viewed on the BookMyShow portal.

For someone who has made close to 50 documentaries focussing on social issues and the same number of informational videos for MGNREGA, it is the belief that everyone has a story to her that keeps her fascinated towards the medium. "Believe me, real stories are way more intriguing than any fiction that can be created. I wanted to tell such tales without the politics," says Kidwai, known for films like 'Her Own Sky', 'No Problem! Six Months with Barefoot Grandmas', 'Filmistaan', 'Borders and Beyond' and 'Purdah Hai Purdah'.
Getting into documentaries at a time when there were not many platforms and a niche audience pushed her to make one of the first public funded documentaries in India on Polo, called 'Chukker'. "I raised small contributions to complete it. The idea was to introduce a new audience to documentary films and a subject like Polo let me do that."

Believing that it is always the subject that chooses the filmmaker and not the other way round, Kidwai feels all her films have coincided with different times her life and resulted in friendships which have lasted beyond the last day of the shoot. "'Purdah and Purdah' was very complex and layered - the topic still is. 'No Problem' gave me hope and changed me in many ways. Though 'Borders and Beyond' was not something I enjoyed -- it was on the Gujarat riots and I had to live through it many times over while working on it," she says, adding that she has never felt discriminated against as a filmmaker on account of her gender or religion.

Kidwai, who has a fashion label 'House of Qidwa', which led her to working with women from Nizamuddin basti says that it all started with her trying to organise work for her mother and sister- in- law who were in the clothes business. "I ended up putting together a small collection for my friends inspired by who were -- a sense of freedom, a sense of history, the Sufi vibe and being unconstrained."

Talk to her about how politics has been treating her, and she smiles, "Well, I really do not know if I qualify as a politician, considering I am not a professional one. I have entered this field just to be able to serve, and amplify some voices which need to be heard. There are several challenges in my role as a Municipal Councillor considering the fact that Delhi and the corporation are such complex places to work in."


Tue, 17 Nov 2020 11:05:38 +0530
Harry Gurney extends stay at Nottinghamshire

London, Nov 17

Left-arm pacer Harry Gurney has signed a new one-year contract with England county cricket club Nottinghamshire. The 34-year-old's new white-ball deal will see him spend his tenth summer at Trent Bridge, having won three trophies since his arrival in 2012.

Gurney had missed Nottinghamshire' victorious T20 Blast campaign this year due to injury.

"I was glued to the TV as the boys got over the line at Edgbaston - for me, they were clearly the best team in the competition. It was quite inspiring to watch them go about their business - and, if anything, it made me hungrier to come back and try to win it with them next year," he said in an official statement.

"2020 has ended up being a bit of an enforced sabbatical for me, but I feel rested, refreshed and ready to power through the next phase of my rehab to get ready for 2021," he added.

Gurney has made 237 all-format appearances for Notts, taking 468 wickets. His eight global white-ball titles include the One-Day Cup and T20 Blast with Notts in 2017, alongside the Yorkshire Bank 40 crown back in 2013.

He sits second in the list of Notts' all-time leading T20 wicket-takers, with 115 scalps to his name.

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 11:02:26 +0530
Zoom to notify users of meetings at risk of being disrupted

New Delhi, Nov 17

Video conferencing platform Zoom has launched a new feature called ‘At Risk Meeting Notifier that will help organisers identify which online meetings may be at the risk of being disrupted or ‘zoombombing.

The ‘At Risk Meeting Notifier' scans public posts on social media sites and other public online resources for Zoom meeting links.

"When it finds publicly posted meeting information that indicates a given meeting may be at high risk of being disrupted, we notify account owners and admins by email," the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Zoombombing episodes were quite widespread this year as people began using Zoom in the social distancing times during remote work.

The new feature is enabled by default and users don't need to take any action for their accounts.

Zoom said that "if a given meeting is posted about many times or with certain known disruptor hashtags, we may flag it to you as being at high risk of being disrupted".

The company said that if you would like to keep your meeting public, "we strongly recommend that you convert the meeting to a webinar, because a webinar will give you control over who participates with video, audio, chat, and screen sharing".

Zoom said that at the end of Q2, it had approximately 370,200 customers with more than 10 employees, up approximately 458 per cent from the same quarter last fiscal year.

The video meeting app has also launched an online event platform and marketplace called OnZoom for paid users of the platform to create, host, and monetise events like fitness classes, concerts, stand-up or music lessons.

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 11:00:33 +0530
Jack Black does wet and wild WAP dance

Los Angeles, Nov 17

Hollywood actor Jack Black grabbed attention of many when he stripped down to his undergarment for a wet dance.

Black had been dared to do the sensual "WAP" dance of rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, and he took it up like a pro.

In the clip posted on Instagram on Monday, he is seen twerking and doing some acrobatic moves on the ground. He got a little help from someone who off camera doused him with water, reports

His friends and admirers soon left hilarious comments.

"Get it!!!" said actor Robert Downey Jr., while Jeremy Renner added: "Nothing but love for ya brother."

Actress Naomi Watts left many teary-eyed laughing emojis and trophy emoji with the comment: "Owning it!!"

Jack had earlier become talk of town with his shirtless TikTok dance video.


Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:57:47 +0530
Bigg Boss 14 Has Pavitra Punia got a lip job done

Mumbai, Nov 17

Pavitra Punia is one of the most talked about contestants in the ongoing season 14 of Bigg Boss. One can never miss her in an episode as she makes her presence felt even without indulging in politics.

Pavitra first made her appearance on screen in the youth-based reality show "Splitsvilla 3", which aired on 2009. Later, she was seen in popular shows like "Yeh Hai Mohabbatein", "Balveer Returns" and "Naagin".

The actress is currently creating waves in the controversial reality show "Bigg Boss", hosted by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan.

With her tattoos, rings and fashion statements, Pavitra has always had the spotlight on her. But what has caught attention of fans is something quite different.

The fact that her lips are looking fuller on "Bigg Boss 14" is unmissable.

There have been reports suggesting that Pavitra, who was in a relationship with a former "Bigg Boss 13" contestant, went under the knife to enhance her thin lips.

Pavitra has never confirmed or denied the news.

She is currently making waves in the "Bigg Boss 14" house with her romance with actor Eijaaz Khan. The two are seen getting closer in the show.

So much so, that Eijaaz in an episode was heard saying that he would take Pavitra to make her meet his father.


Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:56:11 +0530
Sensex Nifty hit record highs on vaccine hopes

Mumbai, Nov 17

The key Indian equity indices hit fresh record highs on Tuesday tracking a positive global trend after pharma giant Moderna announced that its vaccine has shown more than 94 per cent effectiveness in preliminary data from the company's ongoing study.

Moderna on Monday said that its experimental vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19, boosting hopes of the economy emerging from a year of pandemic-induced downturn.

Sensex crossed the 44,000 mark and touched a record high of 44,161.16 points.

Around 9.45 a.m., it was trading at 43,921.55, higher by 313.78 points or 0.65 per cent from its previous close of 43,637.98.

Nifty50 was trading at 12,855.75, higher by 75.50 points or 0.59 per cent from its previous close.

It has recorded an all-time high of 12,934.05 points.

Healthy buying was witnessed in banking, finance and metal stocks.

The top gainers on the Sensex so far were Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank and HDFC Bank.

HCL Technologies, Bajaj Auto and Infosys were the major losers so far.

The announcement by Moderna led to a rally in the US stock market on Monday.

The announcement came just a week after Pfizer Inc had announced 90 per cent efficacy of its vaccine. Taken together, these two vaccines are firmly on course to seek emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration if results hold out in the final study results due soon.

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:53:02 +0530
Rising hunger an outrage in a world of plenty Guterres

United Nations, Nov 17

"Hunger is an outrage in a world of plenty," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP), highlighting the important role of food security in cementing peace.

"An empty stomach is a gaping hole in the heart of a society. A stunted child's growth in the mind is progress for her and for everyone," UN News quoted Guterres as saying on Monday to the WFP's Executive Board.

Guterres lauded WFP, the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, for delivering food to "the most remote locations, in the most dangerous situations, in the most challenging contexts", with enormous commitment, generosity and competence.

"With human need all around, and at times with bullets and bombs shrieking through the air, you brought life-saving assistance to vulnerable people in a way that is an example for the whole world.

"You provide hope not only by helping people to meet their immediate food and nutrition needs, but also enabling people to change their lives," he added.

He pointed to the important message at the heart of the decision by the Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize to WFP this year, that "food is peace" and expressed his happiness that the agency's "absolutely outstanding" work was being recognized.

According to WFP figures, 690 million people do have not enough to eat, as 130 million more were at risk of being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year.

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:51:05 +0530
Car goes up in flames driver charred to death in UP

A driver, trapped in his car, was charred to death when the vehicle caught fire after crashing into a minibus on the Karnal-Meerut Highway in Shamli district.

The accident took place on Monday night.

Circle Officer Jitendra Kumar said that the incident took place when a crane carrying the mini bus collided with the car which caught fire. The doors of the car apparently got locked and the driver could not escape.

The deceased driver has not yet been identified, and his body has been sent for post-mortem.

Police are trying to nab the absconding driver of the crane and further investigations are underway.


Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:48:51 +0530
Biden unveils buy American economy plan with local manufacture requirement

New York,  Joe Biden, who has been declared president-elect by the media, has unveiled his own version of an 'America First' economic plan pledging "to buy American" with a stringent requirement for government contractors to manufacture locally.

"We can make sure a future is made here in America, and that's good for business and it's good for American workers," he declared on Monday.

"From autos to our stockpiles, we're going to buy American. No government contract will be given to companies that don't make their products here in America."

Signalling a potential change from President Donald Trump's heavy-handed approach to trade that imposed or threatened punitive tariffs, Biden said: "I'm not looking for punitive trade. The idea that we are poking our finger in the eyes of our friends and embracing autocrats makes no sense to me."

One of Trump's biggest targets for punitive trade measures, though, was China, but his trade policies adversely affected India and Western Europe among others.

Biden, who ran on the slogan, "Build Back Better", outlined his economic agenda at a news conference in Wilmington after a virtual meeting with business and trade union leaders.

CEOs Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Sonia Syngal of the GAP Inc retail clothing chain were among the participants.

The "buy American" aspect of Biden's economic plan is a response to the deindustrialisation of the US under the previous administrations and the job losses, which Trump capitalised on with an "America First" agenda of bringing industries and employment back to the US.

The total value of federal US contracts, both goods and services, was $594 billion, according to Bloomberg Government information service.

Given the inter-dependency of manufacturing capabilities and the global supply chains, a strict requirement to make everything locally would be almost impossible.

Biden left wiggle room by not stipulating that everything the government buys would have to be made in the US, but rather stating only that the contractors would have to make products domestically.

He will also have to contend with the World Trade Organization that he once boosted and retaliatory trade measures, which he could try to skirt by limiting his decree to government contracts.

Setting a longer time-frame for his domestic manufacture push, his plan calls for massive investments in research and in new industries for the US to secure its place as the world leader, a position that is beginning to slip away.

"To secure our position as a global leader in research and development, we're going to invest $300 billion in the most critical, competitive new industries in technologies creating three million good-paying jobs," Biden said.

His 'Build Back Better' plan's other foundations are promoting green industries to fight climate change and ensuring higher pay, working conditions and rights for workers.

Kamala Harris, who will be the Vice President, and Biden emphasised the role of trade unions in their vision of the economy.

Harris said that their plan calls for "protecting the health and safety of our workers and creating millions of good-paying union jobs from auto and construction jobs, to domestic workers and caregiving jobs, to service and hospitality jobs".

Biden prioritised environment-friendly economic agenda.

Looking at the industries to focus on, Biden said he wanted the US "to own the electric vehicle market".

When any future trade agreements are made, environmentalists will be involved along with labour, he said.

Asked about the 15-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership encompassing Asia-Pacific nations, he refused to commit himself either way, but said that the US and democracies should align to stop China dominating the trade structures.

"We make up 25 per cent of the world's trading capacity, of the economy of the world. We need to be aligned with the other democracies, another 25 per cent or more, so that we can set the rules of the road, instead of having China and others dictate outcomes because they are the only game in town," the former Vice President added.

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:42:32 +0530
With 29K new corona cases India s tally mounts to 88 74L

New Delhi, With 29,163 new coronavirus infections and 449 more COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, India's overall tally and death toll stood at 88,74,290 and 1,30,519 respectively on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Currently, there are 4,53,401 active cases, whereas 82,90,370 patients have been discharged so far. The recovery rate is 93.42 per cent and the fatality rate 1.47 per cent, the Ministry said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research tested 8,44,382 more samples on Monday, taking the total numbers to 12,65,42,907.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit state with 17,49,777 cases till date. There are 85,363 active cases and 46,034 COVID-19 deaths.

Delhi witnessed significantly low numbers of coronavirus tests in the last 24 hours on Monday, with latest government figures recording 3,797 new cases and pushing the national capital's total tally to 4,89,202.

While the lesser number of cases reported in the last 24 hours may bring a sigh of relief compared with earlier days where the daily cases spiked to as high as 8,500, the fact remains that the figures came after mere 29,821 tests in the 24 hours right after Diwali celebrations in Delhi.

The other worst-hit states are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday morning, total coronavirus cases and the death toll across the globe stood at 5,48,26,773 and 13,25,752 respectively, Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) said in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with 1,11,97,791 cases and 2,47,142 COVID-19 deaths, according to the CSSE. India comes in second place in terms of number of cases.

Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:37:29 +0530
2 suspected militants from J K held in Delhi weapons recovered

New Delhi, The Delhi Police Special Cell have arrested two suspected militants, both residents of Jammu and Kashmir from the national capital's Sarai Kale Khan area.

The arrests were made on Monday night.

"On the basis of the information, a trap was laid near the millennium park, Sarai Kale Khan, Delhi and around 10.15 p.m., two suspected militants who are residents of J&K were apprehended.

"They have been identified as Abdul Latif Mir from District Baramulla, J&K ( age -- 22 years), Mohd. Ashraf Khatana, a resident of District Kupwara, J&K (age -- 20 years)," Sanjeev Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Special Cell said.

Two semi-automatic pistols along with 10 live cartridges were also recovered from them.

Further investigations were on, said police.


Tue, 17 Nov 2020 10:34:19 +0530
Even God has to get Sanitised

As the temples are set to reopen on November 16 for the public, the Sri Shankara Mattham Matunga is sanitising the entire temple with the help of the BMC employees in time to get ready for the grand opening. The entire temple was sanitised. Though the devotees are very happy, the government has put stringent conditions for the entry, which has put the authorities to get more manpower to see the devotees adhere to the norms like keeping the footwear outside, wearing the mask, sanitising the hands before the entry, maintaining safe distance and no crowding inside.


Mon, 16 Nov 2020 16:21:01 +0530
Even God has to get Sanitised

As the temples are set to reopen on November 16 for the public, the Sri Shankara Mattham Matunga is sanitising the entire temple with the help of the BMC employees in time to get ready for the grand opening. The entire temple was sanitised. Though the devotees are very happy, the government has put stringent conditions for the entry, which has put the authorities to get more manpower  to see the devotees adhere to the norms like keeping the footwear outside, wearing the mask, sanitising the hands before the entry, maintaining  safe distance and no crowding inside.

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 16:18:12 +0530
Photos crime citation of corrupt cops to be publicised IANS Exclusive

New Delhi, Nov 16

The Centre has decided to put up the pictures of the corrupt police officers and personnel on the notice boards of the police stations along with the citation of their crime. Further, the display would not be limited to the police stations only, the authorities will have to publish the action taken details on social media as well.

The decision has been taken as a part of the government's initiative of "police image and public connect".

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs, responsible for country's internal security, in a missive to all the police heads -- Director General of Police -- stated: "Action against corrupt police officials be given due publicity on social media; photographs of corrupt police officials be displayed at police stations along with details on incidents in which they were involved."

Top source in the government stated this decision is not limited only to the lower rank policemen. "Corrupt Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers' photographs would be prominently displayed," said the source.

The source also said that the government has also directed that the police forces have to strengthen its internal vigilance unit to catch the corrupt policemen.

A senior IPS officer said the acute manpower shortage, duty fatigue and desertions are leading to increasing instances of corruption among cops.

As per the initiative, the government has also told all the police heads to form an in-house team to analyse social media content and also to increase police outreach. The directives also stated: "Tweets and retweets, social media posts and discussions be scientifically analysed to understand perception and mood with specific reference to current/upcoming issues."

The directive pointed that "local language along with Hindi and English be used to disseminate content on social media for maximum outreach". It also stated that small uniformed police foot patrol teams be used to increase police visibility and pictures and videos of these be disseminated to improve the police image.

The videos and pictures showing police sensitivity should be widely shared across all the social media platforms, the directives added.

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 11:56:24 +0530
After 8 yr of negotiations 15 Asia Pacific countries sign RCEP

Beijing,  After eight years of negotiations, 15 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's biggest trade pact, a move considered a massive coup for regional economic integration, multilateralism and free trade.

"This is not only a monumental achievement in East Asian regional cooperation, but more important, a victory of multilateralism and free trade," said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the fourth RCEP Summit held via video link.

Leaders from the 15 nations, including 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia and New Zealand, witnessed the signing of the pact after the summit, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Calling the pact "the most promising FTA covering the largest population and most diverse membership," Li said the signing "will inject new impetus into development and prosperity of the region, and will contribute to the recovery and growth of the world economy."

The RCEP agreement covers a market of 2.2 billion people, or almost 30 per cent of the world's population, with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion or about 30 per cent of global GDP.

It is an unprecedented regional trading arrangement that comprises a diverse mix of developed, developing and least developed economies of the region, according to a joint statement issued after the summit.

The agreement "is critical to the region's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and will play an important role in building the region's resilience through an inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery process," leaders said in the statement.

"The trade pact marks a new milestone in regional economic integration in East Asia," Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen told reporters Sunday afternoon in Beijing.

According to Wang, the agreement covers 20 chapters, including the market access of goods and services trade and investment as well as regulations for trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, e-commerce, and others.

The pact will vigorously boost confidence in regional trade and investment, enhance the ability of all parties to cooperate in fighting the pandemic, hasten the economic recovery in all countries, and promote the long-term prosperity and development of the region, Wang said.

Cao Jing, Deputy Secretary-General of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, forecast that the signing of RCEP will also help advance the negotiations on the trilateral free trade agreement among China, Japan and the ROK as the leaders of the three countries agreed to speed up the FTA negotiations based on the RCEP negotiations last December.

Cambodia's Commerce Ministry Secretary of State and spokesman Seang Thay said the pact would promote trade liberalization in the region, give the member countries greater market access and further develop the ties in economy, trade and investment.

The RCEP agreement was signed at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging across the globe, and the world economy is in a serious recession with contracted global trade and investment and rising protectionism and unilateralism.

Calling the signing of RCEP "light and hope through dark clouds," the Chinese premier said at the summit that it shows that "multilateralism and free trade are the right way forward, and remain the right direction for promoting the growth of the world economy and the progress of humanity."

"It also shows that in the face of challenges, countries should choose solidarity and cooperation over conflict and confrontation, and look out for each other in the spirit of partnership rather than follow a beggar-thy-neighbour approach or sit by and do nothing," Li said.

"The signing of the RCEP agreement proves to the world that openness and cooperation are a sure path toward mutual benefits," Li said.

Wang said RCEP supports trade and investment liberalization and facilitation with practical actions and will boost confidence in the global economy.

The signing of the pact shows that all members are committed to cutting down tariffs, opening up markets and reducing barriers of standards, which sends a strong signal against unilateralism and protectionism, and effectively supports free trade and the multilateral trading system, said the vice commerce minister.

Ruan Zongze, Executive Vice President of the China Institute of International Studies, said the RCEP trade pact accommodates the broadest possible interests, conditions and priorities of different countries, embodies the spirit of multilateralism, and sends a clear message of East Asian countries working together for shared prosperity.

During the RCEP summit, leaders of participating countries agreed that RCEP remains open to India, which was due to sign but pulled out last year, and welcomed India to join the pact soon.

Analysts said that the signing of RCEP would facilitate China's endeavour of a new "dual circulation" development pattern, where domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.

All RCEP members are China's important economic and trade partners. Statistics show that from January to September 2020, China's total trade volume with other RCEP members reached $1.055 trillion, accounting for about one-third of China's total foreign trade volume.

"The pact will help expand China's export market, meet the needs of domestic import consumption, and strengthen regional industrial and supply chains," said Wang.

It contributes to stabilizing foreign trade and investment and effectively supports China's new development pattern of "dual circulation," he added.

During the summit, Li expressed the hope that the parties involved would complete their domestic approval procedures as soon as possible to allow the trade pact to take effect and benefit the enterprises and the people at an early date.

According to Wang, the RCEP agreement will come into force only if at least nine members enact it, including at least six ASEAN members and at least three countries out of the other five non-ASEAN countries.

"China will work with all parties to let the pact become effective soon," Wang said.

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 11:17:14 +0530
Israel advances new settlement homes in East Jerusalem

Tel Aviv,  The Israeli government has promoted a plan for hundreds of new settlement homes in a sensitive area near East Jerusalem.

In a tender issued on its website on Sunday, the Israel Land Authority invited contractors to bid for the construction of 1,257 housing units in Givat Hamatos, a settlement neighbourhood of Jerusalem, reports Xinhua news agency.

The last date for submitting the biddings is January 18, 2021, the Land Authority said.

The settlements are located in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

Most of the international community considers the settlements a violation of international law and a hurdle to peace.

The new construction is expected to trigger anger among the Palestinians.

Givat Hamatos is located in some of the last lands connecting the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians hope to establish the capital of their future state.

The Palestinians want to establish an independent state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital by way of peace talks with the Jewish state.

The last round of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, sponsored by the US, broke down in 2014 because of their deep divisions on issues related to Israeli settlements and the Palestinian statehood.

The Palestinian Authority severed its diplomatic ties with the administration of US President Donald Trump after he declared Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017.

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 11:11:48 +0530
India slams Pak for deliberate attempt to shift focus from internal failures

New Delhi,  India has slammed a recent press conference by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry and the Establishment calling it, "Yet another futile anti-India propaganda exercise".

Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said in response to a media query, "We have seen media reports on a press conference by the Pakistani establishment. This is yet another futile anti-India propaganda exercise".

"The so called claims of 'proof' against India enjoy no credibility, are fabricated and represent figments of imagination. This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan's tactics and proof of its terror sponsorship has been admitted by none other than its own leadership," he added.

The reaction by India came a day after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressed a press conference with Army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar to claim that India was behind some of the terror attacks in that country.

The MEA spokesperson said, "The face of global terror, Osama Bin Laden, was found in Pakistan; Pakistan's PM glorified him as a 'martyr' from the floor of Parliament; he admitted the presence of 40,000 terrorists in Pakistan; their Science and Technology Minister proudly claimed involvement and success of Pakistan, led by its Prime Minister, in the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Indian soldiers were martyred".

Despite repeated calls for restraint and adherence to the ceasefire understanding of 2003 for maintaining peace and tranquillity, Pakistani forces continue to engage in providing supporting cover fire to infiltrators. The incessant infiltration of terrorists and induction of weapons to fuel terror activities continues unabated. Such activities are not possible without the support of Pakistani forces deployed along the LoC, MEA said.

The MEA said the press conference was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Pakistani establishment to shift focus from its internal political and economic failures. It also seeks to justify cross-border terrorism, including ceasefire violations and infiltration across the LoC and IB.

"We call upon Pakistan to end its support to cross border terrorism. Pakistani leaders have never hidden the fact that it has become a factory for producing terrorists. India is not the only neighbour to be targeted as underlined by the statements of countries similarly targeted," he added.

"Distant parts of the world have seen the terror trail lead back to Pakistan. Concocting documents and peddling false narratives will not absolve Pakistan of such actions. We are confident the world will hold it to account," Shrivastava said.

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 10:42:38 +0530
Special poojas to mark Lord Guru transition

On the auspicious occasion of transit of Lord Guru Bhagavan also called Sri Dakshinamurthy, Lord of wisdom, from Dhanur Rasi (Sagittarious) to Magara Rasi (Capricorn), several temples in Mumbai  conducted special poojas. At Sri Sankara Mattham, Matunga, the function started with Sri Ganapathy homam followed by Navagraha Shanthi homam, Dakshinamurthy homam and finally the idol of the lord was bathed with holy water, decorated with gold kavach and flowers and then deeparadhana was performed. This function also marks the occasion of the opening  of the temples for devotees from Monday November 16.

Mon, 16 Nov 2020 10:28:49 +0530
Special poojas to mark Lord Guru transition

On the auspicious occasion of transit of Lord Guru Bhagavan also called Sri Dakshinamurthy, Lord of wisdom, from Dhanur Rasi (Sagittarious) to Magara Rasi (Capricorn), several temples in Mumbai  conducted special poojas. At Sri Sankara Mattham, Matunga, the function started with Sri Ganapathy homam followed by Navagraha Shanthi homam, Dakshinamurthy homam and finally the idol of the lord was bathed with holy water, decorated with gold kavach and flowers and then deeparadhana was performed. This function also marks the occasion of the opening  of the temples for devotees from Monday October 16.

Sun, 15 Nov 2020 18:45:28 +0530
Special poojas to mark Lord Guru transition

On the auspicious occasion of transit of Lord Guru Bhagavan also called Sri Dakshinamurthy, Lord of wisdom, from Dhanur Rasi (Sagittarious) to Magara Rasi (Capricorn), several temples in Mumbai  conducted special poojas. At Sri Sankara Mattham, Matunga, the function started with Sri Ganapathy homam followed by Navagraha Shanthi homam, Dakshinamurthy homam and finally the idol of the lord was bathed with holy water, decorated with gold kavach and flowers and then deeparadhana was performed. This function also marks the occasion of the opening  of the temples for devotees from Monday September 16.

On the auspicious occasion of transit of Lord Guru Bhagavan also called Sri Dakshinamurthy, Lord of wisdom, from Dhanur Rasi (Sagittarious) to Magara Rasi (Capricorn), several temples in Mumbai  conducted special poojas. At Sri Sankara Mattham, Matunga, the function started with Sri Ganapathy homam followed by Navagraha Shanthi homam, Dakshinamurthy homam and finally the idol of the lord was bathed with holy water, decorated with gold kavach and flowers and then deeparadhana was performed. This function also marks the occasion of the opening  of the temples for devotees from Monday October 16.


Sun, 15 Nov 2020 18:43:16 +0530
Yemen s rebel run court sentences 21 to death for spying

Sanaa, A court controlled by Yemen's Houthi rebels has sentenced 21 men to death for allegedly spying for the Saudi-led coalition which backs the war-torn country's government, according to a report.

The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV's report on Saturday did not identify the defendants, but said they are all Yemenis, reports Xinhua news agency.

There was no comment yet from the coalition or the Yemeni government.

The ruling by the court in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa was the latest in a series of closed-door trials of political opponents held by the Houthis.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi's government.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced nearly 4 million and pushed more than 20 million to the brink of famine.

Sun, 15 Nov 2020 11:10:18 +0530
India summons Pak diplomat over J K ceasefire violations

New Delhi, India on Saturday summoned the Charge d'Affaires of the Pakistan High Commission to lodge a strong protest over unprovoked ceasefire violation in Jammu and Kashmir on the festive occasion of Diwali.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, "The Charge d'Affaires of the High Commission of Pakistan was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs today and a strong protest was lodged over unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces, on multiple sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on 13 November 2020, resulting in the death of four innocent civilians and serious injuries to 19 others".

"India condemns, in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by Pakistani forces," MEA said.

"It is highly deplorable that Pakistan chose a festive occasion in India to disrupt peace and perpetrate violence in J&K through coordinated firing along the length of the LoC using heavy caliber weapons, including artillery and mortar on Indian civilians," the statement by India said.

India also strongly protested Pakistan's continued support to cross border terrorist infiltration into India, including through supporting cover fire provided by Pakistan forces. Pakistan was once again reminded of its bilateral commitment to not allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner.

Sun, 15 Nov 2020 10:37:37 +0530
Russian N Korean hackers target COVID vaccine maker in India

New Delhi, Microsoft has detected cyberattacks from nation-state actors targeting seven prominent companies directly involved in researching vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, including in India.

The targets include leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers in Canada, France, India, South Korea and the US, and came from Strontium, an actor originating from Russia, and two bad actors originating from North Korea called Zinc and Cerium.

Although Microsoft did not reveal the names of the vaccine makers, at least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus, led by Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

According to Microsoft, among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have Covid-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials.

"One is a clinical research organization involved in trials, and one has developed a Covid-19 test. Multiple organizations targeted have contracts with or investments from government agencies from various democratic countries for Covid-19 related work," Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security & Trust, said in a statement on Friday.

Strontium continues to use password spray and brute force login attempts to steal login credentials.

These are attacks that aim to break into people's accounts using thousands or millions of rapid attempts.

Zinc has primarily used spear-phishing lures for credential theft, sending messages with fabricated job descriptions pretending to be recruiters. Cerium engaged in spear-phishing email lures using Covid-19 themes while masquerading as World Health Organization representatives.

"The majority of these attacks were blocked by security protections built into our products. We've notified all organizations targeted, and where attacks have been successful, we've offered help," Burt elaborated.

Cyberattacks targeting the health care sector and taking advantage of the pandemic are not new.

Attackers recently used ransomware attacks to target hospitals and healthcare organizations across the US.

In May, a 136-strong group of the world's most prominent international law experts, in what has become known as the Oxford Process, issued a statement making it clear that international law protects medical facilities at all times.

In August, the Oxford Process issued a second statement emphasizing that organizations that research, manufacture and distribute of Covid-19 vaccines are also protected.

Earlier this year, the CyberPeace Institute and International Committee of the Red Cross led an effort by 40 international leaders calling on governments to stop the attacks on healthcare.

In April, Microsoft announced that it was making AccountGuard, its threat notification service, available to health care and human rights organizations working on Covid-19.

"Since then 195 of these organizations have enrolled in the service and we now protect 1.7 million email accounts for health care-related groups," Burt said.


Sat, 14 Nov 2020 10:28:09 +0530
Amid revenue crunch govt asks CPSEs to pay dividends quaterly

New Delhi, The Finance Ministry has advised the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which pay higher dividends to pay the dividends every quarter rather than once in a year.

Other CPSEs have been suggested to pay dividends in a half-yearly basis.

The advisory comes at a time when the government is finding it difficult to raise revenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an advisory to the public sector companies under the Cetral government, the ministry said it has observed that most CPSEs pay interim dividend in February/March.

"The CPSEs, especially companies that pay relatively higher dividend (100 per cent dividend or Rs 10 per share), may consider paying interim dividend every quarter after quarterly results," it said.

The ministry has also said that CPSEs must have a consistent dividend policy.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which comes under the Finance Ministry, said that all state-owned firms should consider paying at least 90 per cent of the projected annual dividend in one or more instalments as interim dividend.

As per the norms, PSUs have to pay a minimum annual dividend of 30 per cent of PAT or 5 per cent of net worth, whichever is higher.

Sat, 14 Nov 2020 10:23:23 +0530
Amid revenue crunch govt asks CPSEs to pay dividends quaterly

New Delhi, The Finance Ministry has advised the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which pay higher dividends to pay the dividends every quarter rather than once in a year.

Other CPSEs have been suggested to pay dividends in a half-yearly basis.

The advisory comes at a time when the government is finding it difficult to raise revenue amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an advisory to the public sector companies under the Cetral government, the ministry said it has observed that most CPSEs pay interim dividend in February/March.

"The CPSEs, especially companies that pay relatively higher dividend (100 per cent dividend or Rs 10 per share), may consider paying interim dividend every quarter after quarterly results," it said.

The ministry has also said that CPSEs must have a consistent dividend policy.

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), which comes under the Finance Ministry, said that all state-owned firms should consider paying at least 90 per cent of the projected annual dividend in one or more instalments as interim dividend.

As per the norms, PSUs have to pay a minimum annual dividend of 30 per cent of PAT or 5 per cent of net worth, whichever is higher.

Sat, 14 Nov 2020 10:23:18 +0530
WHO chief urges global system for sharing pathogen materials

Geneva,  Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that there is "an urgent need" for a globally agreed system for sharing pathogen materials and clinical samples, to facilitate rapid development of medical countermeasures as global public goods.

"It can't be based on bilateral agreements, and it can't take years to negotiate," Ghebreyesus said on Friday in his closing remarks at the 73rd World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO.

The WHO is proposing a new approach that would include a repository for materials housed by WHO in a secure Swiss facility, an agreement that sharing materials into this repository is voluntary, that WHO can facilitate the transfer and use of the materials, and a set of criteria under which WHO would distribute them, Xinhua quoted the Director-General as saying.

He said that health ministers of Thailand and Italy, as well as Swiss federal officials, have shown their support to the proposal.

Other countries have also expressed interest and will hopefully dive into discussions.

Tedros also said that the pandemic has demonstrated the consequences of chronic under-investment in public health.

"This health crisis has ignited a socio-economic crisis that has impacted billions of lives and livelihoods and undermined global stability and solidarity. Returning to the status quo is not an option.

"The time has come for a new narrative that sees health not as a cost, but an investment that is the foundation of productive, resilient and stable economies," he said.

The WHO chief announced to establish a new Council on the Economics of Health for All to focus on the links between health and sustainable, inclusive and innovation-led economic growth.

The council will comprise leading economists and health experts and is expected to hold its first virtual session in the coming weeks to discuss its work plan and mode of operation, Tedros added.

Sat, 14 Nov 2020 10:18:28 +0530
Modi Rahul pay tributes to Nehru on his 131st birth anniversary

New Delhi,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday paid tributes to country's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his 131st birth anniversary, which is celebrated as the Children's day.

Modi in a tweet said, "My tributes to first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary."

Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter and wrote, "Today, India celebrates the birth anniversary of its first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru ji: a towering visionary who laid the foundation of our country with values of brotherhood, egalitarianism and modern outlook. Our endeavour must be to conserve these values."

Rahul Gandhi also paid floral tributes to Nehru at Shanti Vana here.

Nehru led the country from 1947 to 1964, until his death.

His birthday is celebrated as the Children's day after his death in 1964 for his fondness with children. He was popularly called "Chacha" Nehru.

Nehru was born in Allahabad on November 14, 1889 to Motilal Nehru and Swarup Rani. His father, Motilal Nehru was a prominent lawyer.


Sat, 14 Nov 2020 10:13:38 +0530
Governor Koshyari releases journalist Avinash Pathak s Marathi books

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday (13th Nov) released senior journalist and writer Avinash Pathak’s two Marathi books through digital platform from Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.


The books ‘Sattechya Savalit’ (In the shadow of Power) and ‘Drishtikshep’ (A Glance) were released by the Governor in the virtual presence  of former MP Ajay Sancheti, senior journalist Dr Uday Nirgudkar, patron of ‘Chanakya Varta’ Laxminarayan Bhala, editor of ‘Chanakya Varta’ Dr Amit Jain and writer Avinash Pathak.


Congratulating Avinash Pathak for writing the two books, the Governor said the books containing interesting and behind the scene stories relating to the political spectrum and articles on contemporary political issues will enlighten the readers on a range of subjects.


Mentioning that Maharashtra has a beautiful confluence of writers and litterateurs, the Governor expressed the hope that Avinash Pathak would continue to share the wealth of his wisdom by writing more such books.


The Governor noted that parliamentarians from Maharashtra often speak in Hindi language in Parliament and also give the ‘tadka’ of Hindi language whenever they are speaking in Marathi. He felt that this exchange between Marathi and Hindi was interesting.

Fri, 13 Nov 2020 19:11:53 +0530
India France military cooperation deepens with INS Vagir submarine

New Delhi,  Close on the heels of a dozen high-profile missile launches which included an anti-ship missile and a hypersonic missile, India launched the INS Vagir-its 5th Scorpene Class submarine in Mumbai today.

INS Vagir, launched by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Y. Naik, is part of the six Kalvari-class submarines being built under Indian Navy's Project-75. The INS Vagir can undertake missions like anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance. It has been designed by a French naval defence and energy company.

India has already commissioned two submarines under Project-75 while two others are currently undergoing sea trials.

Malabar Exercise with Quad

This year has been extraordinary for both-Indian foreign policy as well as the defence forces. On the one hand, China launched an attack on Indian territory in Ladakh at multiple points; on the other, India has swiftly moved to build strategic and defence alliances with other liberal democracies.

Submarine INS Vagir has been launched in the middle of the significant Malabar maritime exercise which India is conducting with the Quad navies-Australia, Japan and the US. Of these, Australia joined the Malabar exercise for the first time this year.

An immediate and strategic reason for the induction of Australia into the Malabar exercise was to strengthen this four-nation alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. India, along with a number of other countries from across continents, has been watching Chinese expansionism and aggression with concern. This extends to not just countries with land borders but also that share waters with China in the East China and South China Seas, where the communist giant has been extending itself into the exclusive economic zones of countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and others.

In a press release early November, the Indian Navy had said that the Malabar exercise will be held in two phases, of which, "Phase 1 would witness complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises." The Phase 1 exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal, away from the Visakhapatnam coast, and concluded on November 6.

The four navies will perform complex and advanced exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises. The Phase 2 of the Malabar maritime exercise is yet to begin. This part will be held in the Arabian Sea-on the western coast of India in the next few days.

Indo-French military cooperation

With France helping India in the design of the submarine, Indo-French military ties have taken a significant step forward this year, particularly after the delivery of Rafale jets this year.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly had spoken about this special defence relationship while delivering the fighters at the Ambala Air Force station. Significantly, she had also highlighted her country's support for the Make in India initiative in defence production. Parly added that French defence companies have begun to integrate themselves in India to be able to boost global supply chains-something which India had been pushing for since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed power in 2014.

The supply of Rafale to India has generated extraordinary bonhomie between the two nations. Speaking at the same event, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the induction of these jets sends a big message to the entire globe, particularly those eyeing India's sovereignty. Pointing to China indirectly, Singh added that this induction is important because of the atmosphere that has been created on Indian borders.

Amid a heightened war atmosphere with Chinese military aggression on the Ladakh border and a constant flow of war-cries from the communist controlled media, India has warmly welcomed the Rafale fighters. The Indian Air Force has already put the planes to use as they carry out regular sorties close to the border with China. The state-of-the-art fighters are supposed to tilt the balance in favor of India against both China and Pakistan.

French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain told news agency ANI recently that the, "planes are outstanding, Indian technicians and pilots marvellously completed their training in France. They are totally capable to use these planes at their best."

Defence ties with Myanmar

India has also made efforts to improve its military ties with Myanmar where the latter is pushing China over the exploitative China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. With China reaching out to all of India's neighbors, including Myanmar, with economic goodies and even military equipment, India too joined the race to spread its influence.

This October, the Myanmar Navy showcased its first submarine UMS Minye Theinkhathu-a vital gift from India. The diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindhuvir was retrofitted and upgraded before being given to the Myanmar Navy. Significantly, Indian Army chief M.M. Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla also visited the eastern neighbour to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

Over the last few months, India has taken notable strides in strengthening its military capability and forming strategic alliances. What has happened in the process is that the country has been able to boost its indigenous military capability as well. INS Vagir is one of those examples.

Fri, 13 Nov 2020 14:44:35 +0530
ASEAN 3 leaders meeting to offer guidance for cooperation

Seoul, The upcoming ASEAN+3 leaders' meeting will offer a strategic guidance for regional cooperation in the Covid-19 pandemic era, a deputy chief of an international organization has said.

The meeting, which will involve China, Japan, South Korea and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will be held online this weekend.

"It is believed that the upcoming 10+3 Summit will provide strategic guidance for East Asian regional cooperation in the current and post-pandemic period, especially for economic recovery of East Asia," Cao Jing, deputy Secretary-General of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS), told Xinhua news agency in an interview.

"East Asian countries supported each other with medical supplies, shared relevant experience and technologies, which proved with facts and actions that multilateralism, solidarity and cooperation are the most effective ways to deal with the pandemic," said Cao.

Cao noted that the cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea and the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation are "closely related and mutually promoting each other."

Cao said China, Japan and South Korea have been leading East Asia "at the forefront of global anti-pandemic and economic recovery," citing the continued policy coordination among the three countries.

The three countries have held different ministerial meetings on such sectors as foreign affairs, health, transportation, finance and central bank, while sending medical supplies to help each other overcome the virus crisis.

The TCS deputy chief said her organization has been actively working in jointly fighting against the pandemic since its outbreak as the TCS is mandated to deepen the cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea and promote regional peace and development.

The TCS is an international body that was launched in September 2011 and headquartered in South Korean capital Seoul with an aim to promote peace and common prosperity among the three Asian nations.

On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Cao forecast that the signing of the RCEP agreement as scheduled will "create a new highlight and send a positive signal to the global economy."

The RCEP is a mega trade pact proposed by ASEAN to boost trade among its 10 member states and with its free trade agreement partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Negotiations of the RCEP were launched in November 2012.

The ASEAN, founded in 1967, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Fri, 13 Nov 2020 09:33:13 +0530
India s Covid tally inches closer to 87 lakh

New Delhi, With 47,905 new coronavirus infections and 550 deaths in the past 24 hours, India's overall tally stood at 86,83,916 on Thursday as the fatality toll touched 1,28,121, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Currently, there are 4,89,294 active cases, whereas 80,66,501 patients have been cured and discharged so far.

The recovery rate stands at 92.79 per cent, and the fatality rate is 1.48 per cent, the Ministry said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted 11,93,358 sample tests on Wednesday, taking the total tested samples to 12,19,62,509.

Though Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit state with 17,31,833 cases till date. There are 88,070 active cases and 45,560 Covid-19 deaths.

On Wednesday, Covid-19 figures shattered all records in Delhi as it reported a whopping 8,593 new cases, the highest in a day so far, and an all-time high positivity rate of 13.40 per cent, while 85 persons succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours.

The other worst hit are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

The overall global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 5,20,48,827 mark, while deaths have surged to 12,82,796, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Thu, 12 Nov 2020 10:19:59 +0530
Rajkummar Rao I don t re watch my performances

New Delhi, Nov 11

Critically acclaimed actor Rajkummar Rao is proud of his filmography, but he says he does not watch his past works again in order to analyse his performances.

Last month, the 2013 biographical drama "Shahid", which fetched him a National Award, turned seven. Asked what he sees when he looks back at his work, Rajkummar told IANS: "I feel proud that I am part of such films that people will know me of, because of this filmography. I don't really re-watch my performances, but if I see bits here and there, I always feel that I could have done it better."

"Also, you grow in life, you become more mature and understand the changes, so yeah that feeling always comes," added the actor, who has impressed audiences with films such as "Trapped", "Newton", "Bareilly Ki Barfi" and "Stree".

He is now looking forward to the release of his social comedy "Chhalaang".

"The story itself was so aspirational, so sweet, so real and so funny. I have never done a character like this before, and we haven't seen stories about PT teachers. They play a very important role in our lives while growing up. But we don't really know their lives," said Rajkummar.

"So it was the opportunity to play a PT teacher and it's a story set in Haryana, which is very nostalgic for me because I have been in this world while growing up. Also, we have so many talented children in our film. It's a great package of entertaining you and trying to teach you something, making you feel motivated," he added.

The Hansal Mehta-directed film will release on the eve of Children's Day on November 13, on Amazon Prime Video.

Asked if the premiere of his film on an OTT platform makes a difference, he said: "Not really. These are the things that are not in our control.The makers decide if they want to release films on OTT or theatres. Our job is done by the time we are done with shooting and dubbing."

As an actor, he just wants the audience to watch his films.

"Right now is a right time (to watch on OTT) because I don't think they (audiences) are ready to step out. So I think they feel comfortable sitting at their home as per their convenience and watch a film like 'Chhalaang', which is so apt to watch with family," he said.

Apart from the release of the "really sweet clean family entertainer", he is eagerly waiting to get on set to shoot for his upcoming projects, including "Badhaai Do".

"I am just excited to go back to work. It's been a while. There are a couple of interesting films, I'll be starting soon," shared Rajkummar.

Wed, 11 Nov 2020 10:39:14 +0530
Kanpur boy develops air purifier robot

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Nov 11

 With concerns over air pollution increasing by the day, a Class 11 student from Kanpur has developed a unique robot that soaks up pollutants from the air and acts as a purifier.

Pranjal, and his classmate Aarendra, have invented an 'Air Purifier Robot' that comes with an air purifier machine installed within it.

"With rising air pollution, I thought of building a robot that could purify the air in the environment and soak pollutants at the same time. We have installed a purifier within the device for this purpose," said Pranjal.

When operational, the robot can filter the polluted air and clean air would be released in the atmosphere whereas the polluted particles will remain behind in the air filter inside.

"Pranjal is our future scientist, he has also helped a lot in the school lab. I am incredibly proud of the boy and the robot that he has built. Air pollution is a major concern of recent times and therefore, his invention seems more worthy than ever," said Pooja Awasthi, his school principal.

Pranjal plans to consult some senior scientists on his invention and make improvisations, if needed.

Wed, 11 Nov 2020 10:33:28 +0530
Delhi reports highest single day spike of 7 830 Covid cases

New Delhi, Nov 11

The number of Covid-19 cases shattered all records in the national capital as it reported as many as 7,830 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday and an all-time high positivity rate of 13.26 per cent, while 83 people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours.

It is the highest ever single-day tally since the pandemic struck the city. With this, the overall case tally has reached 4,51,382 while the cumulative causality stood at 6,989. In total, 51,97,924 tests have been conducted so far in the national capital.

The number of cases saw a slight drop on Saturday as Delhi logged 6,953 infections, while on Friday, the city had recorded 7,178 new cases. Delhi has been recording more than 6,000 Covid-19 cases for the last eight days. Meanwhile, this is the third day in the last five days when the daily infections have crossed the 7,000-mark.

According to Delhi government data, as many as 6,157 people recovered and 83 died in the last 24 hours. Till now, 4,02,854 people have recovered, 41,385 people have active infection, and 6,989 people have died. The case fatality rate stands at 1.58 per cent.

Currently, 8,262 out of 16,324 beds are occupied in the hospitals, 836 out of 8,217 beds in the dedicated Covid Care Centres and 279 out of 527 beds in the dedicated Covid Health Centres. Over 24,700 people are in home isolation. The number of containment zones have been raised to 3,947.

The sudden spike in cases comes amid the festive season and rising pollution levels. While Durga Puja celebrations ended on October 25, the next festivals are Diwali and Chhath on November 14 and November 20, respectively.

Wed, 11 Nov 2020 10:31:09 +0530
Bigg Boss 14 Tactics galore but where s the impact

Mumbai, Nov 10

Bigg Boss has always been about in-house antics of contestants out garnering the buzz. While the sound and fury has already started, the ongoing season 14 has somehow failed to match earlier seasons so far.

Contestants of the 14th season are trying a tad too hard to make the controversial reality show a talking point among the viewers, but none of the current housemates have shown true 'star value' yet, as -- just to name a few -- Dolly Bindra, Manoj Tiwari, Pooja Missra, Shonali Nagraj, Gautam Gulati, Diandra Soares, Swami Om or Bani J did.

IANS cobbles together a few incidents where it seems that the show runners are trying desperately to make Bigg Boss 14 as interesting as its previous season.

Bringing in Sidharth Shukla

The winner of Bigg Boss 13 entered the house as a Toofani Senior. The show gained momentum courtesy his presence, but he simply outshone the contestants he had set out to mentor! For a while, the goings-on in the house were totally in sync with Sidharth's brainwork. For example, the eviction of Punjabi singer Sara Gurpal was entirely on his insistence. Sidharth was also seen giving advice to contestant Jasmin Bhasin not to support Abhinav Shukla. Jasmin, who has co-starred with the actor in "Dil Se Dil Tak", naturally, blindly followed.

Nepotism jibe

Nepotism is a word that is much abused in Bollywood, and it even found its way into the Bigg Boss 14 house when Rahul Vaidya nominated housemate Jaan Kumar Sanu, who is playback star Kumar Sanu's son. Rahul was heard saying: "Jisko main nominate karna chahata hun woh hai Jaan because mujhe nepotism se sakt nafrat hai. Yahaan pe jitne bhi log aaye hain sab apni apni mehnat karke aaye hai (I want to nominate Jaan because I hate nepotism. All the people here have made it on their own)."

Kavita Kaushik

She was just in the Bigg Boss 14 house for one week and was ousted after getting minimum votes from the audience. However, she was brought back in again the next week. She made news after using explicit language and fighting with Eijaaz Khan, she made news with her exit, and she has made news again now with her re-entry. The entire exercise of eviction and re-entry seemed unnecessary, except that it helped generate some noise.

Abhinav and Rubina's kiss

Real-life couple and Bigg Boss 14 housemates Rubina Dilaik and her husband Abhinav Shukla were dancing in a recent episode of "Weekend Ka Vaar". The two were grooving to host Salman Khan's song "Biwi No 1", and they ended the dance with a kiss. Naturally, there was liberal camera focus on the act. What's Bigg Boss house without a bit of mush? For Rubina and Abhinav, it could literally be the kiss of life when it comes to surviving in the house for now, considering both have otherwise seemed boring on the show.

Jaan's hand in the pot

In a task where Eijaz Khan was playing the devil while Jaan was essaying an angel, the latter had to agree to whatever Eijaz said. He asked the playback singer Kumar Sanu's son to put his hand inside the toilet pot and then wipe his hand on himself. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Tue, 10 Nov 2020 10:45:41 +0530
NECTAR to explore saffron farming in North East region

New Delhi, Nov 10

The North East Centre For Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) has undertaken a pilot project to explore the feasibility of growing saffron in North East region of the country.

"The saffron bowl, which was so far confined to Kashmir, may soon expand to the North East of India. Plants from seeds transported from Kashmir to Sikkim and acclimatized there are now flowering in Yangyang in the Southern part of the North-East state," said the statement from NECTAR.

Saffron production has long been restricted to a limited geographical area in the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Pampore region, commonly known as Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron production, followed by Budgam, Srinagar, and Kishtwar districts.

Saffron has traditionally been associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine. It's medicinal values were considered as part of the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir. As saffron growing was confined to very specific areas in Kashmir, its production remained limited. Though the National Mission on Saffron focused on several measures to improve its farming, the measures were still limited to the specified areas of Kashmir.

Tue, 10 Nov 2020 10:43:08 +0530
Covid recoveries cross 8 lakh mark in Karnataka

Bengaluru, Nov 10

Recoveries crossed eight lakh in Karnataka, with 2,686 discharged in a day, while 1,963 new Covid cases were reported on Sunday.

"With 2,686 discharged on Sunday, recoveries rose to 8,04,485, while 1,963 fresh cases increased the state's Covid tally to 8,48,850, including 32,936 active cases," said the state health bulletin on Monday.

With 19 succumbing to the infection in the last 24 hours, the state's death toll rose to 11,410 till date.

As the epicentre of the virus, Bengaluru registered 978 fresh cases, taking its tally to 3,50,305, including 18,395 active cases, while 3,27,948 recovered, with 959 discharged in a day.

With 5 patients becoming its victim, the death toll across the city rose to 3961 so far since the pandemic broke on March 8.

Of the 876 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs), 470 are in Bengaluru hospitals, 35 in Mysuru, 34 in Tumakuru and 30 each in Kalaburagi and Kolar.

Out of 84,965 tests conducted in a day, 15,457 were through rapid antigen detection and 69,508 through RT-PCR method.

"The positive rate was 2.31 per cent and case fatality rate 0.96 per cent for the day, which are less than the national average," added the bulletin.

Tue, 10 Nov 2020 10:34:42 +0530
NYC urges precautions as holiday season nears

New York,  The New York City government has urged people to take precautions against the Covid-19 pandemic as Thanksgiving on November 26 will usher in the traditional holiday season.

"Go to virtual or outdoor religious services... Keep family gatherings small and outdoors, if possible... Stay local, travel safely, get a free Covid-19 test and quarantine for 14-days after a trip," Xinhua news agency quoted a tweet by the city government as saying on Monday.

Also taking to Twitter, Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "With the holidays around the corner, we can't get complacent. We can't risk uncontrolled Covid-19 spread. We don't want another citywide shutdown.

"I know how hard this will be. I know it's a major sacrifice. But we need to keep our city safe.

"When it comes to our indicators, we are in a dangerous situation in New York City: 71 patients admitted to the hospital... 779 new cases... The infection rate 7-day average is 2.21 per cent.

"These numbers should have us all alarmed and ready to act with everything we've got."

Last week, the Mayor told the public that the city was not seeing a second wave of the pandemic as its infection rate had remained under 3 per cent, but still put people on high alert as the virus could fiercely attack the city at anytime, especially during winter.


Tue, 10 Nov 2020 09:19:36 +0530
Paytm to double loan disbursement to Rs 1 000 cr for MSMEs

New Delhi, Financial services platform Paytm on Monday announced to double its loan disbursements for the micro- and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Rs 550 crore in last fiscal year to Rs 1,000 crore by March 2021.

The company expanded collateral-free loans of up to Rs 500,000 at a low-interest rate and unique daily EMI product customised for micro-merchants.

"With our collateral-free instant loans, we are trying to help kirana stores and other small business owners who have been left behind by the traditional banking sector and do not have easy access to loans and credit," said Bhavesh Gupta, CEO, Paytm Lending said.

Paytm continues to lead the offline payments (P2M) segment with over 50 per cent market share by offering all digital payment methods.

The recently launched Paytm All-in-One Android POS device has enabled over two lakh MSMEs to accept all payment modes, the company informed.

The company said it will continue to offer collateral-free loans under the ‘Merchant Lending Programme' in Paytm for Business app.

Paytm said it has digitised the entire process starting from the loan application, approval to disbursal with no additional documents required in partnership with NBFCs and banks.

In the last financial year, the company processed loans worth Rs 550 crore, benefiting over a lakh merchant partner.

"Going forward, we will especially focus on EDC merchants and provide higher loan amounts based on their EDC transactions," Gupta said.

Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:44:03 +0530
Indian Americans see Harris election as proof of land of opportunity

New York, Nov 9

Indian-American organisations and leaders are seeing the announcement of the election of Kamala Harris as the next US Vice President as a vindication of the dream of America as the land of opportunities and look forward to working with her and Joe Biden as President in healing the national divide.

"A generation of Indian-Americans made this country their home because they knew it meant anything was possible for their children. Today, the daughter of one of those Indian-Americans proved their faith," said Neil Makhija, the executive director of the Indian-American Impact Fund, an advocacy and political action group.

He said that the Indian-American community coming out to vote in key states like Pennsylvania and Arizona took the Biden-Harris team to victory.

IMPACT raised $10 million to support the voter turnout efforts of the Asian and Indian American community "in critical states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona, where our community's engagement was enough to make the margin".

The organisation spent nearly $2 million in each of the key states, Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas, to get more from the community to vote, he said.

"Harris has broken many glass ceilings. I never dreamed that in my lifetime a person of Indian heritage would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency but here we are," said Shekar Narasimhan, the chairman of the Asian American Pacific Islander Victory Fund that supports candidates of the ethnicity.

"We have proved once again that democracy works and 'We the People' make the choice," he said.

He added that it was "both an exciting and a sobering time for America" because of the challenges the Biden-Harris leadership will face and the community and fund "stand ready as we did in January when we endorsed Vice President Biden to do our part".

M.R. Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora that promotes Indian-American activism, recalled his organisation hosting a Diwali celebration at Biden's residence when he was Vice President in 2016 and said: "We now look forward to doing the same with President Biden in the White House.

"We applaud Biden's commitment to re-join the Paris Climate accord as the environment is an important issue for the Indian-American community.

"Biden has promised policies that will directly help Indian-Americans who are small business owners."

Ajay Bhutoria, a Biden Campaign National Finance Committee member, said that soon after hearing the media announcement "we are celebrating with Bhangra and Dhol today".

He made campaign videos for the Biden-Harris team in 14 Indian languages and one of them was the "Chale Chalo, Biden, Harris ko vote do", based on a song from the Hindi hit film, "Laagan".

"For the first time, we will also have a woman of colour and Indian-origin ascend to the second-highest office in the land," he said.

Addressing the nation's polarisation, Bhutoria said: "It's time for America to unite and heal. It's time to put the anger and harsh rhetoric behind us and come together to rebuild our nation under the leadership of Biden and Harris."

The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) "looks forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to address issues of mutual concern and interest to the Hindu-American community," said Suhag Shukla, the advocacy organisation's executive director.

She said that HAF had a list of "the legislative priorities and core issues that we believe are of fundamental interest, not just to Hindu Americans, but to all Americans".

HAF "will redouble our commitment to promoting dignity, mutual respect, and pluralism", she added.

Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) and Founder of EcoSikh, said: "Sikhs across the US have expressed joy at Joe Biden's and Kamala Harris's election.

"America needed a leader who would be serious about solving the biggest health challenge of Covid-19 and would set a positive tone in the nation and the world."

"A core value of Sikhism is woman's empowerment and we are encouraged to see a woman elected to high office in the US," said Gurwin Singh Ahuja, co-founder of the National Sikh Campaign.

"Biden has always supported issues of concern to the Sikh community and we are confident that Biden White House will welcome Sikhs and other communities to play a role in strengthening this nation," he added.



Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:01:21 +0530
ODOP products worth Rs 24 cr sold on e commerce platform

Lucknow, Nov 9

In a massive boost to 'One District One Product' (ODOP) scheme of the Uttar Pradesh government, more than 11,000 ODOP products are now available on e-commerce platforms like Amazon while over 50,000 products worth Rs 24 crore have already been sold.

A government spokesperson said the scheme has already left its footprints in the international markets as specialised products of all 75 districts in the state have found takers in India and abroad.

Additional Chief Secretary, MSME, Navneet Sehgal said that the problems faced by ODOP entrepreneurs were getting addressed on priority. "They are also being provided upgraded machinery, training and financial assistance to make them technically efficient," he said.

To boost economic activities in the state and promote indigenous products, the Uttar Pradesh government has extended financial aid of Rs 82 crore to 2,600 entrepreneurs under the ambitious ODOP scheme.

During 2019-20, 1,442 entrepreneurs were given over Rs 43.53 crore whereas 15,253 persons got employment under the scheme.

In the current financial year till August, 236 entrepreneurs have received monetary help of Rs 8 crore whereas 2,114 persons got employed.

The state government said the situation in the industrial sector in Uttar Pradesh has undergone a significant change after 2017.

Former Secretary of Western UP Chamber and Commerce RK Jain said the government commitment to traditional industries was laudable. "The government is addressing the problems of entrepreneurs and it has helped district-wise increased production of traditional industries," he said.

The government said it was providing training to old wood-carving industry of Saharanpur to not only improve quality of finished products, but also to cut down production time.

Mon, 09 Nov 2020 11:36:56 +0530
India adds over 45k new Covid 19 cases 490 deaths

New Delhi, Nov 9

With 45,903 new coronavirus infections and 490 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours, India's overall Covid-19 caseload and death toll stood at 85,53,657 and 1,26,611, respectively, on Monday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Currently there 5,09,673 active cases, while 79,17,373 people have been discharged so far.

While the recovery rate stands at 92.56 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.48 per cent, Ministry revealed.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted 8,35,401 sample tests on Sunday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 11,85,72,192.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit state with a total of 1,719,858 cases and 45,240 deaths.

It is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

On Sunday, the national capital reported 7,745 cases, shattering records for a single-day spike in the number of infections.

The city also registered an all time high positivity rate of 15.26 per cent, while it also reported 77 new deaths in a 24 hour period.

It was the highest ever single-day tally since the onset of the pandemic in New Delhi.

With this, the overall case tally has reached 4,38,529, while the cumulative causality stood at 6,989.

In a grim milestone, the overall number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 50 million mark, while the deaths have surged to 1,255,250, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Monday morning, the total caseload and death toll stood at 50,316,476 and 1,255,250, respectively, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 9,961,324 and 237,566, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases.

Mon, 09 Nov 2020 11:33:25 +0530
Modi greets Joe Biden says will look forward to work closely

New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday greeted US President Elect Joe Biden and said that as Vice President his contribution to strengthening Indo-US relations was critical and invaluable and India will look forward to work closely together.

The Prime Minister also congratulated Vice President elect Kamala Harris saying her success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans.

In a series of tweets, Modi said, "Congratulations Joe Biden on your spectacular victory! As the VP, your contribution to strengthening Indo-US relations was critical and invaluable. I look forward to working closely together once again to take India-US relations to greater heights."

Congratulating Kamala Harris, who is set to become first women Vice President of the US, he said, "Heartiest congratulations Kamala Harris! Your success is pathbreaking, and a matter of immense pride not just for your chittis, but also for all Indian-Americans. I am confident that the vibrant India-US ties will get even stronger with your support and leadership."

Modi's remarks came soon after Biden, the former two-term vice president and a Senate veteran, won the US Presidential elections to be the 46th President of the US. While Harris will be the next vice president, the first woman and the first person of colour to hold the office.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also extended warmest congratulations to President-elect Biden and Harris on her election as the next Vice President.

She said, "Under the wise and mature leadership of President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris; India looks forward to a close partnership that will be beneficial to peace and development in our region and around the world."

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi took to twitter and wrote, "Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden. I'm confident that he will unite America and provide it with a strong sense of direction."

"Congratulations, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris! It makes us proud that the first woman to serve as Vice President of the US traces her roots to India," he said in another tweet congratulating Harris.

Sun, 08 Nov 2020 10:50:56 +0530
India s PSLV rocket lifts off with radar imaging satellite

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Nov 7

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) rocket carrying radar imaging earth observation satellite EOS-01 (formerly RISAT-2BR2) and nine foreign satellites lifted off from the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.

The rocket with 10 satellites lifted-off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota at 3.12 p.m.

The primary passenger of the 44.5 metre tall PSLV-C49 will be the Indian radar imaging satellite EOS-01 (formerly RISAT-2BR2) with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all weather conditions.

The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance as well as civilian activities.

According to ISRO, EOS-01 is a 630 kg earth observation satellite, intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

The nine foreign satellites piggybacking are from: Lithuania (1-R2, technology demonstrator), Luxembourg (4 maritime application satellites by Kleos Space) and the US (4-Lemur multi-mission remote sensing satellites).

The PSLV in the normal configuration is a four-stage/engine expendable rocket powered by solid and liquid fuels alternatively. Six booster motors will also be strapped on to the first stage to give higher thrust during the initial flight moments.

But the 44.4-metre tall PSLV rocket that flew on Saturday was the DL variant having only two strap-booster motors. The lift-off weight of the rocket is 259 ton.

This rocket variant was used the first time to put the Microsat R satellite into orbit on January 24, 2019.

The Indian space agency has PSLV variants with two and four strap-on motors, larger PSLV-XL and the Core Alone variant without any strap-on motors.

The choice of the rocket to be used for a mission depends on the weight of the satellite and the orbit where the satellite has to be orbited.

Sat, 07 Nov 2020 16:00:48 +0530
With 4 international captains SRH prove they have the edge

New Delhi, Nov 7

SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) are making the most of the presence of four international captains in their line-up with two of them, Jason Holder and Kane Williamson, combining to lead the team home in a tricky chase against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Friday night's Eliminator.

Both Kane Williamson, who leads New Zealand in international cricket, and Jason Holder, who captains West Indies, added unbeaten 65 runs for the fifth wicket on a tricky spin-friendly surface to lead their team to a six-wicket win over RCB.

Earlier, Holder picked three wickets for 25 to lead the bowling which also had Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan who bowled miserly again with figures of 4-0-22-0. The duo helped restrict RCB to 131 for seven in 20 overs.

Ever since Holder has joined the team, on October 22, SRH have won five of their six games, and now are just two games away from the Indian Premier League title.

While Holder has picked 13 wickets in six matches besides his couple of cameos with the bat, the other three -- Williamson, Rashid and former Australia skipper David Warner, who is leading SRH in IPL, too have contributed to the team's cause.

Williamson's fifty (50 not out off 44 balls) against RCB was his second match-winning contribution this IPL after a 26-ball 41 against DC in an earlier game, but his presence in the middle-order is beginning to materialise now. SRH had benched him in between, but had to bring him back after they realised that the middle-order was vulnerable without him.

"We have calmness, level-headedness with Kane in the middle," Holder said after the partnership between the two on Friday.

Williamson repaid the compliment after the game saying, "He (Holder) is cooler than me. The all-rounder role in the team has been well held by him."

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan is the leading wicket-taker for SRH with 19 scalps and more importantly, has the best economy rate in this season's IPL with 5.30 runs per over.

"Rashid is the leader of the attack. I am running out of superlatives for both - Williamson and Rashid," added Holder.

Skipper Warner is the second highest run-getter in the IPL this season with 546 runs and is 124 runs behind KXIP skipper KL Rahul in the race for Orange Cap. He has scored four half-centuries, two of which have come in the last four games when SRH have turned it on to surge back into the competition.

Sat, 07 Nov 2020 12:50:21 +0530
LG launches W series smartphones starting from Rs 9 490

New Delhi, Nov 7

LG has launched new W series smartphones -- W11, W31 and W31+ -- in the India market.

The company has priced the W11 at Rs 9,490 for the single 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant.

The LG W31 costs Rs 10,990 while the smartphone with the highest memory, the W31+, will be available for Rs 11,990.

The LG W11 comes with a 6.52-inch 20:9 HD+ FullVision display with an 8MP camera at the front.

The smartphone is accompanied by a dual-rear camera setup consisting of a 13MP primary camera and a 2MP super wide-angle lens.

It is powered by a 2GHz octa-core processor and with 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage that is expandable upto 512GB via a microSD card.

The smartphone houses a 4000mAh battery, and boots to Android 10, supports 4G LTE, 3G, and 2G.

The LG W31 and LG W31+ come with 6.52-inch 20:9 HD+ FullVision display with an 8MP camera at the front while a triple camera setup comprising a 13MP camera, a 2MP camera with depth sensor, and 5MP super-wide-angle lens are present at the rear.

Both are powered by the same octa-core 2GHz processor. W31 comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage that is expandable upto 512GB with a microSD.

The W31+ comes with 4GB RAM and 128GBinternal storage, expandable up to 512GB with a microSD card.

The smartphones pack a 4000mAh battery and boot to Android 10 OS.

Sat, 07 Nov 2020 12:39:22 +0530
Pelosi to seek re election as US House speaker

Washington, Nov 7

Veteran Democrat Nancy Pelosi has announced that she was seeking a re-election as Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Friday, the 80-year-old said: "Our vision for the next two years must be built on the success of Democratic House Majority in the 116th Congress, and to harness the extraordinary visions, values and vibrancy of our Caucus to secure the progress that the American people deserve.

"In that spirit. I am writing to request your support to be re-elected as Speaker."

Pelosi became the first woman elected as Speaker of the House in 2007 and she served until 2011, reports ABC News.

She was elected again in 2019.

Pelosi was re-elected to the US House in California's 12th Congressional District during this year's general elections, in which all the 435 seats of the chamber were contested, Xinhua news agency.

House Democrats will formally begin the process of choosing their leaders on November 18.

Democrats are expected to keep control of the lower chamber, but their majority has been forecast to be narrower.

During a conference call on Thursday with House Democrats, Pelosi encouraged optimism from her colleagues, reports ABC News.

"This has been a life-or-death fight for the very fate of our democracy. We did not win every battle, but we did win the war," she said.

"You hold your head up high. We helped Joe Biden get that mandate."

Meanwhile in the Senate, based on races that have been called so far, Republicans and Democrats are deadlocked at 48 seats each.

Republican leaders said on Friday that it is still unclear which party will control the 100-seat upper chamber.


Sat, 07 Nov 2020 12:28:05 +0530
Pak violates ceasefire on LoC in J K s Poonch district

Jammu, Nov 7

Pakistan resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling on Saturday to target the Indian positions on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district.

Colonel Devender Anand, Defence Ministry spokesman said, "At about 2.30 a.m. today Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and shelling mortars along the LoC in the Mankote sector of Poonch district".

The spokesman said the Indian forces retaliated befittingly.

A total of 24 civilians have been killed and over 100 injured in over 3,200 ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC since the beginning of this year.

Frequent shelling from across the LoC has brought insurmountable misery into the lives of thousands of people living close to the LoC in the union territory whose lives, cattle and agricultural fields are threatened due to the hostilities from Pakistan.


Sat, 07 Nov 2020 12:21:16 +0530
USAID deputy leader ousted

Washington, Bonnie Glick, the second-highest ranking leader of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has been ousted amid a staff shake-up, the media reported.

Glick's ousting on Friday night came on her last day and her position would be filled by John Barsa, the current acting administrator of the agency, whose tenure expired at midnight under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, The Hill news website quoted the USAID as saying in a statement.

Barsa was confirmed by the Senate as administrator for USAID's Latin America and Carribbean bureau and he assumed the post of acting administrator in April after USAID administrator Mark Green departed in March.

Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Barsa's term was expected to end as of midnight on November 6, approximately 210 days from the time the administrator's position became vacant.

Glick, as deputy administrator, was expected to assume leadership of USAID with Barsa's termination.

But the Friday night shake-up removed her and instead Barsa was appointed the acting deputy role.

On her departure, USAID called Glick "a tremendous champion", adding: "The entire USIAD family owes Bonnie a debt of gratitude for her leadership and her accomplishments and wishes her well in all of her future endeavours."

The Washington D.C.-based USAID was created by late President John. F. Kennedy in 1961 to "lead the US government's international development and humanitarian efforts", according to a post on the agency's website.

Currently, USAID works in over 100 countries.

Sat, 07 Nov 2020 09:36:38 +0530
Polling for third phase in Bihar begins amid tight security

Patna,  Polling for the third and final phase of Bihar Assembly elections began at 7 a.m. on Saturday amid tight security arrangements in 78 Assembly constituencies in 15 districts of the state.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for polling, as well as norms put in place to maintain social distancing in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to the state election commission, more than 2.35 crore voters will exercise their franchise in this phase for which 33,782 polling stations have been set up.

According to the Election Commission, the fate of 1,204 candidates will be decided in this phase, out of which 1,094 are men and 110 women. Gaighat has 31 candidates in the fray, the maximum, while Dhaka, Triveniganj, Jokihat and Bahadurganj have nine candidates each, the minimum number.

In the third phase, voters will be able to exercise their franchise in general Assembly constituencies from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. while from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in four Assembly constituencies. Security forces have been deployed at all polling booths. More elaborate security arrangements have been made in Seemanchal areas.

Among 15 districts, Kishanganj, Purnia, Araria and Katihar have dominance of Muslim community. As per the data of Election Commission, Kishanganj has maximum 60 per cent Muslim voters, followed by Araria with 45 per cent, Karihar 40 per cent and Purnia 35 per cent. These four districts have 24 Assembly constituencies.

Kosi has three prominent districts Saharsa, Madhepura and Supaul having majority of Yadav community while Muslim community is less than 20 per cent. These three districts jointly have 13 assembly constituencies.

In 2015, JU-U managed to bag 23 out of 78 seats. But it was a part of Mahagathbandhan, therefore, Muslim community voted in support of the party. The equation is likely to change as JD-U is again a part of the NDA. RJD won 20 seats while Congress 11 seats and the BJP managed to win 20 seats.

In Bihar, elections are being held for 243 assembly seats in three phases. Polling for the first phase was held on 71 seats on October 28 and 94 seats on November 3. Counting of votes will be held on November 10.

Sat, 07 Nov 2020 09:26:06 +0530
Two terrorists civilian killed in Kashmir encounter

Srinagar,  Two terrorists and one civilian were killed in an encounter at Pampore in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, officials said on Friday.

One terrorist surrendered before the security forces.

The encounter started on Thursday night in the Lalpora area after security forces laid a cordon-and-search operation on a specific input about the presence of terrorists in that area.

"One more terrorist killed (total 2) during Pampore encounter. Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition seized. Search going on," police said.

The security forces earlier in the day said that one terrorist had been killed in an encounter.

Earlier on Friday, a civilian injured in the militant attack just before the encounter started on Thursday night succumbed in a hospital. Police said Abid Mir, 22, was injured when militants fired at the search party. He was immediately rushed to the hospital, but succumbed to injuries.

The forces had made repeated announcements to ask the holed up militants to surrender.

Fri, 06 Nov 2020 18:32:39 +0530
NGOs raise green issues just ahead of polls Goa CM

Panaji, Nov 6

NGOs and environmentalists have always raked up green issues ahead of state elections, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday. Sawant also assured that the state's only major port, operated by the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), would not increase coal handling capacities in the future.

When asked to comment about the series of long drawn opposition against three central government projects, which protesters claim will reduce Goa to a coal hub, Sawant said: "These issues are raised ahead of elections by NGOs and environmentalists. Those who speak about environment, should also talk about the development of Goa and how to take the state ahead".

Sawant was speaking on the sidelines of a media function in the state capital on Friday.

The BJP-led coalition government is facing stiff criticism from civil society groups, as well as opposition parties, over the proposed felling of nearly 50,000 trees for the projects, which includes expansion of railway lines and highways and drawing of a new high tension power, spread across protected forests in and around Mollem village. The projects, which the opposition has alleged are to facilitate movement of coal from the Goa port to steel manufacturing units in Karnataka's Bellary district, have already been cleared by the National Wildlife Board for Wildlife in April this year.

Sawant, however, said that handling of coal was not a new phenomenon in Goa. He also said that he would not allow the Port Trust to increase its coal handling capacity in the coming years.

"Coal handling has not started since I was CM. It started in 1947... When the mining industry was running full fledged, MPT was not handling much coal, just around three to four million (tonnes)," Sawant said.

"Because mining shut down, to improve port's viability, they (MPT) may have increased coal (handling) a bit. MPT currently handles 14 to 15 million tonnes of coal, we will not allow any more handling of polluting coal. Strict environment norms will be followed," Sawant said.


Fri, 06 Nov 2020 15:30:01 +0530
CV segment outlook remains negative FY21 volumes to drop ICRA Ratings

New Delhi, ICRA Ratings on Wednesday said the outlook for the commercial vehicles (CV) segment remains 'Negative' on the back of continuing challenges.

It cited factors such as over-capacity, subdued freight availability, financing constraints, amongst others, which have impacted the outlook.

These factors, the ratings agency said, have compounded due to the pandemic, adding that it expects the volumes in FY2021 to contract by 25-28 per cent.

"This would bring industry volumes down to the lowest levels in more than a decade," ICRA said in a report of survey conducted in October, covering 11 states and 26 CV dealers.

"The domestic CV segment was already in the midst of several headwinds in FY2020 and witnessed a steep volume contraction of 29 per cent," said Shamsher Dewan, Vice President, ICRA.

"The industry had been expecting the down-cycle to extend into the current fiscal as well, as increased vehicle prices post transition to new emission norms (BS-VI) would have added to the existing plethora of challenges however, the extent of the contraction has been worse than expected, on account of the challenges brought about by the pandemic."

Dewan said that the existing challenges such as overcapacity in the trucking system, subdued freight availability due to a weak macroeconomic environment, financing constraints, and stress on the cash flows of fleet operators, have all exacerbated with the onset of the pandemic, and the lockdowns imposed to contain the same.

Accordingly, fleet operators have pushed new vehicle purchases to the backburner.

"An overwhelming 85 per cent of the dealers indicated during the survey that sales volumes continued to contract till September 2020; and despite sequential improvement, the current demand environment remains overall muted, as challenges abound in the system," the survey said.

"Further, nearly 73 per cent of the survey respondents indicated towards a further Y-o-Y contraction during the quarter, despite the low base of the previous year. Based on the trends so far, the outlook for Q3 FY2021 remains muted, despite some sequential improvement expected."

Thu, 05 Nov 2020 09:25:23 +0530
Every legal vote should be counted Washington Governor

Washington,  Washington state Governor Jay Inslee has said that every legal vote, which were cast during the US presidential election earlier this week, should be counted.

"There was always a possibility we wouldn't know who would win the presidency on election night," Xinhua news agency quoted Inslee as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

"More Americans this year have voted early and by mail than ever before due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those votes were legal, duly-cast and must be counted, even if it takes some time.

"The voice of the American people is worth the wait," he added.

Inslee noted that local election officials across Washington state worked tirelessly to ensure it was a secure election and "there has been no information to suggest otherwise in our state or nationally".

"We know that counting continues until every ballot is tallied. This is how elections have always worked and the process must be respected," he said.

In his statement, the Governor also called on on elected officials across the country, regardless of party, to stand up and protect the will of the voters.

Inslee's statement comes after US President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning claimed that the election was a "fraud" and would go to the Supreme Court to challenge the outcome of Tuesday's vote.

Without providing any evidence, the President said while addressing supporters and family at the White House: "This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. Frankly we did win this election."

Trump added that he would go to the US Supreme Court and wanted "all voting to stop".

Later in the day, Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden staked his claim to the US presidency claiming that he has the electoral college votes for a victory, declaring, "we the people will not surrender".

"I will govern as an American president. There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America," the former Vice President added.

Biden was currently in the lead at 253 and Trump at 214. Both candidates need 270 votes to be declared the winner.

Thu, 05 Nov 2020 09:15:38 +0530
People of Bihar will vote for Mahagathbandhan Rahul

Patna, Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a poll campaign in Araria has come out with spin-off of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) by dubbing it Modi Voting Machine (MVM).

Asserting that youth of Bihar are angry, the Congress leader said: "EVM or MVM will not matter anymore. People of Bihar will vote for Mahagathbandhan (Congress-RJD-Left combine)."

"We have a life-time relationship with the people of Bihar. He (PM Narendra Modi) used to spread hatred in society. Hatred cannot be defeated through hatred but by love," he said.

"If his (PM's) fight was against black money, why did he put our farmers, labourers, traders in the queue of banks during demonetization. Were they in the possession of black money?" he wondered.

"During lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic, the PM did not think once and imposed it. Did the PM not know that crores of people in our country are daily wages labourers," the Congress leader said.

"I want to ensure you if Mahagathbandhan forms the government in Bihar, it will be a government for every religion, caste, poor and labourers. We will change the state together," Gandhi said.


Thu, 05 Nov 2020 09:11:36 +0530
BJP comes in support of Arnab Goswami attacks Congress

New Delhi, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday targetted Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi over the arrest of Arnab Goswami by the Maharashtra Police.

While coming in support of Goswami, the BJP said that in 'our democratic setup, independent media is a pillar but now it is being bullied'.

BJP President Jagat Prakash Nadda said, "Every person who believes in a free press and freedom of expression is furious at the Maharashtra Government's bullying and harassment of Arnab Goswami. This is yet another instance of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi-directed antic of silencing those who disagree with them. Shameful!"

While Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javdekar said, "This is not the way to treat the Press. This reminds us of the emergency days when the press was treated like this."

The most critical was Union Minister for Textile Smriti Irani. She tweeted: "Those in the free press who don't stand up today in support of Arnab, you are now tactically in support of fascism. You may not like him, you may not approve of him, you may despise his very existence but if you stay silent you support suppression. Who speaks if you are next ?"she said

Continuing with the attack on the Congress, BJP's national vice president, Baijayant Jay Panda said, "Disconcerting scenes of Republic tv editor Arnab Goswami manhandled by Mumbai police carrying assault weapons. Unending harrassment by Maharastra govt of one channel: "We wd've come voluntarily if summoned, as we have been doing." THIS is what an undeclared emergency looks like (sic)."

The Congress refuted the allegation and countered this by asking: "Why is there selective outrage?"

The Maharashtra Police's Raigad unit on Wednesday morning raided the residence of Republic TV owner and arrested its Chief Editor Arnab Goswami in an abetment to suicide case.

A senior police officer Sachin Vaze said that Goswami was arrested in the abetment to suicide case of 2018, which had been closed earlier and has now been reopened.

A police team swooped on the Republic TV's chief and picked him up from his home even as his family protested while his colleagues started rushing to the spot for live coverage.

The channel strongly slammed the move for "parading the editor of a top Indian news channel like a criminal, pulled by the hair, threatened, not allowed to drink water" after 20-30 policemen barged there.

Wed, 04 Nov 2020 13:30:01 +0530
Trivago loses appeal for misleading consumers over hotel ads

Sydney, The Full Federal Court in Australia on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by online hotel and accommodation search website Trivago against an earlier decision which found Trivago misled the consumers over hotel ads.

The court said the company had breached the Australian Consumer Law by making misleading representations about hotel room rates on its website and television advertising.

"This is a win for consumers and is an important warning to comparison sites that they must not mislead consumers about the results they recommend," the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims said in a statement.

"We brought this case because we were concerned that consumers were being misled by Trivago's claims that their site was getting the best deal for consumers, when in fact they were shown the deals that benefited Trivago".

The company was yet to make an official statement on the judgement.

In January this year, the Federal Court ruled that Trivago had misled consumers by representing its website would quickly and easily help users identify the cheapest rates available for a given hotel.

The judge at first instance found that Trivago did not sufficiently disclose to users that its website used an algorithm that gave prominence to accommodation providers paying Trivago a higher payment fee (cost per click), meaning that the most prominent offers were often not the cheapest offers for consumers.

The primary judge also found that Trivago misled consumers through the use of strike through prices and text in different colours because Trivago often compared the rate for a standard room with the rate for a luxury room at the same hotel.

"Trivago's conduct meant that consumers may have paid more for a room at a hotel than they should have, and hotels lost business from direct bookings despite offering a cheaper price," Sims noted.

The matter will now return to the primary judge, who will consider the orders sought by the ACCC against Trivago at a later date.

Trivago on Tuesday reported a 76 per cent decrease in revenue of 61 million euros in Q3, made an operating loss of 1.4 million euros and a net loss of 2.3 million euros.

The revenue for the nine months ending September 30 was down 467 million euros (year-over-year) in the pandemic times. Trivago said there will be recovery in the second half of 2021.


Wed, 04 Nov 2020 13:27:17 +0530
Biden declares we re gonna win Trump tweets they re trying to steal election

New York, As the results started coming in after the end of a bitterly contested US presidential election, the two candidates staked claims to victory with Democratic nominee Joe Biden declaring "we're gonna win this", and President Donald Trump accusing Democrats of "trying to steal the election".

After Biden made the claim at a rally of his supporters in Delware shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Trump asserted that he will have a "big win".

He followed up with another tweet making the accusation and said: "We are up big, but they are trying to steal the election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed."

Biden told his supporters at a drive-in gathering: "I'm here to tell you tonight we believe we're on track to win this election. I'm optimistic about this outcome."

But he added that "it ain't over until every vote is counted, until every ballot is counted".

Twitter labelled Trump's statement as "some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process".

Trump won the crucial state of Florida, but appears to have lost Arizona, which would narrow his path to victory.

Shortly before 1.30 a.m., the NBC News network showed Trump leading with 213 electoral votes to Biden's 210. For a win, 270 electoral votes is needed.

Many important states like Pennsylvania are yet to declare their results and it was too soon to call the election for either of the candidates.


Wed, 04 Nov 2020 12:55:43 +0530
Will Diwali bring light to their family

MUMBAI: With no business for the past six months, workers living in Kumbarwada in Dharavi area, whose only business is to make mud lamps, are busy once again in making lamps hoping they would be able to make some business during Diwali festival. There was no business during Navaratri as no one was buying their products due to Pandemic. They are hoping at least  Diwali will bring light to their families. In addition to Pandemic, even rains played spoiled sport to their business as they were not able to dry the lamps. Now the Sun is back, they are working round the clock to make the lamps.

Tue, 03 Nov 2020 14:44:34 +0530
Month long England lockdown could be extended Minister

London,  The UK's Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said that the month-long lockdown, which will be imposed in England on Thursday, could be extended if the rate of Covid-19 cases do not fall sufficiently.

Gove's remarks on Sunday came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions, which are set to last until December 2, reports Xinhua news agencu.

"We do need to get the R rate below 1," Gove told the BBC, referring to the reproduction rate, or R number, which is one of many indicators scientists use to determine how fast the virus is spreading in the country.

Across the UK, the R number is now between 1.1 and 1.3.

An R number of between 1.1 and 1.3 means on average every 10 people with the virus will infect between 11 and 13 others.

If the R number is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially.

It is his "fervent hope" that England's new lockdown will end on December 2, but that British ministers will be "guided by the facts", Gove said.

He said the steps were necessary to avoid the "medical and moral disaster" of the National Health Service (NHS) being overwhelmed.

Under the new restrictions, the second of its kind since the start of coronavirus in the UK, pubs, restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops and places of worship will close, but schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

The toughest social curbs were announced amid warnings that hospitalisations and deaths could exceed those seen during the first wave of the virus in the next six weeks.

Johnson is expected to deliver a statement in the House of Commons, or the lower house of parliament, on Monday before a vote on the latest restrictions on Wednesday.

The major opposition, Labour, has said it will back the lockdown, according to media reports.

As of Monday, the UK's overall Covid-19 caseload stood at 1,038,054, while the death toll has surged to 46,807.


Mon, 02 Nov 2020 09:42:40 +0530
Stubble burning contributing 40 to Delhi s pollution

New Delhi, The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitoring agency SAFAR on Sunday said that stubble burning has peaked in the states neighbouring Delhi and its share in the pollution level in the national capital rose to 40 per cent.

"Stubble burning share in PM 2.5 has increased and is estimated at 40 per cent for today, the highest of the season," said the SAFAR, adding 3,216 farm fires were spotted over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Saturday.

The agency said that better ventilation condition is forecasted for the next two days.

However, the SAFAR model predicted that the AQI is likely to improve only marginally (within very poor) for Sunday and Monday.

"It is set to marginally deteriorate on November 3, increased local surface wind speed with faster dispersion conditions is counteracting on two counts, namely, increased fire-related emission and accumulated intrusion mass load. Increased fire-related emission than existing conditions may lead to deterioration of AQI."

The share of stubble burning in Delhi was highest on Sunday this week about PM 2.5 pollution was 40 per cent, it was 32 per cent on Saturday, 19 per cent on Friday and 36 per cent on Thursday.

In 2019, according to SAFAR data the stubble burning's contribution to Delhi's pollution had peaked to 44 per cent on November 1.

The satellite image shows dense stubble burning and the air quality has not improved despite improved ventilation due to high stubble burning and pollutants during night due to winters.

Mon, 02 Nov 2020 09:37:43 +0530
India sees spike of nearly 47K cases tally over 81 8 lakh

New Delhi, \ With a fresh daily spike of 46,963 coronavirus cases, India's total tally on Sunday rose to 81,84,082, even as 470 more COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours took its death toll to 1,22,111.

Of the total cases, 5,70,458 are still active whereas 74,91,513 patients have been cured and discharged.

The recovery rate is 91.54 per cent and fatality rate 1.49 per cent, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit state with 16,78,406 cases, including 43,911 deaths, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi.

The national capital recorded 5,061 new corona cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total to over 3.86 lakh while 41 more COVID-19 fatalities pushed up its death count to 6,511

Delhi, battling the third wave of infections, has been logging over 5,000 cases daily for the past four days.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted 10,91,239 sample tests on Saturday, taking the total numbers to 10,98,87,303.

Sun, 01 Nov 2020 10:57:30 +0530
Christian Bale calls himself an enthusiastic driver

Los Angeles, Actor Christian Bale says he is an enthusiastic driver.

"They might call me crazy. I say I'm enthusiastic," said Bale, who played race car driver Ken Miles in the 2019 film "Ford v Ferrari".

He got all the driving that he ever wanted to do for the film.

"I really did, actually. Yeah. I got to do all of that. It was absolutely incredible. It's hypnotising and addictive," said Bale.

"And you know, let's be realistic. I can't compete with the pros that we had. You know, they would have been very slow, dull races. I would have felt like I was going at the clappers. But, you know, it wouldn't have been look so good. So I gotta go. Hey, you know, hand over to the pros. But in my own very immature way, man, I had a blast," he added.

The sports drama depicts how American car designer Carroll Shelby and Miles battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

The film will air on Star Movies.

Sun, 01 Nov 2020 10:53:33 +0530
Wall Street notches biggest weekly loss since March as COVID 19 cases spiral

New York,  Wall Street's major averages pulled back considerably in the week as investors worried that soaring COVID-19 infections could slow down economic recovery.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow fell 6.5 per cent, the S&P 500 5.6 per cent and the Nasdaq 5.5 per cent. The major averages had their worst one-week performance since March, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

The S&P US Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on US exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly rise of 0.06 per cent.

The moves came as the pandemic rages on and some European countries began to implement new restrictions.

"COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging across the United States and Europe. The stock market appears to be taking note," analysts at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note Saturday.

The daily new cases have regularly surpassed 80,000 recently in the United States. The country has reported more than 9.1 million in total infections with the death toll surpassing 230,000 as of Saturday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

"The threat of another economic lockdown is low, but cities with spiralling hospitalization rates may need to pursue more targeted restrictions and closures. The stock market is likely to respond adversely to any planned economic restrictions," Zacks analysts added.

In addition to surging COVID-19 cases, investors were keeping a watchful eye on the upcoming election and what the results could mean for the markets.

"Elections have consequences, but the defeat of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery will continue to be one of the main market drivers in any election outcome," said analysts at UBS.

On the data front, US economic activity in the third quarter grew at an annual rate of 33.1 per cent after a sharp contraction in the previous quarter, the US Commerce Department reported Thursday. The reading exceeded the 32 per cent estimate from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

The rebound came after the economy plunged at a revised annual rate of 31.4 per cent in the second quarter amid mounting COVID-19 fallout, which has been the largest decline since the US government began keeping records in 1947.

"The increase in third quarter GDP reflected continued efforts to reopen businesses and resume activities that were postponed or restricted due to COVID-19," according to the advance estimate released by the department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The number of initial jobless claims in the United States fell to 751,000 last week, as the labor market continued to recover at a slowing pace, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

In the week ending October 24, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 40,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised level of 791,000, showed the report.

On other economic front, US personal consumption expenditures increased 1.4 per cent in September and personal income rose 0.9 per cent, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

US Consumer Confidence Index stood at 100.9 in October, down from 101.3 in September, as Americans' assessment of current conditions improved while expectations declined, New York-based The Conference Board reported on Tuesday.

"There is little to suggest that consumers foresee the economy gaining momentum in the final months of 2020, especially with COVID-19 cases on the rise and unemployment still high," said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

Sun, 01 Nov 2020 10:47:58 +0530
Austria to impose second lockdown

Vienna, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced that a second lockdown will come into force in the country starting from Tuesday until the end of this month, in an effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic from further spreading.

"You know we are seeing an intense second wave all over Europe," Xinhua news agency quoted Kurz as saying at a press conference on Saturday, adding that some neighbouring countries were already under a second lockdown.

With an almost "explosive increase" of new cases in Austria in the last week, there must be "hard measures", he said

Kurz emphasized that it was a matter of reducing contacts, as "most of the infections take place with people who know and like each other".

Starting from Tuesday, exit restrictions will apply between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., during which leaving home is only permitted for specific reasons such as going to work.

Kurz said that these restrictions were tantamount to a "visit ban" -- people were no longer allowed to be visited in the evening.

Under the new lockdown, theatres, museums and leisure facilities such as swimming pools or fitness studios will remain closed, while the catering industry can only offer pick-up and delivery services, and hotels are prohibited from accepting tourists.

In the education sector, high school and universities will switch to distance learning, while kindergartens and compulsory schools remain open.

This time, in contrast to the first lockdown, retail escapes a closure, but social distancing must be properly implemented.

Ten square metres must be available for each customer. If the shop is smaller, only one person will be allowed in at once.

Austria reported 5,349 new Covid-19 on Saturday, taking the country's overall infection tally to 104,925, according to data published by the Interior Ministry.

The death toll stood at 1,109, while 1,867 people are in hospitals for coronavirus treatment, including 265 in intensive care units.


Sun, 01 Nov 2020 09:34:35 +0530
All AP higher educational institutions to reopen from Monday

Amravati,  All higher educational institutions, universities and affiliated colleges, across Andhra Pradesh will reopen from Monday.

Unlike alternate half days for schools, colleges will function on all six days of the week, said an official.

"A new academic calendar for non-professional courses, professional courses and post-graduate programmes was released," said an official.

However, classes for first year professional and non-professional undergraduate courses will commence from December 1.

After a gap of five months, educational institutions in the southern state are reopening, following all standard operating procedures aimed at warding off the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sun, 01 Nov 2020 09:28:07 +0530
Annabhishekam at Mumbai Shankara Mattham

Annabhishekam is a unique ritual that invokes the blessings of Lord Shiva. On this day, Shiva Lingam, the symbol of Lord Shiva’s energy, is hydrated with the traditional Abhishekam items such as holy water, turmeric powder, sandalwood paste, milk, sugarcane juice, honey, coconut water, curd and sacred ash. On completion, the idol is entirely covered with cooked rice, with an assortment of vegetables decorating the top of the Lingam. At the end of the ritual, after deeparadhana the covered rice is distributed as Prasad to everyone, not letting a single grain go waste. This year the festival falls on October 31.

This festival falls in the month of Aippasi on Purnima day and is  dedicated to Lord Shiva to thank him for prosperity of the farmland and increase in farm produce. With priests decorating the temple, devotees offer rice which is cooked. In Mumbai Sri Shankara Mattam at Matunga conducts this festival for more than 60 years.

Ganesha Sastrigal, chief priest of the temple, said the decoration takes nearly five hours. “We use 15 kilogram of cooked rice mixed with milk and butter to apply on the Shiva Linga and add fruits to make it colorful “.In the evening Rudram is chanted by Vedic scholars.” Devotees believe that performing Annabhishekam to the Lord on this day would rid them of all their problems.

Sat, 31 Oct 2020 20:05:05 +0530
The heart connect Are you sleeping well enough

New Delhi, Oct 31

The pandemic brought with it a new normal that came with its own consequences. The social distancing, erratic work hours, and the stress of living in times of an outbreak have raised anxieties for many. As we find ourselves busy fighting COVID-19, many other significant health issues seem to have taken a backseat.

People are not only losing their sleep to overstretched working hours, and the uncertainty caused by coronavirus but are also finding it difficult to sleep properly. Experts warn this could take a toll on, not just your lifestyle but also heart health. Emotional and mental stress can lead to erratic sleep patterns, which, experts believe, may lead to heart-related health issues, eventually leading to something as critical as stroke.

It is important to understand that sleep management is not just restricted to a good night's sleep or getting enough of it. The quality of your sleep is the most important. If you are snoring a lot, experiencing shortness of breath while sleeping or not able to sleep properly over a period, you must speak to a doctor. For instance, in some cases, people may experience a disturbance in the breathing pattern while sleeping. This could be a condition called sleep apnea, which can have a lasting impact on your cardiovascular system in the future.

The question really is - does poor sleep affect your heart health? If you look at a condition like sleep apnea, the answer is, 'yes'. According to studies, "nearly one billion adults aged 30-69 years worldwide were estimated to have obstructive sleep apnea, with and without symptoms." What makes this kind of sleep disorder more alarming is the fact that it could put a person more at risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat which can then lead to a heart disease, eventually leading to a stroke.

When the upper chambers of your heartbeat too fast, it can give rise to a condition called AF. Atrial fibrillation can reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart by 30 percent. The chaotic rhythm causes the blood to form clots in the left atrial appendage, and if this clot travels to your brain, it can cause a stroke. Studies reveal that close to one third of people with atrial fibrillation will have a stroke. Therefore, sleep patterns are very important when it comes to heart health.

When the breathing is interrupted, the brain compels the person to wake up so that they can resume the breathing pattern to normal. During sleep apnea your airway gets blocked, and this can happen repeatedly while sleeping to the extent that you may even stop breathing for very short spans of time. It is important to note that while sleeping a person might not notice symptoms such as breathlessness, loud snoring, fatigue and night sweats, however, one can easily observe these symptoms during the day- tiredness, not feeling fresh right after waking up, weariness, poor memory and headaches.

While there are several medications and blood thinners are available to protect you from stroke, technology has made things simpler for patients living with AF.

Pacemakers are designed to monitor your abnormal heart rhythm by delivering an electrical impulse to help control your heart rhythm. It can effectively treat symptoms like light headedness and fatigue. Not only does a pacemaker monitor your heartbeat, it also keeps a check if your heart is beating too slowly. Pacemakers even store information. Atrial fibrillation burden and helping doctors to evaluate therapy efficacy. Pacemakers are now MRI safe such that if anyone needs to undergo MRI they can do so, despite having a metallic implant.

There are studies to prove that a good sleeping pattern can effectively reduce the chances of stroke. Hence, it is more imperative than ever before, to watch out for those irregular sleep patterns that are not just important from a lifestyle perspective, but also critical to your heart health.


Sat, 31 Oct 2020 17:08:08 +0530
Sudhir Mishra I have lost a bit of my swag after pandemic

New Delhi, Oct 31

For Sudhir Mishra, the pandemic has left an everlasting impact on his life, and not everything about it is good. The filmmaker says holding his ill father in his arms and running towards the ICU, and then watching him die has changed him, and he is still figuring out how.

"You know, (author) Manu Joseph once wrote an article about me and said that 'I'm the collector of frail men'. Now, I see myself as much more frail after the pandemic," Mishra told IANS, when asked about the projects he is working on.

"I'd like to relook at things that I've been working on. I am working on a film, I am working on a script, I am working on a couple of OTT long form things. There is a historical series that I am rewriting. So, there is a lot of work, but through these five or six months, some other story seems to be emerging and I am trying to get a grasp of it," added the filmmaker.

He continued: "I don't know this whole experience of the pandemic. I've lost a bit of my swag. When I saw myself terrified, holding my father in my arms and running towards an ICU, and then watching him die, that has done something. I don't know what exactly. It will show in my next (project)."

Mishra entered the showbiz as a director with "Yeh Woh Manzil To Nahin" in 1987. He added strokes of diverse stories on the cinematic canvas, from "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi", "Chameli", "Inkaar", "Khoya Khoya Chand", "Calcutta Mail", "Inkaar" to "Hostages".

His most recent project was "Serious Men", an adaptation of Manu Joseph's book of the same name. The Netflix Original film featured Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and narrated the story of a father who wants to create a bright future for his son.

After spending so many years in the industry, Mishra says he still gets amazed at how stories often decide their own course, and shape.

"The magic of storytelling is that sometimes you write a scene and when you shoot the scene, something happens. You don't know where it came from. You think 'How did I write this?', 'Where did it come from?' And that's the magic of storytelling, and then when it reaches people, people have different reactions to it," he said.

"The same book means one thing to one person, and another thing to another person. When people interact with a film or a book, they seem to be interacting with different things, because they are interacting with it from their own heads, backgrounds, mysteries of their own. It is fascinating to see that," he added.


Sat, 31 Oct 2020 11:43:51 +0530
IPL Chasing totals the way forward as dew hurts defence

New Delhi, Oct 31

Going forward in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, it seems teams winning the toss will look to chase totals since dew on the ground is making it hard to defend.

Teams batting second have won 15 of the last 18 games that have finished in regular overs pointing to the impact dew has been having in defending totals as the tournament has progressed.

Even in the two games -- over the last 20 matches -- that have ended in Super Over, teams batting second have managed to reach first innings totals of 163 and 176.

No wonder, captains and coaches are unhappy.

On Friday night, Kings XI Punjab skipper pointed to the difficulty in defending totals and said it is 'a horrible toss to lose with the amount of dew later on'.

"The wrist spinners want the ball to be dry and get some grip off the surface but with the dew it got really difficult," said Rahul after the match.

On Thursday night, after Kolkata Knight Riders failed to defend a 172-run target against Chennai Super Kings, team mentor David Hussey too blamed dew for it.

"The toss did not help. With a lot of dew around, (our bowlers) could not quite grip the ball," he had said after the match.

Mumbai Indians' stand-in captain Kieron Pollard had also blamed the dew after their October 25 loss to Rajasthan Royals.

"The wicket ended up being a good wicket with a little bit of dew," he said.


Sat, 31 Oct 2020 11:38:51 +0530
How astronauts celebrate Halloween on ISS sans trick or treat

Washington, Oct 31

As the International Space Station (ISS) turned 20, NASA has put together some Halloween celebrations onboard the orbiting laboratory in the past as the world plans the costumes of the future.

Although no trick-or-treaters come knocking at the ISS front hatch, crew members aboard the orbiting facility still like to get in the Halloween spirit.

"Whether individually or as an entire crew, they will dress up in sometimes spooky, sometimes scary, but always creative costumes, often designed from materials available aboard the ISS," NASA said in a statement on Friday.

For example, in 2009, the Expedition 21 crew showed off costumes carved from an orange recently delivered to the International Space Station by a Progress resupply vehicle.

There were days when Italian Space Agency astronaut Luca S. Parmitano got his wish to fly like Superman during Expedition 37 and none other than NASA astronaut Scott J. Kelly celebrated Halloween in 2015 with a scary mask during his one-year mission.

Twenty years ago, when the first crew of permanent astronauts, cosmonauts, and researchers arrived at their new home on the ISS, it opened a new chapter in human space exploration.

This year, Halloween is being celebrated under the shadow of a pandemic across the world on October 31. This holiday is dedicated to all things spooky and ghostly.

Sat, 31 Oct 2020 11:32:22 +0530
Hackers attack 100 key people to collect intelligence Microsoft

New Delhi, Oct 31

Microsoft has detected and worked to stop a series of cyber-attacks from hackers masquerading as conference organisers to target more than 100 high-profile individuals, including former ambassadors and other senior policy experts, for intelligence collection purposes.

Phosphorus, an Iranian threat actor, targeted potential attendees of the upcoming Munich Security Conference and the Think 20 (T20) Summit in Saudi Arabia.

The Munich Security Conference is the most important gathering on the topic of security for heads of state and other world leaders, and it has been held annually for nearly 60 years.

Likewise, T20 is a highly visible event that shapes policy ideas for the G20 nations and informs their critical discussions.

"Based on current analysis, we do not believe this activity is tied to the US elections in any way," said Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft.

The attackers have been sending possible attendees spoofed invitations by email.

The emails use near-perfect English and were sent to former government officials, policy experts, academics and leaders from non-governmental organisations.

"Phosphorus helped assuage fears of travel during the Covid-19 pandemic by offering remote sessions," Burt said in a statement on Friday.

"We believe Phosphorus is engaging in these attacks for intelligence collection purposes. The attacks were successful in compromising several victims, including former ambassadors and other senior policy experts who help shape global agendas and foreign policies in their respective countries," he elaborated.

This activity was uncovered by Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Center, or MSTIC, which tracks the world's nation-state and cybercrime actors.

"We've already worked with conference organizers who have warned and will continue to warn their attendees, and we're disclosing what we've seen so that everyone can remain vigilant to this approach being used in connection with other conferences or events," Microsoft said.

The nation-state cyber attackers routinely pursue think tanks, policy organisations and governmental and non-governmental organisations, seeking information that an attacker can use for their benefit.

"We will continue to use a combination of technology, operations, legal action and policy to disrupt and deter malicious activity, but nothing replaces vigilance from people who are likely targets of these operations," Burt advised.

As always, enabling multi-factor authentication across both business and personal email accounts will successfully thwart most credential harvesting attacks like these, Microsoft said.


Sat, 31 Oct 2020 11:27:49 +0530
PM pays tribute to Indira Gandhi on her 36th death anniversary

New Delhi, Oct 31

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday paid tribute to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her 36th death anniversary.

Modi took to Twitter to express that she was a central figure of the Indian National Congress. She was the first and, to date, only female Prime Minister of India.

"Tributes to our former PM Smt. Indira Gandhiji on her death anniversary," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister had paid tribute to Gandhi in his monthly Mann ki Baat radio broadcast last Sunday as well.

Born on November 19, 1917, in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj, Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards on October 31, 1984 here following the Operation Blue Star.


Sat, 31 Oct 2020 11:23:24 +0530
Modi pays tributes to Keshubhai Patel

Gandhinagar, Oct 30

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday visited former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel's residence and paid tributes to the late BJP stalwart who passed away on Thursday.

After offering condolences to Patel's grieving family, he visited the late Kanodia brothers' residences in Gandhinagar to offer condolences to their families. Both the brothers, leaders of the BJP, had died within a space of two days.

Modi arrived at Ahmedabad airport on Friday morning and from there, he went straight to Keshubhai Patel's residence in Gandhinagar.

Patel, who died at the age of 92, was Modi's predecessor before the latter became the Gujarat Chief Minister in 2001.

Modi then went to the residences of the Kanodia brothers -- Mahesh and Naresh.

Mahesh died on October 25 while Naresh passed away on October 27, owing to illness.

Mahesh Kanodia was a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian who represented Patan for four consecutive terms, while Naresh Kanodia, the younger brother, was a BJP legislator from Karjan constituency from 2002 to 2007.

Modi, on his arrival at Ahmedabad airport, was welcomed by Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Minister of State (home), Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel.

Fri, 30 Oct 2020 17:29:19 +0530
Amazon reports 37 growth in sales expects bumper holiday season

Seattle,  Ecommerce behemoth Amazon has reported better-than-expected Q3 results in the pandemic times when people tend to shop more online, as net sales increased 37 per cent to $96.1 billion in the third quarter, compared with $70 billion in the third quarter 2019.

Amazon said that the sales in the fourth quarter will be between $112 billion and $121 billion – a healthy growth from a year earlier.

Net income increased to $6.3 billion in the third quarter, compared with net income of $2.1 billion in third quarter 2019.

"We're seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.

"Offering jobs with industry-leading pay and great healthcare, including to entry-level and front-line employees, is even more meaningful in a time like this, and we're proud to have created over 400,000 jobs this year alone," he said in a statement on Thursday.

The company's cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS), generated sales of $11.6 billion for the quarter, up 29 per cent. The operating income $3.54 billion for AWS topped estimates of $3.45 billion.

AWS in September quarter announced significant customer momentum with new commitments and migrations, including leading payments technology company Global Payments, to manage issuer processing and handling of their approximately 27 billion transactions processed annually.

Amazon's "other" category, primarily its advertising business, saw revenue rise 51 per cent to $5.4 billion.

Subscription services, including revenue from Prime memberships, jumped 33 per cent to $6.58 billion.

Amazon now has more than 1.12 million full-time employees across the globe, an increase of 50 per cent year over year.

Fri, 30 Oct 2020 11:16:16 +0530
NY proposes law to hold utilities accountable for natural disasters

New York,  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a new law to strengthen the US state's enforcement tools to hold utilities accountable in response to widespread failures resulting from more frequent and extreme weather events.

"God did not give the utility company the franchise -- the people of the state gave the utility company the right to operate. If the people of this state allow the utility company to operate, the people of the state can revoke their right to operate," Xinhua news agency quoted Cuomo as saying in an official release on Thursday.

If passed by the state's legislature, the new law would dramatically increase penalties to shareholders for failing to adhere to emergency response plans and other violations of the Public Service Law, regulations or orders of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

It would also expedite and clarify the process of utility franchise revocation for recurring failures.

"New Yorkers will no longer be bullied by utility companies who have long believed they are too big to fail.

"The abuse of public trust by utility companies will not be tolerated in New York State.

"The penalty should be commensurate with the damage caused by the utility companies. By removing the caps on penalties and easing the path to franchise revocation, utility companies will be held accountable," the Governor added.

The legislation was proposed on the 8th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, officially referred as hurricane Sandy.

In the US, Sandy affected 24 states, including the entire eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine and west across the Appalachian Mountains to Michigan and Wisconsin, with particularly severe damage in New Jersey and New York.

The hurricane's storm surge hit New York City on October 29, 2012, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and power outage.

Damage in the US amounted to $65 billion.

"We know that extreme weather is our new normal. Yet utilities repeatedly fail to respond to storms. I proposed a bill to hold them accountable," Cuomo tweeted on Thursday.


Fri, 30 Oct 2020 09:36:29 +0530
Focus shifts to Seemanchal for second phase of elections

Patna,  After completion of the first phase of elections in Bihar, the focus has now shifted to Seemanchal where elections for the second phase are scheduled to be held on November 3.

Districts such as West Champaran, East Champaran, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Araria, Purnea, Kishanganj, Katihar etc. fall under Seemanchal. Besides, elections for the second phase will also be held in districts like Samastipur, Patna, Vaishali and Muzaffarpur. Polling will done for 91 seats.

These elections hold great prominence for the political parties as districts like Kishanganj have over 60 per cent Muslim population followed by Araria with 45 per cent, Katihar with 40 per cent and Purnia with over 30 per cent. These four districts gives stability to Mahagathbandhan rather than NDA because of its secular image.

Leaders like Tariq Anwar of Congress, Asrarul Haque and Shahnawaz Hussain are prominent political figures in the region who are responsible for polarisation of votes. The supporters of late bahubali leader Mohammed Taslimuddin also have great influence on voters, especially in Kishanganj.

"The behaviour of the voters from South Bihar is different from that of Seemanchal. The politics in South Bihar's districts connected to Jharkhand is based on caste while people of Seemanchal area believe in community oriented polarisation of votes," Shahnawaj Malik, political analyst based in Purnia.

"These areas have sizable population of Muslims. Hence, it is not a question of who is favourite here. Recently, leaders like Tariq Anwar left the NCP and joined Congress. It has strengthen the party. The followers of late Mohammed Taslimuddin have always supported the RJD," he said.

"Muslims and Yadavs will be voting in favour of Mahagathbandhan across the state. Besides, several Muslim leaders have also asked within the community to caste votes in maximum numbers. The situation is similar for Yadavs and Dalits too. The voters of Bihar are not confused this time," said Rahul Sahani, a social worker based in Madhubani.

Champaran region has always been a strong hold for BJP. In 2015 assembly election, despite it had contested against RJD and JD-U, the BJP managed to won 13 seats out of 21 in both east and west Champaran.

"The votes of Muslims, Yadavs and upper caste have already been polarised in favour of the respective parties. At the same time some communities are considered to be as silent voters who are not so expressive but they regularly vote and have capacity to surprise political parties," said Rajesh Kumar, a member of market association of Bettiah.

"Like Muslims and Yadavs votes for RJD and Congress, upper caste voters and traders community are considered as traditional voters of BJP," he said.

Fri, 30 Oct 2020 09:30:21 +0530
2nd Indian origin candidate running for US VP

New York, Oct 29

There are two Indian-origin candidates running for the US Vice President in the November 3 election -- Democrat Kamala Harris and Sunil Freeman, who is on the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL).

While Harris has been in the limelight, often reviled by President Donald Trump as a socialist, Freeman is the candidate with a solid radical socialist agenda.

Freeman's mother Flora Navita is from India and his parents met while she was a teacher at a refugee camp in Varanasi in the aftermath of the Partition.

His father, Charles Freeman, was visiting India as a member of an American peace group.

He said in an interview with IANS that his mother always wore a saree and although living in the US for decades retained her Indian citizenship.

She grew up in New Delhi and in Lucknow where she graduated from the Isabel Thoburn College.

Sunil Freeman, who grew up in the Washington area, said that his visit to India as a 10-year-old was "the most powerful experience of my life".

He described the PSL as communist, but it did not believe in the violent overthrow of government and was committed to bringing about change within the law.

"We are a communist organisation, we see socialism as step towards the communist society, but it's a long, long process.

"We're looking for socialism in which the workers are controlling the means of production and use those for the better a society.

"We don't call for violence, we will work within the existing system of laws," Sunil Freeman added.

He asserted that there was growing interest in socialism in the US driven by increasing inequalities, the inability of millions to get health care, and the climate crisis for all of which capitalism does not have viable answers.

The PSL describes itself on its website as a "revolutionary Marxist party".

The party's presidential candidate is Gloria la Riva, a firebrand activist who has been contesting presidential elections since 2008.

Freeman's entry in the race demonstrates the emergence of Indian-Americans across the political spectrum, from the left to the centre and to the right, where Nikki Haley, the first cabinet member of Indian descent stands.

In the US election system, parties have to qualify separately in each state by meeting local requirements for the presidential race.

PSL will be on the ballot only in 14 states, including California, New Jersey and Illinois, and will be recognised in 14 others, including New York, as a "write-in" � voters can write the candidates' names on the ballot and have them tallied.

More than one party can nominate the same candidates and he and la Riva will also appear in some states as candidates of the Peace and Freedom Party and the Liberty Union Party.

Sunil Freeman was the second choice for the PSL vice-presidential slot after a Native American activist, Leonard Peltier, who in a federal prison, withdrew on health grounds.

Peltier was convicted of murder in the death of two federal law enforcement officers during an encounter between them and some Native Americans in their territory known as a reservation in 1975.

Sunil Freeman said that his mother was one of the early inspirations for his activism telling him about her work in the refugee camps and about facing racism at her school which had British and fair-skinned Indian students in pre-Independence India.

She was taunted as a "blackey" by them and when she retaliated by shouting back "whitey", the school authorities "very seriously reprimanded her" and said that she could not call them names while condoning their name-calling, Freeman said.

His father, who is White, grew up for some time in the American South when racism was legally upheld in most places there through segregation laws.

But Charles Freeman's family was progressive and opposed racism, he said.

His father belonged to the Quakers, also known as Society of Friends, which is a non-proselytising Christian sect deeply committed to non-violence and resistance to wars.

When he met Flora Navit, Charles Freeman had been in India as a member of the American Friends Service Committee, the Quaker-affiliated group that promotes peace and development.

In a parallel to Harris, who recalls being taken as a child to anti-racism protests by her parents, Sunil Freeman said that among his early memories were marching with his family in anti-war protests when the US was waging war in Vietnam and against racism.

He is sceptical about Harris, who he said as a prosecutor in California "used her power against the poor and working class people. She was a very harsh prosecutor, and at the same time, she did not prosecute mostly people who should have been prosecuted or investigated".

Sunil Freeman said that he lived in India for two years as toddler and again for a year in 1965 as a 10-year-old when his father had a year-long assignment in India.

"My grandmother lived with us and I got to know my two Indian uncles," he said, adding that landing at the then-Bombay airport "on day one I just felt like I was home, it was the most powerful experiences of my life".

Sunil Freeman, 65, retired after working for an organisation called Writer's Circle in a Washington suburb.

The Circle publishes America's oldest poetry magazine, Poet Lore.

Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:35:07 +0530
Chips smartphones help Samsung deliver strong Q3 results

Seoul/New Delhi, Oct 29

Samsung Electronics on Thursday delivered a forecast-beating performance in the third quarter on its better-than-expected chip business and demand for its mobile and home appliance products amid the pandemic.

The world's largest memory chip and smartphone vendor said its net profit amounted to 9.36 trillion won ($8.3 billion) in the third quarter, up 48.9 percent from a year earlier.

Operating profit jumped 58.8 per cent on-year to 12.35 trillion won in the third quarter of the year, marking its best quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2018, when it logged an operating profit of 17.5 trillion won.

Sales rose 8 percent on-year to 66.96 trillion won in the July-September period, its largest-ever quarterly sales, beating the previous record of 65.9 trillion won in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Samsung attributed its upbeat performance to firm demand for smartphones and consumer electronics, while its chip business benefited from rush orders from Huawei over US sanctions despite a decline in memory prices.

In India, the company became the top smartphone vendor in the July-September quarter after over two years with 24 per cent market share, while its arch rival Xiaomi was second with 23 per cent market share, according to Counterpoint Research.

But the South Korean tech giant predicted its fourth-quarter profitability to decline due to "weakening memory chip demand from server customers and intensifying competition in the mobile phones and consumer electronics sectors."

Samsung expected the turnaround of server memory demand to happen in the first half of 2021, reports Yonhap news agency.

"Soft prices in server memory caused by customers' inventory adjustments will likely weigh down the memory business despite stable demand for mobile and laptop memory," Samsung said.

"Smartphone sales are likely to decline and marketing costs to increase due to the competitive market environment."

Looking ahead to 2021, Samsung expected a recovery in overall global demand but emphasized that uncertainties still remain over a potential resurgence of COVID-19.

Samsung said its smartphone sales jumped nearly 50 per cent from the previous quarter with the launch of new flagship models such as the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Z Fold2 and robust sales of mass-market models in key regions including India.

Samsung's mobile business aims to expand foldable and 5G model offerings globally, while its display panel business plans to launch new quantum-dot displays next year.


Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:32:44 +0530
India s Covid tally crosses 80L recoveries over 73 lakh

New Delhi, Oct 29

 With a fresh spike of 49,881 coronavirus infections and 517 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally crossed 80 lakh-mark with the total number of cases at 80,40,203, the Union Ministry of Health stated on Thursday.

Out of the total Covid-19 cases, 6,03,687 are currently active, 73,15,989 have been discharged, while 1,20,527 lost the battle against the pandemic. On October 26, the single-day deaths were 480, lowest in recent times.

While the recovery rate stands at 90.99 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.50 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,60,766 cases, including 43,554 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 10,75,760 sample tests in a single day on Wednesday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 10,65,63,440.

Thu, 29 Oct 2020 10:25:17 +0530
Aus vs Ind MCG to allow maximum 25K spectators for Boxing Day Test

Melbourne, Oct 28

A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.

Melbourne, Oct 28 (IANS) A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.


Melbourne, Oct 28 (IANS) A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.


Melbourne, Oct 28 (IANS) A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.


Melbourne, Oct 28 (IANS) A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.


Melbourne, Oct 28 (IANS) A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.


Melbourne, Oct 28 (IANS) A cap of 25,000 -- which is one-fourth of the total capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground -- has been kept for the Boxing Day Test to be played between Australia and India this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

India will be touring Australia for three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests, scheduled to be played between November 27 and January 19. Virat Kohli-led Team India will begin the title defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from December 17. It will be followed by Tests at the MCG (December 26), the Sydney Cricket Ground (January 7) and the Gabba (January 15).

The Victorian government, Melbourne Cricket Club and Cricket Australia will develop a "COVIDSafe plan" to enable members and fans to safely attend the Test.

"Under our new COVIDSafe protocols, we're working closely with the Victorian government and Cricket Australia to host this year's Boxing Day Test at the MCG," said MCC Chief Executive Stuart Fox.

"The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the prestigious trophies in Test cricket, and it'll be fascinating to see the contest between Justin (Langer) and Tim (Paine)'s men against a very talented Indian side," Cricket Australia's Chair Earl Eddings said.

The historic MCG, meanwhile, has been confirmed to host Test cricket for further three years. This was after Cricket Australia, MCC and the Victorian government announced a new three-year venue hire agreement for the MCG, starting with the 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test played in 2020.

According to the ICC Future Tours Program, Australia will host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

"Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia's win in the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can't wait Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day," Eddings said.

The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950 against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year - 1989 where a one-day international was played instead - which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the venue.



Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:12:37 +0530
YouTube in India hits 325 million monthly unique viewers

New Delhi, Oct 28

Google-owned YouTube on Wednesday said the platform is now being watched by over 325 million unique viewers (over 18 and above) month on month in India and it is the top platform for accessing videos in regional languages in the country.

YouTube creators in India are now entering diverse categories, driving massive watch time growth and the streaming platform now delivers 4.8 times greater effectiveness than TV and directly impacts sales, the company said citing third-party data during its annual event Brandcast.

"Every day, millions of Indians are coming to YouTube to express their unique passions and create content that is more personal, helpful and accessible," said Sanjay Gupta, Country Head & Vice President, Google India.

"YouTube today caters to the personal interest of a billion Indians across genres, languages, geographies and age groups, making YouTube the #1 platform for accessing videos in regional languages with Hindi leading the charts followed by Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and others," he informed.

With over 2,500 creator channels now reaching over one million subscribers, YouTube has seen over 45 per cent growth in overall watch-time in July compared to last year for the same period, according to data provided by US-based media measurement and analytics company Comscore.

YouTube said that watchtime of gaming videos in India grew by 2 times as compared to Q2 2019 and baking videos grew by 3 times during the same duration.

With YouTube becoming a destination for learning and education in India, Wifistudy with over 12 million subscribers and over 1.5 billion views is now among the most popular education channels in Asia Pacific by subscribers.

"We are thrilled to see that with our strong reach across the country and high levels of engagement across an unparalleled variety of content, along with the ability to personalise at scale, YouTube today delivers more value to businesses than ever before," said Gupta.

Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:08:22 +0530
3 people are hired on LinkedIn every minute Satya Nadella

New Delhi, Oct 28

The global professional networking platform LinkedIn, which has more than 722 million users, ensures that three people are hired every minute and new features make it easier for nearly 40 million job seekers to indicate theyre looking for their next opportunity, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

More professionals are turning to LinkedIn Learning to increase their knowledge capital, watching more than 1 million hours of content each week -- more than double the amount a year ago.

"In marketing solutions, advertiser demand on LinkedIn returned to near pre-Covid levels, up 40 per cent year-over-year, as marketers use our tools to connect with professionals ready to do business," Satya Nadella said during the company's fiscal Q1 earnings call on Tuesday.

"Organisations continue to tap into the combination of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 to ensure salespeople have the context they need to sell remotely," he said, adding that the company saw record levels of engagement again this quarter.

"We launched our most significant redesign, with a streamlined search and messaging experience, as well as new ways of connecting and sharing with Stories," Nadella added.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn last month went for a brand new look and feel in nearly five years, powering its community with Snapchat-like Stories, video integration with Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams, rebuilding Search feature and more.

Earlier this month, LinkedIn launched the 'Stories' feature in India which allows members to publish photos and videos up to 20 seconds long that will be visible on their profiles for 24 hours before disappearing.

The platform also introduced a new, streamlined search experience, which will introduce a blended search results page with defined recommendations organised by people, companies, schools, content, and online events.

Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:23:00 +0530
India s numbers touching 80L although daily spike dips

New Delhi, Oct 28

With a fresh spike of 43,893 coronavirus infections and 508 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally stood at 79,90,322. The daily spike in cases as well as deaths have been on the decline, the Union Ministry of Health stated on Wednesday.

Out of the total Covid-19 cases, 6,10,803 are currently active, 72,59,509 have been discharged, while 1,20,010 lost the battle against the pandemic. On October 26, the single-day deaths were 480, lowest in recent times.

While the recovery rate stands at 90.85 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.50 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed.

"Signifying a landmark achievement, India has registered continuous decline in the average daily new Covid-19 cases over the past five weeks," the Ministry stated in tweet on Wednesday.

A graph attached with the tweet showed a spike of 83,232 cases between September 23 to September 29 which has come down to 49,909 between October 21 to October 27.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,54,028 cases, including 43,463 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 10,66,786 sample tests in a single day on Tuesday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 10,54,87,680.


Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:16:58 +0530
NASA set to unveil exciting Moon discovery

If you are a science buff, get ready to get some exciting news about a mysterious Moon discovery from NASA on Monday.

The US space agency said the discovery from Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will be unveiled at a media teleconference at 12 pm EDT (9.30 pm India time) on Monday.

This new discovery comes as NASA prepares to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.

NASA is aiming to return humans to Moon in preparation of its next giant leap -- human exploration of Mars as early as the 2030s.

"This new discovery contributes to NASA's efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration," the US space agency said in a statement.

Understanding the science of the Moon also helps piece together the broader history of the inner solar system, it added.

As the world's largest airborne observatory, SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that flies high in the atmosphere to provide its nearly nine-foot telescope with a clear view of the universe and objects in our solar system.

Flying above 99 per cent of the atmosphere's obscuring water vapour, SOFIA observes in infrared wavelengths and can detect phenomena impossible to see with visible light.

A joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Centre, SOFIA made its first flight in 2007.

Mon, 26 Oct 2020 11:23:31 +0530
Kid influencers promoting junk food on YouTube parents helpless

New York, Oct 26

The 'kid influencers' -- children whose parents film them doing activities such as science experiments, playing with toys, or celebrating their birthdays -- are promoting junk food brands on YouTube and millions of parents have no choice but to turn their children to watch such videos, a new study has stressed.

The growing popularity of kid influencers have caught the attention of companies, who advertise or sponsor posts to promote their products before or during videos.

In fact, the highest-paid YouTube influencer of the past two years was an eight-year-old who earned $26 million last year.

Kids with wildly popular YouTube channels are frequently promoting unhealthy food and drinks in their videos, warned researchers at New York University's School of Global Public Health.

"Kids already see several thousand food commercials on television every year, and adding these YouTube videos on top of it may make it even more difficult for parents and children to maintain a healthy diet," said Marie Bragg, assistant professor of public health nutrition at NYU School of Global Public Health.

"We need a digital media environment that supports healthy eating instead of discouraging it", she said in a paper published in the journal Pediatrics.

Food and beverage companies spend $1.8 billion dollars a year marketing their products to young people.

Although TV advertising is a major source of food marketing, companies have dramatically increased online advertising in response to consumers' growing social media use.

YouTube is the second most visited website in the world and is a popular destination for kids seeking entertainment.

More than 80 per cent of parents with a child younger than 12 years old allow their child to watch YouTube, and 35 per cent of parents report that their kid watches YouTube regularly.

"The allure of YouTube may be especially strong in 2020 as many parents are working remotely and have to juggle the challenging task of having young kids at home because of COVID-19," said Bragg, the study's senior author.

Parents may not realise that kid influencers are often paid by food companies to promote unhealthy food and beverages in their videos.

Bragg and her colleagues identified the five most popular kid influencers on YouTube of 2019 -- whose ages ranged from 3 to 14 years old -- and analysed their most-watched videos.

The researchers found that nearly half of the most-popular videos from kid influencers (42.8 per cent) promoted food and drinks.

More than 90 percent of the products shown were unhealthy branded food, drinks, or fast food toys, with fast food as the most frequently featured junk food, followed by candy and soda.

The videos featuring junk food product placements were viewed more than 1 billion times -- a staggering level of exposure for food and beverage companies.

"It was concerning to see that kid influencers are promoting a high volume of junk food in their YouTube videos, and that those videos are generating enormous amounts of screen time for these unhealthy products," Bragg lamented.

The researchers encouraged regulators to strengthen and enforce regulations of junk food advertising by kid influencers.


Mon, 26 Oct 2020 11:18:52 +0530
Key Samsung shares surge as succession issue looms

Seoul, Oct 26

 Shares in Samsung Group's key affiliates traded higher on Monday on expectations that they may increase dividend payouts to help the late Samsung chief's scions secure funds to pay record high inheritance taxes.

Samsung Group chief Lee Kun-hee died at age 78 on Sunday, more than six years after being hospitalised for a heart attack.

Shares in three Samsung affiliates held by the late group chief spiked in the morning session as investors bet that the senior Lee's death may facilitate a revamp of the governance structure at key affiliates, and his only son and group heir, Lee Jae-yong, will secure his grip on the country's largest conglomerate down the road.

Industry sources said the late Samsung Electronics chairman's scions may have to pay $8.85 billion in inheritance tax, reports Yonhap news agency.

Tech giant Samsung Electronics, the group's crown jewel, traded 0.17 per cent higher; C&T, the group's de facto holding company, jumped 14.42 per cent; and Samsung Life Insurance, which holds a stake in Samsung Electronics, rose 6.66 per cent.

As of end-June, the late chairman held a 4.18 per cent stake in Samsung Electronics, a 2.86 per cent stake in Samsung C&T and a 20.76 per cent stake in Samsung Life Insurance, among others.

The value of his stock holdings is estimated at some 18 trillion won.

Jae-yong, the de facto chief of the group, holds a 0.7 per cent stake in Samsung Electronics, 17.33 per cent in Samsung C&T and more stakes in other affiliates, with the combined value of his stock holdings totaling 7.1 trillion won.


Mon, 26 Oct 2020 11:13:36 +0530
India records lowest daily spike in Covid cases in over 3 months

New Delhi,  With a fresh spike of 45,148 coronavirus infections and 480 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally on Monday stood at 79,09,959. In a respite, the country logged the lowest new cases since July.

Out of the total Covid-19 cases, 6,53,717 are currently active, 71,37,228 have been discharged, while 1,19,014 lost the battle against the pandemic.

While the recovery rate stands at 90.23 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.50 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed on Monday.

"India has crossed landmark milestones in its fight against COVID-19. More than 70 Lakh patients have been cured and discharged so far," the Ministry stated.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,45,020 cases, including 43,264 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 9,39,309 sample tests in a single day on Sunday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 10,34,62,778.

Mon, 26 Oct 2020 10:33:46 +0530
Bhim Army chief claims attack on convoy police deny

Bulandshahr (UP), Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar was allegedly attacked, late on Sunday night, when he was returning after addressing a rally in Bulandshahr district.

Azad said that the convoy he was travelling in, had been fired upon.

"Opposition parties have been terrified of our candidate in Bulandshahr elections and today's rally worried them, due to which my convoy was fired at in a cowardly manner. This shows their desperation... they want the atmosphere to be toxic but we will not let this happen," Chandrashekhar Azad tweeted late on Sunday night.

Azad, who is also the convener of Azad Samaj Party, said his convoy was fired at when members were campaigning for the upcoming by-election. It is not clear whether he himself was present during the incident since the Bhim Army chief was scheduled to address a rally in the district.

The incident comes days ahead of the November 3 Bulandshahr by-election.

Bulandshahr Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Santosh Kumar Singh has denied an attack on Chandra Shekhar's convoy.

The SSP said there was information about a mutual conflict between workers affiliated to the candidates of Azad Samaj Party and AIMIM.

The police official said reports about an attack on Chandra Shekhar's convoy are yet to be confirmed.

The by-polls in Uttar Pradesh for seven seats, including the Bulandshahr one, mark the political debut of the Bhim Army which has, till now, remained a quasi-political outfit.

Chandra Shekhar has named Haji Yamin as his party's candidate for the Bulandshahr bypoll and his Azad Samaj Party is also contesting as many as 30 seats in Bihar under the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) banner, which will be led by the Jan Adhikar Party of Rajesh Ranjan a.k.a. Pappu Yadav.

Chandra Shekhar has been a fierce critic of the Uttar Pradesh government over the alleged gang rape and torture of a Dalit woman in Hathras last month, and its track record in protecting people from marginalised communities.

Mon, 26 Oct 2020 09:40:46 +0530
Pharaonic tomb unearthed in Egypt

Cairo,  Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced the discovery of an ancient pharaonic tomb in Minya province.

An Egyptian mission unearthed the tomb which is located in Tuna al-Gabal archaeological site in Minya, Xinhua news agency quoted head of the ministry's Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri as saying in a statement on Saturday.

He said that the 10-metre deep tomb belongs to a man who served as "supervisor of the royal treasury".

Waziri added that stone statues, coffins and other archaeological finds were found inside the tomb.

Excavations are still ongoing to uncover more secrets and treasures of the archaeological site, Waziri noted, stressing that all artefacts found at the tombs were in a good state of preservation.

Egypt has witnessed several large-scale archeological discoveries in recent years in different parts of the country, including pharaonic tombs, statues, coffins and mummies.


Sun, 25 Oct 2020 10:59:22 +0530
Filipinos brace for Christmas sans parties

Manila,  Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Filipinos are bracing for a party-less Christmas as the government has moved to to retain strict virus-induced lockdown measures until the end of the year.

Authorities have said that imposing the restrictions, which include a ban on Christmas parties, are necessary to keep a surge in the cases in check, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Christmas is marked by big celebrations in the Philippines, where around 80 per cent of the population are Catholic.

Traditional masses, family gatherings, and endless parties are held during the season that kicks off as early as September.

Christmas trimmings and blinking lights pop up in malls, the streets, and the parks.

Radio stations also start to play Christmas carols and festive hits in the run-up to Christmas Day.

But the Christmas season is different this year.

Due to fear of transmission, malls are allowed to operate at a limited capacity.

The Philippines has been put on varying degrees of lockdown since mid-March.

Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues, the Department of Health (DOH) has urged people to look after their mental, as well as physical health.

According to a survey which was presented by DOH National Mental Health Program in a recent online press briefing, at least 3.6 million Filipinos are suffering from some form of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.

Health authorities have advised people to continue to refine, learn, and adjust to the "new normal" because Covid-19 will likely be around for the foreseeable future.

"People feel restless; people feel anxious. They are irritable. They have social withdrawal; there is a loss of motivation because of reduced productivity. These are the signs that we are seeing now," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

She said people need to develop "a healthy coping mechanism while in isolation".

The Philippines has so far reported 365,799 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 312,691 recoveries and 6,915 deaths.


Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:24:50 +0530
Central govt responsible for completing Polavaram project Jagan

Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said Polavaram Irrigation Project (PPA) is a national project which the Central government has a responsibility to complete.

He said the Central government has responsibility as per APR Act 2014 and a Central cabinet decision taken earlier.

He said Andhra Pradesh is only an executing authority of the project being monitored by PPA under Government of India.

Reddy held a review meeting on the project, attended by a bunch of ministers and senior officials where the latest developments were considered such as the reimbursement of balance expenditure incurred by the state government to the tune of Rs 4,014 crore.

Out of this amount, Rs 2,234 crore was proposed for extra budget release by the Union Ministry of Finance (MoF) to the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS).

In the proposal, the MoF stated that the cost of irrigation component in the revised cost estimate shall be construed as approved by PPA at Rs 20,399 crore as on April 1, 2014.

Central government asked the PPA to confirm this revised cost estimate.

However, the chief minister reasoned that the cost of land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation itself will cost around 29,000 crore, which was approved by PPA, CWC and MoJS.

Therefore, Reddy said capping the entire project at Rs 20,399 crore has no relevance and is impossible to complete the project at that cost.

The state government has also highlighted that land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation works are to be considered for payment at the rates, rules and provisions existing on the date of execution, as recommended by PPA, CWC and MoJS.

Reddy directed officials to take up the issue immediately with the Central government at the appropriate level, duly stating that the revised cost estimate as approved by Central government's PPA, CWC and RCC should be considered in the interest of completion of the project and Andhra Pradesh people.

According to the state government, internal Central government correspondence from September 2016 and Central cabinet memorandum during March 2017, capping the expenditure of Polavaram project has no relevance.

Meanwhile, it was as discussed that the entire cost of the project which was considered by PPA and approved by CWC for Rs 55,448 crore at 2017-18 price level, and further Revised Cost Committee (RCC) constituted by the Government of India approved the cost of the project as Rs 47,726 crore, which has been accepted by the MoJS and recommended to MoF shall be considered for completion of the project.

Andhra Pradesh government requested the Central government to release the funds incurred by it at an early date for speedy completion of the national project.

Sun, 25 Oct 2020 09:15:18 +0530
Governor greets people on Vijayadashmi

The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari has greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashmi (Dassera). In his message, the Governor has said:

 “The festival of Vijaya Dashmi or Dussehra symbolizes the victory of the good over the forces of evil. The festival reaffirms that Truth will always prevail.  In the backdrop of the CoronaVirus pandemic, let us celebrate the festival with all due precautions. May the festival bring peace, prosperity, contentment and happiness to all.  I extend my greetings to the people on the joyous occasion of Vijaya Dashmi.”

Sat, 24 Oct 2020 14:02:30 +0530
NASA s spacecraft collects significant amount of Asteroid Bennu

Washington, Oct 24

After touching down on asteroid Bennu, NASAs OSIRIS-REx probe team received images that confirm the spacecraft has collected more than enough material to meet one of its main mission requirements -- acquiring at least 60 grams of the asteroids precious surface material, the US space agency said on Saturday.

In reviewing these images, the OSIRIS-REx team noticed both that the head appeared to be full of asteroid particles, and that some of these particles appeared to be escaping slowly from the sample collector.

The sample collected by the spacecraft will return to Earth in 2023.

"Bennu continues to surprise us with great science and also throwing a few curveballs," said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for science at NASA.

"Although we may have to move more quickly to stow the sample, it's not a bad problem to have. We are so excited to see what appears to be an abundant sample that will inspire science for decades beyond this historic moment," he said in a statement.

The team believes it has collected a sufficient sample and is on a path to stow the sample as quickly as possible.

To preserve the material, the mission team decided to forego the Sample Mass Measurement activity originally scheduled for Saturday and cancelled a braking burn scheduled for Friday to minimise any acceleration to the spacecraft.

"From here, the OSIRIS-Rex team will focus on stowing the sample in the Sample Return Capsule (SRC), where any loose material will be kept safe during the spacecraft's journey back to Earth," NASA informed.

OSIRIS-REx remains in good health, and the mission team is finalising a timeline for sample storage.

"We are working to keep up with our own success here, and my job is to safely return as large a sample of Bennu as possible," said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona.

"The loss of mass is of concern to me, so I'm strongly encouraging the team to stow this precious sample as quickly as possible."

After over a decade of planning, a NASA spacecraft made history this week after it successfully touched an asteroid.

Bennu offers scientists a window into the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago and flinging ingredients that could have helped seed life on Earth.



Sat, 24 Oct 2020 11:38:13 +0530
Dussehra 2020 Actors list their fave films where good triumphs over evil

New Delhi, Oct 24

Ahead of Dussehra, which emphasises on the celebration of the triumph of good over evil, actors have shared their favourite films that define the theme of the festival.

For veteran actress Himani Shivpuri, it's the 1998 film Salman Khan-starrer "Bandhan".

"'Bandhan' is easily one of my favourites as the title itself talks of eternal bonds. It is an excellent example of a movie that shows truth always prevails. For all those have not seen this movie, the premise of the story was how Jackie Shroff's character falls prey to selfish motives and remarries. This leads to him spoiling his relations with his ex-wife and his brother-in-law. He realises much later the importance of relationships and the mistakes he made all along," the actress, who also featured in the movie, told IANS.

"During this festive season of Dussehra, this movie acts as a reminder to not fall prey to sinful or wrong thoughts, and resentful actions but instead look for the good in people before it gets too late," added the actress.

Actor-producer Tusshar Kapoor picks his upcoming film "Laxmmi Bomb", starring Akshay Kumar.

"I can't think of any other film right now about good winning over evil but 'Laxmmi Bomb'. It's a special film because it is a film about good winning over evil, a film with Indian values, something that everyone will connect with, something that will teach you a lesson, something that will inspire and can bring equality within our society," he told IANS.

Harleen Sethi went a little back in time to pick her favourite good-over-evil film.

"'Rang De Basanti' will never be outdated. It encourages the youth to stand up against injustice, sparks a sense of patriotism, and shows collective integrity against moral and political corruption. It forces you to think that letting injustice happen is also a form of injustice. It's necessary to raise your voice for important issues and not take things lying down," said the actress about the 2006 film by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra.

For actor Hiten Tejwani, it's the classic Hollywood film "The Lion King" that fits the bill.

"I love 'The Lion King' -- how Simba goes away and later comes back, and becomes the king," said the actor.

Actress Gracy Singh shared the one film that instantly comes to her mind is her 2001 blockbuster release, "Lagaan".

"The movie truly brought alive the theme of how good triumphs over evil. Burdened by heavy taxes and several years of drought, the farmers of Champaner come together to challenge the British army over a game of cricket, in a bid to stop the lagaan (tax) imposed on them. Their hard work and sincerity pays off in the end. The movie gave out a right message," said the actress, who starred alongside Aamir Khan in the film.

"Mardaani 2" that saw Rani Mukerji in a cop avatar made many believe that good always beats evil. Actress Shamin Mannan thinks so, too.

"The way Rani not just arrests, but beats the hell out of that serial rapist is just amazing. Everytime I watch that movie, it gives me goosebumps and the way Rani's character SP Shivani gives that monologue in an interview talking about what all a woman has to go through, and why it should not be even be compared to men, is just outstanding. Such performances beat everything else. Of course the negative lead has done a good job too, we need more movies like this," said Shamin.

Actress Saba Saudagar agrees with her. "The reason why I love 'Mardaani' is because I find it very real and very non-filmy. The evil part of Mardaani reflects the society we live in and the good part also reflects the society we live in but take it for granted. The last scene of 'Mardaani 2' where Rani sits exhausted outside a residence, and then beats the antagonist with a Devi idol behind her, literally gave me goosebumps," said Saba.

Actress Pooja Banerjee mentions "Kahaani", starring Vidya Balan.

"It had a fabulous plot, great screenplay, some power-packed performances and has Durga Puja as a background theme. It was the best for me as a film that shows victory of good over evil. Plus, seeing the reality of how some men treat women, specifically pregnant women, was really heart-wrenching. It really was the most impactful film for me," she said.

Actress Mugdha Chaphekar shared that there are a lot of films that convey the message of good winning over evil, but she has a favourite too. "'The Shawshank Redemption' doesn't just show how good triumphs over evil, but also shows how truth always wins, you just have to have hope and that's why I love it," she said.


Sat, 24 Oct 2020 11:33:59 +0530
Data is fuel 5G fabric for digital transformation Michael Dell

New Delhi, Oct 24

Reiterating that technology has never been more central than it is in the pandemic times, Dell Technologies chairman and CEO Michael Dell has said digital transformation is like a machine with data as its fuel and 5G as its digital fabric.

Announcing the new Project Apex as-a-service offering, Michael Dell said that as we talk about the digital transformation, "my hope is that we are also seeing a human transformation with more kindness, generosity, and empathy".

"We've needed all of that because in the last eight months, we've also revealed hard truths, some hard to watch, and hard to live through, as the fault lines of our society are laid bare, in access to healthcare, to education, to opportunity, and to justice," he said during the company's virtual conference this week.

"We are going to need all of that kindness and generosity and empathy going forward to help bridge these divides and make good on the promise of a brighter future".

In a bid to help customers and partners on their digital transformation journey in the pandemic times, Dell Technologies announced a Cloud Console that will provide customers a single interface to manage multi-cloud, on-premise and edge deployments.

The Cloud Console is part of a new 'Project Apex' as-a-service strategy that aims to simplify how customers access Dell's capabilities across storage, servers, networking, hyper-converged infrastructure, PCs and architectural offerings.

"We are committed to delivering all of our products and solutions as a service in an effort we're calling Project Apex; so you can consume solutions, any way you want, pay-as-you-use, pay-as-you-go or subscription," the Dell Technologies CEO said during the opening keynote.

Directionally, Project Apex will be Dell Technologies' North Star. The new Dell Storage as a Service is an on-premises portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources that will be available first in the US in the first half of next year.

In a nutshell, Dell's flexible on-demand pricing, multi-cloud management and similar plans will be built into 'Project Apex'.

"As everything in the physical world becomes intelligent and connected, the amount and relevance of data will continue to explode. The data era is here and to win organisations need to accelerate the digital transformation," Michael Dell emphasised.


Sat, 24 Oct 2020 11:24:06 +0530
EU s domestic tourism recovers faster than foreign

Brussels, Oct 24

The European Union's (EU) domestic tourism has recovered faster than foreign tourism after most countries started easing their Covid-19 restrictions by June, official figures have revealed.

In a report on Friday,the EU's statistical office Eurostat said during the early part of 2020, the tourism industry suffered as a result of travel restrictions implemented in response to the pandemic.

Tourist numbers dropped sharply during March and April 2020, when compared with the same period a year earlier.

Since June 2020, most EU countries have begun to ease travel restrictions.

However, other restrictions related to Covid-19 have remained in place, such as tourists having to quarantine on return from some foreign destinations.

These have prompted a preference for domestic tourism, which has recovered more quickly than incoming tourism.

After a drop of 93 per cent in April 2020 compared with the same month of the previous year, by July 2020, domestic tourism in the EU almost returned to the level of the previous year.

In July 2020, nights spent by EU residents in tourist accommodation inside their own country were only 22 per cent lower than in July 2019, while nights spent by non-residents were 64 per cent less than the previous year.

According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the EU saw 66 per cent less international tourist arrivals year-on-year in the first half of 2020.

Although the EU interior borders were reopened in the summer to spur the EU-wide tourist industry with precautionary measures taken, the exterior borders have remained been closed to the world.


Sat, 24 Oct 2020 11:21:42 +0530
As spike continues India s Covid tally crosses 78L mark

New Delhi, Oct 24

After dipping below 47,000 four days back, a spike in daily fresh corona cases has once again been recorded. A total of 53,370 new infections and 650 deaths reported in the last 24 hours has taken India's total tally to 78,14,682, data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Saturday.

Out of the total Covid cases, 6,80,680 are currently active, 70,16,046 have been discharged, while 1,17,956 lost the battle against the pandemic.

While the recovery rate stands at 89.53 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.51 per cent, the ministry data said.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,25,197 cases, including 42,831 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 12,69,479 sample tests in a single day on Friday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 10,13,82,564.


Sat, 24 Oct 2020 11:11:02 +0530
61 Indians sceptical about Covid vax even if it came in 2021 Survey

New Delhi, About 61 per cent of people have claimed they are sceptical about the Covid-19 vaccine and will not rush to take it in 2021 even if it is available, a survey revealed on Friday.

Scientists from around the world, including India are developing several vaccines that are at different stages of clinical trials. The central government maintains it has started to gear up to take these vaccines to every citizen.

'LocalCircles' conducted a survey to know the tentative perception of peoples' reaction when the Government takes Covid-19 vaccine to them finally. It also sought to know peoples' current behaviour facing COVID-19 threats, and for how long will they continue to endure the suffering from the pandemic. The survey received over 25,000 responses from over 225 districts of India.

The complexity of the COVID-19 disease has put formidable challenges for scientists to develop a safe and effective vaccine. A host of pharmaceutical companies are heavily engaged in trials for a vaccine but when a vaccine does become available in March-April 2021, it is important that there is a certain level of trust that people have in the vaccine.

To the question that asked respondents, "If the COVID-19 vaccine became available in the early part of next year, would you like to get it so you can go back to your pre-COVID lifestyle?", 61 per cent of 8,312 respondents said they are sceptical about the COVID-19 vaccine and will not rush to take it in 2021 even if it is available.

Only 12 per cent respondents said would get vaccinated and go back to living pre-COVID lifestyle, while 25 per cent said they will get vaccinated but still will not go back to pre-COVID lifestyle, and 10 per cent said they will not take it at all in 2021.

In July, Indians via LocalCircles raised the issue of an urgent need to develop serial number tracking of COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any black marketing and to track the vaccine from point of manufacturing to the point of administration.

The key action needed here by both the pharmaceutical industry and the Government is to keep citizens updated at every step about the vaccine via various media platforms so when a safe vaccine does arrive, the Indian citizenry is ready to take it.

Respondents were also asked how they feel mentally after eight months into the Covid-19 pandemic. Of 8,590 respondents, 33 per cent said they feel anxious or worried, 19 per cent said calm and happy, 13 per cent said depressed, 5 per cent said enthusiastic, 20 per cent said they were feeling thankful, while 10 per cent said none of the above.

India is currently in the fifth phase of unlocking, which has seen most restrictions removed. The Unlock 5.0 guidelines allow states and union territories to take a call on determining the capacity of people allowed to gather, along with the call to open schools, cinemas, multiplexes, among others.

While the Central and State Governments are permitting various services like markets, restaurants, metros, multiplexes, markets, parks etc. to operate the general guidelines are still to minimize social interactions, maximize social distancing, always wear mask when out of home and in general avoid crowded public places.

These restrictions have led to change in lifestyle for majority of the people across the country. Work from Home model has been implemented by many businesses, also leading to a significant change in the lifestyles of their employees.

To understand if people are tired of the new pandemic induced lifestyle, LocalCircles asked people, "How long do you think you can easily sustain this post Covid way of living with restriction?"

Out of 8,496 citizens participated, of which 38 per cent said they are willing to live the Covid-19 way of living for as long as it takes, while 23 per cent said they are already tired of the restrictions.

While 14 per cent each said till December 31, 2020 and till March 31, 2021, 6 per cent said till June 30, 2021, 2 per cent said till September 30, 2021, and 3 per cent said till Dec 31, 2021.

If the numbers are added up, 63 per cent citizens feel they can easily sustain the post Covid way of living with restrictions till March 31, 2021.

Fri, 23 Oct 2020 12:20:01 +0530
12 peaceful demonstrators shot dead by security forces in Nigeria

Abuja,  Nigerias security forces fired upon two large gatherings of peaceful demonstrators, killing 12 people protesting against police brutality in Lagos, according to a report by Amnesty International on Wednesday.

Soldiers fired at the protesters who had gathered in the Lekki district of Nigeria's largest city on Tuesday night in defiance of an indefinite curfew imposed hours earlier by the authorities, according to several witnesses.

Hundreds of people were at the site at the time of the shooting, which witnesses said took place around 7 p.m. (local time), according to media reports.

The #EndSARS protests began amid calls for Nigeria's government to close the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, but has become a much wider demand for better governance in Nigeria.

Amnesty International said it had received "credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos", adding that it was investigating "the killings".

In a Twitter post, the Nigerian Army said no soldiers were at the scene of the shooting on Tuesday night.

The state government earlier said it would open an investigation into the shooting. A Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Thu, 22 Oct 2020 13:19:23 +0530
Granules gets USFDA approval for Hypokalemia tablets

Hyderabad, Granules India on Thursday announced that it has received marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) for Potassium Chloride Extended Release tablets USP, 10 mEq (750 mg) and 20 mEq (1500 mg) for the treatment of patients with Hypokalemia.

Granules said that its tablet product is bioequivalent to the Reference Listed Drug (RLD), K-Dur.

"This approval from Granules India, received within 10 months of filing reiterates our strength in the development of complex generics," said Priyanka Chigurupati, Executive Director of Granules Pharma.

"The approval of Potassium Chloride Extended Release Tablets USP, 10 mEq & 20 mEq, a complex MUPS (multi-unit pellet system) based formulation, equivalent to generic K-Dur, and Klor Con M, is a good addition to our portfolio. We will be launching this product from our Gagillapur site in Hyderabad, India," said Chigurupati.

The drug will be manufactured at the Granules manufacturing facility in Gagillapur, Hyderabad. Granules now have a total of 34 ANDA approvals from the US FDA (32 Final approvals and two tentative approvals).

According to IQVIA Health, Potassium Chloride Extended Release Tablets USP, 10 mEq & 20 mEq had US generic sales of approximately $204 million for the most recent twelve months ending in Aug 2020.

Thu, 22 Oct 2020 13:15:37 +0530
Digangana Suryavanshi Bigg Boss difficult to watch after living in the house

Mumbai, Actress and Bigg Boss 9 contestant Digangana Suryavanshi says watching the popular reality television show can be difficult once you are out of the house. She adds that she is not closely following the ongoing season 14 of Bigg Boss but she is fond of contestants who hail from the television industry.

"I have lived in that house and, honestly, I feel that once you come out after living in that house it becomes very difficult to watch that show. I often watch it on Saturdays and Sundays thanks to (show host) Salman (Khan) sir. I enjoy watching him on television. I have been following bits and pieces of the show. One interesting thing about 'Bigg Boss' is that whether you follow it or not, it is widely discussed on social media, so you kind of get to know what's happening," said Digangana.

TV star Digangana takes a diplomatic line when you ask her to name her favourite contestant in the current season. "There are so many known faces from the television industry in the current season of the show. I am not really following the show but I am fond of almost everyone in the house, especially contestants from the television industry," she said.

Talking about her upcoming projects, she said: "I am very excited for my upcoming projects. Right now, I am doing a Hindi film and a couple of other things. We will soon make formal announcements about those projects. Due to lockdown, our life has become a bit slow, but then I look forward to being on sets very soon."

Digangana will next be seen on screen in the Telugu sports action film "Seetimaarr" along with Tottempudi Gopichand and Tamannaah Bhatia.

Thu, 22 Oct 2020 13:12:14 +0530
Women now represent 28 6 of Microsoft s global workforce

New Delhi, Women now represent 28.6 per cent of the global Microsoft workforce, an increase of 1 percentage point since last year.

However, the tech giant admitted that racial and ethnic minority communities have largely seen incremental progress and there is still much work to be done.

According to Microsoft's ‘2020 Diversity and Inclusion' report released on Wednesday, Asian employees, which include more than a dozen different ethnic groups, represent 34.7 per cent of its US workforce -- an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared to last year.

According to a survey of Microsoft's employees in the US, 6.1 per cent self-identify as having a disability.

"Black or African American employees represent 4.9 per cent of our US workforce, up 0.3 percentage points since 2019," said Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, Chief Diversity Officer at Microsoft.

Hispanic and Latinx employees represent 6.6 per cent of Microsoft's US workforce.

"We see a clear opportunity to improve representation across all levels and roles, especially for Black and African American and Hispanic and Latinx employees, Microsoft said.

The report focuses on three core areas in addition to the data: the ways that diversity and inclusion is integrated into our employee pandemic response, our commitments to addressing racial injustice, and our investment in the Allyship at Microsoft learning path.

An ally is somebody who intentionally engages with empathy and care to support someone else in the way in which they would want to be supported.

"Grounded in neuroscience, the Allyship at Microsoft learning path helps us understand ourselves and encourages us to take responsibility for our individual learning," McIntyre said.

What started in July 2019 as a voluntary learning programme has since evolved into a required training that provides our more than 160,000 global employees a shared language and understanding of the role we each play in creating a culture of inclusion, she informed.

Thu, 22 Oct 2020 13:05:24 +0530
3 in 4 Indian firms saw 25 rise in cyber threats during WFH

New Delhi,  Over three in four organisations in India experienced more than 25 per cent more increase in cyber threats or alerts amid the shift to mass remote working owing to the pandemic, a new Cisco report revealed on Thursday.

As organisations in India witnessed a significant rise in the cyber security challenges, 65 per cent of those surveyed said they adopted cyber security measures to support remote working, according to networking giant Cisco's ‘Future of Secure Remote Work' report.

"As remote work continues to garner traction, organisations are turning their attention to building a robust cybersecurity foundation, with cloud security emerging as the top investment for 31 per cent of companies in reinventing their workplaces post Covid-19," said Vishak Raman, Director, Security Business, Cisco India & SAARC.

With users connecting from outside the corporate walls, secure access is the top cybersecurity challenge faced by the largest proportion of Indian organisations (68 per cent) when supporting remote workers.

Other concerns raised by organisations in the country include data privacy (66 per cent) and protection against malware (62 per cent).

"Cybersecurity is the top priority for 84 per cent of Indian organizations," said the report based on a survey of over 3,000 IT decision-makers globally, including India.

"The pandemic has amplified the criticality of cybersecurity and brought new complexities to the fore," Raman said.

Endpoints are a growing challenge for organisations to protect, as users connect from their home Wi-Fi or use their personal devices to connect to corporate applications.

About two in three respondents stated that office laptops/desktops (66 per cent) and personal devices (58 per cent) posed a challenge to protect in a remote environment, followed by cloud applications at 42 per cent.

"Over half (53 per cent) of the organisations in India said they expect more than half of their workforce to continue working remotely post-pandemic," the report stated.

This compares to an average of just 28 per cent of organisations with more than half of their workforce working remotely before the pandemic.

The report highlighted that 77 per cent of organisations in the region plan to increase their future investment in cybersecurity due to Covid-19.

There are still challenges, though, that need to be addressed.

According to the report, 60 per cent of Indian organisations said that having too many tools/solutions to manage was a challenge faced in reinforcing cybersecurity protocols for remote working, followed by a lack of employee education and awareness (55 per cent).

"Greater focus must be laid on educating and building employee awareness as these endpoints will become the first line of defence for the organisation of the future," Raman said.


Thu, 22 Oct 2020 13:02:17 +0530
Fraud waste and abuse cost 19bn in Afghanistan

Kabul,  Nearly $19 billion of US amount was lost in more than a decade of war in Afghanistan to fraud, waste and abuse, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction's (SIGAR) said in a new report.

As of December 2019, the US Congress appropriated nearly $134 billion since Fiscal Year 2002 for Afghanistan reconstruction. Of that amount, SIGAR reviewed approximately $63 billion and found that nearly $19 billion of amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse, the report said.

SIGAR identified approximately $1.8 billion in waste, fraud, and abuse between January 2018, and December 2019 in its 111 audits, inspections, and special projects reports, and in 55 closed investigations, Tolo news reported.

SIGAR's work through December 31, 2019, resulted in about $3.2 billion in savings for US taxpayers, the group claims.

Most of the losses were attributed to failed counternarcotics and stabilization programs, the report said in a report published Tuesday.

This report adds nearly $3.4 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse to the previously reported amount based on a review of SIGAR's published products and closed investigations. Of this total, SIGAR specifically identified approximately $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds that the group believe was wasted, $300 million that was lost to fraud, and $34 million that was lost due to abuse.

The remaining $1.6 billion was allocated to counternarcotics efforts and the group believes was wasted.

"More than $3 billion was lost in the past two years alone," the report said.

And this was on top of "some $15.5 billion that was lost between 2009 and 2017, "representing nearly a third of all the expenditures SIGAR has reviewed in the years since it was created in 2008 to track US taxpayer dollars spent in Afghanistan," the report said.

90 per cent of the losses were caused by waste, which the report defined as "the act of using or expending resources carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose."

Thu, 22 Oct 2020 12:49:25 +0530
Bihar polls 10 lakh jobs promise draws crowds to RJD

Masaudhi, The promise by RJD's chief ministerial candidate, Tejashwi Yadav to offer 10 lakh jobs to the people of Bihar if it forms government in the state has managed to draw crowds to the party's election rallies ahead of the Assembly polls.

The lucrative offer of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Mahagathbandhan have been so far successful in bringing people out of their homes to listen to Tejashwi at the rally venues.

Tejashwi was in Masaudhi on Wednesday to campaign for an RJD candidate. People had turned out in large number. At one point, the situation seemed to be getting out of control even for police as the people were pushing the barricades and move beyond those makeshift barriers.

Some of the people even broke the barricades after Tejashwi told police personnel to allow them to come to the stage from where he was speaking.

Rahul Sharma, a native of Masaudhi, located around 30 km from Patna, said: "Announcements like 10 lakh jobs in government sector has created huge expectations among common people of Bihar. Hence, people from all section of the society are assembling at rally venues to see him (Tejashwi) and listen to his speech."

Another resident, Ramesh Sagar, said: "There is no doubt about the anti-incumbency factor working against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as he is unable to take care of some of the key issues like inflation, non-creation of jobs, migration, etc. Poor people have become poorest due to the flawed policies.

"On the other hand, there is a politician like Lalu Prasad known for his socialist ways and advocacy for equality. Hence, they are looking at his son Tejashwi Yadav as option," he added.

"The situation is similar to the 2014 parliamentary election where people of the country looking for the change. Let's hope Tejashwi sticks to his and it does not turn out to be a 'jumla'," Sagar said.

Another Masaudhi resident Roshan Paswan said the people of Bihar have lost faith in Nitish Kumar's leadership style.

"He had collected votes by opposing BJP but later joined hands with the same party for his vested interests. He had put the mandate aside. People of Bihar are aware of these developments... He (Nitish) is no longer a trustworthy individual for people of Bihar."

"We are looking at Tejaswi Yadav as face of change. The people of marginalised category are looking upto him as ray of hope," said Sri Krishna Sharma, who had come from Punpun, near Masaudhi.

In the Sankalp Patra of Mahagathbandhan, there are 25 points including loan waiver of farmers, non implementation of newly introduced agriculture bill, no fee for competitive examination, no travelling charges for students from district headquarters to examination centres, etc.

Thu, 22 Oct 2020 12:35:50 +0530
India now has over 76 5L cases

New Delhi,  With a fresh spike of 54,044 coronavirus infections and 717 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally on Wednesday stood at 76,51,107.

Out of these, 7,40,090 are currently active, 67,95,103 have been discharged, while 1,15,914 lost the battle against the pandemic.

The country saw 7,254 more than Tuesday's fresh infections, after witnessing slight decline in new cases.

While the recovery rate stands at 88.81 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.51 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,09,516 cases, including 42,453 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 10,83,608 sample tests in a single day on Tuesday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 9,72,00,379.

According to the ministry, Covid-19 cases on oxygen support (in ICUs, through ventilators and oxygen supported beds) have shown a significant decrease since the last week of September. This aligns with the national decline of active cases to less than 10 per cent of the total cases.

Refuting the widespread reports about the scarcity of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) in the country, the ministry has stated that there has never been any shortage of the medical oxygen in the country in the last 10 months, adding "we are in an extremely comfortable position".

The ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava has stated that the plasma therapy may be deleted from the national clinical protocols for the management of the Covid-19 disease.


Wed, 21 Oct 2020 15:18:11 +0530
Iconic hotel Mani s Chandran passes away

Mr. K.Narayanaswami (67 years) alias Chandran proprietor of the iconic Mani's Lunch home now in Chembur and initially from Matunga, passed away due to massive heart attack. He was admitted to Somaiya medical clinic a week ago because of some medical issue . His funeral will take place at Sion cemetery on Wednesday.

Mr. Narayanaswami who established Matunga Hotel , needed to move to Chembur after 14 years as the structure was under redevelopment . He was a calm and adorable individual. He was additionally mindful in proceeding with the custom of serving Onam Sadhya which was begun by his late dad and furthermore dissemination of Diwali desserts . For this he used to get unadulterated ghee from Coimbatore. 

The excellence of this hotel is serving boundless Sambar and chutney with out additional expense. Narayanaswami likewise would not expand the costs of the things despite the fact that he needed to pay heavy rent at Chembur, The Chembur hotel was begun only four year back. When asked, he used to serve boundless Sambar and Chutney he answered insightfully " My dad used to disclose to me that is paapam (sin) to sell food . So to diminish the quantum of wrongdoing we chose to give in any event sambar and chutney free boundless amount". 

Chandran was an ace of Palghat vegan food served in a plantain leaves..He used to state Sambar should overflow with the fragrance of dhania and hing. In his dying, Mumbai has lost a delicate soul who enjoyed taking care of lakhs of individuals searching for authentic Palghat food.

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 15:12:59 +0530
Slippers thrown at Tejaswi Yadav in Aurangabab

Patna, An unidentified person threw slippers at RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav during his rally in Aurangabad on Tuesday.

A video of this incident also went viral wherein a slipper missed the target first time with a very short distance. While his supporters looked for the person who hurled it, another landed on his lap.

The person was not identified as there was a huge gathering. The supporters of Tejashwi Yadav, however, pointed out that the slippers were thrown right from front of the stage.

Tejashwi Yadav addressed nine rally on Tuesday.

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 09:30:38 +0530
Iconic hotel Mani s Chandran passes away

Mr. K.Narayanaswami (67 years) alias Chandran proprietor of the iconic Mani's Lunch home now in Chembur and initially from Matunga ,, passed away due to massive heart attack. He was admitted to Somaiya medical clinic a week ago because of some medical issue . . His funeral will take place at Sion cemetery on Wednesday.

Mr. Narayanaswami who established Matunga Hotel , needed to move to Chembur after 14 years as the structure was under redevelopment . He was a calm and adorable individual. He was additionally mindful in proceeding with the custom of serving Onam Sadhya which was begun by his late dad and furthermore dissemination of Diwali desserts . For this he used to get unadulterated ghee from Coimbatore. 

The excellence of this hotel is serving boundless Sambar and chutney with out additional expense. Narayanaswami likewise would not expand the costs of the things despite the fact that he needed to pay heavy rent at Chembur, The Chembur hotel was begun only four year back. When asked, he used to serve boundless Sambar and Chutney he answered insightfully " My dad used to disclose to me that is paapam (sin) to sell food . So to diminish the quantum of wrongdoing we chose to give in any event sambar and chutney free boundless amount". 

Chandran was an ace of Palghat vegan food served in a plantain leaves..He used to state Sambar should overflow with the fragrance of dhania and hing. In his dying, Mumbai has lost a delicate soul who enjoyed taking care of lakhs of individuals searching for authentic Palghat food.

Wed, 21 Oct 2020 01:41:04 +0530
ITO Zonal Chairman Priithviraj Kothari felicitated by Governor

MUMBAI: The Zonal Chairman and Founder Member of the Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) Priithviraj Kothari was presented the Bharat Jain Ratna Award by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on Tuesday (20th Oct).
The Award was presented to Kothari in recognition of his multifarious services to the poor and the needy during the Covid-19 pandemic period.
Member of State Legislature from Mira Bhayander Gita Jain, Raj Guru Foundation Trustee Sampatraj Jain, Prashant Jhaveri, Kokilaben Jhaveri, Champalal, Nilesh Shah of Kalyanmastu Parivar, Yogesh Joshi and others were present.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:55:10 +0530
Ahmedabad leads mobile games experience in India Report

New Delhi, Users in Ahmedabad, Navi Mumbai and Vadodara are enjoying the best mobile gaming experience in India, according to a report by mobile analytics company Opensignal.

For the study, Opensignal analysed the mobile network experience in 48 of India's largest cities to see how they stacked up on its "Games Experience" metric.

It measures how users perceive real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on cellular networks -- on a scale of 0-100 -- across some of the most popular genres such as Battle Royale and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, of which Call of Duty and Clash Royale are examples.

"We found that cities in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra dominated our measure of mobile gaming experience in India -- seven of the top ten cities hail from either of the states," Hardik Khatri, who is responsible for developing data-driven insights and analysis at Opensignal wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

The best Games Experience was enjoyed by users in Gujarat's metro city of Ahmedabad with a score of 71.7, followed by Navi Mumbai (70.1) and Vadodara (69.8).

Surat, Bhopal, Mumbai, Gwalior, Indore, Thane and Rajkot round up the top 10 cities, according to the report.

Ahmedabad and Mumbai were the only tier-1 cities that placed in the top ten cities, along with tier-2 and tier-3 cities like Surat, Thane and Rajkot.

In fact, only four out of eight tier-1 cities were within the top 20, with users in Chennai and Hyderabad reporting scores of 63.6 points and 63.1 points respectively, while other Tier 1 cities like Pune (61.5), Bengaluru (61.3), Delhi (59.8) and Kolkata (57.2) were placed further below in the lower half of the chart.

Lastly, at the bottom of the chart with scores below 50 points were Varanasi and Thiruvananthapuram.

India is one of the top five markets for mobile gaming in terms of the number of users. On the back of growing penetration of affordable smartphones, low-cost data, and improved bandwidth, the number of online gamers has risen exponentially over the last couple of years.

And with the growing popularity of esports, mobile gaming has established a foothold beyond the metros in tier-2, tier-3 cities.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:17:57 +0530
Siemens Healthineers to invest Rs 1 300 cr in India innovation hub

Bengaluru,  Global med-tech company Siemens Healthineers on Tuesday said it plans to invest Rs 1,300 crore over the next five years in an innovation hub in Bengaluru.

The investment aims to make India a manufacturing centre for the company's emerging market products.

The innovation hub will be housed in a new campus that will combine R&D and manufacturing to make India a centre of competence for the design and development of entry-level products, said the company headquartered in Erlangen, Germany.

Siemens Healthineers said it plans to hire an additional 1,800 skilled digital tech experts to expand its digital capabilities in the next 10 years.

"This investment is the largest we have ever made in India. It will play a key role in taking our business to the next level by driving digitalisation and expanding our portfolio for emerging markets," Elisabeth Staudinger, President Asia Pacific, Siemens Healthineers, said in a statement.

"The innovation hub in Bengaluru will demonstrate our commitment to advance healthcare through cutting edge digital technologies as well as through accessible and affordable innovations driven from India."

When completed in 2025, the first phase of the new campus will include 70,000 square meters of office space for the enlarged R&D centre and 5,000 square metres of factory space, the company said.

The Bengaluru campus will be one of four innovation hubs of the company, with the other hubs located in the US, Germany, and China.

The innovation hub at Bengaluru will include centres of competence in digital technologies such as data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), immersive technologies like augmented and virtual reality, user experience, and cybersecurity.

Siemens Healthineers said it has already invested about Rs 2,500 crore in R&D in India.

With about 50 per cent of all the software engineers in Siemens Healthineers, the existing R&D centre at Bengaluru plays a strategic role in developing cutting edge software products and platforms for all three segments of the company -- imaging, diagnostics, and advanced therapies.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:14:54 +0530
NDA leaders desperate as Grand Alliance gains ground Tejashwi

Patna,  RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday claimed that National Democratic Alliance leaders were "desperate and disappointed" as the Grand Alliance had gained political ground in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

"The NDA has thrown all its leaders to corner one person. They are desperate and disappointed now due to definite defeat in the political battle in Bihar," the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly said.

"BJP leaders always claimed that their party is the largest in the world but it doesn't have a chief ministerial face in Bihar. They are walking with the help of others' crutches. The BJP and alliance partners are sensing a defeat in the Vidhan Sabha elections," he added.

Referring to an incident in Buxar where a middle-aged person shouted slogans against Nitish Kumar when the Chief Minister was speaking, the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader said that police officials chased him in a bid to gag him forcibly. "The Chief Minister has become unpopular among all sections of people in Bihar," Tejashwi claimed.

As for the Lok Janshakti Party, the RJD leader said that LJP leader Chirag Paswan was aligned with the BJP and he had already proclaimed it from various platforms. "There is no question of an alliance with him even after the elections," Tejashwi said.

The elections for 243 Assembly seats will be held in three phases -- for 71 seats on October 28, for 94 seats on November 3, and remaining 78 on November 7. The results will be announced on November 10.


Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:11:32 +0530
Actor Prithviraj tests Covid positive

Kochi,  Upcoming superstar Prithviraj on Tuesday tested positive for Covid.

He was shooting for his latest film "Jana Gana Mana" here. Along with him the director of the film Dijo Jose Antony also has tested positive.

Consequent to this, the film crew and all those who have come in contact with the two have to go into self isolation, a crew member said.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:07:20 +0530
L T shares rise on hopes of contract for bullet train project

Mumbai, Shares of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) rose over three per cent on the hopes of bagging the contract for constructing the 237 km length of the bullet train project under the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor.

The engineering and infrastructure major has emerged as the lowest bidder for constructing the bullet train project.

The financial bids for the design and construction of 237 km length of viaduct for 508 km of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor were opened on Monday and Larsen and Toubro emerged as the lowest bidder, said a statement from the Indian Railway.

On Tuesday, shares of L&T surged 3.6 per cent on the BSE to touch an intra-day high of Rs 935.60 per share.

At 9.43 a.m., its share price was at Rs 927.55, higher by Rs 24.55 or 2.72 per cent from its previous close.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 13:48:13 +0530
Decline in new Covid cases continues as India s tally nears 76L

New Delhi, With a spike of 46,790 coronavirus cases and 587 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally on Tuesday was 75,97,063 cases.

This is one of the lowest spikes in a single day in the last two and half months.

Out of these, 7,48,538 are currently active; 67,33,328 have been discharged, while 1,15,197 lost the battle against the pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), India's active cases have fallen below eight lakh after six weeks and continue to slide further down.

On Sunday, after denying for months, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that India was in the stage of community transmission but it is limited to only certain districts and states.

While the recovery rate stands at 88.26 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.52 per cent, the MoHFW data said.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 16,01,365 cases, including 42,240 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 10,32,795 sample tests in a single day on Monday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 9,61,16,771.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 12:16:59 +0530
Pro Trump Indian American campaign video stresses safety economy India support

New York,  Safety, the economy and friendship for India are the themes of video ads supporting US President Donald Trump produced by an entrepreneur in the duel of the two political parties Indian-American votes in key states in the November 3 election.

"When I heard Trump had Covid-19, I said, 'What the hell, I must gear up and do something for this guy rather than stay home and fume about the news'," Danny Gaekwad, who has produced a series of video ads backing the President, told IANS about his foray into the campaign.

Describing himself as a grassroots political activist who has stayed away from national politics and has supported both Democrats and Republicans, Gaekwad said that he made an exemption for Trump because he is a "real guy" who "supports India 100 per cent".

He said that till he met Trump he had been turned off from national politics because at that level most leaders were "fakes" and working at the grassroots for local, state and federal legislators was more effective.

Gaekwad, who traces his lineage to the family that had ruled the Baroda princely state, is a serial entrepreneur, developer and investor, is a member of the advisory committee of the 'Indian Voices for Donald Trump' campaign.

Two of his ads on the theme, "Trump hai toh safe hai" (With Trump we're safe), feature clips of him speaking in Ahmedabad earlier this year about the "special place" India has in his heart and extolling Indian-Americans.

About the stress on safety, Gaekwad said that Indian-owned businesses were looted and burned during the Black Lives Matter protests backed by the Democratic Party against police brutality and racism.

He asked: "Is this the Democratic agenda? Indian lives don't matter?"

His videos are straightforward, with direct messages, unlike the video for the Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden with Bollywood music.

Another video released on Monday by Gaekwad makes an appeal to the purse, especially of businesspeople, extolling Trump's economic record as president and as a job-creating entrepreneur while attacking Biden's policies and his personal career of 47 years on the public payroll.

In the ad, he also defends Trump's record in the pandemic crisis asserting that he acted fast and also helped saved businesses like his hotels through the programme to help with payroll when the occupancy plunged.

He takes another jab at Biden, calling him a "China lover".

Besides circulating on social media, Gaekwad claimed that his ads are running on several TV programmes.

Another Trump video ad was circulated earlier this year by the Trump campaign on social media with clips from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Howdy Modi" rally in Texas last year and Trump's Ahmedabad "Namaste Trump" meeting this year, with both leaders proclaiming their and their nations' close friendship.

Credit for the ad's concept was given to Al Mason, the co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, tweeted soon after its release: "America enjoys a great relationship with India and our campaign enjoys great support from Indian-Americans."

Although Indian-American voters are estimated to number only about 1.3 million, they could make a difference in the swing states where neither party has a lock on the voters and could go either way with small margins.

The electoral college made up electors representing states gave Trump the victory in 2016 although he got 2.8 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.

She lost one of the swing states, Wisconsin, by just about 10,000 votes.

Explaining why he shows up in two of the videos with a gun, Gaekwad said that he is a strong defender of the Constitution's Second Amendment giving citizens the right to bear arms, having grown up in India with guns and with a son in the US Army.

Gun rights, which the Democratic Party wants curbed, are an important issue for Trump supporters.

Gaekwad traces his lineage to the Gaekwad family, which was once the ruler of the Baroda princely state.

Asserting that he supported many Democratic politicians like House of Representatives member Raja Krishnamoorthi, Maryland state legislator Kumar Barve and former Iowa state legislator Swati Dandekar, and others he said that he backs all Indian-American candidates in elections at all levels a" as long as they were not anti-India.

Indian-Americans as a tiny minority have to support candidates from the community realising that "if we are not at the table, we will be on the menu", Gaekwad said.

Asked why then he was not supporting Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party's vice-presidential candidate who is of Indian descent, he said: "Her comments are anti-India."

"I am not gonna help Kamala Harris who is running against my candidate Donald Trump" who "stands by his friend India", he said.

Gaekwad claimed that he has not seen Harris proudly say on national TV that she is Indian-American and her recent overtures to the community are only because she thinks it is like a bank cash dispensing machine.

"We have to ask what we get in return" for supporting a candidate, he said.


Tue, 20 Oct 2020 10:23:18 +0530
Delhi Police constable imparting education to slum kids

New Delhi, Concerned about the education of poor children, Delhi Police constable Than Singh has set up a school in a temple behind the Red Fort. He starts his classes at 5 in the evening after he finishes his duty.

He started the school in 2016 with four children but now has almost 50-60 students from nearby slums.

The students between 5-15 years of age greet him when they come to the school in the evening.

Constable Singh also provides books, copies, pencils and food to these children. Some senior officers also hel Singh in this noble cause. Apart from traditional knowledge, Singh teaches moral values in the school and motivates the students to move forward in life.

Parents of these children work as labourers and don't have enough money to afford their children's education.

Constable Singh told IANS, "My only aim is to make these students smart enough to understand what is wrong and what is right, support their parents, are able to write their names and recognise the words written on bus, rickshaw, shop and other places."

"I started this school in 2016, with four children. Today, there are around 50 children. Some of them have gone back to their village due to the lockdown and have not returned," he added.

He said, "I have grown up in slum and know the importance of education. I don't want these children to face the difficulties I have faced. I will try my best to improve the lives of these children. My seniors have also helped me in this initiative. They supported me financially so that I can continue the education of these children."

Singh said that due to Covid-19, he had to make some changes in the school system. Now all the children come with a face mask, sanitizers are also kept at the school and social distancing is also been followed.

Posted at Lal Qila Chowki of Kotwali police station area, Singh has been in Delhi Police for 11 years. He goes to school every day in the evening after completing his duty. In case he gets stuck in some emergency, Ankit Sharma, a class 12th student, takes the responsibility of the school.

Tue, 20 Oct 2020 09:26:24 +0530
Governor presents bicycles to Dabbawalas

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari presented bicycles to Dabbawalas at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on Monday (19th Oct).  Keys of 12 bicycles were handed over by the Governor to Dabbawalas on this occasion. President of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association Subhash Talekar and President of Shri Sai Shraddha Foundation Shubhranshu Dixit were present on the occasion.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 16:45:09 +0530
Just couldn t do ordinary stuff to be picked when MS was around says Karthik

New Delhi,  While MS Dhoni was the regular wicketkeeper-batsman for the Indian team for many years, there was another wicketkeeper-batsman who was making the right strides with his impactful performances - Dinesh Karthik.

"I think throughout my career there's one thing that's for sure -- it was the fact that there was a lot of pressure whenever I played games. Just the fact that I had to be a part of the side I had to be something, it had to be something special. I just couldn't do ordinary stuff and be a part of the side because there was an enigma named MS Dhoni around," said Karthik while speaking with Saurav Ghosal on 'Finish Line'.

"So when you have a player like that around, you have to seize the moments with something special. At times I seized it and at times I did not hence life is not always going to be a bed of roses, at times as an individual you do have to run the tough race as well," he added.

One such brilliant performance from Karthik came at the final of Nidahas Trophy 2018 against Bangladesh, where he hit a six off the final ball to take his team over the finish line.

When Karthik walked into bat at 133/5 with India needing 34 runs from the last two overs, the pressure was certainly on the Men in Blue. However, the wicketkeeper-batsman worked his magic and struck a six over extra cover on the final ball of the match to take India home in what turned out to be one of the most iconic moments for the team in T20I cricket.

Karthik also revealed about the emotions that were running in his head when the team needed 12 runs off the last over.

"There was nervousness when I had to think this is what I need to do. There were a lot of emotions going on inside me. But I think what did help me was the fact that I was prepared. So, I knew one thing, all I needed to do was do what I have done until now which is to get into a good position. Make sure I get a good base and then react to the ball, but there was one belief that I believed that I wasn't going to hit a 4 (in the last ball when India needed five runs to win).

"I was going to go for a six, I was going to go for all or nothing. So, I was going for a six no matter what at that stage. I didn't want a draw (tie). So, I think the preparation in terms of getting deep in the crease, setting myself up for a ball that could probably be a yorker again. But what helped me was I had practiced before to get into a good position and to make sure I went through with the ball. It was one of the toughest shots I played that evening over the covers," he added.

Karthik, 35, has so far played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs and 32 T20Is for Team India.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 16:42:00 +0530
Tripura Mizoram border tension eases after revocation of prohibitory order

Aizawl/Agartala, The fortnight-long tension along the Tripura-Mizoram borders eased after the Mizoram authority following the objection of Tripura government revoked the prohibitory order imposed along the inter-state borders, officials of both the state said on Monday.

Late on Sunday evening Western Mizoram's Mamit district administration revoked the prohibitory order under section 144 Cr Pc that was clamped in Phuldungsei, Zampui and Zomuantlang villages on Friday in view of the commotion caused after proposed construction of a temple in the Tripura territory by an indigenous organisation.

Tripura Home Department's Additional Secretary Anindya Kumar Bhattacharjee in his October 17 strongly-worded letter to Mizoram Home Department's Deputy Secretary David H. Lalthangliana said that the Mamit District Magistrate erroneously included some Tripura territory too when he promulgated the prohibitory orders in the Mizoram bordering areas.

North Tripura district Superintendent of Police Bhanupada Chakraborty said that though the Mizoram authority revoked the prohibitory order, troopers of the Tripura State Rifles and police would remain at Phuldungsei village for some more times."The deployment of security forces was done in view of the controversy over the rebuilding of a temple. However, there is no untoward incident yet or any kind of tension in our side," Chakraborty told IANS on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Mizo Convention, an organisation of Lusai (Mizo), on Monday has also called-off their two-day shutdown in Phuldungsei and nearby areas on October 19 and 20.

Mizo convention President Ziramthiama Pacchu told the media that in view of the prevailing situation they would not go for the strike on Monday and Tuesday. Phuldungsei has populations of both the Hindu Reangs (locally called 'Bru') and Lusai (Mizo), who are Christian.

Tripura authorities last week ordered to stop reconstruction of a temple at the disputed Phuldungsei village along the inter-state border with Mizoram.

Northern Tripura's Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Chandni Chandran in a letter to the Vice-President of Bru Songrongma Mtho Babujoy Reang directed to stop reconstruction of the temple.

The letter said: "A path of discussion and reconciliation involving all the stakeholders is necessary on the issue and you are instructed to not undertake any such activities without the prior permission of the authority taking into account the sensitive nature of the issue involving different communities and strategic locations of Phuldungsei."

"There is an apprehension of a break of law and order, communal clashes as there is an ensuing boundary disputes between Tripura and Mizoram in the area and Phuldungsei village council has objected to the plan," the October 16 letter said.

Bru Songrongma Mtho Vice-President Babujoy Reang said that the makeshift temple exists since 1943 at the Phuldungsei village and the Lusai (Mizo), who are Christians, demolished it and set up a Christian cross in 2013 and were continuously preventing the temple priest Mangaljoy Reang, 68, from doing worshiping.

"I have communicated the matter to the leaders of VHP (Vishva Hindu Parishad) and RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and they would take up the matter with the Tripura government and appropriate authority.

"We had intended to do some rituals on October 19 and 20. But following the order of the administrations we have cancelled these," he told IANS over phone.

Tripura and Mizoram share 109-km inter-state mountainous borders.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 15:55:08 +0530
Samsung unveils interactive e catalogue for safe shopping in India

New Delhi, Samsung on Monday announced an interactive e-catalogue for its diverse portfolio of products aimed at providing a safe and enhanced buying experience for consumers in India.

Through the e-catalogue, consumers will be able to browse through the entire range of smartphones, wearables, televisions and other digital appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, air purifiers, smart ovens and sound devices, the company said in a statement.

"The e-catalogue offers in-depth information on Samsung smartphones and consumer durables that facilitates consumers in making purchase decisions within the comfort and safety of their homes and spending less time at retail stores," said Ashish Bansal, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Samsung India, said in a statement.

The consumers can shortlist and compare models within each product category on key specifications. The e-catalogue offers a similar look and feel across product categories for a consistent experience.

Samsung said it plans to update e-catalogues regularly with information on latest products.

The company has also launched a ‘Reward Yourself' programme where consumers get flat 10 per cent cashback with HDFC Bank credit and debit cards and SBI credit cards, exciting bundle offers and a range of other benefits on Samsung's wide portfolio of smartphones, wearables and tablets.

"Our indigenous platforms like Samsung Finance+ and Samsung Care+ have created unique propositions for consumers to create affordable offers with complete peace of mind," said Mohandeep Singh, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.

The ‘Reward Yourself' programme covers a large number of smartphones, tablets and wearables.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:22:15 +0530
Bankey Bihari temple shut indefinitely due to huge crowds

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh),  The famous Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan will remain shut 'indefinitely' from Monday, barely two days after it was reopened for devotees.

The temple had reopened on Saturday, the first day of 'Navratri', after a seven-month closure due to the lockdown. More than 25,000 devotees turned up to offer prayers at the famous temple.

Before opening the temple, its management had issued a notice saying that only 400 devotees will be allowed in a day.

"200 devotees will get the chance of "darshan" in the first slot from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Another 200 devotees will be allowed in the next shift between 5.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.," the notice read.

The committee had also decided to give entry to those who come after registering themselves on the online portal.

The huge crowd that had gathered when the temple reopened, posed a major challenge to the temple committee, which failed to enforce social distancing norms and the local police were called in for help.

Amid allegations of 'mismanagement', the committee decided to shut the doors for a course correction.

"The temple will remain shut for devotees from October 19 till further orders. It will reopen for 'darshan' of Lord Krishna after proper coordination with the district administration and police to ensure security of devotees during this pandemic," a temple management said in a notice.

According to Mathura District Magistrate, Sarvagya Ram Mishra, "Police were deployed outside the temple for crowd management but the turnout of devotees was huge as it was the first day of Navratri. The online registration system was also not working and the chaos increased. We could not have taken action against the devotees as it is a matter of faith."

Devotees from far off places like Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan had reached Mathura for 'darshan' on Saturday.

A senior police officer said that once the online registration system is in place, it will be easy to control the crowd.

"Then the temple officials can allow only those who have confirmation of a particular slot for darshan," he said.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:15:16 +0530
Kapil Wadhawan offers family assets to repay DHFL lenders

Mumbai, Kapil Wadhawan, promoter of the bankrupt Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), has offered the monetisation of his family's properties which he says are worth around Rs 43,000 crore for repayment towards the lenders.

In a letter to the RBI-appointed administrator of DHFL, R. Subramaniakumar, Wadhawan said that as bids come in for the acquisition of the company, it is necessary that the right value is received for all the properties and no attempt is to be made to mislead or suppress the value.

Wadhawan has requested the administrator to allow him to make suggestions and facilitate the resolution process of DHFL.

"I may straightaway say that I am willing to offer and I propose that I may be allowed to offer the properties owned even by the family at your disposal to be monetized in the most appropriate manner to ensure repayment to the lenders of DHFL," he said.

He said that the total value of the properties would at least be Rs 43,040 crore.

He noted that DHFL repaid around Rs 44,000 crore since September 2018.

Claiming that his paramount concern has been a successful resolution of DHFL and maximization of value of its assets during the resolution, Wadhawan said: "I propose that I be allowed to transfer the right, title and interest in the various projects which form part of the real estate portfolio of the family to DHFL to enable a proper and complete resolution of DHFL and to maximize the value of the properties."

Citing a valuation report he wrote that the valuation of the concerned projects is about Rs 43,879 crore, and said that that value is 15 per cent lower than the market value.

The offered projects include the Juhu Galli project where potential revenue is about Rs 32,000 crore, IRLA project revenue is about Rs 44,000 crores, as per Wadhawan.

In the letter dated October 17, Wadhawan hoped that the resolution process is concluded in a positive manner.

However he said "the unfounded allegation being made against me will negatively affect the entire process."

The deadline for submitting bids for DHFL ended on Saturday and four resolution plans were submitted.

Adani Group, Piramal Enterprises, US-based Oaktree and Hong Kong-headquartered SC Lowy have submitted their bids for the insolvent Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL), sources said.

In November last year, the Reserve Bank of India referred DHFL for bankruptcy under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Its resolution is now underway at the Mumbai bench of NCLT.

The total admitted debt of DHFL is over Rs 90,000 crore.


Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:09:36 +0530
R D expenditure by listed entities remains low

New Delhi, Expenditure in research and development (R&D) by listed companies remains low, as only 409 listed firms invested a total of Rs 36,000 crore on R&D in the last financial year (2019-20).

As per a report by ICICI Securities, the expenditure accounts for only 0.9 per cent of the total revenue of the all the 409 companies taken together.

It said that the top sectors spending on R&D included auto with an expenditure of Rs 11,100 crore, pharma (Rs 10,600 crore), industrials and energy (Rs 8,200 crore), and IT (Rs 2,300 crore).

"Private sector investment in R&D at 37 per cent is much lower than government and is a departure from global trend of higher contribution by private sector," the ICICI Securities report said.

It said that R&D spend in India has remained stable at 0.7 per cent of GDP since 2014. However, it is relatively low as compared with other emerging economies (1-1.5 per cent) and significantly lower than developed economies and China (over 2 per cent).

It is a consensus view that higher R&D spend and innovations result in improvement in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) in an economy, thereby boosting GDP growth, the report said, adding that India will require higher R&D spend, especially from the private sector to boost TFP to over 3 per cent for achieving over 8 per cent growth.

To grow rapidly, economies need to post high TFP growth. Past cross-country evidence shows that countries that post over 3 per cent TFP growth record sharp (over 8 per cent) growth rate. However, it may be difficult to sustain over 3 per cent TFP growth for long periods, especially after large negative shocks.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 13:04:14 +0530
Maryam Nawaz s husband arrested in Karachi

Karachi, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said on Monday that her husband and former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law, retired Captain Mohammad Safdar had been arrested from a hotel in Karachi.

Taking to Twitter, Maryam Nawaz said: "Police broke my room door at the hotel I was staying at in Karachi and arrested Capt. Safdar. I was in the room, sleeping, when they barged in."

She even posted videos showing the lock of the hotel room door was on the floor after the police barged in

The development came a day after Safdar raised anti-government slogans at Muhammad Ali Jinnah mausoleum on Sunday before the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) second power show in Karachi, reports Dawn news.

An FIR was registered against Maryam Nawaz, Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of the mausoleum.

Meanwhile, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, has denied the PML-N Vice President's claims.

"Appreciate the quick action taken by IG Sindh against the the hooligans who disrespected Mazar-e-Quaid. Law must take its course. Maryam once again lying that the hotel door was broken. Video shows otherwise. Do u see any handcuffs? Does it look like he was arrested by force?"

The police are however, yet to confirm or comment on the arrest.


Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:46:19 +0530
BJP a party of horrors says Left leader in Bihar rally

Patna,  After the BJP that Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation was involved in caste massacres during the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) regime in Bihar in the past, Left party General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya dubbed the BJP "a party of horrors".

Reacting to the statement that the 'jungle raj' would return if the Mahagathbandhan won the Bihar Assembly elections, he said that the BJP-ruled states in the country have 'super jungle raj' at the moment.

"You can see in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where mob lynching, rapes, murders, fake encounters are frequently happening every day. The crimes in the BJP-ruled states are 10 times higher compared with so-called jungle raj of the RJD rule," Bhattacharya said on Sunday evening while addressing a rally in Muktapur in Bihar's Samastipur district.

Earlier in the day, Bijender Yadav, incharge of BJP affairs in Bihar in this election, said the RJD has given space to the Left parties in the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) to promote their extremist Left ideology in Bihar. The CPI(ML) is involved in many massacres during the RJD tenure and it will be repeated if they come to power, said Yadav.

The CPI-MLL is contesting 19 seats as an alliance partner in the Mahagathbandhan.

Bhattacharya also attacked Union Minister of State for Home affairs Nityanand Rai, who said that if the Mahagathbandhan came into power Kashmiri militants would take shelter in Bihar.

"I believe farmers have reached a horrifying position in the country due to the bad policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre. The agriculture sector and farmers have reached a dead end and Ambani and Adani are ruling the country," Bhattacharya said.

"The leaders of the BJP have already realised that they have lost the political ground in Bihar. Hence, they are making provocative statements to polarise the voters. The BJP leaders are extremely panicky," he said


Mon, 19 Oct 2020 12:43:20 +0530
Congress alleges Gujarat MLAs left in lieu of money

New Delhi, Ahead of bypolls in Gujarat which is necessitated by the resignation of Congress MLAs in the state, the party has levelled allegation that these MLAs were bought by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said,"A case should be registered under Prevention of Corruption Act and other relevant sections of the IPC. A Supreme Court sitting judge or at least a sitting Chief Justice of a High Court must conduct an enquiry into this scam."

Singhvi said Akshay Patel and Kankaria had admitted on tape that they received money and even BJP ticket in the upcoming bypolls in Gujarat. Five of the eight MLAs who resigned have been given tickets for the forthcoming bypolls.

Eight Assembly seats will go to the polls in Gujarat on November 3, while the counting of votes will take place on November 10.

Apart from Kiritsinh Rana, the BJP has fielded five Congress turncoats who joined the BJP as its candidates -- Pradyumansinh Jadeja from Abdasa, Brijesh Merja from Morbi, JV Kakadiya from Dhari, Jeetu Chaudhary from Kaprada and Akshay Patel from Karjan.

The saffron party has also fielded former state minister and ex-Deputy Speaker Atmaram Parmar from the Gadhada (SC) seat and former legislator Vijay Patel from the Dangs assembly seat.

Besides Khachar, the Congress has fielded Babu Vadthaa from Kaprada, Suryakant Gamit from Dangs, Shantilal Sanghani from Abdasa, Jayantibhai Patel from Morbi, Suresh Kotadiya from Dhari, Mohanbhai Solanki from Gadhada and Kiritsinh Jadeja from Karjan as its candidates.

Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:34:08 +0530
India successfully test fires Brahmos missile form navy ship

New Delhi,  India successfully test fires Brahmos supersonic cruise missile from Indian Navy's stealth destroyer on Sunday.

"Brahmos, the supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired today on 18th October 2020 from Indian Navy's indigenously-built stealth destroyer INS Chennai, hitting a target in the Arabian Sea," the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said in a statement.

The missile hit the target successfully with pin-point accuracy after performing high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres.

Brahmos as 'prime strike weapon' will ensure the warship's invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges, thus making the destroyer another lethal platform of Indian Navy.

The highly versatile Brahmos has been jointly designed, developed and produced by India and Russia.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO, BrahMos and Indian Navy for the successful launch.

Chairman DRDO G. Satheesh Reddy, congratulated the scientists and all personnel of DRDO, BrahMos, Indian Navy and industry for the successful feat.

He stated that Brahmos missiles will add to the capabilities of Indian Armed Forces in many ways.

Sun, 18 Oct 2020 14:03:47 +0530
HDFC Bank s Q2FY21 net profit rises over 18

Mumbai,  Lending major HDFC Bank on Saturday reported a 18.4 per cent increase in standalone net profit for the quarter ended September 30 of FY21 on year-on-year (YoY) basis.

The bank's net profit for the second quarter of FY21 rose to Rs 7,513.1 crore on a YoY basis.

"While the previous quarter largely bore the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the softness continued into the current quarter, leading to lower retail loan origination, use of debit and credit cards by customers, efficiency in collection efforts and waivers of certain fees," the bank said in a statement.

"As a result, fees or other incomes were lower by approximately Rs 800 crore. However, the loan and card momentum has improved over the previous quarter, thereby reducing the gap to less than half," it added.

Besides, the bank's net interest income (interest earned less interest expended) for the quarter ended September 30 grew by 16.7 per cent to Rs 15,776.4 crore from Rs 13,515.0 crore for the corresponding period of the previous year.

"The bank's continued focus on deposits helped in the maintenance of a healthy liquidity coverage ratio at 153 per cent, well above the regulatory requirement," the statement said.

As per the statement, the bank continues to hold provisions as on September 30, 2020 against the potential impact of Covid-19 based on the "information available at this point in time and the same are in excess of the RBI prescribed norms".

The bank held floating provisions of Rs 1,451 crore and contingent provisions of Rs 6,304 crore as on September 30, 2020.

"Total provisions (comprising specific, floating, contingent and general provisions) were 195 per cent of the reported gross NPAs or 154 per cent of proforma gross NPAs as on September 30, 2020," the statement said.

In terms of the Q2FY21 consolidated financial results, the bank reported net profit of Rs 7,703 crore, up 16 per cent over the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Besides, consolidated advances grew by 14.9 per cent from Rs 947,440 crore as on September 30, 2019 to Rs 1,088,948 crore as on September 30, 2020.

Sun, 18 Oct 2020 09:48:16 +0530
Muslims in France condemn teacher s killing near Paris

Paris, Muslims and community leaders in France condemned the killing of a teacher in a Paris suburb, calling for not associating Islam with such heinous acts.

On Friday afternoon, a history teacher was stabbed and killed in a Paris suburb. He had reportedly shown his pupils cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression.

"Nothing justifies killing an innocent person for his convictions. Islam calls for tolerance and to accept the others as they are," Ibrahim, a worker at a pharmaceutical company, told Xinhua on Saturday.

"True Muslims are not extremists. Wearing djellaba (long dress) or veil, being bearded don't mean being terrorists. Terrorists are acting for things which have no relation with Islam," he said.

The 51-year-old practicing Muslim added he planned to join the gathering to pay tribute to the killed teacher on Sunday afternoon to denounce terrorism and send a message of peace.

Hafiz Chems-eddine, rector of Grand Paris mosque, said he was "horrified" by the crime.

"All the more horrified as this attack is being carried out in the name of my religion, Islam. That's enough," he tweeted.

Tareq Oubrou, imam of a Bordeaux mosque, said he was "downcast because it is an unspeakable act which is perpetrated in the name of a religion which has nothing to do with an ignoble act."

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday evening condemned the "Islamic terrorist attack," calling on the French to stand together while pledging quick and firm action by the government to combat terrorism.

Last month, a man stabbed two people outside the former offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris after it republished the controversial caricatures mocking Prophet Muhammad to emphasize the right to free speech.

The magazine was the target of a mass shooting in 2015 which left 11 dead.

Sun, 18 Oct 2020 09:28:16 +0530
PM Modi says use poll experience for vaccine delivery system

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reviewed the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country and the preparedness of vaccine delivery, distribution, and administration.

The Prime Minister noted the steady decline in the daily Covid cases and growth rate. He further directed that the country should make use of experience gained in successful conduct of elections and disaster management for the vaccine delivery system.

Modi said that in a similar manner the vaccine delivery and administration systems should be put in place.

Three vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which 2 are in Phase II and one is in Phase-III. Indian scientists and research teams are collaborating and strengthening the research capacities in neighbouring countries - Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

There are further requests from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar and Bhutan for clinical trials in their countries. In an effort to help the global community, Modi further directed that we should not limit our efforts to our immediate neighbourhood but also reach out to the wider world in providing vaccines, medicines and IT platforms for vaccine delivery systems.

National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with state governments and all relevant stakeholders have prepared and presented a detailed blueprint of vaccine storage, distribution and administration.

The Expert Group in consultation with the states is working actively on vaccine prioritisation and distribution of vaccines. The Prime Minister further directed that keeping in view the geographical span and diversity of the country, the access to the vaccine should be ensured speedily.

He stressed that every step in the logistics, delivery, and administration should be put in place rigorously. It must include advanced planning of cold storage chains, distribution network, monitoring mechanism, advance assessment, and preparation of ancillary equipment required, such as vails, syringes etc.

Modi said that it should involve the participation of states, UTs, district level functionaries, civil society organisations, volunteers, citizens, and experts from all necessary domains. The entire process should have a strong IT backbone and the system should be designed in such a manner so as to have a lasting value to our healthcare system.

Two pan-India studies on the genome of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19 virus) in India conducted by ICMR and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) suggest that the virus is genetically stable and there is no major mutation in the virus.

The Prime Minister concluded by cautioning against complacency and keeping up efforts to contain the pandemic. He insisted on continued social distancing, Covid-appropriate behaviour such as wearing masks, regularly washing hands and sanitation etc especially in the wake of the upcoming festive season.

The meeting was attended by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Principal Secretary to PM, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Principal Scientific Advisor, senior scientists, officers of PMO, and other departments of the government of India.

Sat, 17 Oct 2020 18:45:23 +0530
Shreya Chaudhry on how Bandish Bandits changed her life

Mumbai,  The recent web series, Bandish Bandits, is a hit and Shreya Chaudhry, its budding heroine, is happy that people have recognised her efforts.

Shreya, who played a pop star in the series, said: "I think the most significant change post 'Bandish Bandits' in my life is that people are identifying me for my work. I wake up every day to messages from people, and there is nothing more rewarding than the love of fans."

Speaking on how the success of the show changed her life, Shreya said: "'Bandish Bandits' gave me much more than expected. It's been a huge source of happiness amidst these trying times and it fills me with immense joy when people say they felt the same while watching it."

The musical web series follows the story of two lovers from different musical backgrounds. It also features Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Sheeba Chaddha, Rajesh Tailang and Kunaal Roy Kapur, and casts Shreya opposite Ritwik Bhowmik, who essays a classical singer.

"I have been receiving many offers and hopefully when the time is right, we can talk about my future projects," Shreya added.

Before "Bandish Bandits", Shreya was featured in filmmaker Imtiaz Ali's 2018 short " The Other Way" and the feature film "Dear Maya".

Sat, 17 Oct 2020 12:04:52 +0530
Air India to operate flights to Germany from October 26

New Delhi,  National carrier Air India on Friday said it will operate flights to Germany from October 26.

The airline, in a tweet, said: "#FlyAI: Air India will operate flights between India-Germany from 26th Oct' 20 to 28th March '21."

The announcement indicated that a breakthrough in 'Air Bubble' negotiations has been achieved between India and Germany.

Recently, issues had occurred regarding the number of flights being operated by Lufthansa and Air India between the two countries.

These issues lead to a virtual breakdown of the previous agreement, and consequently, Lufthansa and Air India had to cancel their flights between India and Germany.

India had formalised an 'Air Bubble' agreement with Germany in July 2020. This type of arrangement allows nationals of both the countries to travel in either direction.

Sat, 17 Oct 2020 09:21:07 +0530
Republican Hindu group scaling back campaign for Trump

Washington,  During the 2016 election campaign around this time, then-candidate Donald Trump addressed a large, glamorous rally of thousands of cheering Hindus, the first time a US presidential candidate reached out to the followers of the faith

But this time there won't be such an event.

The Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), which organised the event on October 15, 2016, in New Jersey, is scaling back its campaign for Trump and will not hold events for him unless he gives an assurance on immigration reform, according to its founder Shalabh Kumar.

Kumar told IANS that he and the group's members would continue to support Trump and urge Hindus to vote for him, but will not hold any campaign events like the one in 2016 which was attended by over 8,000 people.

In the US, electioneering based on religious appeal is legal and common at all levels.

"We are asking all our members to support Trump in their individual capacity to vote for Trump and for Republicans in general," Kumar said.

"But in terms of major campaign events like what we did in New Jersey and what we did with 'Apki Baar Trump Sarkar' commercial which we aired every day, we are waiting for a meeting with the President to clarify his position particularly on the Green Card backlog," he said.

He asserted that the RHC had about 50,000 members and because the Hindus came from all over the world, their number in the US exceeded that of immigrants coming directly from India and their children.

While the Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden is not carrying out large campaign rallies because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump has been holding them and it should be possible to organise a Hindu event for him.

The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has launched an outreach under its own umbrella called the 'Hindu Voices for Trump', as part of a multi-pronged drive that also separately targets Sikhs, Muslims and Indian-Americans in general.

But it has been acting low key, not organising any big campaign events for Hindus and it emphasises religious freedom and economic opportunities.

For the first time, Democrats have also reached out to members of the religion with a "Hindus for Biden" initiative spearheaded by Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House of Representatives.

In the past, the Democrats' explicit outreach had been to religions like Islam and Judaism and excluded Hinduism.

Noting the change in the Democratic Party, Kumar quipped: "We have at least made the Hindu word popular."

He said that as a "very issue-oriented, policy-oriented organisation", the RHC requires a commitment from Trump on immigration reform and clearing the Green Card backlog, which it considers is important to the community and would ramp up its campaign for him once it is received.

While Trump speaks of merit-based immigration there are about a million people caught up in the Green Card backlog and "they are in great pain", he said.

The RHC wants a commitment from Trump that he would introduce a system of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that would allow people waiting for five or more years for their Green Cards to indefinitely work and live in the US till their numbers come up for it, he said.

According to Republican Senator Mike Lee's estimate, the backlog is so bad that for some Indians the wait could take 195 years for a Green Card, which gives permanent immigrant status and puts the recipients in the pipeline to full citizenship.

The EAD would be a bridge to Green Card pending immigration reforms to clear the backlog, Kumar said.

Trump would also have to come out more clearly on the Citizenship Amendment Act that gives expedited Indian citizenship to Christian, Hindu and Buddhist refugees fleeing persecution in Islamic nations in South Asia, and on the Indian government withdrawing the special constitutional status of Kashmir.

In 2016, Kumar said "we had an agreement from Trump" on four issues that the RHC raised "before we endorsed his and went out all the way for him".

The issues were holding Pakistan accountable for terrorism, the sale of advanced weapons systems to India, the supply of liquid natural gas to India and advancing US-India relations, he said.

Candidate Trump agreed to the conditions and as president he has delivered on them, Kumar said.

That is a reason for the uptick in support among Indian-Americans for Trump, he said.

Regarding the immigration issue, he said: "There is bipartisan support and we want to make sure that that issue gets taken care of, whether Trump gets re-elected, which, of course, we want -- I am a hard-core conservative � (and) at the same time looking at the reality on the ground, if Vice President Biden become the president, we want that issue to be taken care of."

Sat, 17 Oct 2020 09:15:55 +0530
Fire breaks out in multi storey residential building in Kolkata

Kolkata,  A fire broke out in a multi-storey residential building in Kolkata's Ganesh Chandra Avenue on Friday night, fire services department sources said.

Police said at least two people feared dead in the accident so far.

According to media reports, an elderly lady was trapped inside a washroom and died while a young boy jumped off from the building's roof in fright as the blaze engulfed the upper floors.

At least 10 fire tenders and a hydraulic ladder were pressed into service to rescue the residents trapped inside the building.

Some people are still trapped inside the building and a rescue operation is currently going on, reports said.

Sat, 17 Oct 2020 09:09:45 +0530
Remdesivir does not help hospitalised Covid 19 patients WHO study

Geneva,  Anti-viral drug remdesivir has little or no effect in the recovery and mortality of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, said a World Health Organisation (WHO) study, giving a big blow to the hope that the drug from US-based Gilead Sciences raised in combating the pandemic.

The WHO said that the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial produced "conclusive evidence" on the effectiveness of repurposed drugs for Covid-19 in record time -- just six months.

Interim results from the world's largest randomised control trial on Covid-19 therapeutics have been uploaded as preprint at medRxiv, the WHO said, adding that the results are under review for publication in a medical journal.

The study, which spans more than 30 countries, looked at the effects of these treatments on overall mortality, initiation of ventilation, and duration of hospital stay in hospitalised patients.

The results from the study indicate that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of Covid-19 among hospitalised patients.

"These remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalised Covid-19, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay," said the study.

The study conducted in 405 hospitals across 30 countries involved 11,266 adults.

Remdesivir was only drug that received Emergency Use Authorisation for Covid-19 from the US Food and Drug Administration.


Fri, 16 Oct 2020 17:22:39 +0530
Cinemas reopen Day one sees dull start but trade experts positive

New Delhi,  Cinemas in several states including Delhi-NCR opened doors to patrons on Friday after seven months the turnout everywhere has been far from impressive, owing to the Covid scare. Industry experts however are happy to resume operations and expect footfalls to improve by the weekend ahead.

The Centre has allowed 50 per cent occupancy in cinema halls as of now, amod stringent Covid precaution measures.

"We weren't expecting it to houseful from day one. We didn't even expect to have 50 per cent occupancy. About 50 to 60 people turned up for the 12 pm show of 'Housefull 4'," Raj Kumar Mehrotra, general manager at the Capital's Delite Cinema, told IANS.

"But we are very happy that things have started. Today, 50 to 60 people are sitting in the hall. If they inform their family members, that it is safe to watch a film in a theatre, then the cycle would start. People are still afraid and the fear needs to be removed gradually," he added.

Kunal Sawhney, Senior Vice President, Operations, Carnival Cinemas, agreed that the first show response was not great.

"Cinema halls in Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Gujarat have opened. We had around 25 to 30 people attending the morning show that started at 11am. I suppose it will go up by evening with word of mouth. We expect the turnout to improve over the weekend. We are screening films such as 'Section 375', 'War', 'Malang', and 'Queen', besides regional films in Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali," Sawhney told IANS.

Yogesh Raizada, Director, Wave Cinemas, also said the footfalls aren't overwhelming yet.

"We have opened theatres after a seven-month gap, and there is no new content. Even otherwise, this has always been a dull period. Pre-Diwali and pre-Navratri is always a dull period, and these are extraordinary times. As far as occupancy is concerned, we should not discuss this right now," he said.

More than occupancy in the immediate scenario, the focus for the cinema exhibition business right now seems to be on confidence-building measures to woo back the audience.

"In terms of sanitisation, hygiene, and maintaining overall environment of cinemas as per protocols and following government guidelines, we want to bring the audience back to cinemas," said Raizada.

While the fear of contracting Covid-19 is mostly the cause of people skipping the theatrical experience right now, it seems like old content being screened isn't getting the patrons excited either.

Would theatrical release of films that have already streamed on OTT over the past months be a smart idea, as a section of the trade is mulling? Raizada is against the idea.

"If we do this, we will set a wrong precedent. Everyone will say that movies should release simultaneously (on OTT and theatres). Then the cinema hall experience will lose its charm," he said.

Explaining his point further, Raizada said: "Any movie that releases in a theatre goes to OTT or small screen only after eight weeks (of theatrical run) or so. That way, the movie gets its due run and a bigger frame experience. After that, it goes to the small screen."

Mehrotra weighed in on the topic and said: "For every film, there is a commercial agreement. Today, OTT is a different platform. So obviously, while striking an agreement with producers they must have obtained exclusive rights saying that the producer can't release the film elsewhere apart from that specific OTT platform. Due to this, others can't play the film. So, we didn't even try (to get the films released on OTT platforms)."

Looking forward, he noted that new films will be releasing in soon. "From October 30 onwards, we will be screening the Hollywood film 'The New Mutants'. Others films will follow," Mehrotra noted.

Till then, they are just happy to open doors to the public.

"It is extremely exciting to be back in action. Millions of movie lovers across the country have been waiting for cinemas to resume operations. We are certain that the SOPs prescribed by the I and B Ministry, clubbed with some of our exciting technology-driven measures and concepts like private screening, will help us welcome back guests in our own unique style," said Alok Tandon, CEO, INOX Leisure Limited. Tandon is also Director at Multiplex Association of India (MAI).

Devang Sampat, CEO of Cinepolis India, added that the exhibition industry has been one of the most affected industries in India owing to the lockdown. "Cinema theatres were one of the first establishments to be closed mid-March. So, we are excited as we open the doors to patrons across multiple cities in India today. We have been receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from our patrons on social media. We look forward to providing a world class movie experience."


Fri, 16 Oct 2020 17:17:14 +0530
Life insurance companies to offer Saral Jeevan Bima from Jan 1

New Delhi, The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has directed all life insurance companies to offer a standard term insurance plan – Saral Jeevan Bima – from January 1 next year.

"Customers who cannot devote adequate time and energy to make informed choices find it difficult to select the right product. Also, products may not be available for the intended sum assured. So we felt the need to introduce a standard, individual term life insurance product, with simple features and standard conditions," Irdai said.

"A standard product will make it easier for the customers to make an informed choice, enhance the trust between the insurers and the insured, and reduce mis-selling as well as potential disputes at the time of a claim settlement," the regulator added.

The Saral Jeevan Bima will be a pure term life insurance product that can be purchased by people in the age group of 18 to 65 years and will have a policy term of 4 to 40 years. The standard term life insurance will mandatorily offer a sum assured between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 25 lakh. The Irdai, however, allows the life insurance companies to offer a higher sum assured as well without changing any conditions.

The Saral Jeevan Bima will have no maturity benefit and will have a 45-day waiting period. On exclusions in the policy, the guidelines said "only suicide clause, as per extant regulations".

It further said the product should be offered to individuals without restrictions on gender, place of residence, travel, occupation or educational qualifications.

The regulator feels such a standard product will reduce instances of mis-selling and disputes at the time of claim settlement.

In its circular, the Irdai asked all the life insurance companies to file the product with the Irdai latest by December 31 this year. "However, insurers may file the product earlier and offer the same on approval even before January 1, 2021," the insurance regulator said.

Fri, 16 Oct 2020 17:07:19 +0530
Trump raises 135mn less than Biden in Sep

Washington,  US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee have announced a joint fundraising haul of $247.8 million in September, but it was far behind than the $383 million raised by his Democratic rival Joe Biden.

In September 2016, the then Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton had only raised $154 million, CNN said in a report on Friday.

In a video announcing the latest figure, Biden shared the news with a grassroots supporter.

"That's more money than I've ever raised in my whole life. I'm really humbled by it."

With just 18 days left for the November 3 election, Biden also has $432 million worth of cash in hand, while the Trump campaign has $251.4 million.

Despite the disadvantage, the Trump campaign said that it was confident they will have enough resources to sustain the effort to re-elect the President.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Tim Murtaugh, the campaign's communications director, said: "President Trump hits final stretch with strength, resources, record and huge ground game needed to spread message and secure re-election."


Fri, 16 Oct 2020 16:58:42 +0530
Kyrgyzstan to hold prez polls no later than Jan 10 PM

Bishkek,  Kyrghyzstan will hold its presidential election no later than January 10, 2021, the newly-appointed Prime Minister Sadyr Zhaparov, who has declared himself as acting president, said on Friday.

The announcement came a day after Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the fifth President of the Central Asian country, resigned in order to restore stability in the country following weeks of unrest that resulted from a disputed election.

Addressing an extraordinary session of Parliament on Friday morning, Zhaparov said both the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held within the framework of the law, adding that consultations will be held soon to decide on the dates.

He also proposed lowering the threshold to enter Parliament up to 5 per cent, and reducing the electoral deposit from 5 million Kyrgyz soms to 1 million soms, as well as the number of deputies from 120 to 90 or 70.

"When such a Parliament comes, then we will be able to go for constitutional reform," he said.

Kyrgyzstan, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has been gripped by unrest sparked by allegations of vote buying and impropriety in the October 4 parliamentary elections, in which 16 political parties participated.

Preliminary results showed that four parties crossed the 7 per cent threshold to enter Parliament.

Some parties which failed to meet the threshold organized nationwide protests the next day, demanding the annulment of the elections and claiming gross violations.

The protests led to clashes between the police and protesters.

Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission (CEC) later annulled the results of the elections.

Fri, 16 Oct 2020 16:52:33 +0530
India giving free ration to 80 cr poor amid pandemic PM

New Delhi,  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India has been providing free ration to about 80 crore poor for the last 7 to 8 months during coronavirus pandemic, which entails a cost of around Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

Modi said this after releasing a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination to mark the 75th anniversary of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The Prime Minister also dedicated 17 recently developed biofortified varieties of 8 crops to the nation.

"India is fighting a strong battle against malnutrition during Covid crisis with the help of farmers, anganwadi workers, scientists and ASHA workers.

"They are the basis of the movement against malnutrition. They have made us self- reliant with godowns full of food grains and also helping to reach out to the poor.

"After 2014, we have changed the approach and closed all silos and started working on multidimensional aspects and strategy," the Prime Minister said

Modi said that Indian government was working to give more strength to the small farmers. "The government is working to give MSP that is 1.5 times the input cost."

Modi also congratulated the FAO for receiving this year's Nobel Peace Prize and thanked the agency for accepting India's proposal for declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millet.

The journey of FAO in making the vulnerable classes and masses stronger, economically and nutritionally, has been unparalleled.

India has rolled out an ambitious POSHAN Abhiyaan to target over 100 million people to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anaemia, and low birth weight.

Malnutrition is a global problem with two billion people suffering from micronutrient deficiency. Nearly 45 per cent of deaths among children are linked to malnutrition.

The 17 new biofortified varieties of 8 crops dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister will have up to 3.0-fold increase in nutritional value.

These varieties, along with other food ingredients, will transform the normal Indian thali into 'nutri-thali'. These varieties have been developed by utilising local varieties.

The high-zinc rice has been developed from landraces of Assam rice collected from Garo Hills and those of finger millets from Gujarat's Dang district.

ICAR has started Nutri-Sensitive Agricultural Resources and Innovations (NARI) programme for promoting family farming linking agriculture to nutrition, nutri-smart villages for enhancing nutritional security and location specific nutrition garden models are being developed and promoted by KVKs to ensure access to locally available, healthy and diversified diet with adequate macro and micronutrients.

The production of bio-fortified crop varieties will be upscaled and linked with government programmes of midday meal, Anganwadi to reduce malnutrition and make India Kuposhan Mukta through naturally enriched food ingredients. This will also usher in higher income of farmers and will open new avenues of entrepreneurship development.

India has had long association with the FAO, with Indian Civil Service officer Binay Ranjan Sen acting as the Director General of FAO during 1956-1967. The World Food Programme, which has won the Nobel Peace Prize 2020, was established during his term.

India's proposals for the International Year of Pulses in 2016 and the International Year of Millets 2023 have also been endorsed by FAO.


Fri, 16 Oct 2020 16:46:09 +0530
Another Dalit girl raped murdered in Barabanki UP

Barabanki (Uttar Pradesh), Even before the dust could settle completely over the Hathras incident, another Dalit girl has been allegedly raped and strangulated in a village in Barabanki district.

The girl's body was found on Wednesday in a paddy field.

The police had initially filed a murder case against an unidentified person but after the post-mortem report confirmed sexual assault, the charge of rape under IPC section 376 was added to the FIR.

According to additional SP (Barabanki) Ram Sewak Gautam, "The FIR, on Wednesday, was registered under section 302 of the IPC. On Thursday, we have added section 376 (rape) of the IPC based on the post-mortem report. We are questioning a few suspects after primary investigation."

According to the girl's father, she had gone to the fields in the day to harvest the crop.

"Around 5.30 pm, when she did not return home, I got worried and started looking for her. Around half an hour later, I went to the field and saw her slippers. A little ahead, I found her lifeless body," he said.

The victim was the eldest of four siblings. While her younger sister is around 15, her twin brothers are around seven.

However, there is confusion over the girl's age and the police have not added the charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

While the family claimed that she was 17 years old, police said that in their first complaint, the family had said that the girl was above 18 years.

IG (Ayodhya Range) Sanjeev Gupta, meanwhile, said that the age of the victim would have no bearing on the investigation.

The victim was cremated on Thursday evening after the police assured them of arresting the accused at the earliest.

Fri, 16 Oct 2020 16:39:49 +0530
Rs 22 267 cr allocated to Odisha to help fight Covid 19 Pradhan

Bhubaneswar, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said an aid package of Rs 22,267.66 crore has been allocated as central assistance to Odisha to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

"A support of over Rs 22,267 crore to Odisha touching every cross-section of society has helped the people to deal with the disruptions arising out of the pandemic," said Pradhan.

The Minister said the central government has allocated Rs 19,042.44 crore assistance, 7,51,930 tonnes of rice, 44,130 tonnes of pulses, and 68.79 lakh LPG cylinders for Odisha as a Covid-19 stimulus and support package.

Pradhan said that 5 kg of rice per person per month have been given to 3.17 crore beneficiaries in Odisha under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.

A total of Rs 1,258.02 crore was transferred to 85.20 lakh women Jan Dhan account holders in Odisha. Besides, Rs 400.63 crore has been transferred to 20.3 lakh PM Kisan (Krushak Samman Niddhi) beneficiaries in the state, he added.

About 20.83 lakh construction workers in Odisha have received Rs 312.49 crore under the Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund in the state.

Some 4.51 lakh job cards were issued from April 2020 to September 2020, generating 9.25 crore mandays of employment. Besides, 74.42 lakh mandays were generated in Odisha under the PM Kalyan Garib Rozgar Yojana, informed the Minister.

Apart from this, Rs 5,122 crore has been released as the entire GST compensation to Odisha for the financial year 2019-20 and Rs 2,258 crore allocated to Odisha as GST compensation in the financial year 2020-21, out of which Rs 1,129 crore has been released.

He said Odisha has been permitted to borrow an additional Rs 2,858 crore amounting to 0.50
per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for meeting the shortfall arising out of GST implementation.

Fri, 16 Oct 2020 16:31:01 +0530
Tourist spots in Covid hit Mysuru to be shut for Dasara fest

Mysuru,  Tourist spots in and around Covid-hit Mysuru in Karnataka would remain shut from October 17 to November 1 to restrict entry of visitors to the city during the Dasara fest to contain the virus spread, an official said.

"Mysuru deputy commissioner Rohini Sindhuri has ordered closure of all tourist spots in and around the city for 15 days from October 17 when the 10-day Dasara fest begins under Covid-induced restrictions to dissuade tourists from thronging the city of palaces," a district official told IANS here on Thursday.

With Mysuru being the second worst-affected after Bengaluru in the state by the pandemic, the world-famous Dasara fest, including the victory parade to mark the triumph of good over evil on Vijayadashmi day (October 26) will be confined to the Amba Vilas royal palace in the city centre to avoid crowds.

"Entry of visitors to the palace of the Wodeyar dynasty will also be restricted during the ban period as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to prevent large gatherings in public places," said the official.

Some of the prominent tourist spots in the city are the royal palaces, Jayachamarajendra art gallery, Mysuru zoo and Chamundeshwari temple atop the hill on the outskirts.

Brindavan Gardens, Nimishambha and Sri Ranganathaswamy temples, Tipu Palace, Kokkarebellur and Rangantittu bird sanctuaries in adjacent Mandya will also be out of bounds for visitors amid the virus scare.

Around 10 lakh people from across the country and the world over visit Mysuru during the Dasara and Diwali festivals every year to witness the caparisoned elephants procession from the royal palace to Bannimantap grounds across the city for the torch light parade as the grand finale of the 10-day fete.

"Even the people in the city have been advised to celebrate the fest at home and watch the Dasara religious and cultural programmes on television, as they will be telecast live from the palace grounds. About 300 people only will be allowed to witness the events at the venue (Amba Vilas palace)," said the official.

The grand fest (nada habba) will begin on Saturday at the Chamundeshwari temple atop the hill with its formal inauguration by the Bengaluru-based state-run Jayadeva heart hospital director C.N. Manjunath in the presence of the Wodeyar family and the invited dignitaries.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will review the Covid situation in the city on Friday and attend the Dasara fest inauguration on Saturday morning.

Wearing of mask, thermal screening, hand washing and physical distancing will be mandatory for all at the venues where the fest events take place.


Fri, 16 Oct 2020 09:24:49 +0530
Exploiting creative liberty PIL in SC says OTT platforms abusing right to expression

New Delhi, Oct 15

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on a PIL seeking establishment of a proper institution for monitoring and management of content on different OTT/Streaming and digital media platforms.

None of the OTT/Streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Hotstar have signed the self-regulation provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since February, it said.

The PIL, filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, contended "no censoring allows exploitation of creative liberty and pushes for more ideas to get incorporated which, in turn, let writers, directors, and producers to experiment limitless due to which there have been more violence, sex scenes, obscene language & even characters smoking on screen - that would normally be cut or displayed alongside health warnings".

The petitioner told the top court that due to no monitoring body, the language of the content has become "more colloquial". "Visuals and dialogues are cruel and more barbaric. It is pertinent to note that this artistic liberty with no checks and balances also gets highly misused for commercial benefits of the OTT/Platforms," it said.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, after a brief hearing in the matter, issued notices to the Centre, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and the Mobile Association of India.

"The OTT platforms in India abuses the right to expression granted in Article 19, thus is against Right to Life of people at large (Article 21)," said the petitioner.

The plea also said the Internet and Mobile Association of India pushed through the self-regulatory code (Tier Two Version), which would lead to the setting up of a Digital Content Complaints Committee (DCCC) for regulating content on OTT/streaming platforms across India, without much deliberation and consensus.

"However, Respondent No 3's (Internet and Mobile Association of India) flagship India Digital Summit event was attended by only five signatories on the February 5, while various other OTT/Streaming Platforms wrote to Respondent No 3 recording their dissent to the code asking for reconsideration in the code itself," said the plea.


Thu, 15 Oct 2020 18:41:54 +0530
Navaratri begins on October 17 with restrictions

With government restrictions on religious institutions still prevailing, the nine-day Navaratri festival also called as Sarada Navaratri, which is generally celebrated with pomp and devotion begins on October 17, will be celebrating this year on a simple note. However, temples and houses are still planning to celebrate within permitted limits to keep the tradition going. Housewives buy a few new dolls to add to existing ones. The temples gearing up to celebrate within the premises without involving the devotees.

The Sankara mattham, Matunga will be celebrating as Saradha Navaratri by keeping a small 4 ft idol of Durga, and performing poojas like  Sadachandi Mahayagnam, Sri Chandi Navavrana pooja, Sapthasathi parayanam , Sri Lalitha Navavarana pooja and Moola manthra homam. The secretary of the mattham S.Sivasubramaniam said we are planning to show all poojas live through Face book.


Another nearby temple Sri Marubhai Gavdevi Mandir also planning to broadcast the night aarathi of the Devi through their Facebook said Mr Anil Gawand the chief trustee, who got stuck up in US due to COVID. The temple will also be performing other navaratri poojas like Durgastami, Mahalaxmi and Saraswati poojas besides different homams  for the benefit of devotees. Their routine programmes like Gharba, Music and bhajans will be missing this year.


At Dharavi, Kumbarwada females are busy decorating the Durga idols and giving colours to small earthern pots for Garbha pooja.

Thu, 15 Oct 2020 18:30:17 +0530
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam remembered on 89th Birth Anniversary

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari offered floral tributes to the portrait of former President late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on the occasion of the latter's 89th birth anniversary at Raj Bhavan Mumbai.
Principal Secretary to the Governor Santosh Kumar, Deputy Secretary Prachi Jambhekar, Comptroller of Governor's Household Badal Kumar, officers and staff of Raj Bhavan were present.


Thu, 15 Oct 2020 16:31:59 +0530
Navaratri begins on October 17 with restrictions


With government restrictions on religious institutions still prevailing, the nine-day Navaratri festival also called as Sarada Navaratri, which is generally celebrated with pomp and devotion begins on October 17, will be celebrating this year on a simple note. However, temples and houses are still planning to celebrate within permitted limits to keep the tradition going. Housewives buy a few new dolls to add to existing ones. The temples gearing up to celebrate within the premises without involving the devotees.

The Sankara mattham, Matunga will be celebrating as Saradha Navaratri by keeping a small 4 ft idol of Durga, and performing poojas like  Sadachandi Mahayagnam, Sri Chandi Navavrana pooja, Sapthasathi parayanam, Sri Lalitha Navavarana pooja and Moola manthra homam. The secretary of the mattham S.Sivasubramaniam said we are planning to show all poojas live through Face book.

Another nearby temple Sri Marubhai Gavdevi Mandir also planning to broadcast the night Aarathi of the Devi through their Facebook said Mr. Anil Gawand the chief trustee, who got stuck up in the US due to COVID. The temple will also be performing other Navaratri poojas like Durgastami, Mahalaxmi and Saraswati poojas besides different homams for the benefit of devotees. Their routine programmes like Gharba, Music and bhajans will be missing this year.

At Dharavi, Kumbarwada females are busy decorating the Durga idols and giving colours to small earthen pots for Garbha pooja.











Thu, 15 Oct 2020 16:25:01 +0530
Karnataka s mobile fever clinic wins national award

Bengaluru, Oct 15

The mobile fever clinic and the 'sthree toilet' of the state-run KSRTC have won the national award under the 'CSR for social development' category amid the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Wednesday.

"As our staff is committed to be corona warriors in the pandemic situation, I dedicate the national public undertakings award to it, especially to those who lost their life to the infection," Shivayogi Kalasad, Managing Director, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), said on the occasion.

Kalasad received the award in a virtual ceremony held in Mumbai earlier in the day.

"The award is the result of our diligent work although the corporation is going through a difficult situation due to Covid-induced restrictions on movement of people to maintain social distancing and contain the virus spread," said Kalasad in a statement here.

Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa had flagged off the mobile fever clinic on May 11 in this tech hub to combat the state's efforts in its fight against Covid-19.

The makeshift clinic was set up in an old bus remodelled to collect and test swab samples for Covid or other diseases.

"The award will encourage our employees to work more towards social commitment," Kalasad noted.

The 'sthree toilets', rolled out in the city on August 27, were built by converting the transporter's old buses which had been withdrawn from service.

Operated on solar power, the toilet-bus has been stationed at the central bus stand in the city centre (Majestic area). They have Indian and western toilets, sensor lights and diaper changing areas for babies.







Thu, 15 Oct 2020 11:18:06 +0530
Australian state stalls easing Covid 19 curbs

Sydney, Oct 15

Australia's New South Wales (NSW) has stalled easing Covid-19 restrictions after new cluster outbreaks were reported in the state capital of Sydney, authorities said on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, the state registered six new locally acquired infections, which followed 11 local transmissions the day before, Xinhua news agency reported.

State leaders have described the present situation it as the most concerning since mid-July, when an outbreak at a western Sydney pub resulted in over 50 cases and a clampdown on the hospitality sector.

"This is the most concerned we've been since that first incident when the Victorian citizen came up, infected his colleagues and went for a drink at a hotel," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a briefing.

Health officials flagged several new areas where a person had been while infected with the virus, including public transport services, a tutoring service and shopping mall.

On Tuesday, the government announced that up to 500 people would be allowed to attend outdoor music performances, as long as they remained seated and groups remained four meters apart.

Restrictions for outdoor dining venues were also relaxed, allowing one patron per two square meters, as long as venues use an electronic contact tracing system to record patrons' contact details.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged anyone with even the slightest of symptoms to get tested, as well as to cooperate fully with questions to assist health officials with contact tracing.

"We are aiming to have at least 20,000 (tests) a day and while we have these positive cases still amongst us the emphasis is... Please get tested," he added.

Of Australia's 27,341 overall case tally, NSW accounts for 4,310 infections.

The country's death toll stands at 904.







Thu, 15 Oct 2020 11:09:37 +0530
US stocks drop as stimulus hopes wane

New York, Oct 15

Wall Street's major averages finished lower on Wednesday as investors grew concerned over the uncertain fate of a US coronavirus stimulus deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 165.81 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 28,514.00. The S&P 500 fell 23.26 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 3,488.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 95.17 points, or 0.80 per cent, to 11,768.73, Xinhua news agency reported.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors declined, with consumer discretionary down 1.43 per cent, leading the laggards. Industrials closed up 0.54 per cent, the best-performing group.

US-listed Chinese companies traded mostly lower, with six of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P US Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.

Investors continued to look for clues on new stimulus. An impasse among US lawmakers in Washington has somewhat dimmed hopes that more Covid-19 relief aid would come to fruition before the election.

"We have two sides that are very far apart in terms of arriving at some form of stimulus, and I do not think it is likely we see a breakthrough before the election," Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note on Wednesday.

Looking ahead, analysts said markets will remain sensitive to news of fiscal support in the lead-up to the election.

Meanwhile, Wall Street pored through newly-released earnings reports.

Goldman Sachs on Wednesday delivered quarterly results that well exceeded consensus estimates. Its shares rose 0.2 per cent.

Bank of America shares fell more than 5 per cent after its earnings topped expectations and overall revenue missed estimates.







Thu, 15 Oct 2020 11:05:12 +0530
India s Covid cases doubling in over 70 days

New Delhi, Oct 15

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said the country's doubling time of Covid-19 cases has sharply increased to 70.4 days from 25.5 days in mid-August, which is nearly thrice the time being taken earlier.

"This indicates a substantial fall in the daily new cases and the consequent increase in time taken to double the total cases," the Ministry tweeted as India recorded a spike of 67,708 coronavirus cases and 680 deaths in 24 hours, as the tally mounted to 73,07,097 cases.

A graph along with the Ministry's tweet showed India's doubling rate was 27.7 days on August 18; 32 on August 30; 35.6 on September 17; 51.4 on October 2; and 70.4 on October 14.

Out of the total cases, 8,12,390 are currently active, 63,83,441 have been discharged, while 1,11,266 lost the battle against the pandemic.

While the recovery rate stands at 87.36 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.52 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit with a total of 15,54,389 cases, including 40,859 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. There has been a resurgence of sort in Kerala as cases have started increasing and it now shares half the caseload of the country along with Maharashtra and Karnataka.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 11,36,183 sample tests in a single day on Wednesday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 9,12,26,305.

It was after nearly two months that the daily spike had dropped below 60,000 on Tuesday. Active cases have remained below nine lakh for almost a week, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed.

The fatalities have come down below 1,000 for nearly a fortnight now. India had recorded a spike of 97,894 cases on September 17.







Thu, 15 Oct 2020 10:59:50 +0530
Startup3 0 Supporting Entrepreneurs Building Entrepreneurship through Acquisition Search Fund

Entrepreneurship through Acquisition, also known colloquially as the Search Fund, is an emerging avenue through which aspiring entrepreneurs can quickly give shape to their entrepreneurial spirit leveraging their own managerial abilities.

What is it?

The Stanford Center for Entrepreneurial Studies defines search fund as "An investment vehicle through which investors financially support an entrepreneur's efforts to locate, acquire, manage, and grow a privately held company. The model offers relatively inexperienced professionals with limited capital resources, a quick path to managing a company in which they have a meaningful ownership position." Although many variations exist within search funds, the most common one is where the individual raises a fund from investors to "search" for a company and then buys the company with a mix of debt and equity capital. This process typically takes 18-24 months. The individual gets a meaningful equity stake in the company, operates it for 5-7 years typically, before exiting usually by selling it to a strategic acquirer or a lower middle market private equity firm.

Compared to the other two models of entrepreneur capacity building (Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Venture Studio) which help you launch a venture from the ground up, search funds would make you an entrepreneur through acquisition (EtA). Typically, the company for acquisition would be one with stable and recurring revenue, strong EBITDA margins, in a fragmented industry, with favourable industry trends, history of profitability and growth, low capex and multiple levers of adding value post acquisition. Generally, companies that first-time acquirers typically look for fall in the $1 - 3million EBITDA range.

While the concept of acquiring an existing business is as old as doing business itself, search funds as a separate asset class are relatively new and niche. According to the Search Fund 2020 study by Stanford, the number of new search funds stand at 51 in 2019. As an asset class, they generated 32.6 per cent IRR and RoI of 5.5 times. One of the most well-known examples of a successful search fund is Asurion, which was acquired for $6 million by two Stanford Business School graduates in 1995 and is now a multibillion (yes, billion!) technology insurance company used by approximately one in four people in the US.

Who should do it?

The common profile of a searcher is someone around 30, usually an MBA, with a few years of solid work experience under their belt though investors are becoming more comfortable backing non-MBA searchers especially if they have specific expertise (industry or functional).

Having seen many friends go down this route, there are some common personality traits I observed. The first was a desire to do something entrepreneurial and independent without necessarily being wedded to an idea or an industry. The idea of operating a company was appealing to them as opposed to preference for a sector or a need. Another is a penchant for being a generalist: enjoying finance, operations, strategy, people management and going into the weeds of running a business day to day as opposed to being biased towards a particular function. Lastly, there was a desire to own an already functioning business as opposed to going through the process of establishing one from scratch.

Pros and Cons

No other path allows for becoming a CEO of an established business at such an early age. The experience is hard to replicate and would be valued in the market very highly after exiting. Purely from a financial perspective, the median equity compensation for those who had exited the business was $3.25 million with a per-year value of $0.67 million for every year of operation and the median compensation was $253,500 (base salary plus bonus). Risk adjusted, these are better economics than most traditional jobs including investing roles and are only topped by outcomes for start-up founders with very successful exits which are outliers not the norm.

Search funds offer the same flexibility and independence as start-ups and arguably a better work-life balance and less uncertainty given the businesses are already functioning and steadier. Overall, the chance to go deep in an industry, understand how to grow a business and build a team are all invaluable skills and learning experiences.

On the flip side, the best search is one that is industry and geography agnostic. Many investors in search funds encourage the searcher to carry out a geography agnostic search in order to maximize the chances of finding the best business to buy. Simply put, you will have to move to whichever city the business is based in. While the move may be possible for the searcher, it could be the very difficult for their partner. Similarly, the industry the company operates in would usually be a traditional industry given the desire for stable and recurring nature of the cash flows. These would usually not be frontier/disruptive technology industries usually associated with start-ups (if at all that could be considered a con).

If you want to work in blockchain, machine learning or autonomous vehicles, want to only live in a large urban hub, want venture type growth and returns, this is probably not the ideal path for you. If you like operating and growing an existing business, if you are flexible putting down roots for a few years in a relatively smaller place and if you want a solid payout from a risk-return perspective, this is a great option.


Startup 1.0 was when investors felt comfortable backing entrepreneurs and ideas and then sitting back hoping to reap returns. There was minimal support and the entrepreneurs had to figure out solutions without any playbook. In Startup 2.0, there was more hands-on support in additional to the financial one as venture capital became more competitive and investors had to compete for the best deals. As the ecosystem becomes even more mature and competitive, there is the coming of Startup 3.0 which is biased in the favour of the entrepreneur. Investors are willing to go even earlier, put more resources than ever and back promising individuals without an idea or a team. If you've ever wanted to pursue entrepreneurship, now is the time to do it!

Thu, 15 Oct 2020 10:43:50 +0530
NASA awards 370mn to 14 US firms for 2024 Moon mission

Washington, Oct 15

NASA has picked 14 US companies, including several small businesses, as partners and awarded them $370 million in total to develop a range of technologies that will help forge a path to sustainable Artemis operations on the Moon by the end of the decade.

The space agency selected partners to develop technologies in cryogenic fluid management, lunar surface, and closed-loop descent and landing.

NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm fixed-price contracts lasting for up to five years.

"NASA's significant investment in innovative technology demonstrations, led by small and large US businesses across nine states, will expand what is possible in space and on the lunar surface," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"Together, NASA and industry are building up an array of mission-ready capabilities to support a sustainable presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars."

Bridenstine announced the selections during a keynote address at the virtual fall Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium meeting on Wednesday.

The selected companies include SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Nokia, Sierra Nevada, SSL Robotics and United Launch Alliance (ULA), among others.

"This is the most Tipping Point proposals NASA has selected at once and by far the largest collective award value," said NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Technology Jim Reuter.

The majority of the funding will help mature cryogenic fluid management technologies via in-space demonstrations led by small business Eta Space, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and ULA.

The ability to store these super-cold liquids, whether they are launched from Earth or produced in space, for an extended period and transfer propellant from one tank to another, is crucial for establishing sustainable operations on the Moon and enabling human missions to Mars.

Intuitive Machines will develop a small, deployable hopper lander capable of carrying a 2.2-pound payload more than 1.5 miles.

As part of its Artemis program, NASA plans to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establish a sustainable presence there by the end of the decade.

The agency will use the Moon to prepare for its next giant leap -- human exploration of Mars.







Thu, 15 Oct 2020 10:41:39 +0530
Green makeover Stars who turned veggie over past months

New Delhi, Oct 15

For many stars, the new normal is green. Many Bollywood celebrities used the lockdown period to ditch a non-vegetarian diet and go vegan. While some have taken to the habit owing to climate awareness, for others it is an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint. Still others feel it is a step towards healthy living.

IANS draws up a list of celebrities who turned vegetarian during lockdown.


Bollywood actress and environmentalist Bhumi Pednekar became a vegetarian during lockdown, and she is loving it.

"I was never heavy on a non-vegetarian diet but I took a call during lockdown. It was actually something that happened organically. It's been six months and I'm good, guilt free and I feel physically strong as well," she said, adding: "For many years I wanted to go vegetarian but breaking habits are the toughest thing to do. My journey with Climate Warrior taught me a lot of things and I just didn't feel like eating meat anymore."


In July, the actress and fitness enthusiast revealed that she has accepted vegetarianism completely, saying the switch seemed impossible to her initially.

"Over the years, I've realised that cultivating livestock for food, has not only destroyed forests but also been the largest sources of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous-oxide emissions. These are majorly responsible for the climate change our planet is experiencing," she wrote on social media. The actress also said that it is "the best change for our health and the health of the planet".


Earlier this month, Riteish shared that he has given up non-vegetarian food, black coffee and aerated drinks for a cause.

"I have given up non-vegetarian food, black coffee and aerated drinks. I want to keep my body healthy. And eventually, when the time comes for donating my organs, people should say, 'Jaate jaate healthy organs chhod kar gaya' (he left healthy organs)," said Riteish.


Amid the lockdown, Genelia Deshmukh delved into how her perspective of looking at things changed after she turned vegetarian a couple of years ago.

"Turning vegetarian was a choice I took a couple of years ago... I honestly thought it was going to be really really tough, but I was determined to make it work� On my journey, I realised the beauty of plants, the various colours I see through them and eventually the nutrients I get through them, but most importantly I feel less cruel to animals..." the actress said.


It was revealed in April that the actor has given up non-vegetarian food.

The celebrities add to the list of vegetarian Bollywood stars, which already includes Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Anushka Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor, Malaika Arora, and Vidyut Jammwal among others.

From the world of Hollywood, comedian Ricky Gervais revealed that he got through the lockdown with lots of vegan meaty comfort food, and at one occasion claimed "eating things you shouldn't" causes pandemics like the coronavirus outbreak.

Singer-songwriter and actor Lenny Kravitz also revealed that he has become vegan and grows most of his own food, while rapper Snoop Dogg shared that he is taking help of his vegan and vegetarian family members to help him consume more plant-based foods.







Thu, 15 Oct 2020 10:39:32 +0530
Poorest countries in desperate need of support World Bank

Washington,  The global economy is experiencing a K-shaped recovery, as advanced economies have been able to provide support while the poorest countries are facing an increasingly desperate recession, World Bank Group President David Malpass said.

"What we're seeing so far is sometimes described as a K-shaped recovery," Xinhua news agency quoted Malpass as saying at a virtual press conference on Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"That means the advanced economies have been able to provide support, especially for their financial markets and for people that have jobs that can be done by working from home," he said.

But for the developing countries, especially the poorest developing countries -- the downward leg in the K -- people are facing an increasingly desperate recession, "because of the loss of jobs, the loss of income, and also the loss of remittances coming from workers working outside the country", the World Bank chief said.

Malpass highlighted the significance of the G20 debt relief program, saying that there's been progress both in terms of fiscal benefits and also transparency benefits.

In April, the G20 endorsed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to help the poorest countries manage the impact of the pandemic, allowing them to suspend payments on official bilateral debt until the end of 2020.

In a virtual meeting earlier on Wednesday, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed to extend the DSSI by another six months, and to examine by April 2021 if the economic and financial situation requires further extension.

Malpass further said he would propose a $25 billion supplemental Covid-19 emergency financing package to support most indebted IDA countries, the poorest countries drawing on the World Bank's International Development Association.

Thu, 15 Oct 2020 10:34:18 +0530
PV industry s FY21 volumes expected to see 22 25 dip ICRA

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Passenger vehicle industry's FY21 volumes are expected to witness a 22-25 per cent decline, ratings agency ICRA said on Wednesday.

"The industry segment's fortunes are tied with the GDP growth rates and overall consumer sentiments which are currently at historic lows; this recessionary environment has resulted in purchase deferrals," ICRA said in a research note.

"While the industry was hit hard in Q1 FY2021; most PV and 2W OEMs started operating at pre-Covid level capacity utilisation during Sep-2020 (inventory re-stocking at dealership also supported wholesale dispatched during Sept'20) which is a positive."

ICRA, in its research note, also expects the PV industry volume to witness strong double-digit growth in FY2022.

"This will be after two consecutive years of negative growth at (-17.9 per cent) in FY2020 and (-22 to -25 per cent) in FY2021. The fall in demand is also being reflected in capacity utilisation which is likely to dip below 45 per cent in FY2021, from 50-55 per cent in FY2020," the note said.

"We expect capex cut by 35-40 per cent during FY2021-FY2022, and incremental investments will be primarily towards new product development and platform improvisation."

On the positive side, ICRA noted that industry's long-term drivers are intact but compared to the Chinese and other key global markets, the domestic market is witnessing a slower paced recovery.

Commenting on the expected PV trend, Ashish Modani, Vice President, ICRA, said: "There is an increased risk aversion in retail as well as wholesale financing, which is a deterrent. The rural market will be the key driver of volume in FY2021 which will benefit entry level cars and UV."

"Buyers may opt for 2W or used cars to avoid public transport. The share of diesel vehicles is expected to decline below 40 per cent in UVs in the next two years and some manufacturers have already exited the diesel portfolio completely."

Thu, 15 Oct 2020 09:37:23 +0530
Air India facing a very challenging financial situation Hardeep Puri

New Delhi,  Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri has called Air India's leave without pay (LWP) scheme a "win-win for employees and management", and pointed out that Air India has not laid off a single employee even as international and domestic carriers have resorted to cost cutting through layoffs.

In a letter to Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam, Puri provided clarification on Air India's financial condition and the LWP scheme.

"Air India is also facing a very challenging financial situation," Puri said adding the airline has taken recourse to several initiatives with a view to ensuring continuance of its operations.

Air India and its subsidiaries have paid the salary of June 2020 to its employees. He said that the airline industry worldwide is facing unprecedented financial crisis due to Covid-19.

Puri said the LWP scheme enables employees to take a break from their office responsibilities for a defined period of time with the approval of the Air India management while retaining their employment with the company.

The scheme also provides the opportunity to employees to take up alternative employment during the period of the leave with the approval of the management, he said.

"The LWP is a win-win situation for both the management and the employees as it provides flexibility to employees and simultaneously reduces the wage bill of the company," Puri said.

"The Covid-19 outbreak has very seriously impacted the airline sector and currently the airline operations of the company have taken a serious hit," he said.

Puri added that worldwide, a number of employees have been paid off due to the crisis and even other domestic carriers in India have resorted to cost cutting through layoffs.

"But Air India has not laid off a single employee," Puri asserted in the letter.

He explained that in the past also, Air India had come out with LWP policy and this time the only difference is that the CMD of the company can pass an order requiring the employees to go on leave.

A proper procedure has been introduced for sparing use of this provision and it will be done in a fair and transparent manner, Puri said.

"In view of the critical financial situation of the company which has been affected badly by the pandemic and a felt need the rationalisation of salaries of pilots, cabin crew, engineers and officials of Air India and its subsidiaries have been carried out," Puri said.

Thu, 15 Oct 2020 09:21:47 +0530
Cong leader detained for provoking woman to immolate herself

Lucknow, Congress leader Alok Prasad was on Wednesday detained by the police for allegedly instigating a woman to immolate herself.

The woman, who attempted to immolate herself on Tuesday in front of the Vidhan Sabha, has been admitted to the Civil hospital where her condition is said to be critical.

Alok Prasad is the son of former governor Sukhdev Prasad.

He was detained in connection with the immolation of a woman from Maharajganj district.

Police sources claim Alok's location was near the spot where the women set herself on fire.

The woman, 35, had told the police that she has married a Muslim youth after getting divorced from her first husband.

Her second husband works in Saudi Arabia and she was being harassed by her in-laws.

Interestingly, in July this year, another Congress leader Anoop Patel had been arrested for instigating two women from Amethi to immolate themselves in front of the Vidhan Sabha.

One of the women died due to burn injuries.

Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey had told reporters then that, "The arrested persons, including an AIMIM leader, have been booked under charges of abetment to suicide and conspiracy."

He said the women also met Anoop Patel at the UP Congress Committee office on July 4, who gave them a similar advice and asked journalists to cover it.


Wed, 14 Oct 2020 15:00:26 +0530
Johnson Johnson suspends Covid 19 vaccine trials in Brazil

Brasilia,  The Janssen-Cilag company, the pharmaceutical division of US multinational Johnson & Johnson, temporarily suspended clinical trials in Brazil of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the national health regulatory body Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) said on Tuesday.

Janssen-Cilag notified Anvisa that testing to determine the safety and efficacy of its vaccine VAC31518COV3001 "was temporarily suspended due to a serious adverse occurrence in a volunteer abroad," Xinhua news agency reported.

The company did not provide more details about the case, as the volunteer's health status is kept confidential.

According to Anvisa, the trials will not resume until there is an investigation into the cause of the problem by the Independent Safety Committee, as part of good clinical practice procedures.

"In Brazil, the inclusion of the first volunteer in the study occurred on Oct. 9 and new inclusions can only occur when there is authorization from Anvisa, which will proceed with the analysis of the research data and decide on the continuity or permanent suspension based on the safety and risk/benefit assessment," the agency said.

Janssen-Cilag received authorization from Anvisa in August to carry out the trials in Brazil.

Wed, 14 Oct 2020 09:17:30 +0530
Microsoft launches Surface Pro X for commercial customers in India

New Delhi, Oct 13

Microsoft on Tuesday announced that its thinnest and most connected 2-in-1 device Surface Pro X is now available for commercial customers in India.

The new Surface Pro X 16GB/256GB LTE (platinum and black) will cost Rs 1,49,999 while the Surface Pro X 16GB/512GB LTE (platinum and black) will be available for Rs 1,78,999.

According to the company, the latest updates to Surface Pro X offer a new configuration that includes Microsoft's next-generation custom processor and a new Platinum finish, along with new app experiences, resulting in longer battery life and increased performance across all Surface Pro X devices.

"We now bring new updates to Surface Pro X, including new app experiences, enhanced performance and a new platinum finish, delivering a new experience to those who need to be connected, productive, and creative at any time," said Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India, said in a statement.

Microsoft refreshed its top-end Surface Pro X SKUs by adding the new Microsoft SQ 2 processor -- the fastest processor in its class.

Surface Pro X comes with web-first experiences like Microsoft 365, Microsoft Edge, Netflix, Spotify and more, while supporting thousands of the existing Windows apps like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Whatsapp.

The company said it will introduce three new colours for the signature keyboard: platinum, ice blue and poppy red, all with the same built-in storage and wireless charging for the Surface Slim Pen.

In the device, Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams have also been made faster while using less battery with new versions optimized for Windows on ARM, with plans to expand support for running x64 apps.

For developers, Visual Studio code has also been updated and optimized for Windows on ARM.

"This results in overall faster performance and longer battery life, with Surface Pro X now getting up to 15 hours of battery life across both configurations," the company said.







Tue, 13 Oct 2020 13:00:46 +0530
American percussionist Madame Gandhi exhorts female artistes to form sisterhood

New Delhi, Oct 13

American percussionist-producer-activist Madame Gandhi says that during the last few months of lockdown, she focused on mental and physical health. Now, she feels empowered to begin 2021 on a strong note.

Talking about her quarantine time, the artiste, who has roots in India, told IANS: "I have been focusing on my mental and physical health. I have been boxing, running, doing yoga, and increasing my commitment to my meditation practice. These moments, to rehabilitate all aspects of my body and soul, have made me feel empowered to tee off a strong 2021 with the new music that is to come."

On how different her upcoming album "Vibrations" will be from her previous ones -- "Voices" and "Visions" -- she shared: "This album is a lot more focused on love. It is introspective and more vulnerable. It is expansive and celebrates wellness. It still has the uplifting, percussive feelings of the past two albums, but definitely feels more produced and takes more risk."

The artiste, born Kiran Gandhi, revently released a new collection of remixes of her 2019 "Visions" track, "Young Indian".

"I love performing my song 'Young Indian' live, but the song in its original format does not lend itself as well to deejaying. Therefore, I knew that I wanted to host a competition where I could have producers help me re-purpose the song into genres that are more appropriate for the dance floor," she said.

"As a result of this competition, we walked away with Bhangra, Salsa, Reggaeton and Afrobeat remixes that now even the fitness community can work out to," she added.

Earlier this year, she had joined media mogul Oprah Winfrey on her 2020 Vision Stadium tour. It was a learning experience for Gandhi.

"I learned that the world needs us to each truly shine at our brightest potential. When each of us are living in alignment with our path, not only do we feel a sense of contentment, but we are able to show up in service of others," she said.

Gandhi is also an activist, who had run the London Marathon bleeding freely on her period in 2015. It had sparked a global conversation about how people treat menstruation in various cultures. Female empowerment is naturally important for her.

If one looks at social media, people will find female artistes being pitted against each other by fans. Asked if that bothers her, she said: "Yes. This is a toxic byproduct of the capitalist and patriarchal system that we globally operate within."

"As a radical response, I believe sisterhood and mutual support is the most powerful way to combat that."







Tue, 13 Oct 2020 12:58:01 +0530
Of girls navigating cities

New Delhi, Oct 13

A trained engineer who went to IIM Calcutta, and after a decade long corporate career decided to pause and gift herself some "me time", not to mention a Creative Writing course in the US later -- author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, whose latest "Girls and the City", published by HarperCollins India recently hit the stands, has vivid memories of that break during which she wrote her first book.

"My husband and I were in Singapore that time, and I couldn't help but think of my home in Ferozepur. Memories flooded back in. To make sense of them, I started asking questions. My research took me back in time and it was the national library, not any salon, that became my haunt. Seven years later, I had a book, my first: 'The Long Walk Home'," says the author who now has six books to her credit, including the Mehrunisa series and "The Radiance of a Thousand Suns".

Talking about her latest, "Girls and the City", set in Bengaluru, which is tale of female friendships centered on a murder mystery, a whodunit, that is more of a who-was-it-done-to, Someshwar reveals that she started writing it amid the #metoo movement, wanting to explore the dynamics between sex and power.

"We are somehow still reluctant to discuss sexual assault and harassment. I saw the book as a way to reignite that conversation. It explores how women navigate everyday misogyny using wit, grit and tenacity."

Adding that women's concerns are different from those of their male counterparts, she says, "Men write about themselves whilst women write the world."

Recalling that when she switched gears, her writing experience was limited to powerpoint presentations, the writer says that she is a self-taught one and quite happy with the fact. "This gives me the freedom to tell the stories that I really want to. I went back to school to gift myself a like-minded community. Whilst I love my friends (class- and work-mates from my previous avatars) I do get tired of hearing: 'So, when's the next book coming out?'

"Now, books don't come off factory floors... Sometimes it is such a relief to be with other folks who tussle with writing daily. That's where being part of a Creative Writing program helps."

For someone who started writing when she moved out of India, the distance from home gave her the perspective she needed to write. "Additionally, that provides me with a sharp prism through which to refract my experiences. Living outside of India, I have gained insights into the Indian diaspora and its varied challenges.

"I write books that I want to read which are not out there yet. It's liberating to be in a mix of people where each one is trying to tell stories that are important to them. That has been enriching because I have learned that while every story is particular in its concerns and setting, every well-told one is also universal in its theme."

Considering she writes across genres, it is important that she reads widely, indiscriminately and regularly. "I follow every big book with a more contemporary one. The latest one was born amidst the raging #metoo campaign of 2018 and I rode that tide because there was so much that was relevant and urgent. I begin only when the compulsion to write it is stronger than not writing it," says the author who is presently working on a Partition trilogy.







Tue, 13 Oct 2020 12:53:06 +0530
Hathras CBI reaches Boolgarhi to speak to victim s family eyewitnesses

Hathras, Oct 13

A CBI team on Tuesday reached the crime scene in the Uttar Pradesh village where alleged attack on the 19-year-old Dalit woman took place that cost her life a fortnight later. The federal team is probing into the alleged gang rape and murder case.

A team of CBI officials, including the Investigating Officer, arrived in Boolgarhi, and visited the farm field, where the alleged attack on the Dalit woman took place on September 14 by four upper caste men.

The police cordoned off the crime scene moments before the arrival of the CBI team. It is now almost a month since the brutal attack took place.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation officials, the team will also recreate the crime scene and speak to the eyewitnesses present there on September 14.

Later the team will also visit the home of the victim to speak with the mother and brother to know exactly what happened on the day, sources said.

The CBI team, which has been camping in Hathras for last two days after registering the case, has collected all the case related documents from the Uttar Pradesh Police.

The team has also collected the medical records of the victim.

The CBI registered a case on Sunday under Sections 376D (gang rape), 307 (attempt to murder), 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a day after it received a central notification issued on a request by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The agency said that it had constituted a special team to probe the case, which led to the widespread criticism of the state government after the victim was hurriedly cremated by Hathras police on the intervening night of September 29-30.

The woman had died at a Delhi hospital on September 29, a day after she was rushed to the Safdarjung hospital from the Aligarh Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College as her condition deteriorated.

She was rushed to the Aligarh college immediately after the attack and could only give police a statement after a week.







Tue, 13 Oct 2020 12:49:29 +0530
55 342 new cases recorded as India shows declining trend of daily spike

New Delhi, Oct 13

India's tally on Tuesday mounted to 71,75,880 with a spike of 55,342 coronavirus cases, the lowest since August.

India recorded around 55,000 cases on July 31 (55,078), August 4 (52,050) and August 18 (55,079).

India is showing a trend of declining average daily cases over the past five weeks. After a month, on October 9, active cases fell below the 9 lakh mark and have steadily followed a downward slope since, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said.

Out of the total cases so far, 8,38,729 are currently active, 62,27,295 have been discharged, while 1,09,856 lost the battle against the pandemic.

While the recovery rate stands at 86.78 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.53 per cent, the data from the Ministry data showed.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 15,35,315 cases including 40,514 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 10,73,014 sample tests in a single day on Monday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 8,89,45,107.







Tue, 13 Oct 2020 12:39:50 +0530
3 teachers of religious school booked under PSA in J K

Srinagar, Three teachers of a religious school in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district have been booked by the police under the public safety act (PSA) after some students of this school were found involved in militant activities.

Among the alumni of this religious school was Sajad Bhat, the suicide bomber who carried out the Pulwama highway attack in February last year in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.

Vijay Kumar, IGP (Kashmir zone) told reporters that the school is affiliated to the banned Jamaat-e-Islami organisation.

"We have booked three teachers of this school named Siraj-uloom Imam Sahib. The teachers booked under PSA include Abdul Ahad Bhat, Muhammad Yusuf Wani and Rouf Bhat," he said on Monday.

"The school has been under our observation and the activities of about half a dozen teachers of this school have been under surveillance.

"Our present action is against individuals, but if need arises we will also act against the school", the IGP said.

Police says 13 students of this school have joined militant groups after which the entire school came under the scanner of the intelligence agencies.

Students from three districts of Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag are mostly enrolled in this school.

The stringent PSA empowers the executive to detain a person for a maximum period of 2 years without any judicial intervention.

The act was originally invoked against timber smugglers, but after the outbreak of militant violence in early 1990s, militants and separatist politicians have been booked under this act.

Tue, 13 Oct 2020 09:28:33 +0530
Only 300 to be allowed at Mysuru Dasara fest parade Minister

Mysuru,  Admitting that Covid pandemic was still rampant in Karnataka, state Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Monday said only 300 guests would be allowed to watch the grand finale of the 10-day Dasara festival on October 26 in the royal palace grounds here.

"As Covid spread is still rampant in the state, the Dasara fest will be celebrated in a simple manner this time, with 300 people allowed to witness the royal parade on its 10th day (Vijayadashmi) to mark the victory of triumph over evil in the Amba Vilas palace grounds," Sudhakar told reporters here.

As the city of palaces and cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysuru is about 150 km southwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.

The world famous 10-day Mysuru Dasara festival is celebrated every year in September-October as per the Hindu calendar, with religious and cultural events, in which the royal family of the Wodeyar dynasty participates and the state government hosts it with the help of the citizens.

"In view of the state government guidelines to restrict large gatherings to contain the virus spread, people can watch the proceedings from their home as the various religious and cultural events from October 17 will be telecast live from the palace venue," said Sudhakar.

Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession, has been entrusted with the health and family welfare department in addition to the medical education portfolio from Monday to rein in the pandemic, which broke in the state in mid-March.

Ranking second to Maharashtra, Karnataka's Covid tally rose to a whopping 7,17,915 till Sunday, including 1,15,776 active cases and 10,036 deaths due to the infection across the state since the virus broke on March 8.

With Mysuru accounting for the largest number of cases after Bengaluru in Karnataka, the beleaguered government has decided to keep the yearly fest low-key, cancelling outdoor religious and cultural activities, including a 5-km victory procession from the royal palace to Bannimantap grounds across the city for torch light parade on October 26 night.

Of the state's Covid tally, Mysuru registered 42,373 positive cases till Sunday, with 7,123 active, including 309 new cases, while 34,357 were discharged so far and 893 succumbing to the infection since March.

"While 590 beds are available for Covid patients in the state-run hospitals across the city, 428 additional beds will be available in a week to augment the capacity," reiterated Sudhakar.

Though charges have been fixed for Covid treatment in private hospitals, the state government will pay for patients referred by its health department in the event of bed shortage in the state-run hospitals in the city.

Noting that delay in detecting and reporting the cases to hospitals was one of the reasons for higher mortality rate, the minister said measures were being taken to ensure early detection and treatment to minimise deaths.

"The emphasis will be on tele-medicine and home isolation across the district. More labs will be set to double testing in the city to 4,000 from 2,000 per day," noted Sudhakar.

Hoping to control the virus spread in a week or so, the minister said people should strictly follow the guidelines to wear a mask, maintain physical distance and wash hands with sanitizer regularly.

Mysuru's deputy commissioner Rohini Sindhuri and state health department additional chief secretary Javed Akhtar participated in the review meeting.

Tue, 13 Oct 2020 09:24:17 +0530
Festive stimulus Govt to launch LTC Cash scheme special advance to employees

New Delhi, Centre on Monday announced a slew of schemes to trigger economic revival via stimulus measures.

Most of these initiatives were targeted to restore spending and demand during and after the festive season.

Speaking at a press conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Centre will launch ‘LTC Cash Voucher Scheme' and ‘Special Festival Advance Scheme'.

Accordingly, the Centre expects Rs 28,000 crore worth of additional demand generation from LTC scheme.

Sitharaman said if private sector also comes forwards with similar offering, another Rs 28,000 crore of demand would be generated.

The Finance Minister also announced a special festival advance of Rs 10,000 for all gazetted and non gazetted officers. This scheme, she explained is being revived and will be one time only.

In addition, the Centre is ready to give a thrust to capital expenditure, she said.

As per the measure, a special 50-year interest free loan to state governments will be provided for capital expenditure for Rs 12,000 crore.

Besides, the Centre's Capital expenditures budget also increased by Rs 25,000 crore this year and go with Rs 4,13,000 crore already provided in the budget.


Mon, 12 Oct 2020 14:10:42 +0530
Homoeopathy can do wonders for skin diseases AYUSH

New Delhi, Oct 12

There are many who certify that Homoeopathy can do wonders in cases of skin related viral diseases, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) said on Monday.

A case study published recently in AYUHOM, the Research Journal of the North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy, Shillong illustrates this point, mentioned AYUSH.

The case study has been authored by Sangita Saha, Reader, Department of Organon of Medicine and Mahakas Mandal, Post Graduate Trainee, Department of Practice of Medicine, the Calcutta Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital along with Koushik Bhar, Post Graduate Trainee, and the National Institute of Homoeopathy, Kolkata.

Treatment of five patients suffering with five different skin diseases with Homoeopathy has given notable results which give a boost to the conviction of the positive effects of Homoeopathic medicine on such skin disorders.

Skin diseases are numerous and frequently occurring health problems affecting all ages, not only India, but globally also.

The Global Burden of Disease project has shown that the skin diseases continue to be the fourth leading cause of non-fatal disease burden worldwide.

Experts engaged with Homoeopathy treatment opine that Homeopathic approach to common viral skin diseases can be a game changer in offering affordable and effective solutions to a large number of people.

The case study was done on five patients with Wart, Herpes Zoster and Molluscan Contagiosum. Skin warts are benign tumours caused by infection of keratinocytes. Herpes Zoster results from reactivation of varicella-zoster virus (that also causes chickenpox). On the other hand, Molluscan contagiosum is a viral skin infection caused by closely related types of Pox Virus, and is common with children worldwide, especially in warm climates.

"It is known that Homoeopathy treats the patient, not the disease. Thus, the skin manifestations were treated by the means of internal medication following the principles of Homoeopathy, in these cases. And the results are extremely encouraging," the Ministry said.

After applying the indicated medicines as per the guidelines of Organon of Medicine and in different phases as per the susceptibility of each individual patient, it has come out that the medicines were able to not only remove the skin lesion efficiently, but also to provide relief to the associated symptoms of the patient.

"Not only that, none of the patients complained about any adverse effect during the treatment."

The case studies can be considered as a pilot project, said the Ministry, adding randomised controlled trials with larger sample size can be taken up in the next stage so that conclusive evidence on the healing power of Homoeopathy for viral skin diseases can be generated.







Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:50:31 +0530
Hiring activity in India up 24 in September Naukri com

New Delhi, Oct 12

Driven by industries like pharma, fast-moving consumer goods, education and IT, hiring activity in India saw a growth of 24 per cent in September compared to the previous month, according to a new report by job portal Naukri on Monday.

Further opening up of the economy with unlock measures and increased mobility has led to an improvement in hiring activities in industries like real estate, auto/ancillary and hospitality/travel versus August, revealed the Naukri JobSpeak Index for September.

Key industries such as business process outsourcing (BPO)/IT enabled Services (ITeS) and banking and financial services continue to post robust growth sequentially, said the report.

"While the hiring is yet to touch last year levels and is down by 23% in Sept'20 versus Sept'19 but this is also a marked recovery from a 35%-60% decline that we have witnessed in the last few months," Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer,, said in a statement.

"Businesses that are leveraging digital channels for dissemination and consumption of goods and services are thriving and will continue to do so as we imbibe social distancing norms in our daily lives."

Metros which were reeling under various lockdown measures earlier have posted strong double-digit growth in the month of September Vs August with Pune leading the pack followed by Hyderabad and Chennai, while Bangalore is lagging with a 14 per cent growth.

Tier-2 cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Jaipur have also seen a significant uptick in the hiring activities, according to Naukri.

Hiring grew across the board in terms of experience bands with the demand for mid-management professionals (8-12 years) up by 27 per cent versus August followed by 0-3 years' experience (25 per cent), 4-7 years' experience (23 per cent), 13-16 years' experience (24 per cent) and more than 16 years' experience by 19 per cent.

"With increased mobility and focus on health, we are hopeful that hiring activity will further improve in sectors like Travel, Hospitality, Medical/ Healthcare, Insurance and Financial services," Goyal said.

The Naukri JobSpeak is a monthly index that calculates and records hiring activity based on the job listings on website month on month.







Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:47:15 +0530
Vivo Y73s 5G with Dimensity 720 48MP triple cameras launched

Beijing, Oct 12

Vivo has announced a new smartphone in its Y series called 'Vivo Y73s' with 5G network support, a mid-range MediaTek Dimensity processor and a triple-lens rear camera module in China.

The Vivo Y73s 5G is priced at 1,998 Yuan ($298).

Currently, there is no information on whether the Vivo Y73s 5G will head to markets outside of China, reports GSMArena.

The smartphone has a 6.44-inch AMOLED display with a water-drop notch. It supports 1080 x 2400 pixels full HD+ resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio. The phone offers a screen-to-body ratio of 90.1 per cent.

The device comes equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 720 processor. The company has announced the smartphone in a single 8GB RAM and 128GB storage option.

The smartphone houses a 48MP main camera with f/1.79 aperture, an 8MP superwide lens with a 120-degree field-of-view with f/2.4 aperture, and a 2MP portrait shooter with f/2.4 aperture.

The phone supports photography features such as night mode, macro shots, 10x digital zoom, EIS, and 4K video shooting.

The Vivo Y73s 5G has a front-facing camera of 16MP with f/2.0 aperture.

The handset houses a 4,100mAh battery that supports 18W dual-engine fast charging through USB-C.







Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:44:56 +0530
Twitter flags Trump tweet about being immune to coronavirus

San Francisco,  Twitter has flagged and labeled a tweet by US President Donald Trump that he is now immune to coronavirus, as it violated the rules against sharing coronavirus misinformation on its platform.

Twitter disabled sharing options on the tweet from Trump on Sunday.

Trump said in the tweet: "A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can't get it (immune) and can't give it. Very nice to know!!"

If his followers attempted to share the tweet, a pop-up Twitter alert said: "We try to prevent a Tweet like this that otherwise breaks the Twitter Rules from reaching more people".

This is not the first time Twitter disabled sharing on a controversial tweet by Trump. The platform has labeled several of Trump's tweets for violating its policy.

"It seems like I'm immune, so I can go way out of a basement," Trump also said in an interview on Fox News.

"It looks like I'm immune for, I don't know, maybe a long time, maybe a short time. It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows".

White House physician Sean Conley said on Saturday that the president, who tested positive for Covid-19 on October 1 and was later hospitalized for three days before returning to the White House with continued treatment, is "no longer considered a transmission risk to others."

However, Conley did not disclose when Trump last had a negative test result.

A study published in September in the journal Nature Medicine, however, indicated that recovery from the coronavirus does not confer lifetime immunity.


Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:42:52 +0530
Chapman s contribution to Indian football will never be forgotten AIFF

New Delhi, Oct 12

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has condoled the untimely demise of former India captain Carlton Chapman, who breathed his last on Monday morning. He was 49.

AIFF President Praful Patel, in a statement, said: "It's sad to hear that Carlton Chapman is no more. His contribution to Indian football will never be forgotten. I share the grief."

AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das added: "Chapman was a gifted player. He even inspired so many youngsters through his coaching. May his soul rest in peace."

Under Chapman's captaincy, the Indian team went on to win the SAFF Championship trophy in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1997. He scored six goals for the Indian team in thirty-nine matches, including five matches when he led the side. He was part of the triumphant India side which won the SAF Games (1995) in Madras, Nehru Cup (1997) in Kochi and SAFF Championship (1999) in Margao.

At the club level, he began his career with Tata Football Academy in 1991 before moving to East Bengal two years later. During his stay in East Bengal, he scored a hat-trick against Iraqi club Al Zawra at the Asian Cup Winners' Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in 1993.

In 1995, he switched to JCT Mills. He was an integral part of their maiden NFL-winning-campaign in 1997 under the coaching of Dhyan Chand Awardee Sukhwinder Singh. Also, he was part of the treble-winning JCT Mills team which won the Federation Cup, IFA Shield and Durand Cup in 1996. Next year, he lifted the Durand Cup trophy again with FC Kochin.

During his stay in East Bengal, he won the Calcutta Premier League four times (1993, 1998-2000), IFA Shield twice (1994, 2000), Durand Cup, Rovers Cup, Kalinga Cup once apiece besides the National Football League in 2001 before hanging up his boots.

At the domestic level, Chapman won the Santosh Trophy thrice (1993-94, 1998) with Bengal besides representing the state on two more occasions (1999, 2000). Incidentally, he scored the first golden goal in the history of Santosh Trophy, which came against Goa in 1995.

His coaching career started at the Tata Football Academy in 2002. Later, he coached Royal Wahingdoh, Bhawanipore FC, Student's Union FC, Sudeva FC. Recently, he was appointed as the Technical Director of Quartz FC, a club based in Kozhikode.







Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:28:10 +0530
NZ allows border exceptions for some int l students

Wellington,  The New Zealand government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter the country and continue their studies as part of the latest Covid-19 border exceptions, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday.

"The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the government's top priority. Tight border restrictions remain critical to protecting New Zealanders against COVID-19 and ensuring that Kiwis can return home," Hipkins said in a statement on Monday.

"There are many calls on the government to grant exceptions. So far around 10,400 exceptions have been granted for people such as essential health workers, other critical workers and family of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents."

Just last month, new exceptions were announced for some normally resident temporary visa holders, more partners of New Zealanders, and a limited number of veterinarians, deep water fishing crew and agricultural and horticultural mobile plant operators, he said.

Monday's exception was a balanced decision that recognizes the vital role international education will play in the recovery and rebuild of New Zealand and the need to continue the fight against the pandemic, the Minister said.

"It will enable us to welcome back a good portion of those PhD and Masters students who are caught off-shore, and who need to be in New Zealand to complete their work," he said.

These are students who hold or held a visa for 2020, and whose long-term commitment to study here was disrupted by COVID-19.

Priority will be given first to those who need to be in the country for the practical components of their research and study, Hipkins said, adding the first students are likely to arrive in November 2020, with the majority arriving in the new year.

"Allowing these students to travel to New Zealand is a step in the right direction for the international education sector," he said.

International PhDs and other postgraduate students make a significant contribution to New Zealand's research and innovation systems and boost the global reputations and competitiveness of the institutions, Hipkins added.

On Monday, there were no new Covid-19 cases in New Zealand. The overall case tally currently stands at 1,515, according to the Ministry of Health.

Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:25:26 +0530
Cong removes actress Khushboo as party spokesperson

New Delhi, Oct 12

Amid speculation of actress Khushboo Sundar joining BJP, Congress removed her as party spokesperson on Monday.

"Smt. Khushbu Sundar is hereby dropped as AICC Spokesperson with immediate effect," said a statement from Pranav Jha, party Secretary In-charge of Communications.

Khusboo who joined Congress in 2014 after leaving DMK left for New Delhi on Sunday, sources said, to meet BJP leaders.

She was likely to join the BJP on Monday in presence of J.P. Nadda ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly elections due next year.







Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:24:50 +0530
Yogi to launch Mission Shakti for women in Navratri

Lucknow, Oct 12

The Yogi Adityanath government will dedicate the upcoming Navratri festival to women's safety, dignity and empowerment by launching 'Mission Shakti' on October 17.

The initiative will begin in 'Shardiya Navratri' and will continue for the next six months till the 'Chaitra Navratri' in April.

The government spokesman said in a statement that various programmes will be organised from the Gram Panchayats to industrial units, school campuses to government offices, from the Durga Puja pandals to Ramlilas to reaffirm the faith and resolve towards the women power.

As many as 23 departments, including basic education, secondary education, higher education, MSME, other government and non-government agencies will be participating in the programmes.

Private cab operators will also be partners in this initiative.

Short films, street plays, safety pledge, sensitization about the women's laws and a public display of inspirational stories of women will mark the events during the drive.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that the Mission Shakti should start with mass awareness programmes during the 'Shardiya Navratri' that begins on October 17 and celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura, symbolizing the victory of good over evil.

The Chief Minister has directed all the departments to prepare their respective action plans to execute the mission.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avanish Awasthi said the special awareness drive will aim to boost the morale of women and children and empower them by making them aware of their rights.

The idea is to also highlight the state government's sensitivity in handling cases related to them while ensuring the strictest action against the culprits.

The drive has been announced in the backdrop of the uproar over a 19-year-old Dalit woman's alleged gang-rape and murder in Hathras. The state government has set up a special investigating team (SIT), recommended investigation by the CBI and arrested all the four accused.

Awasthi said that along with the Director General of Police Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, he held a meeting to prepare an outline for the drive. He said that additional DG (Women Power Line-1090) Neera Rawat made a presentation on carrying out the drive successfully.

"For wider reach of this special awareness drive, 11 other departments like medical education, technical education, vocational education, higher education, basic education, secondary education, labour, employment exchange, Panchayati Raj, rural development and information and public relations department have also been roped in for this nine-day campaign," he said.

He further added that rights and laws related to women and children will be publicised through police stations and other government departments; posters will also be put up at different schools, colleges, universities and other training centres and at Panchayats, where women's involvement is in large numbers in urban as well as rural areas.

A senior police official said that workshops will be organised to make women and children aware of the security measures to keep them safe and to sensitise them to speak out when they are victimised.







Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:22:21 +0530
390 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast IOM

Tripoli, Oct 12

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that a total of 390 illegal migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast in the past 48 hours.

"In the past 48 hours, 390 migrants, among them women and children, have been intercepted and returned to Libya," IOM Libya tweeted on Sunday.

"While our teams are present at disembarkation points to provide emergency assistance, we reiterate that no one should be returned to Libya," the IOM was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

A few days ago, 9,448 illegal migrants, including women and children, had been rescued and returned to Libya in 2020, it added.

The organization also said that 196 migrants died and 275 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route this year.

Libya has become a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.








Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:11:22 +0530
With 66K Covid cases India s tally crosses 71L

New Delhi,  With a spike of 66,732 coronavirus cases and 816 deaths in 24 hours, Indias tally on Monday mounted to 71 lakh with a total of 71,20,538 cases.

Out of these, 8,61,853 are currently active, 61,49,535 have been discharged, while 1,09,150 lost the battle against the pandemic.

While the recovery rate stands at 86.36 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.53 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 15,28,226 cases including 40,349 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 9,94,851 sample tests in a single day on Sunday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 8,78,72,093.

Mon, 12 Oct 2020 13:06:25 +0530
Govt awards 322 projects for 12 413 km road construction

New Delhi, The central government awarded a total of 322 projects for the construction of 12,413 km roads under the 'Bharatmala Pariyojana' till August, said a statement issued from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on Sunday.

Till August, 2,921 km road has been constructed under the project.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken up detailed review of National Highways network and has given overall investment approval for Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase I Scheme for development of about 34,800 km (including 10,000 km residual NHDP stretches) at an estimated outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore.

Bharatmala Pariyojana is an umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps through effective interventions like development of Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors and Feeder Routes, National Corridor Efficiency Improvement, Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal and Port connectivity roads and Green-field expressways.


Sun, 11 Oct 2020 16:28:57 +0530
Hathras victim s family to appear in court on Monday

Hathras (Uttar Pradesh), The Hathras victim's family will appear before the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday to give their statements on the "forced cremation" of the 19-year-old girl who was allegedly gang raped and died two weeks later in a Delhi hospital.

The Lucknow Bench has taken suo motu cognizance of the incident.

"Five of us will be appearing in court. The administration had asked us how many from our family would like to be present for the hearing on October 12. My father, mother, sister, younger brother and I will be appearing in court," the victim's elder brother told reporters.

"The administration has promised full security when we travel to Lucknow on Monday," he added.

The high court had asked the Hathras district judge to ensure family members of the deceased can appear to record their version of what had happened. State and district authorities were also asked to extend all help and security the family needed.

"We are inclined to examine as to whether there has been gross violation of the fundamental rights of the deceased and the family members of the victim," the court had said on October 1, a day after the victim had been cremated at 2.40 a.m. in her village without the presence or consent of any family member.

The court has also asked media houses to share content on the basis of which the incident had been reported.

The state of Uttar Pradesh, through additional chief secretary (home), DGP, ADG (law and order), and Hathras district magistrate and superintendent were named respondents.

The girl's brother, meanwhile, has said the family will not immerse the ashes just yet.

"Not until we get justice and are sure that the body that was cremated was that of my sister. We were not even allowed to see her face one last time," he said.

A senior police official in Lucknow said that the family would be kept away from the 'aggressive presence' of the media.

"They have already been harassed enough (by the media) in Hathras and we want that they should be allowed to give their statements before the court without any more hassles," the official said.


Sun, 11 Oct 2020 09:47:14 +0530
Super Over against Mumbai Indians freed me up Kohli

Dubai,  Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli said that a pull stroke that he played of Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah in the Super Over that the two sides had played on September 28 helped him free himself and find form. Kohli scored an unbeaten 90 on Saturday against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), following up on scores of 43 and 72 not out in his previous two matches.

He had managed 14, 1 and 3 in the matches before that. "Before that, I was trying to do too much, taking focus away from what I need to do which is watch the ball and just bat. If you think too much about responsibility, you get burdened and you don't play as a player. Your skills are required for your team's success," he said in the post-match presentation ceremony in which he was also declared player of the match.

"That Super Over where I had to strike, else we would have lost, freed me up. Then I started enjoying training. The next few sessions were very good from a batting point of view. I was hitting the ball well in the last game as well and wanted to do exactly that today. Training all these days also helped."

Kohli got to his half century in 39 balls after which he and he smashed the next 37 runs in just 13 balls. "It's about understanding the conditions and respecting the game instead of trying to hit every ball into the second tier of the stadium. That is what experience is and having played so much cricket, especially T20 cricket, I understand that if you are set at the death, you can really capitalise," said Kohli.

Sun, 11 Oct 2020 09:41:45 +0530
Cinemas to open in Delhi from Oct 15 santisation after each show

New Delhi,  Finally, there is some good news for the cinema-goers in the national capital as the government has given permission to the cinema hall operators to open their facilities from October 15 -- almost 8 months after lockdown was imposed in the country to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

The central government has given the nod to open cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes in the country with 50 per cent capacity.

The cinema hall operators here are currently engaged in making preparations to ensure all Covid-related protocols are maintained, as they are getting ready to welcome patrons after a long period of time.

Each individual would undergo thermal screening after entering the theatres, and only those without symptoms would be allowed to enter the cinema screening halls.

At the same time, more windows have to be opened for booking tickets in a single screen. However, online ticketing will also be available, so that at least people come in contact with one another. Apart from that, phone numbers of viewers would also be noted for contact tracing.

During the film screening, it would be mandatory for the people to wear masks. After the end of a show, the entire hall would be sanitised, before the start of the second show.

Since the process is going to be time taking, only 3-4 shows could be shown in a day.

Cinema halls in Delhi were closed in March due to the Coronavirus triggered lockdown. Under this, approval has been given to open theatres from October 15.

According to an estimation, since lockdown, the cinema hall operators in Delhi have suffered a loss of about Rs 3,000 crore.

Delhi has 130 screens and 50 theatres, including multiplexes. Along with the economic loss, a large number of people have also lost their jobs.

Rajkumar Mehrotra, CEO of Delite Cinemas, told IANS: "The cinema industry has suffered a lot in the last 8 months. Let's guess, there has been a loss of around Rs 3,000 crore to 4,000 crore."

"We have made changes in theatres and all the government guidelines will be followed completely. Sanitisation will be done after every show," he added.

Mehrotra said that theatres would have thermal screenings, packed food packets, whereas earlier there were 5 to 6 shows, which would reduce from 3 to 4 in a day.

He hopes that in the upcoming festive season might help the cinema hall operators get a good response, by Diwali, "life should be back on track".

PVR Cinemas has also made preparations for the 'new normal' scheme of things.

Only canned food or beverages will be allowed inside theatres. Besides, provisions have been made for gloves, shoes, masks, PPE kits etc. for the safety of the cleaning staff.

The AC temperature will be kept between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius along with the appropriate arrangement of ventilation in the cinema halls.

It will also be mandatory to arrange social distance during the entry and exit of people at the start, interval and end of the show. Changes are being made in theatres.

Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas, said: "We promise that we will follow the ministry guidelines. We have made full preparations for this.

"We are hopeful that in the coming times, most of the state governments will allow the cinema halls to reopen, as we will pay proper attention towards maintaining the safety of the people," he said.

Sun, 11 Oct 2020 09:36:47 +0530
Vedanta delisting offer fails owing to delisting regulations

New Delhi, Anil Agarwal's Vedanta Limited announced on Saturday that its delisting offer had failed due to the requisite number of shares not being offered by shareholders.

Vedanta's delisting offer is deemed to have failed in terms of the delisting regulations, the company announced.

Vedanta said that 125.47 crore shares were validly tendered by public shareholders. The reverse book building process for public shareholders had concluded on Friday.

For successful delisting of the shares, 134.12 crore shares needed to have been validly tendered for the promoter shareholding to cross the
90% shareholding.

Accordingly, the acquirers will not acquire any equity shares tendered by the public shareholders in the delisting offer and the equity
shares will continue to remain listed on the stock exchanges, the Vedanta statement said.

"The total number of Offer Shares validly tendered by the Public Shareholders in the Delisting Offer is 1,25,47,16,610 Offer Shares,
which is less than the minimum number of Offer Shares required to be accepted by the Acquirers in order for the Delisting Offer to be
successful in terms of Regulation 17(1)(a) of the Delisting Regulations. Thus, the Delisting Offer is deemed to have failed in
terms of Regulation 19(1) of the Delisting Regulations," Vedanta said.

Sun, 11 Oct 2020 09:31:10 +0530
On path to recovery Sept tendering and awarding grows 43

New Delhi, Economic activity hit by Covid-19 pandemic may be gradually returning back to normal levels of last year as tendering activity, a good barometer to gauge the level of economic activity, growing by a staggering 43 per cent in September as compared to same month last year.

Though the high growth during the month is largely on the back of low base YoY, still tendering in September has reached the highest level since March 2019, Emkay Global Financial Services said in a research report.

With the gradual lifting of the lockdown, tendering and awarding activity had picked up in July but slipped again modestly in August and was still below the normal run-rate despite a low base, it h as licked up now in September.

The bulk of the pick-up in tendering during the month was driven by Water Supply (up 24 per cent yoy) and Roadways (up 57 per cent yoy) while Irrigation (down 34 per cent yoy) was weaker than recent run-rate.

Average monthly run-rate of tender value after FY19 has been around Rs 45,000 crore as compared to which September 2020 was at Rs 74,100 crore. The September 2020 tendering activity is still down 15 per cent yoy despite a low base in the second half of the previous comparable period.

Emkay said that despite signs of a pick up, in FY21 with the fiscal situation of both the Centre and State governments already under pressure and further worsening likely due to Covid-19, tendering and awarding activity should remain subdued.

The awarding activity in September 2020, in value terms, was up 25 per cent yoy. The total awards stood at Rs28700 crore for the month which compares with a monthly run-rate of Rs 30,000 crore until FY19 and

L&T has so far reported an order inflow (ex-services) of only Rs 17,500 crore for the entire Q2FY21 as compared to a normalized run-rate of more than Rs 30,000 crore, the brokerage said.

The breakdown of the orders suggests that bulk of the increase is due to orders such as a charter lease of FPSO from ONGC and renewable energy sector orders bagged by Sterling & Wilson, some of which may not be relevant or sustainable.

For September 2020, key sectors which reported ordering growth were Process (up 33x yoy), Water Supply (up 5x yoy), Power Equipment (up 3x yoy) and Roadways (up 2x yoy), while Real Estate (down 90 per cent yoy) and Irrigation (down 73 per cent yoy) saw a decline. TTM Sep-20 orders however, are still down 21 per cent yoy due to sharp declines across the board.


Sun, 11 Oct 2020 09:26:33 +0530
Trump makes 1st public appearance after Covid 19 diagnosis

Washington, US President Donald Trump has made his first public appearance since his he was tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month, during an event at the White House, according to media reports.

During Saturday's event at the South Lawn which featured "remarks to peaceful protesters for law and order", the President addressed the attendants from the Blue Room Balcony.

The gathering was in conjunction with a previously planned event organized by controversial conservative activist Candace Owens' group Blexit, a campaign to urge Black Americans to leave the Democratic Party.

"The homes and churches and businesses of Black and Hispanic Americans have been looted. You know that. They've been vandalized and burned by left-wing fanatics, total bad people. They know what they're doing.

"Yet (Democratic presidential nominee Joe) Biden likes to call them �peaceful protesters,'" The Hill news website quoted Trump as saying.

In his address, he also claimed that "Black and Latino Americans are rejecting the radical socialist left", and "they're embracing our pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-police. We want law and order; we have to have law and order and pro-American agenda".

The President also mentioned his Platinum Plan, which was unveiled last month and includes platforms such as making Juneteenth a federal holiday and prosecuting the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization.

Trump said that the plan will "bring back new jobs, like at a level that you've never seen before, increase capital, increase money coming into the Black community, into the Hispanic community".

Regarding his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, he said: "I want you to know our nation's going to defeat this terrible China virus, as we call it.

"We are producing powerful therapies and drugs, and we're healing the sick, and we're going to recover.

"We had it going, and we really had it going, and then the plague came in from China, but we're getting rid of that, and we're rebuilding it, and it's going to be better than it even was before."

Meanwhile, updated memo issued by White House physician Sean Conley on Saturday night has cleared Trump to return to an active schedule, CNN reported.

"This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning's Covid-19 PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others," Conley wrote in the memo.

But the physician did not mention when did Trump last tested negative for for the virus.

Conley wrote that Trump was 10 days from the onset of symptoms, has been fever-free for "well over 24 hours" and after diagnostic tests, "there is no longer evidence of actively replicating virus".

The doctor however, did not explain what "advanced diagnostic tests" the President had received, adding that he will continue to monitor Trump "as he returns to an active schedule"

The President is scheduled to hold at least three in-person rallies this week, beginning on Monday in Florida.

Sun, 11 Oct 2020 09:17:49 +0530
Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee s condition worsens shifted to ICU

Kolkata, Oct 10

Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee was shifted to Intensive Care Unit in a private hospital late Friday night after the 85-year-old's health deteriorated, hospital sources said on Saturday.

Chatterjee, who had tested coronavirus positive on October 5, was suffering from several comorbidities. He was immediately shifted to an ICU for close monitoring.

A day after his Covid-19 test on October 5 gave positive report, he was admitted to the hospital but in a stable condition.

The sources said Chatterjee was unwell for the past couple of days and reportedly suffering from fever. He was shooting for a documentary titled 'Abhijan' directed by actor Parambrata Chattopadhyay.

He had attended the shoot floor at Bharatlaxmi Studio on October 1. The next shooting schedule was on October 7.

It was learnt that the actor had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-related problem. Last year, he had suffered a bout of pneumonia and was admitted to a hospital for a few days.

Earlier, many actors, directors and producers like Ranjit Mallick, his daughter and actress Koel Mallick, wife Dipa Mallick, producer Nispal Singh and director Raj Chakraborty had tested coronavirus positive but have since recovered.







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 12:47:35 +0530
EU lawmakers hail approval of amendments to European Climate Law

Brussels,  European Union (EU) lawmakers have welcomed the parliament plenary's decision to approve amendments to the European Climate Law that envisions climate neutrality by 2050 as a binding goal for the bloc.

"Wrapping up the week. One step forward towards a sustainable continent," Lidia Pereira, a Portuguese member of the European Parliament, tweeted on Friday.

"The approval of the Climate Law represents a major milestone in Europe's commitment with younger generations."

the European Parliament announced on Thursday the adoption of its negotiating mandate on the law with 392 votes in favour, 161 votes against, and 142 abstentions, after two days of debate and voting sessions, reports Xinhua news agency.

Commenting on the voting result, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans tweeted that Parliament, with its vote on the climate law, sends a strong message about the need for ambition in tackling the climate crisis.

"This is a historic moment," claimed Jytte Guteland, a Swedish MEP who was Prliament's rapporteur on the proposed Climate Law.

Guteland said the climate law is indeed the cornerstone of the European Green Deal as it enshrines in the legislation the EU's objectives to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.

The MEPs also backed a new target of 60 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, up from the 55 per cent goal proposed by the European Commission.

If natural sinks, which are natural storages of CO2 such as soil, forests and oceans, are to be taken into account in greenhouse gas reduction, the 55 percent target is in fact a CO2 emission reduction of only 51-53 per cent, said Guteland during the debate.

This will not be enough, as natural sinks are shrinking, she argued.

An interim target for 2040 should also be set as soon as possible after a thorough impact assessment, as demanded by the lawmakers.

According to Guteland, the new law, which is becoming binding for both the EU and its individual member states to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, will encourage solidarity between member states, as they all have different starting points and no one shall be left behind.

An independent scientific body, the European Climate Change Council (ECCC), will be established in order to monitor and advise the EU on its progress toward climate neutrality, according to the approved amendments.

The EU climate law was initially put forward by the European Commission in March 2020, following a decision of the European Council in 2019 to become climate-neutral by 2050.

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 12:44:20 +0530
Face recognition tool reunites UP boy with parents after 5 years

Hyderabad, Oct 9

Telangana State police's face recognition tool 'Darpan' has helped reunite a missing boy from Uttar Pradesh with his parents after five years.

Som Soni, a resident of Handia in Allahabad, missing since 2015, was traced at a child home in Assam.

Swati Lakra, Additional Director General of Police, women safety, said the boy who was missing since July 14, 2015 was found at the Child Welfare Centre in Assam's Goalpara district.

The missing boy was found by Goalpara police on July 23, 2015 and was sent to the Child Welfare Centre.

"Telangana state police, while using the face recognition tool Darpan to match missing children's photographs with those of children found at various child homes across the country detected the said boy by matching his photos," she said.

The Telangana police immediately informed the concerned Station House Officer of Handia police station, Allahabad, who in turn informed the parents of the missing child. They rushed to the Child Welfare Centre and identified their kid.

The police official said the Telangana State police played a big role in reuniting the missing child with their parents after five years.

Efforts are on to trace as many missing children across India through 'Darpan' so as to restore them to their family, she added.







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 12:16:38 +0530
Mandatory action in crime against women MHA s new advisory

New Delhi, Oct 10

Taking cognizance of recent crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras and other states, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories (UTs) directing them for "mandatory" police action in such cases with compulsory registration of First Information Report (FIR).

It has further warned that any failure on the part of the police to adhere to the mandatory requirements in crime against women will be inquired and necessary action will be taken immediately against the concerned officers responsible for the lapses.

The advisory says, "It is requested that states and UTs may suitably issue instructions to all concerned to ensure strict compliance with the provisions in the law".

The states and the UTs have also been requested to monitor the cases on the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) to ensure that suitable follow up action is taken on the charge sheet of the guilty in a timely manner as required in the law.

The Ministry issued the advisory on Friday -- days after a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gang raped by four men in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras leading to her death. As similar crimes were reported in Jharkhand and Rajasthan,and other states leading to widespread protest and political outcry, the Ministry took the step to issue the fresh advisory.

In the advisory, the Ministry referred to its May 16, 2019 advisory on a "failure to record information under sub-section (1) of Section 154 of CrPC punishable under 166A of the Indian Penal Code". The MHA took reference of its another advisory dated December 5, 2019 regarding timely and proactive action by the police in cases of crimes against women.

The Ministry also mentioned Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the investigation and prosecution of rape against women issued by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), and added points regarding distribution of the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits to states and UTs by BPR&D as described in MHA's letter dated October 5 this year.







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 12:10:51 +0530
Facebook Emotional Health tool now available in India

New Delhi, Oct 10

Facebook on Saturday said its centralised resource centre called Emotional Health, launched this week to help people cope with growing mental health issues in the pandemic, is now available with locally relevant information from its Indian partners.

The partners in India are mental health campaign ‘OK to Talk', iCALL Psychosocial Helpline (Tata Institute of Social Sciences), and The Live Love Laugh Foundation that will provide mental health helplines and resources catering to the local needs of users.

"Our Covid-19 Information Centre and Emotional Health, launched ahead of the Mental Health Day on the Facebook app, provides people with access to tips and information from leading experts," said Ajit Mohan, Managing Director and Vice-President, Facebook India.

"We have also launched eight new wellbeing guides on Instagram, along with partners," he said in a statement.

On Mental Health Day on Saturday, Instagram launched a ‘The Real Talk' content series in partnership with the Under25 community and The Artidote.

It's a three-part video series, hosted by the founder of The Artidote, Jovanny Ferreyra, a global mental health advocate.

"While mental health tools, resources and community guidelines are powerful and necessary components of making the social media experience a positive one, the majority of interaction still happens between members of a community," Mohan said.

More than six million people in the Asia-Pacific region are part of over 35,000 active groups dedicated to mindfulness and mental well-being.

"Let's be aware of our own emotions, and acknowledge the impact of this situation on our lives. Reach out for help, without hesitation and any inhibition," Mohan added.







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 12:04:39 +0530
Tsitsipas a fighter one of world s best players Djokovic

Paris, Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has heaped praise on Stefanos Tsitsipas, saying the Greek is a fighter and one of the best players in the world.

On Friday evening, Djokovic survived a fightback from fifth seed Tsitsipas as he had to battle it out for almost four hours to secure a hard-fought 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 semi-final win in the ongoing French Open.

"Credit to him (Tsitsipas) for fighting back. He just played terrific tennis, especially in the fourth set when he was facing break points... He's a fighter. He's one of the best players in the world...There was a lot at stake for him," said Djokovic after the match as per the ATP Tour website.

"He was motivated to try to turn the match around, which he did very well. But in the end I think he ran out of gas. That's when I stepped it up, used my opportunities when they were presented in the fifth and closed out the match in a great fashion," he added.

Djokovic started his 10th Roland Garros semi-final in great form, winning the first two sets quite comfortably. But as the match began to slip away from Tsitsipas, the world number six took risks and fired his backhand down the line regularly to turn the match in his favour and won the next two sets.

After the fourth set where Djokovic managed to convert just one of his 11 break points, the Serbian showed greater levels of energy in the decider and played with aggression on his return to reach the championship match.

"I was definitely not pleased with the way I played the finishing stages of the third and fourth sets, but I was very pleased with the way I kept my composure mentally throughout the entire match," said the world number one. "I did feel that even though I lost the third and fourth, I still felt like I was the better player on the court. I had more control. I just felt comfortable playing," he added.

Djokovic will now play 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal in the summit clash. Djokovic owns a 29-26 head to head advantage against the Spaniard, but Nadal has won six of their seven meetings at this event.


Sat, 10 Oct 2020 12:00:25 +0530
US dollar slips as traders focus on stimulus

New York, Oct 10

The US dollar weakened in late trading on Friday as market participants eyed updates on additional coronavirus stimulus. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, fell 0.59 per cent at 93.0532.

In late New York trading, the euro increased to $1.1825 from $1.1758 in the previous session, and the British pound increased to $1.3038 from $1.2933in the previous session. The Australian dollar was up to $0.7231 from $0.7163, Xinhua news agency reported.

The US dollar bought 105.62 Japanese yen, lower than 106.01 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar was down to 0.9097 Swiss franc from 0.9171 Swiss franc, and it decreased to 1.3131 Canadian dollars from 1.3199 Canadian dollars.

The moves came as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued talks surrounding potential coronavirus relief package.

"In the US, the debate about a new fiscal package that is intended to soften the effects of the COVID crisis continues," though "the market has pretty much abandoned hope that a major package will be passed ahead of the presidential elections," Antje Praefcke, analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note Friday.







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:59:22 +0530
Tsitsipas a fighter one of world s best players Djokovic

Paris, Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has heaped praise on Stefanos Tsitsipas, saying the Greek is a fighter and one of the best players in the world.

On Friday evening, Djokovic survived a fightback from fifth seed Tsitsipas as he had to battle it out for almost four hours to secure a hard-fought 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 semi-final win in the ongoing French Open.

"Credit to him (Tsitsipas) for fighting back. He just played terrific tennis, especially in the fourth set when he was facing break points... He's a fighter. He's one of the best players in the world...There was a lot at stake for him," said Djokovic after the match as per the ATP Tour website.

"He was motivated to try to turn the match around, which he did very well. But in the end I think he ran out of gas. That's when I stepped it up, used my opportunities when they were presented in the fifth and closed out the match in a great fashion," he added.

Djokovic started his 10th Roland Garros semi-final in great form, winning the first two sets quite comfortably. But as the match began to slip away from Tsitsipas, the world number six took risks and fired his backhand down the line regularly to turn the match in his favour and won the next two sets.

After the fourth set where Djokovic managed to convert just one of his 11 break points, the Serbian showed greater levels of energy in the decider and played with aggression on his return to reach the championship match.

"I was definitely not pleased with the way I played the finishing stages of the third and fourth sets, but I was very pleased with the way I kept my composure mentally throughout the entire match," said the world number one. "I did feel that even though I lost the third and fourth, I still felt like I was the better player on the court. I had more control. I just felt comfortable playing," he added.

Djokovic will now play 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal in the summit clash. Djokovic owns a 29-26 head to head advantage against the Spaniard, but Nadal has won six of their seven meetings at this event.


Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:58:52 +0530
When Shakti Kapoor convinced Jackie Shroff to buy a house

Mumbai, Oct 10

Actor Shakti Kapoor has revealed how he convinced his friend, actor Jackie Shroff, to buy his first house.

Going down memory lane, Shakti said: "Jackie always had a fascination towards cars and while he lived in a small house in town, he always made sure he bought a new car. Even Govinda and Salman Khan followed this trend."

But Jackie's mother was concerned, and she asked Shakti to convince Jackie to buy a house.

"His mother knew that Jackie considers me a great friend and would listen to me. However, he also used to donate money to the less fortunate, especially to the ones living on the roads. So, convincing him to put his charity work on pause was a challenge," said Shakti.

"I made him understand the importance of having a roof of his own over his head. I persuaded him to continue doing his noble and charitable deed after buying his house. Next thing I know, I get a call from Jackie telling me he bought a huge house," he recalled.

Shakti spoke about his friendship with Jackie on set of "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs".

Professionally, Jackie Shroff and Shakti Kapoor have worked together in numerous films since the eighties, notably "Hero", "Hulchul", and "Bandhan".







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:55:34 +0530
Apple offers free AirPods as Diwali gift with iPhone 11 in India

New Delhi, Apple Store Online in India has announced a Diwali offer where people buying an iPhone 11 will get an AirPods absolutely free in the country.

The popular AirPods (2nd generation) are powered by the all-new Apple H1 headphone chip and use optical sensors and motion accelerometers to detect when they're in ear.

The Apple offer starts from October 17 when the country will enter a festive sale season.

The iPhone 11 currently starts from Rs 5,802 a month or Rs 49,300 with trade-in while AirPods begins from Rs 14,900.

The 6.1-inch iPhone 11, which is now being assembled by Foxconn at its Chennai manufacturing plant, introduces a powerful dual-camera system, fastest-ever A13 Bionic chip with third-generation neural engine and all-day battery life to help you with the most daunting tasks.

Featuring the toughest glass ever in a smartphone, iPhone 11 is rated IP68 for water resistance (up to two metres for up to 30 minutes) and is protected against accidental spills from common liquids such as coffee and soda.

Riding on the success of iPhone 11 in India, Apple remains the leading brand in the ultra-premium segment in the country.

Within models, iPhone 11 was the highest-selling model in the ultra-premium segment (Rs 45,000 and above) for the June quarter in the country this year.

Just in time for the festive season, signature gift wrap and personalised engraving will also be available for select products on Apple Store Online.

Engraving of emojis or text in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu will be available for AirPods.

On the online India store this month, customers can also enjoy free online 'Today at Apple' sessions led by local creative professionals, focused on photography and music.

The first Apple Store Online went live in India last month, offering a full range of products, support and premium experience to consumers and the large aspirational fan base across the country, including trading old phones for a new iPhone.

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:43:39 +0530
This researcher is tracking Covid 19 with Google s help

San Francisco, As there will be more pandemics and epidemics after Covid-19, the world needs to be prepared and a research team at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has been working to make epidemiological forecasting as universal as weather forecasting.

When COVID hit, they launched COVIDcast to develop data monitoring and forecasting resources that can help public health officials, researchers, and the public make informed decisions.

"Our forecasting system has been a top performer at the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) annual forecasting challenges. I like to think of COVIDcast as a replica of what we've done for the flu but better and faster," said Ryan Tibshirani, a research lead at CMU.

Last month, CMU received $1 million from and a team of 13 Fellows to work pro bono for six months to help continue building out COVIDcast.

This was part of's $100 million commitment to COVID relief.

The ‘COVIDcast' project is about building and providing an ecosystem for COVID-19 tracking and forecasting.

"Our aim is to support informed decision-making at federal, state, and local levels of government, in the healthcare sector, and beyond," Tibshirani said in a Google post.

"We share both our data and a range of software tools -- from data processing and visualization to sophisticated statistical tools".

With the Google funding, the research team hopes they can help accelerate their progress and introduce themselves to leading industry product and software development techniques.

"The tech sector is uniquely positioned to provide data and platforms that even governments can't provide. It also has the skills and experience to quickly assemble large-scale systems, in real time. Google has been extraordinarily helpful to us on all of these fronts," Tibshirani said.

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:34:15 +0530
Raveena Tandon to shoot web series in Dalhousie

Mumbai, Actress Raveena Tandon is all set to resume shooting for a web series post lockdown. The yet-to-be revealed web project will be shot in scenic Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh.

"I am looking forward to resume shooting, but it is important for us to take safety precautions. We have travelled by adhering to all Covid-19 guidelines. Personally I am very particular about safety and hygiene during these COVID times and the entire cast and crew will be adhering to strict social distancing norms," Raveena shared.

Raveena will next be seen in "KGF: Chapter 2", which is a follow-up of the the blockbuster "KGF: Chapter 1", starring Kannada star Yash. Actor Sanjay Dutt, who is currently undergoing a medical treatment, will play a pivotal role in the second part.

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:19:55 +0530
With 73K new cases India s Covid tally nears 70L

New Delhi, Oct 10

India recorded a spike of 73,272 Covid-19 cases and 926 deaths in 24 hours taking the tally to 69,79,423 cases, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Saturday.

Out of the total, 8,83,185 cases are currently active, 59,88,822 have been cured, while 1,07,416 lost the battle against the viral disease.

While the recovery rate is at 85.52 per cent, the fatality rate is 1.54 per cent, the Health Ministry data said.

The total percentage of active cases is now at 12.94 per cent.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 15,06,018 cases, including 39,732 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 11,64,018 sample tests in a single day on Friday.







Sat, 10 Oct 2020 11:17:52 +0530
US dollar slips as traders focus on stimulus

New York,  The US dollar weakened in late trading on Friday as market participants eyed updates on additional coronavirus stimulus. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, fell 0.59 per cent at 93.0532.

In late New York trading, the euro increased to $1.1825 from $1.1758 in the previous session, and the British pound increased to $1.3038 from $1.2933in the previous session. The Australian dollar was up to $0.7231 from $0.7163, Xinhua news agency reported.

The US dollar bought 105.62 Japanese yen, lower than 106.01 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar was down to 0.9097 Swiss franc from 0.9171 Swiss franc, and it decreased to 1.3131 Canadian dollars from 1.3199 Canadian dollars.

The moves came as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued talks surrounding potential coronavirus relief package.

"In the US, the debate about a new fiscal package that is intended to soften the effects of the COVID crisis continues," though "the market has pretty much abandoned hope that a major package will be passed ahead of the presidential elections," Antje Praefcke, analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note Friday.

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 10:43:32 +0530
Armenia Azerbaijan agree on ceasefire in Nagarno Karbakh

Moscow,  Following weeks of renewed clashes, Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region which will begin on Saturday after 10 hours of negotiations in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced.

"A ceasefire is declared with the humanitarian aim of exchanging prisoners of war and other captured persons as well as to exchange bodies of victims with the facilitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and in line with its regulations," TASS News Agency quoted Lavrov as saying early Saturday citing a joint statement, signed by the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Detailed parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon in the near future," he added.

The announcement of the ceasefire came after trilateral talks between Lavrov, Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers Jeyhun Bayramov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, respectively, held talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement for more than 10 hours.

The document also states that Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to begin practical talks with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group representatives on the peace settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The Republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and based on the principles of conflict settlements, begin practical negotiations with the main task of reaching the peace settlement as soon as possible," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"All involved parties have confirmed their adherence to the invariability of the negotiating process."

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority.

The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, April 2016 and this July, TASS News Agency reported.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts.

In the latest conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have confirmed that 201 of their personnel and a number of civilians have died.

Azerbaijan has said that 22 civilians were killed, but did not provide information about military casualties.

Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over the region in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire. However, a settlement was never reached.

The current fighting is the worst seen since the ceasefire and the two former Soviet republics have been blaming each other.


Sat, 10 Oct 2020 09:23:34 +0530
Railways taps solar energy to power stations in Karnataka

Hubli, The South Western Railway (SWR) has installed solar panels on the roof of its stations, terraces of its buildings and at level-crossing gates across Karnataka to harness renewable energy for its power needs, an official said on Friday.

"We have installed solar panels on top of stations, service buildings and level-crossing in the zone, which operates across Karnataka, Goa and parts of Andhra Pradesh to harness natural energy for meeting our power needs," the official said in a statement here.

Hubli, where the zonal railway is headquartered, is about 400 km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.

"Solar panels are installed on the roof top of 128 major stations across the zone, including Hubli, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hospet, Gadag and Ballari, on the terraces of 7 buildings at Hubli, Bengaluru and Mysuru," said the official.

Photo voltaic cell lights have been installed at 221 level-crossing gates across the zone. Solar panels have also been set up on top of workshops and sheds in the zone, spanning the state.

"We expect to generate 4.7-million units of power from the solar panels this year during sunny days," said the official.

The SWR has provided 4.37-megawatt peak (MWp) plants on developer mode and 165 kilowatt peak KWp) solar plant across the zone.

"Tapping and using solar energy will enable us to save Rs 1.88 crore in electricity bills in this fiscal (2020-21) year," said the official.

The zonal railway also plans to set up land-based solar plants at track side and railway vacant lands to harness sun's energy.

Rail Energy Management Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, has floated a tender for land-based solar plants of 20MWp in vacant ands and 8.3MWp on track sides across the zone.

"Land has been identified for installing plants to generate 98MWp from solar energy," noted the official.

On all-India level, the railways plan to source 1,000MW of solar power and 200MW of wind power by 2021-22 across the country.

"About 500MW will be generated from roof-top solar panels on buildings and 500MW from land-based solar plants to meet traction and non-traction requirements," added the official.

Sat, 10 Oct 2020 09:14:47 +0530
Paswan a towering personality stood for social justice Sonia

New Delhi, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday condoled the death of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, terming him a towering personality, who aimed for empowerment of the most marginalised.

In a statement, she said: "My deepest condolences on the passing away of Ram Vilas Paswan. A towering personality, who stood with the cause of social justice and empowerment of the most marginalised.

"He will be forever remembered for asserting the cause of social and political equity."

Recalling her association with him, Gandhi said: "I remember his long association as an ally and as a competent and dynamic minister of the UPA. My thoughts are with his wife, Chirag and all the family members, friends and followers in this moment of loss and grief."

Paswan, who had completed 50 years in active politics last year, breathed his last on Thursday evening at Fortis hospital here where he had been admitted for last several days.


Fri, 09 Oct 2020 09:38:31 +0530
SC terms ex IAF officer dangerous for country denies bail in spying case

New Delhi, The Supreme Court has termed a former Indian Air Force officer facing trial under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) "dangerous for the country" and denied him bail.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian declined to entertain a plea filed by Ranjith K.K. against a Delhi High Court order.

Ranjith is facing trial for allegedly sharing sensitive information with suspects considered a front for Pakistan's intelligence service.

The bench said, "You are a danger to the entire nation. You remain where you are."

Ranjith's lawyer contended before the bench that his client has not seen his mother in Kerala for five years, as he has been in jail under the OSA. To which the bench replied, "You should have thought about all this before you did it."

The top court said: "The special leave petition is dismissed. Pending application(s), if any, shall also stand disposed of."

Ranjith had earlier urged the high court to grant him bail, saying he was a young man at the time of his arrest and the only charge framed against him was under a section, which has maximum punishment for 14 years.

He had joined the IAF as leading aircraftman.

In its order, the high court had noted that according to the FIR and the order by which the charge was framed against him, the petitioner is accused of having passed on sensitive data to persons who were intending to threaten the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

The police had alleged that he was honey-trapped and afterwards shared sensitive information with Pakistan's secret service.

While denying bail, the high court also took into account that various documents have been recovered, which included WhatsApp chat history, map of the Air Force base etc.

Fri, 09 Oct 2020 09:34:22 +0530
Delhi Riots HC to hear Left plea on FIR against Anurag Thakur Parvesh Verma

New Delhi,  The Delhi High Court will on November 2 hear a petition filed by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat challenging a trial court order which had dismissed her plea seeking registration of FIR against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma over their alleged hate speech during the riots that broke out in the national capital earlier this year.

The plea, filed through advocates Tara Narula, Adit S Pujari and Aparajita Sinha, was listed before a single judge bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna who asked both parties to file the set of judgments they would rely on and posted the matters for further hearing on November 2.

Karat, in her petition, challenged the order passed by the trial court on August 26 dismissing her plea seeking lodging of FIR against the two leaders on the grounds that the requisite sanction from the competent authority, the central government, was not obtained.

During the course of brief hearing, advocate Siddharth Aggarwal appearing for Karat informed the court that the lower court kept the matter pending for around nine months and later dismissed the same without even getting into the merits of this case.

CPI(M) leaders Brinda Karat and KM Tewari had filed the complaint before the trial court seeking a direction to the Parliament Street Police Station to register an FIR against Thakur and Verma.

However, the trial court said that the complaint was not sustainable without prior sanction.

"The Petitioners/Complainants in the present case, already aggrieved by the failure of the Police to register an FIR for the commission of cognizable offences amounting to hate speech, have now been relegated by the Ld. ACMM to seek sanction from the State/Centre, a sanction which is a statutory requirement for taking cognizance, not investigation," said the two Left leaders in their petition.

"The Complainant is effectively being asked to step into the shoes of the investigating agency and make a case for prosecution before the Sanctioning Agency. Furthermore, any Application for Sanction by the complainant at this stage would be without the benefit of materials and evidence obtained during investigation," the plea said further.


Fri, 09 Oct 2020 09:29:18 +0530
DUSU to deploy 500 volunteers to assist during DU s admission process

New Delhi, Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) will provide a force of 500 student volunteers for the smooth flow of admissions at the University of Delhi (DU), which is set to begin from October 12. DUSU president Akshat Dahiya said that the student's union has decided to form a cell of student volunteers who would assist with the administration in the process of upcoming admissions of the first-year students.

"A meeting was held with the admission committee of the university where we offered our support to the committee," he said.

Dahiya told IANS that the volunteers would undergo a mock training before being deployed in the admission cell. "We have started training the volunteers, and a mock would be conducted for them on Friday and Saturday where they will be guided how to assist the prospective students and members of the admission committee," he explained.

"Our numbers and email-IDs will flash on the university's website, and prospective students could contact us directly as well if they get stuck in the process," Dahiya added.

Meanwhile, the students union has also requested the administration to extend the last date of uploading the mark sheet and ensure the conduction of a proper webinar for the students for the error-free process.

For the first time, the admission process at the university is entirely online this year after the situation arose from the COVID-19 led pandemic.


Fri, 09 Oct 2020 09:20:06 +0530
Maha Governor condoles demise of Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

MUMBAI: The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari has conveyed his condolences on the demise of Union Minister of Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan. In his message, the Governor has said:

“The news of the demise of Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is shocking. Paswan Ji was one of the most popular leaders from Bihar with a strong mass base. He had the distinction of serving as Union Minister in various governments and handling different portfolios ably. I had the honour of knowing Paswan Ji closely.  We have lost a great parliamentarian and a popular leader. Pray for peace for the departed soul and convey my deepest condolences to the members of the bereaved family.”

Fri, 09 Oct 2020 09:16:50 +0530
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan passes away at Delhi hospital

New Delhi,  Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan, who was admitted to a private hospital here for the last several days, passed away on Thursday evening, his family members said. He was 74.

The news of his demise was announced by his son Chirag Paswan, who tweeted: "Father, now you are no more in this world but wherever you are, you will be with me. Miss you papa..." He also shared an old photo of him and his father along with the tweet.

According to his close family members, Paswan breathed his last on Thursday evening at around 8.20 p.m. at the Fortis Hospital here where he was admitted for several days.

Paswan was a minister in the Narendra Modi government, the UPA government as well as the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government at the Centre.

His death came just days after his son and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan decided to go solo in the Bihar assembly polls.

Fri, 09 Oct 2020 09:10:20 +0530

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Our beloved Mother, you always showed us the correct path of life and bestowed your unending love upon us.

She left for her heavenly abode on Thursday, 8th October 2020. May the Almighty grant a place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:




Shantha Kumari







Ramesh Kumar

Suresh Kumar


Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother, Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 21:40:30 +0530

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Our beloved Mother, you always showed us the correct path of life and bestowed your unending love upon us.

Left for her heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020. May the Almighty grant a place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:




Shantha Kumari







Ramesh Kumar

Suresh Kumar


Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother, Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 21:29:49 +0530

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Our beloved Mother you always showed us the correct path of life and bestowed your unending love upon us.

Left for her heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020. May the Almighty grant a place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:




Shantha Kumari







Ramesh Kumar

Suresh Kumar


Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother, Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 21:26:03 +0530

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Our beloved Mother you always showed us the correct path of life and bestowed your unending love upon us.

Left for her heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020. May the Almighty grant a place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:




Shantha Kumari







Ramesh Kumar

Suresh Kumar


Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother, Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 20:46:39 +0530

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Our beloved Mother you always showed us the correct path of life and bestowed your unending love upon us.

Left for her heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020. May the Almighty grant a place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:













Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother, Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 20:28:01 +0530

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय । तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय । मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय । ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Our beloved Mother you always showed us the correct path of life and bestowed your unending love upon us.

Left for her heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020. May the Almighty grant a place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:













Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 20:12:41 +0530

असतोमा सद्गमय । तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय । मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥ ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः ।।

Our beloved Mother, a visionary and a friend who always showed us
the correct path of life and bestowed her unending love upon us,
Left for her heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020.
May the Almighty grant place to the pious soul in lotus feet.

In Grief:













Your Presence continues to surround us, You will always live in our hearts and minds

We bow down to the Mother Janu amma... Sasi Nair and Family.


Thu, 08 Oct 2020 19:54:04 +0530

                              असतोमा सद्गमय । तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय । मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥ ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः ।।

Our beloved Mother, a visionary and a friend who always showed us
the correct path of life and bestowed her unending love upon us,
Left for her 
heavenly abode on Thursday 8th October 2020.
May the Almighty grant place to the Pious Soul in lotus feet

                In Grief:











Thu, 08 Oct 2020 19:28:09 +0530
Giro D Italia Filippo Ganna wins Stage 5

Mileto (Italy), Oct 8

Filippo Ganna's irresistible run of form continued as the young Italian powerhouse added a first-ever Grand Tour road stage win to his name following his recent time trial victories in the World Championships and opening stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Not content with a maglia rosa on the first day of his maiden Giro on top of his rainbow jersey from Imola, Ganna on Wednesday added the Giro's maglia azzurra to his expanding wardrobe by showcasing his uphill ability on the dark and misty decisive climb in Stage 5 of the race where he laid down the foundations on an emotional win which eased the pressure from Ineos Grenadiers following the withdrawal of team leader Geraint Thomas.

Part of an initial eight-man breakaway in the 225km stage through the rolling hills of Calabria, Ganna powered clear of his fellow escapees on the final climb before holding off a two-man chase and the returning peloton on the wet and slippery descent to the finish in Camigliatello Silano.

Ganna's eighth professional win was the 24-year-old's first triumph outside his favoured time trial discipline and came on a stage which featured a whopping 4,700 metres of climbing and hardly a stretch of flat road.

The Giro, being broadcast on Eurosport network, continues on Thursday with the 180km Stage 6 from Castrovillari to Matera which features rolling roads but just the one lower-category climb ahead of a ramped finish in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.







Thu, 08 Oct 2020 12:01:23 +0530
Amazon introduces Live TV feature for Fire TV devices in India

New Delhi, Oct 8

Amazon on Thursday introduced 'Live TV' feature for Fire TV devices in India, making it easier for customers to discover live channels from their favourite content providers.

The new feature introduces a 'Live' tab on the navigation pane and an 'On Now' row on the Fire TV home screen, making it easier to find, browse and access live content from subscribed apps.

"With Live TV integration we are making this experience even better by providing instant access to popular, real-time content for our customers without having to switch inputs," said Parag Gupta, Head of Amazon Devices, India, in a statement.

Customers can also access the integrated channel guide for the subscribed apps. The 'On Now' row will particularly highlight all programmes which are currently live on different channels.

SonyLIV, Voot, Discovery+, NextG TV and Zee5 (coming soon) are the first content providers to integrate their Live TV experience.

The apps will collectively give customers access to popular channels, including Sony SAB HD, Colors HD, SET HD, Nick HD+, Dangal, DD National, News18 India, MTV Beats HD, SONY BBC Earth HD, Mastii TV Music, Discovery and very soon to Zee TV, Zee Cinema and Zee News.

With the new 'Live TV' feature, customers will also have quick and easy access to the Fire TV channel guide, accessible in the 'Options' row of the 'Live' tab.

For newly launched Fire TV Lite customers, channel guide can be accessed through the guide button on their Alexa Voice Remote Lite. This integrated channel guide allows customers to choose their favourite channels and browse what's on now.







Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:57:54 +0530
Bigg Boss 14 housemate Rahul Vaidya B wood singers not paid for film recordings

New Delhi, Oct 8

Bollywood playback star Neha Kakkar recently made a shocking revelation about singers not being paid in the Hindi film industry while speaking to IANS. Now, Rahul Vaidya has made similar allegations.

Rahul, who is currently a housemate on "Bigg Boss 14", shared that singers indeed don't get paid for film recordings.

In April, Neha told us: "We do not get paid for singing in Bollywood at all. What happens is they feel that if we give a superhit song, the singer will earn through shows. I get a good amount from live concerts and everything, but Bollywood does not have this scene. To make us sing a song, they do not pay."

Her contention had been backed by singer Aditya Narayan. Singers, Aditya told us, don't get a "single penny" in Bollywood and that there is a "pandemic in the music industry".

Now, Rahul makes the same revelation.

"It's a very subjective decision but yes it is correct that singers are not paid for film recordings, and I don't want to shy away from that fact. But yes, at the same time singers make tonnes of money from their live performances," Rahul told IANS.

He points out that an "unsaid understanding" has developed between the producers and composers on one side and the singers.

"They tell us we make a lot of money from shows, so (they don't pay for film recordings of the songs). The idea is technically wrong. It is like telling an actor that you don't charge for films because you would get money from endorsements. How does that make sense? It is technically wrong," he pointed out.








Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:54:56 +0530
Live stand up comedy amidst the new normal is no joke

New Delhi, Oct 8

What is life without humour? In the midst of the pandemic, the comedy pill would seem like an essential element in our survival kit. With comedy clubs, theatres and studios shut during lockdown, there was a vacuum of live shows, open mics and gigs. Many comedians started performing online, but that does not work for all.

With unlock happening, the stand-up comedy industry is slowly trying to set up a revival of sorts. The new normal will, of course, call for new ground rules. Comedians are, of course, willing to adhere to every protocol.

"I am ready to perform anywhere. It's not like I haven't performed outdoors. Many corporate shows happen outdoors only where the family gathers. Even private shows, weddings, parties and festival performances happen outdoors. I have performed in these earlier. It's not like I cannot perform outdoors," popular comedian Anubhav Singh Bassi tells IANS.

Of course things are different at an open air gig. "The sound system and other equipment need to be sorted, lest it'll be equally fun. Yes, since the audience will be seated at a distance, the laughter will have a lesser impact being on stage," Bassi notes.

The new normal may enable the restarting of shows, but Bassi knows getting back normal crowds will take time.

"It will take a lot of time to draw the crowds. Families with kids would reconsider attending gatherings at the moment, but youngsters who live alone or with their parents might be willing to attend. It will be difficult, but we are not aiming at key crowded shows. I hope the shows sell out and we are able to do live shows again," he says.

Comedian Jaspreet Singh, who is scheduled to perform in Delhi and Chandigarh soon, also agrees it will take a while for the audience to come out in large numbers to live gigs as stand-up comedy shows.

"I look forward to performing live in small rooms with proper social distancing guidelines in place, because I am concerned for myself as well as my audiences. I feel it will take time for the audience to start coming out in the kind of numbers as they used to, but we have to make a start somewhere," Singh contends.

"For now I feel it is more because no one knows the entirety of Covid-19. It is still like a mystery and hence (there is a) fear of the unknown. Things will get better, but for now even if I get a double digit audience at my live shows, it is a great start," he adds.

Open mics, Singh says, should take time to re-establish. "Headliner gigs might start off but open mics will struggle more I guess. The reason being it is already tough to get audiences to an open mic as there is no popular face on the poster. So, if people are choosy about going out then they would prefer a show over a mic any day," he shares.

Delhi-based improv artist and comedy producer Baneet Chhabra fears that the audience might become selective.

"People will now become selective. They won't go to random places and attend random shows. They will choose which shows are worth attending. As a brand, we support a lot of local artistes. We do a lot of shows with artistes who are not so popular. We used to have a decent crowd. But now I think things won't be the same. People will not experiment much now. They would most probably like to attend shows of the big names only," Baneet says.

He also highlights how production cost would go up due to Covid-19 fear.

"We already ran on a limited setup with a limited staff, and now taking precautions is not mandatory but a responsibility. It's a fearful situation where costs could go higher with all the sanitisation and precautionary facilities needed. There is the fear of getting infected with the virus and how to make things work without letting other things being affected," he adds.

City-based comedian Milind Kapoor has already started performing outdoors post lockdown, and he says it is a totally different experience.

"Everything is changed, but it's good to be back. It's a different experience to work amid the pandemic. I recently performed at a cafe in Noida where we made sure to follow proper precautions. There were temperature checks, one couldn't enter without a mask. Also, we were changing foams on mic for every performer. We are now planning to start more gigs, including poetry and musical sessions," Milind adds.

He tried performing online during lockdown but the outcome wasn't satisfactory.

"I had performed online during lockdown but I stopped when I saw a drastic fall in the audience. People do not want to watch a non-popular comedian on a digital platform after a point of time. Like others, comedians also suffered a lot during lockdown. Corporate shows offered a meagre amount, but we could not do anything about it. One hope things become better and we get to tickle the funny bones of a live audience once again," Milind ends on an optimistic note.








Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:52:50 +0530
Sensex crosses 40 000 IT stocks surge

Mumbai, Oct 8

The BSE Sensex soared over 400 points on Thursday morning to cross the 40,000 mark.

Healthy buying was witnessed across sectors led by the IT stocks.

Around 9.35 a.m., the Sensex was trading at 40,328.14, higher by 449.19 or 1.13 per cent from the previous close of 39,878.95.

It opened at 40,204.32 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 40,343.08 and a low of 40,183.37.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 11,860.50, higher by 121.65 points or 1.04 per cent from its previous close.








Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:49:52 +0530
Need to maintain momentum of Covid battle to save lives Modi

New Delhi, Oct 8

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday emphasised on people driven fight against the Coronavirus and hailed the role played by the Covid warriors in saving lives.

"India's Covid-19 fight is people driven and gets great strength from our COVID warriors. Our collective efforts have helped saved many lives. We have to continue the momentum and protect our citizens from the virus," Modi tweeted.

"Let us Unite to fight Corona! Let us always remember: Wear a mask, wash hands, follow social distancing, practice aDo Gaj Ki Doori'. Together, we will succeed and together, we will win against COVID-19," he once again emphasised.

His remarks came as India's Covid-19 tally crossed the 68-lakh mark with a total of 68,35,655 cases and 1,05,526 fatalities till date.







Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:47:50 +0530
Jordanian King appoints new PM

Amman, Oct 8

Jordan's King Abdullah has appointed Bisher Al-Khasawneh, a royal palace adviser, as the country's new Prime Minister following Omar Razzaz's resignation from the post, it was reported.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, the Royal Hashemite Court said: "His Majesty King Abdullah II tasks Bisher Khasawneh with forming a new Cabinet." the Amman-based Roya News reported.

According to the palace, Al-Khasawneh, also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and a top envoy, will now oversee the upcoming parliamentary elections on November 10.

Wednesday's development comes after the Monarch accepted the outgoing Prime Minister's resignation on October 3.

On September 27, King Abdullah had dissolved the House of Representatives paving the way for the upcoming polls.

The House of Representatives or the lower House comprises 130 seats, of which 115 members are elected by an open list proportional representation from 23 constituencies of between three and nine seats in size and 15 seats reserved for women.

Nine of the 115 proportional representation seats are reserved for the Christian minority, with another three reserved for the Chechen and Circassian minorities.















Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:45:09 +0530
Your favourite fashion loyalty programme launches in India

New Delhi, Oct 8

Fashion addicts love high street brands and H&M tops the list. The international retailer is all set to launch its beloved global loyalty program, today, the 8th of October in India to mark the brands completion of five successful years in the country.

H&M opened its first store opening in 2015 in New Delhi and drives forward across the globe with a growing focus on sustainability in 23 countries. The membership programme, H&M Member, is designed on the principle of relationship-building while focusing on the need for personalisation. Online or in-store shoppers who join the will enjoy exclusive benefits and rewards, special member promotions; as well as early access notifications to selected sales, events, experiences and special surprises. The membership is digital, free, and available to everyone,18 years and over.

"The Member program comes to India as we complete five successful years in the country. As we adapt to new ways of living whether it is working from home or stepping out responsibly, H&M makes browsing and shopping online as well as in-stores, even more exciting. A step in this direction is creating unique experiences and services for our members that complement and strengthen H&M's core mission: To make it possible for everyone to look and feel good," says Mr. Janne Einola, Country Manager for India.

In celebration of the program launch, customers who sign up between October 8th through October 18th, will receive a one-time offer of 15 percent off their entire purchase. The two-tiered program, features Member and 'Member Plus' status; once a member accumulates 800 points they are upgraded into the 'Member Plus' status which unlocks free shipping, unique events and rewards. This bi-level approach helps to drive a more personal, inspiring and seamless digital shopping experience. H&M Member will be accessible via the H&M app; or at








Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:39:32 +0530
Cong leader booked for sedition in Hathras

Hathras (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 8

A case for sedition has been lodged against Congress leader Shyoraj Jivan, a Dalit, who was caught on camera trying to incite local people in Bulgarhi village where a 19-year-old was fatally assaulted by four men last month.

The Congress leader was seen in the purported videos, admitting that Congress used the Hathras incident for furthering its politics as it had been devoid of issues for a long time.

He is using provocative language to provoke Hathras rape and murder victim's family and the entire Valmiki community with an alleged intent to inflame caste violence in the district.

Jivan is a former minister of state in the Union cabinet and national secretary of All India Congress Committee.

The Hathras Police has booked Shyoraj Jivan under sedition charges and has asked him to present himself for interrogation.

The case was lodged on Wednesday night.

The Dalit Congress leader, however, has denied all the allegations. He claimed that he had met the victim's family on September 19 when she was admitted in the J.L.N. Medical college in Aligarh.

He, however, was seen in the video as saying that the preparations were complete to stoke massive caste-based riots in Hathras. He also reportedly admitted that their groundwork was so strong that nobody would have been able to stop the ensuing violence.

Jivan, in the video clips, has also named big-shot politicians who would be part of the Congress party's initiative to create unrest over the Hathras rape and murder case.

"Rahul Gandhi will come to the scene only after bullets start flying around," Jivan is shown admitting on camera, apparently betraying the Congress party's plans to stir up riots in the name of demonstrations against the Hathras incident.

"Two people should die from each side. A leader should die or some common man should die. There will be a fierce clash, nobody can stop it. It will be a bloody fight. Nobody can stop riots, the way the situation is panning out. Because Valmiki samaj is a fighting community. Many will be slaughtered, many will be killed. We are in large numbers in the city," the Congress leader was seen saying.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already said that the opposition was "doing caste, religion, and region driven politics to create conflict and unrest in the state."

Referring to the Jivan's videos without taking his name, the Chief Minister said that such elements who had been trying to foment hatred by vitiating the atmosphere through their provocative statements would not be spared.

"We will expose all of them and take the strictest action under the law of the land against them. We cannot let them play with the law. People, who have been dividing the society on the basis of caste, religion, and region, are still doing it," he said.








Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:36:01 +0530
Three IAF Balakot ops officers honoured with Yudh Seva Medal

New Delhi, Oct 8

Three Indian Air Force officers who took part in the Balakot operation last year received gallantry medals on the occasion of 88th Air Force Day on Thursday.

The officers who received the Yudh Seva Medal are Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal, Group Captain Hansel Sequera and Group Captain Hemant Kumar Vadsra.

Yudh Seva Medal recognises distinguished service of a high order during war, conflict or hostilities.

Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal is a Fighter Controller with the Indian Air Force. She was part of the team that guided Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman during the 2019 Balakot airstrike carried out by the IAF.

To avenge the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, India carried out an aerial strike at a terror training camps in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26 last year.

A total 40 soldiers were killed in the terror attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14.

Indian Air Force Day is commemorated on October 8 every year to mark the foundation day of the Air Force.







Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:32:48 +0530
Now 5 year old raped by uncle in UP

Badaun (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 8

In yet another case of rape of a minor, a five-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly brutalised by her own uncle at Hazratpur village.

In order to hide his crime, the accused tried to apply Mobil oil to stop the girl's excessive bleeding. The victim has now been admitted to a hospital for treatment.

According to reports, the child was playing with her friends when the 35-year-old man took her to his house in the neighbourhood.

The family later came to know about the incident when the minor started complaining of severe pain in her lower abdomen. She was taken to a doctor who confirmed rape.

The accused has been booked under the IPC sections of rape and the POCSO Act.

The girl's family has been provided Rs 3 lakh under a government beneficiary scheme as they are 'very poor'.

"We have ensured that their ration card was made on a priority basis and a piece of farm land be provided on lease," said District Magistrate Kumar Prashant about the steps taken to placate the girl's family.

"The accused has been arrested and the girl is receiving proper treatment. Her condition is stable. She has been discharged from the hospital," said Badaun SSP Sankalp Sharma said on Thursday.

He further said that a circle officer will probe the case and a charge sheet is expected to be filed soon.

"We have sufficient evidence against the accused. We will ensure speedy trial in a fast-track court," the SSP stated.








Thu, 08 Oct 2020 11:26:12 +0530
78K new cases take India s tally past 68L

New Delhi, With a fresh spike of 78,524 coronavirus cases and 971 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally on Thursday went past the 68-lakh-mark with a total of 68,35,655 cases.

Out of these, 9,02,425 are currently active; 58,27,704 have been discharged, while 1,05,526 have lost the battle against the pandemic.

The recovery rate stands at 85.02 per cent and the fatality rate at 1.55 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

On Tuesday, India recorded a spike of 61,267, which was the lowest since August. But on Wednesday it again recorded 72,049 cases.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 14,80,489 cases, including 39,072 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 11,94,321 sample tests in a single day on Wednesday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 8,34,65,975.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 10:29:40 +0530
George Floyd murder suspect released on 1m bail

Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) The former US police officer charged with the murder of unarmed black man George Floyd has been released from prison on bail.

Derek Chauvin posted a $1m (£774,000) bond and was released on Wednesday morning, court records show, the BBC reported.

The white officer was filmed pressing his knee on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes before he died on May 25.

Floyd's death led to global protests and calls for police reform, spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Chauvin was fired from his job and now awaits trial in March next year on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers - J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

All four officers accused in connection with the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have now posted bail and are free until their trial next year.

Chauvin had been at the maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, since late May.

In June, a judge set a bail of $1.25m with no preconditions, or $1m with conditions which include Chauvin not contacting Floyd's family, surrendering his firearms and not working in law enforcement or security as he awaits trial.

Chauvin was released on conditional bail, which court records showed was guaranteed by a bail-bond agency, CBS Minnesota reported.

In the US, bail-bond agents promise to pay authorities the full bail amount for defendants if they cannot afford do so or fail to appear at court.

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 10:27:39 +0530
Despite new members MPC expected to maintain old stance

Mumbai, Despite the addition of new members with diverse academic backgrounds, persistently high inflation will deter the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from administering a dose of a lending rate cut, experts opined.

The expectations from the penultimate policy review of 2020 comes as the MPC commenced its meet on Wednesday.

The original schedule of the penultimate meet was September 29-October 1. However, it was postponed as there were three vacant posts of external members in the MPC which the government had to appoint.

The quorum for the meeting of the MPC is four members, with each member having one vote.

Three members of the panel are from the RBI, including the central bank's Governor and the rest three are external or independent members. The four-year terms of three external members of the MPC, appointed in 2016, ended last month.

The Centre on Monday appointed Ashima Goyal, Jayanth R. Varma and Shashanka Bhide as the new members of the MPC.

"The new MPC composition comprises diverse academics which could bring a wider perspective to the monetary policy arena. The upcoming policy nonetheless will be a damp squib on the conventional policy action front," said Madhavi Arora, Lead Economist, FX and Rates for Edelweiss Securities.

"The new external members are likely to keep the continuity of policy tone set by the previous MPC in October policy and their thought process and biases would be firmly established over the course of time."

Other economists and industry experts also cited elevated inflation levels as a key determinant for a pause in policy easing.

Notably, the expected move comes at a time when industrial output is at historic low due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A policy easing, if administered, would have theoretically allowed commercial banks to reduce their lending rates, thereby helping both consumers and the industry to get cheaper finance.

Subsequently, the increased money flow in the hands of consumers would have helped to boost demand, and for the industry provided a higher flow of capital investment on the back of lower cost.

Nonetheless, retail inflation has been at an elevated level during July-August.

The retail or consumer price index stood at 6.69 per cent in August. It had risen to 6.73 per cent in July.

As per the data, retail inflation level has reached the upper limit of the medium-term CPI inflation target of four per cent. The target is set within a band of plus/minus two per cent.

According to G. Murlidhar, MD & CEO, Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Company: "While the prevailing high CPI levels may preclude any immediate action on rates by the MPC, we expect the MPC to acknowledge the need to support nascent and fragile economic recovery."

"We expect the MPC to keep key rates unchanged and reiterate its accommodative stance based on lower forward trajectory of CPI inflation."

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 09:18:50 +0530




Wed, 07 Oct 2020 19:55:50 +0530



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Wed, 07 Oct 2020 18:48:26 +0530
Module 3

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.


A post shared by Amy Jackson (@iamamyjackson) on

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

Wed, 07 Oct 2020 14:28:39 +0530
Module 2

But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

Wed, 07 Oct 2020 13:12:57 +0530
Module 1

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..", comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

Wed, 07 Oct 2020 13:04:35 +0530
Governor calls for effective implementation and monitoring of women and child welfare schemes

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari today called for effective monitoring of implementation of the state and centrally sponsored schemes aimed at improving the nutrition of women and children, reducing malnutrition and ensuring safety of women and children in the State. He asked senior officers to visit field offices for effective monitoring of schemes.


The Governor was addressing the officers of the State Government after witnessing a presentation made by the Department of Women and Child Welfare, Government of Maharahstra at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai. 

Secretary of Women and Child Welfare Department Idzes Kundan, Secretary Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Seema Vyas, Chairman of ICDS Project Indra Malo and Commissioner, Women and Child Development Hrushikesh Yashod made an elaborate presentation on various schemes of the government for the empowerment of women and children before the Governor.

Wed, 07 Oct 2020 00:55:03 +0530


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font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)"></div></div><div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"></div></div></div></a> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">कहासुनी: कांग्रेस नेता @rahulgandhi का आरोप, &#39;&#39;PM मोदी ने अपनी इमेज बचाने के लिए भारत की 1200 वर्ग किमी ज़मीन चीन को दे दी.&#39;&#39; राहुल गांधी के बयान पर आपकी राय? #RahulGandhi #NarendraModi #PmModi</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> BBC News Hindi</a> (@bbchindi) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2020-10-06T08:31:01+00:00">Oct 6, 2020 at 1:31am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src="//"></script>



http://<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The meaning of the word ‘Spike’ is “a sudden sharp increase or rise.” Why on earth is that word being used when, in fact , this data indicates a fairly sharp DROP in the number of new daily cases as well as a dip in fatalities?? <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) <a href="">October 6, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Tue, 06 Oct 2020 15:44:51 +0530





Tue, 06 Oct 2020 13:30:44 +0530
Sensex up 350 points finance auto stocks rise

Mumbai, Oct 6

The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Tuesday, with the BSE Sensex gaining over 350 points.

Healthy buying was witnessed in finance and auto stocks. A largely positive trend in the Asian markets also supported the Indian indices.

Around 10.15 a.m., Sensex was trading at 39,332.45, higher by 358.75 points or 0.92 per cent from the previous close of 38,973.70.

It opened at 39,336.34 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 39,374.57 and a low of 39,191.10.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 11,602.35, higher by 99.00 points or 0.86 per cent from the previous close.

The top gainers on the Sensex were HDFC, Mahindra & Mahindra and Asian Paints, while the major losers were TCS, Infosys and NTPC.







Tue, 06 Oct 2020 11:04:17 +0530
Agra records 88 37 Covid recovery rate

Agra, Oct 6

Even though Agra has been reporting new cases every day, the recovery rate is above 88 per cent, the state health data has revealed.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a meeting on Monday evening expressed relief with the state achieving an 87 per cent recovery rate in its battle to combat Covid-19. Speaking at the meeting in Lucknow, Yogi said the state's recovery rate was three per cent more than the national recovery rate of 84 per cent.

Agra recorded 88.37 per cent recovery rate on Monday.

The total number of active cases was 570 now. The city reported 59 fresh cases in the last 24 hours. The number of samples collected now exceeds two lakh (2,01,945). Of the total 6,002 cases, the number of discharged patients is 5,304, while the death toll stands at 128, the health department data has revealed.

The health department has now decided to decentralise the sample collection process. Right now there are only two centres collecting samples. This results in crowding and violation of norms.

The administration now plans to open a dozen new sample collection centres and three have already started working. The cooperation of the corporators has been sought to bring people to the centres for sample testing. Doctors claim this would help break the chain of infections further.

Meanwhile, doctors said due to changing weather, there has been a sudden spurt in the number of patients with flu, viral fever, skin issues at the OPDs of the government hospitals.

The strike by the safai karamcharis of the Agra Municipal Corporation ended Monday evening. In the presence of armed cops, the corporation's trucks and dumpers lifted the garbage that had piled up everywhere due to the strike by the Balmiki Samaj protesting the Hathras tragedy.







Tue, 06 Oct 2020 10:39:28 +0530
Naugarh is now Siddharthanagar railway station

Siddharthanagar (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 6

The Naugarh railway station will now be known as the Siddharthanagar railway station.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal inaugurated the name change of the railway station in an online event on Monday evening.

Goyal said, "Mahatma Buddha's birth place Lumbini is very near and keeping in view the wishes of the people, the name of the station is being changed to Siddharthanagar railway station. A large number of Buddhist tourists come to Lumbini and the area is declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

"A new 240 km long rail line has been approved from Khalilabad to Bahraich via Domariyaganj-Utraula-Balrampur-Shravasti and this will give momentum to the development of Sant Kabir Nagar, Siddharthanagar, Bahraich, Shravasti and Gonda districts."

He said that in the past six years, 460 km of rail line was constructed, 531 km was doubled and 489 km was changed to broad gauge. All 1,404 unsecured level crossings were closed and Rs 19,600 crore were allocated for infrastructure development which was nine times more than previous years.

"Antyodaya, Humsafar, Deendayal and LHB coaches are being made at the Modern rail coach factory in Rae Bareli. Last year, the factory doubled the production of coaches," he added.

The minister said passenger trains were restricted due to the corona pandemic, but goods trains continued and helped in transporting essential goods during lockdown.

"In September, loading was 80 per cent more than last year. As many as 22,40,000 passengers came via 1,661 Shramik special trains and 2,50,000 passengers were sent to other states in 191 Shramik specials. Employment was provided to migrant labourers in the 67 rail projects in Uttar Pradesh under PM Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan," he said.








Tue, 06 Oct 2020 10:36:41 +0530
4 men linked to PFI arrested on way to Hathras

Lucknow, Oct 6

The Uttar Pradesh Police have detained four men, allegedly linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and an associate outfit.

The four men were arrested from Mathura on Monday night while they were on their way to Hathras from Delhi.

The police added that acting on a tip-off that some suspicious persons were on their way to Hathras from Delhi, they intercepted a car on a toll plaza. The four occupants were interrogated and taken into custody at the Math toll plaza.

The four have been identified as Atiq-ur Rehman of Muzaffarnagar, Siddique of Malappuram, Masood Ahmed of Bahraich and Alam of Rampur.

Mobile phones, laptop and some literature, which could have an impact on peace and order, were seized from them.

Police said during interrogation, it came to light that the four had links with the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associate organisation Campus Front of India (CFI).

Further interrogation is underway, the police spokesperson said.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had earlier sought a ban on the organisation.

The Yogi Adityanath-led government had blamed the PFI for violent protests in the state against the citizen laws.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has referred to "recent incidents" and said "anarchist elements" are trying to trigger communal and caste violence in the state after the Hathras incident.







Tue, 06 Oct 2020 10:29:36 +0530
Trump returns to White House to face campaign upended by COVID


New York, Oct 6

US President Donald Trump has returned to the White House after 72 hours of treatment at a military hospital to face a campaign upended by his COVID-19 infection barely a month before the election that will define his future.

Pumping his fist and giving a thumbs up he emerged from the Walter Reed National Medical Centre in Washington and walked to a vehicle that took him to the Marine One helicopter to fly to the White House.

His doctors cleared him for discharge from the hospital to continue treatment at the official residence.

His personal doctor Sean Conley told reporters, "He's met or exceeded all standard hospital discharge criteria."

Trump did not answer questions shouted at him by reporters as he emerged from the hospital.

But in a tweet in the morning he said, "Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of COVID. Don't let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"

At the White House, he walked up the steps to the balcony and in a show of defiance took off his mask and saluted the helicopter crew.

He was criticised for appearing without a mask by several politicians and physicians. Democratic Senator Chris Coons told ABC TV that Trump was being reckless and dangerous.

Biden said at a Florida campaign event earlier, "Now that he's busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists. Support masks. Support a mask mandate nationwide."

His discharge from the hospital and arrival at the White House were carefully orchestrated by the media savvy president to cut into the prime time TV news and show himself able to function by himself.

Trump's return to the White House comes as several people close to him have come down with the coronavirus. His press secretary Kayeigh McEnany was the latest to announce that she had tested positive for the virus.

It is estimated that almost 20 White House staffers are ill with COVID-19, two of them from McEnany's office.

The functioning of the White House will be strained by many staffers having to quarantine themselves due to exposure to those affected by COVID-19.

Trump has been his own best campaigner and now his party has to scramble to make up for the loss of its performer who can also influence support for other candidates on November 3.

The presidential campaign has said that it was launching "Operation MAGA" - Make American Great Again - to continue the electioneering while Trump is a prisoner of the virus and unable to travel.

Vice President Mike Pence will be picking up the campaigning and he will have "a very full aggressive schedule," Jason Miller, a senior campaign adviser, told NBC TV.

He added that Pence will be backed by the Trump family with sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and daughter Ivanka campaigning intensively.

The campaign will have to devise strategies - likely relying on digital - to get Trump in front of the voters.

Pence will be debating Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris on Wednesday under stringent precautions - they will be 13 feet apart and separated by Plexiglas.

Trump is scheduled to debate Biden on October 15, which may have to be conducted virtually because the president is unlikely to be cleared for an in-person face off.

Asked by reporters if and how he would participate in the debate, Biden said he would "listen to the science" and "do whatever the experts say is the appropriate thing to do."

Trump's adviser, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who had helped him prepare for the first debate last month, said, "I think he'll make every effort to make it. I'm certain he will."

He told ABC TV, "The doctors assume that by a certain time, he's going to be in condition" for the debate.

According to the RealClearPolitics aggregation of presidential polls, Trump's standing has fallen from Thursday, the day before his hospitalisation, to Monday by 1.3 per cent, and Biden's lead increased to 8.5 per cent.

Trump's supporters rallied outside the Walter Reed hospital on Sunday prompting him to leave the hospital and drive by to greet them.

In New York City his supporters drove in a convoy to Trump Towers, where he has an apartment, in a show of solidarity. Elsewhere, his backers have been holding "MAGA" meetings.

At the White House Trump is expected to isolate himself but it wasn't clear if would stay in the residential portion of the building or also go to the Oval Office.

Trump's health status still has room for concern, especially because he is a 74-year-old man, who is overweight - three markers of high risk.

Conley said, "Though he may not entirely be out of the woods yet, the team and I agree that all our evaluations, and more importantly, his clinical status, support the president's safe return home, where he'll be surrounded by world-class medical care, 24/7."

While he's back at the White House, "We'll remain cautiously optimistic and on guard, because we're in a bit of uncharted territory when it comes to a patient that received the therapies he has so early," he said.

With a seven-day window for a COVID-19 patient's situation worsening, Conley said the doctors were looking to this weekend.

"If we can get through to Monday with him remaining the same or better yet, then we will all take that final deep sigh of relief," he said.

Conley said that Trump had two temporary episodes of low oxygen for which they had given it to him.

Moreover, the experimental medicines Remdesivir and dexamethasone are given to patients in serious conditions, although his doctors say he had not reached that situation.

Citing patient privacy rules, they refused to speak about the specifics of his lung condition.







Tue, 06 Oct 2020 10:25:49 +0530
Naidu writes again to AP DGP calls out rights violations

Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh opposition leader and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, has written another missive to the state top cop, alleging violation of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of India for all on Monday.

"There has been a consistent attack on the freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a). As the leader of the opposition, it is my duty to bring such undemocratic acts to your notice for appropriate action," wrote Naidu to Director General of Police (DGP) D. Gautam Sawang.

Citing statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Naidu claimed that the highest number of cases registered on police personnel anywhere in India was in AP.

"Out of 4,068 cases registered against police personnel across India, 1,681 cases (41 per cent) were registered in Andhra Pradesh alone. These numbers speak for themselves and reflect the functioning of the police in today's AP," he claimed.

He alleged that attacks are continuously happening on dalits, tribals, backward classes, Muslims, women and journalists in the state.

"Sadly, the act of head tonsuring to humiliate fellow human beings is continuing unabated in the state," he alleged.

Cognizant of all these cases and other atrocities, Naidu told Sawang that people's faith in police has eroded.

"Therefore, I appeal to you to restore law and order situation in the state by allowing police to discharge their duties impartially and fearlessly," he added.


Tue, 06 Oct 2020 09:35:47 +0530
UK could vaccinate less than half of its population

London, Oct 5

If an effective vaccine against Covid-19 is found, the UK will first aim to vaccinate about 30 million people, less than half of the country's population of about 67 million, according to the head of the country's vaccine task force.

Rather than vaccinating everyone, the aim is to "vaccinate everyone at risk," Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, told the Financial Times, while detailing the aim of the programme.

According to her, those who believe that everyone in the population will be vaccinated are nurturing a "misguided perception," said the report on Sunday.

"People keep talking about 'time to vaccinate the whole population', but that is misguided," Bingham was quoted as saying.

"There's going to be no vaccination of people under 18. It's an adult-only vaccine, for people over 50, focusing on health workers and carehome workers and the vulnerable," she added.

Her comments came as the UK last week announced more than 10,000 new cases for the first time since mass testing began.

There were 12,872 new coronavirus cases announced on Saturday. The numbers rose by more than 10,000 on Sunday, reaching a record 22,961.

However, the government said a technical issue meant some cases earlier in the week were not recorded at the time so had been included in the new data.

Bingham said that vaccinating a wider section of the population may make sense only when there comes a vaccine which proves to be 95 per cent effective, which is believed to be quite unlikely, said the Financial Times report.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday warned it may be "bumpy through to Christmas" and beyond as the UK deals with coronavirus.

Speaking at a BBC programme, the PM said there was "hope" in beating Covid, but called on the public to "act fearlessly but with common sense".







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 13:11:39 +0530
Change your despotic arrogant behaviour Mayawati tells UP govt

Lucknow, Oct 5

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Monday accused the Uttar Pradesh government of "despotic and arrogant" behaviour and asked it to change it in the wake of the flak received for the Hathras gang rape-murder case.

She also condemned as "shameful" the ill-treatment meted out to the media and the lathi-charge on the opposition leaders who supported the 19-year-old victim's family in the past couple of days.

"A BSP delegation had gone to the victim's village to meet the family and know the facts of the case on September 28. What report I have received is very painful and forced me to approach the media," the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister tweeted.

"The government is advised to change its despotic and arrogant behaviour, or else the roots of democracy will be weakened," the BSP leader added.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had gone to meet the family in Bulgarhi village on Saturday, followed by Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary, Bhim Party chief Chandrashekhar Azad and a Samajwadi Party delegation on Sunday.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:49:40 +0530
Adani Ports acquires Krishnapatnam Port Company

Mumbai, Oct 5

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) on Monday announced the completion of the acquisition of Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd, (KPCL) for an enterprise value of Rs 12,000 crore.

It will result in APSEZ having a controlling stake of 75 per cent in KPCL from the CVR Group and other investors.

This acquisition will accelerate APSEZ's stride towards 500 MMT by 2025 and is another step in implementing APSEZ's stated strategy of cargo parity between west and east coasts of India, Adani Ports said in a regulatory filing.

Karan Adani, Chief Executive Officer and Whole Time Director of APSEZ said: "This transformational acquisition enables us to roll out world class customer service to an increased customer base and provide pan-India solution to them.

He added that the company's experience of turning around acquisitions like Dhamra and Kattupalli ports will enable it in harnessing the potential of KPCL.

"With a vast waterfront and land availability of over 6,700 acres, KPCL is capable of replicating Mundra and would be future ready to handle 500 MMT. We will replicate our operations and maintenance philosophy at KPCL, continue to focus on environment, reduce emission levels and have zero tolerance for fatalities and thus improve returns to stakeholders," Adani said.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:45:58 +0530
Curfew in SL after 1st community Covid 19 case in 2 months

Colombo, Oct 5

Sri Lanka has reported the first community Covid-19 case after a gap of two months, prompting authorities to impose a curfew in few areas, re-impose health guidelines and close schools across the island-nation, it was reported on Monday.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said the infected person was a 39-year-old apparel factory worker from Divulapitiya town in Gampaha district, reports the Daily Financial Times newspaper.

The case was identified on Sunday through random testing of samples from main hospitals. The patient's 16-year-old daughter has also tested positive.

"We were able to identify this patient because all main hospitals have been advised to collect 10 samples for PCR tests everyday. So all main hospitals will collect at least 10 samples of patients displaying symptoms," the Minister said in a statement.

"The individual's sample was tested at three other places before we determined that she had the virus," she added.

According to Chief Epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera, the individual experienced symptoms of fever, following which she visited a healthcare centre in the area on September 28.

She was admitted to the Gampaha Hospital two days later, where her sample was sent for PCR testing.

When her test came back positive, she was transferred to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) for further treatment.

"The next step in such a situation is to identify her contacts," the Daily Financial Times quoted Samaraweera as saying.

All contacts will be required to quarantine and subjected to PCR tests, he added.

Following the development, a curfew has been imposed indefinitely in the Divulapitiya, Minuwangoda and Veyangoda areas.

DGI Ajith Rohana said that curfew violators could face fines and imprisonment, adding that essential services will operate in these areas.

All Sri Lanka Army, Navy, Air Force, and Civil Security Department officers, as well as from Sri Lanka Ports Authority, in the Minuwangoda and Divulapitiya areas have been asked not to report for duty until informed.

While all schools across the island nation were ordered to close until further notice, safety guidelines were re-imposed by the Health Ministry to control the spread of Covid-19.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 3,402 Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:29:11 +0530
Daily almond intake cost effective way to prevent cardiovascular disease

New Delhi, Oct 5

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is the number one cause of deaths across the globe, and in India. CVD is also a costly disease to treat and can cause a huge economic burden on the patient, and his/her family.

For India in particular, CVD has become a severe cause of concern, owing to the disease's accelerated buildup, early age of onset in the population and the high case fatality rate. Some factors that have contributed to the rise of CVD cases across India include the south Asian genetic makeup and it's proneness to the disease, the ever changing lifestyle, lack of exercise, dietary imbalance and a high intake of saturated and/or trans fats amongst the population.

In the past, multiple studies have also shown that regular consumption of almonds may help reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL "bad") cholesterol levels, a recognized risk factor for CVD - especially amongst Indians.

A recent research by Tufts University shows that eating 42.5 grams of almonds each day compared to not eating almonds may help reduce healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease among US consumers.

The objective of this study, funded by the Almond Board of California, was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of almond consumption in preventing coronary heart disease through changes in LDL cholesterol levels in the U.S. population, using both short-term base case analysis and 10-year risk prevention. The researchers developed a model to assess the relationship between eating 42.5g of almonds per day versus no almond intake. CVD parameters included the probabilities of increasing LDL levels, developing acute myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack), MI-related surgeries, and death due to the disease and surgeries and the cost of disease and procedures in the US population in 2012. The cost of almonds used in this research was also factored into the model and was based on price in the US market in 2012, as well.

The base-case model used in this research, which was a study of 150 US adults with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, showed that eating 42.5g of almonds per day would result in an annual cost savings of $363 compared to eating no almonds. The almond eaters had reductions in CVD risk factors including LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, body weight and Apoliprotein B (also known as Apo-B, the main protein found in harmful LDL cholesterol). These improved parameters decreased the average healthcare costs for treating CVD.

Speaking about the study, Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare - Delhi, Ritika Samaddar noted: "The study establishes a very positive correlation between almond consumption, heart health, and a derived cost benefit, each of which are relevant for a country like India where CVD cases are rising every day. While the health benefits of almonds have been analyzed by several other studies in the past, this new research also highlights a long term cost advantage of almond consumption which is very unique. So make sure to include almonds in your family and your diet, to lead a healthier and more cost efficient lifestyle."

When the time horizon was expanded to 10 years, findings were similar in pattern: it cost non-almond eaters $2566 in CVD prevention compared to a cost of just $1806 for almond eaters, or a savings of $760.

Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant said: "The results of this new study are interesting to note. Owing to the genetic makeup, sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary regime and high salt intake, Indians are at higher risk of heart disease. If one develops the disease, it adds to the household's medical expenses. Therefore, I suggest that people with a genetic history of CVD or those with established risk factors (high BP, diabetes, obesity etc.) for heart disease alter their diets to include a daily dose of almonds, among other things. In the long run, improving your lifestyle will have a positive impact not just on your heart health, but may also reduce overall medical expenses."

Based on these analyses, researchers concluded that consuming 42.5g of almonds per day is a cost-effective strategy for preventing CVD in short term and potentially, up to 10 years.

Acknowledging the findings in the study, Madhuri Ruia, Pilates Expert and Diet & Nutrition Consultant commented: "It is interesting to note the long term viability of this study, especially in context of a country like India where CVD is one of the leading causes of mortality. Opting for healthier snacking options like almonds, is a small yet impactful investment that is sure to pay off in the long run, especially for people with high risk to CVD. So the next time you head to the supermarket, stock up on roasted, salted or raw almonds instead of unwholesome or fried snacks, to begin your journey towards a healthier lifestyle."







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:25:47 +0530
IPL MS Dhoni 2nd wicketkeeper to take 100 catches

Dubai, Oct 5

Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni has added yet another feather to his illustrious cap by becoming the second wicket-keeper in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to claim 100 catches.

Dhoni achieved the feat during CSK's emphatic 10-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday evening.

During the 18th over of Kings XI's innings, the 39-year-old took a diving catch to his right off Shardul Thakur's bowling to dismiss KL Rahul.

The former India captain has 139 dismissals to his name in 195 IPL matches, which include 100 catches and stumpings. Only, Dinesh Karthik of Kolkata Knight Riders is the other wicket-keeper in IPL to have 100 catches to his name. In 186 games, Karthik has made 133 dismissals (103 catches, 30 stumpings). Robin Uthappa is third in the list with 90 dismissals (including 58 catches).

CSK, who currently stand at the sixth spot with two wins in five games, will play Kolkata Knight Riders in their next IPL encounter on Wednesday.

Dhoni, who retired from international cricket in August, had turned up for the country in 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20Is while affecting a staggering 829 dismissals behind the stumps for Team India across formats.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:22:22 +0530
B desh economy shows signs of recovery amid Covid 19

Dhaka, Oct 5

Bangladesh's economy was showing signs of recovery amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as inflow of remittances continue to increase, while foreign exchange reserves were also on course to surpass the $40 billion milestone, a media report said.

The bdnews24 report published late Sunday further said that while household incomes have dropped, the sales of savings certificates, on the other hand, have increased.

Export earnings were also on the rise, with Bangladesh currently posting a large surplus in its balance of payments. The flow of credit to the private sector is growing as well, the report added.

"Bangladesh's economy has made a turnaround. All indicators are positive now," Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told bdnews24.

"I believe our GDP growth will be between 8.1 per cent and 7.2 per cent this time. And even that doesn't happen, it still won't a bad thing at all."

Meanwhile, the DSEX, the main index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, dropped below 4,000 points in June in the midst of the epidemic.

It has since gained momentum in the following months, closing at 5,000 points on Oct 1.

Asked what sparked the stock market back into life, Dhaka Stock Exchange's Director Shakil Rizvi told bdnews24: "To be honest, even we are a bit surprised. We did not expect such a positive trend in the capital market amid the pandemic.

"I believe two things are at play here. First, when the market slumped, share prices were dragged down with it. It was a good time to invest in stocks. Investors have taken that opportunity. Secondly, the regulators have become more active and this has redressed the disconnect between the different authorities. The market is reaping the benefits from the lower interest rates."







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:15:30 +0530
Unpaid for months Delhi s Hindu Rao hospital doctors go on strike

New Delhi, Oct 5 

Irked over non-payment of salaries, doctors and staff members of North Delhi Municipal Corporation's Hindu Rao Hospital have decided to sit on indefinite agitation from Monday onwards. The emergency services will, however, operate smoothly.

The doctors and staff members of the hospitals have not been paid since June. Last week, the staffers were on a 'Pen Down Strike' from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to display their ordeal. According to the civic body, the matter is being looked into.

The letter written by the Resident Doctor Association to the hospital administration stated, "We apologise to announce that we are forced to go for an indefinite agitation w.e.f. October 5, 2020 considering strictly 'No pay, No work', while operating the emergency services smoothly."

It added, "The chronic sufferings of the staff have been too agonizing and intractable where it is distressing to one's mental and physical well-being, We strongly plea to you for releasing 3 months' pay and giving us an immediate permanent solution. We also demand a formal notice regarding the same."

RDA President Abhimanyu Sardana further added that the inconvenience brought to the patient will be harboured by the administration. This comes a week after the association warned the Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation of holding an indefinite protest if their salaries are not paid.

"It has been made clear that there is strict non-compliance in view of fulfilment of the basic rights of the Healthcare Staff and provision of basic pay to an individual appointed by the North MCD under the employment act," the letter added.

The association rued that despite the High Court Order and repetitive intimations in the past, the salaries of North MCD doctors and staff are long overdue for three months and its ongoing four months.

Besides Hindu Rao hospital, doctors and nurses of other hospitals like Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases, Kasturba Hospital, Girdhari Lal Maternity Hospital and Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis have also been protesting over non-payment of dues.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:12:02 +0530
TV star Sara Khan recovers from Covid returns to shooting

New Delhi, Oct 5

 Telly star Sara Khan, who contracted coronavirus last month, has recovered and is back shooting.

On September 10, Sara had shared with fans that she had tested Covid positive.

"I somehow saw it coming as I was experiencing a mild fever and loss of taste and smell. The test confirmed it. I was obviously worried initially but then accepted what it was, and home quarantined myself," Sara told IANS.

About medication, she said: "For most parts, it was basically all about keeping my immune system and health in a good condition. Then, of course, the vitamins and lots of steam really helped."

The "Sapna Babul Ka...Bidaai" actress also has a message for those who are suffering from Covid-19.

"All I'd say is to not panic and keep following all the instructions given by the doctors and, of course, keep a safe distance from everyone until testing negative. Also, always wear a mask at all times, it is crucial," she said.

Sara, who plays Devi Paulomi in "Santoshi Maa Sunaye Vrat Kathayein", is back on the set of the show after recovery,

"I continue to take necessary precautions as I have resumed working. I have also worked upon building my immune system," she said.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:08:44 +0530
Flipkart Paytm offer instant caskback during Big Billion Days

Bengaluru, Oct 5

Flipkart on Monday said that its partnership with Paytm will enable millions of users to conveniently pay through their Paytm Wallet and Paytm UPI while shopping on Flipkart during the ‘Big Billion Days sale that starts from October 16. Flipkart customers will also get instant cashback to their Paytm wallets.

"This festive season, millions of Paytm users across the country will have access to their wallets and UPI on Flipkart. With just one click customers can avail great value during flash sales this ‘Big Billion Days' as they continue to stay indoors and adopt safe payment methods," said Ranjith Boyanapalli, Head - Fintech and Payments Group, Flipkart.

According to the latest data by the RBI, the total number of digital transactions in India (processed via any electronic mode) is expected to reach a daily average of 1.5 billion in the next five years.

Consequently, the net value of digital payments in India will also increase from its current value of Rs 5 trillion to Rs 15 trillion by 2025.

"Our aim is to empower millions of Indians with innovative solutions that would play a key role in building ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat'," said Madhur Deora, President, Paytm.

Kicking off the festive season, Flipkart has announced its flagship, six-day 'The Big Billion Days' sale that will start from October 16 till October 21 with some exciting offers across categories.

Flipkart Plus customers will have early access to the sale on October 15.

The ecommerce marketplace has on boarded over 50,000 kiranas to bring festive cheer to consumers across 850 cities.

The State Bank of India (SBI) will offer a 10 per cent instant discount for its debit and credit Card users during the six-day sale.

Furthermore, no-cost EMIs will be made available to consumers through offers from Bajaj Finserv EMI cars and other leading bank credit and debit cards.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:06:13 +0530
An ocean forever in the melting pot of history

New Delhi, Oct 5

Its an ocean as vast as the sub-continent whose name it bears, encompassing Asia to the north, Australia to the east and Africa to the west. With 20 per cent of the water on the Earths surface, the sea routes of the Indian Ocean carry 80 per cent of the worlds shipping trade in oil, connecting East Asia, the Middle East and Africa to Europe and the Americas -- and without New Delhi intending it so, could be the theatre of a new geopolitical rivalry between India and China.

But then, as internationally acclaimed economist and urban theorist Sanjeev Sanyal puts it, "those who remember history will know that the Indian Ocean has seen the likes of Rajendra Chola and Zheng He before. They will also know to expect the unexpected", Sanyal writes in "The Incredible History Of The Indian Ocean" (Puffin), an adaptation for young readers of his seminal work, "The Ocean of Churn".

"After all, no one who saw Zheng He's magnificent Treasure Fleet" of over 300 ships with almost 28,000 crewmen, "would have believed that, a few decades later, a small country in the Iberian Peninsula" (where Venetian trader Marco Polo had carried tales of Chinese magnificence) "would open the Indian Ocean to centuries of European domination", writes Sanyal, currently the Indian government's Principal Economic Advisor.

The long history of the Indian Ocean, he writes, "is one where the unfolding of events is the result of complex interactions between myriad factors -- the monsoon winds, geography, human migrations, technology, religion, culture, the deeds of individuals and, perhaps occasionally the whims of the gods. It followed no predetermined path or grand plan, but is the story of long cycles, dead ends and unintended consequences, of human triumphs and extraordinary bravery but also of treachery and inexplicable human cruelty. There are many shades of gray along the way".

These shades of grey exist to this day.

For instance, Djibouti on the Horn of Africa is the gateway to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea --the entry and exit to the Suez Canal - and is home to major US and Chinese military bases, as also of France, Italy and Japan. It also overlooks Somalia, the hub of sea piracy in the region. How do these contradictions exist, is a question that strategic analysts often ask.

"The complex adaptive nature of history is a warning that a linear narrative based on a unidimensional framework is necessarily misleading. A corollary is that the path of history flows neither from or to Utopia. Indeed, the attempts to 'civilise' others and impose utopias have been the source of much human misery and are almost always based on some unidimensional interpretation of history," Sanyal writes.

It is also remarkable, the book says, "how continuities have remained through all these centuries of change. The monsoon winds may no longer dictate where ships can sail, but they are still important to the economic lives of hundreds of millions who depend on them for the annual rains. Some continuities run so deep that we hardly notice them. For instance, certain ancient cultural ideas continue to impact us to this day despite layers of later influences", it says.

Detailing how matrilineal customs were an important aspect of history in the eastern but not in the western Indian Ocean rim, the book notes: "Perhaps this explains why we have seen so many females in Eastern Indian Ocean countries, including Corazon Aquino, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Aung San Suu Kyi, Indira Gandhi, Sheikh Hasina, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, to name a few."

"If there is one lesson from this history, it is this: Time devours the greatest of men and the mightiest of empires," Sanyal concludes.

It is this philosophy that resulted in the creation of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the vision for which originated during a visit by late South African President Nelson Mandela to India in 1995, when he said that "the natural urge of the facts of history and geography should broaden itself to include the concept of an Indian Ocean rim for socio-economic cooperation..." that has within its ambit 22 Member States and 10 Dialogue Partners.

Supplementing this is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue informal strategic forum comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan, whose senior officials at their most recent virtual meeting on September 25, exchanged "views on ongoing and proposed practical cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, and security matters, including counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, with the objective of promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region", India's External Affairs Ministry said.

This is Sanyal's second adaptation for young readers after "The Incredible History of India's Geography" based on his bestselling "Land of the Seven Rivers".

With illustrations by Nikhil Gulati superbly complementing the text, the book, through its 11 chapters, weaves its way from "The Birth of the Indian Ocean" through "Dynasties, Invasions and Shipwrecks", "Treasure on the Other Side of the World", "In Search of Spices", and "This Land Is Our Land", et al, to "From Dusk to a New Dawn" to unfold a canvas that is breathtaking in its scope.

It's definitely a must-read.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 12:01:37 +0530
Gang rape in B desh comes to light after viral video

Dhaka, Oct 5

A brutal gang rape of a house wife that took place in Bangladesh's Noakhali district last month, has come to light now after a video of the incident went viral on social media.

After the video went viral on Sunday night, at least four people have been arrested.

While two of the accused were arrested by the police on Sunday night, two others were taken in by a team of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Monday morning.

According to the victim's statement and the confessions of the detainees, at least five people were involved in the gang rape took place on September 2 at the Joykrishnapur village is Begumganj upazila.

She said in the statement that the accused had been making advances towards her and when she refused they entered her house at night and raped her.

Locals have alleged that notorious drug trader Delwar, the chief of 'Delwar Bahini', and six of his followers were involved in the crime.

It was also learned that other cases, including murder, were filed against some of them previously.

Moazzem Hossain from Noakhali's Eklashpur upazila, said: "The woman got married 3 years ago. She moved to her father's house after her husband remarried. Recently, her husband started to meet her again, the local boys used bad languages to her for this.

"Some youths objected to the matter and raped the woman that day. The woman was with her husband on the day of the incident. The perpetrators also detained her husband. Later, the woman's brother rescued her with 1,500 tk."

The police said that the accused had filmed the incident with the intent of spreading it on Facebook.

During the crime, one of the perpetrator was heard saying, "this will go on Facebook", while another said "no, let's go live".

Between January and August this year, a total of 889 rapes incidents were reported in Bangladesh.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:53:29 +0530
Local BJP leader shot dead in Bengal

Kolkata, Oct 5

A local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manish Shukla was shot dead on Sunday night near Titagarh in North 24 Parganas district.

The incident took place on BT Road, barely few metres away from the local police station. Police sources said Shukla was shot multiple times in the back and upper torso.

He was immediately taken to a private hospital on the EM Bypass where he was declared brought dead.

According to eyewitnesses, the assailants came on motorcycles and their faces were covered with masks and helmets. Two other BJP workers also sustained bullet injuries during the attack as they tried to save Shukla.

BJP's West Bengal unit has already called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Barrackpore area on Monday in protest against the murder.

A central team of the BJP, comprising general secretary Sanjay Singh, MPs Arjun Singh, Saumitra Khan, Jagannath Sarkar and Shanku Deb Panda will visit Shukla's residence on Monday, sources said.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar has also summoned CM Mamata Banerjee and state police over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

"ACS Home @MamataOfficial and DGP @WBPolice have been summoned at 10 am tomorrow in the wake of worsening law and order situation leading to dastardly killing of Manish Shukla, Councillor, Titagarh Municipality in political party office," the Governor tweeted at 11.40 p.m. on Sunday.

"We demand a CBI probe into the role of the police. Arjun Singh's life is also in danger. Mamata Banerjee cannot rule the state with terror," BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.

A popular public figure in Barrackpore, Shukla had defected from the Trinamool Congress two years ago. Known to be a close associate with Barrackpore BJP MP Arjun Singh ha later joined the saffron brigade in the district.

BJP's Barrackpore Lok Sabha MP Arjun Singh had also defected from the Trinamool Congress in 2018.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:42:08 +0530
Markets to continue both sides movement Market Watch

The week gone by had mere four trading days but had plenty of action in it. It had two days of super gains on Monday and Thursday and two flat days. It gained 1,308.39 points or 3.50 per cent to close at 38,697.05 points. NIFTY gained 366.70 points or 3.32 per cent to close at 11,416.95 points. The broader markets saw BSE100, BSE200 and BSE500 gain 3.31 per cent, 3.31 per cent and 3.30 per cent respectively. BSEMIDCAP gained 3.32 per cent while BSESMALLCAP gained 3.28 per cent. Markets gaining almost identical between 3.28 per cent to 3.32 per cent is a rare event and I do not recall having seen such an event in a very long time. I am not sure what to make out of it but am sure that time will make us wiser.

The Indian rupee gained 47 paisa or 0.64 per cent to close at Rs 73.14 to the US dollar. Dow Jones gained 545.85 points or 2.01 per cent to close at 27,682.81 points. President Donald Trump, seeking re-election for the US Presidency has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and it makes the November 2 election that much closer and interesting.

The week was focused on the primary markets with three new issues and two listings. The first new issue from Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, saw overwhelming response and was oversubscribed 157.41 times. QIB portion was subscribed 89.78 times, HNI portion 678.88 times, Retail portion 35.63 times and Employee portion 3.86 times. There were 26.31 lac forms. The issue garnered subscription of Rs 69,838 crore against an issue size of just Rs 443.68 crore.

The second primary issue was from UTI Asset Management Company Limited which was subscribed 2.31 times overall. The QIB portion was subscribed 3.34 times. HNI portion subscribed 0.93 times, Retail portion subscribed 2.32 times and Employee portion subscribed 1.34 times. There were 8.80 lac applications.

The third primary issue from Likhitha Infrastructure Limited was undersubscribed in the QIB category and was hence extended. The issue was subscribed overall 8.43 times but received bids for just 0.45 times the QIB portion. The QB portion which was 50 per cent of the issue size of 51 lac shares has now been changed to 1 per cent of the issue size and the HNI portion which was earlier 15 per cent been changed to 64 per cent. What is interesting to note is the interpretation being taken in the issue by the regulator that upto 50 per cent can be anything up to a maximum of 50 per cent. This will change the popular perception that issuers of capital, merchant bankers and investors had earlier that every issue had to have a compulsory allocation of 50 per cent reserved for institutional investors. This can now be flexible and can be just about anything from 1 per cent to 50 per cent. This would make fund raising that much easier as many more companies would tap the markets going forward. There is another category where 75 per cent of the issue is reserved for QIB's in case there is lack of profits or some other conditions.

The first listing was from Computer Management Services Limited or (CAMS) which had issued shares at Rs 1,230. Shares were traded on the BSE only, as the offer for sale was from NSE Investments, an associate company of NSE and hence trading was not allowed there. Since they no longer own shares in CAMS, trading in CAMS share would be allowed from Monday on the NSE as well. Shares debuted at Rs 1,518, touched a high of Rs 1,550, made a low of Rs 1,306.20 and finally settled to close at Rs 1,401.60, a gain of Rs 171.60 or 13.95 per cent. The delivery of 71 lac shares on listing day was 55.28 per cent of the non-anchor IPO size of 128.27 lac shares. There were institutional purchases on day one of 32.48 lac shares at an average price of Rs 1,482.37. This indicates ample interest in the share going forward. At the current closing price, leveraged HNI's would be losing money as the funding cost was in the range of Rs 185-198.

The second listing was from Chemcon Speciality Chemicals Limited which had issued shares at Rs 340 and was subscribed 149.33 times. The discovered price was Rs 730.95 on BSE and Rs 731 on NSE. The share after touching a high of Rs 743.80 on BSE and Rs 731.25 on NSE, fell to the low and lower circuit of Rs 584.80 on both exchanges, where the share also closed. The gains registered were 72 per cent. The cost of interest for the leveraged HNI was between Rs 205-220. If the share slips another Rs 25, then there would be losses for the leveraged HNI. Delivery percentage on non-anchor issue size is 88.55 per cent. This implies that the share could be under pressure in the coming days.

Covid-19 saw the number pf patients globally go up to 3,51,39,699 people with 10,38,057 deaths and 2,61,28,410 people having recovered. In India the number of affected people is 65,49,373 patients with 1,01,812 deaths and 55,09,966 people having recovered. Compared to the previous week the number of new patients globally is 20,80,949 with 89,280 deaths and 17,16,638 people having recovered. In India there were 5,56,840 new patients, 7,278 deaths and 5,68,339 people having recovered. This is the second consecutive wee when we have seen larger number of patients recovering then new patients which is certainly a welcome sign.

Coming to the markets, we have shares of Angel Broking Limited to list on Monday. The listing is expected to be lacklustre. While markets have rallied strongly in the previous week with BFSI sector leading the pack, expect markets to be choppy and volatile. While there could be some more upside left on expectations of yet another stimulus being announced in the US and liquidity from there flowing through global markets into India as well, there could be delays in the same. Continue to sell on strong rallies and buy on sharp dips for the time being.








Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:39:51 +0530
IPL Delhi Capitals to don special jersey against RCB

Dubai, Oct 5

Delhi Capitals will don a specially designed JSW Paints branded jersey in their fifth match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season against Royal Challengers Bangalore to be played on Monday evening at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. JSW Paints, part of the JSW Group, has partnered with Delhi Capitals for Monday's game.

"The JSW Group has played a crucial role in the development of Indian sports over the last few years. Our team will proudly don the JSW Paints jersey for the game against RCB not only in support of the group's tremendous contribution towards Indian sports, but also to endorse the message of unity," said Dhiraj Malhotra, CEO of Delhi Capitals.

"The JSW Group sees this as a tremendous opportunity to showcase our brand JSW Paints that celebrates the diverse colours of our country and encourages India to embrace every colour. The association is aligned with the overall brand narrative which is all about unity and inclusivity," Parth Jindal, Managing Director of JSW Paints said.

The Shreyas Iyer-led side have won three out of the four games they have played so far and currently are placed at the second spot in the points table.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:36:06 +0530
Fecal transplant may be used to reverse cognitive decline Study

London, Oct 5 

In a unique study, researchers have found that faecal transplants could one day be used to reverse the cognitive decline that comes with ageing.

Cognitive decline is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life

The study, published in the journal Microbiome, shows how faecal transplants from older to younger mice altered their gut microbiome, which in turn impacted their spatial learning and memory.

The research team hope that reversing the procedure could one day see faecal transplantation used to combat cognitive decline among the elderly.

The previous research has shown that the ageing process may be linked with age-related changes in our gut microbiota.

"Recently, the existence of two-way communication between the gut and the brain - known as the 'gut-brain axis' - has emerged as an important player in shaping aspects of behaviour and cognitive function," said study author David Vauzour from the University of East Anglia in the UK.

"We wanted to see whether transferring gut microbes from older to younger mice could affect parts of the central nervous system associated with ageing," Vauzour added.

The research team performed faecal transplants from older adult mice to younger adult mice and then assessed the young adults for markers such as anxiety, exploratory behaviour and memory.

After the transplantation, the team found significant differences in the young mice's microbial profiles.

While the young adults showed no significant changes in markers of anxiety, explorative behaviour or locomotor activity, they did show impaired spatial learning and memory as measured in a maze test.

These changes were paralleled by alterations in the expression of proteins associated with synaptic plasticity and neurotransmission, and changes to cells in the hippocampus part of their brains - responsible for learning and memory.

"Our research shows that faecal transplantation from an old donor to a young recipient causes an age-associated shift in the composition of gut microbiota," Vauzour said.

The procedure had an impact on the expression of proteins involved in key functions of the hippocampus - an important part of the brain that has a vital role in a variety of functions including memory, learning but also in spatial navigation and emotional behaviour and mood.

In short, the young mice began to behave like older mice, in terms of their cognitive function.

"This work highlights the importance of the gut-brain axis in ageing and provides a strong rationale to devise therapies aiming to restore a young-like microbiota to improve cognitive functions and quality of life in the elderly," said researcher Claudio Nicoletti from the University of Florence, Italy.\







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:34:16 +0530
Samsung launches new home cinema projector Premiere

Seoul/New Delhi, Oct 5

Samsung Electronics on Monday launched its new home cinema projector amid the pandemic-driven stay-at-home trend in South Korea.

Called The Premiere, Samsung's latest 4K ultra-short-throw laser projector comes in two models, with the high-end LSP9T priced at 7.49 million won ($6,430) and the standard LSP7T selling at 4.49 million won, reports Yonhap news agency.

The home theater projector was first unveiled on September 2 at Samsung's virtual press conference event "Life Unstoppable."

The flagship LSP9T delivers up to a 130-inch screen with 4K picture quality using triple laser technology and boasts a maximum brightness of 2,800 ANSI lumens, according to the company.

Samsung said the Premiere is one of its lifestyle TV products that reflects users' lifestyle and living patterns.

The company's lifestyle TV line-up currently includes the Serif, a home decor-focused TV, and the Terrace, an outdoor TV.

Samsung in June launched a new portfolio of 2020 lifestyle televisions, The Serif and the 2020 QLED 8K TV line, with premium features in India.

The Serif comes in three sizes – 43-inch, 49-inch and 55-inch - for Rs 83,900, Rs 1,16,900 and Rs 1,48,900, respectively.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:30:47 +0530
Bigg Boss 14 Shehzad Deol feels Shehnaaz Gill opened doors for Punjabi talent

Mumbai, Oct 5

Model Shehzad Deol says entering the Bigg Boss 14 house as the first turbaned Sardar is an honour.

"It's an absolute honour for me to represent my culture on the show. Entering the house as the first turbaned Sardar is a huge thing. The turban is my biggest identity as well as my USP," he told IANS.

In 2012, former cricketer and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had appeared in the Bigg Boss house as the first turbaned Sikh, but had to leave the show after a few days owing to political commitments.

Shehzad also expressed his fondness for "Bigg Boss 13" contestant, Punjabi singer Shehnaaz Gill.

"I admire Shehnaaz a lot. Last season she came and presented Punjab and Punjabis in such a beautiful way. She has opened the doors for more Punjabi talent in the Hindi entertainment industry, especially 'Bigg Boss'," added the Punjab-born artiste.

Before "Bigg Boss" , Shehzad was seen in the model hunt show "Top Model India" and the reality show, "Ace of Space".







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:28:54 +0530
Google defers 30 Play Store app fee in India till March 2022

New Delhi, Oct 5

Facing intense criticism over its Play Store billing policy, Google on Monday said it has extended the time for developers in India who use alternative payment system, to integrate with the Play Store billing system till March 31, 2022, thus deferring the enforcement of 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases of digital goods from its Play Store in the country.

The move, the tech giant said, is to ensure that the Indian developers have "enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play".

The company said it is setting up listening sessions with the leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply.

"We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies," Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play, said in a blog post.

The Google decision to extend the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system comes in the wake of criticism it has received from various stakeholders.

The developers and payment gateway players have criticised the new Google in-app purchase policies where those using Play Store to sell digital services will be required to use the tech giant's own built-in payment system.

"Just because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem of this country, they should not act arbitrarily and enforce their rules and regulations which are contrary to our country's laws," said Vishwas Patel, Founder, CCAvenues and Chairman, Payments Council of India.

"Also, they cannot force Indian apps developers/owners selling digital services to compulsorily use the Google Billing and payment system and charge 30 per cent MDR," he added.

According to Kochikar, the Google Play payments policy is not new.

"In fact, more than 97 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play already comply with the policy. To be clear, the policy only applies if a developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, which is less than 3 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play," she reiterated.

According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), prima Facie, Google's move, even if legal, is certainly not innocuous.

"For many founders of Indian start-ups, this brings back fears of the not so old deeply problematic revenue share model between VAS service providers (mainly digital goods) and telcos," the IAMAI said last week.

Google said that its billing system provides a simple, safe way for consumers to transact.

"We are deeply committed to the success of the Indian ecosystem. We do not succeed unless our partners succeed," Kochikar said.

New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Facing intense criticism over its Play Store billing policy, Google on Monday said it has extended the time for developers in India who use alternative payment system, to integrate with the Play Store billing system till March 31, 2022, thus deferring the enforcement of 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases of digital goods from its Play Store in the country.

The move, the tech giant said, is to ensure that the Indian developers have "enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play".

The company said it is setting up listening sessions with the leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply.

"We will be setting up Policy Workshops to help clear any additional questions about our Play Store policies," Purnima Kochikar, Director of Business Development, Games & Applications, Google Play, said in a blog post.

The Google decision to extend the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system comes in the wake of criticism it has received from various stakeholders.

The developers and payment gateway players have criticised the new Google in-app purchase policies where those using Play Store to sell digital services will be required to use the tech giant's own built-in payment system.

"Just because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem of this country, they should not act arbitrarily and enforce their rules and regulations which are contrary to our country's laws," said Vishwas Patel, Founder, CCAvenues and Chairman, Payments Council of India.

"Also, they cannot force Indian apps developers/owners selling digital services to compulsorily use the Google Billing and payment system and charge 30 per cent MDR," he added.

According to Kochikar, the Google Play payments policy is not new.

"In fact, more than 97 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play already comply with the policy. To be clear, the policy only applies if a developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, which is less than 3 per cent of developers with apps on Google Play," she reiterated.

According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), prima Facie, Google's move, even if legal, is certainly not innocuous.

"For many founders of Indian start-ups, this brings back fears of the not so old deeply problematic revenue share model between VAS service providers (mainly digital goods) and telcos," the IAMAI said last week.

Google said that its billing system provides a simple, safe way for consumers to transact.

"We are deeply committed to the success of the Indian ecosystem. We do not succeed unless our partners succeed," Kochikar said.









Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:26:26 +0530
Hindu Mahasabha to launch YouTube channel on Godse

Meerut, Oct 5

The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha has decided to launch a YouTube channel dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, Nathuram Godse.

Hindu Mahasabha spokesman, Abhishek Agarwal said: "The younger generation is very active on the social media and have decided to tap them by launching the YouTube channel on Nathuram Godse. The channel will tell people about the reasons behind Gandhi's assassination. It will also tell them about the good work done by Godse."

Several saffron outfits, including the Mahasabha, hail Godse as their hero and have been trying to glorify him for decades.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhana Mishra said that this "was another attempt by some Hindu outfits to demolish Gandhi's ideology and sully his image by glorifying Godse".

"Gandhi's ideology runs in the DNA of India and its people. Efforts to glorify the likes of Godse will never succeed and the ruling party should rein in such elements," she added.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:21:44 +0530
Schools closed in SL until further notice

Colombo, Oct 5

Schools across Sri Lanka will remain closed from Monday until further notice amid a sudden spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in the island-nation, according to the Education Ministry.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the closure applied to all the Catholic, private and international schools as well as pre-schools and 'pirivena' centres (monastic colleges), the Daily Financial Times reported.

All tuition classes in the Colombo and Gampaha districts will also remain suspended indefinitely.

In addition to this, the University Grants Commission yesterday stated that the Kelaniya University, Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurveda Institute, and the Naiwala Advanced Technological Institute will be closed this week.

All students using hostel facilities have been instructed to leave for their respective homes immediately.

The development comes after the country reported the first community Covid-19 case in two months, after which authorities curfew was imposed indefinitely in the Divulapitiya, Minuwangoda and Veyangoda areas on the outskirts of capital Colombo.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 3,402 Covid-19 cases and 13 deaths.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:17:42 +0530
UP CM helpline to interact directly with farmers

Lucknow, Oct 5

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's office will now reach out directly to lakhs of farmers and address the problems being faced by them.

The officials will use the helpline number 1076 to contact farmers who have lodged complaints with the helpline.

According to the government spokesman, the helpline will start contacting farmers directly, briefing them about the government's schemes, including the new MSP.

The Chief Minister's office that also monitors the helpline's functioning, said, "So far, the helpline of the CM office has been catering to Covid-19 patients but from now on the helpline will reach the farmers. The helpline has mapped over seven million paddy cultivators by procuring a list containing their phone numbers from the food and civil supplies department, which had purchased paddy from them in the previous season."

The helpline will brief them about the new MSP, set for paddy and the purchase centres which the government has set up for their convenience.

The idea is to clear misconceptions about the new farm laws and take the steam out of the opposition's campaign against the ruling BJP.

Besides, farmers can lodge their complaints if they face any problem at any stage.

It may be recalled that for this financial year, the state government has set the paddy MSP at Rs 1,868 per quintal.

"From paddy we will move on to the rabi crop, informing farmers about centres which the government would set up at block and tehsil levels to make available seeds and fertilizers for them at subsidized rates." the spokesman said.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:14:58 +0530
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan accuses Sangh Cong for murder of left workers

Thrissur (Kerala) Oct 5

Kerala CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Monday condemned the brutal killing of 26-year-old P.U. Sanoop, a local party office bearer and breathed fire on the Sangh Parivar and the Congress who he alleged were behind the murder.

The incident occurred on Sunday around 10.30 p.m. near here when Sanoop and three other party workers were attacked by a group of men with swords and knives.

While Sanoop died on the spot, the other three were admitted to hospital, where the condition of one is serious.

"Sanoop was a very active party worker and was liked by all. He was always working among the people. Of late four CPI-M cadres have been brutally murdered by the RSS/Sangh Parivar and Congress combine. It's high time that these people lay down their swords and knives," said Balakrishnan.

Local legislator and State LSG Minister A.C. Moideen said the attackers have a criminal past and this brutal murder is to check the growth of our party.

The police have launched a manhunt for the killers.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:11:39 +0530
Recovery rate at 84 as India s Covid cases breach 66L

New Delhi, Oct 5

With a spike of 74,442 coronavirus cases and 903 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally on Monday mounted to 66,23,816 cases.

Though the cases are increasing, the recovery rate is 84.34 per cent in India which is less that Chile that has over 92 per cent cure rate, while US that tops the Corona cases in the world has around 33 per cent recovery rate.

The fatality rate has come down to 1.55 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said. Of the 20 worst affected nations, India has the lowest mortality rate, while Mexico has the highest of 10.4 per cent and the UK next at 8.8 per cent, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Out of the total cases, 9,34,427 are currently active, 55,86,703 have been discharged, while 1,02,685 lost the battle against the viral disease.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 14,43,409 cases, including 38,084 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 9,89,860 sample tests in a single day on Sunday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 7,99,82,394.







Mon, 05 Oct 2020 11:09:24 +0530
Bigg Boss 14 Rubina and Abhinav feel show will test their relationship

Mumbai, Real life actor-couple Rubina Dilaik and Abhinav Shukla are housemates on Bigg Boss 14. The idea of a husband and wife participating together in the controversial show is not commonplace, and they say the experience should put their relationship to test.

"Abhinav and I have always kept our relationship private. We don't like to share much stuff about us. So, it would be challenging for us to showcase our bond in the public domain. Hope we come out stronger," Rubina told IANS.

Agreed Abhinav: "The show will prove how strong we are as couple. It will be a test of our relationship. It's a challenge to deal with other 11 to 12 people inside the house."

On the one thing she will miss while inside the house, Rubina said: "I love homemade ghee. My meal is incomplete without it. Unfortunately, I could not carry it along with me. I will miss eating rotis with ghee applied on them!"

Rubina and Abhinav tied the knot in 2018.


Mon, 05 Oct 2020 09:28:28 +0530
TCS to consider share buyback on Oct 7

New Delhi, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will be considering a buyback of shares of the company at a board meeting to be held on October 7.

TCS said in a filing that the meeting of the Board of Directors of the company is scheduled on October 7 and the Board of Directors will consider a proposal for buyback of equity shares of the company, at its meeting to be held on October 7, 2020.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will be providing Rs 1218 crore as an exceptional item in the upcoming results to be announced on October 7 as a provision in the books for a legal claim in the Epic Systems matter.

In a regulatory filing, TCS said in the EPIC Systems Corporation matter, the company would be providing Rs 1,218 crore as exceptional item, in the financial results for the three and six months ended September 30, to be announced on October 7.

On August 20, the US Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, Chicago, returned a verdict on the appeal filed by TCS, reducing the damages award.

The Court held that the punitive damages award of $280 million is constitutionally excessive, vacated the punitive damages award and directed the Trial Court to reassess the punitive damages. The Court upheld the compensatory damages award of $140 million.

"TCS is legally advised that it has the correct and the strongest possible arguments in its favour and the Order and reduced damages are not supported by facts presented during the trial", the company said.

In September 2020, TCS has filed petition seeking re-hearing on both compensatory and punitive damages. EPIC has also filed petition seeking re-hearing on decision of the Appeals Court invalidating award of punitive damages exceeding the amount of compensatory damages. "The provision in the books for legal claim is being made as a matter of prudence", TCS said.

Mon, 05 Oct 2020 09:23:07 +0530
380 school staffers test Covid 19 positive in Pak

Karachi,  At least 380 teaching and non-teaching staff members of private and government schools in Pakistan's Sindh province have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to an official report.

In the report released on Sunday, the Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation said that of the 380 cases, 246 were recorded in the provincial capital of Karachi, The Express Tribune reported.

The report also revealed that 64,827 people associated with schools had been tested for the contagious disease from September 12 to October 2.

Of them, 54,199 had tested negative, while results were pending for 10,248.

The report further said that 2,108 educational institutes in 29 districts were inspected for compliance with pandemic-related standard operating procedures (SOPs), adding that 46 government schools and a private one were sealed for failing to implement them.

According to the report, 857 schools were found violating social distancing guidelines, 1,039 did not have proper facilities to wash hands or sanitisers, the classrooms at 807 schools were not being disinfected, 1,204 schools did not have clean toilets and 1,352 schools did not display guidelines about coronavirus.


Mon, 05 Oct 2020 09:20:30 +0530
Pregnant teen claims she was raped 3 booked

Bulandshahr (UP), A 16-year-old girl forwarded a complaint to the police on WhatsApp after she was found to be pregnant.

A team led by a woman circle officer was sent to the girl's home where her statement was recorded and an FIR under suitable sections was registered.

The girl, in her complaint claimed that she was raped multiple times by two of the three accused during a course of over one-and-half years.

Three people have been booked for rape case after the girl submitted her complaint and of the accused is a 72-year-old man.

Senior superintendent of police (SP), Bulandshahr, Santosh Kumar, said, "The family of the rape survivor got to know about the ordeal of the girl after her condition deteriorated recently and she was taken to a local hospital where the family was informed about her pregnancy."

"In a statement to the police, the rape survivor said she was sexually harassed by one of the accused, Shrichand, a 72-year-old man. The second accused in the case is Balveer, 52, younger brother of Shrichand who allegedly raped the girl on several occasions. Third accused Mahesh, a milk vendor, is also accused of raping the girl," the SSP said.

Police also claimed the accused Balveer had facilitated a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh to the family and there was a brawl recently when he confronted the family for its repayment.

The SSP said. "Over a year ago, the rape survivor's brother had sustained severe injuries in a train accident. The accused Balveer had facilitated a loan from a Noida farm house owner to the family. The accused claimed that a brawl ensued on Thursday when he approached them for its repayment."

The SSP said the matter was being investigated.

Mon, 05 Oct 2020 09:07:10 +0530
Bulghari caught in justice injustice debate

Bulghari (Uttar Pradesh),  There is an uneasy calm in Bulghari village of Hathras after the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl. The locals have been caught in a "justice or injustice" debate. Everyone wants justice but in their own way.

The people have already decided who are in the wrong.

People from almost every caste reside here and have been one community, celebrating all festivals together. There are around 200 Thakur families, almost equal number of Brahmin families, around 25 Harijans, 25 Kumhars and four to five 'Naai' families in the village.

Yogendra Singh of the same village said that earlier everything was normal here. Everyone was busy with their own work. But ever since this incident something has changed abnormally.

"Now, small things trigger debates. Political intentions dictate motives. Emotions run high, which is very dangerous," Yogendra told IANS.

Whoever comes to meet victim's family they abuse other communities and people, he added.

Talking about the late night cremation of the victim, Yogendra said: "Things take place according to the circumstances, if she was cremated during the day time it might have caused more tension in the village because more outsiders could have gathered in here."

There are many things related to the incident that are being proved wrong with time. However, the probe should take place according to the law.

Seventy-year-old Ramdev Tiwari, a local resident, said: "We got to know about the incident after it happened while I was just 200 metres away from the spot but I didn't hear any voice."

A man from the nearby village, requesting anonymity, said that there is no casteism in this village but it has been caught between an unending debate of justice and injustice.

With heavy police presence, the village is a fortress. After Saturday's intense political activity around the victim's family -- everyone is charged with an energy.

Sun, 04 Oct 2020 11:47:38 +0530
Shreyas Nortje star in Delhi s thrilling win over KKR

Sharjah, Shreyas Iyer played a captain's knock -- 88 not out off 38 balls -- to guide Delhi Capitals (DC) to a thrilling 18-run win, but not before Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) gave them some anxious moments towards the end of the 16th IPL game on Saturday night.

Shreyas was adjudged the Man of the Match, and the win lifted DC to the top of the points table. They now have six points from four matches while KKR are placed sixth with four points from four games.

Despite some explosive batting by Eoin Morgan (44 off 18) and Rahul Tripathi (36 off 16) towards the end of the KKR innings, they failed to overhaul the massive 229-run target as the two-time champions fell short of the target.

Earlier, KKR won the toss and opted to bowl. Besides Shreyas, opener Prithvi Shaw scored a half-century (66 off 41 balls) and Rishabh Pant hammered a 17-ball 38 to take their team to 228 for four wickets in 20 overs. In reply, KKR made 210 for eight wickets in 20 overs, after once threatening to run away with the game. Nitish Rana was their top scorer with 58 off 35 balls and Eoin Morgan smashed 44 off 18 balls, but in vain.

Chasing the target, KKR opener Sunil Narine once again failed to fire as he fell cheaply after managing just three runs. Shubhman Gill (28) and Rana then took command of the proceedings as they took their side past the 50-run mark in 5.2 overs.

Just when everything was going KKR's way, Amit Mishra dismissed Gill in the ninth over with KKR scorecard reading 72/2. Andre Russell (13), too, didn't spent much time in the middle and KKR were reduced to 94/3 in 9.5 overs.

Rana continued to kept the fight on, but he couldn't convert it as Harshal Patel dismissed him in the 13th over. Rana's innings contained four boundaries and as many sixes.

Within five runs, KKR lost their skipper Dinesh Karthik (6) and Pat Cummins (5), and DC strengthening their grip on the contest. The fall of Cummis left KKR reeling at 122/6.

There was, however, another twist in the story as Tripathi and Morgan added 78 runs in the next 31 balls, courtesy some massive hits into the stands, which saw KKR making a comeback in the match.

Anrich Nortje, however, didn't let the KKR duo succeed as he dismissed a dangerous looking Morgan in the 19th over before Marcus Stoinis, who bowled an exceptional final over, accounted for the wicket of Tripathi with a toe-crushing yorker.

Despite the phenomenal batting by Morgan and Tripathi, KKR failed to cross the line by 18 runs.

For DC, Nortje was the wrecker-in-chief as he returned with figures of 3/33 while Patel bagged 2/34.

Earlier, opener Prithvi Shaw's blistering 66 followed by Shreyas's (unbeaten 88 off 38) carnage propelled DC to a mammoth 228/4 in the allotted 20 overs.

Apart from the duo, DC stumper Rishabh Pant also took full advantage of the short boundaries as he blasted 38 off 17 balls with the help of five boundaries and a six.

DC were off to a flying start, thanks to openers Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Shaw, who made sure that their side cross the 50-run mark in just 4.4 overs.

However, while trying to go for a maximum, Dhawan became a victim of Varun Chakravarthy in the sixth over with DC being on 56/1.

The dismissal didn't affect DC much as incoming batter and Shaw kept going at a decent pace.

The duo steered their side to the three-digit mark in the 11th over before Shaw was packed back by Kamlesh Nagarkoti in the 13th over.

Shaw's knock contained four boundaries and as many sixes.

Iyer and Pant then added 72 runs in the next 31 balls as they clobbered every KKR bowler who came in their way.

Andre Russell, finally, gave KKR some respite as he accounted for the wicket of Pant in the 18th over, which saw DC's scorecard reading 201/3.

Iyer, on other hand, kept his lusty blows going before Russell struck again, this time in the final over to send back Marcus Stoinis (1). However, the damage was already done as DC posted a challenging target before their opponents with ease.

Iyer's sparkling innings was decorated with seven fours and six massive hits into the stands.

Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 228/4 wkts in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 88 not out, Prithvi Shaw 66; Andre Russell 2/29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 210/8 wkts in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 58, Eoin Morgan 44; Anrich Nortje 3/33) by 18 runs

Sun, 04 Oct 2020 11:06:01 +0530
Twitter to remove tweets wishing for Trump s death from Covid

San Francisco, Twitter has categorically said that it will proactively remove tweets by those who wish for US President Donald Trump's death on the platform and will put their accounts into a "read only" mode for violating its policies.

After Trump announced on Friday that he and his wife Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19, several people took to Twitter, openly calling for Trump's death from the deadly respiratory disease.

Twitter told Motherboard on Saturday that users are not allowed to openly hope for Trump's death on the platform and that tweets that do so "will have to be removed".

On its 'abusive behaviour' policy page, Twitter says: "We do not tolerate content that wishes, hopes or expresses a desire for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against an individual or group of people.

"This includes, but is not limited to, hoping that someone dies as a result of a serious disease."

Trump has been admitted to the nation's premier military hospital in Washington for several days, limiting his campaigning in the crucial month before the November 3 US presidential elections.

His doctor Sean Conley said on Friday night that he had recommended moving Trump to the Walter Reed Military Medical Centre after consulting specialists from there and the Johns Hopkins University.

The Walter Reed hospital, which has among the best equipment and experts, is usually the first stop for military personnel wounded in wars abroad.

Facebook, however, says that its policy distinguishes between public figures and private individuals because "we want to allow discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news or who have a large public audience".

"For public figures, we remove attacks that are severe as well as certain attacks where the public figure is directly tagged in the post or comment," Facebook says.

The report said that what this means is that "it's OK to post on Facebook" that you hope Trump dies, so long as you do not tag him in the post or "purposefully expose" him to "calls for death, serious disease, epidemic disease, or disability".


Sun, 04 Oct 2020 09:32:05 +0530
Bigg Boss 14 Meet the housemates

Mumbai,  The controversial reality show Bigg Boss 14 is back for season 14, hosted by Bollywood superstar Salman Khan. The season promises fireworks as always, given the housemates in fray this year.

Here is the complete list of contestants whom Salman welcomed into the house.

Television actor Eijaaz Khan rose to fame playing the lead in serials such as "Kkavyanjali", "Kahiin Toh Hoga", "Kkusum", "Kyaa Hoga Nimmo Kaa", and "Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaagey". He has also featured in films like "Tanu Weds Manu", "Zilla Ghaziabad" and "Tanu Weds Manu Returns".

South star Nikki Tamboli will be seen as a participant in the controversial reality show. She is known for her roles in films such as "Kanchana 3", "Chikati Gadilo Chithakotudu" and "Thippara Meesam".

TV actor Abhinav Shukla, who has worked in shows like "Jaane Kya Baat Hui", "Chotti Bahu" and "Silsila Badalte Rishton Ka" among many others will test his reality skills on the show. What's more, in an unprecedented move, he is in with his wife, actress Rubina Dilaik.

Popular television actress and Abhinav's wife Rubina is known for her roles in shows like "Chotti Bahu", "Shakti: Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki", "Devon Ke Dev… Mahadev" and "Jeannie Aur Juju" among many others. The presence of the husband-wife ‘jodi' of Rubina and Abhinav promises fresh fireworks this season.

She made her acting debut with the show "Tashan-e-Ishq" and rose to fame with her portrayal as Teni Bhanushali in the show "Dil Se Dil Tak". Jasmine has had reality TV experience participating in the adventure game show "Khatron Ke Khiladi: Made In India". She was also a guest on "Bigg Boss 13", which was won by her friend Siddhant Shukla.

He has been a part of shows such as "Guddan Tumse Na Ho Paayega" and "Ram Milayi Jodi". Nishant made his debut with "Miley Jab Hum Tum", where he portrayed Adhiraj Singh and his film debut with "Horror Story". The actor also ventured in the digital space with the web-series "Ragini MMS: Returns".

He was a finalist on season one of "Ace Of Space", almost similar in concept to "Bigg Boss". It remains to be seen if his experience on the MTV show has helped him prepare for the ruthless world of the "Bigg Boss" house.

After Shehnaaz Gill and Himanshi Khurrana, she is the latest Punjabi singer to enter "Bigg Boss" as a contestant. Sara is already in the eye of a storm, with Punjabi singer Tushar Kumar claiming she is married to him.

Son of playback singer Kumar Sanu, he was the first contestant to be confirmed by show host Salman Khan. Jaan is also a singer, and he wants to step out of his father's shadow. He told IANS that he feels the reality show would be a good platform for him to carve his space.

She was first seen in the reality show "Splitsvilla 3" and then on various shows like "Sawaare Sabke Sapne... Preeto", "Naagin 3", "Honge Judaa Naa Hum" and "Baalveer Returns". Pavitra was also centre of discussions on season 13 of "Bigg Boss", being the ex-girlfriend of actor Paras Chhabra, one of the stars of last season.

Singer Rahul Vaidya was second runner's up in the first season of singing based reality show "India Idol". He has featured in several other music shows on television such as "Music Ka Maha Muqqabla" and "Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar".

Sun, 04 Oct 2020 09:25:59 +0530
Recent reforms will strengthen India s global positioning Goyal

New Delhi, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday that the recent reforms undertaken by the government amid the pandemic -- in mining, labour and agriculture, among other sectors -- will strengthen India and prepare the country to engage globally from a position of strength.

Addressing the 74th annual session of Hindustan Chamber of Commerce, Goyal was quoted in an official statement as saying that the government has taken the opportunity amid the pandemic to bring major reforms across sectors.

"We have taken the opportunity of Covid to bring about game-changing reforms in agriculture, labour, mining, capital markets and banking, space technology and defence. This will strengthen India and prepare us to engage with the world from a position of strength," he said.

Goyal said that businesses and the government are working together towards a better future for the marginalised sections of the society.


Sun, 04 Oct 2020 09:17:03 +0530
Trump campaign launches Operation MAGA

Washington, The re-election campaign of US President Donald Trump, who is currently in the hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, has announced the launch of "Operation MAGA", a series of in-person and virtual events to be held throughout this month the November 3 election.

In a statement on Saturday, campaign manager Bill Stepien said: "Operation MAGA will fire up the entire MAGA universe to keep President Trump's campaign at full speed until our Commander-in-Chief returns to the campaign trail.

"Vice President Mike Pence, the First Family, our coalitions, and our grassroots supporters will be out in full force to show the real enthusiasm behind the President's re-election and to show we're working as hard as he always does.

"We also encourage all of the President's supporters to pick up the banner themselves by volunteering in our grassroots Army for Trump, flying their Trump flags, putting out more yard signs, and wearing their MAGA gear proudly."

According to the statement, "Operation MAGA" will include virtual events leading up to the vice presidential debate scheduled for October 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The campaign said that "in-person events will commence" following the debate, with Pence visiting "key swing states".

Other members of the President's family, including Donald J. Trump, Jr., Eric Trump and Lara Trump, are also expected to host a series of live events.

Also on Saturday, White House physician Sean Conley told reporters that the President was doing "very well" after being hospitalized following his diagnosis on Friday.

First Lady Melania Trump has also been infected but she has remained at the White House.

Shortly after Conley's briefing, Trump tweeted: "Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!"

Over the subsequent days there were multiple additional reports of positive tests on people who were related to the White House or to White House visits or events.

They included Republican Senators Thom Tillis, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson; former White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Trump's 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien; Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel; and University of Notre Dame president John I. Jenkins.

Sun, 04 Oct 2020 09:09:27 +0530
Hathras s Bulgarhi village turned into fortress to prevent unrest

Hathras (Uttar Pradesh),  Weeks after the horrific incident occurred in Bulgarhi village of Uttar Pradesh's Hathras district, the village has been turned into a fortress in order to maintain peace and harmony.

The small village is being guarded by the Uttar Pradesh police. Constables have been deployed in each lane of the village to prevent any untoward incident.

One of the police personnel who was deployed at the spot told IANS on condition of anonymity, "More than 60 police personnel have been deployed to guard the village in order to prevent any unrest."

During the night, the entry and exit points of the village, which are located about two and a half kilometers away from the main village, have been barricaded to regulate the entry.

A nationwide outrage occurred soon after a 19-year-old Dalit woman who was raped by four "upper caste" men earlier this month died at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi last Tuesday.

She was admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of Aligarh Muslim University after she was left partially paralysed before being shifted to Safdarjung hospital.

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday evening suspended Hathras superintendent of police (SP), deputy superintendent of police (DSP), station inspector and some other officials over the gangrape and death of the 19-year-old Dalit woman.

Sun, 04 Oct 2020 09:00:47 +0530
G Subramania Iyer Rajagopalan Nair P K Vijayakumar take charge of Dhanlaxmi Bank

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a three-member panel who will take charge of Dhanlaxmi Bank. Retired Executive Director of UCO Bank, G. Subramania Iyer will be heading the operations. Retired General Manager of Federal Bank Rajagopalan Nair and P.K. Vijayakumar, retired Director General of Income Tax and former Insurance Ombudsman as well as one of India’s highly decorated tax officers will be the other members of the panel.

The Committee of Directors will be in charge of Dhanlaxmi Bank until a full-time Managing Director and CEO is appointed for the bank.

Sunil Gurbaxani, who was heading Dhanlaxmi Bank as Managing Director & CEO quit following the official declaration of the voting held at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the RBI order announcing appointment of the new Committee of Directors reaching Dhanlaxmi Bank’s head office.

RBI has stated that the interim arrangement is for a period of four months within which the bank has to formalize the appointment of a new Managing Director & CEO.

Dhanlaxmi Bank had a lean phase for around five years from 2008 and 2013 and was placed under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework of RBI. However, the bank came out through its lean phase and is now a profitable enterprise with enough capital at its disposal and significant reduction in non-performing assets. RBI deboarded the bank from the PCA framework after seeing its improvements. During FY 20 the bank reported a net profit of Rs.65 crore, the highest ever in its 90 years’ history.

At the AGM, the bank’s shareholders approved the resolution for increasing the authorised share capital of the bank from Rs.300 crores to Rs.400 crores and amend the Memorandum & Articles of the Association of the bank to this effect.

Shareholders opined that Dhanlaxmi Bank is in safe hands under the leadership of the Committee of Directors constituted by RBI comprising G. Subramania Iyer, Rajagopalan Nair and P.K. Vijayakumar. They added that the bank will benefit immensely from the experiences of such high calibre senior officials and they are keenly looking forward to work with this team.

Public sector banks in India enjoy a higher market capitalization but their financial health continues to be a worrying factor. There are many private and foreign banks operating in India that are an integral part of the country's banking system and known for providing hassle-free banking services to customers. Following the issues of PMC Bank and Yes Bank, there are various concerns among the public. It is to be noted that recently, the government has brought all co-operative banks within RBI's ambit which bodes well for the common public.

Sat, 03 Oct 2020 13:34:02 +0530


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Sat, 03 Oct 2020 12:10:35 +0530
Centre to waive interest on interest during moratorium on loan up to Rs 2 cr

New Delhi, Oct 3

In a major relief to thousands of individuals and MSME borrowers, the Centre in an affidavit informed the Supreme Court that it has taken a decision to waive "interest on interest" on loans up to Rs two crore during the six-month moratorium period.

The affidavit said the only solution is that the government should bear the burden resulting from waiver of compound interest.

"After careful consideration and weighing all possible options, the respondent Union of India has decided to continue the tradition of handholding the small borrowers", said the Centre. The categories of loans up to Rs two crore include: MSME loans, education loans, housing loans, consumer durable loans, credit card dues, auto loans, personal loans to professional and consumption loans.

The Centre said it is impossible for the banks to bear the burden resulting from waiver of compound interest without passing on the financial impact to the depositors or affecting their net worth adversely, which would not be in larger public interest.

The affidavit said: "The government, therefore, has decided that the relief on waiver of compound interest during the six-month moratorium period shall be limited to the most vulnerable category of borrowers."

After the recommendations of an expert committee, the Centre has altered its stand. Previously, the RBI and Centre had argued against waiver of interest on interest, as it would be against the interests of other stakeholders, especially depositors, and also unfair to those who have paid their dues.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R.S. Reddy and M.R. Shah had urged the Centre to have a re-look at its decision in the backdrop of financial hardship faced by many amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Although, the top court had agreed to not waive interest altogether.

The Centre said the Supreme Court would be satisfied that the government bearing this burden would naturally have an impact on several other pressing commitments being faced by the nation, including meeting direct costs association with the pandemic management.

The Centre also cited the example of waiving interest on interest for banks. "In case of SBI alone, waiver of six months' interest would completely wipe out over half of the bank's net worth which has accumulated over nearly 65 years of its existence", said the affidavit.

The apex court will take up the matter on October 5 for further hearing. A clutch of petitions was filed in the top court seeking waiver of interest on interest on the deferred EMIs during the moratorium.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 11:55:01 +0530
Tesla reports record vehicle deliveries in Q3 despite pandemic

San Francisco, Oct 3

Electric-car maker Tesla has delivered a record 1,39,300 vehicles in the third quarter, beating the earlier estimates of 1,34,720 vehicles.

The company produced 1,28,044 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles and delivered 1,24,100 of those.

As for the Model S and Model X, it produced 16,992 of the vehicles and delivered 15,200.

"In terms of days of sales, new vehicle inventory declined further in Q3 as we continue to improve our delivery efficiency," Tesla said in a statement on Friday.

The number is a big improvement from Q2, when Tesla delivered 90,650 cars.

That quarter was tough for Tesla as the company was in partial lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company is expecting to deliver 5,00,000 vehicles in 2020, or a 36 per cent increase over 2019.

But so far the EV maker has only sent out 318,350 cars to customers, meaning it would need to make 1,81,650 deliveries to meet that goal.

"Our net income and cash flow results will be announced along with the rest of our financial performance when we announce Q3 earnings. Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct,'' the company added.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Friday that the electric car maker is finally ready to enter the India market in 2021.

Musk revealed his plans to bring Tesla cars to India in his response to a Twitter post that asked about the progress on Tesla's planned entry into India.

"Next year for sure," Musk said in response to the tweet that posted pictures of T-shirts with "India wants Tesla" and "India loves Tesla" printed on them.

"Thanks for waiting," he added.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 11:51:04 +0530
Maha reformer rationalist Pushpa Bhave dead

Mumbai, Oct 3

Retired Professor Pushpa Bhave, a well-known Marathi socialist, rationalist and reformer passed away following a prolonged illness, said family friends.

Bhave was 81 and breathed her last on Friday at nearly 12.30 a.m. at her Mumbai residence in Dadar. She is survived by her husband Prof. Anant Bhave.

Her funeral was completed on Saturday morning at the Shivaji Park electric crematorium in the presence of her family and fellow activists.

A multi-faceted personality, Prof. Pushpa Bhave had taken part in several major state and national level agitations, including the Goa Liberation, the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, the Dalit Panthers, Devdasi Mukti campaign, welfare of tribals, etc.

"She was a mentor for many, including me, and stood for secular and socialist values. She never compromised on her principles and followed in the tradition of other great socialists like S. M. Joshi, Mrinal Gore, etc.," a close associate Jatin Desai told IANS on her demise.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 11:37:31 +0530
Bodies of Shopian encounter victims exhumed handed over to families

Srinagar, Oct 3

Bodies of three civilians allegedly killed in a stage-managed encounter on July 18 in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district were exhumed on Saturday and handed over to families for final rites.

The bodies of the three civilians belonging to Rajouri district in Jammu division were exhumed after 70 days from a graveyard in the Gantamulla area of the north Kashmir Baramulla district.

Families of Imtiyaz Ahmad, Abrar Ahmad and Muhammad Ibrar had claimed that their wards had come to Shopian district to work as labourers and had been framed and killed as militants in a fake encounter.

After the families lost contact with their wards, they identified their photographs posted on social media after the encounter of July 18 in the Amshipora village of Shopian district.

The claim of the families was substantiated after their DNA samples matched with those of the three slain youth.

Subsequently, police could unearth no evidence to prove the militant links of the slain persons.

A preliminary court of inquiry held by the army accepted that those engaged in carrying out the Amshipora encounter had stepped out of their line of duty by overlooking the standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the Supreme Court in carrying out anti-militancy operations.

Three locals who acted as informers of the security forces were also questioned by the army's court of inquiry.

The police have taken over the custody of these 'informers' whose role in the encounter is now being investigated.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 11:31:22 +0530
Modi inaugurates strategic Atal highway tunnel in Himalayas

Manali, Oct 3

After a decade of sheer hard work of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the strategic Atal highway tunnel, one of the world's most challenging and a marvel of engineering motorways, in the Himalayas that will also bring the infantry combat vehicles closer to the Line of Actual Control.

Donning a BRO cap, Modi interacted with BRO Director General Harpal Singh, who explained to him through a photo exhibition, about the hurdles the agency faced during the tunnel excavation. Singh explained in detail the challenges encountered during the heavy water influx of Seri rivulet.

The 9.02 km-long horseshoe-shaped single-tube, two-lane tunnel -- the world's longest motorable tunnel at over 3,000 metre above the sea level, came up under the 3,978 metre Rohtang Pass in the Pir Panjal range some 30 km from here in Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur welcomed him along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur upon his arrival at the SASE Helipad near here.

Both Rajnath Singh and Thakur reached here a day earlier.

"The all-weather tunnel can take any military traffic, even armoured vehicles," a BRO official aware of the development told IANS.

However, the all-weather road to forward areas of Ladakh requires more tunnels, either at Shikunla or at the high passes located on the 475-km Manali-Leh road for round-the-year connectivity.

Considered a wonder of human perseverance, the Rohtang tunnel, a dream of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and named after him posthumously, was completed after 10 years of sheer hard work by the BRO with an outlay of Rs 3,200 crore.

Talking exclusively to IANS, project Director Colonel Parikshit Mehra said the tunnel has manoeuvred one of the largest shear zones in the history of highway tunneling.

"A length of 587 m across the Seri-nullah or rivulet zone took us four years and the balance 8.4 km took almost the same time," he said.

Mehra, who did a twin master's degree in tunneling engineering, including the one from Austria, said during excavation the temperature inside the tunnel rose to 55 degrees Celsius before breakthrough and it hardly crossed 20 degrees after that.

On its vulnerability, he said, "The deep tunnels in general are not vulnerable to the tectonic effects since they move as a rigid body with shock waves.

"However portal buildings are vulnerable to earthquakes and in our case earthquake loads have been considered in design."

On the decision to keep the main and escape tunnel within the same opening was with a viewpoint not to disturb a large extent of rock mass and restrict excavation to a specific area only, Colonel Mehra said.

Globally, the escape tunnel is built separately along the main tunnel.

And no wonder the working conditions were relatively short and tough too owing to climatic conditions. "The north portal of the tunnel was accessible only for five-six months in a year,' he said.

The tunnel construction, a blessing for the people of landlocked Lahaul-Spiti district who mark a new beginning in their lives this winter, was abandoned on numerous occasions, primarily due to the complex geology that included fracture zones and fault lines.

Colonel Mehra said all major works have been completed. Now cleaning and final touches are going on inside the tunnel.

He said for at least two years the BRO would regulate the movement of the vehicles through the tunnel. Later, it would be handed over to the local civil authorities.

The tunnel will shorten the distance between this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort and Keylong, the headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, by 46 km, shortening the travel time by nearly three hours.

With the maximum speed limit of 80 km per hour, the tunnel is expected to see traffic of 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks a day.

The tunnel has consumed 12,252 metric tonne steel, 1,69,426 metric tonne cement and 1,01,336 metric tonnes of concrete, and excavated out 5,05,264 metric tonnes of soil and rocks by adopting the latest Austrian tunnelling method for construction.

The construction contract of the tunnel has been awarded to Strabag-Afcons, a joint venture between India-based Afcons Infrastructure and Austria's Strabag.

Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) has designed mechanical structures to ensure the safety of motorists by countering avalanches on both ends of the tunnel that remain under snow even during peak summer.

Engineers of SASE, a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, said self-escape snow galleries have been erected for the safety of motorists after studying the local dynamics of avalanches like force and velocity.

The tunnel's foundation stone was laid by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on June 28, 2010, in the Solang Valley near Manali, some 570 km from the national capital.

The completion of the Atal tunnel is a key element in the Defence Ministry's attempts to make the entire 475 km-long Manali-Keylong-Leh highway, used by the armed forces to reach forward areas in Ladakh bordering China and Pakistan, motorable almost round the year.












Sat, 03 Oct 2020 11:11:18 +0530
US panel to grill Facebook Google Twitter CEOs on Oct 28

San Francisco, Oct 3

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will be grilled by a US panel on October 28 over the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The hearing will also cover the topics of privacy and media domination.

The CEOs will testify on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech companies from liability over the content posted by users on their online services, reports CNBC.

The US Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday voted to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify before the panel.

The hearing will be Zuckerberg and Pichai's first appearance before Congress since the two testified along with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos before the House Antitrust Subcommittee in July.

US President Donald Trump's May 28 executive order sought to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.

Republicans have repeatedly turned to Section 230 as a key area for reform in response to their concerns that social media companies censor conservative voices, a charge denied by Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell who initially opposed the subpoena introduced by Chairman Roger Wicker (Republican-Miss) said she supported the move after Republicans included language in the subpoena about privacy and "media domination."

"What I don't want to see is a chilling effect on individuals who are in a process of trying to crack down on hate speech or misinformation about Covid during a pandemic," she was quoted as saying.

"I welcome the debate about [Section] 230," Cantwell said.

Section 230 states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider".







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 11:08:18 +0530
Canada announces more funding for coronavirus hit businesses

Ottawa, Oct 3

The Canadian government has announced a funding of C$600 million to help small- and medium-sized businesses that were affected by the lockdowns imposed in the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, CBC News said in a report.

The new funding, which will target the tourism, manufacturing and technology sectors, will be added to the C$962 million invested in the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.

Of the C$600 million, some C$456 million will be made available to help businesses struggling with their finances through another lockdown.

It will be distributed through regional development agencies.

Another C$144 million will help rural businesses and communities.

In a statement on Friday, Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly said: "What we've learned is that in certain hard-hit sectors, it was more difficult for businesses to have access to capital through financial institutions, and that's why they came up to us."

"Entrepreneurs in Montreal, all across Quebec, worked really hard to get through the first wave... What we want to say to them today is, there is hope. We'll help you get through the second wave."

The funding comes after Prime Minister Trudeau's September 23 announcement that a second coronavirus wave was underway in the country and that "ee're on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring".

The country witnessed a sudden spike in the number of coronavirus cases, from about 300 per day in August to a record high of 1,248 on September 22, Global News Canada reported citing health officials.

On Friday, the country reported 2,122 new coronavirus cases, the highest single day increase since the pandemic started, which took the overall tally to 162,490.

With the emergence of 89 new fatalities, the death toll stood at 9,409.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:56:31 +0530
Canada eases Covid 19 border restrictions

Ottawa, Oct 3

Canada has eased border restrictions that were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will now allow more family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter the country, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced.

"The pandemic is an ongoing threat and we need to continue to be cautious and restrictive about who can enter into Canada," Global News Canada quoted Mendicino as saying in a statement on Friday.

"We recognize, however, that these restrictions should not keep loved ones apart," the Minister added.

Adult children, siblings, grandparents and those who have been in a committed relationship for at least a year, which will have to be proven by a notarized declaration, will now be allowed to enter Canada.

The process of entering will be published online in the coming days, while those who have the needed documentation can start arriving in the country from October 8 onwards, the Minister said.

Meanwhile, the government was also implementing a compassionate-entry program for those who do not qualify as family but want to come to Canada for reasons, such as to see a dying loved one.

Those granted compassionate entry may also be exempt from the current 14-day quarantine requirement, pending discussions with local health officials.

Also on Friday, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that border restrictions with the US will remain in place until October 21, while curbs on foreign travellers will continue till October 31, Global News Canada reported.

Canada first closed its borders to all but a short list of essential workers earlier this year in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Regarding the new measure, Health Minister Health Minister Patty Hajdu sai : "This disease is not going away any time soon. Countries will be struggling for a very long time.

"This government believes firmly in compassion and we know that we needed to take these steps, given that this is not a short term problem."







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:53:24 +0530
Anirban Lahiri stays at T7 in Sanderson Farms Championship

Mississippi, Oct 3

India's Anirban Lahiri fought swirly conditions and a misbehaving driver to post a 2-under 70 and retained his overnight tied seventh position after the end of the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.

Hitting only three fairways at Country Club of Jackson, the 33-year-old on Friday carded four birdies against a double bogey for a two-day total of 8-under 136 to trail leader Keegan Bradley by five shots heading into the weekend. Bradley, a four-time PGA Tour winner, fired a 65 to lead by two from J.T. Poston.

Starting from the 10th hole, Lahiri started his round nicely with birdies on Hole numbers 12, 13 and 15. He made his first gain with a 25-foot conversion and then hit exquisite approach shots to five inches and two feet for his next two birdies.

However, an error on the sixth proved costly. After missing the fairway, Lahiri landed in the greenside bunker and he needed four more shots to get into the hole for a double bogey six before signing off with a 10-foot birdie on his last hole.

"I just didn't hit enough fairways. The wind kept swirling and it was a guessing game between the lies and the wind all day. Lost my concentration around the turn and just had to grind it out," said Lahiri,who is featuring in his sixth straight season on the PGA Tour.

Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei's C.T. Pan returned a 69 which featured five birdies against two bogeys for a share of 24th position on 139 while Korea's Si Woo Kim (69), Sungjae Im (70) and K.H. Lee (73) all made the halfway cut set at 141.








Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:45:43 +0530
Most hackers initiate cyber attacks only to be challenged Survey

New Delhi, Oct 3

An interesting survey has revealed that most of the hackers (68 per cent) initiate cyber attacks in order to get challenged by the fellow hacker community, with 71 per cent opting for infecting websites.

The survey data acquired by revealed that making money accounts for the second-highest reason for hacking (53 per cent) while learning tips and techniques accounts for 51 per cent of hackers.

Additionally, 44 per cent of hackers aim to advance their careers as another reason for hacking.

"APIs account for about 7 per cent, followed by Android mobile at 4 per cent. Firmware accounts for the least platform at 1 per cent," the survey noted.

Nearly 30 per cent hackers have been in the game for between one to two years while only 20 per cent of hackers are compromising accounts for three to five years.

Notably, only 5 per cent of hackers have been hacking for more than 15 years.

"Hackers are becoming more innovative with the mentioned techniques and the emergence of new technology has offered them a perfect playing field. Most hackers are leveraging on consumers' lack of knowledge on how the new technologies work," the findings showed.

Hackers have reportedly used Artificial Intelligence to outsmart existing cybersecurity systems.

"Moving into the future, there will be an increase in the demand for security skills as hackers continue to evolve".

The survey featured over 3,150 respondents from over 120 countries. The hackers have all successfully reported on or more valid security vulnerabilities on HackerOne, a security testing and bug bounty platform.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:43:07 +0530
Cinemas to open but wait for Bollywood biggies will continue

New Delhi, Oct 3

The Government of India has announced that cinemas will be allowed to reopen across the country starting October 15, and fans are overjoyed. The decision has been hailed by the film fraternity, too, who are now waiting for all the state governments to give a green signal.

Theatres had been shut ever since lockdown was imposed in March, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. On Wednesday, the Union Home Ministry announced it was allowing cinemas, theatres and multiplexes to reopen with 50 per cent seating capacity from October 15.

"This is a great announcement but we still have to wait for all the states to open up. Many states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are yet to open up. 'Sooryavanshi' and '83' have been ready for quite some time. 'Sooryavanshi' was originally slated for a Diwali release, but it's not practical. Even if theatres open up in November, you can't release such a big film with 15 days promotion time," Reliance Entertainment Group CEO Shibashish Sarkar told IANS.

While filmmaker Rohit Shetty's "Sooryavanshi" will bring Akshay Kumar back in the cop avatar, actor Ranveer Singh will be seen in the much-hyped Kabir Khan's "83" as the iconic Kapil Dev, who captained India's first-ever cricket World Cup victory campaign in 1983.

"As of now, '83' is slated for a Christmas release. Of course, we won't bring two films in December. I still haven't had a chat with Rohit Shetty or Kabir Khan. But one thing is clear that we don't want to hold the films indefinitely. We would like to bring one film during Christmas and another between January and March, but we have to see when all the states open up," said Sarkar.

One thing is clear. None of bigwigs want a clash at this point.

Aamir Khan's "Laal Singh Chaddha" was originally set for a Christmas 2020 release. The film, based on the 1994 Tom Hanks blockbuster "Forrest Gump", has now been moved to Christmas 2021.

The release date of another much-awaited film "Radhe", starring Salman Khan, is still unknown. The film was slated to release on Eid 2020 before the pandemic happened. In September, his co-actor Randeep Hooda had started dubbing for it.

There are some exciting women-led films lined up for release, but again no one is willing to confirm a release date till all states make cinemas operational.

"Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are yet to declare a date when they plan to open cinema halls. Maharashtra is a big territory, so we are eagerly waiting for a date. We hope by November 7 or so, theatres should be operational in Maharashtra. We are very excited that entire theatre chains and distribution chains are opening up because we believe that films, directors and actors get huge appreciation when the product releases in theatres. Stars are made in theatres," Vinod Bhanushali, President of Marketing, Media and Publishing (TV), Music Acquisition of T-Series, Co-Producer of T-Series Films, told IANS.

"We have few films that are getting into the post-production mode, and as soon as we are ready and it's all open, we will be releasing films in November, in theatres," he added.

To name a couple of films, they have "Indu Ki Jaawani", starring Kiara Advani, and the Parineeti Chopra-starrer Saina Nehwal biopic.

"We are immediately starting work on these two films, and more films will follow. There is also 'Madam Chief Minister', which has Richa Chadha in the lead. It is also going into post-production. These three films would probably be the first few we plan to release once the theatres open. We are looking at November release dates, once we get clarity by mid-October. We will start the campaign accordingly and are hoping to have one or two releases during Diwali," said Bhanushali.

Shariq Patel, CEO, Zee Studios, said that their banner, too, has a few films ready to go off the block.

"Cinema owners have continually highlighted safety and hygiene measures they are taking. It is time to bring back the audience to the theatre. We are extremely excited about the news, as the whole purpose of our job is to bring entertainment and joy to the audience. We have recently launched 'Khaali Peeli' on Zee Plex. Yes, we have a few projects ready and are looking forward to bringing these to our audience in the theatres," he said.

Some of the upcoming projects announced by the studio includes the Manoj Bajpayee-Diljit Dosanjh-starrer "Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari" and the Bosco Martis directorial "Rocket Gang".

The lockdown saw many Bollywood films skipping the theatrical route and opting for a direct OTT release. Producer Anand Pandit's "The Big Bull", with Abhishek Bachchan in the lead, and the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer "Chehre" are among upcoming films scheduled for OTT release, but Pandit hopes to re-release these films in theatres.

"The industry as a whole is relieved and excited at the prospect of cinemas re-opening, with safety precautions in mind. 'The Big Bull' and 'Chehre' are both scheduled for OTT release. However, we are definitely looking at the possibility of a re-release in theatres. In the meantime, I would like to release some of my previous releases for free to welcome the audience back to the theatres," said the producer, who has backed films like "Total Dhamaal" and "Sarkar 3" in the past.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:39:16 +0530
TPG to invest Rs 1 837 crore in Reliance Retail Ventures

New Delhi, Oct 3

Reliance Industries Limited and Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) announced on Saturday that global investment firm TPG will invest Rs 1,837.5 crore into RRVL, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries.

This investment values Reliance Retail at a pre-money equity value of Rs 4.285 lakh crore. TPG's investment will translate into a 0.41 per cent equity stake in RRVL on a fully diluted basis. This marks the second investment by TPG in a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, following a Rs 4,546 crore investment in Jio Platforms announced earlier this year.

This is the second investment announced in half an hour by Reliance Retail Ventures around midnight, the earlier one being by GIC of Singapore. Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said: "I am pleased to welcome TPG as valued investors in Reliance Retail Ventures mission of growing and transforming the Indian Retail ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians. TPG has a proven track record of being a valuable partner to global technology businesses and industry leaders and we look forward to their guidance and support in our journey."

Jim Coulter, Co-CEO, TPG, said: "Regulatory changes, consumer demographics and technological disruption are creating seismic shifts across the entire retail value chain in India. In the midst of this transformation, Reliance Industries has utilized technology and scale to position Reliance Retail as an incredibly strong, well-organized, and innovative leader. We are excited to join with them as they seek to create a more inclusive retail industry that allows Kiranas and Indian consumers to benefit from the connectivity, efficiency, and accessibility of the Reliance Retail omnichannel platform."

Isha Ambani, Director of Reliance Retail, said: "We are delighted to welcome TPG to the Reliance Retail family in our journey of revolutionizing the Indian Retail landscape and improving the economic prospects of millions of merchants and enhancing consumer experience. TPG's rich experience will be invaluable to the Reliance Retail mission."

Puneet Bhatia, Co-Managing Partner and Country Head, India of TPG Capital Asia, said: "There is a significant opportunity to transform the Indian retail ecosystem for the better. Through their New Commerce initiative, Reliance Retail continues to lead the industry by creating a retail platform that meets the demands of a new generation of Indian consumers. We are excited to work with Reliance Industries as they reimagine the retail experience across the value chain."

TPG is making the investment from its TPG Capital Asia fund. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:35:44 +0530
Weak job growth reveals US economic recovery slowdown

Washington, Oct 3

The weak job growth report in September revealed that the economic recovery in the US in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic was slowing and may be hitting a wall, a media report said.

In a report released on Friday, the Labour Department said that non-farm payrolls increased by 661,000 in September, held back by declines in government employment and an exodus of workers, reports CNBC News.

As of September, there were still almost 11 million less jobs than there were in February, almost 4 million of which from leisure and hospitality alone.

Hours worked also remained 7 per cent below pre-Covid-19 (February) levels in September, according to the Labour Department report.

Also after a sharp fall to 8.4 per cent in August, the unemployment rate ticked lower again in September to 7.9 per cent.

Also the number of people receiving jobless benefits fell another 980,000 in the week after the September payroll survey reference period.

"This report is an illusion of progress at a time when we needed accelerating gains in the labor market. The number of jobs added this month is just not enough," the CNBC News report quoted Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed, as saying.

"This report is massively concerning. We are not where we need to be, nor are we moving fast enough in the right direction as we head into fall."

There were however, a few positives out of the Labour Department report

It included a private sector job creation of 877,000 – the net non-farm figure included a loss in government jobs – was only a touch off the 913,000 FactSet consensus.








Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:33:57 +0530
I am at my best behaviour when acting Manoj Bajpayee

New Delhi, Oct 3

He insists that there is nothing to prove, that he acts because he is constantly fascinated by this craft. "I am in love with it and at my best behaviour when acting. I am in my best mood when I am preparing for a role. I love the process, the struggle to grow, evolve, to hone my craft all the time. It is a pure love story between me and the craft," says actor Manoj Bajpayee who will soon be seen in the second season of 'Family Man'.

Adding that the second season will witness change in his character and circumstances, Bajpayee says, "Personally, I feel that season 2 is far more intense and gripping. It has a very interesting plot and therefore promises a completely different experience for the audience. If they loved part one, the second season is bound to blow them away. This is going to be quite a roller-coaster ride of adventure, thrill and humor. Also, the family situation is quite different this time."

The actor who is completely booked for the upcoming year, considering the work slated for the year 2020 has also shifted to next year smiles that he would not even have time to fall sick for a day in the year 2021. "Yes, it is going to be almost 365 days of work. I have told myself to just go ahead and jump into the crazy routine, let's see how I emerge out it. However, considering the quality of work, I am certain that the outcome will be quite satisfactory."

Bajpayee, who did theatre for several years in Delhi with groups including 'Act One' before moving to films, does miss the thrill of being on the stage. "Theatre, being an actor's medium challenges you physically, emotionally and creatively, not to mention how instrumental it is in shaping you as a human being. Once you have been on stage, it is seldom possible to derive the same satisfaction with any other medium, especially cinema which is mainly a medium driven by the director's vision. Yes, I feel like going back to it and I keep talking to some of my theatre director friends. At this point, it is not really possible to give out any date, time or deadline. However, whenever I get the luxury of time, I will take two months of my time. For now, my dates are completely overbooked."

This two-time National Award winning actor, who has collaborated with the 'I Believe #ArtMatters' initiative that will witness major performers come together to help raise funds for the country's art community affected by Covid-19, says, "As an actor, I completely understand the plight of the artist community who are not getting to perform, something which has hindered normal life for them. I wanted to contribute in some way, thus the association. It is quite an alarming situation for the artist community which has not been able to perform for months now."

Hoping that OTT platforms continue to experiment and collaborate with independent filmmakers, Bajpayee adds: "They are slowly showing some signs of going mainstream. Let's not forget that those who watch content on digital platforms are 'trained' to absorb original stuff. Content and the performances are what have become the main pull for the audiences. I just hope these platforms continue to celebrate originality or they will completely lose charm."

Bajpayee, who continues to work with new directors, feels that the same is always thrilling considering the fact that these youngsters have grown up watching films across the world and are therefore not apprehensive to experiment. "Their exposure is amazing. It is pertinent for me as an actor to keep growing and keep evolving. For that, I need to keep associating myself with new content, and that comes from new directors and writers. They challenge me. They don't let me be at ease even on the shoot. I love it as my limitations are broken. Sometimes, I get surprised by my willingness to change myself, to adapt with changing patterns of performance, changing its very definition.It is very very crucial for any artist to keep evolving, to keep observing the work of new actors."







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:30:10 +0530
Cong workers stage midnight protest at Goa hotel to meet Javadekar

Panaji, Oct 3

Nearly a dozen Congress workers, including vice president Sankalp Amonkar, were detained by the police in Panaji for protesting outside a five-star hotel, where the Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar was putting up for the night.

The workers were demanding a meeting with the Union Minister.

The incident occurred just after midnight on Friday. Javadekar is in Goa to conduct meetings with the farmers' groups over the controversial farm laws which were passed by Parliament recently.

"JUNGLE RAJ in Goa - @INCGoa delegation led by Vice President @SankalpAmonkar @JanaBhandariGoa @varadmardolkar @AdvArchitNaik @RautMeghashyam @SudinNaikGoa & 10 others arrested by @DGP_Goa for seeking appointment with @PrakashJavdekar & waiting to meet him in hotel lobby in Panaji," Girish Chodankar, Goa Congress leader tweeted after the party leaders and workers were rounded up by the police and detained at the Panaji police station.

Speaking to reporters, as the opposition party workers were being taken away to the police station, Amonkar said that the Congress delegation had arrived at the hotel here, to meet Javadekar and seek a formal appointment to discuss the Mhadei interstate river water sharing issue.

"We are being arrested just because we want to seek an appointment with a Union Minister," Amonkar said. The Congress had in the past accused Javadekar of being partial to Karnataka, one of the two other states which are a part of the river water sharing dispute, over the Mhadei issue.

Police, however, said that the Congress workers were arrested because they insisted on meeting Javadekar in the dead of the night. "It was a preventive arrest only, to avoid a law and order situation from occurring," a senior police official said.








Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:26:02 +0530
India s Covid toll surpasses one lakh tally over 64L

New Delhi, Oct 3

India's Covid-19 death toll breached the grim one lakh mark while the number of positive cases surged past 64-lakh on Saturday, the health ministry data showed.

It took the country 204 days to reach the grim mark after first the case was reported. A 76-year-old man had succumbed to the coronavirus disease on March 13, becoming the first fatality.

As per the latest data, with a spike of 79,476 coronavirus cases and 1,069 deaths in 24 hours, India's tally mounted to 64,73,544 cases, with 1,00,842 deaths. Exactly a month ago, India had recorded 67,376 deaths.

Out of the total cases, 9,44,996 are currently active, 54,27,706 have been discharged. While the recovery rate stands at a high of 83.84 per cent, the fatality rate has come down to 1.56 per cent, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Maharashtra continues to be the worst-hit with a total of 14,16,513 cases, including 37,480 deaths; followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

According to the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India conducted 11,32,675 sample tests in a single day on Friday, taking the total number of samples tested so far to 7,78,50,403.







Sat, 03 Oct 2020 10:23:20 +0530
SunRisers raise their game beat Dhoni s listless CSK

Dubai, A listless Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) suffered third straight defeat when they went down by seven runs to SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the 14th IPL match on Friday -- and dropped to the bottom of the points table in the eight-team tournament.

Chasing a 165-run target, the CSK were restricted to 157 for five wickets in 20 overs, courtesy some economical spells by the SRH bowlers, who were clinical enough to defend a moderate total. This was the second straight win for SRH, who had scored 164 for five wickets in 20 overs after winning the toss.

The story of the contest was quite similar in both innings as the two sides suffered a top-order collapse before the middle-order batters tried to control the damage and rebuild it. However, it was SRH who came out victorious at the Dubai International Stadium.

CSK were reduced to 36/3 at one stage after their top three batters -- Faf du Plessis (22), Shane Watson (1) and Ambati Rayudu (8) -- were dismissed cheaply. Abdul Samad, just 18, further dented CSK as he packed back Kedar Jadhav (3) in the ninth over as they reeled at 42/4.

Ravindra Jadeja (50) and skipper Dhoni (47 not out) then anchored the innings with a 72-run partnership for the fifth wicket. In the 18th over, Jadeja notched up his maiden half-century off 34 balls before T. Natarajan accounted for his wicket and that left CSK at 114/5 in 17.4 overs. The left-hander's knock was laced with five boundaries and two maximums.

With the required run-rate continuously mounting, Dhoni and Sam Curran (15 not out) tried their best to chase down the target by going for big hits. However, it wasn't enough to stop SRH from registering their second consecutive win of the tournament.

Dhoni's unbeaten knock, which came off 36 deliveries, included four boundaries and a hit into the stands.

For SRH, T. Natarajan scalped two wickets while Samad, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar - who sustained injury and left the field during the fourth and final over of his quota, picked a wicket apiece.

Earlier, opting to bat on winning the toss, SRH witnessed a top-order collapse, but youngsters Priyam Garg (51 not out) and Abhishek Sharma (31) were involved in a rescue act that propelled their side to a respectable total.

Starting the proceedings, SRH received an early jolt as Deepak Chahar dismantled opener Jonny Bairstow's stumps in the very first over and with a run on board.

David Warner (28) and Manish Pandey (29) then tried to repair the damage as the 2016 champions were 42/1 in the initial six overs. The duo, however, failed to convert their partnership into something big as Shardul Thakur broke the 46-run stand in the eighth over.

Warner and New Zealander Kane Williamson were then involved in a brief 22-run stand before Piyush Chawla got rid of the Aussie in the 11th over.

Just off the very next ball, the situation worsened for the 'Orange Army' as Williamson flicked a Chawla delivery towards the mid-wicket area and called for a quick single. But Garg was reluctant to respond and the Kiwi skipper was left stranded in the middle of the pitch. Ambati Rayudu, who was at mid-wicket, easily threw the ball to Dhoni, who completed the run out. Williamson's fall saw SRH being reduced to 69/4 in 11 overs.

Despite the top-order collapse, which comprised some of the most experienced batters of the game, young Garg and Abhishek Sharma's rescue act was pleasing. The duo's sensible batting not only denied CSK bowlers from making further inroads, but also helped SRH cross the three-digit mark in 15 overs.

Chahar finally got a breakthrough in the 18th over as he dismissed Abhishek, terminating the 77-run stand. Garg, however, continued to collect runs, and in the process, notched up his maiden IPL half-century, off 23 balls.

The youngster was joined by Abdul Samad (8 not out) after Abhishek's departure and they took their side to 164/5 in the allotted 20 overs quota. The lack of power hitters in the SRH middle-order was clear visible as they failed to post a big total after the top-order collapse.

For CSK, Chahar picked two wickets for 31 while Shardul and Chawla settled with one each.

Brief scores: Sunrisers Hyderabad 164/5 wkts in 20 overs (Priyam Garg 51 not out, Abhishek Sharma 31; Deepak Chahar 2/31) beat Chennai Super Kings 157/5 wkts in 20 overs (Ravindra Jadeja 50, MS Dhoni 47 not out; T Natarajan 2/43) by 7 runs

Sat, 03 Oct 2020 09:20:50 +0530
Being Mohinder Amarnath Saqib Saleem on playing the icon in 83

New Delhi, Actor Saqib Saleem knows the responsibility he shoulders while essaying Mohinder Amarnath, in a film about the 1983 cricket World Cup. He recalls being edgy before he started the film, adding that he spent a lot of time with the legendary cricketer to prepare for his role.

Saleem plays Amarnath in "83", Kabir Khan's Bollywood tribute to Indian cricket's first ever World Cup victory that casts Ranveer Singh as the team captain Kapil Dev. Amarnath, popular as Jimmy among friends and fans, was the star of India's 1983 World Cup campaign. He won Man of the Match titles in the final as well as the semifinal.

"Before every film there is an immense self doubt, and when you are playing a real-life character you just have to try and be as close to him so that when the people watch the film they get a glimpse of the guy. I was very edgy before I started the film. I have just been fortunate.I got to play him and I got to spend time -- a lot of time -- with him," Saqib told IANS.

He added: "I have had enough lunches with him, whether in Dharamshala or London or in Bombay. He came to help me train in cricket. I've spoken to him about his life and experiences, and what he was thinking at that time, also about the relationship he shared with his father. He opened up to me and I realised he is just a fantastic human being."

He may have been nervous before shoot, but Saqib says he did not take any pressure once filming started. "Now I hope when the film comes out, people will see a bit of Jimmy Amarnath in me. The would make me really happy," he said.

"83" was originally scheduled to hit the screens in April, but the film has been pushed to Christmas owing to the Covid outbreak.

Was he disappointed on learning that the film's release has been pushed? "...100 per cent! I am very excited about this film. The disappointment didn't last for more than 10 days, though. One realised the world is going through a lot more at this point," he said.

"Yes, the film is important to all of us who worked on it and to those who really want to watch it, but then there are a lot of people going through a tough time. The world is going through a tough time. The world needs healing right now," he said.

Directed by Kabir Khan, "83" also features Tahir Raj Bhasin, Pankaj Tripathi, Boman Irani, Harrdy Sandhu, Ammy Virk, Jiiva, Sahil Khattar, Chirag Patil and Adinath Kothare in key roles, along with Deepika Padukone as Kapil's wife Romi Dev.

Sat, 03 Oct 2020 09:08:46 +0530
RIL Group deals account for 45 of 26 3 bn PE VC investments

New Delhi,  The $12.1 billion invested by global private equity and sovereign wealth funds in Reliance Industries' Jio Platforms ($ 9.9 billion) and Reliance Retail ($ 2.3 billion) accounted for 45 per cent of the total PE-VC investment value in 2020, according to data from Venture Intelligence, a research service focused on private company financials, transactions and their valuations.

This figure excludes the $10.2 billion in strategic investments by Silicon Valley tech giants Google and Facebook.

The Reliance deals have managed to arrest the overall decline in PE-VC investment figures in 2020 to a marginal two per cent, compared to $27.4 Billion (across 750 deals) in the first nine months of 2019.

With the mega investments in Reliance Jio coming to a pause, PE-VC investments in July-September 2020 (Q3'20) - $7 billion across 168 deals - fell 48 per cent compared to the immediate previous quarter (which saw $13.6 billion across a similar number of deals) and 33 per cent compared to the same period last year ($10.5 billion across 232 deals).

Private Equity - Venture Capital (PE-VC) firms invested $26.3 billion (across 547 deals) in the first nine months of 2020.

Apart from the investments in Reliance Group, top investments in Q3'20 include the stressed assets investment by Varde Partners and Goldman Sachs in coal-based power plant operator RattanIndia Power ($567 million), the coming through of the $507 million investment in Oyo Rooms from SoftBank (as a part of its ongoing $1.5 billion round), and the $500 Million investment by EQT and Temasek in renewable energy platform O2 Power.

Venture Capital investments fell 18 per cent in value (and 26 per cent by volume) in the 9 months ended September 2020 ($6.5 billion across 438 deals) compared to the same period last year ($7.9 billion in 594 deals).

The latest quarter however showed green shoots in the VC segment with both foreign (especially US headquartered funds) and India-dedicated funds venturing out to invest $2 billion across 137 deals - up from the $1.4 billion across 134 deals in the immediate previous quarter.

Venture Capital is defined as investments in startups less than ten years old.

Led by Jio, telecom accounted for $10.2 billion of the investment pie during the first nine months of 2020. Bharti Airtel's data center focused subsidiary Nxtra Data and smartphone manufacturer Lava International chipped in with $235 million and $90 million, respectively.

IT & ITeS companies came in next, attracting $5.2 Billion - a 43 per cent fall from the $9.1 billion raised during the same period last year. The industry however witnessed a slew of big ticket investments in the latest quarter - including Zomato's $250 million investment from Kora Management, Tiger Global and Temasek and fantasy sports platform Dream11's $225 million raise from TPG Capital, Tiger Global, ChrysCapital and other investors.

The SoftBank led $150 million investment in Edtech platform Unacademy created India's 31st Unicorn and the fourth Unicorn startup minted this year (following Pine Labs, Nykaa and Postman).

Sat, 03 Oct 2020 09:02:49 +0530
Trump admitted to military hospital after Covid 19 diagnosis Ld

New York, US President Donald Trump has been admitted to the nation's premier military hospital in Washington from where he will be working for the few days, limiting his campaigning in the month before the presidential election.

Earlier on Friday, his doctor Sean Conley said that Trump was being treated with an experimental medications produced by the biotech company, Regeneron, that has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for Covid-19.

In a video recorded of him standing up and speaking informally at the White House, Trump said: "I'm going to Walter Reed Hospital. I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out the first lady is doing very well."

"Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed (hospital) for the next few days," his Spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said on Friday evening.

Trump's wife, Melania, who also tested positive for the coronavirus is staying on at the White House.

Trump, who is a 74-year-old man and overweight at 124 kg, has three high-risk factors for the coronavirus, with which he was diagnosed on Thursday.

McEnany said that "President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day."

Trump appeared fit enough to walk unaided to the helicopter that took him to the Walter Reed medical centre where presidents usually are treated and has facilities for them to continue working.

Trump's campaign plans have been cancelled for the coming days, Campaign Senior Adviser Corey Lewandowski told CBS News.

Till recently, Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden had been conducting a low-key campaign prompting Trump to ridicule him as "Basement Biden" because he was usingAvdeo facilites set up in the basement to get his message out.

But now, Trump will have to campaign from a hospital while Biden is out running carefully arranged public events with coronavirus precautions.

At a campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Biden said he and his wife Jill were offering prayers for Trump and the First Lady.

Then he said, "This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously."

While Trump has been dismissive of the Covid-19 precautions like wearing masks and even ridiculed Biden for his big masks, the Democrat has been an advocate of following medical guidance.

Exhorting Trump supporters to also wear masks, he said that according to experts wearing masks for 100 days could save 100,000 lives.

Biden, who had shared a stage during Tuesday's debate with Trump, said that he had taken two Covid-19 tests that came negative before embarking on Friday's campaign.

The Hill quoted two anonymous sources in the Biden campaign as saying that they will not be running negative ads against Trump for now.

A Biden ally was quoted by The Hill, a political and legislative media, as saying, "The VP (Vice President Biden) can't say 'God Bless this family' and then trash him in ads."

Conley said in a memo released by the White House that as "a precautionary measure he received a single eight gram dose of Regeneron's polyclonal antibody cocktail"

"He completed the infusion without incident," Conley said about using the experimental medication.

Regeneron had reported on Tuesday that its medication had shown positive results in 275 patients during trials.

Trump has been advocating the use of medicines not fully approved by the FDA for treating Covid-19.

He also received other medicines including aspirin, zinc, a natural hormone melatonin, vitamin D and the antacid famotidine, the doctor said.

It did not appear that he received hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which he had taken as a preventive around the time his valet became infected with the coronavirus in May and got India to send a huge consignment for use as a cure or prophylactic.

A senator who said he spoke to Trump indicated that he was "very engaged" in political affairs.

Senate Judicial Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham tweeted, "The president was in good spirits this morning when I spoke with him and very engaged in the upcoming hearing regarding Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Barrett."

That was one of the key issue facing Trump, who has to get the conservative judge to confirmed by the Senate to serve on the supreme court.

The other is the Covid-19 relief package for businesses, individuals, public institutions and state and local governments on which the Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided.

Pelosi has said that in the changed scenario a compromise seemed within reach. She asked airlines to hold off on threatened furloughs because a deal to help them was likely.

The Democratic Party-controlled House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, which faces opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The markets generally shrugged off Trump's ailment. After having been down by 450 points, the Dow Jones Index closed down only 134 points or 0.5 per cent. S&P was down 1 per cent and the NASDAQ 2.2 per cent, not unusual market volatility.

Trump tweeted early Friday morning that he and his wife had tested positive for coronavirus.

On Thursday, his Counselor Hope Hicks who had travelled with him on Tuesday and Friday on Air Force One had tested positive for the disease.

Members of Trump's family who had undergone tests were found to be uninfected, as also senior officials including Vice President Mike Pence, who is next in line the line of succession.

While Democratic Party's top leaders, who had borne the brunt of Trump's ridicule and personal attacks, took the high road with an outpouring of the sympathy, according to a poll taken on Friday by Morning Consult 40 per cent of Democrats were "happy" about Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, while 55 per cent of Republicans were "sad."

The Walter Reed hospital, which has among the best equipment and experts is usually the first stop for military personnel wounded in wars abroad.


Sat, 03 Oct 2020 08:59:32 +0530
Global Covid 19 cases top 34 4 million Johns Hopkins

Washington, The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 34.4 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 1,026,700, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Saturday, the total number of cases stood at 34,495,372 and the fatalities rose to 1,026,717, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 7,331,241 and 208,693, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 6,394,068, while the country's death toll soared to 99,773.

The other top 15 countries with the maximum amount of cases are Brazil (4,847,092), Russia (1,188,928), Colombia (841,531), Peru (818,297), Spain (789,932), Argentina (779,689), Mexico (753,090), South Africa (677,833), France (629,431), the UK (469,764), Chile (466,590), Iran (464,596), Iraq (372,259) Bangladesh (366,383), and Saudi Arabia (335,578), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 144,680.

The countries with a death toll above 10,000 are Mexico (78,492), the UK (42,358), Italy (35,941), Peru (32,535), France (32,171), Spain (32,086), Iran (26,567), Colombia (26,397), Russia (20,981), Argentina (20,599), South Africa (16,909), Chile (12,867), Ecuador (11,495), Indonesia (10,972) and Belgium (10,023).


Sat, 03 Oct 2020 08:53:10 +0530
Hathras Horror Congress to hold national satyagraha against Yogi govt on Oct 5

New Delhi, The Congress will hold a 'satyagraha' across the country on October 5 to protest the alleged high-handedness shown by Uttar Pradesh's Yogi Adityanath government towards top Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi as they were proceeding on Thursday to Hathras to meet the family of the gang-rape and murder victim.

General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal, in a circular to all state and district units, asked them to protest against the UP government, and all senior leaders of a particular district including MP, MLAs and ex-public representatives have been asked to lead the satyagraha.

The party has asked the leaders at the state and district level to outline the programme and send it to the Congress headquarters at the earliest.

Uttar Pradesh Police personnel allegedly pushed former Congress President Rahul Gandhi to the ground near the Yamuna Expressway and detained him along with his sister and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi, as they were walking towards Hathras to meet the affected family after their vehicles were stopped.

However, they were soon released and sent back to Delhi by the state police.

Rahul Gandhi had told the media: "Just now police pushed me, lathi-charged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji walk in this country? Can't a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking."

Priyanka Gandhi, who participated in a prayer meeting at the capital's Valmiki Mandir on Friday, tweeted: "@myogiadityanath RESIGN. You have no moral right to continue as Chief Minister of UP.

Sat, 03 Oct 2020 08:49:42 +0530
Cong leader Kharge slams Modi over farm laws

Bengaluru, Launching a diatribe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the passage of controversial farm bills in the parliament, veteran Congress leader M. Mallikarjuna Kharge on Friday stated that Modi believes in 'Maaro Jawan Maaro Kisan' instead of following the footsteps of the country's second prime minister, who gave a famous slogan - Jai Jawan Jai Kisan.

Speaking after paying tributes on the occasion of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee commemorating birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and late prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at Karnataka Congress Bhavan here, Kharge charged that Modi's policies - be it demonetisation, hurried implementation of GST, or passage of three bills - are nothing but it would resonate in future that - Maaro Jawan, Maaro Kisan (Kill youngsters and Kill farmers).

"Modi must read our country's history, at least he should go through Champaran Satyagraha. In this Satyagraha, it was farmers who stood behind Mahatma Gandhi and it heralded changing face of the entire freedom struggle itself," he said.

Training his guns at Uttar Pradesh government, Kharge rued that Dalits in the country got their political freedom but they were still very far from gaining social freedom.

He said that it was there for everyone to see how Dalits were being ill-treated in Uttar Pradesh.

Kharge also questioned how can the Uttar Pradesh police manhandle Congress leaders? "Our leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were going to Hathras in a most peaceful way. They were repeatedly saying that they would walk alone, but the police instead of listening to them indulged in manhandling. This is a clear case of power going to head," he charged.

Sat, 03 Oct 2020 08:45:07 +0530
Navaratri dolls on display

Navaratri begins on October 17


With Navaratri starting on October 17, with many restrictions, housewives are busy buying new dolls in a shop at  Matunga, to be kept in their house for display. Though this year no ladies will visit any house for "Haldi Kumkum" due to restrictions, some families still follow the rituals by keeping some symbolic dolls.

 The owner of the Giri's Shop Rekha Giri said this year the customers are very less due to Pandemic and dolls have also come few in numbers from Tamil Nadu due to fewer workers to make and also transport problems. 

Some of the dolls in demand are Mumbai Mahalaxmi temple, Kerala's Kathakali, Dasavatharams and dancing dolls. One family who had come to buy a few dolls said this year they are keeping only three steps Golu instead of regular five steps as no one will be visiting the house to see.

The pot makers at Dharavi are however busy making colourful pots to be kept for Navaratri pooja and the size of the Durga Devi idols also restricted to 4 feet in height.

Photo credits: K.A.Vishwanathan

Fri, 02 Oct 2020 17:59:37 +0530
Navaratri dolls on display

Navaratri begins on October 17


With Navaratri starting on October 17, with many restrictions, housewives are busy buying new dolls in a shop at  Matunga, to be kept in their house for display. Though this year no ladies will visit any house for "Haldi Kumkum" due to restrictions, some families still follow the rituals by keeping some symbolic dolls.