MediaEye RSS Feedhttps://www.mediaeyenews.comMediaEye news RSS Feeden-usCopyright (C) 2016 mediaeyenews.comIntel to invest Rs 1 894 crore in Jio Platforms

New Delhi, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Jio Platforms Limited on Friday announced that Intel Capital will invest Rs 1,894.50 crore in Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.

Intel Capital's investment will translate into a 0.39 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis.

Intel Capital joins the list of marquee firms who have recently invested in Jio Platforms, taking the total investment amount to Rs 1.17 lakh crore.

Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is a next-generation technology platform focused on providing high-quality and affordable digital services across India, with more than 388 million subscribers.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, "We are extremely delighted to deepen our ties with technology leaders that embody our vision of transforming India into a leading Digital Society in the world. Intel is a true industry leader, working towards creating world-changing technology and innovations".

"Intel Capital has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. We are therefore excited to work together with Intel to advance India's capabilities in cutting-edge technologies that will empower all sectors of our economy and improve the quality of life of 1.3 billion Indians", Ambani added.

Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President, said, "Jio Platforms' focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel's purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives. We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better. Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence."

Jio Platforms has made significant investments across its digital ecosystem, powered by leading technologies spanning broadband connectivity, smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, augmented and mixed reality and blockchain.

Jio's vision is to enable a Digital India for 1.3 billion people and businesses across the country, including small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers so that all of them can enjoy the fruits of inclusive growth.

Intel Capital invests globally in innovative companies with a focus on disruptive technology areas like cloud computing, artificial intelligence and 5G –- opportunities where Jio is also innovating and investing for growth.

Intel Capital is the investment arm of Intel Corporation, a leader in the semiconductor industry, shaping the data-centric future with computing and communications technology that is the foundation of global innovations. Intel has operated in India for more than two decades and today employs thousands of employees there with state-of-the-art design facilities in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Reliance Industries and AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal counsels.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 03 Jul 2020 10:30:48 +0530
Myanmar jade mine landslide kills 160

Yangon,  At least 162 bodies have been found after a landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, officials said.

Rescue work has continued all day for people still missing at the site in the Hpakant area of Kachin state, the BBC reported.

A wave of mud and rock triggered by heavy rain engulfed those collecting stones, the fire service said.

Myanmar is the world's biggest source of jade but its mines have seen numerous accidents, many involving people who scavenge for stones.

The country's fire service department said in a Facebook post (in Burmese): "The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud, which hit after heavy rainfall."

It said that by 19.15 local time (12.45 GMT) "162 bodies were found and 54 injured people were taken [to hospital]". No figure was given for the number of people still missing.

Kachin state's minister of social affairs, Dashi La Seng, told BBC Burmese: "All of a sudden... huge amounts of mud together with rainwater ran into the pit. It was like a tsunami."

Heavy rain continued all day during the rescue work.

Police said some people had defied a warning issued on Wednesday not to work in the area after the rainfall, although the advice may also have saved many lives.

Video of the incident shows a massive landslide pouring into a large flooded pit or lake.

Maung Khaing, a 38-year-old miner, told Reuters he saw a towering pile of waste close to collapse and people were shouting "run, run".

He said: "Within a minute, all the people at the bottom [of the hill] just disappeared. I feel empty in my heart... There were people stuck in the mud shouting for help but no-one could help them."

Hundreds of people gather at mines to sift through rubble discarded from lorries, hoping to find jade stones.

The rubble creates large slopes that can be dangerous in an area denuded of trees and resembling a moonscape.

More than 100 people died last year alone at mining sites.

Myanmar's jade trade is reported to be worth more than $30bn (£24bn) a year. Hpakant is the site of the world's biggest jade mine.

"Searching for precious stones is traditionally the only job for the people in this area. They have no other choice of livelihood," local resident Shwe Thein told the BBC.

"They will mine by any means whether they have an official permit or not. Although the mudslides keep happening, many organisations, including armed groups, involved in jade mining are saying the situation here is good. So it's difficult for the outside world to know the real situation here."

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says a new gemstone mining law was passed last year, but critics say the government has too few inspectors with only limited authority to stop illegal practices.

He says campaigners have accused the military, drug dealers, insurgent groups and Chinese business interests of controlling the jade trade and preventing a safer and more sustainable exploitation of the valuable gemstone.
 


(IANS)

Fri, 03 Jul 2020 09:36:10 +0530
Eight policemen killed by gangster in Kanpur

Kanpur, In a shocking incident, eight police personnel, including a circle officer, were shot dead and six policemen seriously injured when a local criminal, Vikas Dubey, and his gang sprayed them with bullets in Vikru village under Chaubeypur police circle in Kanpur in the wee hours of Friday.

The deceased include circle officer Bilhaur, Devendra Kumar, who was leading the team, three sub-inspectors and four constables.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed grief over the incident and offered his condolences to the families of the deceased police personnel.

Chief Minister has directed the Special Task Force (STF) to take over investigations and ensure immediate arrest of the criminals. A forensic team has already reached the spot.

IG Kanpur Mohit Agarwal said that the borders of the district had been sealed and forces from several adjoining police stations had been called in for combing operations to arrest the accused.

The injured policemen have been admitted to the hospital and the condition of two of them is said to be critical.

According to reports, the police team comprising about 50 police personnel had gone to the village around 3.30 a.m. after receiving a tip-off about the presence of Vikas Dubey there.

Dubey and his men had stationed a JCB to block their way and as soon as the police team reached there, they started firing from the terrace of a house. The miscreants, numbering about a dozen, also pelted stones at the police men.

The deceased police personnel have received multiple bullets in the incident.

The gangster and his men later looted the arms of the policemen and made an easy escape.

All senior police officials including ADG Kanpur, IG and others have reached the spot.

UP DGP H C Awasthi said that a massive operation has been launched to arrest the accused.

ADG law and order Prashant Kumar also reached the site of the incident.

The bodies have been sent for post mortem.

Vikas Dubey, meanwhile, is wanted in over 60 criminal cases.

In October 2001, he had shot dead senior BJP leader and then chairman of contract labour board, Santosh Shukla, inside the Shivli police station.

Further investigations are on.

All borders of the district have been sealed.

This, incidentally, is one of the biggest attacks on a police team in the state in recent years and has expectedly sent shock waves in the state.

Even as speculations began about the information of the police movement being leaked to the criminal by some 'insider', the IG range said, "This is a matter of investigation. Our focus is now on arresting the accused without delay."
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 03 Jul 2020 09:23:20 +0530
French govt confirms massive job cuts at flag carrier

Paris, The French government has confirmed that flag carrier, Air France would cut nearly 7,600 posts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on the airline to make as few compulsory redundancies as possible.

Local media reported that the flag carrier would slash its workforce by 40 per cent by 2022 as the pandemic has badly hit international travel, reports Xinhua news agency.

In detail, Air France planned 6,560 layoffs, including 430 pilots, 1,560 flight attendants and more than 4,500 ground staff.

It would also cut 1,025 jobs at its domestic carrier Hop!.

"Indeed, these figures were presented yesterday in an extraordinary company meeting. These figures depend a lot on the enterprises' devices and the traffic's resumption," Minister of State for Transport Jean-Batiste Djebbari on Wednesday told BFMTV news television.

The French state, which owns 14.3 per cent of the French-Dutch venture Air France-KLM group, called on the airline's executive officials to reduce forced redundancies as much as possible by favouring voluntary departures.

In April, the French government has offered a 7-billion-euro ($7.91 billion) aid package to rescue Air France, whose planes have been grounded by virus lockdowns around the world.

"It is not seven billion, as I have heard, to pay for redundancy plans, it is seven billion to be able to survive, to be able to pay wages at the end of the month," the Minister said, adding that "Air France is losing hundreds of millions of euros every month".

In its last published traffic data, Air France posted a 52.5 per cent drop in revenues after it had carried 58.8 per cent fewer passengers in March than the same month in 2019.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:54:09 +0530
Microsoft OneDrive gets 100GB file upload limit Dark Mode

New Delhi,  Microsoft has announced new OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 for a more connected and flexible files experience to business users, more control to admins, and a more personal touch to users at home.

The tech giant has increased upload file size limit from 15GB to 100GB for all OneDrive and SharePoint users that will help business users with large file types like 3D, CAD and media files.

"Previously released differential sync will help expedite the upload process for large files by only syncing the parts that changed instead of the entire file," Seth Patton, General Manager, Microsoft 365, said in a statement on Wednesday.

OneDrive for Business users will also get better Teams sharing integration for remote work.

Microsoft is rolling out the same file sharing and access control experience in Teams that business users have access to in other Microsoft 365 apps, including OneDrive, Outlook or Office.

Users, when go to share a file from within Teams, would have the option to create sharing links that provide access to anyone - people within organization, people with existing access or specific people, including those in a private or group chat.

Later this month, the company is rolling out in public preview a new feature called 'Add to OneDrive' for business users that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to OneDrive.

Shared folders include content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.

Microsoft said for consumers, it is introducing family and group sharing later this month.

"This new consumer feature, available on OneDrive for the web, will let people predefine a group of people from your personal life and then easily share files, photos, videos, and albums with that group," said Patton.

Family and group sharing is included in all free and paid OneDrive consumer plans and will begin rolling out soon on OneDrive for the web, with general availability expected by the end of July.

It will become available on the mobile app, sync client, Mac, and directly from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint by the end of this year.

Following its releases for iOS and Android, Microsoft said it will soon bring Dark Mode to OneDrive for the web across commercial and personal accounts.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:50:01 +0530
IIT alumnus makes sanitizer using deodorant

Kanpur,  A former IIT-Kanpur student, in collaboration with an assistant professor of IIT-Guwahati, has prepared a deodorant-cum-sanitizer that not only keeps the coronavirus at bay for about seven to 10 hours but also smells good.

The two collaborators have worked closely with the Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre in Kanpur on this project. The former IIT Kanpur student, Aanshik Gangwar, said that the new deodorant is skin and environment friendly and its smell relieves tension also.

"The deodorant can be used on the body and on the clothes. It contains sanitizer components that help in fighting Coronavirus. We have got the patent and the sanitizer-cum deodorant will be available in the market shortly," he told reporters.

The product contains 80 per cent ethyl alcohol, 10 per cent green oil, 10 per cent moisturizer Neutrogena oil, Aromatic oils have also been used for fragrance.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:47:33 +0530
CBI case against GVK chairman son for siphoning off Rs 705 cr

Mumbai, The CBI has registered a case against Gunupati Venkata Krishna Reddy, the Chairman of the GVK Group of Companies and his son G.V. Sanjay Reddy, Managing Director of Mumbai International Airport Ltd. among others for alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 705 crore in running of the airport, officials said.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had formed a joint venture with the GVK Airports Holdings Limited, promoted by the GVK group under public private partnership firm Mumbai International Airport Ltd. for upgradation and maintenance of the Mumbai Airport.

The FIR said that on April 4, 2006 the AAI entered into an agreement with MIAL for modernisation, upkeep, operation and maintenance of the Mumbai airport with MIAL.

"It is alleged that the promoters of the GVK group in MIAL in connivance with their executives and unidentified officials of the AAI resorted to siphoning of funds using different ways," officials said.

MIAL is a joint venture of the GVK Group, Airport Authority of India and a few foreign entities.
 


(IANS) 

Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:43:07 +0530
Chief Secretary calls on Governor

MUMBAI: The newly appointed Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar today (1st July) met the Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai

This was his maiden call on the Governor since taking  charge as the State Chief Secretary.

Thu, 02 Jul 2020 02:33:37 +0530
FCC designates Huawei ZTE as national security threats to America

Washington, The US Federal Communications Commission designated Chinese telecom companies, Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America's communications networks.

In a statement, the US Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday took a major step in its ongoing efforts to protect US communications networks from security risks.

"With today's Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America's communications networks — and to our 5G future," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

"Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China's military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country's intelligence services. The Bureau also took into account the findings and actions of Congress, the Executive Branch, the intelligence community, our allies, and communications service providers in other countries," FCC said.

"We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure. Today's action will also protect the FCC's Universal Service Fund — money that comes from fees paid by American consumers and businesses on their phone bills — from being used to underwrite these suppliers, which threaten our national security," Pai said.

Specifically, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated two companies — Huawei Technologies Company (Huawei) and ZTE Corporation (ZTE), as well as their parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries — as covered companies for purposes of the agency's November 2019 ban on the use of universal service support to purchase equipment or services from companies posing a national security threat.

As a result of today's action, money from the FCC's $8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers.

In November 2019, the Commission unanimously adopted a ban on the use of universal service support to purchase, obtain, or maintain any equipment or services produced or provided by companies posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.

The Commission proposed that Huawei and ZTE be covered by this rule because of their substantial ties to the Chinese government, Chinese law requiring them to assist in espionage activities, known cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities in their equipment, and ongoing Congressional and Executive Branch concern about this equipment.

In the Orders issued today, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau bases its final designations on the totality of evidence, including evidence supporting the Commission's initial designations and filings submitted in the record by Huawei, ZTE, and other interested parties. The final designations of Huawei and ZTE are effective immediately, FCC said.
 


(IANS) 

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 09:37:22 +0530
French Ambassador visits fair price shop in Tughlaqabad Extn

New Delhi,  French Ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenain, on Tuesday paid a visit to a fair price shop in Tughlakabad Extension in the national capital.

India and France last week signed a credit financing agreement for 200 million euros to bolster India's Covid-19 response. Through this loan from the French Development Agency, France will work with India to increase the state and Central governments' capacities to support the country's most vulnerable sections in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme design, developed by the World Bank, focuses on boosting the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY). The programme will provide further benefits to low-income families to ensure that the health, social and economic shocks arising from Covid-19 do not endanger people's well-being or their contribution to the country's economic growth in the long run.

Lenain was accompanied at the shop by Bruno Bosle, Country Director-AFD, and Anand Tiwari, Additional Commissioner.

During his visit, Lenain said, "India's fair price shops are at the heart of its food security system and are key elements of its social protection system. We want to ensure that its benefits reach everyone. As part of this programme, France is working with the Government of India to ensure that even people who are not registered as residents in a state can avail of the subsidised food supplies through the fair price shops. This will be critical for urban residents' resilience to future shocks."

Later, Lenain visited a training centre for underprivileged youth set up by the international NGO LP4Y, which is also supported by the French Development Agency.

In the face of the pandemic, young people associated with LP4Y have been spreading awareness about health precautions and providing support to more vulnerable members of the community.
 

 

(IANS)

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 09:33:23 +0530
Is Urvashi Rautela s new film inspired by Emma Stone s Easy A

Mumbai,  Actress Urvashi Rautela's "Virgin Bhanupriya" is set to release soon, and she says a lot of people are curious if her film is "inspired" by Hollywood star Emma Stone's movie "Easy A".

"Easy A", a 2010 American comedy film, is about Olive, who lies to her best friend about losing her virginity to one of the college boys. A girl overhears their conversation, and soon her story becomes talk of the town.

Talking about her film, Urvashi told IANS: "It is both comedy and drama, it is one of those films which the current youth will completely relate to. People these days like high content cinema, so it is one of those films. It is a family comedy film which explores the relationship between the family and the youth."

"A lot of people are asking me if this film is kind of inspired by Emma Stone's film 'Easy A', but I will completely leave it up to their imagination and they'll get to know the story once they see the film," she said and added that her look is also "completely youthful, like that of a college-going girl".

"Virgin Bhanupriya" will open directly on an OTT platform on July 16.

The film's team recently had a virtual meeting.

"We had Archana Puran Singh. She is playing my mother in the film, and we had Gautam Gulati. This is my first film where we launched a trailer by being at home. There were a lot of fan questions from all over the world, and they wanted to know more about the film, my character and the story," she said.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 09:29:31 +0530
US firms filing for bankruptcy at fastest pace since 2013

Washington, US companies were filing for bankruptcy at the fastest pace since 2013 as the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ripple through the country, a media report said.

Citing data from legal services group Epiq, The Financial Times report said on Tuesday that a total of 3,427 companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US this year, close to the 3,491 filings during the first half of 2008, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The data stand in contrast to an improving economic backdrop following hefty central bank support across the globe and economies starting to reopen," the report said, noting the pain already inflicted by the global pandemic is too much for some companies to recover from.

"It is very difficult for these companies to operate in a near zero-revenue environment," Sudeep Kesh, head of credit market research at S&P Global Ratings, was quoted as saying in the report.

"They are facing a lot of pressure."

During the last financial crisis, there were 8,614 company bankruptcies in the US in 2008, and the number rose to 12,644 in 2009, according to the report.

The report came as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a US government aid program intended to help small businesses retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis, was set to close on Tuesday with more than $130 billion left unused.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's administration supports legislation to repurpose the remaining funds in the PPP.

"I've already had conversations with the SBA (Small Business Administration) committee in the Senate about repurpose that 135 billion dollars, and think that should be done, and look forward to working with both the House and the Senate so that we can pass legislation by the end of July," Mnuchin said at a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.

The aim should be "extending it to businesses that are most hard hit, that had a requirement that their revenues have dropped significantly, things like restaurants and hotels and others where it is critical to get people back to work", he added.

The PPP was conceived as a lifeline to small businesses shuttered by the pandemic, but it also faced criticism as some big publicly traded companies secured millions of dollars of loans.

Amid mounting pressure from lawmakers and the public, the Treasury Department and the SBA said earlier this month that they would disclose information about businesses that take PPP loans of $150,000 or more.
 


(IANS) 

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 09:25:54 +0530
19 killed in Tehran medical centre explosion

Tehran,  An explosion at a medical centre in the Iranian capital of Tehran has left at least 19 people dead and 14 others injured, it was reported.

The incident, reportedly caused after the explosion of three gas canisters, took place in one of the ground floors of the Sina At'har Medical Centre in northern Tehran late Tuesday, Press TV said in a report.

Several emergency response units, including ambulances and firefighters, were seen deployed on site as smoke billowed from the building.

A spokesman for Tehran's Fire Department told state TV that the explosion occurred as gas canisters caught fire in the centre's basement.

Some of the victims "were in upper floors in operation rooms, who were either patients being operated on or those with them", Press TV quoted the spokesman as saying.

"They unfortunately lost their lives due to the heat and thick smoke."

The Department added that the blaze was extinguished in less than two hours.
 

 

(IANS)

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:55:28 +0530
Thailand to lift ban on int l flights

Bangkok,  The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced that a ban on international flights will be lifted on Wednesday, but some travel restrictions will remain to prevent any chance of the spread of COVID-19.

"The CAAT has decided to allow international flights to resume after the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) rolled out guidelines of the types of inbound travellers allowed to enter Thailand from July 1," Chula Sukmanop, director-general of the CAAT, said on Tuesday.

The CCSA announced earlier that business travellers, foreigners with Thai spouses, work permit holders, Thai permanent residents, foreigners seeking medical treatment, foreign teachers and students returning to Thailand, can all enter Thailand from July 1 onwards.

However, all inbound travellers will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on their own expenses.

Other groups allowed entry include diplomatic missions, international organizations and foreign government agencies working in Thailand as well as their spouses and children.

These people will need approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they book a flight to Thailand.
 

 

(IANS)

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:51:54 +0530
Major encounter underway at Tral in South Kashmir

Srinagar,  A major encounter between terrorists and security forces has started at Brinthal area of Tral in South kashmir's Pulwama district, officials said.

The encounter started after the police and other security forces got a specific tip off about the presence of militants in that area.

As the cordon was tightened around the place where terrorists were hiding, the security forces team came under a heavy volume of fire, triggering the encounter.

According to sources two to three militants are holed up as the fire fight rages on.

This is the second encounter in Kashmir in the last 24 hours and third in the last 48 hours.

On Tuesday two terrorists who were responsible for the killing of a five year old and a CRPF jawan last week were killed in an encounter at Bijbihara in South Kashmir's Anantnag district.

 

(IANS)

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:47:55 +0530
Governor presides over Annual Meeting of South Central Zonal Cultural Centre

MUMBAI: Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in his capacity as Chairman of the South Central Zone Cultural Centre presided over the Annual Meeting of the Governinng Body of the Centre through digital platform. Organisation of Cultural Activities, Annual Accounts for the year 2018-19 and various administrative issues were discussed.

 

The South Central Zone which includes states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra organizes various programmes and activities to promote folk, tribal, fine arts and craft

Wed, 01 Jul 2020 02:05:43 +0530
Shilpa Shetty Kundra This time with my son and newborn daughter is so precious

New Delhi, Bollywood actress and entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra finds the current time of staying home precious as she can spend many more moments with her son Viaan and her newborn daughter Samisha, whom she welcomed via surrogacy in February.

"I couldn't have timed it better. It's God's grace, it worked perfectly in my scheme of things. This time is so precious with my son and with my newborn. I can only be thankful and have utmost gratitude for the way things have panned out," Shilpa told IANS.

However, she shared that despite being caught up with work she ensures that she makes time for her family.

"Despite being busy, I would still make time for family, but not like this. I just feel that it's really what I wanted so badly and I feel in a way I manifested it," she said.

What has this pandemic taught Shilpa? "The universe knows how to reset, to teach us patience and value for what we have. Hope we learn from this experience and come out stronger," she told IANS.

On the film front, Shilpa is all set to make her comeback as an actress with roles in the upcoming films, "Nikamma" and "Hungama 2".
 

(IANS)

Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:42:58 +0530
Rita Ora using LED therapy for skincare

Mumbai, Singer Rita Ora is currently using LED therapy for skincare.

Rita has been using a device that gives off full-spectrum LED light, thermo-therapy, cyro-therapy and advanced T-sonic pulsations, to help with her dry skin, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

"It gives red light LED therapy which helps the skin absorb the moisture more, which for me is amazing because I have such dry skin. With the amount I travel, I can literally just take this with me everywhere and it's so easy. It also pulses, which I love because it makes me feel like I'm having a massage. And it's so nourishing, so rejuvenating, it makes me feel like I am ready for bed," Rita shared.

The singer has observed a lot of changes on her skin after using the therapy.

Rita admits looking after her skin is a "big one" for her. "Looking after yourself and skin is a big, big, big one for me.... it really does make me feel like I've had a facial. It opens all my pores and gets all my excess make up off that I've missed with me just washing my face with my hands and a scrub," she said.
 

 

(IANS)
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:39:45 +0530
Leicester to remain under lockdown due to high COVID 19 cases

London, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that Leicester city will remain under a lock down due to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

In Leicester, non-essential shops have been ordered to close from Tuesday, schools from Thursday, while the city's 330,000 citizens have been asked to remain indoors as much as possible, Xinhua news agency reported.

The easing of lockdowns across England will begin from July 4, while the restrictions imposed in Leicester will be reviewed in two weeks, Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons on Monday.

He said that controls will only remain as long as is necessary in the city.

Hancock also said people in the city and some of its surrounding communities must get tested if they display any symptoms of the virus.

The Secretary said that the number of positive new cases across the UK is now below 1,000 a day.

He said the seven-day infection rate in Leicester is 135 cases per 100,000 people, which is three times higher than the next highest city.

"Leicester accounts for around 10 per cent of all positive cases in the country over the past week," said Hancock.

Following an emergency meeting with local officials in the city, which is just over 160 km north of London, further measures to tackle the outbreak in Leicester were agreed.

"Given the growing outbreak in Leicester, we cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown, set to take place on the July 4, happens in Leicester," Hancock told politicians.

Special laws will be introduced quickly to allow the local lockdown measures, he said.

"We recommend to people in Leicester, stay at home as much as you can and we recommend against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester," Hancock said.

He added adherence to social distancing rules will be closely monitored, with further steps taken if that is what's necessary.

The UK has so far reported a total of 313,470 COVID-19 cases, with 43,659 deaths.
 

 

(IANS)
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:34:48 +0530
BJP promotes Make in India but buys from China Rahul

New Delhi, Amid the growing demand to boycott Chinese products in the wake of India-China stand-off, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious programme -- Make in India, saying imports from China after 2014 have actually increased.

"Facts don't lie. BJP says: Make in India. BJP does: Buy from China," Rahul Gandhi said in a sharp tweet attaching a graphics of the percentage of imports from China during the UPA rule and the NDA government.

The graphics showed that from 2008 to 2014, the imports from China were below 14 per cent, while during the BJP-led NDA rule, the Chinese import increased to over 18 per cent.

The graphics also depicted that in 2008 under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the imports from China were at 12 per cent while it rose to 14 per cent in 2012 but again came down to 13 per cent in 2014.

While under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the imports from China grew from 13 per cent to 14 per cent in 2015, to 16 per cent in 2016, to 17 per cent in 2017 and to 18 per cent in 2018, the graphics attached by Rahul Gandhi showed.
 

 

IANS
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:29:47 +0530
India records over 18K Covid cases death toll nears 17K

New Delhi, India recorded a spike of 18,522 cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 5,66,840, with the number of fatalities inching closer to 17,000-mark, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday.

Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu constitute more than 60 per cent of the total Covid-19 cases in the country.

Maharashtra has 1,69,883 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu (86,224) and Delhi (85,161) cases totalling 3,41,268 cases out of 5,66,840.

A total of 3,34,822 people have recovered and discharged from hospitals. The recovery rate is 59.06 per cent among the COVID-19 patients.

According to the Health Ministry data, 418 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 death toll to 16,893.

With a spike of 5,257 cases, Maharashtra remained the worst hit state in the country. The state has a total of 1,69,883 cases, including 7,610 deaths.

Tamil Nadu is at the second spot with 86,224 confirmed cases, of which, 1,141 people have died, 47,749 have recovered and 37,334 are active.

Delhi with a total of 85,161 cases, including 2,680 deaths and 56,235 recoveries.

States with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 31,938 cases and 1,827 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (22,828), Rajasthan (17,660), Madhya Pradesh (13,370), West Bengal (17,907), Haryana (14,210), Karnataka (14,295), Andhra Pradesh (13,891) and Telangana (15,394) cases.

India now has 1,036 diagnostic labs dedicated to COVID-19. This includes 749 in the government sector and 287 private labs. More than 1,50,000 samples are being tested everyday. The number of samples tested in the last 24 hours has increased to 2,10,292.

Meanwhile, the global death toll due to COVID-19 crossed 5-lakh mark, as the total number of cases crossed the 10-million mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Currently, the total number of cases increased to 10,199,798, while the fatalities increased to 502,947, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.
 

 

(IANS)

Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:27:43 +0530
Three terrorists killed in Kashmir encounter

Srinagar, Three terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces at Khulchohar in South Kashmir's Anantnag district Monday morning.

Arms and ammunition including an AK 47 rifle and two pistols were recovered from the slain terrorists.

"Three terrorists eliminated in the ensuing gunfight. One AK 47 rifle and two pistols were recovered. Joint operation is in progress," Army said in a brief statement.

According to details, army and police had launched a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) on the basis of a specific information about the presence of terrorists. As the cordon was tightened the hiding terrorists fired at the security forces which triggered the encounter.

"Three unidentified terrorists have been killed. We are ascertaining the identities while the search is on. Further details shall follow," police said in a statement.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:31:36 +0530
Kashmir authorities dispel alarmist rumours about stock building

Srinagar, Authorities in Kashmir have dispelled alarmist rumours spread following an official order for two-month long stock building.

Department of food, supplies and consumer Affairs had asked oil companies to build cooking gas stocks for two months in the Valley.

The order was followed by wild rumours that the decision to build stocks was a prelude to 'something big in the offing'.

The rumour came in the background of heightened border tensions between India and China in Western Ladakh.

Trying to set the rumour mill at rest, authorities today said some people are spreading false information regarding a communication with respect to the LPG stock in Kashmir valley.

A statement issued here by the food, supplies and consumer affairs department said some people are spreading all kind of rumours by referring to a letter, written by Director, of the department addressed to Nodal coordinator for Oil companies in J&K, in connection with "ensuring adequate stocking of LPG in Kashmir.

"The same has been written by the Director, FCS&CA Kashmir, to prevent any shortfall of essential commodities (particularly LPG) during the ensuing Monsoon season.

"We all know that the NH-44, between Ramban-Jawahar tunnel stretch, behaves in an unpredictable manner during the rains.

"Currently, we maintain nearly a month of stock in Kashmir. We have requested the LPG companies to explore the feasibility of maintaining the stock for nearly 2 months to prevent any panic situations that may arise in the event of highway closure for longer duration," the statement added.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:29:19 +0530
Twitter sorry for labeling unrelated tweets with 5G corona

San Francisco,  Twitter has apologised for going into an overdrive in labeling certain tweets that actually did not violate its policies around 5G and Covid-19, saying it would soon fix the issue.

The micro-blogging platform said it is now working on to improve its algorithms how it labels tweets with problematic 5G or coronavirus content after several users reported their unrelated tweets are being flagged with a 5G and coronavirus fact-check label.

"In the last few weeks, you may have seen Tweets with labels linking to additional info about Covid-19. Not all of those Tweets had potentially misleading content associating Covid-19 and 5G," the Twitter Support team tweeted on Saturday.

"We apologise for any confusion and we're working to improve our labeling process".

Twitter began fact-checking tweets that linked 5G and coronavirys earlier this month, by adding the label that reads "get the facts about Covid-19 with "No, 5G isn't causing coronavirus" as its title.

Twitter said: "As we improve this process to be more precise, our goal is to show fewer labels on unrelated Tweets".

With some accounts spreading false information about the fifth generation cellular network (5G), linking the technology with coronavirus, Twitter in April took a decision to take down such messages inciting harmful activities.

The move was part of Twitter's effort to provide people with reliable information, connect with others, and follow what is happening in real time amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While conspiracy theories surrounding 5G started surfacing much before Covid-19 hit the world, the pandemic only increased their spread with some messages even blaming 5G for the disease.

"We have broadened our guidance on unverified claims that incite people to engage in harmful activity, could lead to the destruction or damage of critical 5G infrastructure, or could lead to widespread panic, social unrest, or large-scale disorder," Twitter had said.
 

 

(IANS)

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 11:00:25 +0530
Arjun Kanungo wrote 12 songs during lockdown is ready for 2021

New Delhi, Known for belting out hits like "Khoon choos le", "Baaki baatein peene baad" and most recently "Fursat hai aaj bhi", singer Arjun Kanungo says he has been "super productive" amid the lockdown and has penned 12 tracks.

"It's amazing how self-sufficient I have become in lockdown. The thing is the lockdown makes you more focused. I didn't have anything else to do right now so I have been super productive, and I have written around 12 tracks that I am dying to release now. I am ready for 2021," Arjun told IANS.

His latest number "Fursat hai aaj bhi" has been shot at home on a phone, and the number has been remotely directed by Keyur Shah. The music video showcases a complex journey of a couple, and the phases that every relationship goes through.

The song also features actress Sonal Chauhan, with whom he has previously collaborated for the track "Fursat".

How has the camaraderie between the two evolved? "Sonal and I have worked together in the past. We had a song together in the past called 'Fursat' and the song was a really big hit. It was the second song that I had made with her after 'Baaki baatein peene baad'," he replied.

"So, I wanted to work again with Sonal and the team that has made this song is the same team that made that song. All the technicians were the same, so I said why not have Sonal onboard as well," he added.
 

(IANS) 

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 10:39:24 +0530
US fighter jets intercept Russian reconnaissance aircraft off Alaska

Washington,  US fighter jets intercepted four Russian reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Alaska, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Taking to Twitter, NORAD said that the US F-22 fighter jets, supported by tanker planes and an early warning and control aircraft, intercepted four Russian Tu-142 reconnaissance aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time did they enter US sovereign airspace," it said.

According to NORAD, the Tu-142s came within 65 nautical miles south of the Alaskan Aleutian island chain and loitered in the ADIZ for nearly eight hours.

The interception came after NORAD fighter jets intercepted two Russian Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering the Alaskan ADIZ late Wednesday.

NORAD forces this year have identified and intercepted Russian military aircraft on 10 separate occasions when they have flown into the ADIZ, said NORAD Commander General Terrence O'Shaughnessy.

NORAD is a US and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America.
 

 

(IANS)

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 10:22:02 +0530
Immediate end of Israeli occupation needed for peace

Ramallah,  A senior Palestinian official said an immediate end of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories was needed to make peace.

Hussein al-Sheikh, Minister of Civil Affairs, made the remarks on Saturday in response to Israeli Defensce Minister Benny Gantz's proposal to start peace talks with the Palestinians on the basis of US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The one, who says he is willing to visit Ramallah and hold peace talks with the Palestinians, must think first of ending the occupation instead of deploying his soldiers for annexation and occupation," said al-Sheikh, also a member of the central committee of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party.

"He (Gantz) should believe first in the international legitimacy and not in the legitimacy of force and imposing apartheid on other people," added the Palestinian minister who is close to Abbas.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Gantz said he was ready to visit Ramallah if the Palestinians ask for peace talks.

"If they request to have serious negotiations, I'm ready to be in Ramallah tomorrow morning to discuss this," Gantz said.

The last Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in 2014, mainly because of their deep divisions on the issues of the Jewish settlements and Jerusalem.

The resumption of peace talks has hit a roadblock since Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in late 2017 and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city in mid-2018.

Israel considers the entire Jerusalem as its eternal capital, a fact that is rejected by the Palestinians, who insist that East Jerusalem be the capital of their future independent state.

The Israeli government is planning to annex more than 30 per cent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, as well as imposing sovereignty on several settlements in the territory.

The tension between the two sides has mounted since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his annexation plan will start on July 1.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 10:13:54 +0530
Student held for hacking account for online dare in game

Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh),  A crime committed as a part of 'dare' on an online game, ended on Saturday when a 20-year-old college student was arrested by the Azamgarh police.

A private school teacher Harivansh Lal Srivastava had lodged a complaint that a sum of Rs 10 lakh had been 'stolen' from his account between April 10 and May 12.

The FIR was registered at the Bilariyaganj police station in Azamgarh district on May 12.

Azamgarh Superintendent of Police (SP), Triveni Singh, monitored the case and tasked the cyber cell unit to work upon it.

"We worked the case entirely on electronic evidence and surveillance. We traced the mobile phone used to hack Srivastava's account from Lohia Nagar under Balkeshwar police station in Agra. The handset was traced to one Sagar Singh," said the SP.

A police team detained Sagar and during interrogation, he confessed to have committed the crime, but revealed that it was actually a part of a 'dare' he had completed in order to win a stage in an online game called 'Fire power'.

He said that the online site also offers opportunities to make money through such expertise.

Sagar disclosed that the online gaming site has an international presence.

"I got drawn into the game during the lockdown period. First, one has to qualify difficult stages and then you get diamond and gold coins to crack other stages. As you gradually cross the stages the online game also tutors tricks of hacking," Sagar said when the police produced him before media persons.

The SP said that the online gaming gang is pushing gaming enthusiasts into crime. "They keep track of such enthusiasts and then lure them with deals for cracking stages in a game. They are asked to either pay or solve a dare, which is hacking," he added.

The police are studying the pattern and on the basis of Sagar's confession, have also traced seven members of the gang, including six youth and a woman.
 

 

(IANS)

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 10:02:31 +0530
Cong leader files petition against Scindia s RS election

 

Gwalior, A pro-Digvijaya Singh Congress leader on Saturday filed a petition against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, alleging that the nomination papers filed for the recent Rajya Sabha election concealed a criminal case pending against him.

The petition was filed before Gwalior district court by Gopi Lal Bhartiya through his counsel Kuber Bouddh.

Judicial Magistrate first class Pawan Patel, however, asked the petitioner to move special court at Bhopal designated to hear cases against public representatives.

In September 2017 in the Vyapam scam, Shyamala Hills police had registered a case against Scindia, then in the Congress, as well as his then party colleagues Digvijaya Singh, and Kamal Nath, and IT expert Prashant Pandey on the orders of Bhopal Special Judge Suresh Singh.

They were all booked under various sections including production of fraudulent documents, but Scindia has not mentioned the case, said Bouddh.

The petitioners will now take the matter to a Bhopal court.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 09:54:37 +0530
Gemopai Electric launches e scooter Miso in India for Rs 44 000

New Delhi,  Gemopai Electric on Friday announced the launch of its single-seat electric scooter, Miso, in India for Rs 44,000.

The scooter comes with a range of up to 75 km per charge and charges up to 90 per cent in two hours, said Gemopai, a joint venture between Green E-Mobility and Opai Electric.

The mini scooter can be purchased across India, through its 60 dealership stores from July, 2020 onwards, the company said, adding that it is offering a three-year free service package for all Miso customers.

"With the pandemic disrupting life and businesses in general, many practices, habits and things are evolving -- including the way people move around. As we battle the crises and balance life and business continuity while staying safe, micro mobility presents one of the safest and resilient way to navigate everyday commuting," Gemopai Electric Co-Founder Amit Raj Singh said in a statement.

"Miso is the ultimate solution for the young adult who needs a no hassle ride to their destination or for a daily commuter who needs to reach their office, without getting stuck in traffic. With the current ongoing safety concerns because of the pandemic, Miso's single seat helps choose an affordable and safe ride."

Miso, which has a maximum speed of 25km per hour, is available in four colours -- red, sky blue, green and orange.

It has two variants, one with a luggage carrier that holds up to 120kg load and another, without the carrier, Gemopai said it is offering Miso with an inaugural discount of Rs 2,000 for all pre-bookings which opened from Friday.
 

 

(IANS)

Sat, 27 Jun 2020 10:02:25 +0530
India s economy is in deep trouble S P

New Delhi, S&P Global Ratings said on Friday that the Indian economy is in deep trouble with growth likely to contract by 5 per cent this financial year.

"India's economy is in deep trouble. Difficulties in containing the virus, an anaemic policy response, and underlying vulnerabilities, especially across the financial sector, are leading us to expect growth to fall by 5 per cent this fiscal year before rebounding in 2021," S&P said in an update.

In its report titled 'Asia-Pacific losses near $3 trillion as balance sheet recession looms', S&P projected the region's economy to shrink by 1.3 per cent in 2020, but grow by 6.9 per cent in 2021 with a loss of $3 trillion output over these two years.

"Asia-Pacific has shown some success in containing Covid-19 and, by and large, responded with effective macroeconomic policies," said Shaun Roache, chief economist for Asia-Pacific at S&P Global Ratings.

"This can help cushion the blow and provide a bridge to the recovery. The recovery looks set to be weighed down by indebted balance sheets, however."

It flagged one risk in another "balance sheet recession" in which at least one important sector of the economy -- the government, firms, or households -- tries to bolster its weak financial position by saving more, paying down debt, and spending less, S&P said.

"The downturn caused by Covid-19 did not start as a balance-sheet recession but may end up as one," Roache said. "This means less investment, a slower recovery, and a permanent hit to the economy that will last even after a vaccine is found."

Banks may lend less than they normally would in a recovery to focus on the overhang from the pandemic. Private firms may prefer to stabilise debt rather than ramp up spending on new investments, even though demand is improving.

The economy is healing but private sector confidence remains fragile. If private sector spending does not improve quickly, more stimulus may be unleashed, S&P said.
 


(IANS) 

Sat, 27 Jun 2020 09:58:20 +0530
Legal liability of coronavirus hit German slaughterhouse under probe

Berlin, A German state has launched a probe to evaluate the legal liability of a slaughterhouse for a fresh COVID-19 outbreak which has so far infected over 1,500 workers, an official said.

"It is currently being evaluated very carefully whether and against which rules the company has violated and where it can be held liable," Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state Armin Laschet told the media on Friday, stressing that he would consider Toennies "as responsible".

In the wake of the outbreak, Laschet criticized the company's lack of cooperation with the local authorities, reports Xinhua news agency.

"There was no cooperation anymore, there were orders," he said.

On Tuesday, Toennies said it would cancel all its subcontract arrangements effective January 2021 and would "quickly create sufficient and appropriate living space" for its employees.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak at the Toennies plant in Guetersloh, severe restrictions have been reimposed in the nearby areas which will remain in force until June 30 in order to protect the population.

By Friday, Guetersloh had recorded around 178 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last seven days, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

A series of recent COVID-19 outbreaks at a number of German slaughterhouses have prompted criticisms of the working conditions in the meat industry and of the use of cramped communal housing for sub-contractors.

In May, the German government adopted an employee protection plan for the entire meat industry.

As of next year, the hiring of sub-contractors as well as labour leasing models would be prohibited for German companies whose main business is slaughtering and meat processing.

Germany has so far reported 194,036 COVID-19 cases, with 8,965 deaths.
 

 

(IANS) 

Sat, 27 Jun 2020 09:55:02 +0530
Ex Himachal legislator booked for sedition

Shimla,  Former Himachal Pradesh legislator and Congress leader Neeraj Bharti was arrested for allegedly posting "anti-national and objectionable" content on social networking site Facebook after violent face-off between India and China.

He was slapped with sedition charges and would be produced in a Shimla court on Saturday.

In a series of posts, he made offensive comments against the Prime Minister and the RSS after the face-off between India and China in the Galwan valley of Ladakh.

Bharti, who was the chief parliamentary secretary in the previous Congress government in the state, was summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) here for questioning.

After questioning for three days, he was arrested on Friday evening.

He will be produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court later in the day, an official told IANS.

Former legislator from Jawali in Kangra district was arrested under Sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.

The former legislator is not new to controversies.

He had been targeting the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and even his party leaders through his posts on the social media.

His father Chander Kumar, a former Member of Parliament, is a prominent OBC leader from the state.

"The state government is trying to silence the opposition leaders. The case against my son is politically motivated," Kumar told the media.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 27 Jun 2020 09:41:36 +0530
Cong BJP unite against BSP MLA in MP s Damoh

Bhopal,  Leaders of the ruling BJP and opposition Congress have united against Ram Bai, the woman MLA of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from Pathariya in Damoh district of Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress and BJP leaders have accused the BSP legislator's family of direct involvement in the murder of a Congress leader and threats to his other family members.

Former Madhya Pradesh Finance minister and senior BJP leader Jayant Malaiya's son, Sidharth Malaiya on Friday came together with late Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia's son, Soumil to accuse Ram Bai of pressurizing Chaurasia's family to compromise in the murder case and misusing her position through police officers, who have framed false charges of attempt to murder against Soumil's cousins.

Devendra Chaurasia was murdered in the Hatta town of Damoh district on March15 last year, three days after he had left the BSP and joined Congress in presence of former chief minister Kamal Nath. Ram Bai's husband, his brother and several other persons were accused of the murder. Ram Bai's brother in law Chandu Singh is in jail and the murder case is being heard in a court.

Sidharth Malaiya and Soumil Chaurasia told some media persons in Damoh that Ram Bai has been pressurizing Soumil to compromise in the murder case.

Malaiya and Chourasia also took part in a protest in Hatta town on Friday against the alleged high handedness of officers of the police and jail department. Hundreds of people took part in the joint protest held by Congress and BJP leaders. The protesters also called for a Hatta bandh.

Ram Bai and Jayant Malaiya have had a long political rivalry in the Damoh area. As a seven-time MLA and senior minister from Damoh Malaiya was extraordinarily strong during the BJP rule till 2018. He lost to the Congress party's Rahul Singh in the 2018 Assembly polls.

However, Ram Bai won from the nearby Pathariya seat in 2018 beating BJP's Lakhan Patel.

Since then, her clout has increased in the area. The rivalry between the two leaders has also intensified further, as Ram Bai has been increasing her closeness with BJP leaders including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, ever since the BJP regained power in the state.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 27 Jun 2020 09:37:15 +0530
Alarm system installed in Shakurbasti rail isolation coaches

New Delhi, The Railways has come up with an alarm system in its coaches-turned-isolation wards for Covid-19 patients here in Shakurbasti.

A display board with light and sound connection has been installed in the other corner of the coach that will let the doctor and medical staff know about any call by the patient

In case of emergency, as soon as the patient uses this alarm system, the red light outside the box will light up, apart from making a loud noise.

Simultaneously, the information will reach the display board in the doctors' coach along with the coach (ward) number. The medical staff will thus be able to immediately attend the patient in an emergency.

Chief Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway, Deepak Kumar said that during inspection of these coaches, General Manager of North Central Railway, Rajiv Chaudhary suggested installing alarm system in each of the coaches.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 26 Jun 2020 09:42:40 +0530
Anushka on Bulbbul Wanted to show strong women through cinema

Mumbai, Actress-producer Anushka Sharma says she always wanted to show strong, independent women through cinema and her latest production venture, "Bulbbul", is a step in that direction.

"The idea that Clean Slate Filmz (her production house, which she runs with her brother Karnesh) would one day create a genre of our own was never an intentional move. We, however, always wanted to create a style of storytelling that celebrates women and their spirit. We always wanted to show strong, independent women to audiences through cinema and 'Bulbbul' is our new offering in this regard," she said.

Anushka stressed that the portrayal of women "in our cinema has always been skewed and lopsided", adding: "I felt that as an actress and I decided that I will correct this as much as I can through my productions."

"We are really proud that 'Bulbbul' is being loved by the audience because Karnesh and I really put our necks on the line to make projects that we hope will be clutter-breaking. The fact that people have called each and every attempt of ours as daring and adventurous is validation enough for us," she said.

She is happy that "Bulbbul" is garnering a good response among viewers and positive reviews: "Karnesh and I aren't scared storytellers. We make each project thinking we have nothing to lose. We are non-conformists and that's what has really, really helped us to explore and create. It is a huge milestone moment for us because both 'Pataal Lok' and 'Bulbbul' have got great reviews and janata appreciation."

Anushka is proud to have backed new writers, directors, musicians and actors who are making their mark in Bollywood.

"The success shows that we are on the right track and we will continue to make cinema that is brave, and back immensely talented filmmakers like Anvita Dutt, Sudip Sharma, Prosit Roy, Avinash Arun, and Anshai Lal, whose bold cinematic voices need to be heard," she said.
 


(IANS) 

Fri, 26 Jun 2020 09:26:26 +0530
US Fed caps bank dividend payments suspends share repurchases

Washington, The US Federal Reserve Board has voted to require large banks to preserve capital by suspending share repurchases and capping dividend payments in the third quarter of this year after the latest round of stress tests and additional sensitivity analyses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In aggregate, loan losses for the 34 banks ranged from $560 billion to $700 billion in the sensitivity analysis and aggregate capital ratios declined from 12.0 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 to between 9.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent under the hypothetical downside scenarios," the board said in a statement on Thursday after the vote.

Under the so-called U- and W-shaped recession scenarios for the US economy, "most firms remain well capitalized but several would approach minimum capital levels", the statement said, mentioning that the central bank took several actions following its stress tests to ensure large banks remain resilient despite the economic uncertainty from COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

"For the third quarter of this year, the Board is requiring large banks to preserve capital by suspending share repurchases, capping dividend payments, and allowing dividends according to a formula based on recent income. The Board is also requiring banks to re-evaluate their longer-term capital plans," said the statement.

But Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard said he "cannot support" the requirement.

"I do not support giving the green light for large banks to deplete capital, which raises the risk they will need to tighten credit or rebuild capital during the recovery. This policy fails to learn a key lesson of the financial crisis, and I cannot support it," Brainard said in a statement also released on Thursday.

"Despite the substantial likelihood that banks will need larger capital buffers to absorb losses under plausible scenarios, the authorization permits distributions that will deplete capital buffers," Brainard said, adding that the Fed's action creates a significant risk that banks will need to raise capital or curtail credit at a challenging time.

Since 2009, the Fed has used the annual stress tests to measure large US banks' ability to respond to severe economic and market turbulence.

If a bank's capital is found to be inadequate, the central bank can block it from buying bank shares or paying dividends.

Given unprecedented uncertainty about the novel coronavirus and economic growth, the Fed incorporated three hypothetical recession scenarios into this year's stress tests to assess the resiliency of large banks. These scenarios included a V-shaped recession and recovery; a slower, U-shaped recession and recovery; and a W-shaped, double-dip recession.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 26 Jun 2020 08:51:58 +0530
BJP has violated every rule in statute in Manipur Cong

New Delhi,  The Congress has alleged that the BJP has violated every rule in statute, "used every unethical trick in the game, and misused the premier investigative agency" to retain power in Manipur, and in the entire process, "they have murdered democracy".

The statement issued by Congress leader Ajay Maken who was special observer appointed by the AICC in Manipur, alleged that the speaker acted arbitrarily, and said in total, four MLAs who would have voted for the Congress candidate in Rajya Sabha elections, were disqualified and four who were supporting the BJP, were allowed to retain their seat in Vidhan Sabha.

The speaker also disqualified the lone Trinamool Congress member in the assembly.

"All these illegal acts were carried out to ensure victory of their candidate in the election for the vacant seat in the Rajya Sabha," alleged Maken.

The Congress alleged that the copy of the orders passed by the Speaker, was not made available to the affected parties till late of 19th June 2020 to ensure that the High Court is not approached.

Due to the acts of the Speaker, a total of 52 members only out a total of 60 could cast their votes in Rajya Sabha elections.

The recent political turmoil came when 3 of the BJP MLAs resigned and 4 ministers from the NPP resigned from the ministership and the lone MLA from the TMC resigned from the Chairman of the Planning & Development Authority.

"This was mainly due to the undemocratic functioning of the BJP led government where all decisions were reportedly taken by the Chief Minister, without consulting the other Ministers and MLAs," alleged Maken.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 26 Jun 2020 08:48:30 +0530
Governor s salutes the memory of Shahid Jawan Sachin Vikram More

MUMBAI: The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari has expressed condolences on the martyrdom of Jawan Sachin Vikram More of Indian Army hailing from Sakuri, Taluka Malegaon. In condolence the Governor said,

 

“I was deeply saddened to know that Jawan Sachin Vikram More of Indian Army, who hailed from village Sakuri, Taluka Malegaon in Maharashtra laid down his life while serving the nation on the Indo - China border.  I salute the memory of Shahid Sachin Vikram More and convey my heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family.”

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 11:32:07 +0530
Intermittent COVID 19 outbreaks to hold back US economic growth

Washington, The US economy is unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic level of output until late in 2022 as intermittent localized coronavirus outbreaks will hold back growth, a senior Federal Reserve official said.

"My forecast assumes growth is held back by the response to intermittent localized outbreaks -- which might be made worse by the faster-than-expected reopenings," Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said at a virtual event on Wednesday.

"In this environment, many resources will be devoted to health and safety. I assume health solutions become widely available as we move through 2022, and I allow for a return to more normal operations by late in the year," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The Fed official noted that there is "massive uncertainty" over the future path of the virus and the success or failure of therapeutics and vaccines.

"Until the virus is treatable or controlled through other measures, the return of economic activity hinges on the ability of businesses to provide safe workplaces and consumer environments. How much these efforts will allow activity to recover is an open question," Evans said, seeing the risks to the US economy as "weighted to the downside".

"So even after three years, my projected recovery places us below where the economy would have been had the virus not occurred. Unfortunately, I think some previously expected trend growth has been permanently lost.

"Without the devotion of adequate resources, we risk a wave of bankruptcies that destroy businesses, supply chains, and human capital -- all of which may have taken years to develop. Such risks could be particularly acute for the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors," the official added.

Evans's remarks came as COVID-19 cases were rising rapidly in many US states, several of which are seeing record highs.

Economists and public health experts have warned that a hasty reopening of the economy could trigger a second wave of infections, which could reverse the economic recovery.

"Periodic setbacks on the road to recovery seem likely as parts of the US continue to see spikes in cases," economists at Wells Fargo Securities wrote in a report on Wednesday.

"Thus, rather than a straight line higher, the path of output from here is likely to be more uneven until a vaccine or other treatment is made widely available."

With 2,380,452 cases and 121,969 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 09:18:16 +0530
Urvashi grateful to represent India in her international debut film

Mumbai,  Former beauty queen and actress Urvashi Rautela is excited about her international debut with "Aislados" and says it is a great honour for her to represent not only India but all of Asia in the film.

"I'm truly grateful and blessed, and it is a great honour for me to represent not only India but the entire Asia and to be the only single actor representing Asia. I collaborated with really famous international artistes, so that was very fulfilling," Urvashi said.

"Aislados", a Spanish-English mini-documentary, is about a health crisis. It is directed by Luisito Comunica and Juanpa Zurita. The mini-documentary has released in 30 countries in Spanish and English on Youtube originals.

"This documentary will show life around the world in the face of the health crisis, from testimonies to cities that seem to have come out of an apocalypse. This documentary will travel around 30 countries and reflect on the new lifestyle in these months. This is a four-part mini-documentary series that really encapsulates the highly contrasted realities that we are going through right now, it shows the strength hope and resilience of the human race during these hard times," she said.

Urvashi had earlier shared her excitement for the film on social media.

"It's surreal my first International film project titled "AISLADOS" out soon! I have been representing India from the very beginning. It started with the Miss Tourism World stage in 2011 China, Miss Asian Supermodel in South Korea and Miss Universe stage 2015 in Las Vegas," the actress tweeted on June 10.

She added: "I'm glad that my efforts have been appreciated and recognised. I'm a proud Indian and wear that on my sleeve. It's humbling to be on the receiving end of such love, support and acceptance for me as an entertainer in new geographies."
 

(IANS)

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 09:06:10 +0530
Covid 19 Human trial of new vaccine begins in UK

London,  Volunteers have begun being immunised with a new UK coronavirus vaccine. About 300 people will have the vaccine over the coming weeks, as part of a trial led by Robin Shattock and his colleagues, at Imperial College London.

Tests in animals suggest the vaccine is safe and triggers an effective immune response.

Experts at Oxford University have already started human trials, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The trials are among many across the world - there are around 120 vaccine programmes under way.

Kathy, 39, who works in finance, is one of the first volunteers taking part in the Imperial trial.

She said she volunteered because she wanted to play a part in fighting the virus.

"I think it came from not really knowing what I could do to help, and this turned out to be something that I could do.

"And understanding that it's not likely that things will get back to normal until there is a vaccine, so wanting to be part of that progress as well."

After this first phase, another trial is being planned for October, involving 6,000 people.

The Imperial team hopes the vaccine could be distributed in the UK and overseas from early 2021.

Meanwhile the Duke of Cambridge met volunteers taking part in Oxford University's trial, at the city's Churchill Hospital.

Prince William told the volunteers: "It's the most incredibly exciting and very welcome project that you're all doing which is why it's fascinating."

Many traditional vaccines are based on a weakened or modified form of virus, or parts of it, but the Imperial vaccine is based on a new approach, using synthetic strands of genetic code, called RNA, which mimic the virus.

Once injected into muscle, the RNA self-amplifies - generating copies of itself - and instructs the body's own cells to make copies of a spike protein found on the outside of the virus.

This should train the immune system to recognise and fight coronavirus without having to develop Covid-19.
 

IANS

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 08:57:08 +0530
One terrorist killed in encounter in J K s Sopore

Srinagar, One terrorist was killed in an encounter at Hardshiva, Sopore in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district on Thursday, officials said.

According to details, a joint team of army, police and the CRPF laid a cordon of the area on the basis of a specific intelligence input during the night.

As the security forces tightened the cordon, the hiding terrorists fired at them triggering the encounter at the first light.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 08:50:43 +0530
UP sets new record in jaggery production this year

Muzaffarnagar,  While Uttar Pradesh has set a new record for sugar production this year, jaggery production has also been higher than expected in the state. According to the estimates of the trade organisations, this year, the production of jaggery in the entire Uttar Pradesh has been around 50 lakh tonnes -- 11 per cent higher than the average annual production of 4.5 million tonnes. 

Jaggery production comes under cottage and small scale industries and this year, the jaggery producing crusher was operational even in the Coronavirus-triggered lockdown period and due to good sugarcane crop, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, production has increased.

President of the Federation of Gur (jaggery) Traders, Arun Khandelwal, said that the production of jaggery was underway even during the lockdown period and the supply of sugarcane was also constant. He said that production is currently underway in some units in the Muzaffarpur area and about 400-500 bags (40 kg in one bag) is arriving daily.

According to sugar industry organisations, sugar production in Uttar Pradesh reached a record level this year due to increased sugarcane arrivals in sugar mills. 

Khandelwal says that this year, there was a bumper crop of sugarcane in the state and the recovery has also been good, so the production of not only sugar but also jaggery is more than many years.

According to a release issued by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) on June 2, Uttar Pradesh had produced 125.46 lakh tonnes as on May 31 in the current sugar season 2019-20 (September-October), the highest sugar production in the state.

He said that about 30 lakh tonnes of jaggery is expected to be produced this year in western Uttar Pradesh. 

The jaggery business has also been profitable along with the increase in production during the lockdown period. 

Business sources state that when liquor shops were closed during the nationwide lockdown, the demand for jaggery increased in the countryside liquor production units, which fetched good prices for jaggery.

According to information received from traders, there are currently about 11.50 lakh bags of jaggery stock in Muzaffarnagar cold storage, apart from jaggery stock in cold storage located elsewhere in the state. 

Muzaffarnagar is the largest market for jaggery in the country, from where, around 4,000 bags of jaggery are sent to different parts of the country daily. Businessmen said this time, jaggery is being sent to Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 08:48:29 +0530
Tencent s Ma Huateng dethrones Jack Ma as China s richest person

Beijing, Internet giant Tencent founder and CEO of Ma Huateng, worth $50 billion, has surpassed Alibaba Co-Founder Jack Ma's $48 billion fortune to become China's richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

What worked in favour of the Tencent CEO, who is also known as Pony Ma, is the company's significant surge in stock this week.

Before co-founding Tencent in 1998, Pony led research and development for the internet paging system at China Motion Telecom Development Limited, a telecommunications services and products provider in China.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree specialising in Computer and Applied Engineering from Shenzhen University, according to the company bio.

Known for developing some of China's leading Internet platforms including the social messaging app WeChat, Tencent Holdings Limited went public on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on June 16, 2004.

Its digital content products include online games, video, live streaming, news, music, literature.

In the gaming space, it provides some of the most popular titles including Honour of Kings, PUBG MOBILE and League of Legends.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 03:46:39 +0530
Britons can holiday in France Italy Spain from next week

London,  Britons will reportedly be able to holiday in a number of European destinations, including France, Italy and Spain, from next week, but travel to the US and South America will not be permitted until at least December, media reports said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will allegedly give the go-ahead for foreign holidays on June 29, with air bridges to 10 countries in Europe set to be announced, the Metro newspaper reported.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Wednesday to the Commons Transport Select Committee that an announcement on air bridges will take place on June 29.

Trips to France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey without the need for a 14-day quarantine have been "all but confirmed", MailOnline said in a report.

Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Gibraltar and Bermuda were also said to be included in the list of destinations the government will deem "safe".

The government's air bridge plans will reportedly expand over time, with trips to Canada, Morocco and the Caribbean expected to be available from August.

Other medium-haul locations including Vietnam, Hong Kong and Dubai will reportedly be open to people from the UK from late August or September.

However, holidays to the US, Mexico and South American countries will not be allowed until at least December, The Sun newspaper said in a report.

"Intensive" phone conversations are said to be currently ongoing to finalise plans in Europe before next week.

It was believed the plans will be finalised and signed off on Thursday in a meeting with officials from Downing Street, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home and Foreign offices.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 03:37:17 +0530
Remi Maillard to head Airbus India

New Delhi, Aeronautics, space and related services major Airbus has appointed Remi Maillard as President of Airbus India and Managing Director of South Asia region.

According to the company, effective September 1, 2020, Remi Maillard, currently Head of Airbus Services, will succeed Anand Stanley, who will move to Singapore as President, Airbus Asia-Pacific.

"Both report directly to Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International of Airbus," the company said in a statement.

Accordingly, in his new role, Maillard will lead Airbus' business in South Asia.

"He will be responsible for commercial aircraft sales and business development, and he will manage Airbus' regional footprint, which includes engineering, innovation, customer support and services as well as training," the statement said.

"He will also help progress Airbus' top defence and helicopters campaigns and boost the company's 'Make in India' programmes."
 

 

(IANS) 

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 03:30:53 +0530
Cong seeks virtual Parliament session to discuss China issue

New Delhi,  The Congress has demanded a virtual session of Parliament to discuss the Indo-China face-off and other issues pertaining to national importance, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the fuel price hike.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "There should be virtual session to discuss important issues. During the 1962 war, BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee demanded a session and the then Prime Minister accepted that demand."

He said even the parliamentary committees should meet to discuss and raised questions as to why they were stalled.

The Congress said that Vajpayee even led a protest on the issue in 1962. "It is unfortunate that the presiding officers of both the Houses should have walked the extra mile in order to prevail upon the government, not should try and subvert Parliament in this manner and escape parliamentary oversight," said Manish Tewari while demanding for the session.

Former Union Minister Manish Tewari said, "It is extremely unfortunate and we say it with great regret that while you can have Russia, India, China trilateral summits virtually, while the G-20 can be held virtually and all party meeting on China can be held virtually, this Government has walked the extra mile in order to hide behind rules, in order to escape parliamentary oversight.

Tewari said, "This is nothing short of emasculation of Parliament".

He said, "It can be understood that you cannot possibly convene a full session of Parliament, though the Parliaments are meeting virtually around the world. Great Britain is an example, in Portugal the Parliament has met virtually, but, why can't the Standing Committee of Defence meet, why can't the Consultative Committee on Defence meet, why can't the standing committee on Health meet."

Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said, "We can have a special session of Parliament to discuss important issues, keeping in mind both social distancing and the importance of National Security."

Congress alleged that it is a sign of authoritarianism and it is only an effort by the BJP government to buy time so that it can escape the questions which have been asked by the people of India through the major opposition parties.
 

 

(IANS)

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 03:00:42 +0530
Fire guts IT server room of BBK bank in Mumbai

Mumbai,  A fire broke out in the IT server room of Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait (BBK) branch located in the Jolly Maker II building at Nariman Point, here on Thursday, officials said.

According to the BMC Disaster Control, the blaze was reported at around 5.30 am from the foreign bank branch premises on the ground floor of the 14-floor building.

It was confined to the electric wiring, electric installation, office furniture, computers, UPS battery, office records, important documents, false ceiling, etc. in an area about 4000-sq.ft within the BBK branch.

There were no reports of any casualties or anybody trapped inside as informed by local eyewitnesses.

The conflagration was brought under control within a clue of hours and cooling operations are underway now, said the officials.

Jolly Maker II is located in the heart of Nariman Point, the country's most prestigious business address in south Mumbai.

 

(IANS)

Thu, 25 Jun 2020 02:57:38 +0530
Twitter flags Trump tweet for violating its abusive behaviour policy

San Francisco, Twitter has once again flagged a tweet from US President Donald Trump which promoted violence by saying if protesters tried to set up an "autonomous zone" in Washington, DC they would be met with "serious force".

This is the fourth time Twitter has red flagged Trump's tweet for glorifying violence or violating its policies.

Trump has been critical of the "autonomous zone" in Seattle, an area occupied by protestors for much of this month.

"We've placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our policy against abusive behaviour, specifically, the presence of a threat of harm against an identifiable group," Twitter's safety team tweeted late Tuesday.

Trump had tweeted: "There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone' in Washington, D.C., as long as I'm your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!"

Twitter earlier labeled a video tweeted by him which mocked CNN as manipulated media.

According to Twitter, "this Tweet has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context".

In May, Twitter labeled two Trump tweets that made false claims about mail-in ballots in California.

Twitter later labeled another Trump tweet glorifying violence in which he said, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

Facebook also removed a Trump campaign ad featuring a symbol used by Nazis for political dissenters, saying the ad violated its policies.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 12:31:49 +0530
Amazon launches 2bn fund to invest in climate change mitigation

San Francisco,  Amazon has announced a $2 billion venture capital fund to invest in companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero carbon economy.

The announcement is part of the Climate Pledge -- a commitment to reach the Paris Agreement ten years early and be net zero carbon by 2040 � which was co-founded by Amazon and non-profit Global Optimism last year.

Verizon, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), and Infosys recently joined the pledge.

"The Climate Pledge Fund will look to invest in the visionary entrepreneurs and innovators who are building products and services to help companies reduce their carbon impact and operate more sustainably," Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Companies from around the world of all sizes and stages will be considered, from pre-product startups to well-established enterprises. Each prospective investment will be judged on its potential to accelerate the path to zero carbon and help protect the planet for future generations."

The Climate Pledge Fund will invest in companies in multiple industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilisation, manufacturing and materials, circular economy, and food and agriculture.

Over time, Amazon said it will also look for opportunities to involve other Climate Pledge signatories in this venture investment program.

Amazon also announced it is on a path to run on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of schedule.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 12:26:27 +0530
Worst spike of nearly 16K Covid cases as Delhi overtakes TN

New Delhi, India witnessed a spike of almost 16,000 fresh cases of the novel Coronavirus in the past 24 hours taking the total in the country to 4.5 lakh with 465 new deaths, data from the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry revealed on Wednesday.

India recorded the highest single-day spike of 15,968 new cases, as the total reached 4,56,183 so far. A spike of over 1,000 cases from Tuesday, when 14,933 new COVID-19 cases were reported.

According to the Health Ministry data, 14,476 people have died of Covid in the country.

A total of 1,35,663 more people have recovered than the number of active cases. There are currently 1,83,022 active and 2,58,685 recoveries. The number of patients recovering from COVID-19 continues to rise.

The recovery rate has further improved to almost 56.38 per cent amongst the COVID-19 patients.

The number of government labs has been increased to 726 and private labs have increased to 266, summing up to a total of 992.

India conducted 21,51,95 Covid-19 tests on people in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state in the country with total cases at 1,39,010, including 6,531 deaths.

Delhi took over Tamil Nadu to become the state with the second highest cases.

The national capital has 66,602 cases and 2,301 deaths followed by Tamil Nadu with 64,603 cases with 833 deaths.

States with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 28,371 cases and 1,710 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (18,893), Rajasthan (15,627), Madhya Pradesh (12,261), West Bengal (14,728) and Haryana (11,520).
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 12:13:58 +0530
IMA Ponzi scam tainted IAS officer commits suicide in B luru

Bengaluru, Senior IAS officer B.M. Vijay Shankar, who was reportedly involved in the multi-crore IMA Ponzi scam, allegedly committed suicide in his house, an official said on Tuesday. He was 59.

"Vijayshakar was found hanging in a room on the first floor of his residence at Jayanagar in the city's southern suburb by his wife late evening," the official told IANS on anonymity.

The incident came to light when Vijayshankar's wife who was in the ground floor, went up to meet him.

The family informed the police and his body was sent to a state-run hospital for autopsy.

Vijayshankar was arrested and jailed after he was allegedly found involved in the multi-crore IMA scam in the city during 2018-19.

"The Karnataka cadre officer was suspended from service when he was Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district after he admitted to have taken Rs 1.5 crore bribe from the IMA scam kingpin Mohammed Mansoor Khan though he alleged to have sought Rs 5 crore from the latter.

The state government revoked Vijayshankar's suspension recently and posted him as Commissioner of the Sakala scheme to provide citizen-related services in a stipulated time.

"The officer was under pressure after he learnt that the state government has permitted the CBI, probing the scam, to interrogate and prosecute him," added the official.

The amended Prevention of Corruption Act mandates the state government's sanction for a criminal inquiry into a government servant.

As the Ponzi scam in the guise of Islamic banking involved investors in other states, with international ramifications, the BJP government transferred the case to the CBI in August from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police.

Khan and 5 directors of I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) were arrested and jailed last year after their alleged involvement in the Rs 4,000-crore scam came to light in June 2019.

The CBI also booked on February 4 two senior IPS-rank officers Ajay Hillori and Hemant Nimbalkar of the Karnataka cadre for their alleged role in the Ponzi scam that rocked the southern state last year.

"Though the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) alerted the state government and the city police about the illegal activities of the IMA group, including raising illegal deposits from investors through cash or gold jewellery, assuring them hefty interest and returns on maturity, no action was taken against the company for allegedly indulging in the criminal act," a CBI official told IANS earlier, citing the FIR against the accused.

The premier investigation agency has accused Nimbalkar of allowing IMA to carry out its illegal business by giving it a clean chit to carry on its business during his tenure as IGP in CID.

Similarly, Hillori was accused of ignoring the central bank's warnings and furthering the interests of Khan at the expense of innocent investors and depositors.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 09:34:39 +0530
Nikhita Gandhi s new indie single Kamli left her intrigued

Mumbai, Singer Nikhita Gandhi has collaborated with composer Bharat Goel on a new Indie song titled "Kamli".

The track revolves around a girl who secretly admires a boy.

"When Bharat approached me with this song, I was immediately intrigued. I was excited about being part of such a commercially viable song through an indie release. I even told Bharat jokingly, ‘bro, pitch this to a film, they will love to feature this'. But his bold and awesome attitude to release this as a single, and own this genre was what made it really exciting to come on board," said Nikitha.

According to Bharat, the song will appeal to a wide audience.

"While it sounds phenomenal as a dance record with cutting-edge dance music production, it sounds equally pleasing if one was to just hum it with a simple guitar, which is why I believe it will appeal to a wide audience across all age groups and demographics," he said.

Nikhita is best known for her songs Qaafirana" ("Kedarnath"), "Aao kabhi haveli pe" ("Stree") and "Raabta" ("Raabta"), while Bharat has worked on films like " Bajrangi Bhaijaan", "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani", and "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil".
 

(IANS)

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 09:00:10 +0530
US dollar dips amid economic data

New York, The US dollar weakened in late trading on Tuesday as market participants digested a slew of economic data.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was down 0.39 per cent at 96.6619.

In late New York trading, the euro rose to $1.1312 from $1.1260 in the previous session, and the British pound was up to $1.2522 from $1.2471 in the previous session, Xinhua reported.

The Australian dollar was up to $0.6936 from $0.6917.

The US dollar bought 106.47 Japanese yen, lower than 106.92 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar decreased to 0.9444 Swiss franc from 0.9474 Swiss franc, and it rose to 1.3540 Canadian dollars from 1.3524 Canadian dollars.

US private sector firms signaled a slowdown in the rate of output contraction in June, as businesses began to reopen on a larger scale, according to a report released by London-based global information provider IHS Markit on Tuesday.

The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) Output Index posted 46.8 in June, up from 37 in May.

Flash US Services Business Activity Index registered 46.7 in June while the Manufacturing PMI came in at 49.6, showed the report. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 08:57:24 +0530
N Korea suspends military action plans against South

Pyongyang,  A military meeting in North Korea has decided to suspend the military action plans against South Korea, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Wednesday.

The KCNA reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over the preliminary meeting for the fifth meeting of the Seventh Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) through a video conference on Tuesday and made the decision.

"At the preliminary meeting, the WPK Central Military Commission took stock of the prevailing situation and suspended the military action plans against the South brought for the fifth meeting of the Seventh Central Military Commission by the General Staff of the Korean People's Army," Xinhua reported citing the KCNA report.

"The meeting examined agenda items of major military policy to be laid before the fifth meeting of the Seventh WPK Central Military Commission, and made a study of a report and decisions, which will be submitted to the fifth meeting, and some documents carrying the state measures for further bolstering the war deterrent of the country," it said.

A week ago, the army announced a detailed military action plans in protest against the South Korean authorities for failing to stop "defectors" from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the North.

The action plans proposed by the General Staff of the Korean People's Army include redeployment of troops to the Mount Kumgang tourist area and the Kaesong Industrial Zone, and security guarantee for the people to distribute propaganda leaflets to the South in the border areas.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 08:54:13 +0530
UN recognition for Kerala in fight against Covid 19

Thiruvananthapuram,  Kerala on Tuesday was among those honoured for tackling the Covid-19 pandemic when the United Nations celebrated the Public Service Day.

The function, held on a virtual platform, saw the participation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other top UN dignitaries who applauded all the leaders which included state Health Minister K.K. Shailaja for effectively tackling Covid-19.

Speaking on the occasion, Shailaja noted that the experiences of tackling Nipah virus and the two floods - 2018 and 2019 - where the health sector played a crucial role, all helped in tackling Covid-19 timely.

"Right from the time when COVID cases got reported in Wuhan, Kerala got into the track of the WHO and followed every standard operating protocols and international norms and hence, we have been able to keep the contact spread rate to below 12.5 per cent and the mortality rate to 0.6 per cent," she said.
 

 

(IANS)

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 08:51:54 +0530
If you take law in hand then face law HC to Shahrukh Pathan

New Delhi,  The Delhi High Court while hearing the bail plea filed by Delhi riots accused Shahrukh Pathan on Wednesday remarked, "If you take law in your hands and become a hero, then you have to face the law."

"If you take law in your hands and become a hero, then you have to face the law. And your intention was to become a hero," said a single judge bench of the High Court presided by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.

The observation came during the course of the hearing of the application filed by Pathan, the man who had flashed a gun at the policemen during Delhi riots in February this year. The picture had gone viral on the social media.

The prosecution informed that Pathan was leading the mob which could be clearly seen in the video which is on record. "This video was provided to us by a senior journalist from a leading newspaper. He has also been examined under section 161 of the CrPC', the prosecution said.

It added that the weapon in question belongs to the accused and the same has been recovered from the car that he used for absconding. "He had purchased this from a man in Uttar Pradesh, along with 20 live cartridges," the counsel told the court.

After hearing the submissions and examining the documents and evidence, the court remarked that Pathan was trying to lead the mob in order to become a hero.

"You were trying to become a hero and lead the mob. You also purchased more than 20 live cartridges. You became a hero and your intention was to be one, but, if you take law in your hands and become a hero, then you have to face the law," the court said.

The Petitioner's counsel Asghar Khan argued before the court that his client is a victim of circumstances, adding that the accused has no criminal antecedents, the challan has already been filed, and there's no evidence of anyone getting injured by the alleged acts of the accused.

He also argued that the FIR was not registered on the information by Complainant. Khan also pointed out that there are discrepancies in the statements given by the concerned police officer Deepak Dahiya.

"My client was provoked to participate in the agitation and he has not participated in any other incident concerning the riots," Khan said.

However, post the arguments, the court said that it was not inclined to grant bail to Pathan following which Khan sought permission to withdraw the petition.

The court granted him the permission to do so and the matter was dismissed as withdrawn.

The Delhi Police in its chargesheet filed before a Delhi court has stated that Pathan along with four others has been found to be a part of a deep-rooted conspiracy which triggered the communal riot at Maujpur Chowk in north east Delhi.

In the Maujpur Chowk riot case, the police found that on February 24 at about 11 a.m., two groups (one anti-CAA and one pro-CAA) clashed at the chowk. This led to injuries to several policemen as well as other people and created an atmosphere of fear among the public. On that day, one person Vinod Singh lost his life in a related incident and a separate case of murder was registered against his killers.

Five accused, including Shahrukh Pathan, were arrested in this case. "During probe it was found that Pathan is the main accused in another case in which he had brandished his gun at Head Constable Deepak Dahiya in full public view," the police said.

His illegal firearm, a 7.65 mm pistol along with two live rounds, was recovered from him. Several shots had been fired by him and three empty shells were recovered from the spot, the police said.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 06:32:44 +0530
Governor inaugurates Seminar on Science Technology and Epidemic in Ancient Indian Literature

Mumbai: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari today (24th Jun) inaugurated a National webinar on the theme ‘References to Science, Technology and Epidemic in Ancient Indian Literature’.

The webinar was organised by the Devbhoomi Vichar Manch Uttarakhand in association with the Uttarakhand Open Unviersity Haldwani, Nainital.

Speaking on the occasion the Governor said ancient Indian literature is like a vast ocean of knowledge and wisdom. He said the Vedas, Upanishads, Philosophy, Yoga Shastra and others are like pearls of wisdom in the ocean.

Mentioning that the world has accepted India’s yoga, he expressed the need to conduct an in-depth study of the ancient Indian literature to re-establish knowledge in the modern context.

In this connection, he appealed to academicians to respect ancient wisdom and present the time-tested Indian thought to the world.

Vice-chancellor of the Uttarakhand Open University Haldwani, Nainital Prof. O P S Negi welcomed the Governor. The Seminar was attended by vice-chancellors of various universities, academicians, researchers and students.

 

Wed, 24 Jun 2020 06:29:44 +0530
Decoded Why women keep their blood pressure down

New York,  Now you know why your wife keeps her blood pressure down even when you keep on sulking during a quarrel at home. According to an interesting research, females have an innate ability to increase levels of anti-inflammatory T cells to keep their blood pressure down.

Called Tregs, the cells are known to help protect us from an excessive immune response, and are naturally associated with lower blood pressures and less organ damage.

Females, at least before menopause, tend to have lower blood pressures than males.

"We think, based on studies in this and other models, that the ability of the female to maintain or upregulate those T regulatory cells is critical to their ability to maintain a lower pressure," said Dr. Jennifer C. Sullivan, professor in the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

In the face of a multipronged front to drive blood pressure up, including a high-salt diet, females are better able to keep their pressure down by increasing levels of a T cell that selectively dials back inflammation.

The cell's levels are known to increase to help maintain a healthy pregnancy, for example, so the immune system does not attack the fetus, which has DNA from both parents.

"This is just a different challenge, but we are using those same protective pathways to do something else good for us," said Sullivan.

Sullivan's work, published in the journal Hypertension, supports the hypothesis that females rely heavily on Tregs for blood pressure control and this mechanism accounts for at least one of the sex differences in that control.

"It's a compensatory response to an increase in blood pressure to help the overall cardiovascular impact," Sullivan said of this innate ability that could provide a promising new hypertension treatment strategy, particularly for women.

Sullivan suspects males and females likely make similar numbers of Tregs -- they have found similar numbers in the spleen, for example -- but differences may be in the recruitment and proliferation to organs key to blood pressure control like the kidneys, one reason she wanted to look specifically at Treg levels there.

Both sexes actually experienced increases in pro-inflammatory T cells, which contribute to infection fighting.

In rats, blood pressure increased significantly in both sexes by day two, but by the end of 21 days of treatment, male blood pressures were significantly higher.

And, females experienced significantly more of the blood pressure-mitigating Tregs along with their lower pressures, the scientists report.

The fact that decreasing Tregs in males did not affect blood pressure may indicate that male blood pressure is not as dependent on this mechanism during normal conditions.

However the clear impact in females supports the hypothesis that females are "highly dependent" on Tregs to maintain their blood pressure.

The hormone DOCA, or deoxycorticosterone acetate, prompts the kidneys to hold onto both more sodium and water, so there is a higher fluid volume in the blood vessels, which drives up blood pressure.

Then, as with some humans, a high-salt diet magnifies the problem and so does the removal of a single kidney.

This DOCA-salt model is a commonly used hypertension model, which provides scientists a good window for when hypertension sets in.

"If we can better understand how and why females are increasing their Tregs that could lead to therapies, potentially for both sexes, to also avoid or treat high-inflammation conditions like autoimmune and cardiovascular disease," Sullivan noted.
 

 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:37:34 +0530
Kerala SDMA nod to three private Met agencies

Thiruvananthapuram, The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), which was tasked to see if services of private weather agencies can be availed, has zeroed down on three of the four organisations shortlisted earlier on, sources said on Tuesday.

The sources revealed that Skymet, IBM Weather Company, and Earth Networks have got the nod and Rs 9.5 million cleared as fees for their professional services for a year.

This new arrangement was given the green signal after the floods following heavy rains at the end of May 2018, which continued in three stages till the middle of August and claimed 483 lives in the southern state. At the height of the deluge, there were 14.50 lakh people in over 3,000 relief camps.

Soon after the floods, a controversy had erupted between India Meteorological Department and the Kerala authorities over alleged lack of proper information from the weather forecaster to the state.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:31:58 +0530
Honda Cars commences 5th gen City s production in India

New Delhi, Automobile manufacturer Honda Cars India has commenced the production of its most awaited all-new 5th generation Honda City sedan in India.

According to the company, the new car is being manufactured at its Greater Noida plant in Uttar-Pradesh.

"The company's plant had resumed manufacturing operations from mid-June following all government regulations and company's safety protocols for COVID-19 prevention," the company said in a statement.

"The launch of the 5th Generation City is scheduled in July 2020."

The 5th generation sedan is powered by the newly-introduced 1.5L i-VTEC DOHC engine with VTC in petrol version and refined 1.5L i-DTEC diesel engine, both compliant with BS-6 emission norms.

Besides, the company says that the new sedan is India's first connected car with Alexa remote capability and is equipped with "Next Generation Honda Connect with Telematics Control Unit".

At present, the company has two manufacturing facilities at Greater Noida and at Tapukara, Alwar, Rajasthan. Its product range includes Amaze, Jazz, WR-V, City, Civic and CR-V, which are manufactured in India.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:27:02 +0530
Nearly 15K new Covid cases in India deaths cross 14K mark

New Delhi, India witnessed a spike of almost 15,000 fresh cases of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the last 24 hours taking the total tally in the country to 4.4 lakh with 312 new fatalities, data from Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry revealed on Tuesday.

India recorded 14,933 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 4,40,215.

On Sunday, India had recorded a spike of 15,413 Covid-19 cases.

According to Health Ministry data, 312 more people succumbed to the deadly disease taking the total tally of deaths to 14,011.

Out of the total number of confirmed cases, 1,78,014 are currently active and 2,48,189 have recovered. The number of patients recovering from COVID-19 continues to rise. The recovery rate has further improved to almost 56.37 per cent amongst COVID-19 patients. The number of government labs for testing samples has increased to 722 and private labs to 259. India conducted Covid-19 tests on 1,87,223 people in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state in the country with total cases at 1,35,796, including 6,283 deaths.

Delhi took over Tamil Nadu to become the state with second highest cases. The national capital has 62,655 cases, followed by Tamil Nadu with 62,087 cases.

States with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 27,825 cases and 1,684 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (18,322), Rajasthan (15,232), Madhya Pradesh (12,078), West Bengal (14,358) and Haryana (11,025).

The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has crossed the 9 million mark, while the deaths have surged to more than 471,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

By Tuesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 9,073,386, while the fatalities increased to 471,591, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

With 2,310,786 cases and 120,393 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the CSSE.

Brazil comes in the second place with 1,106,470 infections and 51,271 deaths. In terms of cases, Russia ranks third (591,465), and was followed by India (425,282), the UK (306,761), Peru (257,447), Chile (246,963), Spain (246,504), Italy (238,720), Iran (207,525), France (197,381), Germany (191,768), Turkey (188,897), Mexico (185,122), Pakistan (181,088), Saudi Arabia (161,005), Bangladesh (115,786), Canada (103,418) and South Africa (101,590), the CSSE figures showed.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the UK (42,731), Italy (34,657), France (29,666), Spain (28,324), Mexico (22,584) and India (13,699).
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:25:19 +0530
Cricket balls a natural vector of disease British PM Johnson

London,  Cricket balls are "a natural vector of disease" and hence recreational cricket will not be allowed to return in the immediate future in the United Kingdom, said British Prime Minister Borish Johnson. Johnson's statement deals a death blow for any hopes for an immediate restart for non-professional cricket leagues.

Johnson's comments came in response to a question from Member of Parliament Greg Clarke in the House of Commons, according to ESPNcricinfo.

Clark, the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, asked the PM to clarify whether "the ban on cricket has come to an end".

"Cricket is perhaps our most socially-distanced team sport," he said. "We've lost half the summer but there is another half left to be enjoyed by players and spectators alike." On Saturday, he tweeted that it was "absurd that no cricket can be played this midsummer weekend".

Johnson responded: "The problem with cricket as everybody understands [is] that the ball is a natural vector of disease, potentially at any rate. We've been round it many times with our scientific friends.

"At the moment, we're still working on ways to make cricket more Covid-secure but we can't change the guidance yet."

His comments won't have any effect on England's upcoming series against West Indies or the resumption of County cricket as they will be governed by guidance for elite sports.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:24:50 +0530
US tech honchos slam Trump s new visa restrictions

San Francisco,  From Tim Cook to Sundar Pichai, top technology leaders in the US have come out in the open to criticise US President Donald Trump's latest crackdown on immigration.

Through an executive order on Monday, Trump suspended till the end of the year the H-1B visas prized by Indian professionals. The freeze will not affect those already in the US on the H-1B and the other work visa categories being put on pause.

"Immigration has contributed immensely to America's economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today's proclamation - we'll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all," Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a tweet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was deeply disappointed by the new proclamation.

"Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity, and hope in the enduring promise of the American Dream. There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation," he said.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki stressed that "immigration is central to America's story, and it's central to my own family's story."

"My family escaped danger and found a new home in America," she said in a tweet.

Wojcicki said that YouTube would "join Google in standing with immigrants and working to expand opportunity for all."

In fiscal year 2019, the US government awarded more H-1B visas to Amazon than any other firm, according to GeekWire.

The new proclamation also drew criticism from the company which termed the action "short-sighted".

"We oppose the administration's short-sighted action. Preventing highly skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America's economic recovery puts America's global competitiveness at risk," an Amazon spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Microsoft President Brad Smith also condemned the move.

"Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world's talent or create uncertainty and anxiety. Immigrants play a vital role at our company and support our country's critical infrastructure. They are contributing to this country at a time when we need them most," he said in a tweet.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he very much disagreed with the action.

"Very much disagree with this action. In my experience, these skillsets are net job creators. Visa reform makes sense, but this is too broad," he said in a tweet.

Facebook and Twitter also condemned the new visa restrictions.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:21:56 +0530
Apeksha Porwal s journey from being beauty queen to actress

Mumbai,  Former beauty queen Apeksha Porwal makes her acting debut with the digital project "Undekhi".

As a child she never dreamt of becoming an actor. However, she was always curious about acting. "I started my acting training before (participating in) Miss India. It was after a workshop with Neeraj Kabi and another with Atul Mongia that I really got into it. So, I enrolled to a nine-month method-acting diploma programme," said the Miss Diva 2017 second runner-up.

"I think that the acting course that really changed my life. It made me certain that this is where I belong and helped me to get to know the craft better. I also did a comedy play. We did several shows for that and it was one of the most amazing experiences that I had," she added.

She revealed that participating in a beauty pageant was something that she wanted to do since childhood.

"As a kid, I used to watch Miss India on TV with my parents and my sister, and we used to all dream that one day I will be there and I will wear the crown. In fact, I did my first pageant, MTV Teen Diva, in 2009 and I won it. I won the title of Miss Teen India International 2009 and I represented India at Miss Teen International 2009 in Chicago," she said.

Years later, Apeksha went through the long process of auditioning and said she went through many of them before landing a role in "Undekhi".

"As a newcomer, I went through the regular process of auditioning. I went to many auditions. For my debut, I was looking for a role which would let me push my boundaries as an actor, and I think I am very lucky that I got to start my career with a show like 'Undekhi'," she said.

"Even when I just read the audition script, I fell in love with it. A few weeks after the first round of audition, they called me back for a second round without make-up because the role is such. It was almost after one year of auditioning that I got a call from the production house saying that they wanted me for the role. It was a long wait but totally worth it," Apeksha added.

The first teaser of "Undekhi" was recently released. It starts with a group of policemen sailing through the Sundarbans to investigate a dead body. On reaching they are informed that the body is two-three days old and has been eaten by wild animals after his death.

"The teaser of 'Undekhi' is finally out, and I am quite excited because it's been more than a year since we finished shooting. The teaser in itself is quite intriguing. I can't wait to share more about my role and the series, which is based on true events," Apeksha said.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:18:01 +0530
Tibetan refugees in Ladakh come out in India s support

Leh, As the situation is unfolding along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, a groundswell of support for India has come from a small group of Tibetan refugees in Leh.

The Tibetan refugee market in Leh is run by the displaced people from Tibet whose ancestors had migrated from there in the sixties.

Yagchin is one among the few hundred running a shop of readymade goods in Leh. She says she wants to return to Tibet and she is hopeful that one day her dream will be realised.

"I was born in India, my parents came from Tibet. They have died now, but we are hopeful that we will return to Tibet one day," she said.

Yagchin says China is an expansionist power and an epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

"China has spread coronavirus to the world, now they are inflicting cruelty on small countries like Hong Kong," she said.

She added that it is time that the world takes notice of all that is happening in the region and helps in the liberation of Tibet.

She said Indian soldiers have suffered a big loss in the Galwan Valley, which has made everybody sad. "We should seek revenge from China," she said.

Lupsang, who also runs a readymade garment outlet, said it is time to boycott Chinese goods and products.

"China did very wrong, they stabbed India from the back. We must boycott the products and goods of China," she said.

The market of Tibetan refugees started in the 1980s. It has 145 shops, but most of them are closed after the coronavirus outbreak.

Sonam, the President of the Tibetan Market Association, said that the government must work towards realising the idea of ‘Make in India' by focussing on local production and discouraging Chinese products.

"We appeal to the government, please work on the idea of ‘Make in India'. The reality is that 80 per cent of the materials in this market are Chinese. It is very difficult for us to get Indian goods," he said.

He said Chinese transgressions are nothing new. These have been happening every year, but the Indian reaction is always subdued.

"Every year China takes a few kilometres, but India does not react. Now India has realised the gravity of the situation by losing 20 soldiers," he said.

"We consider India as our mother. We are born and brought up in India, we are Indians first. If we are asked to defend the Indian borders, we will gladly do that," he said.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:14:42 +0530
Urvashi on tweet plagiarism Team behind celeb looks after social media posting

New Delhi,  Actress and former beauty queen Urvashi Rautela has landed in soup a few times for allegedly copy-pasting someone else's tweets on her social media. She says it's unfair to accuse anyone on behalf of what they write as there is a team behind a celebrity that looks after all the posting.

Urvashi found herself in trouble when she tweeted about the Oscar-winning Korean film "Parasite". The post reportedly had been copied from New York-based author JP Brammer. She was later accused of copying actor Sidharth Malhotra's tweet for Mumbai Police's efforts during the lockdown.

Talking about it, Urvashi told IANS: "Nobody is in a position to comment on someone. It's unfair to accuse anyone on behalf of what they write. Everyone knows there is a team behind a celebrity that looks after all the social media postings."

Urvashi was bullied on social media after the incident. She calls bullying wrong.

"I don't blame anybody for that, because people can or may post anything they like and feel motivated. But what's wrong is that people are bullying someone or attempting to impeach others on behalf of that," he said.

Urvashi says she encourages people to stay positive and keep others motivated.

"I often share the quotes of Rumi, Anne Frank, and many other writers, because I feel that they are encouraging and that my friends and fans should know. The only thing I think in life is to stay positive and keep myself and others motivated, so to all the people trying to troll me or any other industry celebrities, please make sure you know the whole truth because with this thought you are demeaning yourself. Rather than spreading negativity let's just be positive and spread positivity. Be home, be safe," she said.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:13:11 +0530
Apple ditches Intel first ARM run Mac coming later this year

Cupertino,  Apple has confirmed its break up with Intel x86 architecture for Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) chips in its Mac desktops, announcing it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies.

Developers can now get started updating their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple silicon in the Mac.

"From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we're announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I've never been more excited about the future of the Mac," Cook said during the WWDC20 developer conference late Monday.

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple silicon by the end of the year and complete the transition in about two years.

Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, and has exciting new Intel-based Macs in development.

"The transition to Apple silicon represents the biggest leap ever for the Mac," said the company.

This transition will also establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimise their apps for the entire ecosystem.

Apple also introduced macOS Big Sur, the next major release of macOS.

Developers can easily convert their existing apps to run on Apple silicon, taking advantage of its powerful technologies and performance.

For the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications.

To help developers get started with Apple silicon, Apple is also launching the Universal App Quick Start Programme, which provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and the limited use of a Developer Transition Kit (DTK).

For over a decade, Apple's class silicon design team has been building and refining Apple SoCs.

The result is a scalable architecture custom designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that leads the industry in unique features and performance per watt, and makes each of them best in class.

Building upon this architecture, Apple is designing a family of SoCs for the Mac.

In macOS Big Sur, Apple is offering a range of technologies to make the transition to Apple silicon smooth and seamless.

"With everything built into Xcode 12, such as native compilers, editors, and debugging tools, most developers will be able to get their apps running in a matter of days," said the company.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:10:19 +0530
Microsoft acquires CyberX to boost IoT deployments for customers

San Francisco, Microsoft has acquired a security startup called CyberX to accelerate and secure customers Internet of Things (IoT) deployments.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but media reports said the acquisition could be around $165 million.

"CyberX will complement the existing Azure IoT security capabilities, and extends to existing devices including those used in industrial IoT, Operational Technology and infrastructure scenarios," the tech giant said in a statement on Monday.

With CyberX, customers can discover their existing IoT assets, and both manage and improve the security posture of those devices.

"With CyberX, customers can see a digital map of thousands of devices across a factory floor or within a building and gather information about their asset profile and vulnerabilities," said Microsoft.

Security researchers this month discovered serious vulnerabilities that could expose IoT devices worldwide to hackers.

The vulnerability affects hundreds of millions of IoT devices that could potentially allow nefarious actors, including nation-states, to remote take-over of these devices, according to JSOF, a boutique cybersecurity organization.

Microsoft said that gaining this visibility is not only critical for understanding where security risks may exist and then mitigating those risks, "but it is also a fundamental step to securely enable smart manufacturing, smart grid and other digitization use cases across production facilities and the supply chain".

IoT today provides real-time insights into assets, enabling businesses to reduce operational expenses, unplanned downtime and unnecessary servicing.

Two years ago, Microsoft announced a $5 billion investment in IoT to further its commitment to build a trusted, easy-to-use platform for its customers and partners.

"We will continue to deliver more value to our customers as CyberX is further integrated with Microsoft's broad portfolio of IoT security offerings in threat protection that span users, endpoints, applications, data and more," said the company.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:08:14 +0530
Rocket lands near Baghdad airport no casualties

Baghdad, A Katyusha rocket landed near the Baghdad International Airport without causing any casualties, the Iraqi military said.

The attack took place on Monday evening when unknown militants fired the rocket from a village in Abu Ghraib area in western Baghdad, the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

Baghdad airport and other Iraqi military bases housing the US forces have been frequently targeted by mortar and rocket attacks, reports Xinhua news agency.

The attack came more than a week after the US and Iraqi officials held a strategic video dialogue, where Washington pledged to continue cutting down on its forces in Iraq and confirmed that it does not seek permanent military presence in the country.

The Iraq-US relations have witnessed a tension since January 3 when an American drone struck a convoy at Baghdad's airport, which killed Qasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

The US airstrike prompted the Iraqi parliament two days later to pass a resolution that requires the government to end the presence of foreign forces in the country.

More than 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the domestic forces in the battles against the Islamic State militants, mainly providing training and advising.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 10:05:35 +0530
UP govt orders thermal screening in all shelter homes

Lucknow, The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has ordered thermal scanning of all staff and inmates of women shelter homes, orphanages and juvenile homes in the state.

UP chief secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, on Monday night, issued strict orders for implementation of all precautions needed to check the spread of coronavirus.

The move comes after 57 girls at a state-run shelter home in Kanpur had tested Corona positive.

The chief secretary ordered that infrared thermometers should be made available for checking all people, including staff members, in women shelter homes, nari niketans, orphanages and juvenile homes. He said that anyone having cold, cough or fever should not be allowed entry into these places.

Letters for strict compliance of these directives have been issued to the additional chief secretary and the principal secretaries of the Social Welfare and the Women and Child Development departments.

The caretakers of these homes should reside in the facilities and ensure that all necessary precautions are being taken, the order said.

The chief secretary further directed that in order to maintain cleanliness and hygiene, inmates should be provided soap and detergent powder.

He said that those residing in these facilities should be provided masks and handkerchiefs to cover their faces. Social distancing norms should be strictly followed.

The number of visitors of the inmates should be kept at the minimum and they should be properly screened if meeting was absolutely necessary.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 09:47:06 +0530
2 more Trump campaign staffers at Tulsa rally test COVID 19 positive

Washington, Two more campaign staffers who attended President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, US state Oklahoma, on Saturday have tested positive for the coronavirus, the campaign said.

The new test results bring the number of Trump's campaign staffers for the Tulsa event who have tested positive for COVID-19 up to eight, including two secret service agents, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

"After another round of testing for campaign staff in Tulsa, two additional members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus," said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh on Monday.

"These staff members attended the rally but were wearing masks during the entire event. Upon the positive tests, the campaign immediately activated established quarantine and contact tracing protocols," Murtaugh said.

The six earlier positive tests of advance campaign members occurred just before the event, and those people did not attend the rally as a result.

The number of people connected to the event who test positive is expected to rise, NBC News reported, citing campaign and law enforcement officials.

Oklahoma officials on Monday reported 478 new coronavirus cases, a record high for the state.

The Tulsa rally was Trump's first such campaign event since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Trump's next campaign event is set to occur in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 08:57:04 +0530
2 militants CRPF trooper killed in gunfight in Pulwama district

Srinagar, Two militants and a central reserve police force (CRPF) trooper were killed on Tuesday in a gunfight in J&K's Pulwama district.

Police said two militants and a CRPF jawan were killed early Tuesday in an encounter between the security forces and the militants in Bandzoo village of Pulwama district.

Bandzoo village is situated one kilometre ahead of Pulwama town on Pulwama-Shopian road.

"Following specific information about the presence of militants in Bandzoo village, security forces including the local police, Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF started a cordon and search operation during which an encounter started.

"Two militants have been killed in this encounter. A CRPF jawan sustained critical injuries during the encounter.

"He later succumbed to critical injuries. Firing has stopped, but searches are still going on," police said.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 08:48:44 +0530
2 militants CRPF trooper killed in gunfight in Pulwama district

Srinagar, Two militants and a central reserve police force (CRPF) trooper were killed on Tuesday in a gunfight in J&K's Pulwama district.

Police said two militants and a CRPF jawan were killed early Tuesday in an encounter between the security forces and the militants in Bandzoo village of Pulwama district.

Bandzoo village is situated one kilometre ahead of Pulwama town on Pulwama-Shopian road.

"Following specific information about the presence of militants in Bandzoo village, security forces including the local police, Rashtriya Rifles and the CRPF started a cordon and search operation during which an encounter started.

"Two militants have been killed in this encounter. A CRPF jawan sustained critical injuries during the encounter.

"He later succumbed to critical injuries. Firing has stopped, but searches are still going on," police said.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 08:48:41 +0530
Ghaziabad Police Crime Branch arrest prime accused in murder of female nursing student

Ghaziabad,  : The prime accused in the murder of a 19-year-old nursing student has been arrested by Ghaziabad Police on Monday. The prime accused, Sheru Khan (22), had gone into hiding after the incident. He was caught while changing his location of hiding, police said. "He was moving from Harsh Vihar to Panchsheel Colony when we arrested him," Kalanidhi Naithani, SSP Ghaziabad, told IANS. The police have also arrested Sherus brother Rizwan and brother in law Imran for providing shelter to the prime accused.

Naithani also told that the Sheru's arrest was a joint operation by two teams of Ghaziabad Police and Crime Branch. Naithani has declared prize money of Rs 20,000 for the teams, which traced and arrested Sheru. Naithani had put a bounty of Rs 20,000 on Sheru after he went into the hiding.

Earlier, the police had arrested two accomplices of Sheru, Asif (22) and Amir Chaudhary (20), who accompanied him in the murder. The police have charged all three accused under section 302 of IPC and section 25 of Arms Act.

Khan, along with his two friends, had attacked Naina in the middle of the road at a market near Tila Mor when she was returning to her home on Wednesday. Her parents accompanied her during the incident. Sheru had stabbed her multiple times in her neck, chest, and abdomen. She was rushed to a hospital in Delhi, where the doctors declared her brought dead.

Sheru had come with his friends on a scooty. Baldev Singh, Naina's father, said that he was donning a mask, but her mother identified him when she tore his mask while struggling to save Naina from being attacked. All three of them escaped the scene right after the incident. The family lodged an FIR against the accused following which the police arrested Asif and Aamir on Thursday. However, Sheru went on large. Naina used to live with her parents in Tulsi Niketan.

The police have also recovered two knives and the scooty, which was used in the crime.

Naina was murdered just two days before her marriage. The marriage was scheduled on June 20 at Nagpur, where her fiancé lives and runs a restaurant, Singh informed.

Police informed that Sheru and Aamir are residents of Delhi's Sunder Nagri, while Asif lives in Sahibabad. Police also said that Sheru was after Naina since she was studying in a school in Sunder Nagri. She was pursuing her education in nursing from a college in Delhi. Sheru used to help his father in his business. He was also very active on Tik Tok and had amassed a following of four lakh users on his account.

(IANS)

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 08:46:05 +0530
Diesel to surpass petrol prices for 1st time in India

New Delhi, In an unexpected development, the pump price of diesel is all set to surpass the petrol price in the capital, making it the most expensive transport fuel for the first time in a long time.

Globally, diesel is priced slightly above petrol prices due to the very nature of the product that has a higher cost of production. But in India, due to the lopsided taxation structure, diesel attracts lesser of the tax between the two auto fuels keeping its prices lower than petrol for last several years.

Diesel is currently priced at Rs 79.40 a litre in the Capital, just 36 paise short of petrol price that is being retailed at Rs 79.76 a litre. Going by the trend of price movement in the two products for the last few days where diesel prices have consistently increased by 50-60 paise per litre while the daily increase in petrol prices have fallen to just 20 paise on Tuesday, it is set to surpass petrol prices in next few days.

"Diesel price movement is sharper in international market and if oil companies follow the global price trend, diesel prices will surpass that of petrol later this week. It will be after many years that this would happen and is expected to sustain for some time unless government changes the tax structure of the petroleum products again," said an oil sector expert from one of the big four audit and advisory firms asking not to be named.

Interestingly, even in India the base price of diesel is expensive than petrol. According to the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), while the base price of petrol in Delhi currently comes to Rs 22.11 per litre, the same for diesel is higher at Rs 22.93 per litre (effective from June 16, 2020). This has been the case for a long time, but retail price of petrol can be higher than diesel due to central and state taxes.

What has now brought diesel prices to a whisker of petrol prices in the capital is the Delhi government's decision early May to increase the Value Added Tax on diesel from 16.75 per cent to 30 per cent and on petrol from 27 per cent to 30 per cent. This increased the retail price of diesel and petrol in Delhi by Rs 7.10 and Rs 1.67 a litre respectively. With Central taxes on the two products already reaching identical levels, the Delhi governments move hastened price parity between petrol and diesel.

Currently, the Central excise on petrol is Rs 32.98 a litre while that on diesel it is Rs 31.83 a litre. The VAT on petrol in Delhi is Rs 17.71 a litre and that on diesel is Rs 17.60 a litre.

While the movement of retail pricing is being seen with a sigh of relief by vehicle owners whose cars run on petrol, those buying the relatively expensive diesel cars are now repenting on their decision. The development is also being seen with caution by automobile companies who have spent millions to ramp up their facilities for diesel-run vehicles. The expectation is that demand for such cars will now fall, causing more damage to companies where sales are already impacted due to persistent economic slowdown and now the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

"The pricing development would push automobile companies to strategies being followed by companies in the western markets where diesel-run cars are not sold on fuel pricing differential, but on overall make and quality that puts them ahead of petrol run cars," the expert quoted earlier.

Yes, but for the commercial vehicle sector, the rising price of diesel had not been welcomed. In fact, the commercial transport sector had time an again threatened strike against the move to raise fuel prices.

With petrol and diesel retail prices closing, the case for adultering fuel has also gone down much to the relief of vehicle owners.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 01:44:39 +0530
PIA aircraft crashed due to human error Report

Karachi, The May 22 crash of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane in Karachi took place due to human error, the negligence of both the cockpit crew as well as the air control tower, and not because of any technical fault, said a probe report.

There was apparently no technical fault in the aircraft, said the preliminary investigation report submitted to the Aviation Division in a high level meeting on Monday, reports The Express Tribune.

PIA flight PK8303, carrying 99 people including eight crew members, crashed into a densely populated residential area near Karachi airport as it was making its second attempt to land.

Ninety-seven people perished in the accident that also caused considerable damage to the residential areas.

A day after the incident, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had notified an investigation team headed by its Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board (AAIB) President Air Commodore Usman Ghani

The team was ordered to submit its preliminary report on June 22.

On Monday, Air Commodore Ghani gave a detailed briefing to the Aviation Division officials.

Black boxes from crashed PIA plane head to France for analysis

According to the report, the CAA officials, the cockpit crew, the control tower and the air traffic control repeatedly made mistakes. Sources privy to the document said the aircraft's black box has so far not indicated the possibility of any technical fault.

The report said both the speed and the altitude of the aircraft was more than the recommended parameters when the pilot tried first landing.

In the first landing, the aircraft touched the ground at the middle of 9,000-metre long runway, The Express Tribune quoted the probe report as saying.

The control tower permitted landing despite greater speed and altitude. The air traffic control also did not provide the control tower with the radio frequency.

The pilot also did not inform the control tower about jamming of the landing gears. It was a wrong decision on part of the pilot to attempt a second landing.

The plane stayed in the air for 17 minutes after the first landing attempt, a crucial time during which both the engines of the aircraft failed.

It said fragments of the PIA aircraft's engine stayed on the runway for 12 hours but the air site unit did not collect them and later other aircrafts were allowed to land on the runway. This was a violation of the standard operating procedure as it could case damaged to other aircrafts.

According to the report the air traffic control officials should have been relieved after the incident but they continued to perform their duties till 7 p.m. It said the aircraft's first engine was installed on February 25, 2019 while its second engine was installed on May 27, 2019.

Minister for Civil Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan Monday told the National Assembly that the interim report on the plane crash will be presented in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

He confirmed that he has received the report and also shared it with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 23 Jun 2020 01:35:31 +0530
Diana Penty I m usually not a love story kind of person

Mumbai, Actress Diana Penty, who will next be seen in the romantic drama film "Shiddat", says she is usually not a "love story kind of person".

Talking about her next film. Diana told IANS: "'Shiddat' is a beautiful story of love and the strong bonds between people. It is pure and intense and also very relatable. I am usually not a love story kind of person, but when I heard the script, it moved me a lot."

"Shiddat" features Mohit Raina, Radhika Madan and Sunny Kaushal along with Diana, and is directed by Kunal Deshmukh of "Jannat" fame on a script by Shridhar Raghavan and Dheeraj Rattan.

The film, produced by Dinesh Vijan, will reportedly have two parallel tracks, focusing on the journey of two couples. While Radhika stars opposite Sunny, Diana pairs up with Mohit.

"It has been a pleasure working with Mohit, Radhika and Sunny -- all such talented artists -- as well as Kunal (Deshmukh) who has done a great job bringing this story to life," she said.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 09:11:49 +0530
Apple to start assembling iPhone SE in India Report

San Francisco, Apple is reportedly planning to assemble its new iPhone SE in India.

The iPhone maker has already asked one of its suppliers in China to start shipping components for the iPhone SE 2020 to its manufacturing partner Wistron in India, reports AppleInsider.

Assembling the iPhone SE 2020 under the 'Make in India' initiative will help the company in avoiding the 20 per cent tax on its imported phones and reducing the price of the device in India.

This news comes at a time when the Indian government has also started an initiative to increase manufacturing in the country.

Apple is reportedly seeking to shift roughly a fifth of existing China-based output to India, which could equate to $40 billion in local manufacturing revenues over the next five years.

Apple has been assembling some of its phones in India for a while via its two manufacturers - Foxconn and Wistron. Wistron also assembled the original iPhone SE in the country until 2019. Foxconn makes iPhone XR in India.

The second-generation iPhone SE was launched in the country at a starting price of Rs 42,500, however the device is sold at $400 (around Rs 30,400) in the US.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 09:06:37 +0530
Palestinian officials warn against Israel s annexation plan

Ramallah,  Palestinian officials warned of the consequences of Israel's annexation plans on the chances of peace in the Middle East.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday that "Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank will not be allowed to pass", Xinhua news agency reported.

He stressed that the Palestinian leadership would never accept an alternative to a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, stressing that the Palestinian position and upcoming steps will be based on international laws and legitimacy resolutions.

Fatah party's Central Committee Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub said that Palestinians are ready to "move to another step of resistance if necessary."

"The Palestinian people will not suffer alone, nor die alone if Israel goes ahead with the unilateral annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank," said Rajoub.

He noted that Fatah movement has called on Palestinians to participate in a popular demonstration on Monday in Jericho, a West Bank city at risk of annexation by Israel.

Rajoub told reporters that representatives of the international community, including United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, will attend the activity on Monday and address the masses.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously set July 1 as the date to begin the annexation plan and apply Israeli civil law on Israeli settlements built in the West Bank. However, Netanyahu has yet to announce details for the move.

The annexation plan is part of US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, so-called "Deal of the Century" that was revealed earlier this year.

A joint US-Israeli team is working on the maps that will determine the demarcation of areas to be annexed by Israel, a move that has been strongly criticized by the international community.

Israel captured the West Bank territories during the 1967 Middle East war. According to UN resolutions, Israeli settlement activity is considered illegal.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 09:00:44 +0530
Maha s Covid deaths cross 6K mark 3 870 more cases recorded

Mumbai,  Maharashtra on Sunday notched 3,870 Covid-19 cases - the second highest so far but marginally down from Saturday's peak of 3,874, while Mumbai recorded its new high of 41 deaths, the maximum till date on a single day.

The number of fatalities on Sunday came down to 101, down from Saturday's 160, health officials said here.

With this, the toll climbed to 6,085, (though the state government data pegged the total at 6,170) and total cases shot up to 132,075 till date, the highest in the country.

Sunday's figures work out to roughly one death every 14 minutes, and a whopping 161 new cases notched every hour in the state.

After several days, the recovery rate dropped from 50.04 to 49.78 per cent, while the mortality rate stands at 4.67 percent.

For most days in June, the state has been recording three-digit highs of deaths and over 3,000 plus figures of new patients, causing big worries.

The Health Department said of the total number of cases declared till date, 60,147 were active cases - and this number is lower vis-a-vis the number of patients cured, indicating a positive sign.

Of the total 101 fatalities, Mumbai alone notched 41 deaths -- taking the city death toll up to 3,671 now, while the number of Covid-19 positive patients here went up by 1,159 cases to touch 66,488 now.

There were 29 deaths in Thane city, 14 in Pune, seven in Nashik, four in Akola, and one each in Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Latur, Amravati, Buldhana and Washim.

On the positive side, a total of 1,591 fully cured patients returned home on Sunday, taking the number of those discharged to 65,744 now.

The MMR (Thane Division) remains badly-hit with a total of 4,568 Covid-19 deaths, and the number of positive cases going up to 96,859.

Thane - with 24,388 cases and 716 fatalities - has emerged as the second worst-hit district after Mumbai in the state.

Pune district has dropped to the third position with 15,881 patients and 601 deaths till now. Yet Pune Division ranks second (after MMR) with 18,926 patients and 811 deaths.

However, since the past couple of days, there have been glaring mismatches in the official data with inexplicable drop in death toll, but officials were not available for comments in the matter.

The next major region of concern is Nashik Division with 397 deaths and 5,883 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad Division with 190 fatalities and 4,102 cases, and finally Akola Division with 101 deaths and 2,093 cases.

Latur Division has 32 deaths and 768 cases, Kolhapur Division 36 deaths and 1,698 patients, and finally Nagpur Division with 15 deaths and 1,632 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased to 600,066 now, while those in institutional quarantine increased to 26,287.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 08:57:15 +0530
Pakistan violates ceasefire on LoC in Poonch Rajouri districts

Jammu, Pakistan started indiscriminate, unprovoked shelling on the Line of Control (LoC) on Monday in J&K's Poonch and Rajouri districts.

Colonel Anand, defence ministry spokesman said, "At about 3.30 a.m. today Pakistan initiated unprovoked firing with small arms and shelling with mortars along the LoC in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district.

"Again at about 5.30 a.m. Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district. Indian army is retaliating befittingly at both the sectors".

Pakistan has been breaching the bilateral ceasefire agreement signed by the two countries in October, 2003 with impunity during the last one month.

This has thrown lives of hundreds of border villagers haywire whose lives and livelihood are threatened by the hostilities on the LoC in Poonch, Rajouri, Kupwara, Baramulla, Bandipora and Jammu districts of J&K.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 08:54:55 +0530
Kerala Catholic priest found dead in well

Thiruvananthapuram,  Body of a popular Catholic priest of a Kottayam church, who went missing since Sunday, was recovered from the church well on Monday morning.

Fifty-seven-year-old Thomas Ettuparayil had returned from the US last year and taken charge as the vicar of the St Thomas Church, Punnathura near Kottayam .

Anxious parish members had complained to the police about the missing priest, following which a search was launched, but they were unable to locate him immediately.

"It was yesterday morning when a few parishioners who went to meet him discovered that he was not in his room. When they opened his room, they found that he was not there.

"His mobile was in the room and we found out that the CCTV was also switched off. We came to know that he had an appointment with the diocesan bishop on Sunday as he was seeking a transfer. When we checked up with the dioceses, it was found that he had not appeared for the meeting," said a local parishioner.

The police also found that the CCTV was switched off. The search operations that resumed on Monday morning located the body of Thomas in the well of the church.

According to the police a plastic rope also was recovered near the body. A probe is underway.

The priest was popular among the parishioners and an incident occurred in the church when some documents were burned and he was deeply affected.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 03:11:04 +0530
India China hold corps commanders level talks amid massive deployment

New Delhi,  Over thousands of Indian Army men stand a few meters away from Line of Actual Control against Chinese People's Liberation Army even as corps commanders of two countries' military meet at Moldo on Monday to resolve the border issue and ease tension in Eastern Ladakh.

This is the second such meeting after the first one on June 6 happened to defuse the tensions.

The meeting between 14 Corps commander Lieutenant General Harinder Singh and South Xinjiang Military District chief Major General Liu Lin is happening on the lines of the one they held at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting (BPM) point in eastern Ladakh on June 6.

The talks will continue, however, sources said: "The pull back or disengagement as of now looks unlikely."

The volatile ground situation in Ladakh and Pangong Tso is likely to be another flashpoint after Galwan Valley patrolling point 14 where a barbaric attack was carried on Indian troops by Chinese army. Ferocious build up at the Line of Actual Control has started backed by artillery and tanks in the depth areas.

At Pangong Tso, there is an attempt by the PLA to alter the Line of Actual Control unilaterally.

The prolonged camping and a heavy presence of Chinese troops in Pangong Lake at a point which has been under Indian control has emerged to be the biggest roadblock for a possible resolution to the ongoing tussle between India and China at the Line of Actual Control.

The Chinese have built defences in several parts between Finger 4 and 8 that have been grey zones in the past. The Chinese action in Pangong Lake is seen as an attempt to change the status quo.

Indian Army has also enhanced deployment at Hot Springs, Demchok, Koyul, Fukche, Depsang, Murgo, and Galwan.

After the June 15 violent clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and Chinese also suffered casualties, nothing has changed and things continue to be tense in Galwan and Pangong Tso region.

In the midst of the growing tension, India is exploring all possible military options as a response if the Chinese aggression continues.

India has also ramped up preparations on its side along the 826-km front of the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.

Indian has also found that China has deployed fighter jets, bombers and helicopters at four bases close to the LAC. It has been noticed at Hotan in Xinjiang, Ngyari and Shigatse.

There has also been Chinese PLA movement at Nyingchi, north of Arunachal Pradesh.

India too has strategically deployed its air fighters which are ready to take on Chinese aircrafts anytime.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 03:05:32 +0530
Hope PM will accept Manmohan Singh s advice Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the interest of the country, should accept the advice of former Prime Minister Manomhan Singh who said disinformation on the Chinese transgression will be a betrayal to the sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers.

Rahul Gandhi on Monday also paid glowing tributes to all the 20 Indian soldiers who died in Ladakh's Galwan valley on June 15, saying India will never forget their sacrifices.

"Tribute to our brothers. You gave up everything for us. We will never forget these sacrifices," Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet attaching a video of all the Indian soldiers killed in Ladakh's Galwan valley.

Rahul Gandhi in another tweet also criticised the government over the handling of the situation in Ladakh and said he hoped that the government would accept the advice of Manmohan Singh for in the interest of the country.

"Important advice by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. For the betterment of India, I hope the Prime Minister will accept it politely," he said in another tweet.

The remark by the former Congress chief came after Singh launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying "disinformation" on the Chinese transgression will be a "betrayal" to the sacrifice made by the Indian soldiers at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and it was neither a "substitute for diplomacy" nor "decisive leadership".

Singh was criticising Modi's statement at the all-party meeting on Friday and later clarification by the Prime Minister's Office on the June 15 night's violent face-off between the Indian and Chinese sides at Galwan Valley that led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer.

"The Prime Minister cannot allow them to use his words as a vindication of their position and must ensure that all organs of the Government work together to tackle this crisis and prevent it from escalating further," said the former Prime Minister.

Singh in a statement said: "We remind the Government that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. The truth cannot be suppressed by having pliant allies spout comforting but false statements."

Manmohan Singh said the Prime Minister must always be mindful of the implications of his words and declarations on our Nation's security as also strategic and territorial interests. The former Prime Minister said China is "brazenly and illegally" seeking to claim parts of Indian territory such as the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Tso by committing multiple incursions between April 2020 till date.

"The Nation, lost twenty brave soldiers in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh on June 15-16, 2020. They laid down their lives in the ultimate act of sacrifice, valour and duty to our country. Our bravehearts defended the motherland till their last breath and for that we owe them, and their families, our eternal gratitude," he said in the statement.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 02:58:23 +0530
AMU scientist discovers proteins that form Cancer in liver

Aligarh (UP), An Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) zoologist, Dr Hifzur R. Siddique, has collaborated with Prof Keigo Machida of the University of Southern California, to discover the protein forming cancerous cells in the body, causing growth of tumour in the liver.

Their research could serve as a potential therapeutic target for the drug design and give a direction to the management strategy for this deadly disease.

The AMU scientist said that he had been working on these cells for a decade and has established a dedicated lab to initiate pioneer research on Cancer Stem Cells at AMU.

Dr Siddiqui elaborated through his paper that alcohol consumption and hepatitis infection lead to liver cancer formation through stem cell factor and generation of cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are rare cells found in the tumour which are responsible for cancer initiation recurrence, invasion and metastasis. Thus, these cells were considered as 'root cause' of almost all cancer.

At initial stage of therapy, the cancer cells are killed either by chemotherapeutic drugs or radiation. However, a few cells survive and they form tumour and cancer reappear after a gap some time interval.

He informed that annually, more than half million new cases of liver cancer patients are diagnosed and on 5-year survival rate is only 10-20 per cent till today against 91 per cent for breast cancer. Liver cancer is largely traced in developing or under developed countries where 80-83 per cent of patients are found.

The study was recently published in the prestigious journal, Nature Communications 11 (2020).

"Liver is considered as the powerhouse of the body. Due to the change in lifestyle, chronic alcohol consumption, Hepatitis virus infection, incidence of liver cancer is increasing by the day. However, exactly how these normal liver cells become cancerous is only partially understood," the scientist said.

Siddique and Machida discovered the molecular mechanisms of a cancer-causing protein, TBC1D15.

"This degrades P53, known as guardian of genome, and activates the cancer-causing notch path activation," he told IANS on Monday.

These cells were considered as root cause of almost all cancer. At initial stage of therapy, the cancer cells are killed either by chemotherapeutic drugs or radiation. However, a few cells survive and they form tumour and cancer reappears after a certain period.

In 2014, Siddique's work on therapy-resistant cancer was selected as one of the three 'Featured Prostate Cancer Research' work by the US department of Defence's '2014 Research Highlights' section -- a rare achievement by any scientist.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 02:54:59 +0530
My father was an institution builder at his core Satya Nadella

New Delhi,  For Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, one of his earliest memories of his father was getting up in the middle of the night and finding him sitting up in his bed reading a thick hardback book.

Remembering his father B.N. Yugandhar, a 1962 batch IAS officer who died in Hyderabad following a brief illness last year at age 82, Nadella wrote in a LinkedIn post on Sunday that he was an institution builder at his core.

"My father's work was more than just a job for him. He was ten years old when India became independent, and approximately a dozen or so years later my father joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as a civil servant," Nadella wrote on the occasion of Father's Day.

Yugandhar served in the Prime Minister's Office under PV Narasimha Rao, and also as director of the Mussoorie-based Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.

"To him this was not a professional career choice, but a calling. There was the fervour of nation-building in the air, and he inhaled it all with an unwavering deep sense of passion and commitment throughout his life," said an emotional Nadella who, after attending schools in Srikakulam and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, Mussoorie, Delhi and Hyderabad — and later flunking an IIT entrance exam — landed in the US.

"The way he combined his work with his life's passions, the deep meaning he derived from it, has been instrumental in shaping my own views of work and life," the Microsoft CEO remembered.

Nadella's father always said that one's true impact could only be evaluated after that person had moved on from their current assignment.

"It's the people you mentor and empower and the culture you build that will have a lasting impact. He was weary of people who walked into new assignments ready to dismantle things before understanding what needed to change or had a real vision for what new capability could be built that would give the institution strength to further its impact," Nadella emphasized.

In his popular book ‘Hit Refresh," Nadella wrote: "My father was a civil servant with Marxist leanings and my mother was a Sanskrit scholar. While there is much I learned from my father, including intellectual curiosity and a love of history, I was always my mother's son".

Yugandhar (Yugi to his friends and his grandkids) would "say to me that life is a terminal condition, and no one makes it out alive".

"But one's life can speak to us by passing on what is most important about being human and how to live. I work and live in a very different context and time. And yet I am guided by the lessons he taught me by living his life to fulfill his passions and principles," said Nadella.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 12:02:02 +0530
Yoga helps confidently negotiate challenges Modi

New Delhi,  In what can be seen as a subtle message in the backdrop of the recent India-China face-off in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed and reportedly a similar number, if not bigger, were on the Chinese side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the International Yoga Day on Sunday to send out a message.

He asserted Yoga allows "emotional stability to confidently negotiate the challenges before us".

"Yoga enables us to stay balanced in every situation," he said invoking Swami Vivekananda to say, "that a principled individual remains active and in complete peace even amid challenges".

He also invoked Lord Krishna from Bhagavad Gita to suggest "Yoga is but efficiency in action". The Gita contains a series of dialogues between Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Lord Krishna in the middle of Battlefield Kurukshetra where the "dharma yudha" or a battle between right and wrong was to begin.

Modi said: "Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita that Yoga is but efficiency in action. This mantra always teaches us that Yoga provides us strength to become more successful in life".

Modi directly touched upon the issue of the pandemic while saying that the ancient Indian meditation system has been a source of emotional strength to many during these trying times.

"Many people all over the world infected by COVID-19 are benefitting from Yoga. They are getting the strength in fighting the disease. Yoga provides the self confidence and mental strength by which we are able to face challenges and also overcome them. Yoga provides mental peace and power to endure pain," said Modi as he addressed the nation through a televised program.

He claimed, worldwide many corona infected individuals are "benefitting" from Yoga.

Highlighting India's contribution for universal brotherhood, PM Modi remarked that "Yoga, enhances our quest for a healthier planet. It has emerged as a force for unity and deepens bonds of humanity. It does not discriminate, it goes beyond race, colour, gender, race and nation."

However, he added, "Right eating and drinking, right play, right habits of sleeping and rising and right way of doing one's duties - Yoga is this itself," he summed up.

He again invoked ancient ideologies to state, "Nishkama Karma - serving everyone without any selfish motive - has also been called in our tradition as Karma Yoga. This Indian thought, embedded in our culture, has been experienced by the whole world whenever in need".

While, he advocated Indians to practice Yoga as a part of their regular lives instead of for just a day, he made the point of making India a global beacon of solidarity was unmistakable, particularly at a time when China has been increasingly facing global isolation from nations like Japan, Australia, Canada, the US and others.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known for using symbols, imageries and Indian epic to make his point. While he did not even passingly mention the recent stand-off between the two nuclear armed Asian nations, the context and background of it is clear for everyone.

He was likely to be present at Leh for this year's Yoga Day, as per the plans made before the pandemic outbreak. The Ladakh capital is the groud zero of the violent face-off in Galwan Valley where Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed on June 15 night.

Last year, Modi led a grand event on the occasion of International Day of Yoga from Ranchi. He has been an active supporter of the ancient Indian meditation system and have earlier led top Indian leaders to do 'asanas' on Delhi's Rajnath, in the past.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 09:58:58 +0530
Trump holds Tulsa rally despite coronavirus fears

Washington,  US President Donald Trump held his first rally in more than three months in Tulsa, Oklahoma, despite warnings from health experts against large-scale gatherings amid a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in some states.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters in the Bank of Oklahoma Center on Saturday evening, Trump touted his policies and tore into Democrats and media, while touching upon a series of national issues, including the pandemic, which has infected 2,254,630 and killed 119,714 others in the US, reports Xinhua news agency.

The President blamed both the tallies, the current highest in the world, on testing, a claim that has been widely disputed.

"When you do testing to that extent, you are gonna find more people, you are gonna find more cases. So I said to my people slow the testing down please," Trump said.

"They test and they test. We have tests that people don't know what's going on."

He described testing as a "double-edged sword".

Trump told those present that they were "warriors" for attending despite the coronavirus warnings and said that the "silent majority" was "stronger than ever before", the BBC reported.

Taking aim at his Democratic presidential rival, he described Joe Biden as "a helpless puppet of the radical left".

Earlier this week, Trump boasted on Twitter that almost a million people had requested tickets for the event.

But the 19,000-seat arena was far from full and plans for him to address an outside "overflow" area were abandoned, said the BBC report.

The Trump campaign initially said that the Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence would first speak at an outdoor stage set up for overflow crowds.

But when the numbers failed to appear, campaign officials cancelled the outdoor appearance, blaming "radical protesters" and the media for attempting to "frighten off" supporters.

Just hours before the rally, the Trump's re-election campaign said six staff members involved in organising it had tested positive for COVID-19.

The President's re-election campaign rally is one of the biggest indoor gatherings in the US since the pandemic began.

Those attending had to sign a waiver protecting the Trump campaign from responsibility for any illness.

On Friday, Oklahoma's supreme court rejected a lawsuit asking that social distancing guidelines be followed.

However, the Trump campaign said attendees would have to pass temperature checks before being allowed into the venue - and that they would be offered face masks.

rump had initially planned to hold the rally on Friday. But he changed the date last week after learning it fell on June 19, known as Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the US.

The choice of location is also controversial. In 1921, Tulsa was the scene of a massacre in which white mobs attacked black people and businesses, killing an estimated 300 people.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 09:56:59 +0530
19 injured in separate New York City shootings

New York, At least 19 people were injured in 13 separate shooting incidents across New York City, police said.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) said on Saturday that it was investigating the13 separate shootings since midnight, with six in the borough of the Bronx, two in Queens, four in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan, reports Xinhua news agency.

At least one of the injured is in critical condition. The victims' ages ranged from 16 to 47, the Department said.

Other details, including possible motives, were not provided by the NYPD.

The incidents happened on the first weekend since the NYPD disbanded its undercover anti-crime unit.

On June 15, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the department would immediately transition some 600 plainclothes anti-crime officers to other assignments including neighbourhood policing and detective work.

Earlier this week, the department announced citywide crime statistics for May, showing there were 100 shooting incidents, a 64 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of murders saw a 79 per cent increase, the crime of auto theft increased by 68 per cent, and burglary increased by 34 per cent, according to a press release.

The NYPD said its summer All-Out initiative, which has been successful in prior years, was in effect again this year.

Hundreds of uniformed officers will fan out across some 10 neighbourhoods that have experienced upticks in crime.
 

(IANS) 

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 09:54:42 +0530
This International Yoga Day is day of solidarity PM Modi

New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation on 6th International Yoga Day on Sunday gave the message of solidarity and universal brotherhood in the backdrop of "violent face-off" with Chinese troops on June 15 night in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Prime Minister also stressed on developing immunity through Yoga by strengthening our respiratory system which is the most vulnerable part in the fight against global pandemic novel coronavirus.

In his address, PM congratulated the nation and said this International Yoga Day is a day of solidarity and the day gives the message of universal brotherhood.

He said that Yoga enhances our quest for a healthier planet.

"Yoga has emerged as a force for unity and deepens the bonds of humanity. It does not discriminate. It goes beyond race, colour, gender, faith and nations. Anybody can embrace Yoga," Modi said.

"If we can fine tune our chords of health and hope, the day is not far away when the world will witness the success of healthy and happy humanity. Yoga can definitely help us make this happen."

PM's message is significant in the wake of violent clash in Ladakh in which Indian Army personnel were attacked by Chinese People's Liberation Army on June 15 night leading to the death of 20 Indian soldiers.

Speaking about efficiency in action is Yoga, the Prime Minister mentioned about the COVID-19 surge and said that the virus specifically attacks our respiratory system.

"The one that helps us the most in strengthening our respiratory system is Pranayama like breathing exercise."

"As a conscious citizen, we will move forward unitedly as a family and society. We will try to make Yoga at home and Yoga with family a part of our lives. We will surely succeed, we will surely win," PM
 

(IANS) 

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 09:13:52 +0530
BJP accuses Kejriwal of taking credit of Modi govt s work in Delhi

New Delhi, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia of taking credit of the work done by the Modi government regarding COVID-19 in the national capital.

BJP state president Aadesh Kumar Gupta during Delhi Jansamvad Conference on Saturday said the measures taken after the intervention of the central government, the fear about the pandemic has reduced among the people of Delhi. Now, on the initiative of Modi government, the people of Delhi are going to get the testing facility, rapid antigen testing at low rates for which Delhi Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister are taking credit.

He said, "Ever since the Modi government has taken decisions like lowering the testing rate or price capping of private hospitals to protect the people of Delhi from corona infection, the fear of corona among the people of Delhi has reduced."

While the BJP is serving the people of Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party is busy in making baseless statements. It is really sad to know that while the nation is busy fighting a decisive battle against corona, the Kejriwal government is busy in politics.
 

(IANS) 

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 09:08:50 +0530
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra may come with Snapdragon 865 chipset

Seoul, South Korean tech giant Samsung's upcoming smartphone Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is expected to feature a Snapdragon 865+ chipset in select markets.

Famed tipster Ice Universe, who has previously been proven right on leaks regarding Samsung and Xiaomi, claimed that the upcoming Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus. Although the chip isn't officially out yet, it has been mentioned a few times in recent leaks, and even showed up on AnTuTu.

The device is also expected to feature a QHD+ LTPO AMOLED panel. The phone will also have an option for 120Hz refresh rate in QHD+ resolution, which is missing on the Galaxy S20 series.

The smartphone will come with improved S-pen along with additional camera features.

Recently, it was tipped that Galaxy Note 20 series will come in black, copper, white/grey, and mint green colour options.

Samsung is reportedly planning to launch its Galaxy Note 20 series as well as Galaxy Fold 2 on August 5 via an online event due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Korean newspaper The Dong-A Ilbo, a Samsung Electronics staff member has confirmed that the company is planning to launch the much-awaited Galaxy Note 20 series alongside the Galaxy Fold 2 on August 5.

The report claims, "Internal discussions are taking place, but the plan to hold the Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5 is being reviewed favourably".
 

(IANS) 

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 04:39:34 +0530
Himachal to resume chopper service from Monday

Shimla,  Himachal Pradesh will resume its chopper service to link state capital Shimla with Chandigarh, Kullu and Dharamsala under a regional air connectivity scheme from Monday, officials said on Sunday.

The government has allowed the resumption of the service by Pawan Hans Ltd under UDAN-II (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) as per the guidelines of the Ministry of Civil Aviation for domestic flights, a government spokesperson told IANS.

He said the flights would be operated on the Chandigarh-Shimla-Chandigarh, Shimla-Kullu-Shimla and Shimla-Dharamsala-Shimla routes.

The booking can be done online at www.pawanhans.co.in
 

(IANS)

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 04:35:39 +0530
Get MMR vaccine shot now to protect against severe Covid 19

Washington,  In yet another hope to fight several Covid-19 symptoms, administering the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine could serve as a preventive measure to dampen septic inflammation associated with the virus infection, say researchers.

Vaccination with MMR in immune-competent individuals has no contraindications and may be especially effective for health care workers who can easily be exposed to Covid-19, said experts in a paper published in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

"A clinical trial with MMR in high-risk populations may provide a low-risk-high-reward preventive measure in saving lives during the Covid-19 pandemic," said Dr Paul Fidel, Associate Dean for Research at Louisiana State University Health School of Dentistry.

"I don't think it's going to hurt anybody to have an MMR vaccine that would protect against the measles, mumps, and rubella with this potential added benefit of helping against Covid-19," Fidel added.

Mounting evidence demonstrates that live attenuated vaccines provide non-specific protection against lethal infections unrelated to the target pathogen of the vaccine by inducing trained nonspecific innate immune cells for improved host responses against subsequent infections.

Live attenuated vaccines induce nonspecific effects representing "trained innate immunity" by training leukocyte (immune system cells) precursors in the bone marrow to function more effectively against broader infectious insults.

In the laboratory of Dr Mairi Noverr, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, in collaboration with Dr. Fidel, vaccination with a live attenuated fungal strain-induced trained innate protection against lethal polymicrobial sepsis.

Mortality in COVID-19 cases is strongly associated with progressive lung inflammation and eventual sepsis.

Recent events provide support for the researchers' hypothesis.

The milder symptoms seen in the 955 sailors on the USS Roosevelt who tested positive for Covid-19 (only one hospitalization) may have been a consequence of the fact that the MMR vaccinations are given to all U.S. Navy recruits.

In addition, epidemiological data suggest a correlation between people in geographical locations who routinely receive the MMR vaccine and reduced Covid-19 death rates.

"COVID-19 has not had a big impact on children, and the researchers hypothesize that one reason children are protected against viral infections that induce sepsis is their more recent and more frequent exposures to live attenuated vaccines that can also induce the trained suppressive MDSCs that limit inflammation and sepsis," the authors wrote.

The researchers propose a clinical trial to test whether the MMR vaccine can protect against COVID-19 and, in the meantime, suggest that all adults, especially health care workers and individuals in nursing homes get the MMR vaccine.
 

 

(IANS)

Sun, 21 Jun 2020 04:27:47 +0530
Record 14 516 corona cases take India s tally close to 4L

New Delhi,  India on Saturday witnessed its worst-ever spike of COVID-19 cases as it registered 14,516 positive cases, the highest ever, in the last 24 hours. With this the total corona tally in India reached 3,95,048, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data revealed.

There is a steady rise in cases for the last nine days, when India crossed over 10,000 cases each day.

With 375 deaths in the last 24 hours, a total of 12,948 people have succumbed to the deadly disease since the first case was reported on January 30, the Health Ministry data said.

For the 11th consecutive day, the number of recoveries -- 2,13,830 -- remained higher than the active ones -- 168,269. More than half of the patients who contracted the disease have recovered so far.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state in the country with total cases crossing the the one lakh mark -- 124,331 cases, including 5,893 deaths.

Maharashtra alone reported 3,827 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours with 142 fatalities due to pandemic.

Tamil Nadu, which is second most affected state witnessed a spike of 2,115 cases taking the total tally to 54,449.

The national capital recorded 53,116 total corona cases. Delhi witnessed a record growth of 3,137 cases in the last 24 hours and a total of 2,035 deaths.

The states with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 26,141 cases and 1,618 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (15,785), Rajasthan (14,156), Madhya Pradesh (11,582) and West Bengal (13,090).

Meanwhile, the total number of global COVID-19 cases have surged to over 8.6 million, while the deaths were nearing 4,60,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

By Saturday morning, the total number of cases stood at 86,39,023, while the fatalities increased to 4,59,437, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

With 22,19,976 cases and 1,19,099 deaths, the US continues with the world's highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the CSSE.

Brazil comes in the second place with 1,032,913 infections and 48,954 deaths.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 10:20:40 +0530
Apple to announce Intel break up early next week Report

San Francisco, Apple is reportedly set to announce a break up with chip-maker Intel for its Mac desktops on June 22.

According to The New York Times, Apple has been working to replace Intel chips with its own design in Macs for years and may finally announce it on Monday during its online ‘WWDC20' developer conference.

Apple's Mac chip design initiative is codenamed ‘Kalamata'.

Processors for Macs from Apple will use similar technology to those in iPhones and iPads, but Macs would still run the macOS and not the iOS.

Apple would use technology licensed from Arm, a division of SoftBank Group. In February, famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said ARM-based Macs are coming in 2021.

Apple has nearly 10 per cent share of the PC market.

The first Apple-designed Mac chips would have eight performance cores and four or more energy-efficient cores for greater efficiency and power savings, according to reports.

Kuo has claimed that the iPhone maker may release its very first ARM-based laptop without an Intel processor as soon as next year.

Kuo said that the new Mac is coming sometime in the next 12 to 18 months and will feature an in-house processor not developed by Intel.

Apple last year acquired Intel's smartphone modem business for $1 billion.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 10:01:05 +0530
Brazil becomes second country to hit one million cases

Rio De Janerio, Brazil has become the second country in the world to confirm more than one million cases of Covid-19, as the disease continues to spread.

The health ministry also posted a record number of new cases in the past 24 hours - more than 54,000, the BBC reported.

In addition, there were more than 1,200 deaths for the fourth consecutive day, taking the total to nearly 49,000.

A lack of testing suggests the true figures are higher and experts say the outbreak is weeks away from its peak.

Only the US has seen more infections. Brazil's poorest communities and indigenous people have been particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

President Jair Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for his response to the crisis. The far-right leader - who initially described the disease as a "little flu" - has repeatedly clashed with state governors and mayors who have adopted strict restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, shutting down major cities.

Bolsonaro argues that the economic impact of the measures will be much bigger than the virus itself, a position shared by many. But his overall approach to the crisis has led to the resignation of two doctors as health minister.

As there was no national lockdown, states and cities adopted their own measures. After months of restrictions, some are slowly being lifted, even though the infection level remains high.

There is still concern that the health system will be unable to cope in some places, and that the disease is spreading faster in deprived neighbourhoods and remote areas, such as indigenous communities, where access to adequate care is difficult.

At the same time, there is a widespread wish to restart the economy as analysts forecast a contraction between 6% and 8% this year with millions of jobs lost. The government has introduced temporary payments to help people affected by the pandemic but large numbers are expected to be thrown into poverty.

On Friday, Brazil's health ministry confirmed a total of 1,032,913 cases. It said that the large spike in the number of infections was due, in part, to several states having trouble with reporting data on Thursday.

The US has the world's highest numbers of cases - more than 2.2 million - and nearly 119,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 09:52:17 +0530
Adah Sharma I like to take risks

New Delhi,  She made her debut with the horror film "1920" in 2008. She was then seen in the popular action franchise "Commando" and will next be seen playing a man in the upcoming "Man To Man". Actress Adah Sharma says she likes to take risks.

"'1920' was my first film and it was quite risky for me to play this possessed girl. The audience was going to see me for the first time and they were going to see me with black teeth and messy hair, and I am screaming in a possessed voice. I like taking risks like that," Adah told IANS.

She added: "When we did 'Commando 2', it was a risk because you have not seen a leading lady who makes jokes and speaks in an accent -- Hindi with a Telugu accent. So, that was another risk and it really work. Even in 'Commando 3', they continued me as Bhavna Reddy (her character in 'Commando 2'). I am very fortunate to be a girl and in an action franchise, one of the biggest action franchises in India."

Adah said she had a lot of action to do in the film and was not just a "damsel in distress".

"To be repeated in a film and an action franchise, to have a lot of stuff to do -- I am not a damsel in distress. I am actually fighting battles and doing all the stunts. So, that was really nice. Again, 'Man to Man' will be something different," she told IANS.

"Man To Man" revolves around actor Naveen Kasturia's character falling in love with and marrying Sharma's character, only to realise she was biologically a man who became a woman after surgery.
 

 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 09:46:53 +0530
Pandemic entering new and dangerous phase WHO

Geneva, The World Health Organization has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is entering a "new and dangerous" phase. Thursday saw the most cases in a single day reported to the WHO.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the day had seen 150,000 new cases with half of those coming from the Americas and large numbers also from the Middle East and South Asia, the BBC reported.

He said the virus was still spreading fast and the pandemic accelerating.

He acknowledged people might be fed up with self-isolating and countries were eager to open their economies but he said that now was a time for extreme vigilance.

Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO's Covid-19 response, told a press conference the pandemic is "accelerating in many parts of the world".

"While we have seen countries have some success in suppressing transmission and bringing transition down to a low level, every country must remain ready," she said.

Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme, said that some countries had managed to flatten the peak of infections without bringing them down to a very low level.

"You can see a situation in some countries where they could get a second peak now, because the disease has not been brought under control," he said.

"The disease will then go away and reduce to a low level, and they could then get a second wave again in the autumn or later in the year."
 

 

(IANS) 

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 08:54:42 +0530
US senators to introduce bill making Juneteenth federal holiday

Washington,  Four US Democratic senators announced that they will introduce legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The bill, Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, will be introduced by Senators Kamala Harris of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Cory Booker of New Jersey, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

Juneteenth, observed on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which announced that, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, "all slaves are free".

"On Juneteenth, we remember the millions who suffered, died, and survived the crushing reality of slavery in America," Harris said in a statement. "Without question, it should be recognized with the respect of a federal holiday."

Currently, Juneteenth is recognized by 46 states and Washington, D.C. as an official state holiday or observance.

This year's Juneteenth comes amid nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and racism triggered by the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, late last month after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

More than 20 rallies, marches and events were scheduled for Friday in Washington, D.C., with hundreds more in over 40 states, according to the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of US groups representing the interests of black communities.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 08:52:19 +0530
8 000 teachers write to Home Minister for 3 months salary

New Delhi,  Around 8,000 teachers working in North Delhi Municipal Corporation, who are waiting for their salaries from last three months, have written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the same.

They had earlier appealed in the court too.

Municipal Corporation Teachers Association General Secretary Ramnivas Solanki on Friday said, "Today we have also written to Home Minister Amit Shah asking for help, in which we have apprised him that during this corona pandemic outbreak all the teachers are working for 12 hours. We are not only distributing ration to the poor people but we are also helping the migrant labourers and also in the treatment centres."

He said, "We have been on the forefront in this fight against the pandemic. Apex court is also directing to pay the salaries of the doctors and health workers but they are ignoring the teachers while teachers are also the frontline corona warriors."

The letter states that 'teachers have not received the salary of March, April and May, while the month of June is also coming to an end. The arrears of the Seventh Pay Commission have not been received for the last four years. The bills of the arrears have not been paid for the last 10 years. The teacher recruitment bill of the children have not been paid for the last five years. Medical bills have not been paid for years. In such a situation, if a teacher or his/her family member has to get treatment he/she has to borrow money for that."

Teachers are extremely disappointed as they have not received the salaries. On June 15, CAT ordered that three months' salary and pension will be paid to all the teachers of North Corporation and pensioners within 15 days. On June 18, the High Court also directed the North MCD to pay salaries of all the teachers within a week.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 08:46:03 +0530
Risk of adult diabetes seen in kids as young as 8 Study

New York,  Researchers have found that people who develop type 2 diabetes as an adult may show early signs of susceptibility at an early age of eight, decades before it is likely to be diagnosed.

For the study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, the research team looked at the effects of a genetic risk score for developing type 2 diabetes as an adult on metabolism measured from blood samples taken from the participants when they were aged eight, 16, 18, and 25 years.

"We knew that diabetes doesn't develop overnight. What we didn't know is how early in life the first signs of disease activity become visible and what these early signs look like," said study lead author Joshua Bell from the University of Bristol in the UK.

"We addressed these by looking at the effects of being more genetically prone to type 2 diabetes in adulthood on measures of metabolism taken across early life. This would not have been possible without the Children of the 90s study," Bell added.

The study tracked over 4,000 participants in the children of the 90s.

They combined genetic information with an approach called 'metabolomics', which involves measuring many small molecules in a blood sample, to try and identify patterns that are specific to early stages of type 2 diabetes development.

The study was conducted among young people who were generally free of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases to see how early in life the effects of being more susceptible to adult diabetes become visible.

In particular, certain types of HDL cholesterol were reduced at an age eight before other types of cholesterol including LDL were raised; inflammation and amino acids were also elevated by 16 and 18 years old. These differences widened over time.

"This does not mean that young people 'already have adult diabetes'; these are subtle differences in the metabolism of young people who are more prone to developing it later in life," Bell explained.

These findings help reveal the biology of how diabetes unfolds and what features may be targetable much earlier on to prevent the onset of disease and its complications.

"This is important because we know that the harmful effects of blood glucose, such as on heart disease, are not exclusive to people with diagnosed diabetes but extend to a smaller degree to much of the population," the authors wrote.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 06:00:21 +0530
Gunfight on between security forces ultras in J K s Shopian

Srinagar,  A gunfight started on Saturday between the security forces and several militants holed up in a village in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, police sources said.

A team of police, Rashtriya Rifles and Central Reserve Police Force had launched a cordon-and-search operation in Lakadpora Pudsoo village after information about the presence of militants there.

"As the security forces closed in on the hiding militants, the latter fired shots, triggering an encounter that is going on," the sources said.

Reports said two to three militants are hiding in the village.

So far, 22 militants have been killed in Shopian district in five encounters this month.
 

 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 05:56:14 +0530
Modi s statement on India China standoff baffling Cong

New Delhi,  A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that Chinese troops did not intrude into Indian territory, Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday slammed the government saying his remarks have left everyone baffled and bewildered.

He said that the statement of the Prime Minister contradicts earlier statements made by Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Addressing a press conference through video conferencing, Chidambaram said, "I wish to begin by reiterating what the Congress President Sonia Gandhi said yesterday at the all party meeting. She said that the Congress stands by our defence forces and are prepared to make any sacrifice to ensure they are battle ready."

Chidambaram said that at the end of the meeting, the Prime Minister made his concluding remarks.

"These remarks have left practically everyone baffled and bewildered. The Prime Minister said that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh," the Congress leader said.

Lambasting the Prime Minister, Chidambaram said, "It is quite obvious that the Prime Minister's statement contradicts the earlier statements made by the Chief of Army Staff, the Defence Minister and the Foreign Minister."

The Congress leader said that if the Prime Minister's statement reflects the correct position, we would like to ask the government a few questions.

"If no Chinese troops had crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and are in Indian territory, what was the face-off on May 5-6, 2020? Between May 5 and June 6, what was the issue on which local Indian commanders were talking to their Chinese counterparts? What was the subject matter of the negotiations between the Corps Commanders of the two countries on June 6?" he said firing salvos at Modi.

Referring to the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in Ladakh's Galwan valley by the Chinese People Liberation's Army (PLA) troops in an unprecedented attack on Monday night, Chidambaram said, "We would also like to ask, if no Chinese troops were inside Indian territory, where did the clashes take place on June 15-16? Where were 20 Indian soldiers killed and 85 injured?"

His remarks came a day after Modi categorically stated at the all-party meeting on the Chinese intrusion in the Galwan Valley and the killing of Indian soldiers that "no Indian post or territory is occupied by anyone."

The Prime Minister had emphasized that all necessary steps for national security and construction of necessary infrastructure will continue to be taken at a fast pace.

Modi had also reassured the leaders about the capability of the armed forces to defend the borders and said that they have been given a free hand to take all necessary steps.

Sharpening the attack on the government, the Congress leader said, "If no Chinese troops are in Indian territory, why did Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar's statement and other statements of MEA demand the restoration of status quo ante? What was the meaning of status quo ante? What was the meaning of the disengagement that the government said was underway?"

He also questioned that if no Chinese troops are inside Indian territory in Ladakh, why did 20 soldiers have to make the supreme sacrifice.

The Congress leader said that even after Modi's statement on Friday, China has blamed India for the clashes and has re-asserted its claim to the entire Galwan valley.

"What is the government's answer to this claim? Will the government reject this claim?" he questioned.

Chidambaram questioned that when the Prime Minister said a few days ago that the sacrifice of our soldiers will not go in vain, what did he have in mind?

"Why and where did the soldiers sacrifice their lives, and how will the government ensure that the sacrifice will not be in vain?" he asked.

He said the defence of the nation and its territorial integrity are dear to the heart of every Indian. "We therefore seek answers to the questions with a view to re-double our commitment and present a picture of unity and solidarity," Chidambaram added.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 20 Jun 2020 04:10:39 +0530
Active wildfire in US grows to over 110 000 acres

Washington, A bushfire currently burning in the US state of Arizona has grown to 114,941 acres with just 5 per cent containment, authorities said.

Now the largest active fire in the US, the fire almost doubled in size since Wednesday morning and more evacuation orders had been issued in the state, Xinhua news agency quoted InciWeb, an interstate incident information system, as saying in its latest update on Thursday.

Hot, dry and windy conditions pushed the fire to spread, InciWeb said, adding "an abundance of invasive grasses in the desert ecosystem, native grasses and low fuel moisture in the live plants continue to produce extreme fire behaviour".

Besides the this bushfire, multiple other blazes continued to burn throughout the Grand Canyon state.

As of Thursday morning, the Mangum Fire near Grand Canyon North Rim burned nearly 56,780 acres with 3 per cent containment, and the Bighorn Fire in south part of the state, spread to 31,208 acres on Thursday morning and is 40 per cent contained.

More than 1,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, the InciWeb said.

So far no casualties have been reported.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 10:18:52 +0530
Fatima Sana Shaikh on rumours of dating Sanya Malhotra

Mumbai,  Actress Fatima Sana Shaikh says she laughed off reports of her dating her "Dangal" co-star Sanya Malhotra.

"We simply laughed about it. Just because we are good friends, they assumed the worst," she said, talking about the rumour.

Asked about three things that she learnt from Sanya, Fatima said: "I have learnt a lot from her. For one, Sanya likes to keep everything clean. While she is an introvert and I am an extrovert, I learnt to hold myself back at times. I also learnt a lot from her dedication to work."

Talking about her diverse religious background and upbringing, the actress said: "It makes me feel like the ideal poster girl for secular India. The beauty of our country is that we are so diverse and all of us are okay with just being ourselves, follow our own religion and accept everybody."

On Bollywood superstars, she clearly like Shah Rukh Khan. "I would love to see Shah Rukh Khan strip on the streets of Mumbai!" she said.

"I think the perfect scene of a man proposing to his wife atop the Eiffel tower would be of Shah Rukh Khan and me," she added, while opening up on the Zee Cafe show, "Starry Nights Gen Y".
 

(IANS)

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:43:57 +0530
US stocks end mixed amid disappointing jobless claims

New York,  US stocks closed mixed after data showed more than 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.51 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 26,080.1. The S&P 500 increased 1.85 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 3,115.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 32.52 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 9,943.05, Xinhua news agency reported.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors finished lower, with real estate down 1.34 per cent, leading the laggards. Energy climbed 1.19 per cent, the best-performing group.

US initial jobless claims registered 1.508 million in the week ending Saturday, down slightly from an upwardly revised 1.566 million in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected 1.3 million initial claims for the week.

"It marks 11 consecutive weeks of declines in the claims rate, but suggest claims are levelling off at a level never seen before the Lockdown Recession," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note on Thursday.

Investors grew nervous about a resurgence of coronavirus infections in several US states.

More than 2.17 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 118,000 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:30:40 +0530
Pak Afghanistan to open key trade route on June 22

Islamabad, Pakistani and Afghan officials have agreed to reopen a key route for cross-border trade between the two countries from June 22, aiming to give a major boost to bilateral trade.

Pakistan had closed the Ghulam Khan border in North Waziristan in June 2014 after the military launched a major operation against militants in the area, and conducted trial run for reopening the border crossing in March 2018, reports Xinhua news agency.

Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Atif Mashal confirmed to Xinhua on Thursday evening that Pakistan had agreed to open the Ghulam Khan crossing point on January 22.

Mashal said that Ghulam Khan crossing will be opened for exports and imports, becoming the third major route for bilateral trade between the two countries.

He said Afghan traders will also export their fresh fruits via other border crossings of Torkham and Chaman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan.

"It is the peak time for Afghan exports of fresh fruits and vegetables as both are now ready for export," the Afghan envoy said.

A Pakistani official in North Waziristan tribal district, bordering Afghanistan, told the media in the region that officials of the two countries had agreed on arrangements for the cross-border trade in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials agreed that truck drivers and all involved in the trade will follow the standard operating procedures to contain the spread of the disease.

Drivers and cleaners will undergo tests at the quarantine centres established on both sides of the border.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:28:44 +0530
Police officer shot dead in NZ s Auckland

Auckland,  A police officer was shot dead on Friday during a routine traffic stop in New Zealand's Auckland city, according to authorities.

The police officer, understood to be a male, died after he was shot in Massey, west Auckland following a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive, reports The New Zealand Herald newspaper.

Another officer was also shot and a pedestrian was run over by the fleeing driver following the incident.

A search operation is underway to nab the suspect.

The officer who died was a man who "dedicated his career" to keeping the community safe, Police Minister Stuart Nash said.

The New Zealand Herald understands one of the officers shot was calling for help and could be heard yelling and was bleeding.

Police Commissioner Andy Coster said that the two officers were not armed at the time of the incident.

"It appears as though this situation escalated quickly, if not immediately". There was no pursuit," he told the media.

This incident comes 11 years since a police officer was killed in the line of duty in New Zealand.

In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the news of the police officer's death was "devastating".

"To lose a police officer is to lose someone working for all of us, but also a family member, someone's loved one and friend," she said.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:26:32 +0530
10 states want distribution of free foodgrains to be extended

New Delhi, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that around 10 states have written to the ministry to extend the distribution of free foodgrains under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for three more months.

Paswan on Thursday reviewed the progress of the implementation of National Portability of NFSA ration card holders through "One Nation One Ration Card" programme in a meeting via video conference.

The meeting was to understand the readiness, action plans and a tentative timeline to implement the "One Nation One Ration Card" facility in 14 States/UTs.

Food Ministers of five States/UTs of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu attended the meeting, whereas other States/UTs were represented by respective Food Secretaries, the ministry said in a statement.

Paswan said that in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, the scheme proved immensely beneficial for migrant labourers, stranded and needy persons to access their quota of food grains through ONOC portability.

He said by August 2020 three more States namely - Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Manipur will be added to the national cluster and Department is making all necessary arrangements to include remaining all 14 States under ONOC by end of this year.

During the course of discussion, most of the remaining states/UTs shared their action plans and strategy to complete this activity by the end of September 2020, whereas three States - Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal have indicated a tentative timeline for complete implementation before December 2020, said the statement.

In the review meeting, States/UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Island, Arunachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Meghalaya also highlighted the challenges related to slow internet or limited network connectivity.

Minister assured that network connectivity related challenges would be taken up with Department of Telecommunications for appropriate solution and smooth implementation of 'One Nation One Ration Card' across the country.

Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Raosaheb Patil Danve also stressed on implementing the ONOC scheme as early as possible in the remaining states/UTs. He said it is only because of ONOC scheme many migrant labourers are able to draw their food grains quota during the difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic.

Paswan asked the remaining States/UTs to speed up the authentication of biometric and ePoS, so that the beneficiaries can conveniently lift their entitled quota of subsidised food grains from anywhere across the country.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:19:11 +0530
Dragon Slayer Tariffs CVD expected to hit imports from China push local manufacturing

New Delhi, As the Centre's 'Self-reliant India' programme gathers steam, certain high volume import products, especially coming in from China, may attract steeper tariffs in the coming days, sources said.

Even though the expected move is not country-specific, the tariff imposition or hike will have a major impact on imports from China.

At present, China has a trade surplus with India and is predominant in certain products such as toys.

In fact, just this week, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies completed two anti-dumping investigation concerning products that are predominantly sourced from China amongst other places.

Overall, the two countries' bilateral trade is around $85 billion per annum which is heavily tilted in China's favour.

Nonetheless, India's trade deficit with China has declined from $63.1 billion in FY18 to $53.6 billion in FY19 and is estimated to be further lower in FY20, partly due to imposition of anti-dumping duty in sectors like steel.

Incidentally, the recent stand-off between the Asian giants in the Himalayas has also triggered an anti-Chinese sentiment in India, especially focused around the cheap products from that country.

Accordingly, these tariffs might have different range and scope such as imposition of countervailing and anti-dumping duty or a basics custom duty hike.

Several products such as printing paper, toys, toners, AC compressors, general use electrical wires and switches are amongst the few items which have been zeroed upon, sources said.

However, components, pharma ingredients and other goods that go into the final manufacturing of finished products and require some time for the domestic capacity to build up have been left out for now.

According to sources, tariff on products that compete with local items produced by labour-intensive industries might also rise.

The set principle, source said is to encourage local manufacturing due to the presence of a robust domestic market along with conducive monetary and 'Make in India' policy.

Similarly, the Centre had earlier received several proposals to consider a hike in duty on over 300 items like toys, furniture, footwear, coated paper, rubber items among other in the Union Budget.

That time, the move was mooted to keep imports down and help to raise revenue.

Many of these products are from industries which come under the MSME sector, which has been given special attention in the 'Self-reliant India' programme.

Besides, sources indicate that in order to safeguard against flooding of goods in the domestic market despite imposition of anti-dumping duty, certain non-tariff barriers pertaining to quality control might be enforced.

Recently, the Centre has placed imported tyres in restricted category, under which an import license would be required to bring in the product to the domestic market.

In case of furniture, the country might go big on import substitution.

Earlier, Chairman TPCI Mohit Singla had said: "After US has imposed 25 per cent duty on the import of furniture from China, the import to US from China has dropped almost 20 per cent.

"The industry should map key buyers and work closely while hand holding their recent shift from China and Vietnam in India's favour."

Currently, India exports just $1.7 billion of furniture.

In addition, the expected move to increase or impose duty along with policy support to set cluster-based manufacturing of these products in India is expected to create large scale employment opportunities.
 

 

(IANS) 

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 05:48:34 +0530
Hina Khan didn t feel safe while resuming work amid COVID 19 pandemic

Mumbai,  Actress Hina Khan recently stepped out for a dubbing session at a studio for an upcoming web show. Narrating the experience of working post lockdown, Hina took to Instagram and shared that she "didn't feel safe".

"This was my first outdoor activity post lockdown. Trust me I just did not feel safe... this is just a glimpse of an actor's life.. I sanitised everything around, before I began," she shared.

Hina also tried dubbing with a mask on her face but it was difficult.

"As an actor either I do it with full dedication or I choose to not do it. I tried to maintain a distance from a mic and dubbed, but guess what, It didn't work, I was told my voice is not clear.

"I realised it's unsafe to inhale and exhale so close to the microphone. God knows how many have dubbed in the same studio before me. God knows who amongst them is a carrier," she added.

However, she says the studio was properly sanitised.

"The studio is taking full precautions and sanitising the place properly and regularly. But one careless move can be fatal, unfortunately.

Despite the scare, Hina will continue working. "An actor has no choice. You got to do what you got to do. Be it dubbing or shooting, we only take risks to entertain you honestly and will continue to do so. All we need is your support, love and appreciation," Hina concluded.

Along with it, she posted a few pictures from her dubbing session.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 05:44:23 +0530
EU holds virtual economic recovery plan summit

Brussels,  European Union (EU) leaders on Friday gathered for a virtual conference to reach a consensus on how to deploy the coronavirus rescue fund amid disagreements over who should bear the brunt of the cost, the bloc or individual member states.

"We have a collective responsibility to deliver. Today EU leaders will discuss our long term EU budget and the recovery plan to fight COVID19. Now is the time to engage," President of the European Council Charles Michel tweeted ahead of the summit.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the meeting was "a crucial step on the road out of the crisis", reports Efe news.

"I am very happy to present to European leaders our recovery package called Next Generation EU," she said in a video statement.

"This proposal is ambitious and it is balanced.

"Together with a new MFF this is a huge stimulus of 1,850 billion euros and it does not only help the economies of the countries which were hit the hardest by the virus it also helps the country whose economies have been hit indirectly because of the lockdowns."

Von der Leyen said the recovery plan would enable the EU to overcome the crisis in a resilient, sustainable and digital manner.

"For common success, we must stay focused on the big picture. We must all pull together, we cannot afford any delay."

The Commission will discuss a 750 billion euro rescue fund which will cushion hard struck European economies via a mixture of loans, grants and mutualized debt.

The objective will be to raise funds in financial markets which will be repaid between 2028 and 2058.

However, all EU member states need to back the proposal crafted by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to go ahead.

The commission is aiming to reach an agreement and close the pact in July so the Eurochamber can give its approval and the national ratification processes can conclude this year.

Member states agree that a post-pandemic recovery plan is needed but there are disagreements over several details such as the amount of money spent and implementing stricter terms and conditions on the allocation of funds, a move backed by the so-called Frugal Four: Austria, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.

The four-member states spearheaded by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte are opposed to the concept of mutualized debt which would be covered by the EU collectively and instead back countries being issued loans to be paid back.

Rutte has said the countries more in favour of austerity would prefer a time-limited fund, which would finalize in late 2022, for the economies that were most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

France, Spain, Italy, Portugal are supportive of the Brussels plan, which includes their demands to issue common debt and prioritize subsidies to prevent their public debt from soaring when taking out loans.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 05:34:55 +0530
IAF chief to review graduation parade at Air Force Academy

Hyderabad,  Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria will review the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Hyderabad on Saturday.

The Combined Graduation Parade (CGP) will be held to mark the successful completion of pre-commissioning training of flight cadets of various branches of Indian Air Force (IAF).

The event assumes significance as it is being held amid the ongoing tension with China over the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in Ladakh on Monday.

In this context, it will be significant on what the IAF chief says in his address at CGP and at the likely interaction with the media.

During the CGP, he will confer the 'President's Commission' to 123 graduating trainees, including 19 women cadets, of various branches.

The CGP symbolises the culmination of rigorous training and transformation of a cadet into a young officer to shoulder the nation's responsibility, a Defence release said.

The ceremony will include presentation of 'Wings' and 'Brevets' to the flight cadets who successfully completed flying and navigation training respectively.

Officers of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard who underwent flying training at Air Force Academy will also be presented 'Wings'.

The award of 'Wings' or 'Brevets' represents a significant milestone in every military aviator's career and is the culmination of a demanding and rewarding period of training.

The parade will be commanded by the flight cadet standing first in overall order of merit. He will be awarded the 'Sword of Honour' along with the 'President's Plaque' by the reviewing officer for his achievements.

The Air Chief Marshal will also present the President's Plaque to the flight cadet who stands first in the overall merit in the ground duty branches.

The parade will be followed by fly past by formations of Pilatus, Kiran Hawk, Chetak helicopters and an aerobatic display by Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT).

Officials said in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the cadets will get commissioned while taking all necessary safety precautions. The parents and relatives of the passing out cadets will not be able to attend the ceremony.

The parade will be broadcast live on Doordarshan and the social media handles of the Indian Air Force.

After commissioning, the cadets will be directly moving to their respective units.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 19 Jun 2020 05:31:09 +0530
Some 860 000 immigrants may be illegally living in UK Report

London, Some 860,000 immigrants may be illegally living in the UK, the National Audit Office (NAO) said in an official report

"Its (the UK Home Office's) last estimate was around 430,000 people in 2005. More recent estimates from other organisations suggest the population might have doubled, although the NAO has not validated these estimates," Xinhua news agency quoted the report released on Wednesday as saying.

The Home Office encourages people to return voluntarily, but those returns have reduced, from an average of 1,200 a month in 2015 to approximately 460 in 2019, said the independent public spending watchdog.

It has enforced the removal of 7,400 of the 13,100 immigration offenders returned in the 12 months to the end of November 2019.

Almost 5,000 of those were foreign national offenders, the NAO report said.

The report said the Home Office is helping to stop more people from entering Britain without proper documentation or through clandestine means.

According to the NAO, the Home Office's vision for Immigration Enforcement is to "reduce the size of the illegal population and the harm it causes".

It supports this vision through its operational missions of preventing illegal migration through greater compliance with laws, tackling threats associated with immigration offending and maximizing returns of the illegal population and foreign national offenders to their country of origin.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 10:11:58 +0530
Ram temple aarti to be streamed live on social media

Ayodhya, Devotees will now be able to witness all the five daily 'aarti' at the Ram Janmabhoomi temple on the social media.

The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust is making arrangement for live telecast of the 'aarti' on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

According to Acharya Satyendra Das, chief priest of the temple, the 'Mangala aarti' that is held in the morning will be streamed live, followed by 'Shringar aarti', then the 'Bal bhog and aarti' and then the 'Sandhya aarti' in the evening and the last 'Shayan aarti'.

"The 'Shringar' process in which the temple is decorated will also be streamed live, he said on Wednesday.

The temple trust is also preparing to launch its official website, while its Facebook page has already been launched.

The trust is also getting its official twitter handle verified and all updates related to temple construction will be posted here for the information of the people.

Trust member Anil Mishra said that the trust will release all the official details about the temple construction through the website. The office of the trust has just started functioning.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 10:05:46 +0530
Sundar Pichai pledges 175 million to help black entrepreneurs

San Francisco, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced to give over $175 million toward supporting Black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers.

The new funds are in addition to YouTube's $100 million fund to amplify Black creators and artists.

"Beyond our products, we know that racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity," Pichai said in a statement late Wednesday.

The new funds include $50 million in financing and grants for small businesses, focused on the Black community, $100 million in funding participation in Black-led capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs, $15 million in training and $10 million+ to help improve the Black community's access to education, equipment and economic opportunities in its developer ecosystem.

"This commitment builds on our recent $125 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund that is helping underserved minority and women-owned small businesses across the US," informed Pichai.

Pichai said the Google is working to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 per cent by 2025.

The company is establishing a new talent liaison within each product and functional area to mentor and advocate for the progression and retention of Googlers from underrepresented groups.

"We're working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers in general and our Black+ community in particular," said Pichai.

The company said it will also establish a range of anti-racism educational programmes that are global in view and able to scale to all Googlers.

"We plan to roll out this training globally by early next year. We'll also integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into our mandatory manager trainings," informed Pichai.

He also launched Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, a three-month digital accelerator programme for high potential Seed to Series A startups.

"We're also committing nearly $3 million to help close the racial equity gaps in computer science education and increase Black+ representation in STEM fields," said Pichai.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:40:46 +0530
Monali Thakur Original music defines our industry not recreation

Mumbai,  Playback singer Monali Thakur, who recently released her new single, "Dil ka fitoor", says only original melodies will define our music industry and not the remixes and recreations that have been happening over the last couple of years.


"I do not have problems with a recreation of a classic, the problem is somewhere else. When an artiste makes an original song, a lot of hard work goes into it because that is the talent they show in the song. There is something called respect and ethics. Being an artiste, if you do not show respect to another artiste's work, it is disappointing. And that has happened (in last few years). It is disgraceful to disrespect another artiste just for fame, name and money. I am not against remix or recreation of a song but when you do that, you either do it better than the original composition or at least match up to the level of the original," Monali told IANS.

Taking the reference of the recreated "Masakali", which was originally composed by AR Rahman and later recreated by Tanishk Bagchi, and which faced a lot of criticism, Monali pointed out: "It is great to see that Rahman sir has taken a stand. Usually, people do not take a stand and stay silent."

After the release of the song, Rahman had shared a link of the original number and posted on social media, "No short cuts, properly commissioned, sleepless nights, writes and re-writes. Over 200 musicians, 265 days of creative brainstorming with the aim to produce music that can last generations. A team of a director, a composer and a lyricist supported by actors, dance directors and a relentless dance crew."

"It is not a good practice to constantly create remixes one after another, especially for our music culture. We have so much talent in our country and our music is so rich! In a musically, culturally rich country, if we are not creating original music, it is sad," Monali said.

"Yes, original music requires more push to promote but that is the job of the marketing team, right? In the global map, a recreated version of the original song will not define our music industry, really. If this is what we have to show to the global audience as ‘our creation' it is disgraceful! Because we are actually not creating anything," the singer signed off.

"Dil ka fitoor" is composed by Kaushik and Guddu, while the lyrics are written by Shloke Lal. The video has been shot in the Alps.

 

(IANS)

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:38:45 +0530
HCQ to be stopped from Solidarity Trial against COVID 19

Geneva,  A World Health Organization (WHO) expert said that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) will be stopped from the Solidarity Trial, as it did not reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

"Based on the analysis and on the review of the published evidence, the executive group of the Solidarity/recovery trial has after the deliberation concluded that hydroxychloroquine arm will be stopped from the Solidarity Trial," Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, Medical Officer, Department of Immunization Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO said on Wednesday here.

"The internal evidence from the Solidarity discovery trial, the external evidence from the Recovery trial, and the combined evidence from these large randomized trials bring together, suggest that hydroxychloroquine when compared with the standard of care in the treatment of hospitalized COVID patients, does not result in the reduction of the mortality of those patients," Xinhua news agency quoted the officer as saying.

Meanwhile, Restrepo emphasized that this does not constitute a WHO policy and that this is not a WHO policy recommendation.

"This is focus on what we are doing on the Solidarity Trial on randomization for COVID patients, but does not apply outside that, and it doesn't constitute WHO policy -- WHO has different processes for developing of guidelines," she added.

Earlier, Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Program, said that HCQ and chloroquine were included in the ongoing "Solidarity trials" that took place across multiple countries.

WHO had advised that these drugs be reserved for the treatment of COVID-19 patients within such trials.

Earlier this week, the US partially stopped the use of HCQ and chloroquine to treat COVID-19, suspending it in hospital settings but allowing it elsewhere under doctor's care.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Monday that it was withdrawing the emergency use authorisation (EUA) for treating coronavirus patients in hospitals with the two politically controversial anti-malarial drugs because data showed they "are unlikely to be effective" and had "serious side effects".

But Health Secretary Alex Azar clarified that the FDA ruling was limited to hospital use with "the most extreme cases" and the medicines have not been completely banned and doctors can continue to prescribe them.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:10:37 +0530
EU plans to speed up COVID 19 vaccine development

Brussels, The European Union (EU) is planning to accelerate the development of COVID1-9 vaccines through advance purchase agreements with promising medical companies, the bloc announced.

In order to support companies in the swift development and production of a vaccine, the European Commission will enter into agreements with individual vaccine producers, Xinhua news agency quoted the EU as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

In return for the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in a given timeframe, the Commission will finance part of the upfront costs faced by vaccines producers.

Funding provided will be considered as a down-payment on the vaccines that will actually be purchased by the EU's member states.

The tool was one of the remedies included in the EU's vaccines strategy, which also allows the European Commission to make use of existing flexibilities in the bloc's regulatory framework to accelerate the authorization and availability of successful vaccines.

"Today, we are proposing our European Vaccine Strategy. At its core, joint action at EU level will allow all Member States to increase the likelihood of finding an effective vaccine, and to secure the necessary volumes for our citizens at a good price," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement on Wednesday.

"Doing so, we also avoid harmful competition amongst each other, and we deliver tangible European solidarity," she said.

Von der Leyen said the European Commission supports the idea of universal and affordable access to vaccines, "especially for the most vulnerable countries, who struggle to secure enough vaccine for their people on the global market".
 

(IANS)

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:08:33 +0530
CBI probe into Rs 180 crore fraud on banks

Bhopal,  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case on a complaint from State Bank of India against Indore based-private company Indison Agro Foods Limited and its three Directors Vijay Kumar Jain, Mahendra Kumar, and Devraj Jain and unknown public servants on the allegations of cheating and defrauding the bank to the tune of approximately Rs 180.15 crore.

The company was allegedly engaged in import, processing and trading of different pulses including export to European and Middle East countries.

The company that started its operation in 2003 was sanctioned credit facilities in 2013 by a consortium of banks formed with Allahabad Bank, IDBI Bank and e-SB of Patiala led by SBI. The CC account turned irregular since 2014 and was declared NPA in 2015.

Searches were conducted at nine places, eight at Indore and one at Jodhpur which led to recovery of incriminating documents, said a CBI release.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 09:04:22 +0530
World s largest carbon free energy project clears milestones amid pandemic

New Delhi, The ITER project -- a collaboration of 35 nations, comprising India, to prove that fusion power can be produced on a commercial scale and is sustainable -- is nearing the start of assembly in France despite the challenging circumstances from the horrid coronavirus, officials announced on Wednesday.

ITER, the world's largest experimental fusion facility, is being built in Saint-Paul-les-Durance, some 35 km north of Aix-en-Provence in southern France.

"The start of assembly is planned for July and a date will be set soon," ITER spokesperson Laban Coblentz told IANS.

The tokamak building is ready to receive components.

"The first of the large structural support elements -- the 1,250 ton cryostat base -- has been positioned in place," he said in a statement.

ITER's massive first-of-a-kind magnets and other components are in final stages and/or already being shipped to France from China, Korea, Japan, Italy, India, Russia, and the US.

The first 440-ton sector of the vacuum vessel, which will contain the fusion plasma at 150 million degrees Celsius (ten times hotter than the centre of the sun), was completed in Korea on April 20 and will arrive at ITER in July.

The first of ITER's giant superconducting magnets, capable of shaping and controlling the superheated ITER plasma within the vacuum vessel walls, have been completed and shipped to the worksite.

The first two D-shaped toroidal field magnets -- each 17 meters high, weighing 360 tons -- arrived from Japan and Italy in April. A third is en route from Japan, Coblentz said in an email.

The first of the circular poloidal field magnets -- 10 meters in diameter, weighing 400 tons -- is in shipment from China.

And the first of six modules of the central solenoid, which, at 1,000 tons and 18 meters high, will be the "beating heart" of ITER and the largest pulsed superconducting magnet ever built will be shipped from the US in August.

Factories around the world are finalizing the fabrication of many more components of unprecedented size and precision. In total, the ITER machine will be made up of more than one million components.

To address the coronavirus, he said, "We are massively teleworking, both staff and contractors, but still able to maintain critical activities onsite, and have been making progress."

"We hope that we will soon be able to re-open our doors to public visitors."

Energy from hydrogen fusion will be a monumental shift in the world's economy and the planet's environment as it changes to carbon-free fusion energy for baseload power.

India is one of the seven partners, both in-kind and in-cash, in a first-of-a-kind global collaboration.

The 1,250-tons cryostat base, the first two sections of which have been constructed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T), is India's largest single procurement contribution to the ITER facility that spans over 42 hectares.

Designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power, ITER, originally the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, will be the world's largest experimental fusion facility.

Fusion is the process that powers the sun and the stars, when light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones, a large amount of energy is released.

Fusion research is aimed at developing a safe, abundant and environmentally-responsible energy source.

The project aims to complete through first plasma in 2025, a key milestone toward full fusion power by 2035.

ITER is a global collaboration. Europe will contribute almost half of the cost of its construction, while the other six members of this joint international venture (China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US) will contribute equally to the rest.

 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 10:20:59 +0530
Cisco Webex sees 3x growth supports 500 million meeting participants

San Francisco, Due to the unprecedented shift to remote work, leading enterprise video conferencing solution Cisco Webex supported half a billion meeting participants who generated 25 billion meeting minutes in the month of April.

The Cisco Webex platform has seen unprecedented demand and more than triples its normal volume in the social distancing times.

"We're now making it easier for you to collaborate in meetings with Webex Assistant, our voice assistant technology. Today, we are making Webex Assistant available to all Webex customers for a free trial," said Javed Khan, Vice President and General Manager of Cisco's Cloud Calling Group.

"What's even more exciting is that you can combine the Webex Assistant and the Webex enterprise free trials for a full Webex experience," Khan announced at the virtual ‘Cisco Live' conference late Tuesday.

Cisco unveiled key Webex enhancements to help, including: industry-leading security and compliance capabilities, intelligent and actionable insights to deliver consistent user experiences, and an integration with Box.

"Even before the pandemic, Cisco was one of the world's largest collaboration providers, supporting nearly half the world's video conferencing. Now we're supporting 3X the normal volumes." said Khan.

Building upon the security capabilities designed into the Webex platform, the company has extended data loss prevention (DLP) retention, Legal Hold and eDiscovery to Webex Meetings.

This gives an unprecedented level of security and protection for all meeting content – recordings, transcriptions, action items and highlights.

"This is yet another industry-first security offering for Webex Meetings. We are also expanding our end-to-end encryption options to include AES 256 Bit encryption with GCM mode, providing increased protection for meeting data and resistance against tampering," informed Cisco.

The Webex users can instantly deploy Webex Assistant to conference room devices.

"Control Hub makes this a simple task even if you have tens of thousands of devices. This will minimize the number of times people touch the screen or touchpad in shared spaces," said the company.

"Additionally, to help move work forward from wherever you are, we've now integrated Webex Teams and Box, the leading cloud content management platform that is used by 68 per cent of the Fortune 500 and nearly 100,000 businesses globally," Cisco added.

According to the company, the new integration with online medical record service Epic would enable providers to use Webex Teams to conduct a video visit with a patient, review medical history and update clinical documentation. More than 250 million patients have a current electronic record in Epic (Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials).

Patients don't need to download anything -- they simply login to the highly secure session over a web browser and get the care they need.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 10:00:11 +0530
At 11GB data per user a month 90 Indians binge on streaming

New Delhi, As data consumption touches over 11GB per user a month in India owing to the lockdown times, 90 per cent people are spending more time on content streaming, e-learning, infotainment and social media, a new survey said on Monday.

Nearly 61 per cent consumers are streaming more content than they were before the lockdown, said the 'EY Digital Consumer Survey'.

"Time spent on video streaming has surged 1.2 times to average 4.2 hours per user per week," the findings showed.

While 60 per cent respondents prefer subscription-based video on demand, 20 per cent prefer TV entertainment. Nearly 50 per cent of respondents who prefer TV, are spending more time watching movies, shows and news telecast.

"The access and speed to real-time engagement is driving digital adoption to the next level. Now is the time for business models to change and capture a larger share of customers' wallet and attention," said Prashant Singhal, Emerging Markets TMT Leader at EY.

The survey analysed views of over 2,600 consumers to highlight the changing behaviour and perception toward digital services.

"Nearly 33 per cent respondents upgraded broadband plans for higher data packages. Interestingly, unlimited plans accounted for 40 per cent of total upgrades, underlining the growing confidence to do more digitally," said the survey.

Many basic users, those using data only for thin web-browsing, chatting and calling, are migrating to high user bucket.

"Nearly 11 per cent of basic data users upgraded their existing packs to either unlimited or 50 per cent-100 per cent higher data to do more of content streaming, gaming and video calling.

The survey revealed that as many as 76 per cent respondents are either first timers or have increased the time they spent on video calling.

"The demand for high-speed broadband with increasing remote working population will only spiral to support use of data-intensive tools. As work from home or remote working becomes a reality, the need for stable, high-speed Internet becomes even more critical," the survey said.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:43:11 +0530
20 Indian soldiers killed in Galwan Valley standoff toll may rise

New Delhi, Twenty Indian Army men, including officers, were killed in an unprecedented violent clash with Chinese People's Liberation Army troops at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the Indian Army said on Tuesday.

Sources said that the death toll is likely to go up as many soldiers have been brutally injured.

Indian Army issued a statement on Tuesday night wherein it said, "17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20."

The force further stated that Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged in the Galwan area where they had earlier "clashed on the night of June 15 and June 16, 2020."

The force further stated that Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.

An unprecedented violent clash took place in Galwan Valley at the Line of Actual Control with Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers attacking a small group of Indian Army men on patrol, resulting in fatalities which included the commanding officer of the Indian Army.

The intensity of the fight increased with reinforcements from the both sides and it continued until late night till the time they got exhausted. Many Indian soldiers went missing during the fight. Early on Tuesday morning, both Indian and Chinese top military officials rushed and called for a meeting to defuse the situation.

These are the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in clash with the People's Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.

Earlier in the day, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the prevailing situation in Eastern Ladakh.

Singh met Modi after he held a meeting with External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and the three service chiefs in the South Block here to review the situation.

Singh asked the service chiefs to explain the current situation in Galwan Valley and what course of action could be taken from hereafter diplomatically.

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane was to visit Kashmir on Tuesday morning but following Monday night's developments at the LAC, it was cancelled.

Sources in Indian Army stated: "The Defence Minister reviewed the current operational situation in Eastern Ladakh, consequent to Monday's violent faceoff on the Line of Actual Control along with the Chief of Defence Staff and the three service chiefs. The External Affairs Minister was also present during the meeting."

It is yet to be ascertained as to how many Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, but the MEA spokesperson has stated that "both sides suffered casualties".

On Monday, Brigade Commander and company level talks happened in Eastern Ladakh between India and China. The talks were happening near patrolling point 14 near the mouth of Galwan Valley and patrolling point 17 in the Hot Springs area.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:37:07 +0530
B desh army to tighten vigilance in COVID 19 red zones

Dhaka, The Bangladesh government has decided to deploy troops in the areas flagged as COVID-19 red zones to address the pandemic, it was reported on Tuesday.

Army personnel were currently patrolling the East Rajabazar area of Dhaka which was put under experimental lockdown due to a high coronavirus infection rate, the bdnews24 report said.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate said: "Troops will increase patrols in the red zones in line with the government order."

The national committee for tackling the coronavirus outbreak has identified 45 areas in Dhaka as red zones.

It will take some more time to enforce lockdowns in those areas after completing all preparations, the authorities said.

The army will work in coordination with other government agencies and the people in the red zones, ISPR Director Abdullah Ibn Zaid told bdnews24.

The government ended the shutdown of offices and the public transportation system on May 31, but put some restrictions in place, after a two-month lockdown.

COVID-19 cases and deaths have since surged.

It later decided to categorise areas red, green and yellow zones based on the rate of coronavirus infections and deaths.

On Monday, the Cabinet Division issued instructions on how to work within the marked areas.

So far, Bangladesh has reported a total of 90,619 COVID-19 cases, with 1,209 deaths.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:34:17 +0530
Kerala plans licence for snake catchers

Thiruvananthapuram, The Kerala Forest Department is planning to make the licence must for snake catchers.

The decision follows death of a young snake catcher on Sunday. He was bitten by a poisonous snake that he had caught.

The department said snake catchers would be provided necessary training and on completion of that would be issued a certificate, which would be their licence to catch snakes.

According to rules that are being framed, anyone venturing to catch a snake without licence will face three-year imprisonment.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:30:40 +0530
Google Meet now available on mobile for Android iOS users

San Francisco, Google has announced to bring its video chat service Meet to Gmail on Android and iOS smartphones so that people can easily join video meetings from their inbox on the go.

In the coming weeks, Google users will soon notice a new Meet tab on the phone's Gmail app where they can see upcoming meetings scheduled in Google Calendar, and easily join them with a single tap.

In the Meet tab, tap on "New meeting" to start a meeting instantly, get a meeting link to share, or to schedule a meeting in Calendar.

"If you tap on ‘Join with a code,' you can join meetings shared with you by entering a meeting code," Google said in a statement late Tuesday.

"If you don't want Meet to appear as a tab in the Gmail app, access the Settings from the hamburger menu in the top left corner of your inbox, tap on your account, scroll down and uncheck Meet," the company informed.

With video calling now being an integral part of our lives, Google made Meet free and available for everyone last month and also brought it into Gmail on the web.

The tech giant has seen daily usage of Meet grow by 30 times, with Meet hosting over 3 billion minutes of video meetings daily.

The video conferencing app has begun receiving AI noise cancellation feature update to help attendees reduce the background noise significantly.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:23:50 +0530
Anurag Kashyap on shooting in post COVID 19 era

New Delhi, Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap feels shooting is an organic process, and it will take time for the industry to adapt to the new normal in the post COVID-19 era.

"They said that they are allowing shoots with certain restrictions. Shooting is such an organic process. It will take time to adapt to it, but we all have to adapt, because we are solely responsible for putting the world in the place it has come to -- by our greed, wanting the luxuries of life and lifestyle. I think it is time for correction and we all are trying very hard," Kashyap told IANS.

Previously, in an interview to IANS, Anurag opened up about how his filmmaking process is changing, something which is visible in his latest digital release, "Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai".

"There were times when I was tempted to take the script in a certain direction. When I would try to do that, I would have someone from the team to correct me. Rahul, my second unit director, was my biggest conscious keeper. They would all say 'It is becoming an Anurag Kashyap film'," he said.

Kashyap, known for films as "Black Friday", the "Gangs Of Wasseypur" series, "Dev.D" and "Ugly", added: "With this film ('Chocked'), I was trying to go away and stay away from what I would generally do with a film. My filmmaking process is also changing, because the last three films I did, the idea originated from somebody else and not me, and that really is a big help sometimes," he added.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:21:14 +0530
Beijing reports 31 new confirmed COVID 19 cases

Beijing,  Beijing reported 31 new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and six new asymptomatic cases on Tuesday, the municipal health commission said on Wednesday.

By Tuesday, Beijing had reported 557 confirmed domestically transmitted cases, including 411 who had been discharged from hospitals after recovery and nine deaths, Xinhua reported.

There were still 137 patients receiving medical treatment, and 12 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation.

So far, 174 imported cases have been reported in Beijing, with one still hospitalized.
 


(IANS)

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:17:43 +0530
Trump signs executive order on policing

Washington, US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on policing amid calls for action against police brutality and racism.

It comes three weeks after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has triggered nationwide demonstrations.

The executive order signed on Tuesday focuses on three areas: credentialing and certifying police officers; boosting information sharing to track officers accused of excessive use of force; and creating co-responder programs on mental health, drug addiction, and homelessness, Xinhua reported.

It also said police departments must "prohibit the use of chokeholds -- a physical maneuver that restricts an individual's ability to breathe for the purposes of incapacitation -- except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law."

Trump, speaking at the White House before signing the executive order, stressed that he "strongly" opposes efforts to defund or dismantle police departments, calling the ideas "radical."

"Without police, there is chaos. Without law, there is anarchy and without safety, there is catastrophe," he said.

The move from the White House comes alongside separate efforts on Capitol Hill focused on police reforms.

The Democrat-led House introduced a bill last week that aims to ensure officers can be held accountable for misconduct and increase transparency. The Republican-led Senate is also creating its own legislative package that will focus on police reporting, accountability, training and relations.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said on Tuesday that Trump's executive order is not enough.

"While the president has finally acknowledged the need for policing reform, one modest executive order will not make up for his years of inflammatory rhetoric and policies designed to roll back the progress made in previous years," Schumer said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, this executive order will not deliver the comprehensive meaningful change and accountability in our nation's police departments that Americans are demanding," the New York Democrat added. "Congress needs to quickly pass strong and bold legislation with provisions that makes it easier to hold police officers accountable for abuses, and President Trump must commit to signing it into law."

Floyd died during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota late last month after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Protests in response to Floyd's death, and more broadly to police violence, spread across the United States and took place in some other countries.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:15:52 +0530
6 Congressmen in race for 2 Council seats in Karnataka

Bengaluru, The opposition Congress has shortlisted six names for the June 29 biennial elections to seven seats in the Karnataka Legislative Council, an official said on Tuesday.

"Though 40 members applied for tickets to contest in the Council bypolls, the party's state unit has shortlisted six of them for selection by our high command in New Delhi," party official M.A. Saleem told IANS here.

The shortlisted persons are Muddahanumegowda, S. Manohar, Saleem Ahmed, H.M. Revanna, M. R. Seetharam and Naseer Ahmed.

"The names were shortlisted by the party's state unit president D.K. Shivakumar in consultation with senior leaders Mallikarun Kharge and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah," said Saleem.

Kharge, 77, was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha on June 12 as the party's lone candidate.

Siddaramaiah is the Congress legislative party (CLP) leader in the Assembly.

Of the seven outgoing Council members, five are from the Congress and one each from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and an Independent.

The five outgoing Congress members are Naseer, Jayamma, M.C. Venugopal, N.S. Bose Raju and Revanna.

Revanna and Naseer have sought re-nomination, while Seetharam is a former Council member, who was a minister in the Congress government from 2013-18.

Muddahanumegowda is the party's former Lok Sabha member from Tumkur (2014-19), who could not re-contest in the May 2019 general elections, as the ticket was given to JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda under a pre-poll alliance between the former coalition partners.

Gowda, however, lost to BJP's G.S. Basavaraj.

Saleem is the party's state unit working president.

"As the last date for filing nominations is June 18, the high command will select the two contestants on Wednesday to enable them file the papers on Thursday," said Saleem.

With 68 legislators in the 225-member Assembly, the party will be able to ensure the victory of its two candidates as each requires 28 votes to win the contest.

With 34 members, the JD-S will be able to ensure victory for only one candidate to replace its outgoing member T.A. Sharavana, who is keen to re-contest.

"Our party high command will decide the candidate on Wednesday as our former MLC Y.S. Dutta is also in the race for the ticket," a JD-S official said.

Of the 75-member Council, the opposition Congress has 37 members, BJP 19, JD-S 16, two Independents and one Chairman.
 

 

(IANS) 

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 09:12:51 +0530
IMF may further slash economic outlook cites profound uncertainty

New Delhi: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to further revise economic growth forecasts downwards in its upcoming outlook update due to the severe impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdowns across the world.

In a blog post on Tuesday, the Chief Economist of IMF, Gita Gopinath, said that although many countries begin to ease containment policies and gradually permit the resumption of economic activity, there remains "profound uncertainty" about the path of the recovery.

"For the first time since the Great Depression, both advanced and emerging market economies will be in recession in 2020. The forthcoming June World Economic Outlook Update is likely to show negative growth rates even worse than previously estimated. This crisis will have devastating consequences for the world's poor," she said.

Gopinath said that the "Great Lockdown" is expected to play out in three phases, first as countries enter the lockdown, then as they exit, and finally as they escape the lockdown when there is a medical solution to the pandemic.

Many countries are now in the second phase, as they reopen, with early signs of recovery, but with risks of second wave of infections and re-imposition of lockdowns.

Surveying the economic landscape, the sheer scale and severity of the global lockdown are striking, she added.

"Most tragically, this pandemic has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide. The resulting economic crisis is unlike anything the world has seen before," the IMF Chief Economist said.

She said that it is possible that with pent-up consumer demand, there will be a quicker rebound, unlike after previous crises. However, this is not guaranteed in a health crisis as consumers may change spending behavior to minimise social interaction, and uncertainty can lead households to save more, the blog post added.
(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 10:48:32 +0530
US attempts to scuttle Iran nuclear deal will fail Russian FM

Moscow,  The US attempts to force Iran nuclear deal participants to renounce their obligations and to punish Tehran by illegitimate initiatives, including the arms embargo, have no prospects from the point of view of international law, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

"We will use all the opportunities this international law provides to make sure that justice is served," Lavrov said during a news conference following talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Iran nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1, which is the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, plus Germany -- plus the European Union.

Tehran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear weapons program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions.

In May 2018, the United States announced a unilateral withdrawal from the deal and the restoration of stringent sanctions against the Islamic republic.

In reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark deal, and in response to Europe's sluggishness in facilitating Iran's banking transactions and oil exports, Iran has been gradually moving away from its nuclear commitments since May 2019.

Lavrov said that Russia will do everything so that no one can destroy the agreements that are enshrined in the JCPOA.

If this plan does not fit into the logic of the current U.S. administration, or if it considers this plan a bad deal, then it is its own business, he said.

"But Washington does not have any right to punish Iran by speculating on the authority of the UN Security Council and essentially manipulating the Security Council, and to a certain extent the UN secretariat," Lavrov said.

He said he could not vouch for the position of other members of the JCPOA, above all its European members, which are under tremendous pressure from the United States.

But those who would like to support the United States or try to partially help Washington have no legal arguments, which is obvious to all, Lavrov said.

The Trump administration has openly set the goal to bury the JCPOA, Zarif said during the news conference.

The United States has not only violated international law, but is also exercising pressure on international organizations, he said.

Iran keeps its obligations assumed under the JCPOA, and it will not allow the use of international organizations to bury this deal, Zarif said.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 10:42:10 +0530
Modi govt remained mute spectator on Chinese transgression Cong

New Delhi, Asserting that there could be no compromises on national security, the Congress on Tuesday accused the Modi government of remaining a "mute spectator" to the Chinese transgressions into Indian territory at three points in Ladakh since April-May 2020.

"The Modi government has remained a mute spectator," the party said in a statement issued by its spokespersons Randeep Singh Surjewala after reports of the killing of three Indian personnel by the Chinese Army in the Galwan Valley area a day earlier.

"There can be no compromises on India's security and territorial integrity. Reports of Chinese Army moving thousands of troops in the Galwan Valley and Pangong Tso lake area (Ladakh) has shocked the entire nation as an audacious attempt on our territorial integrity," the statement added.

The Congress also questioned the government "silence" on the issue and echoed party senior leader AK Antony, a former Defence Minister, to demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh come forward and tell the country about the stand-off with China.

"The two have repeatedly maintained an intriguing silence on the occupation of Indian territory by the Chinese since April-May 2020. The Congress demands that the PM now come forward to tell the nation as to how the government proposes to meet this challenging situation, which has serious ramifications for national security and territorial integrity," the Congress added.

"Congress remains firm that the entire country stands as one to protect India's national security and territorial integrity at all costs. Let the Modi government remember that in our parliamentary democracy, secrecy or silence are unacceptable on part of our government," the party said.

The Congress said that not a single battle casualty among Indian soldiers had occurred on the India-China Line of Actual Control in the over four decades.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 10:35:05 +0530
Payal Ghosh s homemade chocolates to raise funds for COVID

Mumbai, Actress Payal Ghosh is making chocolates at home along with friends to raise funds for those who are affected by the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.

Payal is taking orders online and all the money raised will be go towards helping the poor and the ones suffering during the current crisis.

"The situation is getting worse by the minute and the ones who are suffering is on a big uprising. The nation needs us now. We have to put up our hands and help in the situation. Everyone can make contributions," Payal said.

She added that she is trying to do her best.

"Let's see how fast we can get out of this situation. It's only looking bad as of now. We have to stay united during these times and help one another."

Payal was last seen in "Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi", which was released in 2017. The film also stars late veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vir Das and Prem Chopra, and is directed by Sanjay Chhel.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 10:01:12 +0530
25 000 grave violations against kids in armed conflict last yr UN

United Nations,  The UN has verified over 25,000 grave violations against children in armed conflict last year, according to an annual report.

The overall number of grave violations remains similar to the number reported in 2018 and represents some 70 violations per day, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying on Monday.

More than half of the violations in 2019 were committed by non-state actors.

Some 10,173 children were verified as having been killed (4,019) and maimed (6,154), with Afghanistan remaining the deadliest country for children, followed by Syria and Yemen, according to the report.

Up to 7,747 children, some as young as six, were verified as having been recruited and used.

Among those, 90 per cent were used by non-state actors.

Rape and other forms of sexual violence continued to be vastly underreported, with 735 verified cases in 2019.

Cases were prevalent in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan.

The UN verified the abduction of 1,683 children in 2019, with over 95 per cent of cases perpetrated by non-state actors, mainly in Somalia, the DRC and Nigeria.

Children were abducted for recruitment and use and sexual violence or ransom.

Some 4,400 incidents of the denial of humanitarian access to children were verified in 2019, the highest increase in the number of incidents verified for any violation, compared with 2018.

The UN verified 927 attacks on schools and hospitals.

The highest numbers were verified in Syria, the occupied Palestinian territory, Afghanistan and Somalia, according to the report.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 09:56:22 +0530
Pak violates ceasefire in J K s Tangdhar sector

Srinagar, Pakistan resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation at the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Tangdhar sector on Tuesday drawing a strong response from India, officials said.

"On 16 June 2020, in the early morning hours, Pakistan initiated an Unprovoked Ceasefire Violation (CFV) along the LoC in Tangdhar Sector by firing mortars and other weapons. Befitting response was given." Army said in a brief statement.

Pakistan has been targeting defence positions and civilian areas near the LoC. Over the last few days there have been a series of ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC in Uri and Tanghdhar sectors in Kashmir and to the South of Pir Panjal in Jammu's Rajouri and Poonch.

One army soldier was killed in action and two others were injured in the Pakistani shelling on Saturday night in the Kirni sector of Poonch.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 09:14:25 +0530
Mithun Chakraborty to skip birthday bash due to Sushant s death COVID 19

Mumbai, Veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty is no mood to celebrate his birthday on June 16 owing to the coronavirus pandemic and untimely demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

While a lot of people are throwing virtual parties amidst lockdown, Mithun will not be engaging in any kind of celebration on his special day.

"Given the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic and the untimely demise of our dear colleague Sushant, this year me and my father have decided to have no celebration on birthday and we urge people to stay safe and stay indoors as much as they can," said Mithun's son Namashi.

Sushant, who was reportedly battling depression, was found hanging in his residence in Mumbai in Sunday. The news of his death has shocked many.

Namashi has appealed and requested everyone to take out time and discuss things with their family members and friends regularly.

He has urged people to accept and learn to live with all kinds of "people around you. Irrespective of what you like and don't like, don't hurt anyone with your words. Let your ego go off forever. Just listen, patiently. Let everyone speak out their minds and hearts because depression is the biggest killer".

"No matter who we are, we really don't know what someone in our friends and family circle is going through. Allow their thoughts and feelings to come out in the form of words. We all can save a life by just building a small habit of listening," added Namashi.

Meanwhile, Namashi will make his Bollywood debut as a leading man with Rajkumar Santoshi's upcoming rom-com "Bad Boy".
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 09:09:07 +0530
US dollar dips as risk off mood eases

New York,  The US dollar weakened in late trading on Monday, following two consecutive session's noticeable gains, as market participants' risk-off sentiment eased.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, fell 0.61 per cent at 96.7090.



In late New York trading, the euro increased to $1.1315 from $1.1234 in the previous session, and the British pound increased to $1.2582 from $1.2492 in the previous session. The Australian dollar rose to $0.6915 from $0.6843, Xinhua reported.



The US dollar bought 107.32 Japanese yen, lower than 107.44 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar was down to 0.9481 Swiss franc from 0.9542 Swiss franc, and it fell to 1.3561 Canadian dollars from 1.3612 Canadian dollars.



The greenback climbed noticeably both on Thursday and Friday, as traders searched for safe haven amid concerns over a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across the United States.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 09:01:19 +0530
Over 5 43 lakh migrants return to Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Over 5.43 lakh migrants have returned to Odisha so far amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said an official on Sunday.

A total of 4,968 people returned to the state on Sunday. So far, 5,43,905 Odias have returned to the state, the official said.

As many as 215 Odias stranded in UAE due to the coronavirus pandemic reached Bhubaneswar in a chartered flight on Sunday.

The Air Arabia flight carrying 215 migrants took off from Sharjah International Airport and landed at Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

The migrants onboard were overwhelmed when they were greeted by a woman pilot in Odia language on the auspicious occasion of Raja festival.

Capt Madhusmita Pattnaik, an Odia pilot working with Air Arabia, operated the special chartered flight carrying the stranded Odias from Sharjah to Bhubaneswar.

Madhusmita expressed happiness for getting this opportunity to fly Odias stranded in the UAE home on the occasion of Raja festival.

"I am very happy that I reached my birthplace along with other Odia people. It happened due to the blessings of Lord Jagannath," she said in a video message.

The flight was arranged by the Odia Society in UAE.

"History was created today, the first ever announcement by a flight commandment in #Odia language in an international flight. #AirArabia G9 645 will reach Bhubaneswar airport at 1.30 pm India time with 215 Odias on board. Mahaprabhu, take them home safe," tweeted Dr Chandrasekhar Khuntia of the Odia Society in UAE.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 08:56:17 +0530
Beijing reports 27 new confirmed COVID 19 cases

Beijing,  Beijing reported 27 new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and three new asymptomatic cases on Monday, the municipal health commission said on Tuesday.

By Monday, Beijing had reported 526 confirmed domestically transmitted cases, including 411 who had been discharged from hospitals after recovery and nine deaths, Xinhua reported.

There were still 106 patients receiving medical treatment, and 10 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation.



So far, 174 imported cases have been reported in Beijing, with one still hospitalized.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 08:51:07 +0530
Trump announces cutting US troops in Germany to 25 000

Washington,  US President Donald Trump said on Monday that the number of US troops deployed in Germany would be reduced to 25,000 due to Germany's insufficient defence spending.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump confirmed the number of US soldiers in Germany would reduce to 25,000, Xinhua reported.



"Germany as you know is very delinquent in their payments to NATO," Trump told reporters at the White House, adding that US troops would redeploy to Germany until it pays.



Currently, there are about 35,000 US troops deployed in Germany.



Former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told German media outlet Bild Live last week that "American taxpayers no longer feel like paying too much for the defence of other countries."



"There will still be 25,000 soldiers in Germany, that's no small number," added the Trump loyalist.



US media reported early this month that Trump had directed the Pentagon to reduce US military presence in Germany by September, which drew oppositions among US lawmakers.



Last week 22 Republican members of Congress warned Trump that a significant force drawdown in Europe would serve Russia's interests at the expense of US national security.



The reduction might further strain the relations between Washington and Berlin. The two allies have been at odds with each other on Iran nuclear issues, Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, and defence burden-sharing, among others.



Trump has been repeatedly complaining that US allies exploited his country on defence spending. In his remarks to graduates of the United States Military Academy over the weekend, Trump emphasized the US military is not the policemen of the world.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 08:48:44 +0530
K taka to utilise pvt hospitals to treat Covid Minister

Bengaluru, Private hospitals will also be roped in to treat COVID patients at government fixed costs in Karnataka, said a minister on Monday.

"Decision will be soon made on roping in private hospitals to treat COVID patients," said Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar.

However, he clarified that the cost for testing and treating patients will be determined by the government.

"Strict action will be taken against hospitals which try exploit people by charging exorbitant prices. Private sector has to join hands with the government in this battle against the pandemic," he said,

Commenting on the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, Sudhakar said only MDA and CE approved kits are being purchased and people need not worry about their quality.

The minister said that he is personally visiting all the districts to monitor the state of the pandemic in the southern state.

On bringing Covid treatment under the ambit of insurance, Sudhakar said he will discuss with the union Health Ministry to bring Covid under ABARK.

He quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation which said wearing marks can reduce the spread of the infection by 90 per cent and exhorted everybody to wear a mask.

The minister requested the press and media to raise Covid awareness with facts and help people overcome fear and anxiety about the virus.

"Bengaluru has about 607 cumulative cases so far and 330 among them are still active. Only six of them are in ICU and 93 per cent of them are asymptomatic," he said.

According to Sudhakar, Coronavirus is not as lethal as SARS and Karnataka's mortality rate is 1.2 per cent compared to the national mortality rate of 2.8 per cent.

"Except the fact that corona is spreading fast, it is not as dangerous as past viruses. For example, mortality rate in SARS is 10 per cent. So the media should create awareness among the public with these facts and figures rather than creating panic," he added.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 08:45:32 +0530
Snapchat launches web based AR lens for brands businesses

New Delhi, Photo-messaging app Snapchat on Tuesday launched Lens Web Builder, the industrys first web-based augmented reality (AR) Lens ad production tool for brands and businesses.

‘Lens Web Builder' would make it easy for anyone to build compelling, professional AR Lenses in minutes.

While anyone can access the tool for free, it is particularly compelling to brands or agencies that wants to produce AR Lenses quickly, without the additional support of highly-skilled creators, the company said in a statement.

"We know Lens Web Builder is particularly appealing to small to medium sized businesses, including performance focussed and Direct-to-Consumer brands, who will be able to build an AR ad within minutes," said David Shaw, Head of International Product Marketing Snapchat.

Lens Web Builder, which operates in any web browser, allows advertisers to choose from a library of templates or they can create their own branded Lens from scratch.

The tool includes access to a library of hundreds of 3D objects, animations, and effects to help brands build their custom branded AR Lens and they can also upload their own 2D assets (such as logos and images) to further customize the AR experience.

The tool also operates in any web browser, making it available almost anywhere.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 06:28:21 +0530
Docu film Listen To The Sea to show impact of Cyclone Fani

New Delhi,  A new documentary titled "Listen To The Sea" narrates the story of Cyclone Fani, one of the countrys greatest calamities, and its impact on people.

The documentary will also take a deep dive into the 48 hours before the landfall of severe cyclonic storm which threatened damage to life and property in Odisha.

Talking about the subject of the documentary, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said: "We cannot control natural disasters and catastrophes but after the devastation caused by super cyclone in 1999, our aim was to make sure that as much as possible, no human life should be lost henceforth in such disasters. In a state which has almost 500 kilometers of coastline, one should listen to the sea."

The two-part series will premiere on Discovery and Discovery HD on June 20, and the show will stream on Discovery Plus on June 23.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 06:11:52 +0530
Aviation fuel prices raised second time in June

New Delhi,  Oil marketing companies raised the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices for the second time in a month on Tuesday.

In the national capital, the price of jet fuel was raised by Rs 5,494.5 to Rs 39,069.87 per kilolitre. On June 1, it was raised by Rs 11,030.62 to Rs 33,575.37 per kilolitre, according to data on the Indian Oil Corp's website.

In the other metro cities of Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, the price was increased to Rs 44,024.10, Rs 38,565.06 and Rs 40,239.63 per kilolitre.

The hike may have a major impact on aviation companies' finances that are under huge stress amid high debt, two months of no revenue and very little passenger traffic expected in the next few months.

Similarly, petrol and diesel prices increased for the 10th straight day. In Delhi, petrol was being sold for Rs 76.73 per litre, higher by 47 paise from Monday. Retail price of diesel was increased by 57 paise to Rs 75.19 per litre.

Consumers are unlikely to get respite from the rising price of auto fuels -- petrol and diesel -- as oil companies plan to cover their gap of around Rs 8 per litre on their sale by raising retail prices daily for at least next two weeks.

But the quantum of increase may fall from around 60 paise per litre, giving some respite to consumers in midst of several disruptions due to Covid-19 pandemic, according to official sources.

After an 83-day halt since March 16, oil marketing companies have started raising fuel prices daily from June 7. In the past 10 days since, petrol prices in Delhi have risen by Rs 5.47 per litre and diesel Rs 5.8 per litre.

Sources in public sector oil companies said petroleum products might continue its daily upward movement till the end of the month or earlier. But the increase might soften to around 30-40 paise per litre.

While prices have gone up by over Rs 5 per litre, the projected fall in OMCs' net marketing margin would need petrol and diesel prices to rise by another Rs 4-5 a litre.

The OMCs could also get support from the global oil market where crude prices have gone below $40 a barrel now. If this sustains, petrol and diesel prices may begin to fall from July.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 06:05:24 +0530
Pyongyang blows up inter Korean joint liaison office

Seoul,  North Korea blew up the inter-Korean joint liaison office in its border town of Kaesong on Tuesday, sharply escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula after near-daily threats against Seoul over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets.

The surprise move sparked concern that the communist nation could put other threats against the South into action, including taking military action and moving troops to border regions disarmed under inter-Korean agreements, reports Yonhap News Agency.

North Korea's state media confirmed that the liaison office was "completely ruined".

"The relevant field of North Korea put into practice the measure of completely destroying the North-South joint liaison office in the Kaesong Industrial Zone in the wake of cutting off all the communication liaison lines between the north and the south," Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.

The two Koreas launched the liaison office in September 2018 to facilitate inter-Korean exchange and cooperation amid a reconciliatory mood created by summit talks between their leaders.

The office suspended its operations in early January due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The destruction was in line with "the mindset of the enraged people to surely force human scum and those, who have sheltered the scum, to pay dearly for their crimes", KCNA said, referring to North Korean defectors in the South sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets.

"At 2.50 p.m., the liaison office was tragically ruined with a terrific explosion," it said.

Earlier, witnesses and sources said smoke was seen and an explosion was heard from the border town, with residents in South Korea's northernmost village of Daeseong-dong saying that dark smoke began billowing with a bang sound, according to the Yonhap News Agency report.

The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the destruction.

Moon did not attend the session and details of the meeting were not immediately available.

The explosion came after Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned on June 13 that "before long, a tragic scene of the useless North-South joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen".

The North has been lashing out at the South almost daily for failing to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border via balloons.

Pyongyang has vowed to deal with South Korea as an "enemy", cutting off all cross-border communication lines, and threatened to take other measures, including military action.

Following the explosion in Kaesong, the South Korean military tightened its surveillance and readiness posture for possible accidental clashes near the tense border areas, according to officials.

Earlier on Tuesday, the General Staff of the (North) Korean People's Army warned that it is reviewing an action plan to advance into "the zones that had been demilitarized under the north-south agreement, turn the front line into a fortress and further heighten the vigilance" against the South, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

The demolition of the liaison office marked the latest setback in inter-Korean relations, which have been almost stalled since a no-deal summit between Pyongyang and Washington in February last year.

Last October, North Korea demanded the South tear down all "unpleasant-looking" facilities at the now-shuttered Mount Kumgang resort on its east coast.

Launched in 1998, the tour program was a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 06:01:44 +0530
Governor Koshyari condoles demise of veteran journalist Dinu Randive

Mumbai: The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari has expressed condolences on the demise of veteran journalist, freedom fighter and social activist Shri Dinu Randive. In a condolence message, the Governor wrote:

 

“Shri Dinu Randive was a vigilant witness to the movement for the creation of Samyukta Maharashtra and the making of modern Maharashtra during the last six decades. Shri Randive was a silent warrior who used the might of his pen to secure justice for the poor and the most neglected sections of society.  He was active participant in many social agitations in the State. The history of journalism in Maharashtra would be incomplete without a reference to the glorious contributions of Shri Randive. In his demise, we have lost a firebrand journalist.”

 
 
 
 
 

 

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 05:28:42 +0530
Speaker Nana Patole meets Governor

Mumbai: Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Nana Patole met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai. This was a courtesy call

Tue, 16 Jun 2020 05:25:13 +0530
2 Indian mission staffers arrested in Pak India demands immediate release

Islamabad/New Delhi, The two Indian High Commission staffers in Pakistan, who were presumed missing since Monday morning, have been arrested by Pakistani police for their alleged involvement in a road accident in Islamabad.

The two staffers went missing at 8:30 am and since then were untraceable. India has since taken up the matter with Pakistani counterparts to ensure safety of the Indian officials.

Sources in Islamabad said "two Indian diplomats have been arrested by police authorities" after they were allegedly "involved in a road accident". Both are security officials of India's Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), assigned as security to the High Commissioner and other diplomats. The officials, as per police sources, "were over speeding when the accident occurred."

However, there was no official communication from Pakistan.

At least one person has been injured in the accident, sources said adding that as the two Indian staffers tried to flee, the locals stopped them. Later the police arrived and arrested both of them.

Sources this morning had said that both the Indian High Commission staffers were out on duty in Islamabad and did not reach their destination. Strangely, there was no information about the two till the evening even as the Indian government had taken up the matter with the concerned Pakistan authorities.

Sources in New Delhi said Pakistan's charge d'affaires Syed Hyder Shah was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and demarched on the reported arrest of two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

India, in its protest against the arrests, has made it clear that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials. The responsibility for the safety and security of the concerned diplomatic personnel lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities, the government has conveyed to Pakistan.

Sources said the Pakistan side was asked to return the two officials along with their official car to the Indian High Commission immediately.

The intriguing drama of the arrest of the two officials has come two weeks after the Indian government deported two Pakistan High Commission officials from New Delhi after they were caught spying red-handed.

Pakistan's spy agency ISI has been harassing and intimidating India's top diplomats in Islamabad ever since the two officials of the Pakistan mission in New Delhi were deported for indulging in espionage activities.

The ISI has deployed several spies in cars and bikes outside the residence of India's charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia. However, on May 31 after the two Pakistani mission officials were caught spying and deported in New Delhi, ISI spies began chasing Ahluwalia's vehicle.

Indian law enforcement agencies had caught red-handed two Pakistani officials, Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir, for spying on the Indian Army on May 31. The duo used to meet Indian defence personnel as "businessmen" to get information for decoy news reporters. Both were declared persona non grata and expelled from India.

Amid this, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is finding it difficult to resume normal functioning as Indian diplomats and consular officials are facing aggressive tailing and surveillance.

Last Friday, India registered a protest in the form of a note verbale to Pakistani authorities. India asked Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of the Indian High Commission and its staff and to allow them to resume their activities in keeping with the Vienna Convention.

India told Pakistan that the behaviour of its agencies violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and also the bilateral 1992 Code of Conduct which the two countries signed to provide diplomats immunity from hostilities in ties.
(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:45:28 +0530
Important to know signs of mental health problems Experts

New Delhi,  With the suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput shining the spotlight on mental health issues, experts have suggested that people first need to be able to identify the problems so they can seek help and get the right treatment.

The "Chhichhore" actor's body was found hanging in the bedroom of his home on Sunday, leading Mumbai police to launch a probe into the suicide from various angles.

According to Dr Samir Parikh, Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare, depression is an illness that is characterised by periods (of two weeks or more continuously) in which an individual experiences low moods, lack of interest, reduction in pleasure in activities, tiredness or fatigue, poor concentration, changes in sleep and appetite, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness or even thought of self harm (in severe forms of the illness).

"When a person's functioning is affected and these symptoms are present it is important to seek help," Parikh said, adding that treatment can involve a combination of or individually the utilisation of medicines and psychotherapy.

"It is also important that people focus on self care, identify if there are errors in their thinking, determine ways to manage emotional functioning, seek support in friends and family and most importantly talk about the struggle they may have and not hesitate because of the stigma or misconceptions that surround mental health problems," he said.

Actor Deepika Padukone, who earlier opened up about her own struggles with depression, emphasised on the need of "reaching out" again on Sunday.

"As a person who has had a lived experience with mental illness, I cannot stress enough about the importance of reaching out. Talk. Communicate. Express. Seek help. Remember, you are not alone. We are in this together. And most importantly, there is Hope," she wrote in an Instagram post.

As Manish Jain, Consultant, Psychiatry, BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, pointed out, social, psychological, cultural and other factors can interact to lead a person to suicidal behaviour, but the stigma attached to mental disorders means that many people feel unable to seek help properly.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:43:33 +0530
WFH in IT sector strengthening bond between spouses finds Telangana survey

Hyderabad,  Work from home in the Information Technology sector due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is strengthening the family bonding as the techies are spending more time with the family, a survey has revealed.

Software professionals, who were previously spending two to three hours in the travel from home to office and back, are now spending the same time with their spouses and families.

The survey conducted by the Telangana Information Technology Association (TITA) found that Work From Home (WFH) is strengthening the bond between husband and wife.

About 89 per cent of those surveyed have reported enhanced relationships with spouses and other family members.

According to a report by NIMHANS, Bengaluru, the IT sector is among those that see a high rate of marital discord and divorce. The WFH has given time to iron out many such issues, said TITA Global President Sundeep Kumar Makthala.

The survey, which took 500 samples in 150 projects over a month, also revealed that about 57 per cent of the respondents are not keen on an onsite opportunity at this point due to the fear of Covid-19.

It also found that nearly 90 per cent of the companies have extended the WFH post lockdown. About 82 per cent of the respondents said they would like to see the facility further getting extended.

TITA said the survey was aimed at understanding how the WFH was being implemented and to know the views of the software professional about extending it and other aspects.

Issues with internet connectivity, missing teamwork and occasional power outages remained the key challenges for WFH. About 62 per cent said they had no work pressure while working from home.

The survey, however, found that about 48 per cent were putting in 8-10 hours work and about 29 per cent said they were putting in 10-12 hours of work at home. A majority of the companies did not give any incentive for WFH.

The survey said about 45 per cent used their bedroom as workplace and about 24 per cent had a dedicated work pod while about 22 per cent used the main hall to work, Makthala said.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:40:36 +0530
Serious diplomatic lapse in relationship with Nepal Karan Singh

New Delhi, Congress leader and former Maharaja of Kashmir, Karan Singh, has slammed the government for mishandling the India-Nepal ties over Nepal passing a resolution in its House of Representatives to adopt a new map which includes Indian territory.

Karan Singh termed the fiasco as "Prima facie this appears to be a serious diplomatic lapse, the consequences of which are before us".

Karan Singh said that the matter was raised in November last year but "surprisingly it was not taken seriously, ideally the Nepal government should have been engaged through Foreign Secretary or Foreign Minister level, and if needed the Prime Minister should have pitched in to resolve the deadlock".

The Congress leader also criticised Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli for the "irreversible confrontational posture "with its relationship with India.

Karan Singh said that he has been associated with Nepal politically and personally for several decades and he has deep regrets for what Prime Minister Oli has done with regards to ties with India.

Nepal's House of Representatives on June 13 unanimously adopted the Constitution Amendment Bill, paving the way for accommodating the updated political-administrative map in the national emblem which includes Indian areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.

Nepal Foreign Minister, Pradeep Gyawali, said in a tweet, "The House of Representatives unanimously adopted the Constitution Amendment Bill, paving the way for accommodating the updated political-administrative map in the national emblem."

On June 9, Nepal's House of Representative had unanimously endorsed the Constitution Amendment Bill to adopt a new map of the country.

The proposal was backed by the Nepal Communist Party headed by Prime Minister Oli, the opposition Nepali Congress and Madhesi -based parties.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:38:42 +0530
Vir Das Convenient to pass off a death as depression

Mumbai,  Actor-comedian Vir Das says it is very convenient to put blame of death of a young person on depression, and shrug off ones own role in driving it.

Vir's comment comes as several unconfirmed reports claim that actor Sushant Singh Rajput was battling depression over the past few months, indicating that it drove him to take his own life.

"It's convenient to pass off the death of a young person as ‘oh...depression'. That means you no longer have to own your systemic part in it. MOST people you know have suffered from depression at one point or another, even if they don't know it. How you treat people matters," Vir posted on his Twitter.

"It is hugely ironic to see journalists and media houses who relish, enjoy, and milk the failure of every project now write articles about mental health and positivity," he added.

Sushant was found hanging in his Bandra residence on Sunday morning by his domestic help. He was reportedly battling depression over the past few months and undergoing treatment for the same. His social media posts from the past couple of months reveal that he even tried yoga and meditation to battle his state of mind.

Vir took to social media to mourn the loss, while cherishing his legacy.

"Sushant Singh Rajput was a complete outsider who made it from background dancer to a movie star through hard work and talent. That's an amazing and unique true story. Take a moment to remember that above everything. For outsiders, actors struggling, for anyone. That's a legacy," Vir posted on Sunday.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:36:38 +0530
NMDC Ltd faces tough time as Chhattisgarh hardens stand

Raipur, The Chhattisgarh government has toughened its stand against public sector iron ore mining giant NMDC Ltd and served notice to the company for storing iron ore outside the lease area at its massive mining complexes at Bailadila hills in the state's Datenwada district.

Dantewada District Collector has served a separate notice to Bacheli and Kirandul mining complexes heads of the NMDC Ltd, charging them with "clearly violating rules by illegally storing iron ore at sites which are outside of the mines lease areas".

The notice came after a team of the state government's Mining Department carried out sudden inspection of the NMDC Ltd last week for two consecutive days at Bacheli and Kirandul complexes which jointly contribute roughly 75 per cent of the company's total annual iron ore output.

The notice was issued on June 12 and the NMDC Ltd had been given a 15-day period to reply. The state government's action has brought iron ore shipment to a total halt.

The spat between the mineral-rich government and India's largest iron ore miner in public sector began after the company refused to honour its commitment made to the state government late last year while getting its mines leases extended till 2035.

Sources claimed that the BJP-led Central government is adopting a hostile approach towards the Congress-run Chhattisgarh government and the NMDC Ltd has been caught between.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had also sent a strongly-worded letter to Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan last month in which he advised him to "instruct the NMDC Ltd to act more responsibly and honour its commitment to the state".

NMDC Ltd operates three iron ore complexes in the country, two of these are in Chhattisgarh while the third one in Karnataka. The company has been excavating iron ore in what is now Chhattisgarh state since late 1960s.

NMDC Ltd is also engaged in a legal battle with the BJP-run Karnataka government which scrapped lease of the company for Donimalai mine and all efforts of the mining major to resume production proved a futile exercise so far.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:34:37 +0530
Vizag gas leak SC puts Rs 50 cr compensation by LG Polymers on hold

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Monday put on hold, for 10 days, the disbursal of Rs 50 crore compensation by LG Polymers for the Vizag gas leak incident, as directed by the National Green Tribunal.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, M.M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran noted that the Andhra Pradesh High Court expeditiously dispose of the pending application in connection with the incident. On June 1, the NGT had ordered the South Korean company to deposit Rs 50 crore.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for LG Polymers, contended before the bench that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had directed the directors of the company to deposit their passports in the court, and this order is without jurisdiction. The LG Polymers moved the apex court challenging the NGT and the High Court orders. On the last hearing, the apex court had allowed 30 company personnel to access the plant for maintenance and other purposes.

Rohatgi argued that despite this order, the District Magistrate did not allow the company personnel to go inside. As the bench asked if a nod from the authorities was sought for the removal of the hazardous gas from the plant, Rohatgi replied the plant has been sealed, and this order was passed without expert opinion.

He also pointed out that the High Court is yet to take up the matter despite a large number of committees having been formed to watch over the case. He argued the DM's order preventing two lawyers getting entry inside the plant was not proper.

Rohatgi clarified that his client has moved the apex court to challenge the order in connection with deposit of the passports in the court, and also the order issued to seal the plant. He insisted that sealing of the plant is unconstitutional.

The apex court has asked the High Court to dispose of these pending applications by the end of next week, and also restrained the disbursal of the compensation amount for a period of ten days.

On May 26, the apex court allowed 30 employees of LG Polymers India Ltd to supervise "round the clock safety measures" at its sealed plant in Visakhapatnam, where a gas leak in May claimed 12 lives.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 10:33:02 +0530
Danish Kaneria appeals PCB to remove life ban

Lahore,  Tainted Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has appealed to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to remove the life ban and has sought permission to play domestic cricket.

Kaneria, who has played 61 Tests for Pakistan claiming 261 wickets, was banned for life from any cricket under the jurisdiction of the England and Wales cricket Board (ECB) after being found guilty of corruption by a disciplinary panel in relation to a spot-fixing case.

On Sunday, Kaneria posted the letter on his Twitter handle in which he said he has requested the PCB to write to International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) Chairman to allow him to play in domestic cricket.

"Through my legal team, I appealed Pakistan Cricket Board to remove my life ban. As per ICC code, I have asked PCB to plead my case, atleast I am allowed to play domestic (sic)," he said along with the letter addressed to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani.

In the letter, Kaneria's legal team wrote that the tainted leg-spinner has "suffered unimaginable and incomprehensible hardships, both professionally and personally" and "his sole source of income has vastly been affected".

"...PCB has the authority to write to the Chairman ACU thereof making a request at the behest of our client to grant him permission to play and participate in domestic cricket, or any related activity thereof," the letter read.

Kaneria has "shown his willingness to undergo any and all educational, rehabilitative, or any other related programs," the letter further stated.

"In light of the above submissions, you are hereby requested to exercise the power given to you under the Code and address the Chairman ACU to grant our client permission to participate in domestic cricket or activities related thereof as our client is willing to undergo any and all programs as the same are willing and cooperate to the best of his abilities."
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:58:18 +0530
3rd Anamika Shukla held now Priti Yadavs in scam

Lucknow, Yet another 'Anamika Shukla', whose real name is Babli Yadav, has been arrested for using forged documents to work as a teacher in the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV).

Meanwhile, multiple persons have been found using the name and documents of one "Priti Yadav' to work as teachers in the KGBV.

Babli Yadav is the third woman to have been arrested, so far, in the scam in which 25 women were appointed as science teachers under the same name.

The third Anamika -- Babli Yadav -- was arrested by the Aligarh Police almost a week after the first Anamika (Supriya) was arrested from Kasganj on June 6.

After her arrest, Babli disclosed the identities of two more Anamikas, including that of her sister-in-law Sarita Yadav, who was appointed in the Soraon block in Prayagraj, while the second woman lives close to her house in Kanpur (Dehat) and was appointed in the KGBV in Baghpat.

Babli told the police that she had paid Rs three lakh to the main accused, Pushpendra Yadav, for her appointment at Aligarh's KGBV.

Babli claimed that she was provided with all fake documents, including Aadhaar Card, at the time of counselling in Aligarh. A fake bank account was also opened at the Central Bank's Rasulabad branch in the name of Anamika Shukla and she was appointed at Bijauli block's school on October 21, 2019.

Aligarh Superintendent of Police (crime) Arvind Kumar said that all her claims were being verified.

"Teams are being formed to arrest the accused involved in the scam," said the SP, adding that an FIR was registered against the accused under various sections of the IPC.

Aligarh Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Laxmikant Pandey, meanwhile, said that Babli had sent her resignation on WhatsApp.

In a related development, it has been found that the marksheets and documents of one Priti Yadav had been used by two women to get jobs of hostel warden and full-time teacher in the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas in Jaunpur and Azamgarh.

Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Jaunpur, P. K. Tiwari, lodged a complaint at the Kotwali police station on Saturday night in this connection and an FIR was lodged against the two women.

Tiwari said, "When director general of school education Vijay Kiran Anand ordered uploading of all personal details of teachers and employees of the KGBVs, Aadhaar numbers of two employees, both named Priti Yadav, were found same. On this basis, I have lodged the case."

One Priti was working as hostel warden at the KGBV in Azamgarh while other was a full-time teacher at the KGBV Muftiganj in Jaunpur.

"The residential address of both candidates was of Mainpuri district. Except their photographs, all other documents, including marksheets and Aadhaar cards, were same, but the date of birth of Priti working in Azamgarh was different from other one," he said.

When records of primary education were checked, the identity of real Priti became clear.

The BSA met the real Priti's father and found that she is not employed anywhere though she had applied for a job in the KGBV.

The police have registered FIR against two women, both Priti Yadav, under sections 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of IPC, and have launched investigation in this case.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:48:12 +0530
NY could roll back reopening in regions violating protocols CuomoNY could roll back reopening in re

New York,  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to roll back reopening in areas where social distancing and other protocols put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic were being violated.

Cuomo said at Sunday's briefing that some 25,000 complaints of violations have been filed against businesses across the state since it launched a phased reopening in May, reports Xinhua news agency.

"We have never received more complaints in a shorter period of time," said Cuomo, adding that a majority of the complaints were from New York City and the Hamptons in Long Island.

The Governor on Saturday retweeted a video showing hundreds of people partying and drinking in St. Mark's Place in Manhattan's East Village on Friday evening.

Few people were seen wearing a mask.

"Don't make me come down there..." he commented.

"There is a very real possibility that we would roll back the reopening in those areas," Cuomo said on Sunday.

"This is a very serious situation and I want to make sure everybody knows the consequences here."

During the first phase of reopening in New York, restaurants and bars are only allowed to offer food deliveries and gatherings are capped at 10 people.

Drinking alcohol in public places is also illegal in New York.

Cuomo warned that bars and restaurants that violate the laws could lose their liquor licenses and people with open containers in the street could be fined.

Police officers and protesters not wearing masks can also be fined.

The Governor warned local governments to enforce the law or "there will be state action".

"It's disrespectful to health care workers and essential workers who sacrificed themselves and some of whom died," he said.

The state's daily COVID-19 deaths once again dropped to a new low at 23 on Saturday, down from 32 on Friday and 42 on Thursday, according to Cuomo.

The governor confirmed 694 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 383,324.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:38:20 +0530
Chinese mainland reports 49 new confirmed COVID 19 cases

Beijing, The Chinese health authority said on Monday that it received reports of 49 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Chinese mainland on Sunday, of which 39 were domestically transmitted and 10 were imported.

Of the domestically transmitted cases, 36 were reported in Beijing and three in Hebei Province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report, Xinhua reported.



On Sunday, one person was discharged from hospital after recovery. No deaths related to the disease were reported, according to the commission.



As of Sunday, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 83,181, including 177 patients who were still being treated, with two in severe condition.



Altogether 78,370 people had been discharged after recovery and 4,634 people had died of the disease, the commission said.



By Sunday, the Chinese mainland had reported a total of 1,837 imported cases. Of the cases, 1,745 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 92 remained hospitalized. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.



The commission said one new suspected case was reported Sunday and there were currently three suspected cases.



According to the commission, 3,852 close contacts were still under medical observation after 392 people were discharged from medical observation Sunday.



Also on Sunday, 18 new asymptomatic cases, including 11 from abroad, were reported on the mainland. No asymptomatic case was re-categorized as a confirmed case. A total of nine asymptomatic cases, including two imported ones, were discharged from medical observation, according to the commission.



The commission said 112 asymptomatic cases, including 62 from abroad, were still under medical observation.



By Sunday, 1,109 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 45 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 443 in Taiwan including seven deaths.



A total of 1,067 patients in the Hong Kong SAR, 45 in the Macao SAR, and 431 in Taiwan had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:28:20 +0530
AI might grant NoC to official involved in alleged salary scam

New Delhi,  Air India is likely to grant a no-objection certificate (NoC) and drop the investigation against the employee, who drew a salary from both the national carrier and the DGCA for two years after being deputed at the aviation regulator.

The official's term with the DGCA ends on June 30 and for him to carry on with the regulator, he requires an NOC from the national carrier. If this is provided, Air India will not be able to probe him, as per reports citing sources.

According to people in the know, Air India is expected to provide the NoC, since a resolution to the matter has already been initiated.

However, reports citing sources said that such a move might be contemplated to stall an investigation by the airline.

As per reports, the employee concerned was a joint manager in the national carrier till January 2017 and was then deputed in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The alleged scam came to light in January last year.

Following the claims, Air India conducted an internal enquiry before urging the DGCA in June last year to relieve the Chief Flight Operations Inspector (CFOI) so that the airline could bring him back and investigate the allegations. However, the DGCA did not agree to the request.

Now is the opportunity, sources in the report said, citing the expiry of the DGCA contract, when Air India can actually bring back the person and investigate the allegations of fraud.

Contacted by IANS, the official concerned refused to comment on matter.

There are, however, contradictory opinions within the establishment. A person in the know of the matter said: "This is a matter that has been resolved internally in the airline. When the pilot is returning the extra payments he had received, then there is no point of an investigation left."

The money owed by the official concerned is also disputed. Air India last year issued a showcause notice to the CFOI for receiving a gross salary of Rs 2.8 crore from the airline, when he was employed with the DGCA.

Sources, on the other side of the divide, also said that the official concerned has paid around Rs 90 lakh to Air India in two instalments after the alleged scam came to light and the airline expects to make full recovery soon.

Asked about the possible grant of NoC for extension of the official's service in the DGCA, a source said: "These are two very separate issues and cannot be clubbed or looked at from a single perspective."
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:19:27 +0530
Egypt to resume int l flights from July 1 after 3 months

Cairo,  Egypt will resume international flights from July 1 amid preparations to restart foreign tourism in three provinces with the least COVID-19 infections, the Civil Aviation Minister said.

"Flights will be resumed gradually with some states," Civil Aviation Minister Mohamed Manar said in a joint press conference on Sunday.

Egypt had suspended international flights on March 19 as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, reports Xinhua news agency.

"All planes have been comprehensively sterilized and only dry meals and canned beverages will be offered," Manar said, adding the distribution of any publications will be banned on board.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anany said foreign tourism will resume in the three coastal provinces with the least COVID-19 infections, namely South Sinai, the Red Sea and Matrouh.

South Sinai and the Red Sea have the popular resort cities of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, which are among the most attractive tourist destinations worldwide.

All precautionary measures for the resumption of international flights and tourism are coordinated with the health ministry, the Ministers noted.

Egypt is currently adopting a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming services, businesses and economic activities.

The most populous Arab country has already started gradual reopening of services and offices, and recently allowed operation of over 230 hotels for local tourists with 50 per cent capacity after they were given hygiene safety certificates.

Egypt has so far registered 42,980 COVID-19 cases, with 1,484 deaths and 11,529 recoveries.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:15:28 +0530
Skeletal local train services resume in Mumbai

Mumbai, After a gap of over two-and-a-half months, the Railways resumed limited suburban train services in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on Monday morning, officials said.

The local services on the network of Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) -- the city's lifeline -- is specifically for the employees of the Maharashtra government who are engaged in essential services.

This follows repeated appeals by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to the Centre for resumption of services as part of the unlocking process post COVID-19 lockdown.

Accordingly, the familiar sight and sounds of the suburban trains greeted Mumbaikars since early morning as the CR and WR together started 450 services, according to officials.

The WR will run 60 pairs of its 12 car suburban services -- total 120 -- in both directions between Churchgate and Dahanu Road, according to WR spokesperson Ravindra Bhakar.

The CR will run 100 services on either side on its Main line -- between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Thane, Kalyan, Karjat and Kasara and 70 services on either side of Harbour line -- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Panvel, said CR spokesperson Shivaji Sutar.

"These trains will run between 05.30 hrs to 23.30 hrs", said a CR-WR joint statement early Monday.

"It is requested not to rush to the stations and follow medical and social protocols as mandated for CoVID-19," the CR-WR joint statement said.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:12:36 +0530
Sushant s police officer brother in law suspects foul play

Chandigarh, Actor Sushant Singh Rajput's brother-in-law O.P. Singh, who is the Additional Director General of Police and posted as Special Officer in the Haryana Chief Minister's Office, suspected some foul play in the crime, it is reliably learnt on Monday.

He is seeking a thorough probe into the incident.

The 34-year-old actor was found hanging at his apartment in Mumbai's Bandra on Sunday.

His sister lives in Chandigarh.

State officials said Singh has left for Mumbai soon he came to know about the suicide incident.

Expressing condolences, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said actor Rajput's death is an "irreparable loss" to not only the film industry but also for the entire society.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 09:07:27 +0530
Agriculture sector needs to increase private investment Tomar

New Delhi,  Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar has stressed on the need of increasing private investment in agriculture sector for propelling growth.

Addressing an international webinar organised by Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut and a national webinar organised by Junagadh Agricultural University on Saturday, the Minister said that with the rise in private investment, the agriculture sector will prosper which in turn will increase self-reliance and prosperity in the country.

Tomar said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announced a provision of Rs 1 lakh crore for developing agricultural infrastructure and similar provisions have also been announced for the fisheries, animal husbandry, bee-farming, herbal farming, food processing sectors etc.

He also called upon scientists to contribute in increasing agricultural production and mitigate difficulties.

In the webinar organised by Ch. Charan Singh University, Meerut, Tomar said, in the situation of Covid-19 pandemic, farmers have demonstrated that they are capable of dealing with difficult challenges.

He said that farmers continued harvesting and sowing of crops and other activities uninterruptedly even when there was lockdown in the the country which shows the resilience of our villages and farmers.

"To deal with the growing population of the country which is expected to reach 160 crores by the year 2050, plant breeders and scientists in India are faced with the challenge of increasing production of quality foodgrains and providing enough nutritional food to all Indians by undertaking progressive farming to develop disease-resistant and pest-resistant varieties that require less area and are able to grow in unfavourable conditions like dry climate, high temperature, saline and acidic soils.

"Bio-fortification strategy must also be used to develop high quality crop varieties having high protein, iron, zinc etc. nutritional content. For this, plant breeders have to use latest biotechnology methods in addition to traditional methods of farming," the Agriculture Minister said.

In the webinar organised by Junagadh Agricultural University, he stressed on achieving better farm production with usage of less water.

Tomar said Indian farmers produced a bumper crop with the resources available in the rural areas, crop harvesting continued at normal pace during the lockdown, crop production was more than last year and sowing of Kharif crops has also been 45 per cent more than last year.
(IANS)

Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:28:23 +0530
Washington governor alarms increase of COVID 19 transmission

San Francisco,  Washington Governor Jay Inslee has issued a statement to alarm the increase of COVID-19 transmission.

The Washington State Department of Health on Saturday released the latest statewide situation report, which showed COVID-19 transmission continued to increase in eastern Washington as of the end of May, with a possible uptick in western Washington as well, Xinhua reported.



"The report estimates cases and deaths will soon increase substantially if COVID-19 continues to spread at current levels," Inslee said in the statement.



"Washingtonians have done the hard work to flatten the curve on COVID-19... But today's report shows us there is still reason for strong concern in parts of our state," he added.



"This is not the time to give up on efforts to protect ourselves, our families and our communities. We are still in the middle of a pandemic that is continuing to infect and kill Washingtonians," Inslee warned.



Inslee said that the cases in Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties are of particular concern. He joined the Institute for Disease Modeling on Saturday morning as it shared data with leaders in these three counties. "This data will force us to look for some creative solutions and strengthen our strong local - state partnerships to address the disease activity," he said.



According to Inslee, residents must increase testing and mask-wearing, and maintain physical distancing to continue tackling the coronavirus.



He also stressed the importance of strengthening hospital capacity, as well as target interventions for high-risk populations such as long-term care facilities and indoors, including close proximity workplace operations, such as food processing and agricultural housing.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:21:28 +0530
Consumer PE fund L Catterton invests Rs 1 895 cr in Jio Platforms

New Delhi,  Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Jio Platforms Limited, Indias leading digital services platform, on Saturday announced an investment of Rs 1894.50 crore by L Catterton, one of the worlds largest consumer focused private equity firms.

This investment values Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore. This is the second transaction announced on Saturday within hours as earlier TPG had acquired equity in Jio.

L Catterton's investment will translate into a 0.39 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis. The fund has a deep consumer understanding which is expected to bolster Jio's tech initiatives for Indian consumers.

With this investment, Jio Platforms has raised Rs 1.04 lakh crore from leading global investors including Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG and L Catterton since April 22.

Founded in 1989, L Catterton is the investment partner of choice for leading consumer-focused brands around the world. With a 30-year track record of leveraging its operational expertise, deep sector insights, global network of resources, and its unique partnership with LVMH and Groupe Arnault, L Catterton has successfully invested in and helped build some of the most innovative brands at the forefront of the evolving consumer landscape, including Peloton, Vroom, ClassPass, Owndays, FabIndia, and more.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said, "I am delighted to welcome L Catterton as a partner in our journey to unleash the power of digital for India while providing a consumer experience that is among the best in the world. I particularly look forward to gaining from L Catterton's invaluable experience in creating consumer-centric businesses because technology and consumer experience need to work together to propel India to achieving digital leadership."

Michael Chu, Global Co-CEO of L Catterton, said, "Over our more than 30-year history, we have established a track record of building many of the most important brands across all consumer categories and geographies, from retailers, omni-channel and digitally native brands.

"We are strong supporters of fostering growth through product development, enhanced digital capabilities and strategic alliances. We look forward to partnering with Jio, which is uniquely positioned to execute on its vision and mission to transform the country and build a digital society for 1.3 billion Indians through its unmatched digital and technological capabilities."
 

(IANS)

Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:18:05 +0530
Over 100 arrested in violent London protests

London, More than 100 people were arrested during far-right protests in London, which turned violent and left 19 others, including six police officers, injured, Scotland Yard said.

As of 9 p.m. on Saturday, at least 100 were arrested for offences including violent disorder, assaulting police officers, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of class A drugs, being drunk and disorderly and breach of the peace, Xinhua news agency quoted Scotland Yard as saying.

Saturday's protests took place following a series of anti-racism demonstrations across Britain, sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American in the US city of Minneapolis.

He died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed facing down and repeatedly saying that he couldn't breathe.

The arrests came after around 200 protesters breached the 5 p.m. curfew with most congregating around the statue of war-time leader Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.

The protests came despite London Mayor Sadiq Khan urging people to leave by the deadline, which was set by the Metropolitan Police under the Public Order Act.

By 7 p.m., police blocked off two pedestrian bridges between Embankment and Waterloo in London as Black Lives Matter protesters had been on them attempting to get north in the capital.

Police officers also drove anti-racism protesters across Westminster Bridge, preventing anyone from passing their cordon.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the violence.

He said on Twitter: "Racist thuggery has no place on our streets. Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law.

"These marches and protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines. Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality."

Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned the violence as "appalling and shameful" the "desecration" of a memorial to murdered Keith Palmer during the far-right protest in Westminster.

She said a "small minority" had behaved with "extreme thuggery".

Also taking to Twitter, the Mayor wrote: "Millions of Londoners will have been disgusted by the shameful scenes of violence, desecration and racism displayed by the right-wing extremists who gathered in our city today.

"In the face of attacks and abuse, our police did a fantastic job to control the situation. Thank you."
(IANS) 

Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:15:21 +0530
Goods train derails in Uttar Pradesh

Firozabad (UP),  Three wagons of a goods train derailed at Outer Shikohabad railway station in Firozabad district following which rail traffic was disrupted for a few hours.

About 12 trains, running between Kanpur and Delhi, were affected by this accident on Saturday on the Delhi-Howrah route.

There were, however, no reports of casualties.

Ajit Kumar Singh, Chief Public Relations Officer, North Central Railway, Prayagraj Division, said rail traffic was restored after the track on the route was cleared off the derailed wagons.

The goods train was coming from Firozabad to Shikohabad.

The movement of several trains, including Jodhpur-Howrah Express, Gomti Express and Bihar Sampark Kranti was affected for hours due to the derailment.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:09:11 +0530
Stuck in Bengaluru thousands of Assam migrants wait for return

Bengaluru, Around 4,000 Assamese migrants workers struggled to return home as they assembled at the Palace Grounds here but had no information for any possible train journey to their state on Friday.

"This is a colossal failure of the administration. Nobody is taking charge because they are migrant workers. Not important enough," complained a volunteer helping the stuck migrants.

The migrants had assembled to catch a train for Assam after six days.

Though the formalities to transport the migrants to the designated railway station was supposed to start by 11 am, no Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) official was present at the centre at 9 am, even as many had already assembled there.

"Nothing has been arranged. The hall in which we have to assemble has no electricity, no bathrooms, no water, no arrangement and no official is present," complained volunteer Rosemary Vishwanath.

She asked the officials to provide a helpline and advanced information to avert chaos.

Many migrants were seen running helter-skelter at the Palace Grounds while lugging their luggage.

Meanwhile, the Shramik Special train scheduled for Guwahati was yet to depart.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 09:52:49 +0530
Canada to introduce mandatory temperature checks at airports

Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government has planned to introduce mandatory temperature screening for passengers and employees at the country's airports.

"A passenger who has a fever will not be permitted to get on a flight," Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa on Friday.

The plan includes screening measures through a phased approach, first for those travelling to Canada, then for those from Canada, and finally for those within Canada, reports Xinhua news agency.

Employees in the secured areas of airports in the country will also be required to have their temperature checked.

In the past months, some Canadian airlines already have introduced temperature screening measures on their own.

Temperature checks at airports are expected to complement a number of measures already in place, including mandatory mask-wearing for all passengers and staff, enhanced cleaning protocols and physical distancing in airports.

"There are strong measures already in place to keep people safe. This screening will be yet another layer of protection," Trudeau said.

He said thermal screening is not a way of detecting COVID-19 in travellers but it is an additional measure that can highlight symptoms of COVID-19 or show that someone is ill and should not be travelling at all.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 09:37:43 +0530
Akshaya Patra feeds 6 3 crore meals amid Covid hit lockdown

Bengaluru,  With the profound message of Iskcon Founder Acharya Shrila Prabhupada that "no one should go hungry" as its motto, the country's leading non-government organisation Akshaya Patra Foundation has served a whopping 6.3-crore meals to the needy since the lockdown was enforced across the country on March 25 to contain the corona virus spread.

"Till June 11, we have served 6.3 crore (63 million) meals to the people from vulnerable communities, including daily-wage earners, industrial workers, labourers at construction sites and others in 17 states across the country," Foundation Vice-Chairman Chanchalapathi Dasa told IANS here.

The 6.3-crore meals include 3.4 crore freshly cooked dishes and 6,86,092 food relief kits, with essential groceries amounting to 2.8 crore servings.

Set up in this tech hub with former Infosys Director T.V. Mohandas Pai as its co-founder in 2000, the Foundation is the world's largest non-for-profit run organisation that serves mid-day meal on school days to over 18-lakh children in 19,039 schools across 12 states in the sub-continent.

Madhu Pandit Dasa of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskon) is the founder of the two decades old Patra.

"Our aim is to reduce the food insecurity during this pandemic outbreak as it heightens health risks for vulnerable under inadequacy of basic nutrients," said Foundation's chief executive Shridar Venkat.

Global software major Infosys' co-founder N.R. Narayan Murthy, his wife Sudha Murthy and their family donated Rs 10 crore to enable the Foundation distribute 1.33-lakh food relief kits in various locations across the country.

"I hope the situation will improve soon and the people will get back to normal life. Till then, we will continue to feed as many people as possible," said Dasa.

The Foundation is serving meals cooked at its huge kitchens to the affected people In Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi (NCR), Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh.

"We have undertaken food assistance to support the government's relief efforts to the needy, affected by the extended lockdown to curb the Covid-19 spread," asserted Venkat.

Food relief kits are also being distributed to the vulnerable communities in these states.



"The kits are based on the local palate of the region, with each of them having dry ration sufficient to cook 28 meals. The kits distributed in Bengaluru contain rice, tur dal (lentils), oil, spices, sambar and rasam powder and vegetables with longer shelf-life like potatoes and pumpkins," said Venkat.



The Foundation is distributing food relief kits also in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where it is building kitchens for the school feeding programme.



In Jharkhand, Punjab and West Bengal, the NGO is using its kitchens set up for cooking mid-day meals for school kids and local resources to feed the needy.

The Foundation has 52 kitchens in 12 states and 2 Union Territories across the country.

Leading corporate, donors and volunteers have also been supporting the Foundation in the relief-feeding endeavour.

The Foundation has also received support of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms like General Mills (Mumbai), Britannia and Epigamia.

Employees from corporate houses, Infosys Foundation, biotech firm Biocon, Home Guards and Civil Defence personnel and volunteer groups like Corona Warriors and Inspiring Indians have been helping with the packing and distribution of food relief kits in various locations.

"We have been able to serve over 6.3 crore meals to the needy during these difficult times due to the collaborative efforts of everyone involved, including the central and state governments and local civic bodies," Dasa pointed out.

In the National Capital Region (NCR) Iskon's Delhi centre has served 2.5-crore meals during the lockdown and still counting.

"Though wearing mask and social distancing are necessary to help limit the virus spread, for lakhs of people food insecurity is much more serious issue, as they cannot afford to stock up food supplies," said Iskcon Delhi's in-charge Shrila Gopal Krishna Goswami.

Sensing that the economically weaker sections will grapple with food shortage of food in the wake of this nationwide lockdown, Goswami directed the centre's volunteers to serve warm meals of Krishna prasadam to the needy.

"Our kitchens are run with all precautions as per the Union health ministry's guidelines. The food is prepared daily in the hygienic way in compliance with the Covid-induced regulations," said Goswami.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 09:28:19 +0530
Eisha Chopra Big budget Bollywood fascinates me but I enjoy the web space

Mumbai,  With several digital shows including "What The Folks", "Official CEOgiri" and latest "Official Bhootiyagiri", actress Eisha Chopra is carving a niche in the content-driven digital space, though she is equally interested to be a part of commercial Bollywood films.

Over the last three months, when several low to medium budget feature films have gone directly for OTT release, apart from a rise in the number of web series, the medium has become a commercially viable platform for the trade, even as cinema halls continue to stay shut. Eisha feels miniseries as a concept on digital platforms started as an experiment, and the audience has made these commercially viable.

"The only way to find out if we have an audience for it is by telling a new story. Until we put out a new story, and a new language of storytelling on the public platform, we do not really know if people want to watch them, if we have a market for that," Eisha told IANS.

"When the audience watch a big budget film - say, a 100-crore budget film, they enjoy it as a form of escapism. They do not look at those film thinking, 'I can be like that', they just get fascinated. On the other hand, when people look at content in the digital platform, especially web series or short films, they do not look up to the character. Over the past few years, the immense popularity of web series happened because those stories do not fascinate like commercial potboilers do, but those stories move the audience much more," added the actress, who recently played the female protagonist in the show "Official Bhootiyagiri", which also features Sumeet Vyas, Vishwajoy Mukherjee, and Pranay Manchanda.

Eisha has also worked as a co-writer in shows like "P.O.W: Bandi Yuddh Ke", "Love On The Rocks", and "Madly, Clean Shaven."

So, what kind of stories does she prefer being a part of? "I think my interest lies (in roles) where I can grow as an actor. Honestly speaking, at this stage of my career I will not say 'no' to a big-budget commercial Bollywood film. At times, we do not even have the luxury of choosing one particular character or script. But what is there in my hand is how I approach a character. There is always one usual way of performing a scene, build a character. What I always try to do, even in my mind is (try to figure out) what is the other way of doing it. I am equally enjoying the web space," the actress replied,
 

(IANS)

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 09:23:03 +0530
China s Hubei to further lower COVID 19 emergency response level

Wuhan,  China's Hubei province, where the COVID-19 pandemic originated in its capital Wuhan last December, will further lower its coronavirus emergency response posture from level II to level III starting from Saturday, an official said.

On Friday, Yang Yunyan, vice governor of Hubei, said the COVID-19 prevention-and-control measures will be adjusted and optimized accordingly, reports Xinhua news agency.

The province will gradually open public venues and resume conferences, exhibitions, trans-provincial tourism and classes in an orderly way, Yang said.

By the end of Thursday, no new asymptomatic cases had been reported in Wuhan for 12 consecutive days, and other areas of the province had seen no such cases for nine days.

Hubei lowered its COVID-19 emergency response from the top level to the second level on May 2.

The liaison group of the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 urged Hubei to continue to make COVID-19 prevention and control a priority and advance the orderly resumption of cultural and tourism sectors.

As of Saturday morning, there were a total of 84,220 COVID-19 cases in China, with 4,638 deaths.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 09:18:45 +0530
Relaxations during lockdown didn t help retailers Survey

New Delhi, The staggered relaxations during the two-month-long nationwide lockdown did not have much of an impact on retail business and their businesses witnessed a severe contraction during the period, according to a survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI).

In a statement, RAI said that the business assessment for three months -- March, April and May 2020 -- showed severe de-growth in businesses across sectors and regions.

During the stringent lockdown in April and May, retailers lost around 80-90 per cent of their last year sales.

The relaxations provided by the government in May were ineffective as retailers across the board continued to lose, as per the survey.

"The survey also revealed that lockdown relaxations have been ineffective in stimulating retail across geographies as all regions have impacted almost the same with degrowth of 76 per cent to 81 per cent in May 2020 Y-o-Y," it said.

Large size retailers with sales more than Rs 300 crore in the food and grocery segment witnessed 86 per cent de-growth in business, while the non-food and grocery segment has seen a 75 per cent de-growth compared to last year, showed the survey.

Small and medium-sized retailers with sales less than Rs 300 crore in the food and grocery segment fared slightly better but still lost 33 per cent of their sales in May compared to last year.

Commenting on the findings of the business survey, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, said: "Retailers are amongst the most resilient entrepreneurs of the Indian ecosystem. Despite the lockdown relaxations, retailers are still facing a challenging time to revive their business."

He added that the impact on retail across the country is of concern and it will take a considerable amount of time for retailers to return to the green.

"We trust the government and other stakeholders will take note of this situation and help in boosting customer sentiment by enabling smooth functioning of retails stores across the nation by addressing state and local level issues," Rajagopalan said.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 09:05:14 +0530
WHO concerned over COVID 19 upswing in many countries

Geneva,  World Health Organization (WHO) said that it's concerned that many countries, particularly the global south, are still on the upswing of the COVID-19 pandemic, and again called for global solidarity to overcome difficulties for "over 100 years."

"We are concerned that we are still very much on the upswing of this pandemic in many countries, particularly of the global south," Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies Program, said on Friday at a virtual press conference in Geneva, Xinhua news agency reported.

"First and foremost, most of the world right now is still very much in the throws of the first wave of this pandemic. Some countries in Europe, in Southeast Asia, North America have been through the peak of a wave of infection," he explained.

"The current uptick in cases in some countries ... (is) related to (the) reopening of society, re-mixing of people and being in a situation without adequate social distancing, without adequate measures in place. And without adequate capacity to isolate tests, isolate suspect cases and quarantine contacts, the disease can return again," Ryan said.

Meanwhile, "it's not surprising at all that any country coming out of lockdown can have clusters of disease, re-emergence of disease and clusters -- that's not necessarily a second wave," he added.

Ryan said that careful balance must be struck "between keeping everyone at home and continuing to completely suppress transmission of COVID-19" -- "a public health dilemma" that "has to be carefully managed and balanced by every government every minute of every day."

"That really comes down to the sophistication of your public health surveillance, your ability to test, track and trace, your knowledge of the virus as it's spreading through communities, and your ability to apply measures in a way that's not a blanket measure that you can lift and adjust measures at a sub-national or a sub-state level that allow you to be much more sophisticated in doing that."

"But that is driven by having good data and without good data, it's almost impossible to take that approach," Ryan emphasized.

Furthermore, he said the WHO is concerned that some countries were having difficulties in exiting the so-called lockdowns.

"So the question is: what have you got to replace lockdown with? And what we have now in the absence of a vaccine? Is good public health surveillance a strong relationship with communities, so they know how to protect themselves and they're empowered to protect themselves?"

"It is difficult to achieve in any circumstance, but it is the only way to sustain the next number of months while we wait for other interventions," he said, emphasizing the importance of learning to live with the virus and finding a balance of controlling the virus.

"This is a difficult dilemma, but we must find that balance, and each society must find that balance which is in accordance with its values and what citizens in that country wish to achieve as a collective and that's not always so easy to achieve," Ryan added.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 08:55:50 +0530
Forming 10K FPOs among govt s revolutionary reforms Tomar

New Delhi, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken revolutionary reforms in agriculture, including formation of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs).

Addressing the 24th Management Board and 19th Annual General Meetings of the Small Farmers' Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), the Minister said on Friday that FPOs must not only be formed but also achieve their objectives as the responsibility of completing this task lies with SFAC, which is responsible for strengthening the e-NAM platform.

There has been considerable progress in institutional and private investments after the establishment of SFAC, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

As per the statement, a business of more than Rs 1 lakh crore has been transacted over the e-NAM platform till now and over 1.66 crore farmers and more than 1.30 lakh businesses registered with e-NAM since its inception.

Tomar said: "It is a challenge for us to ensure that as a result of reforms, there is ease in selling of farm produce, along with transparency; farmers get remunerative prices for their produce; and they have direct access to this platform. Farmers have completed the harvesting work with great dedication even during lockdown."

He appreciated the effort of SFAC in launching 'Kisan Rath app' with the help of ministry officials, which lessened the problem of transport of farm produce during the lockdown.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 13 Jun 2020 08:52:35 +0530
Wall Street tumbles amid renewed virus fears Fed s bleak forecast

New York,  Wall Street suffered its worst day in nearly three months, with the Dow plunging more than 1,800 points amid a broad market sell-off.

On Thursday, the 30-stock index shed 1,861.82 points, or 6.9 per cent, to 25,128.17. The S&P 500 sank 188.04 points, or 5.89 per cent, to 3,002.1. The Nasdaq decreased 527.62 points, or 5.27 per cent, to 9,492.73. The major averages posted their worst day since mid-March, Xinhua news agency reported.

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors finished sharply lower, with energy and financials down 9.45 per cent and 8.18 per cent, respectively, leading the losses.

The Cboe Volatility Index, widely considered as the best fear gauge in the stock market, spiked nearly 48 per cent to 40.79.

Concerns over rising coronavirus infections in some US states and a sober assessment of economic recovery prospects from the Federal Reserve weighed on equity markets, Lucy Qiu, a strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management, told Xinhua on Thursday.

A spike in new coronavirus cases across US states, including Texas and California, triggered fears of a second wave of infections as the nation tries to reopen after lockdowns.

More than 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 113,000 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, investors' expectation of a swift economic recovery from the pandemic was dimmed by gloomy views from the US central bank, which on Wednesday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record-low level of near zero and projected interest rates to remain at the current level through at least 2022.

"The ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term," the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed's policy-making body, said in a statement after concluding a two-day meeting.

In a separate statement released on the same day, the Fed projected that the US economy will shrink by 6.5 per cent in 2020, followed by a 5 per cent gain next year.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday afternoon that the economic projections were made with the general expectation that the economic recovery will begin in the second half of the year and last over the next couple of years.

"Powell highlighted the extent of economic uncertainty and suggested that the economy might not fully recover until people believe the risks form COVID-19 have disappeared (implying not until a vaccine is available)," Qiu noted, adding "today's risk-off move highlights the importance of a selective approach to stocks after the recent sharp rally."

Despite Thursday's plunge, US equities traded mostly on an upbeat note in recent days. The Nasdaq rallied to a record high on Wednesday, closing above the 10,000 mark for the first time. The S&P 500 and the Dow are both still up more than 37 per cent from their coronavirus intraday lows.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 12 Jun 2020 10:26:47 +0530
N Korea vows more reliable force against US threats

Seoul,  North Korea on Friday vowed to build up a "more reliable" force against military threats from the US, saying the historic summit two years ago between leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump led to no improvement in ties between the two countries.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon made the remark, adding that Pyongyang would "never again" provide the US with "another package" that Trump could use to boast as his political achievements, reports Yonhap News Agency citing Pyongyang's state media.

"The secure strategic goal of North Korea is to build up a more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US. This is our reply message to the US on the occasion of the second anniversary of June 12," Ri said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"What stands out is that the hope for improved relations has now been shifted into despair," he added.

Ri voiced frustration over a stalemate since the Singapore summit, accusing Washington of just focusing on talking up "political achievements" without taking any actual steps to fulfil agreements.

"The question is whether there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore, as we see that there is nothing of factual improvement to be made in the relations simply by maintaining personal relations between our Supreme Leadership and the US President," he said.

"In retrospect, all the practices of the present US administration so far are nothing but accumulating its political achievements. Never again will we provide the US Chief Executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns," he added.

Ri's statement came hours after the US said that it is committed to implementing the Singapore summit agreement and is willing to take a flexible approach.

"The US is committed to engaging North Korea in meaningful negotiations so that North Koreans can realize a brighter future," a State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency in response to a request for comment on the second anniversary of the 2018 summit between Trump and Kim.

"That offer remains on the table. We are willing to take a flexible approach to reach a balanced agreement on all of the Singapore summit commitments," the spokesperson added.

Trump and the North's leader met in Singapore on June 12, 2018, to negotiate the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief and other concessions.

The two sides also agreed to work together to improve bilateral relations, build a lasting and stable peace regime on the peninsula, and repatriate the remains of American service members killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Trump and Kim held their second summit in February last year but failed to produce an agreement.

"Unless the 70-plus-year deep-rooted hostile policy of the US towards North Korea is fundamentally terminated, the US will as ever remain to be a long-term threat to our state, our system and our people," KCNA quoted Ri as saying.
(IANS)

Fri, 12 Jun 2020 09:23:02 +0530
Congress hits back at ex Servicemen for statement on Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi  After 71 armed forces veterans issued a strong statement against former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, questioning his "motivation" for making a controversial statement on Chinese incursion, the Congress has questioned the bonafide of such people and demanded that they should show their affiliation.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "Please do not write only Lt Gen and Major Gen but mention with which organisation you are affiliated to."
Singhvi said that not only Rahul Gandhi, but the whole nation was asking such questions.

While the Congress leaders stepped up the pressure, Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "China attacked India in 2 phases starting Oct 20 1962. Vajpayee & others wrote to Nehru demanding Parliament be convened. Nehru readily accepted & listened to blistering criticism of his policies. Now we have Narendra Modi. Not even a briefing to former PMs/pol party leaders!"

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor said, "Parliamentary oversight and accountability amount to an irrelevant inconvenience for a government that believes it is infallible. How far has our democracy fallen!"

Earlier, the veteran army personnel said in a statement, "At the outset, we wish to condemn such undesirable and deplorable tweets/comments by a person who has no idea as to how our soldiers work in the world's most difficult and unfriendly terrain."

It added, "Rahul Gandhi should never forget 1962, when the country was headed by none other than his great grandfather Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and we were not only caught totally unprepared but had to suffer a very humiliating defeat at the hands of China, despite the fact that our soldiers fought valiantly and caused huge casualties to China."

The veterans included AVM Sanjib Bordoloi, Air Commodore S.S. Saxena, and Brigadier Dinkar Adeeb, among others.
 

Fri, 12 Jun 2020 09:19:13 +0530
Anushka Sharma Didn t start producing to make movies for me to star in

Mumbai, Actress Anushka Sharma says her decision to turn producer at the age of 25 came from her position as a star, which she could leverage to produce innovative and disruptive content for women in Bollywood. She adds that she did not start bankrolling films in order to star in them.

"My decision to turn producer was because I wanted to leverage the position which I had, to produce good films. I did not start producing to make movies for me to star in", Anushka claimed, adding that she just "wanted to tell good stories".

"I would be sitting and talking to writers, discussing things with them and I would wonder why a certain type of films where not being written," she said.

"I realised that it was not very common for great roles to be constantly written for women in our industry," she added.

Anushka wanted to "take this step and create roles for actors who would fit right for the project".

"The vision was always to say stories which we believed were unconventional and unique," she declared.

The actress's most recent production venture is the web series "Paatal Lok", which has been very well received. She shared that her parents, Ajay and Ashima, have also loved the web-series.

"My parents have seen 'Paatal Lok', they have liked it and then they are very happy and proud like how any parents would be of their children's accomplishment and appreciation they are getting for it," she said.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 09:38:09 +0530
US reopens consulate in Greenland after 67 years

Copenhagen, The US has officially reopened its consulate in Greenland after 67 years.

"On behalf of the US government, I am excited to begin this new chapter in our relationship with Greenland and the entire Kingdom of Denmark by re-establishing our consulate in Nuuk, Greenland," Carla Sands, Washington's Ambassador to Denmark, said in an online post on Wednesday.

The development was also confirmed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

The reopening of the consulate in Nuuk reflects "America's commitment to deepening our cooperation with the people of Greenland and the entire Kingdom of Denmark. Our presence in Nuuk will enhance the prosperity we share with our friends in Denmark and Greenland, as we work together with other Arctic allies and partners to ensure the stability and sustainability of development in the region" Pompeo was quoted as saying in the statement by the Politico news website.

Greenland, with a population of some 56,000, is an autonomous territory of Denmark with the Danish government retaining control of its foreign affairs and defence, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The government has approved that the US consulate in Greenland can be initially housed under the same roof as the Arctic Command," said Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen to the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation, KNR.

In August 2019, US President Donald Trump proposed purchasing Greenland from Denmark but was rejected.

In reaction, Trump postponed a planned visit to the Nordic state.

The US previously had a consulate in Nuuk from 1940 to 1953.
 

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 09:35:27 +0530
US reopens consulate in Greenland after 67 years

Copenhagen, The US has officially reopened its consulate in Greenland after 67 years.

"On behalf of the US government, I am excited to begin this new chapter in our relationship with Greenland and the entire Kingdom of Denmark by re-establishing our consulate in Nuuk, Greenland," Carla Sands, Washington's Ambassador to Denmark, said in an online post on Wednesday.

The development was also confirmed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

The reopening of the consulate in Nuuk reflects "America's commitment to deepening our cooperation with the people of Greenland and the entire Kingdom of Denmark. Our presence in Nuuk will enhance the prosperity we share with our friends in Denmark and Greenland, as we work together with other Arctic allies and partners to ensure the stability and sustainability of development in the region" Pompeo was quoted as saying in the statement by the Politico news website.

Greenland, with a population of some 56,000, is an autonomous territory of Denmark with the Danish government retaining control of its foreign affairs and defence, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The government has approved that the US consulate in Greenland can be initially housed under the same roof as the Arctic Command," said Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen to the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation, KNR.

In August 2019, US President Donald Trump proposed purchasing Greenland from Denmark but was rejected.

In reaction, Trump postponed a planned visit to the Nordic state.

The US previously had a consulate in Nuuk from 1940 to 1953.
 

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 09:35:25 +0530
Turkish Airlines to partially resume int l flights

Ankara, Turkish Airlines announced that it would resume some of its international flights from Thursday after remaining suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bilal Eksi, CEO of the company, said in a tweet on Wednesday that AnadoluJet, a trademark of Turkey's flag carrier, would start flying from Istanbul and the capital Ankara to some European countries from Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The initial destinations would cover several major cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin and London.

Turkey is expected to increase the number of its international flights to 40 countries in the upcoming days.

Turkish Airlines had earlier announced that its international flights would start on June 10.

The reason for the delay was not immediately clear.

Turkey partially resumes domestic flights on June 1 after a two-month closure.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 09:32:12 +0530
Punjab CM warns against COVID 19 violations

Chandigarh, Acting tough, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday stressed the need to fine people for not wearing masks and not observing precautions against Covid-19.

"I feel sad that we need to fine our people for not wearing masks & not observing other precautions against #Covid19," he informed in a tweet.

"(The) government alone cannot win the fight against #Covid19 & I seek support of all. Don't take any flu-like symptom lightly and see your doctor immediately."

A Rs 500 penalty is imposed in the state for not wearing a mask in public places, while a Rs 2,000 penalty for violating the home quarantine instructions. For spitting in public places, the fine is Rs 500.

For non-payment of fine by the violator, it is attracting legal action under Section 188 of the IPC as per regulations framed under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 11 Jun 2020 09:29:14 +0530
3 Hizbul LeT militants killed in J K

Srinagar, Three more terrorists were killed in a gun battle with the security forces in South Kashmir's Shopian district on Wednesday. The police said they belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

This is the third major encounter in Shopian in less than a week killing 12 militants in the valley.

According to the details provided by the officials, the security forces had a specific input about the presence of terrorists in the Sugoo village. A cordon and search operation was launched by a joint team of the Army and the police in the morning.

As the security forces zeroed in on the hideout, the militants started firing triggering the encounter.

"Joint operation was launched at 0145h today based on JK Police intelligence. Cordon was laid and contact was established at 0530h. Security Forces eliminated three terrorists. Joint operation in progress," the Army said in a brief statement.

On Sunday five terrorists were killed in an encounter in the Reban village also in Shopian district. And on Monday in the same district, four terrorists were killed in the Pinjura village.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 11:29:07 +0530
Nearly 10K cases for 3rd day cured surpass active tally

New Delhi,  India on Wednesday witnessed a spike of over 9,900 cases of the novel Coronavirus for the third consecutive day with 9,985 fresh cases, a Health Ministry data revealed.

For the first time the number of cured surpassed the total active cases. There were 1,33,632 active cases, while cured patients so far stood at 1,35,205.

At least 279 died in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 7,745, according to the ministry data.

With 2,76,583 cases, India is now the fifth country most affected by the pandemic, since the first case was reported in January-end. It overtook Spain on Sunday, and is just 13,000 short of the UK tally of 2,90,581, according to data by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.

Mumbai (with over 51,000) has tipped Wuhan (over 31,000) tally as Maharashtra's corona cases stood at 90,787, which is more than 31 per cent of the national tally, followed by Delhi with 31,309, Tamil Nadu with 34,914 and Gujarat with 21,014 cases.

The global number of COVID-19 cases has increased to over 7.2 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 411,177, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of Wednesday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 72,38,723, while the toll increased to 411,177, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US continues with the world's highest number of confirmed cases and deaths at 19,79,411 and 1,11,989, respectively, according to the CSSE. Brazil is second with 7,39,503 infections. Then Russia (4,84,630), and then the UK (2,90,581)

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues at the second position after the US with 40,968 Covid-19 deaths, which also accounts for the highest number of fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Brazil (38,406), Italy (34,043), France (29,299), Spain (27,136) and Mexico (14,649).
 

(IANS)

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 11:22:30 +0530
Apple users can now anonymously share data for its Covid 19 app

San Francisco,  Apple has updated its coronavirus screening app where users can now anonymously share data like age and symptoms that would be used to help health officials better fight Covid-19 pandemic.

The anonymously shared data will help state public health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports TechCrunch.

Apple in late March launched a COVID-19 website and app with a screening tool and other information about the new coronavirus pandemic. This app is different from the Apple-Google Exposure Notification API.

Apple made it clear that the data would now personally identify users and would be aggregated as an additional privacy mechanism.

Apple recently updated its coronavirus screening app with new information about COVID-19 symptoms and mask tips.

New symptoms that could be signs of COVID-19 include chills, shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of smell or taste.

Previously known symptoms of the disease include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is responsible for COVID-19, the CDC said.

"To help you stay informed, understand symptoms and take proper steps to protect your health, Apple has created a COVID-19 website and a US app in partnership with the CDC," according to CEO Tim Cook.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 10:36:50 +0530
Bhumi Pednekar I still have stars in my eyes

Mumbai, Actress Bhumi Pednekar has carved her space in Bollywood with strong roles in films such as "Dum Laga Ke Haisha", "Shubh Mangal Saavdhan", "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" and "Pati, Patni Aur Woh". She insists fame has not changed her.

"I am the same girl. Honestly I haven't changed much. Success hasn't managed to change me! I am still very vulnerable, ambitious, still have stars in my eyes and have huge dreams. This has been, I think, my biggest push in life, because I was very young when I decided I wanted to be an actor," Bhumi said.

She wants to chase goals that she wants to achieve as a performer.

"I want to do the work that I want to do and want to carve a separate space for myself. I don't want to be a part of the rat race and I have a clear vision about it," she said.

The actress feels she was fortunate to have got the opportunity to try out acting.

"I am so fortunate that I had the opportunities, and it all started with that one job at Yash Raj Films. When I started with them I was all of 17, I didn't know what I was doing," recalled Bhumi, referring to the fact that she started out as an assistant casting director at the production house, before getting a break in the banner's 2015 production, "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" as a lead actress.

"I was honestly thinking of going abroad back then for studies. I randomly went to that interview because I knew I had to start working otherwise my parents would send me off abroad for further education, and my life changed. There was no stopping after that!" she said.

In 2020, Bhumi has two films lined up -- "Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare" and "Durgavati".
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 09:26:26 +0530
Dow dips 300 points Nasdaq crosses 10 000 mark for first time

 

NEW YORK, US STOCKS ENDED MIXED AFTER VOLATILE TRADING

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 300.14 points, or 1.09 per cent, to 27,272.30, snapping a 6-day winning streak. The S&P 500 was down 25.21 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 3,207.18, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 29.01 points, or 0.29 per cent, to close at 9,953.75. The index rallied to a record high earlier in the session, briefly breaking above the 10,000 mark for the first time, fueled by strong gains in major tech shares.

Shares of US tech giants Netflix, Apple, Facebook and Amazon all finished up more than 3 per cent.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended lower, with energy and financials down 3.31 and 2.62 per cent, respectively, leading the laggards. Communication services and technology, however, both climbed more than 0.4 per cent.

Investors assessed economy reopening while awaiting a key statement on interest rates from the US Federal Reserve expected Wednesday afternoon.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 09:22:17 +0530
The masked American faces a perfect storm 3 trends to follow

New York,  Americans wearing face coverings, in sharp contrast with the US president's style, are taking their first steps back into their bruised cities amidst a perfect storm of coronavirus deaths, unrelenting public protests against police brutality and a presidential election less than 150 days away.

All this comes at a time when eight in 10 Americans feel America is spiralling "out of control", according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Within the context of the 2020 election, this sentiment is increasingly becoming about leadership in crisis, not race and gender like in 2016 or the economy.

Against this backdrop, three trends promise to roil presidential politics: Head to head poll numbers, jobs numbers and the big public health test of reopening the economy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

First, US president Donald Trump is trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden in a growing number of polls, including in the battleground states.

Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling the pandemic and the protests after George Floyd's death. The colour of protests has changed, the multiracial coalition that has come into clear view during the George Floyd protests will test Trump's political brand and his ability to move white voters.

Trump's readiness to weaponize race to fire up his base worked in 2016. After Floyd's brutal death too, Trump continues to swing for the fences but his own party has begun cringing at the clumsy photo ops and rage tweeting. Trump is eager to get back on the campaign trail, with his signature brand of boisterous rallies.

Meanwhile, White House insiders have begun speaking on background about internal polling showing that support for Trump is slipping among precisely those groups who were Trump's staunchest supporters.

Second, for every American who is out of work, there are currently a shade less than five job openings, underlining the huge catch-up looming ahead. The unemployment rate is officially 13.3 per cent, which is higher than in any other downturn since the second world war. The number is a lot higher for those who have scaled down to part time work. US employers let go 7.7 million workers in April alone as businesses shuttered.

Young people in America -- especially millennials and Gen Z are not seeing the kind of income growth their earlier generation did. The economy is reopening slowly but everything's going to remain muted until Americans resume life and work like they did during the pre-coronavirus time.

Economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research announced this week that the US economy entered a recession in February, ending the longest economic expansion on record. After the crash of 2008, it took a full eight years for the unemployment rate to return to pre-downturn levels. People are hurting from the economic bloodbath. Even Floyd, whose death sparked the protests was out of work when he died.

And finally, all eyes will be on New York City which reopened this week after losing 21,000 to the coronavirus in just three months. Given its population -- 8.3 million, New York City is the biggest test of the US reopening phase.

Unsure how the results will turn out, locals remain fearful that reopening could spark a second wave of the virus as people begin resurfacing in public spaces. The death rate from the coronavirus is hovering at around 38 per 100,000 people in the US. The United States now accounts for one-fourth of global deaths, with more than 111,000 Americans dead out of a total of around 404,000 worldwide.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 09:12:40 +0530
Spain reports no COVID 19 deaths for 2nd straight day

Madrid, The Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare reported no new deaths from COVID-19 for a second straight day Tuesday.

According to the ministry, a total of 27,136 people have died from COVID-19 in Spain. The figure is the same as those published on Sunday and Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministry also informed that 50 people lost their lives to the virus in the past seven days, 23 of them in the region of Madrid. The seven-day death toll is down from the 56 reported Monday.

Tuesday, however, saw a rise in the number of new cases of COVID-19 detected by PCR tests, which discover if the coronavirus is active in the body. The ministry registered 84 new infections, up from 48 reported 24 hours earlier.

The ministry also informed that only 12 patients have been admitted to intensive care wards in Spain in the past seven days.

As of Tuesday, Spain has registered a total of 241,966 infections.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 10 Jun 2020 09:06:33 +0530
Record 9 987 cases take India s Covid tally to 2 66 lakh

New Delhi, India on Tuesday recorded its highest-ever single-day spike in novel coronavirus cases at 9,987, a Health Ministry data revealed. At least 331 corona patients died in the last 24 hours in India, taking the total fatalities to 7,466.

Now, India is the fifth most corona-affected country as it overtook Spain on Sunday, with its total corona cases at 2,66,598. It is behind the United Kingdom, which has a total of 2,88,834 cases.

Of the total cases, at least 1,29,917 are active whereas 1,29,215 persons have been cured, one patient migrated and discharged, and 7,466 fatalities recorded so far.

Maharashtra's corona cases stood at 88,528, which is more than 33.21 per cent of the national tally, followed by Delhi with 29,942, Tamil Nadu with 33,229 and Gujarat with 20,545 cases.

The global number of COVID-19 cases has increased to over 7 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 406,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of Tuesday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 7,097,717, while the death toll increased to 406,402, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US continues with the world's highest number of confirmed cases and deaths at 1,960,642 and 110,990, respectively, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes at the second spot with 707,412 infections.

This was followed by Russia (476,043), the UK (288,834), India (265,928), Spain (241,717), Italy (235,278), Peru (199,696), France (191,313), Germany (186,109), Iran (173,832), Turkey (171,121), Chile (138,843), Mexico (120,102), Saudi Arabia (105,283), and Pakistan (103,671), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues at the second position after the US with 40,680 COVID-19 deaths, which also accounts for the highest number of fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Brazil (37,134), Italy (33,964), France (29,212), Spain (27,136) and Mexico (14,053).
(IANS) 

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 11:23:16 +0530
Woman kills husband s second wife in UP

Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh),In a shocking incident, a woman sprayed her husband's second wife with bullets outside her house in the Civil Lines area here on Monday night.

The accused woman Shabana has been arrested.

According to the police reports, Shabana is the first wife of Mohd Zakir, a transporter. Zakir had married Alia a few years ago and she was seven months' pregnant at the time of the murder.

Sources close to the family said that the two women often had heated arguments on the phone and Zakir was aware of the tension between his wives.

Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak said that the husband has been missing since the incident.

He said that Shabana had been arrested from the site of the crime and the 9mm pistol used in the crime has also been seized.

Alia's niece Muskaan has said that they were returning after buying medicines when Shabana suddenly came from behind and pushed Alia who fell down. She fired four rounds at Alia, leaving her fatally wounded.

Shabana, according to reports, made no efforts to escape and stood near Alia's body with her gun even as a large crowd gathered at the spot.
 

(IANS) 

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 09:19:18 +0530
In home consumption surges as people binge on biscuits salty snacks

New Delhi,  Food categories like biscuits, salty snacks, instant noodles, beverages, edible oils are seeing an increase in demand as in home consumption increases while out of home consumption of FMCG products is expected to take a back seat as the lockdown keeps more people at home.

According to a research by UK broking house, Investec Securities, in the near term, out of home consumption is expected to take a back seat as the lockdown keeps more people at home.

Nestle's Professional division, which posted double digit growth in 2019 is expected to witness some level of slowdown as offices, hotels, restaurants, airlines, educational institutions remain close/ operate at sub-par levels.

HUL's ice-cream business will be impacted. Management in Q4 FY20 results stated, "There was near cessation of sales in some of our out-of-home businesses and ice creams business, right from mid-month, and these contributed to the revenue drop. Our ice cream business started to really see a sharp decline right from mid-month."

Meanwhile, in home consumption has surged. Food categories such as biscuits, salty snacks, instant noodles, beverages, refined edible oils have witnessed a jump in demand.

Britannia has witnessed strong demand of biscuits. April and May has seen strong revenue growth of 20 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

In the FMCG space, companies are looking to substitute traditional wholesale by increasing stockist count, driving growth through organised wholesale cash and carry and increasing growth through e-commerce.

"In retail, companies like ABFRL, Indian Terrain and Page Industries are likely to re-think their small MBO (multi-brand outlets) strategy and compensate the impact through larger retailers and e-commerce," the research said.

Hand wash, Sanitizers, floor & toilet cleaners, antiseptic liquids have seen a sharp jump in sales in India. Immunity products such as chyawanprash, honey and turmeric have also seen a sharp rise in sales since lockdown started in March.

Most companies believe that the trend will continue and hence, in a scenario where manufacturing capacity is constrained, companies are focussing on these higher demand products.

While many companies have entered the Sanitizer space, fewer entrants are seen in handwash category as its manufacturing process is difficult. "It remains to be seen the longer term sustainability of this category; we believe larger brands will be eventual winners here as fly by night operators exit the market once demand normalizes," the research said.

Colgate has launched the Palmolive hand sanitiser, Emami has launched Boroplus hand sanitiser, Jyothy Labs has launched the Margo hand sanitiser, Marico has launched Mediker hand sanitiser and Veggie Clean, in the fruits and vegetables wash segment.

In jts management commentary on health and hygiene demand, HUL said sanitizer production has been ramped up by a factor of 60 times from the pre-covid levels. We are seeing heightened consumer focus on health, hygiene, and nutritional needs.

In the lockdown period, companies have seen the contribution e-commerce sales increasing. FMCG companies have partnered with various last mile delivery apps such as Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo, Grofers, Bigbasket, etc. to improve availability of their products. Companies expect the current crisis to lead to an uptick in ecommerce sales as people become averse to stepping out.

Most FMCG companies had made changes in their product offerings on e-commerce platforms to address distributors' complaints of e-commerce sales impacting their sales. FMCG companies now use e-commerce to drive more premium packs, to serve niche demand spaces such as face sheet masks, beard grooming products, hand cream, foot cream and as a platform to test the success of new launches.

According to the report, even though personal care category has witnessed a decline in lockdown, we believe this category will be a major beneficiary of higher e-commerce adoption in Urban areas as its contribution to e-commerce sales in FMCG is highest at 42 per cent. In e-commerce, personal care had started to gradually pick up in Lockdown 3.0.
(IANS)

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 09:15:02 +0530
US program to stop illegal availability of opioids online

Washington,  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) were launching a 120-day pilot program to help reduce the availability of unapproved opioids illegally offered for sale online, according to an FDA statement.

Under the program, the FDA will notify Internet registries when the agency sends a warning letter to a website operator and the website operator does not respond adequately within the required timeframe, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Internet registries will review the FDA's notifications and assess whether to take further voluntary action, including possible domain name suspensions or blocks.

"Cooperation between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Commerce, with the addition of the pilot program, will help stop the online sale of illicit opioids and combat our country's deadly addiction crisis," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday.

At the end of the program, the agencies will analyze its effectiveness as a potential solution to dealing with the illegal sale of unapproved opioids online, according to the statement.
(IANS)

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 09:11:02 +0530
49 NDRF men engaged in post Amphan work test Covid positive

Bhubaneswar,  At least 49 NDRF personnel, who had gone from Odisha to West Bengal for relief work post-Cyclone Amphan, have tested positive for Covid-19, NDRF sources said on Monday.

The personnel are from the National Disaster Response Force's (NDRF) Mundali Battalion at Cuttack.

Earlier, one NDRF jawan was detected positive for coronavirus after the unit returned from the cyclone-affected areas in West Bengal.

As many as 173 NDRF personnel of 3rd Battalion had recently come back from Kolkata and were tested for Covid-19 on their return to Cuttack.

All the team members were quarantined on the NDRF campus.

About 500 personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and Odisha Fire Service had also gone to West Bengal for restoration work.
(IANS)

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 09:06:15 +0530
3 Portuguese detained for trespassing in Bandipur tiger reserve

Bengaluru, Karnataka's Bandipur Tiger Reserve officials have detained three Portuguese citizens for trespassing into the range without permission amid lockdown, an official said.

"They have not been arrested but kept for interrogation. They said they wrongly entered the park," T. Balachandra, Conservator of Forests and Field Director, Project Tiger, Bandipur, told IANS on Monday.

An official from the tiger reserve photographed the Portuguese trespassing.

"The foreigners were returned to the forest department for interrogation by the police," said Balachandra.

The Europeans entered the park on three bullets, wearing shorts and sunglasses.

Incidentally, they entered the park on Sunday when it was shut down adhering to the COVID lockdown.

The three Portuguese have been identified as Nuno Ricardo Bernardes Miranda Paciencia, Angelo Miguel Garrido and Tomas Pinho Marquez.
(IANS)

Tue, 09 Jun 2020 09:01:27 +0530
India s daily corona tally at record 9 983 total over 2 5 lakh

New Delhi, India on Monday recorded it highest-ever single-day spike in new novel coronavirus cases at 9,983, a Health Ministry data revealed. At least 206 corona patients died in the last 24 hours in India, taking the total fatalities to 7,135.

Now, India is the fifth most corona-affected country as it surpassed Spain on Sunday, with its total corona cases standing at 2,56,611.

Of the total cases, at least 1,25,381 are active whereas 1,24,094 persons have been cured, one patient migrated and discharged, and 7,135 fatalities recorded so far.

At least 4,975 individuals had been cured since Sunday and India's recovery rate stood at 48.35 per cent, as against a growth rate of 3.89 per cent.

Maharashtra's corona cases stood at 85,975, which is more than 36 per cent of the national tally, followed by Delhi with 27,654, Tamil Nadu with 31,667 and Gujarat 20,070.

according to the WHO Covid-19 dashboard, as of Monday morning, the total number of corona cases worldwide stood at 67,99,713, while the death toll increased to 3,97,388, the WHO revealed in its latest update.

India is now fifth worst pandemic-hit country globally, after surpassing Spain's total cases on Sunday. The other top countries are the US (19,42,363), Brazil (6,91,758), Russia (4,67,073), the UK (2,87,621) according to the data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 12:01:56 +0530
New Apple patent to help users take long distance group selfies

San Francisco,  In the social distancing times, this may come as a boon for selfie lovers as Apple has won a new patent that would allow users to take long-distance group selfies by staying away from each other.

According to the patent application, an Apple device user could invite others to take part in a group selfie and the software would arrange them together in a single image, reports The Verge.

The patent also describes a window that appears on a user's screen that prompts him or her to participate in a selfie.

The selfie could include still photos, stored video images, or live streaming images and one can also modify the group image by changing the positions of people in the selfie.

However, it is not clear whether the feature would be available on iPads, iPhones or both.

Apple first filed for the patent in 2018 and it has only been granted recently, said the report.

Apple files many patents and only some of its granted patents ever make it to the market, as well as patents don't always result in actual products or services.
(IANS)

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 10:49:07 +0530
Two more COVID 19 cases in Championship clubs EFL

London, The English Football League (EFL) has confirmed two more COVID-19 positive cases have been found from two championship clubs in the latest round of testing.

"Following the latest round of COVID-19 testing, the EFL can confirm that 1179 players and club staff from the 24 Championship clubs were tested over the course of Wednesday 3 June, Thursday 4 June, Friday 5 June and Saturday 6 June, with two individuals testing positive from two clubs," EFL said in a statement.

The Tykes have confirmed that one of the positive results came at Barnsley, with the club saying the individual is "safe" and "remains upbeat".

The individuals who have tested positive for coronavirus will now self-isolate in line with the guidelines provided by the EFL and only those who have tested negative will be permitted to enter training ground facilities.

The EFl has set June 20 as the provisional restart date for the Championship amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 108 regular season matches remaining, plus the end-of-season play-offs with the Championship play-off final is set to be concluded on or around July 30.
(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 10:03:04 +0530
Urvashi Rautela Stars are always under the pressure to look good

Mumbai,  Bollywood actress Urvashi Rautela, who represented India at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant, agrees that all stars -- male and female -- are always under pressure to look good.

"When you're an actor, a star, you have to look driven and fit. Stars are always under the pressure to look good -- not only female stars but the males too," Urvashi told IANS.

The actress, who enjoys a fan following of 26.3 million on Instagram, and 631.2K on Twitter, says the pressure is primarily in order to avoid trolling on social media.

"In the new age of digital media, you have to look presentable in order to look inspiring, and avoid people giving negative comments," added the social media sensation, who made her Bollywood debut in 2013 with the film, "Singh Saab The Great".

On the work front, Urvashi currently awaits the release of her upcoming film "Virgin Bhanupriya", which is set for an OTT release.

The film also features Gautam Gulati, Archana Puran Singh, Delnaaz Irani, Rajiv Gupta and Brijendra Kala, Niki Aneja Walia and Rumana Molla.
 

(IANS)

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 09:48:07 +0530
GoAir fires pilot over hate tweet employee says mistaken identity

New Delhi, Budget airline GoAir has terminated the services of a trainee pilot over hate tweets allegedly from an account by his name, but now the employee has come out and said that he has been wrongfully terminated, as it was a tweet by another person of the same name.

A Twitter account of Asif Khan with the id '@MdAsif35534489', posted objectionable and hateful comments last week following which there was an uproar on social media.

On June 4, Go Air tweeted: "GoAir has zero tolerance policy and it is mandatory for all GoAir employees to comply with the company's employment rules, regulations and policies, including social media behaviour. The airline does not associate itself with personal views expressed by an individual or an employee. With immediate effect GoAir is terminating the employment contract of trainee First Officer Asif Khan."

On Friday, Asif Khan, the terminated employee, in a Facebook post claimed innocence and said that the hateful comments were made from the Twitter account of an impostor.

"I have been getting death threats, abusive hate messages, my mother and sister threatened with rape, all because of a mistaken identity and because a guy with same name as mine had abused Holy Hindu God's," he said.

In another Facebook post on Sunday, he said that he has filed an FIR against the person who has used his name and made derogatory comments on the social media platforms.

Before the decision of sacking the trainee first officer, the airline had tweeted that it was trying to verify whether the person 'Asif Khan' is associated with the airline.

Screenshots of the objectionable tweets from the Twitter id "@MdAsif35534489" of the account named "Asif Khan" went viral, seeking action from the airline. The profile of the handle mentioned -- cabin crew at @goairlinesindia.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 09:42:48 +0530
When BMW driven industrialists rode bullock carts to work

Indore, It was a strange sight at the Palada industrial area near Indore, the commercial hub of Madhya Pradesh, where industrialists who usually go around on expensive cars like Audi, and BMWs, were seen riding bullock carts to reach their factory.

The incident happened on Saturday at Palada, about seven km from Indore city.

The roads there are in bad shape for many years. They turn muddy even in slight rain and it becomes extremely difficult to drive through or walk easily on them.

In protest against the poor condition of the roads, factory owners and other officials working in Palada Industrial area left their expensive cars and reached their factory riding on bullock carts which usually transport goods.

Pictures and videos of industrialists riding on the bullock carts to the factory have now gone viral on the social media. In the video, industrialists with laptop bags hanging from their shoulders and iPhones in hand are seen riding the bullock cart through the muddy roads.

Of those who chose this form of transport were Pramod Jain, President of Palda Industrial Organization, secretary Harish Nagar and Ramesh Patel among others. It was their way to protest against the poor condition of roads and to draw the attention of the authorities.

Narendra Saluja, media coordinator of Congress state President Kamal Nath, has tweeted the photos to draw the attention of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to the problem during his proposed visit to the city on Monday.

He said, "Shivraj ji, kindly pay attention to the condition of the roads of Palada Industrial Area where industrialists, troubled by mud-pits on the road, are leaving their cars and going on bullock carts."
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 09:36:45 +0530
New Orleans issues evacuation order as tropical storm approaches

New Orleans, New Orleans issued a voluntary evacuation order as tropical storm Cristobal approaches the Gulf Coast.

Local media reported that officials on Sunday recommended residents outside the city's levee system to evacuate, reports Xinhua news agency.

There are no recommendations for evacuations from any of the areas within the levee system.

The order came as Cristobal's forward speed had dropped from 12 miles per hour to 5 miles per hour.

That could mean Cristobal will bring a prolonged risk of storm surge to the area when it makes landfall, said weather forecast.

On Sunday morning, storm surge flooded streets of Grand Isle, an island along Louisiana coastline.

Residents and visitors had been ordered to evacuate on Saturday.

The National Weather Service said last month that a 60 per cent change of above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 every year.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 09:30:30 +0530
2 dead in Karachi residential building collapse

Karachi: At least two people were killed and eight others injured after a multi-storey residential building in Karachi collapsed, officials said on Monday, adding that rescue operations were underway.

The incident took place Lyari's Liaquat Colony on Sunday night.

Speaking to Dawn news, an Edhi Foundation official said that rescue workers had pulled two bodies from the rubble; one of a woman and the other of a child.

"We were told that the building was more or less empty. Residents told us that very few people were present (when it collapsed)," the official said, adding that approximately 10 people were buried underneath the rubble.

City SSP Muqaddas Haider told Dawn news that residents had been given notices due to the dilapidated state of the building, because of which many families had vacated their apartments.

On Sunday morning, another major crack had appeared in the building due to which several more people had evacuated their apartments, he said.

Taking notice of the incident, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah directed the Karachi Commissioner to begin rescue operations, according to a statement by his spokesperson.

According to Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) spokesperson Ali Mehdi Kazmi, the collapsed building had been declared dangerous.

"The residential building was in a dilapidated state and was old. Notices were issued six months ago to vacate the building and around two months ago it was also recommended that the electricity and gas supply be cut."

In March, 27 people were killed after a building collapsed in Karachi's Gulbahar area.

The residential building had fallen on two adjacent structures, bringing them to the ground as well.
(IANS)

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 09:23:09 +0530
9 terrorists killed in two days in South Kashmir

Srinagar, Four terrorists were killed in the Pinjura village in South Kashmir's Shopian district on Monday morning, officials said. With this, the total number of terrorists killed in two encounters in the past two days rose to nine.

Inspector General (IG) Kashmir Vijay Kumar told IANS that the encounter has got over with the killing of the four terrorists. He said two army soldiers sustained minor injuries in the encounter.

According to the details, security forces had a specific input about the presence of terrorists in that area.

A cordon was laid in the Pinjura village by a joint team of the army and police on Sunday morning.

As the security forces zeroed in on the spot where the terrorists were hiding they came under fire that triggered the encounter.

On the Pinjura operation, the Army in a statement said, "Joint operation launched in the early hours today on intelligence input by J&K Police. The cordon was laid and contact established with the terrorists. A firefight ensued. Four terrorists eliminated."

This is the second major encounter in Kashmir in two days. On Sunday, five terrorists were killed in an encounter in the Reban village also in the Shopian district.

"All four terrorists killed in another police operation launched this early morning today along with Army and CAPF units. They belong to Hizbul Mujahideen and two are high ranking and old ones. With this nine terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit have been neutralised in the last 24 hours," Dilbagh Singh, Director General of J&K Police said.
(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 09:13:19 +0530
India s daily corona tally at record 9 983 total over 2 5 lakh

New Delhi, India on Monday recorded it a highest-ever single-day spike in new novel coronavirus cases at 9,983, a Health Ministry data revealed. At least 206 corona patients died in the last 24 hours in India, taking the total fatalities to 7,135.

Now, India is the fifth most corona-affected country as it surpassed Spain on Sunday, with its total corona cases standing at 2,56,611.

Of the total cases, at least 1,25,381 are active whereas 1,24,094 persons have been cured, one patient migrated and discharged, and 7,135 fatalities recorded so far.

At least 4,975 individuals had been cured since Sunday and India's recovery rate stood at 48.35 per cent, as against a growth rate of 3.89 per cent.

Maharashtra's corona cases stood at 85,975, which is more than 36 per cent of the national tally, followed by Delhi with 27,654, Tamil Nadu with 31,667 and Gujarat 20,070.

according to the WHO Covid-19 dashboard, as of Monday morning, the total number of corona cases worldwide stood at 67,99,713, while the death toll increased to 3,97,388, the WHO revealed in its latest update.

India is now fifth worst pandemic-hit country globally, after surpassing Spain's total cases on Sunday. The other top countries are the US (19,42,363), Brazil (6,91,758), Russia (4,67,073), the UK (2,87,621) according to the data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 01:10:56 +0530
Restaurants religious places malls hotels unlock

New Delhi, Restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and religious places on Monday threw their doors open to the public over nearly two and a half months after the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown was imposed across the country.

The businesses will, however, have to follow the stringent guidelines issued by the Health Ministry to control the spread of the highly viral disease.

As a part of the 'Unlock 1', the Centre has asked religious places, restaurants, malls to thoroughly cleanse the area and adhere to social distancing norms and other protocols.

While entrance to religious places and malls must have hand sanitizer dispensers and thermal screening provisions, not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity is permitted at food courts and restaurants.

In Delhi's Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Gurbani was recited by Granthis on the opening of religious places on Monday.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also offered prayers at the Gorakhnath temple. He is the head priest of the temple.

With zero footfall, paucity of cash flow, movie theatres and shopping malls were the most affected sectors of the economy in the times of the pandemic

Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Shopping Malls said, "We will be instituting temperature checks at all entrances and setting up protocols for maintaining social distancing and staff."

Bector said that not more than 3-4 customers will be allowed to enter the elevator at a time; for escalators one customer will be allowed after three steps roll over, permanent distance markers will be placed in the lifts, so people do not exceed the required capacity.

Hospitality was the first economic segment to be hit by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, much before the outbreak was declared a pandemic.

Hotel Association of India's (HAI) Vice President K.B. Kachru said that hotels across the country are putting in place "Gold" standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure better safety and hygiene in order to contain the spread of the virus.

Restaurants are also treading with caution ahead of reopening the outlets. The ministry also asked the restaurant owners to encourage a contactless mode of ordering and digital payments using e-wallets.

Not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity is permitted. Disposable menus are advised to be used. Restaurants have also been asked to encourage takeaways instead of dine-ins.

All staff who are at higher risk, i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and those who have underlying medical conditions, have been asked to take extra precautions.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also said that the places of worship and restaurants in the national capital will be allowed to reopen, however, he specified that hotels and banquet halls will remain closed.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 08 Jun 2020 01:05:04 +0530
Airtel broadband suffers major outage users clueless

New Delhi,  Airtel broadband services on Saturday evening faced a major outage across the country, with 67 per cent reporting no access to Internet on the popular outage detection portal Downdetector.

Several people in North India expressed frustration on social media platforms like Telegram, saying they are unable to access streaming services like Netflix over the weekend.

"I called Airtel broadband customer care and got an automated voice message saying that services will resume by 3 a.m. on June 7," posted one user.

Most of the users were unable to get through to the customer care portals or the Airtel Thanks app.

The Downdetector showed major Airtel broadband outage across the country.

There was no comment from Airtel when contacted about the reason behind the outage.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 07 Jun 2020 10:00:37 +0530
France s COVID 19 deaths up by 31 to 29 142

Paris, France saw its overall death toll of the coronavirus pandemic rise to 29,142 as it recorded 31 more deaths, the Health Ministry has said.
The updated tally only includes hospital daily fatalities as those occurring in nursing homes and medico-social establishments will be updated next Tuesday.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus infection fell to 12,479, including 1,059 in intensive care, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, France has registered 153,634 confirmed cases of infection, including 579 since Friday.

On Friday, Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that advises the French government on COVID-19, said the coronavirus pandemic has been put "under control" in the country as a result of the nearly two-month lockdown.

Meanwhile, he warned that French people should not relax "too much" their efforts, recommending continued distancing measures, wear mask in public transport and frequently wash their hands.
 

(IANS) 

Sun, 07 Jun 2020 09:25:33 +0530
SEBI censures AstraZeneca Pharma for fraudulent trade practices

New Delhi,  The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has "strongly censured" Astrazeneca Pharma India Limited for "gross professional misconduct" and fraudulent trade practices" in its 2014 delisting exercise.

The Sebi order running into 65 pages comes six years after the delisting exercise and investigation. The order passed by Sebi wholetime member S.K. Mohanty found that the MNC pharma company, its promoters and FII, Elliot group, which held 15.52 per cent in the company "tried to arrive at a private arrangement to sail through the delisting process".

The Sebi said, "Strongly censure the noticees for displaying such gross professional misconduct and fraudulent trade practice in trying to arrive at a private arrangement amongst them so as to help the Company sail through the delisting procedure."

The order said it was done in a manner that was intended to dilute the Reverse Book Building procedure for discovery of the delisting price of the scrip as per stipulations in the Sebi (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009, thereby jeopardising the interests of the retail public shareholders and investors of the company at large.

Sebi has cautioned the entities and directed them to refrain from indulging in such unfair trade practices in future or in any other similar act whatsoever so as to violate the sanctity of the SCRA, 1956, the Sebi Act, 1992, and the Rules and Regulations made there under including the Sebi (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009 both in letter and in spirit by indulging any acts, which are detrimental to the interest of the shareholders and prejudicial to the interest of the investors of the securities market.

The market regulator has also directed that in case a fresh delisting proposal is initiated by the promoter company anytime in future, the same shall be initiated only after observing the extant provisions of the Sebi Act and the regulations framed there under in letter and spirit.

Stock exchanges, BSE and NSE, are directed to closely monitor the entire delisting process to be initiated by the company in future to ensure complete satisfaction of all regulatory stipulations with fairness, transparency and integrity and to promptly report any aberrations noticed in the delisting process of AZPIL to Sebi, the order said.
(IANS)

Sun, 07 Jun 2020 09:05:52 +0530
Telangana again postpones Class X exams

Hyderabad,  The Telangana government has once again postponed the Class X exams, scheduled to begin from Monday.

Education Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy announced this on Saturday night, hours after the Telangana High Court allowed the state government to conduct the remaining Class X exams across the state, except in Greater Hyderabad in view of the high incidence of Covid-19.

The court had asked the government to allow students in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits to appear in supplementary exams later and treat them as regular students.

The minister said the decision to postpone the exams was taken keeping in view of the observations made by the high court. She said Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao will take a decision about the future course of action with regard to the exams at a meeting on Monday.

While taking a final decision, the government is likely to consider the suggestion of the court to give grading to the students on the basis of their performance during the academic year instead of conducting the exams in view of the current situation.

Though the state government had informed the court that it is ready to conduct the exams across the state, including GHMC, the court made it clear that the lives of students can't be risked for exams.

The bench wanted to know who will take responsibility if any student dies of Covid-19. It also wanted to know how the exams will be conducted if an area in which exam centre is located is declared containment zone.

Though the government conveyed to the court the difficulties the authorities concerned would face in repeatedly preparing the exam papers, the court remarked that students' lives were important than the technical issues.

As per the schedule announced on May 22, the exams were to be held from June 8 to July 5.

The government had also doubled the number of exam centres to ensure social distancing.

The state government had filed a petition in the high court, seeking review of the interim orders passed by the court in March and the permission to conduct the exams in May as per the revised schedule.

On March 20, the High Court had directed the state to postpone the Class X exams, scheduled for March 23 to April 6, in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The state had conducted the exams for three papers of the first and second languages before March 22 as per the original timetable.

The state Cabinet earlier last month decided to conduct the exams for remaining papers. It moved the High Court, seeking permission for the same keeping in view the academic calendar and the interests of 5.50 lakh students.
 

(IANS)

Sun, 07 Jun 2020 08:54:37 +0530
Governor Koshyari meets Piyush Goyal conveys condolences on the demise of Smt Chandrakanta Goyal

Mumbai: Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari today visited the residence of Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal in Mumbai and conveyed his condolences to the Minister on the demise of his mother and former MLA Smt Chandrakanta Goyal.

Sun, 07 Jun 2020 06:54:35 +0530
Ramya Krishnan Queen season 2 to have more action thrilling content

New Delhi, Southern star Ramya Krishnan can't wait to start shooting for the second season of her hit web series "Queen".

Last year when "Queen" released, her character reminded the audience of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa -- from the plain white sarees with black and red stripes and round red bindis that she sported, to the protagonist's character progression from a filmstar who becomes a top politician

"You are free to feel so (that the web series is inspired by Jayalalithaa's life). That's what the director also told me," Ramya told IANS.

But she says it's not her story.

"This is based on a book by Anita Sivakumarannitha. I loved it (web series) because of the similarity (with Jayalalithaa's story), and I loved the late CM for her guts and for being the real queen," said the actress.

"Queen" chronicles the life of Shakti Seshadri, a spirited and determined woman whose vision and sense of resilience made her an epitome of strength for likeminded women. Despite finding herself in several unfavourable circumstances at different stages of life and being let down by many people she held closest to her heart, Shakti puts up a fight to emerge as a winner every time.

Directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon along with Prasath Murugesan, the finite series captures her struggle with her family's adverse financial position, her excelling in academics and rising to the ranks of a state topper and emerging as a leading superstar in the film industry, and eventually becoming the youngest chief minister of her state.

"I just went by what Gautham told me. He wanted me to be myself and that's what I did. I was reacting to the words which I had to speak which were so powerful and so well written," said the actress.

"She (Shakti) is not a politician yet. She is getting there as far as season one goes. I enjoyed doing it, especially the interview portion. I loved the way questions were phrased and answers were written," added Ramya.

"Queen" season 2 is in the works, and she is excited.

"I am just waiting to get there and be a part of it. People can expect more action, more interesting content, thrilling and exciting content," she said.

The shooting is yet to begin owing to the ongoing lockdown.

"We don't have a clarity on when shooting will start. With the quarantine right now, we are yet to know," she said, adding: "Last when I spoke to (writer) Reshma, she was done with the script. It's all ready to go on floors but it all depends on the quarantine phase," she added.

Till then, the audience can watch the first season of "Queen" on Zee TV starting from June 6.

"If a channel has decided to air it, they know that it has done well. This content will really do well on their channel too," said Ramya.

(IANS) 

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 10:23:52 +0530
Black lives matter will address racial injustice Zuckerberg

San Francisco, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday tried to address growing unrest among the employees over the poor handling of controversial posts by US President Donald Trump, saying the company has started a workstream for building products to advance racial justice.

Several current and former Facebook employees have criticized Zuckerberg's inaction over controversial posts from the US President on glorifying violence, calling him to start fact-checking world leaders and labeling harmful posts.

In a memo, the Facebook CEO said that he believes his platforms would help "overcome racial injustice in America and around the world".

"I stand with you. Your lives matter. Black lives matter," he stressed.

The memo comes at a time when Facebook employees have slammed Zuckerberg for not taking action on posts by Trump in the wake of the death of African-American George Floyd. There have been some resignations too at the company over his inaction.

"I know many of you think we should have labeled the President's posts in some way last week. Our current policy is that if content is actually inciting violence, then the right mitigation is to take that content down -- not let people continue seeing it behind a flag," Zuckerberg said, adding that there is no exception to this policy for politicians or newsworthiness.

While Twitter put out a "public interest notice" on Trump tweet for violating the platform's policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform.

He said that the company is also going to review its existing policies, including how its treats content dealing with the use of police or state force and treats content in countries where there is civil unrest or violent conflicts.

"We're going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt," he said, adding that given the sensitive history in the US, "this deserves special consideration".

"We already have precedents for imposing greater restrictions during emergencies and when countries are in ongoing states of conflict, so there may be additional policies or integrity measures to consider around discussion or threats of state use of force when a country is in this state," he noted.

Zuckerberg mentioned that the company is going to review its policies around voter suppression to make sure it is taking into account the realities of voting in the midst of a pandemic.

Additionally, he said Facebook is going to work on establishing a clearer and more transparent decision-making process.

"More broadly, we're going to review whether we need to change anything structurally to make sure the right groups and voices are at the table -- not only when decisions affecting a certain group are being made," Zuckerberg said.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 09:51:28 +0530
Tennis event to be held with fans in Prague next week

Prague, A women's charity tennis tournament with fans will be held in Prague, the Czech Republic next week, the organisers have said.

The tournament, which is scheduled from June 13 to 15, will have two six-member teams, leading by World No.3 Karolina Pliskova and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova respectively, to compete against each other, reports Xinhua news agency.

"We will begin with fewer people. I suppose we will gradually increase the number," tournament promoter Tomas Petera told the Czech news agency CTK on Friday.

The tournament will be held under Czech government's decision to allow events with up to 500 people as of June 8 within an easing of pandemic control measures.

"Don't waste the chance to watch this unique team contest," the tournament statement noted as the ticket sales kicked off on Friday afternoon.

Pliskova's team includes her twin sister Kristyna, Marketa Vondrousova, Karolina Muchova, Tereza Martincova and junior Nikola Bartunkova, while Kvitova's team will comprise Barbora Strycova, Katerina Siniakova, Barbora Krejcikova, Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova and junior Linda Fruhvirtova.
(IANS) 

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 09:46:20 +0530
President promulgates ordinances for agriculture market reforms

New Delhi,  President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday promulgated the ordinances for major agricultural reforms which aim to give freedom to the farmers to sell their agriculture produce anywhere in the country and pave the way for contract farming.

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday cleared Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 which were notified on Friday.

Apart from these two key reforms, the amendment of essential goods act has also been given approval following which the agriculture commodities like onion, potatoes, oilseed, edible oil and cereals have been removed from the list of essential commodities.

After the announcement of the landmark decisions by the Government for reforms in the agricultural sector for raising the income of the farmers as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the President has promulgated the two ordinances with the aim of giving a boost to rural India for farmers engaged in agriculture and allied activities, said the Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in a statement.

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday wrote to all the Chief Ministers informing them of the Ordinances and solicited their cooperation in implementation of the reforms, said the statement.

He stressed the need for their continued support in the development and growth of the agriculture sector in the new reformed environment.

By recognizing the bottlenecks preventing the holistic development of marketing of the agriculture produce, the Government drafted and circulated the Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (APLM) Act 2017, and also the Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming Act of 2018, for adoption by the states, said the statement.

When the whole ecosystem of agriculture and its allied activities was tested during the COVID-19 crises, it reconfirmed the necessity for the Central Government to speed up the reform process and to come up with a national legal facilitative ecosystem to improve intra-state and interstate trade of agriculture produce, said Agriculture Ministry.
(IANS)

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 09:41:30 +0530
Sushmita Sen Aarya represents strength vulnerability in world run by men

Mumbai,  Actress Sushmita Sen has promised an "incredible" comeback with her upcoming web series "Aarya", and says it narrates the story of a mother who is willing to go to any length to protect her children.

The trailer of the show was released on Friday, sharing a glimpse into a tale of family, love, crime and redemption. Sushmita plays the protagonist Aarya.

"Aarya represents strength, determination and above all vulnerability in a world full of crime, a world run by men. For me, personally, it is the story of family, betrayal and a mother who is willing to go to any length to protect her children," Sushmita said.

"It took me a decade to find a role like this to sink into and I'm thrilled to be a part of this incredible story. I am thankful to Ram Madhvani and his team for giving me the role of a lifetime," she added.

The show, by "Neerja" fame filmmaker Ram Madhvani, also stars Chandrachur Singh as Aarya's husband, who is involved in an illegal narcotics business.

Talking about his return to acting, Chandrachur said: "The beauty of digital content is that there is a brave new form of storytelling and I am beyond exhilarated to make my debut with this show. The level of tension and intensity fuelled by several plot twists, and a mystery at its very core will keep the viewers guessing."

"Aarya" delves into how organised crime and betrayal runs deep in a family. The trailer starts by showing Aarya as a loving wife and doting mother, and how she is pulled into the narcotics business when her family is threatened.

"Aarya" is an official adaptation of popular Dutch crime-drama "Penoza". The show is written by Sandeep Srivastav and Anu Singh Choudhary, and also features Namit Das, Sikandar Kher, Jayant Kripalani, Sohaila Kapoor, Sugandha Garg, Maya Sareen, Vishwajeet Pradhan and Manish Chaudhary.

For Ram Madhvani, the world of "Aarya" is a complex web of emotions, twisted family bonds and betrayal.

"It is a bold and strong narrative that takes it beyond the spectrum of a crime drama. Every character has a purpose in Aarya's journey as she goes from being a homemaker to a hardened criminal. I spent many years trying to build this world brick by brick but I didn't do it alone -- 588 others from the cast and crew have built this show from ground up," said Madhvani, who has backed the project with his banner, RMF (Ram Madhvani Films).

Co-produced by Endemol Shine, the series will release on June 19 on Disney+ Hotstar VIP.

(IANS)

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 09:04:51 +0530
Bolsonaro threatens to withdraw Brazil from WHO

Brasilia,  Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to withdraw his country from the World Health Organization (WHO), accusing the body of being "partisan" and "political".

Addressing the media on Friday, Bolsonaro said Brazil will consider leaving the WHO unless it stops being a "partisan political organization", reports Xinhua news agency.

Earlier in the day, when asked about efforts to ease social-distancing orders in Brazil despite the growing number of COVID-19 deaths and cases, the WHO said a key criteria for lifting lockdowns was slowing transmission.

"The epidemic, the outbreak, in Latin America is deeply, deeply concerning," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a news conference in Geneva.

She said that among six key criteria for easing quarantines, "one of them is ideally having your transmission declining".

Bolsonaro's threat came the same day Brazil registered 1,005 deaths in a day, a record high.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of COVID-19 cases and the third highest deaths in the world.

As of Saturday morning, the total number of cases increased to 614,941, with 34,021 deaths.

Last month, US President Donald Trump had announced that Washington would also end its relationship with the WHO.
 

(IANS)

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 08:55:46 +0530
Wall Street rallies after jobs data

New York, Wall Street's major averages ended sharply higher, buoyed by better-than-anticipated US employment data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday soared 829.16 points, or 3.15 per cent, to 27,110.98. The S&P 500 increased 81.58 points, or 2.62 per cent, to 3,193.93. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 198.27 points, or 2.06 per cent, to 9,814.08, Xinhua reported.

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors finished higher, with energy up 7.46 per cent, leading the gains.

US employers added 2.5 million jobs in May, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 13.3 per cent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a drop of more than 8 million jobs and the unemployment rate to nearly reach 20 per cent.

The improvements reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said the bureau. The unemployment rate previously soared to a record 14.7 per cent in April.

The figures came one day after the Labor Department said US initial jobless claims registered 1.877 million in the week ending May 30, exceeding a Dow Jones estimate of 1.775 million.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 08:53:37 +0530
Chinese mainland reports no new domestically transmitted COVID 19 cases

Beijing, June 6 (IANS) Chinese health authority said on Saturday that no new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases were reported on the mainland on Friday.

Three imported cases were reported in Guangdong Province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report, Xinhua reported.

No deaths related to the disease were reported, said the commission, adding that one new suspected case from abroad was reported in Shanghai on Friday.

On Friday, two people were discharged from hospital after recovery, while the number of severe cases remained to be one.

As of Friday, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 83,030, including 67 patients who were still being treated, and 78,329 people who had been discharged after recovery.

Altogether 4,634 people had died of the disease, the commission said.

By Friday, the mainland had reported a total of 1,771 imported cases. Of the cases, 1,708 had been discharged from hospital after recovery, and 63 remained hospitalized, with no one in severe conditions. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.

The commission said there were still two cases, both from overseas, suspected of being infected with the virus on Friday.

According to the commission, 3,890 close contacts were still under medical observation after 488 people were discharged from medical observation Friday.

Also on Friday, two new asymptomatic cases were reported on the mainland. No cases were re-categorized as confirmed ones, and 42 asymptomatic cases were discharged from medical observation.

The commission said 257 asymptomatic cases, including 41 from overseas, were still under medical observation.

By Friday, 1,102 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 45 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 443 in Taiwan including seven deaths.

A total of 1,045 patients in Hong Kong, 45 in Macao, and 429 in Taiwan had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.
 

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 08:50:01 +0530
Ved Marwah ex Delhi top cop and former Guv no more

New Delhi,  Former Delhi Police chief Ved Marwah, who also served as the Governor of Mizoram, Jharkhand and Manipur, died on Friday evening in Goa. He was 87. Goa Police's official Twitter handle confirmed the death of the Director General of National Security Guard.

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of a great leader of the police force. Sh. Ved Marwah, IPS led the force from the front through difficult times and served as a Governor to 3 states. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family," Goa Police said in its tweet.

A family source he was hospitalised since the last 10 days due to age-related ailments. He passed away at 8.30 p.m.

Born in Peshawar in 1934 in undivided India, his family had immigrated to India after partition.

Marwah was the first UT cadre IPS officer to serve as Delhi police Chief from 1985 to 1988.

A thorough professional and recIpient of police medal for meritorious service, president police medal for distinguished services and president medal for gallantry, Marwah had held a number of prestigious and important portfolios in Delhi Police and elsewhere.

Marwah has held assignments in different states in India during his 36-year career. He also served as an Adviser to the Governors in Jammu & Kashmir, and Bihar

He served as Governor from 1999 to 2004, of Manipur, Mizoram, and later Jharkhand

After shifting to India following the partition, his family first settled in Rajendra Nagar in Delhi and he was one of the founding persons of a bookstore in Khan Market which is run by his nephew in the name of Faqir Chand and Sons.

Condolences poured on Twitter as he passed away. Paying tributes, an user described Marwah's demise as "the death of an institution". Another wrote: "May his soul rest in peace."

He also penned the book "Uncivil Wars: Pathology of Terrorism in India."
 

(IANS)

Sat, 06 Jun 2020 08:45:16 +0530
Mumbai Stands Firm in Wave of Cyclone Nisarga Coastal areas in South Hit

Cyclone Nisarga is perhaps one of the worst cyclones on India’s west coast in decades, however, the densely populated city of Mumbai, stood firm in this attack wave, with one casualty being recorded. The storm passed the city and nearby coastal areas to the south bore the brunt. Civic officials moved tens of thousands of people along the coast to higher ground as the cyclone approached. Mumbai, which is home to some 20 million residents is yet to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Camera footage of the storm in Raigad, around 50 kilometres, south of Mumbai, showed huge waves crashing into the shore, with trees being whipped into a frenzy by the strong winds. Authorities had received warnings that Nisarga will trigger big storm surges. One person who was hit by a toppling power transformer died before doctors could treat him while eight people were injured. Mumbai however was more or less calm despite some strong winds blowing.

Winds travelling at more than 100 kilometres per hour intensified on its approach from the Arabian Sea. It began making landfall at around 1.00 p.m. in Alibaug in Raigad district, one of the favourite weekend destination for tourists, which is often touted as the Hamptons of Maharashtra. The state of Gujarat will also being in Nisarga’s path as the winds proceed to the north-east. Northern parts of India are likely to witness some heavy rainfall as the winds travel to strike with the Himalayas and Nepal region.

Yesterday authorities shut down all beaches in Mumbai and police forced the public to stay indoors. Meanwhile today power supply has been hit in four districts of Maharashtra affecting 25 lakh consumers. Malad, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar and Dadar witnessed moderate to heavy rainfall. Impact of Nisarga was felt in Southern districts of Gujarat with light showers, thunderstorms and strong winds, although other parts of the state saw only sporadic drizzles.

Almost two-fifths of Pune City was engulfed by Cyclone Nisarga yesterday afternoon with heavy rainfalls and intense spells of wind late into the night. For the first time in recorded history, a cyclone moved over inland areas of Pune and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. Ten years ago, Cyclone Phyan had crossed Alibaug and Mumbai and created havoc in Pune district but it was weaker than the current Nisarga.

The present cyclone which intensified into a severe storm around 7.00 a.m. yesterday, journeyed north east up the Maharashtra coast and made landfall in the north of Murud-Janjira town, around 85 kilometres, south of Mumbai, according to IMD officials. This was some 40 kilometres south of Alibaug, the expected landfall zone, and this spared the city of Mumbai.

After Raigad, the cyclone took a north-northeast direction on a track between Alibaug and Mumbai, which is closer to Pune. Several trees, crops and makeshift homes were destroyed by the cyclone in Raigad. Although Mumbai was under red alert, the wind speed wasn’t intense as thought of, the maximum speed recorded at Colaba was 76 kmph while at Santa Cruz it was 22 kmph. Beed, Nasik and Aurangabad, other cities which were in the path of the cyclone saw gales of 55 - 65 kmph and 75 kmph gusts.

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 12:33:17 +0530
Don t bring kids to Chandigarh s Sukhna Lake for excursion

Chandigarh, Chandigarh Advisor Manoj Parida has expressed concern over people bringing their minor children for excursion to the famed Sukhna Lake here.

He has hinted at use of police force to educate them. Take precautions as the fight against the coronavirus is far from over, Punjab Chief Minister amarinder Singh has already cautioned earlier.

"It was sad to see educated people bringing small kids to the Sukhna Lake," Parida tweeted.

"I really don't mind these stupid adults' 'early departure' with smiling eyes through corona, but risking young innocent lives of future generations is criminal," he said.

"Plan to use police to drill sense in their head. What say?" Parida added.

At this, someone responded: "You can't call a parent of a stupid or criminal mind. Every parent knows very well about the safety and wellbeing of their kids while going outside and in home as well. They are not stupid. Sorry, but your statement is not appreciated."

Parida retorted: "Strong sarcastic words are meant to provoke. Due to immunity issues kids and old men must stay indoors. We all must be strict on this."

Two more residents of Chandigarh were tested positive on Friday. Both belonged to the Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26, the epicentre of the virus.

They were family contacts of the previous positive cases, an official told IANS.

Of the 304 cases, 77 are active, while 222 patients have recovered. The city has recorded five Covid deaths.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 09:20:26 +0530
Abu Dhabi based Mubadala invests Rs 9 093 cr in Jio Platforms

Mumbai, Reliance Industries Ltd on Friday announced that Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), the Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor, will invest Rs 9,093.60 crore in Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.

With this investment, Jio Platforms has raised Rs 87,655.35 crore from leading global technology and growth investors including Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR and Mubadala in less than six weeks.

"Through my longstanding ties with Abu Dhabi, I have personally seen the impact of Mubadala's work in diversifying and globally connecting the UAE's knowledge-based economy. We look forward to benefiting from Mubadala's experience and insights from supporting growth journeys across the world," said Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries.

With more than 388 million subscribers, Jio Platforms has made significant investments across its digital ecosystem, powered by leading technologies.

Jio's vision is to enable a Digital India for 1.3 billion people and businesses across the country, including small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers so that all of them can enjoy the fruits of inclusive growth, the company said in a statement.

"We have seen how Jio has already transformed communications and connectivity in India, and as an investor and partner, we are committed to supporting India's digital growth journey," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group CEO, Mubadala Investment Company.

"With Jio's network of investors and partners, we believe that the platform company will further the development of the digital economy," he added.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 09:05:56 +0530
Global COVID 19 cases top 6 6 mn Johns Hopkins

Washington, The total number of global coronavirus has increased to over 6.6 million, while the death toll has topped 389,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Friday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 6,601,349, while the death toll increased to 389,645, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

With 1,872,557 confirmed cases and 108,208 deaths, the US currently accounts for the highest number of infections and fatalities in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 584,016 infections.

This was followed by Russia (440,538), the UK (283,079), Spain (240,660), Italy (234,013), India (226,713), France (189,569), Germany (184,472), Peru (183,198), Turkey (167,410), Iran (164,270), Chile (118,292) and Mexico (105,680), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues in the second position after the US with 39,987 COVID-19 deaths, which also accounts for the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (33,689), Brazil (32,548), France (29,068), Spain (27,133) and Mexico (12,545).
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 09:02:24 +0530
Global COVID 19 cases top 6 6 mn Johns Hopkins

Washington, The total number of global coronavirus has increased to over 6.6 million, while the death toll has topped 389,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Friday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 6,601,349, while the death toll increased to 389,645, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

With 1,872,557 confirmed cases and 108,208 deaths, the US currently accounts for the highest number of infections and fatalities in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 584,016 infections.

This was followed by Russia (440,538), the UK (283,079), Spain (240,660), Italy (234,013), India (226,713), France (189,569), Germany (184,472), Peru (183,198), Turkey (167,410), Iran (164,270), Chile (118,292) and Mexico (105,680), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues in the second position after the US with 39,987 COVID-19 deaths, which also accounts for the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (33,689), Brazil (32,548), France (29,068), Spain (27,133) and Mexico (12,545).
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 09:02:24 +0530
Lockdown badly hit flower merchants business in Mumbai

Sixty-eight-year-old N.Ramakrishnan of Ramakrishna flower shop, Matunga, in Mumbai came to Mumbai from Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, five decades ago and started selling flowers, which was their family business. Since then he has been in this business with a shop at Matunga. ‘I have never come across a situation like this. Though the flower business was very dull during the last few years due to heavy rains we were able to survive “ said the vice- president of Matunga Flower Merchants association. All flower merchants are native of Tamil Nadu and came to Mumbai for their living.

 

P.Subbiah  who also settled in Mumbai for more than four decades and now as the association president controls nearly 50 flower shops in the area,  is the most depressed person. He was chocked while talking.  He says “nearly 500 families are depending only on this business”. Irrespective of they open the shops or not they have to pay the workers salary, license fee to BMC and electricity charges. Each shop employs on an average of five to six workers depends on season. And all the families are now practically starving with no money pay rent and to eat as most of the temples in the area are also closed and due to lack of transport flowers are not coming to Mumbai from Chennai, Bengaluru, Vasai and Virar.

 

Secretary of the association Mr S.Arumugam who runs the Ayyappa flower shop says on an average each shop’s loss was Rs.20, 000/- per day and each labourer has to be paid Rs. 500/- daily besides food. Now, most of the workers have left for their village and we are not sure how we will be able to function. During the 10-day Ganesh festival, each worker demands Rs.25 thousand plus food.

 

“For flower shops, no bank gives loan as they do not have any security to give”, It is a day-to-day business. We have to pay money to buy flowers from Dadar market. Now they are not sure there will be a Ganapathy festival due to present restrictions says Subbiah. They believe many Ganesh Mandals have postponed the festival and will be celebrating in February. They have now appealed to BMC to waive the license fee during the lockout period as their business is zero. “We will be also happy if we get Mudra loan or any financial assistance from the centre so that we will be able to start the business once the lockdown is lifted,” says Arumugam.

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 06:40:39 +0530
Governor plants a Chafa sapling on World Environment Day

Mumbai: Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari planted a Chafa sapling on the occasion of World Environment Day at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.  The Governor has appealed to the people to plant and nurture at least one sapling as their contribution to protecting the environment.

 

Fri, 05 Jun 2020 06:27:58 +0530
Clean tech could cut fossil fuel profits by 2 3 Carbon Tracker

New Delhi, A new international report on Thursday showed how falling demand and rising investment risk is likely to slash the value of oil, gas and coal reserves by nearly two thirds -- from $39 to $14 trillion -- with the countries must plan orderly exit from the fossil fuel.

Energy security is also a big incentive for China and India, which are heavily reliant on fossil fuel imports.

The report by financial think tank Carbon Tracker warns the fossil fuel industry is in terminal decline because of competition from clean tech and climate policy, and the COVID-19 pandemic is now accelerating this.

A collapse in fossil fuel profits could threaten the stability of petro states like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela.

The size of the fossil fuel economy suggests its decline could pose a significant threat to global financial stability.

Companies across the fossil fuel system are worth $18 trillion in listed equity, making up a quarter of the total value of global equity markets, and they account for $8 trillion of corporate bonds, more than half the non-financial corporate bond market.

Unlisted debt -- much of it owed to banks -- may be four times greater.

The World Bank valued future profits from oil, gas and coal at $39 trillion in 2018 , but Carbon Tracker's report finds that if demand falls by two per cent a year in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and discount rates rise in line with increased risk, future profits would collapse by nearly two thirds to just $14 trillion.

It also shows that producers expecting a return to business as usual could be banking on much higher profits -- well in excess of $100 trillion.

Kingsmill Bond, Carbon Tracker Energy Strategist and report author, told IANS in a statement: "We are witnessing the decline and fall of the fossil fuel system. Technological innovation and policy support is driving peak fossil fuel demand in sector after sector and country after country, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this."

"We may now have seen peak fossil fuel demand as a whole.

"This is a huge opportunity for countries that import fossil fuels which can save trillions of dollars by switching to a clean energy economy in line with the Paris Agreement. Now is the time to plan an orderly wind-down of fossil fuel assets and manage the impact on the global economy rather than try to sustain the unsustainable."

Companies like Exxon are still forecasting continued growth in demand for fossil fuels, and the fossil fuel system as a whole has been investing $5 trillion a year on new supply and demand infrastructure.

But Shell's recent dividend cut, Repsol's decision to write off $4.8 billion of assets last year, and growing bankruptcies in the US shale oil sector are all symptoms of an industry undergoing structural change.

The size and vulnerability of the fossil fuel system sets out how falling demand for fossil fuels leads to overcapacity, driving prices down, and cutting profits and company share prices.

Many companies will be forced to write off assets, cancel investment or even go bust.

Even companies which remain profitable will make far less money than before.

The fossil fuel system is enormous, with physical supply and demand infrastructure worth $32 trillion, and its decline could send shockwaves through the global economy.

It includes: producers of coal, oil and gas; companies which make and run power stations, cars, trucks, planes and ships; the steel, cement, petrochemical and aluminium industries which are heavy users of fossil fuels; and the companies which supply and build their infrastructure.

The collapse in the scale of future fossil fuel profits could threaten the stability of petro states -- countries whose economies rely on oil export income.

The world's biggest earners are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq and Iran, and countries that are particularly vulnerable include Venezuela, Ecuador, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Angola.

Investors will be hit because as returns fall, there will be less capital available for dividends and interest payments.

In Britain, for example, the oil and gas sector generated 24 per cent of dividends from the FTSE Index in 2019.

Markets might sell down stock in anticipation of peak demand long before assets are written down.

Companies worth $6 trillion are particularly vulnerable because they are operating in sectors expanding the fossil fuel system, from builders of LNG facilities and oil pipelines to makers of conventional car engines and gas turbines.

The fossil fuel system is highly vulnerable to disruption.

Even before the Covid crisis growth in fossil fuel demand was below one per cent a year and clean technology is now meeting an increasing share of world energy demand.

Renewables are already the cheapest form of bulk energy production in 85 per cent of the world, and electric vehicle batteries are comparable with the cost of conventional car engines.

Electricity companies are rapidly switching to renewables while carmakers are shifting production to electric vehicles.

This is significant because electricity consumes more than a third of global fossil fuel production and the greatest demand for oil comes from the automotive sector.

Governments are supporting clean technology in order to meet the Paris climate targets and tackle air pollution from fossil fuels, which kills 4.5 million people a year.

The report notes that fossil fuel importing countries -- home to 80 per cent of global population -- also have a financial incentive to back renewables because they have been transferring over $2 trillion a year in profits to the petro states.

The Carbon Tracker warns investors: "There is far more risk inherent in the fossil fuel system than is conventionally priced into financial markets. Investors need to increase discount rates, reduce expected prices, curtail terminal values and account for the clean-up costs."
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 11:05:36 +0530
Amazon Air expands aircraft fleet to help more people in Covid 19 times

Seattle, Amazon has announced to lease 12 additional 767-300 converted cargo aircraft, increasing their fleet to over 80 aircraft as part of its dedicated air cargo network to help people who rely on items they need delivered directly to their doorstep in these unprecedented times.

The ecommerce giant leased the converted cargo aircraft from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG that will join Amazon's existing fleet of 70 aircraf.

One of the new aircraft joined Amazon's air cargo operations in May 2020, with the remaining 11 to be delivered in 2021.

The combined experience in the industry and access to a fleet of 767 cargo aircraft make us an ideal partner to support the growth of Amazon Air's fleet, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.

Amazon Air has played a central role during the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting essential PPE supplies for Amazon associates, frontline health workers and relief organizations across the US.

"Amazon Air is critical to ensuring fast delivery for our customers – both in the current environment we are facing, and beyond," said Sarah Rhoads, Vice President of Amazon Global Air.

"During a time when so many of our customers rely on us to get what they need without leaving their homes, expanding our dedicated air network ensures we have the capacity to deliver what our customers want: great selection, low prices and fast shipping speeds," Rhoads added.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 10:53:43 +0530
Fight against virus far from over Punjab CM

Chandigarh,  Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ask everyone to tread with cautioned as the fight against the coronavirus is far from over and advised all to take precautions.

"As of 3rd June, Punjab has a total of 300 active cases out of 2,376 patients that have tested positive so far," the Chief Minister informed in a tweet.

"Yesterday, 34 patients tested positive and 12 patients recovered of Covid19. Our fight is far from over and I want you all to join Mission Fateh by taking full precautions," he added.

As part of the state's battle against Covid-19, Amarinder Singh on Tuesday launched the Mission Fateh song featuring Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Gurdass Maan and Harbhajan Singh, besides a star-studded line up of personalities from sports and Punjabi cinema.

Urging everyone to come forward and complement the state's efforts to save precious lives by disseminating information about the preventive measures, the Chief Minister said that with the cooperation from everyone, Punjab has been successful in controlling the spread of the virus to a great extent.

The song, which also features local boy Sonu Sood alongside Punjab Police poster boy ASI Harjit Singh and TikTok sensation Noor, has been sung by Punjabi music director and singer B. Praak.

The song is a unique initiative to give the message of maintaining social distancing, wearing masks while going out and washing hands regularly to achieve Fateh, or victory, over the pandemic.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 10:47:01 +0530
US protesters grievances need to be heard UN rights chief

Geneva, The grievances at the heart of the nationwide protests in the US need to be heard and addressed, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said.

"The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African-Americans need to be heard. The voices calling for an end to police violence need to be heard. And the voices calling for an end to the endemic and structural racism that blights the US society need to be heard," Bachelet said in a statement on Wednesday.

She believed that there were "credible reports of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement officers", including indiscriminate and improper use of less-lethal weapons and ammunition.

Tear gas has been used to disperse peaceful demonstrators and rubber bullets and pepper balls have been fired at demonstrators and journalists who did not pose an imminent threat of serious injury, she said.

According to the UN official, there have been at least 200 reported incidents of journalists covering the protests being physically attacked, intimidated or arbitrarily arrested, despite their press credentials being clearly visible.

"What has been happening is an unprecedented assault on journalists. In some cases they have been attacked or even arrested while on air," Bachelet said.

She also voiced deep concern about statements that have sought to label protesters as terrorists, or to delegitimize the mass outpouring of grief and peaceful protest by pointing to violence or destruction of property that has occurred in many locations.

"The anger we have seen in the US, erupting as COVID-19 exposes glaring inequalities in society, shows why far-reaching reforms and inclusive dialogue are needed there to break the cycle of impunity for unlawful killings by police and racial bias in policing," she said.

Repeating her call to protesters to express their demands for justice peacefully, the UN official also urged the police to take the utmost care not to enflame the situation through the use of excessive force.

The protests, which began in response to the death of an African-American man, George Floyd, while in police custody on May 25, have spread to more than 300 US cities and towns.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 10:18:53 +0530
Corona creeps into UP s rural areas now

Lucknow,  While the spread of coronavirus has stabilised to a certain extent in the urban and A-class cities of Uttar Pradesh, barring districts bordering Delhi, the infection now seems to be spreading in the rural belt.

The districts like Kannauj, Auraiyya, Farrukhabad, Unnao, Etawah, Sultanpur, Firozabad, Basti and Ayodhya are now reporting more corona cases.

Health experts claim that this is mainly due to the return of migrant workers, especially those who escaped medical screening or were asymptomatic.

In Kannauj, for instance, a mother-daughter duo who had returned from Gurugram, infected ten members of their family in the Galla Mandi area of Chhibramau, which has turned from green to orange zone now. Kannauj had reported 12 cases on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, three more persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Farrukhabad, six positive patients were detected in Auraiyya, five in Unnao and four in Etawah.

Kannauj Chief Medical Officer Krishna Swaroop said, "With this large-scale influx of migrants from urban cities to villages, the rural areas cannot be ignored and need special attention as far as monitoring is concerned. Infected people are being home quarantined or admitted to hospitals with the help of community management."

The district authorities have roped in block development officers, besides village heads and Civil defence volunteers, to take due care to avoid the spread.

A senior health official said that the situation is alarming in rural pockets where the majority of the people use one water sources -- whether a well or a hand pump.

"Migrants who have returned to the villages, are escaping quarantine centres and violating safety protocols. There is no resistance form the local people too, because most cases are asymptomatic," he said.

The official further said that social distancing was an alien concept in rural areas where people tend to collect even at the slightest provocation.

"Besides, the wedding season is beginning and social distancing will be hard to maintain. We can only step up the awareness campaigns and increase testing," he added.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 10:09:31 +0530
Haryana to start school teaching in July

Chandigarh, Haryana has decided to start teaching in schools in July and in colleges and universities in August, state Education Minister Kanwar Pal Gujjar said.

"We will reopen schools in a phased manner by starting teaching work for Classes 10, 11 and 12 from July 1, for Classes VI, VII, VIII and IX after 15 days and for the primary classes in August," he said.

"The classes will be held in shifts so that half the students of a class attend the first shift and the rest come in the second. We are yet to decide on the timings of the shifts," he added.

Meanwhile, the Board of School Education Haryana (BSEH) announced that Class 10 results will be declared on June 8.

Its Chairman Jagbir Singh said Class 12 students will have to appear for their pending exams from July 1 to July 15.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 10:04:04 +0530
Facebook Google Twitter won t be reined in by Trump order

New York, The world's mighty digital platforms will be reined in only when privacy regulation knocks their business model of "uninhibited data collection" which in turn will erode their margins, and it's unlikely that firestorms over content policy regulation will spark major change, co-director of the Digital Platforms and Democracy Project at Harvard Kennedy School told IANS.

"If you were to institute this privacy regulation that says, no Facebook, no Google, no longer can you take whatever data you want without checking with the user, you will see opt-in rates drop drastically," Dr. Dipayan Ghosh said.

Ghosh's comments come against the backdrop of Donald Trump's recent executive order that escalates his war against digital platforms. Trump's order targets current law that protects internet companies from lawsuits based on user posts.

Trump whipped out his executive order after Twitter put fact checks on two of his tweets. Twitter tagged Trump's tweets with a warning that Trump violated the platform's rules by glorifying violence when he suggested protesters in Minneapolis could be shot. Trump's tweets came in the midst of violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who was pinned to the pavement and pleaded for air as a white police officer slammed his knee onto Floyd's neck.

Debate is swirling around digital platforms' role in content policing as misinformation on coronavirus rages on, the 2020 US presidential election looms and angry protesters spill out onto America's streets, protesting police brutality.

Content moderation is not the "hill to die ona, according to Ghosh. "Economic regulation is."

"We shouldn't be looking at this at surface level. We shouldn't be reacting to the shiny object out there," Ghosh said.

According to Ghosh, digital platforms' will fall in line only when their business model, "focused on uninhibited data collection towards the end of behavioural profiling", is dented in a material way.

"Facebook does that, Google does that. These companies have millions of data points on a typical user and will use machine learning to get insights from those millions of data points to try and understand the type of people that we are."

For a more lasting solution to the pervasive data collection and profiling on digital platforms, Ghosh recommends that policy makers take "a closer look at this machine, understand how it works, try to identify the ways that it generates these negative externalities in the first place and perhaps curtail some business practices that contributed to those negatives."

Ghosh pushes back against the idea that it's okay for companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to carry on as if they have "unilateral economic authority to kind of do whatever it pleases to the consumer situation."

Ghosh contends that the right approach is to "rebalance and redistribute the power between the corporate and the consumer."

"That's to say there's information asymmetry between the corporate and the consumer, where Facebook knows very well the value of your data. But you as a consumer, don't necessarily know the value. And you give it away."

Ghosh is the author of a new book 'Terms of Disservice: How Silicon Valley is Destructive by Design', out soon.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:19:13 +0530
S Korea reports 39 more COVID 19 cases 11 629 in total

Seoul, June 4 (IANS) South Korea reported 39 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 12 a.m. on Thursday, raising the total number of infections to 11,629.

The daily caseload stayed above 30 for four straight days due to small cluster infections from religious gatherings in the metropolitan area, Xinhua reported.

Of the new cases, six were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,275.

No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 273. The total fatality rate stood at 2.35 per cent.

A total of 32 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,499. The total recovery rate was 90.3 per cent.

Since Jan. 3, the country has tested more than 973,000 people, among whom 934,030 tested negative for the virus and 28,199 are being checked.
 

 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:14:58 +0530
US stocks rally amid data

New York, US stocks finished noticeably higher on Wednesday as investors pored through a slew of economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 527.24 points, or 2.05 per cent, to 26,269.89. The S&P 500 increased 42.05 points, or 1.36 per cent, to 3,122.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 74.54 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 9,682.91, Xinhua reported.



Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended higher, with industrials and financials up 3.91 per cent and 3.83 per cent, respectively, leading the gains. Health care dipped 0.2 per cent, the only declining group.



Private companies in the US shed 2.76 million jobs in May as the COVID-19 fallout continues to ripple through the country and weighed on the labor market for another month, US payroll data company Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported on Wednesday.



The report utilizes data through May 12, and does not reflect the full impact of COVID-19 on the overall employment situation, said ADP.



Meanwhile, economic activity in the US non-manufacturing sector contracted in May for the second consecutive month, said the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The ISM non-manufacturing index registered 45.4 per cent in May, following the April reading of 41.8 per cent.



Wednesday's market rally followed a solid day on Wall Street with the 30-stock average closing up more than 260 points.



"Now, as the US economy endures the recession in real time, the stock market may be looking ahead again -- pricing-in an economic recovery that could take hold in the second half of this year, or later," Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note on Wednesday, while commenting on the recent market rally amid the COVID-19 shock.



Investors also closely monitored nationwide unrest over the death of African-American George Floyd as riots on top of the pandemic could cause lasting economic scars.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:11:38 +0530
Stamped people s entry barred before end of quarantine in K taka

Bengaluru,  All shops, offices, malls, commercial establishments and others in Karnataka must not allow Covid-stamped people to enter their premises before the completion of the prescribed quarantine time, said a top official on Wednesday.

"They should not allow those with quarantine stamp to enter before the end of their quarantine period or till they get current Covid negative test report," ordered Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar.

Bhaskar has also issued the order to all religious places, hotels and others to first check for quarantine stamp on all their customers or visitors before they enter the premises.

"All shops, commercial establishments, offices, factories, malls, religious places, hotels and etc.. are required to check for quarantine stamp on all their customers or visitors before they enter the premises," he said.

In the event of a violation, Bhaskar said the police should be informed at 100.

He issued the same order to the general public and resident welfare associations asking them to be vigilant.

"General public and resident welfare associations are advised to report any violation of the quarantine in their neighbourhood to the police at telephone number 100," said the chief secretary.

The orders came under the head aRole of general public, resident welfare associations and commercial establishments'.

General public, commercial establishments and resident welfare associations have been empowered to report quarantine violations at a time when many activities are set to reopen from June 8 as part of Unlock - 1, after more than two months of lockdown.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:06:57 +0530
India China working upon to resolve standoff in Ladakh region

New Delhi, China has made a slight retreat at Galwan Valley, one of the flashpoint leading to standoff with India, in Ladakh region on Wednesday, sources said. In a bid to resolve the issue, the China's People's Liberation Army moved back two kilometres and Indian Army has moved back by one kilometre.

However, at another flashpoint Pangong Tso (lake), troops from both sides are stationed and are camping over there. This would be the main focus of the meeting on June 6 between top military officers of India and China.

The general officer commanding of Leh-based 14 Corps, Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, is set to represent India at the talks.

Sources said that the Chinese are camping permanently at Finger 4 that has been under Indian control. "This needs to be resolved on urgent note," said a top Indian Army officer.

Further, Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General YK Joshi has reached Ladakh to review the ground situation and he is going to remain till Thursday.

In addition to it on Tuesday, India and China military representatives carried out talks to resolve the ongoing face off in Eastern Ladakh.

Division Commander Level Meeting was held between the Major General rank officers of the two sides on Tuesday afternoon to resolve the issue but in the end it remained "inconclusive".

Another round of talks between Indian and ChineseAmilitary leaders will be held on June 6. Indian Army Chief MM Naravane is confident enough that the stand-off would be resolved at military level talks, sources said.

Indian Army and China's PLA held several meetings to resolve the face off. However, no breakthrough has taken place.

In the meantime, China has sent a large number of troops to the Line of Actual Control as reinforcement. Seeing so, Indian Army has also deployed forces accordingly.

There four places where there is an eye ball to eye ball situation since May 5 at Line of Actual Control. Both sides have deployed over 1,000 troops in eyeball to eyeball situation at all four places.

Indian Army is keeping close watch in the Pangong Tso (lake) sector of Eastern Ladakh and the Galwan Valley region where theAChineseAhave enhanced deployment.

Other than Pangong Tso that is extremely sensitive the other places that are volatile in wake of the recent escalation are Trig Heights, Demchok and Chumar in Ladakh which forms western sector of the India-China frontier.

The trigger for the face-off wasAChina's stiff opposition to India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso (lake) besides construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.

India and China have expressed confidence that the matter would be resolved trough bilateral talks and both the countries are working upon it.

However, sources said, that the current standoff in Ladakh is not the usual patrolling faceoff but part of the new combative strategy that was rolled out by China after Doklam.

In 2017, there was a 73-day stand-off between Indian and China. The standoff was at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction Doklam. China's road construction in Bhutanese territory was seen as an attempt to change the status quo by India and finally the road work had to be stopped.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 08:54:26 +0530
HSBC Standard Chartered back China security law for HK

Hong Kong,  HSBC and Standard Chartered have given their backing to China's controversial national security law for Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, HSBC's Asia Pacific chief executive Peter Wong signed a petition backing the law which has been widely criticised, reports the BBC.

Although it is Europe's largest bank, HSBC has a strong presence in Asia, particularly Hong Kong.

HSBC "respects and supports all laws that stabilise Hong Kong's social order," it said in a post on social media in China.

The bank's full name is the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and it has its origins in the former British colony.

While HSBC moved its headquarters to London in 1993, Hong Kong is still its biggest market.

Standard Chartered also has a strong presence in Asia, said the BBC.

"We believe the national security law can help maintain the long-term economic and social stability of Hong Kong," it said in a statement.

It added that "the 'one country, two systems' principle is core to the future success of Hong Kong and has always been the bedrock of the business community's confidence".

The two backings come as Japanese bank Nomura said it was "seriously" examining its presence in Hong Kong.

It is unusual for a bank to enter into political debate, particularly one as controversial as China's new security laws which many feel could mark the end of Hong Kong's unique freedoms, the BBC said in the report.
 

(IANS)

Thu, 04 Jun 2020 03:24:47 +0530
UN chief urges countries to protect people on move during COVID 19

United Nations,  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday asked for protection of people on the move in face of COVID-19.

In a video message for the launch of a policy brief on the impact of coronavirus on people on the move, Guterres asked countries to develop a new mindset on human mobility, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to re-imagine human mobility. Four core understandings must guide the way," he said.



First, exclusion is costly and inclusion pays. An inclusive public health and socio-economic response will help suppress the virus, restart the economies and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, said Guterres.

Second, human dignity must be upheld in face of the pandemic. Lessons should be learned from the handful of countries that have shown how to implement travel restrictions and border controls while fully respecting human rights and international refugee protection principles, he said.



Third, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Diagnostics, treatment and vaccines must be accessible to all, said the UN chief.



Fourth, people on the move are part of the solution, he noted. "Let us remove unwarranted barriers, explore models to regularize pathways for migrants and reduce transaction costs for remittances."



Guterres expressed gratitude to countries, especially developing countries, that have opened their borders and hearts to refugees and migrants, despite their own social, economic and health challenges.



Those countries offer a moving lesson to others in a period when doors are closed. It is essential that those countries are provided with increased support and full solidarity, he said.

"We all have a vested interest to ensure that the responsibility of protecting the world's refugees is equitably shared and that human mobility remains safe, inclusive, and respects international human rights and refugee law."



People on the move, such as refugees and internally displaced persons who are forced to flee their homes from violence or disaster, or migrants, face three crises rolled into one: a health crisis, a socio-economic crisis, and a protection crisis, said Guterres.

People on the move face a protection crisis as more than 150 countries have imposed border restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. At least 99 states make no exception for people seeking asylum from persecution. At the same time, fear of COVID-19 has led to skyrocketing xenophobia, racism and stigmatization, he said.



And the already precarious situation of women and girls is ever more dire, as they face higher risks of exposure to gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation, the UN chief added.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 12:55:43 +0530
Mallya can be extradited anytime all legalities done

New Delhi,  Indian fugitive business tycoon and founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya can be extradited to India in the coming days "anytime" as all the "legal process" has been completed, top sources in the government said on Wednesday.

The development comes in the wake of Mallya losing his appeal in the UK top court on May 14 against his extradition to India.

A top Enforcement Department source related to the development told IANS, "We will soon bring back Mallya to India anytime in the coming days."

However, he remained tight-lipped on the date of the extradition.

He said, "As he has lost his appeal in the UK Supreme Court there, we have completed all the legal process for his extradition."

The teams of CBI and the ED are already working on the process of extradition to India.

A CBI source related to the development said that after his extradition, we wil take his custody first as we were the first agency to file a case against him.

A major roadblock in the extradition was cleared on May 14 when Mallya lost the case. Now the Narendra Modi government will have to bring him back in the next 28 days. Since May 14, it has already been more than 20 days since the UK court rejected his plea.

The former parliamentarian, who ran India's largest spirits company, United Spirits, and founded the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, faces charges of fraud and money laundering worth Rs 9,000 crore. He left India in March 2016 under the pretext of personal reasons.

Mallya has defrauded at least 17 Indian banks, drawing loans which he allegedly routed to gain full or partial stake in about 40 companies abroad.

Mallya after losing an appeal in the London High Court on April 20 against an extradition order to India, filed an appeal in the UK Supreme Court last month.

On May 14, after the court ruling, he once again offered the central government that he will repay 100 per cent of his loan dues provided the case against him was closed. Mallya, however, said that his repeated offers to repay his dues have been ignored by the Modi government.

Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a statement had said that the UK High Court order to extradite Mallya was a "milestone" in the agency's quest for excellence and a reminder that economic offenders facing probes in large value frauds cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions.

A CBI spokesperson said in a statement: "The decision of the UK High Court to order extradition of Mallya is a milestone in CBI's quest for excellence and a reminder that economic offenders, facing probes in large value frauds, cannot consider themselves above the process merely because they have changed jurisdictions."

The spokesperson said the judgement also vindicated the "painstaking investigation" by the CBI, especially since Mallya had raised various issues with regard to the admissibility of evidence, the fairness of the investigation itself and extraneous consideration with a view to "divert attention" from his own acts.

The CBI official further said that the extradition of Mallya was sought to face trial for offences of cheating, criminal conspiracy and abuse of official position by public servants, wherein Mallya faced allegations of conspiring with public servants and dishonestly defrauding the IDBI Bank to the extent of Rs 900 crore.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Mallya and others on January 24, 2017 which was followed by a request for his extradition on January 31 in the same year. Based on the request, Mallya was arrested by the UK authorities on April 20, 2017.

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 12:51:38 +0530
Nisarga may hit Maha coast by afternoon flights curtailed

Mumbai, Maharashtra braced for the onslaught of the Cyclone 'Nisarga' currently hovering around 190 km south-southwest of Mumbai -- which is expected to make a landfall near Harihareshwar in adjoining Raigad district sometime on Wednesday afternoon.

All emergency services, the police, fire brigade, NDRF and SDRF, army, navy, airforce, coast-guard, home-guards and others are fully geared for the anticipated fallout of the cyclone, while the domestic flight operations have been curtailed as a precaution.

Slated to hit Raigad at a dizzying wind speed of 110-120 kmph over the next six hours, it is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm, the effects will be experienced in the entire Konkan coastal region and adjoining districts of western Maharashtra, said IMD Mumbai.

Presently, the Nisarg is being tracked by the Doppler Weather Radars in Mumbai and Goa as it swirls gradually towards the land.

The Mumbai International Airport Ltd. announced on Wednesday that it will operate only 19 flights -- including 11 outgoing -- instead of the regular 50 daily, in view of the cyclone.

The flights shall be operated by Air India, AirAsia, IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet subject to possible last-minute changes in schedules,

Mumbai has been battered by continuous rains since Tuesday evening and this morning, several low lying were inundated in the city and suburbs.

While prohibitory orders are clamped in the city, Mumbai Police and other security forces are out in full swing to ensure people don't step out to the sea fronts, promenades or beaches and other open spaces.

As a precautionary measure, an estimated 2,000 people living in the non-pucca houses have been shifted to safer locations and an estimated 2,000-plus slum-dwellers in low-lying areas have been asked to evacuate.

Earlier Wednesday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued 'Red Alert' for June 3 for Mumbai, Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar. It will continue on June 4 for Palghar, Dhule and Nandurbar. Alerts have also been issued for Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 10:16:20 +0530
Facebook CEO again defends decision on not flagging Trump post

San Francisco,  As outrage grows within the company to take action on a controversial post by US President Donald Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has once again defended his decision to retain the Trump post.

In a virtual town hall with employees on Tuesday, Zuckerberg said that the post "did not constitute a policy violation".

The last-minute town hall was organised to address outrage among employees who staged a "virtual walkout" on Monday in protest against the social networking giant's policies regarding the controversial post - "When the looting begins, the shooting begins," – by Trump that fuelled nationwide anger against the death of African-American George Floyd.

Zuckerberg, however, said he will begin to review moderation processes and change the way the company deals with such harmful content, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Open and honest discussion has always been a part of Facebook's culture. Mark had an open discussion with employees today, as he has regularly over the years. He's grateful for their feedback," a Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said in a statement.

Several Facebook employees earlier took to Twitter, publicly announcing their solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter protests that have seized the nation.

Facebook employees came out in the open to protest the social media giant's stand on not taking action on a controversial post from Trump about the Minnesota protests. At least two Facebook employees have resigned against the company's stand.

"I believe Trump's 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts' tweet (cross-posted to FB), encourages extra-judicial violence and stokes racism. Respect to @Twitter's integrity team for making the enforcement call," David Gillis, Director, Product Design at Facebook, said in a tweet.

While Twitter last week put out a "public interest notice" on the tweet for violating the platform's policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform.

Defending the decision to not take action on the controversial posts, Zuckerberg earlier said that its "policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force".

"We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to evaluate whether it violated our policies," Zuckerberg wrote.

"Our policy around incitement of violence allows discussion around state use of force, although I think today's situation raises important questions about what potential limits of that discussion should be," he said.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 10:09:48 +0530
Markets open on positive note

Mumbai, The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a positive note.

The Sensex of the BSE opened at 34,185.41 and touched a high of 34,379.53 and a low of 34,177.91 after closing on Tuesday at 33,825.53.

The Sensex is trading at 34,364.69 up by 539.16 points or 1.59 per cent.

On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 10,108.30 after closing at 9,979.10. It is trading at 10,143.50 in the morning.
 

(IANS) C-1-1240487

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 09:58:29 +0530
World acclaimed Pashmina shawls to get boost in Himachal

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh is promoting Pashmina -- globally acclaimed fine luxury fibre cashmere -- by encouraging shepherds settled in high mountains where temperatures plunge to as low as 20 degrees Celsius to breed Himalayan goats, a minister said on Wednesday.

The goat named Changthangi plays an important role in revitalising the economy of the poverty-stricken tribes.

The state is annually producing 1,000 kg Pashmina wool production and it aims to double its production in five years, Animal Husbandry Minister Virender Kanwar told IANS.

These goats provide the wool for Kashmir's famous Pashmina shawls that commands huge demand worldwide.

The state will provide 638 goats of the Changthangi and Chegu breeds to families in the Pashmina producing snow-bound areas in Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts and Pangi in Chamba district under the National Livestock Mission, he said.

Under the mission, 29 units, each comprising 10 does and one buck, of both Changthangi and Chegu species will be provided.

Each unit will cost Rs 70,000. Ninety per cent cost will be borne by the Central government, while the state and the beneficiary will share the remaining cost in equal proportion.

The livestock will be provided in this fiscal.

At present, Pashmina is produced predominantly in Darcha, Yochi, Rarik-Chika villages and Mayar valley in Lahaul, besides Kibber, Langza and Hangang in Spiti, Nako, Namgya and Leo in Kinnaur district and certain areas in the Pangi valley of Chamba.

There are around 10 organized shawl manufacturing units working in the state. They are located in Rampur in Shimla district, Sundernagar and Mandi in Mandi district, Shamshi and Hurla in Kullu district and Sangla and Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district.

Around 90 per cent Pashmina wool is used in apparels like shawl, stoles and mufflers and the remaining in other products like high-end coat tweeds.

The Pashmina wool is sold mainly through retail. Predominantly, white and natural grey colour wool is being used in the shawl manufacturing units.

The Pashmina producers are getting remunerative prices. Currently, the raw Pashmina price is approximately Rs 3,500 per kg.

In the organized and unorganized sector, nearly 12,000 artisans are working in the state.

The state is home to 2,500 Changthangi goats.
 

(IANS) /C-1-1240481

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 09:54:27 +0530
Proposed Kashmir Youth Movement march triggered online debate

Srinagar,  A proposed march in support of LGBT community in Srinagar by Kashmir Youth Movement (KYM), a group comprising migrant Kashmiri Pandits, has triggered a fierce debate between the proponents and opponents of the idea on social media.

The group which promotes the interests of the LGBT community is based in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and J&K.

The group had planned to hold the march at Lal Chowk in June but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event has been postponed.

The idea, however, has generated a heated debate on social media between the proponents and the opponents of the idea with both sides trying to aggressively push their stand.

"Khair Mubarak', we welcome you with open arms!" one social media user supporting the move commented. "More power to you! You have a long way to go! This is just the beginning.

"I love the support you show us every day! Thank you for coming to the peace march; we will definitely have a pride march in Kashmir,"

The opponents of the move have been equally vocal.

"If your idea of freedom is in the clutches of oppression of another, we reject that freedom," commented one of them. "Homophobic, this 'lanat' (slur) must not come to Kashmir."

"They are highly brainwashed."

Founder KYM Rahul Vakil, an MBA student, said that Homophobia is a deep-rooted problem in Kashmir and it needs to be tackled.

"We are getting bouquets and brickbats from both the sides," Vakil said ."It's not just the people in Kashmir but responses are coming in from all parts of the country."

He said marches have been taken out in support of LGBT rights in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru but strangely people shy away from giving support to the community in Kashmir.

"They have different standards for Kashmir and for the rest of the country," he said.

He said they are in touch with the LGBT community in Kashmir and trying to convince them to support KYM initiative.

"In Kashmir, those linked to us do not want to come out, we are trying to convince them to put out their messages," he said.
 

(IANS)C-1-1240457

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 09:47:20 +0530
Nushrat Bharucha opens up on her series featuring COVID doctors

Mumbai, Actress Nushrat Bharucha will soon start a virtual series where she will be seen talking to doctors who are working day and night to save patients from the novel coronavirus.

"By talking to them, I want them to feel that they are not alone in this. We all are very thankful for what they are doing for us, and if I can lend support in any way by just telling them this, I would definitely do it. It's terribly difficult for them, they too have families but they are standing there doing their best, so this is my way of giving them back the feeling that we are in support of them," said Nushrat.

"Of course the effort is to have fun, make things a little happier for them and rest of it is up to them. I am just going to put myself out there and talk about anything they want to. I would definitely want to make them feel better in the moment and give them a break from all that they have been going through," she added.

On the work front, Nushrat will star in Hindi remake of Marathi horror movie "Lapachhapi". She will also be seen opposite Rajkummar Rao in "Chhalaang".
(IANS) 

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 09:44:17 +0530
Chuck Robbins postpones flagship Cisco Live donates 5mn to fight racism

San Francisco,  Expressing solidarity with protests against the death of African-American George Floyd, global networking major Cisco on Tuesday announced to postpone its flagship virtual event Cisco Live, along with donating $5 million to NGOs focused on fighting racism.

Delaying Cisco Live that was slated to start from Tuesday with over 60,000 registrations, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said in a video message the company has always aspired to foster an environment of dignity, respect, fairness and equality for all.

"In light of what is going on in the world at this time, we have made the decision to postpone Cisco Live this week," he added, saying a new date for the event in late June would be announced soon.

"We don't believe the time is right to host an event in the middle of this tragic moment in our history," said Robbins.

"As I've said, we need ACTION to eradicate racism, inequality, and injustice. The first step for @Cisco is committing $5M and our own fund for Fighting Racism and Discrimination. This is just the beginning," Robbins tweeted.

Several states in the US are currently observing protests against the death of Floyd. Being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police officers on May 25, Floyd pleaded for help during the final moments of his life, crying that he could not breathe.

Derek Chauvin, one of the officers, kept kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes.

All the four officers involved in the incident have been fired, and Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 09:00:47 +0530
US stocks rise as investors assess economy reopening amid civil unrest

New York,  US stocks ended higher, as Wall Street weighed the possibility of normalizing economic activities amid civil unrest.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 267.63 points, or 1.05 per cent, to 25,742.65. The S&P 500 was up 25.09 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 3,080.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 56.33 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 9,608.37, Xinhua news agency reported.

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors rallied, with energy and materials up 2.65 per cent and 1.76 per cent, respectively, outpacing the rest.

Protests and riots have continued in cities across the United States over the death of African American George Floyd.

Investors closely monitored the nationwide unrest as the combination of riots on top of a pandemic could cause lasting economic scars, experts noted.

"The strength of the economic bounce-back is dependent on keeping fear as low as possible. Fear is likely to remain high across the political spectrum while this unrest continues," said analysts at UBS in a note.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:57:14 +0530
It s liquor dealers vs govt in MP

Jabalpur, The government's plans to coerce the liquor traders into opening the vends in the states have recoiled with Madhya Pradesh High Court restraining it from taking any action against the liquor contractors during the pendency of the case till Wednesday.

The liquor contractors filed an application seeking interim protection against the government which took action against some of them.

Rahul Diwakar, the petitioners' lawyer told the court that the authorities are taking action against a few petitioners by imposing penalty and issuing letters to forfeit the bank guarantee.

This was contrary to the state government undertaking in the court that it would refrain from taking action during the hearing. The petitioners pleaded with the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the respondents.

A division bench of the Chief Justice AK Mittal and Justice VK Shukla issued the interim direction during hearing of the petitioners' application, the counsel said.

The Court also issued notices to the respondents - the principal secretary (Excise Department) and the excise commissioner during the hearing.

The court will continue to hear the liquor contractors on Wednesday, the counsel said. The Government went as far as threatening to take over the liquor trade. The cash- strapped MP government is mulling to run the liquor shops in the state as the liquor contractors are unrelenting, sources said.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said that the state economy has collapsed due to coronavirus.

The court on Tuesday heard the petition filed by 30 liquor contractors from various parts of the state.

The liquor contractors have sought the HC direction to the state government to either revise the terms and conditions of their contract or recall the entire bidding process of liquor sale for the current fiscal due to economic slowdown caused by the Corona pandemic.

A tussle is going on between the state government and the liquor contractors after the majority of the liquor shops were closed in despite the state government's order to re-open them last month.

The liquor retailers said that the contract, 25 per cent higher than the rates of last fiscal, with the state government, will burn a hole in their pocket in the wake of the downturn in the market.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:54:37 +0530
Spain reports no new COVID 19 deaths for 2nd consecutive day

Madrid,  Spain registered no death from COVID-19 on Monday, the second consecutive day without new death reports, according to the data published by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare.

The ministry on Tuesday confirmed a total of 27,127 deaths from the virus, no change compared with the number reported on Monday and Sunday. Over the past seven days, altogether 34 people lost their lives to the virus-caused disease, Xinhua news agency reported.

There was an increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 detected by PCR tests (which discover if the coronavirus is active in the body). The Health Ministry reported 137 new infections, more than the 71 cases registered in the previous 24 hours, bringing the country's total confirmed cases to 239,932.

Madrid and Catalonia remained the worst-hit with 90 of the new cases from these two regions.
 

(IANS)

Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:50:34 +0530
Railway Police HQ in Lucknow sealed after driver tests positive
Lucknow,  The entire floor of the railway police headquarters in the Signature building in Lucknow has been sealed for 48 hours after the driver of the staff officer of the Additional Director General (ADG) Railways, tested positive for corona.

The floor sealed on Monday evening is now being disinfected and sanitized.

A few hours after the ADG sealed the office premises, four other Railway Police personnel, who were quarantined at the GRP Lines in Charbagh, tested positive for the coronavirus infection.

The ADG Railways, Sanjeev Singhal said that his staff officer had returned from leave on Thursday last and his driver stays in the Police Lines where some policemen had tested positive for corona.

The driver was also sent for the corona test and his samples tested positive.

The driver R. A.Verma had been coming to the Signature building regularly and hence the chances of the other personnel and officers he came in contact with, getting infected was there.
 
(IANS) C-1-1240101
Tue, 02 Jun 2020 10:37:17 +0530
Revised definition will give MSMEs confidence to grow CITI Chairman

New Delhi,  The revised definition will give micro, small and medium Enterprises (MSMEs) confidence to grow and will promote their expansion, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) Chairman T. Rajkumary said on Monday.

The industry body welcomed the decisions of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing economic support to MSMEs, farmers, street vendors and the agricultural sector.

He said MSMEs, which have a 29 per cent share in the country's GDP and 48 per cent share in the country's exports and provide employment to millions of people, will receive maximum benefits from the change in the definition of MSME under which turnover limit for medium enterprises has been revised upward.

Under the new definition, the distinction between manufacturing and services enterprises has also been eliminated.

The CITI Chairman pointed out that in the revised definition, even small weaving mills may be able to come and because of this, many garment manufacturers will be benefited.

The Centre's revision in the definition of MSMEs will give MSMEs the much-needed confidence to grow and will promote its seamless expansion in the country, he said.

He also welcomed the decision of Distressed Asset Fund of Rs 4,000 crore created to help weaker MSMEs that are struggling through NPA norms due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. This fund will bring them back into the business and they can start the business activities afresh with the help of this fund, he said. Further Rs 20,000 crore subordinated debt for stressed MSMEs is likely to benefit 2 lakh stressed MSMEs.

As per the new definition, businesses with investment of less than Rs 1 crore and turnover of Rs 5 crore would be classified as micro enterprises while, the businesses with investment of Rs 10 crore and the turnover of less than Rs 50 crore will come under small enterprises.

Similarly, companies with investment of Rs 50 crore and turnover of up to Rs 250 crore would be classified as medium enterprises.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 02 Jun 2020 08:41:37 +0530
Paytm Mall moves ops from Noida to Bengaluru to hire 300

Noida, E-commerce platform Paytm Mall, owned by Paytm Ecommerce Private Ltd, on Monday announced to move its operations from Noida to Bengaluru and hire over 300 new members for product and technology roles.

The company also appointed Abhishek Rajan as chief operating officer (COO) who, during the last four years, has built and scaled up Paytm's Travel business driving large revenues for the company at a positive contribution margin.

Paytm Mall said in a statement that the move would help it tap into the rich talent pool available in Bemgaluru's consumer internet and startup ecosystem.

"In the post-COVID world, we want to bring commerce to even more customers and serve the SMEs across the country. We are well-capitalized, have a great team, and a massive network of customers to make our O2O model penetrate further in India," said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm.

The existing workforce has the flexibility to either shift to Bengaluru or continue working from their current location in various roles.

Additionally, Srinivas Mothey has been elevated to Senior Vice President Merchants Solutions at Paytm who would be working on innovative retail solutions for merchants in his new role.

In his new role as COO, Rajan will set the vision for Mall and oversee the operations across categories, products, technology, supply chain, marketing and finance.

He will specifically focus on strengthening the commerce customer experience and expanding the hyperlocal merchant base, thereby enabling more Kirana stores to be part of the digital commerce journey

"We would like to think of Paytm's e-commerce business as a Series A startup with $200 million cash in the bank, where key technology and operations components required for running a commerce business have already been built," said Rajan.
With a sharp focus on profitability, Paytm Mall has significantly reduced its quarterly cash burn from $17 million to $2 million during the last financial year.

Paytm Mall recently partnered with BigBasket for the supply of groceries on its platform.

In February, the e-commerce platform ventured into exports with the aim of becoming India's largest trading house for "Made in India" products, while targeting Rs 500 crore gross merchandise value (GMV) in the first two years of operations.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239967

Tue, 02 Jun 2020 08:37:26 +0530
Global COVID 19 cases top 6 2 mn Johns Hopkins

Washington, The total number of global coronavirus has increased to over 6.2 million, while the death toll has topped 375,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Tuesday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 6,265,496, while the death toll increased to 375,526, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

With 1,811,370 confirmed cases and 105,165 deaths, the US currently accounts for the highest number of infections and fatalities in the world, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in second place with 526,447 infections.

This was followed by Russia (414,328), the UK (277,736), Spain (239,638), Italy (233,197), India (198,370), France (189,348), Germany (183,594), Peru (170,039), Turkey (164,769), Iran (154,445) and Chile (105,158), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues in the second position after the US with 39,127 COVID-19 deaths, which also accounts for the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (33,475), Brazil (29,937), France (28,836), Spain (27,127) and Mexico (10,167).
 

(IANS) /C-1-1240074

Tue, 02 Jun 2020 08:32:11 +0530
65 new health centres for Bengaluru civic body wards

Bengaluru, As many as 65 new primary health centres (PHCs) will be started in the city civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), wards without such health facilities, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister said on Monday.

"Sixty-five new PHCs will be started soon. Of the 198 wards in BBMP, 65 wards have no PHCs," said C. N. Ashwathnarayan after a BBMP review meeting.

He directed the civic body officials to work towards establishing the health facilities.

"If there is no ready building with the BBMP, start PHCs by renting private buildings," he said.

Considering that several programmes are being run by the central and state governments, Ashwathnarayan directed the officials to collect data on health schemes to bring it onto a single platform.

To create such a platform, a team of techies lead by Prasanth Prakash has come forward to offer the required technology.

Ashwathnarayan expects the platform to be ready in a month's time.

"After collating patient information from all BBMP hospitals, a unified dashboard will be created. This will provide complete data of patients at the click of a mouse button and enables to decide the kind of treatment required to be given," he said.

Linking data from private hospitals as well, Ashwathnarayan said immediate action can be taken in the event of an epidemic or a pandemic breakout.

Likewise, to enable the poor to access quality health, he said five centralized health centres will be set up where online treatment through e-clinics can be offered.
 

(IANS)

Tue, 02 Jun 2020 08:29:12 +0530
US sends Brazil 2 million HCQ doses

Washington, The US has sent 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to Brazil, the two governments have confirmed, days after the World Health Organization (WHO) halted the anti-malaria drug's clinical trials over safety concerns.

"The US will also soon be sending 1,000 ventilators to Brazil," a joint statement said which was released by the White House on Sunday.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said recently that a clinical trial of HCQ on COVID-19 patients came to "a temporary pause" while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Lancet medical journal has published an observational study on HCQ and chloroquine, in which the authors of the study reported that among patients receiving either of the drugs, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate.
 

(IANS)  C-1-1239729

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 12:02:58 +0530
Redmi Note 9 Pro Max A good deal under Rs 20 000

New Delhi,  Xiaomi's Redmi Note series phones have always offered great value for money. Taking a step forward, the company has added a new phone Redmi Note 9 Pro Max in this highly popular mid-price segment series.

The smartphone features a near all-glass body, a large 6.67-inch display with a punch hole cutout, 64MP quad rear cameras, a 32MP front camera, Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 720G processor with ISRO's indigenously developed navigation system (NavIC) support and a massive 5,020mAh battery with 33W fast charging.

The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is available in three variants – 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage priced at Rs 16,499; 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage priced at Rs 17,999 and the 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage variant which would cost you Rs 19,999.

In terms of design, the smartphone scored good owing to its punch-hole camera and near all-glass body.

The standards-volume controls are on the right panel, SIM tray on the left, 3.5mm jack along with speaker grill and Type C charging port at the bottom and IF blaster is on the top.

Both front and rear sides have Gorilla Glass 5 protection and P2i coating claims to prevent the device from accidental water damage.

Speaker, headphone jack and the USB Type-C charging port are located at the bottom portion of the device.

The quad-camera setup neatly sits in a square module on the rear that protrudes slightly.

The screen is really big and great for streaming movies, YouTube videos as well as playing games.

The company also claims to have used an anti-oil and anti-fingerprint coating on the top.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC is one of the most effective chipsets at this price point and effectively handled popular games including PUBG Mobile with ease along with multi-tasking.

The device ships with Android 10 OS out-of-the-box with custom MIUI 11 skin on top. However, the OS is filled with third-party apps and most of them cannot be uninstalled.

The device has a massive 5,020 mAh battery which easily lasted for a whole day on moderate usage.

The Redmi Note 9 Pro Max comes with four rear cameras. There's a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide-angle camera with 119-degree field-of-view, a 5MP macro camera for close ups (up to 2cm), and another 2MP depth sensor.

The camera performed adequately in everyday use and managed to produce decent snaps in the low-light conditions.

Unlike other mid-segment smartphones, the photo is not oversaturated and colours look natural. The portrait mode was highly effective with perfect edge detection.

The 32MP front shooter did a decent job at capturing selfies.

In terms of video capability, the smartphone can shoot videos up to 4K resolution at 30fps or 1080p video at either 60/30fps.

Conclusion: Redmi Note 9 Pro Max is one of the best mid-price segment smartphones out there, which faces stiff competition from Realme 6 Pro, Honor 9X Pro and Poco X2.

Note 9 Pro Max offers refreshing design, powerful processor and good camera.

(IANS)C-1-1239721

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:17:26 +0530
Delhi borders witness traffic congestion as curbs ease

New Delhi, Heavy vehicular traffic was witnessed on Monday at the Delhi-Gurugram and Delhi-Noida borders as commuters came out in large numbers on the first day of the Unlock-1.

On Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) way, that connects south Delhi with Noida, heavy traffic was witnessed in the morning.

The vehicular queues went up to over a kilometre as the police deployed at the border checked the passes and the identity cards of the people travelling.

The Delhi Police asked the people to return, those who did not have the passes issued from the authorities.

Even the motorcyclists were asked to turn back.

Speaking to IANS, Praveen Kumar, who resides in Noida said, "I have gone to my office in Delhi in the morning. But while I was returning back to Noida then the police stopped me. And now they are not allowing enter in Noida."

According to the Delhi Traffic police, the vehicular traffic on the roads have increased by over 40 per cent on Monday morning as several office-goers came out to attend their offices.

The traffic in the national capital also witnessed a surge as a number of vehicles were seen on the streets in areas like Jhandewalan, ITO etc.

Similar, scenes were witnessed at the Delhi-Gurugram and Delhi-Ghaziabad borders.

Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurugram have already sealed their borders with the national capital as the number of the Covid-19 cases saw a spike, with majority of the cases linked to those travelling to Delhi.

On Saturday, the Centre took an exit step from the 68-day nationwide lockdown, declaring that the restrictions will be limited only to containment zones up to June 30 and that the prohibited activities will be opened in a phased manner in areas outside these zones, allowing restaurants, malls, religious places and education sectors to open in a phased manner.

Applicable from Monday, June 1, the fresh order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) spoke of the expanded fresh guidelines a day ahead of the end of lockdown 4.0.

"In exercise of powers under section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has directed the undersigned to issue an order to extend the lockdown in containment zones up to June 30, and reopen prohibited activities in a phased manner in areas outside the containment zones," the order read.

"Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under section 10(2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, it is directed that the guidelines will remain in force up to June 30. With effect from June 1 to June 30, the lockdown 5.0 will be limited only to containment zones and only a elimited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country," it added.

As per the order, international air travel, operation of Metro Rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, and political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions, and other large congregations will remain prohibited.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239715

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:07:34 +0530
Fuel prices hike by Rs 2 L in Mumbai

Mumbai, Petrol and Diesel prices in the economic capital of the country have been increased by Rs 2 per litre on Monday. Now, petrol will cost Rs 78.32 per litre to Mumbaikars while diesel will be available at Rs 68.21 in the city.

The prices were increased after the Maharashtra government decided to levy a cess of Rs 2 on the vehicular fuel w.e.f. June 1. This increase will be applicable in the entire state.

The Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel is 26 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in the state.

Beside, a cess is also applicable on both type of fuels that the state government has increased from Rs 8.12 to Rs 10.12 per litre on petrol and Rs 3 per litre from the earlier Re 1 on diesel.

According to the Indian Oil website, prices of petrol in the four metro cities, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were Rs 71.26, Rs 73.30, Rs 78.32 and Rs 75.54 per litre, respectively. While the diesel prices were Rs 69.39, Rs 65.62, Rs 68.21 and 68.22 per litre, respectively.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 11:01:37 +0530
Southeast Asian nations to begin easing COVID 19 lockdowns

Bangkok,  The Southeast Asian nations of Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore are all set to ease their coronavirus lockdowns this week.

There has been at least 2,700 COVID-19 deaths in Southeast Asia, a region that has registered a total of 89,000 cases, reports Efe news.

With the partial opening of restaurants, shops and public parks already in effect, Thailand will from Monday allow cinemas, gyms and massage parlours to resume activities.

The Thai government's PR department tweeted on Sunday: "The third phase of relaxed measures will begin on 1 June, when many establishments will be allowed to resume their services under the strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"Inter-provincial travel is also being relaxed to support economic activities."

The Tourism industry accounts for between 12-20 per cent of Thailand's GDP.

Thai health authorities on Sunday said there had been four new cases detected in the country in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall total since the outbreak began to 3,081. A total of 57 people have died.

Authorities in the Philippines were set to ease the lockdown in the capital Manila also from Monday.

In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, the city has been under draconian restrictions for 78 days, two days longer than Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus originated last December.

Deserted for more than two months, traffic will return to the streets of Manila on Monday and residents will be given more freedom to leave their house, although the use of masks in public spaces such as shops will be required.

In the Philippines, there have been 17,000 COVID-19 cases and 950 deaths

In Singapore, schools will partially reopen on Tuesday and restrictions on weddings and funerals will be eased, allowing gatherings of up to 10 people.

The city is also beginning the process of gradually reopening the economy, although workers are still being urged to clock on remotely when possible.

Singapore has registered 34,000 COVID-19 cases with 23 deaths.

Meanwhile, Malaysia and Indonesia are also starting to lift restrictions on the free movement of people but both countries have enforced strict social distancing rules in an effort to prevent a second wave of infections.
(IANS) C-1-1239693

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 10:52:22 +0530
Jeff Bezos to invest in UK logistics startup Beacon

San Francisco, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is reportedly investing in a British startup Beacon that aims to become a global logistics chain.

According to Sky News, the world's richest man is "taking part in Series A fundraising worth $15 million for the British startup".

Beacon is a digital freight-forwarding and supply chain finance firm.

Launched in 2018, it uses Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud and other technologies to improve operational efficiency for customers organising international trade in their products.

Beacon is understood to have seen strong demand during the Covid-19 crisis from companies in the e-commerce and homewares sector, in particular, the report said.

The company offers a range of services - including global ocean, air freight and truck - which can be accessed and managed on a single platform.

Beacon was founded by two former Uber executives, Fraser Robinson and Dmitri Izmailov.

Beacon's investors include executives from Uber, Google and Amazon, according to its site.

Pierre Martin, the company's chief technology officer, previously worked at Amazon.
 

(IANS)  C-1-1239708

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 10:40:58 +0530
Temples restaurants to open from June 8 Himachal govt

Shimla,  The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday said the temples and restaurants in the state will open from June 8 and not from June 1.

A government spokesman told the media they would open after the standard operating procedure and guidelines were issued by the Centre.

Thereafter, a decision would be taken by the state Department of Language, Art and Culture and the Department of Tourism.

Also, the state government allowed the intrastate movement of roadways and private transport buses for the first time during the curfew relaxation timings from Monday onwards.

The Himachal Road Transport Corp (HRTC) resumed bus services with 60 per cent sitting capacity from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, the curfew has been extended in the state till June 30.

After reviewing the situation at a high-level meeting here, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday announced the curfew relaxation from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239678

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 09:51:09 +0530
Two Pak HC officials caught spying met defence personnel as businessmen

New Delhi, Two Pakistan High Commission officials were caught spying on Sunday after an operation by Military Intelligence (MI) found the men would visit Indian defence personnel as "businessmen" to secure information for "news reporters", triggering a demarche by the Narendra Modi government.

Both Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir have been declared persona non grata and expelled from India.

An official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that two officials of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi were apprehended for indulging in espionage activities.

Pakistan's Charge de Affaires was issued a demarche, in which a strong protest was lodged with regard to the activities of the officials of the High Commission of Pakistan against India's national security, the government said.

Sources said that out of the two, Hussain (42), working as an assistant in the Department of Trade in Pakistan High Commission, was an operative of Pakistan's spy agency, ISI and is from Punjab province of Pakistan.

While indulging in espionage activities, he told Indian defence personnel that he was from Amritsar.

His colleague, an upper division clerk in the high commission, Tahir (44), who is from Islamabad, would accompany him on the espionage missions to gather information for "news reporters".

The Indian government has declared both the officials persona non grata "for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within twenty four hours".

The two would pay Rs 25,000 for every exchange of information and expensive gifts such as Apple iPhones. They were paid via phone wallet application such as Paytm.

Both were in the commission for the last two years, sources said adding that the duo were driven around by Javed Akhtar (36), a resident of Mianwali in Pakistan's Punjab, who has also been arrested.

The two officials had been on the radar of the Indian agencies for their suspicious activities including attempts to contact and lure service personnel for espionage, sources said.

Delhi Police's Special Cell and the Intelligence Bureau assisted MI in the operations.

The law enforcement agencies, who apprehended the two officials, recovered some incriminating documents, Rs 15,000 and two iPhones from them. Of the two iPhones, they were to give one to their informants.

Sources said after they were caught, both Abid and Tahir admitted to be in communication with many other persons for gathering information.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in its statement,described the activities of the officials "inimical to India" and "incompatible with their diplomatic status".

(IANS) 

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:56:49 +0530
With 839 new cases Turkey s COVID 19 tally touches 163 942

Ankara, Turkish health minister on Sunday confirmed 839 new COVID-19 cases, noting that the increase is within predictable margins.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey climbed to 163,942, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the past 24 hours, 25 people died, taking the death toll to 4,540, the minister stated.

Turkey conducted 35,600 tests for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests carried out so far to 2,039,194, he said.

The total number of recovered cases stood at 127,973 in Turkey since the outbreak, while 648 patients are being treated at intensive care units.

Turkey reported the first COVID-19 case in the country on March 11.

Turkey and China have supported each other in the fight against COVID-19.

China has facilitated the procurement of medical supplies by Turkey. On April 10, Chinese doctors and medical experts held a video conference with Turkish counterparts to share China's experiences in treating coronavirus patients, protecting medical workers, and controlling the spread of the virus.
 

(IANS) 

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:53:38 +0530
Pamela Anderson ready to marry again

Los Angeles,  Actress Pamela Anderson is ready for re-marriage.

In an interview with the New York Times magazine, Pamela spoke about her failed relationships in the past and how she is keen to tie the knot again, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

"Absolutely! Just one more time. Just one more time, please, God. One more time only. Only," Pamela said when she was asked if she wanted to marry again.

Opening up on the past relationships, she added: "Thank God it happened the way it happened, and I'm here and I'm happy. I've been married three times. People think I've been married five times. I don't know why. I've been married three times. I've been married to Tommy Lee, I've been married to Bob Ritchie (Kid Rock) and to Rick Salomon. And that is it. Three marriages. I know that's a lot, but it's less than five."

She spoke about her relationship with Jon Peters, too.

"I wasn't married. No. I'm a romantic. I think I'm an easy target. And I think people just live in fear. I don't know what all that was about, but I think fear really played a lot into it. It was just kind of a little moment.

"A moment that came and went, but there was no wedding, there was no marriage, there was no anything. It's like it never even happened. That sounds bizarre, but that's it," Pamela recalled.
 

(IANS)C-1-1239653

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:50:47 +0530
Indore collectorate hit by corona

Indore, Coronavirus has struck the district collector's office in Indore causing panic among the staff. With a computer operator posted at the Indore tehsil office testing positive late on Saturday evening, there was concern in the collectorate on Sunday as the office is functioning all seven days due to the pandemic.

The computer operator has been working both in the tehsil office and the health department due to excessive workload.

As soon as the report came, the computer operator's home in Chhatripura area was located and sanitised. Special District Magistrate Anshul Khare visited the tehsil office, located at the ground floor of the collector office and had the entire office sanitised.

Several officers had come in contact with the computer operator during the past week and his contact history is being traced. All those who came in contact with him are being subjected to corona tests and might be quarantined.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239661

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:47:36 +0530
Italy s death toll from coronavirus rises by 75 to 33 415

Rome,  Seventy-five more COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country's toll to 33,415, out of total infection cases of 233,019, according to fresh figures.

Nationwide, the number of active infections dropped by 1,616 to 42,075, said the Civil Protection Department on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of those who tested positive for the new coronavirus, 435 are in intensive care, 15 fewer compared to Saturday, and 6,387 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 293 patients from the previous day.

The rest 35,253 people, or about 84 per cent of those who tested positive, are quarantined at home with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.

Recoveries rose by 1,874 compared to Saturday, bringing the nationwide total to 157,507.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239665

Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:42:17 +0530
Journalist killed in Kabul blast

Kabul,  A journalist and a studio technician were killed after a TV channel vehicle hit an IED in Kabul, Afghan officials said.

The attack took place on Saturday in the city's PD4 area, TOLO News reported.

Khurshid TV's economic reporter Zamir Amiri and technical staff member Shafiq were killed in the blast.

Rafi Sediqqi, the editor-in-chief of Khurshid TV, said that six staff members of the channel were wounded in the blast and two are in serious condition.

Those wounded in the blast were transferred to Kabul's Emergency Hospital.

Sediqqi said that no group or individual had threatened the TV channel recently.

"Such attacks will not demoralize Afghan journalists and media outlets from reporting the news," said Sediqqi.

The Taliban's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement denied involvement.

Last August, a magnetic IED blast targeted a bus carrying the employees of Khurshid TV in the fifth street of Taimani in Kabul's Police District 4.
(IANS)

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:26:41 +0530
Playing in front of empty stands won t affect my performance Jhingan

Kolkata, Star India defender Sandesh Jhingan on Saturday said although it is not an ideal situation, he won't have a problem playing behind closed doors if need be when the Indian football season resumes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the world come to a standstill. All sports activity came to a grinding halt across the world and only recently the German Bundesliga restarted its league behind closed doors.

The Indian football season is over with the Indian Super League (ISL) final being played in front of empty stands in March. The I-League had to be called off with matches remaining due to the health crisis.

"There are two sides of it. Yes fans being there makes it great. It makes football more exciting. But it's my job also. The club asks me to play (behind closed doors) and If I say there are no fans I won't play...you always do your job the best way you can regardless of the audience," Jhingan said during a Facebook Live session on All India Football Federation's official page, TheIndianFootballTeam.

"If you're a musician...you go to a place and there is nobody listening to you...still you will give your best. For me, it's not an ideal situation..but for the safety of those people who will later come and watch us when everything gets back to normal..if I have to played behind closed doors I will still do the job the way I do. I don't think it will affect me and I will still do my job as a professional," said Jhingan who recently parted ways with Kerala Blasters.

"It has been my second home, my family. The people of Kerala will always be dear to my heart. They helped me grow. I joined the team when I was 21," said the centre-back of his ISL side where he spent six seasons, helping them reach the ISL final in the first season. The Chandigarh-born 26-year-old made 76 appearances for the club, even as the team around him underwent drastic changes.

Jhingan also said in the next decade or so there will be more Indian players playing in Europe.

"In next 10-15 years, you will see lot more Indian players playing in Europe," he added.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239372

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:21:55 +0530
SpaceX sends 2 NASA astronauts to ISS in historic mission

Washington, Scripting a historic chapter for the US space programme, Elon Musk-run SpaceX on Saturday sent two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard the reusable Falcon 9 rocket.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley was on its way to the orbiting laboratory in the space and had safely reached orbit, NASA said in a statement.

It is the first time that astronauts have been sent into space from the US soil since 2011.

It is also the first time that US astronauts have been sent into space by a private company, signalling an end to the US dependence on the Russian space technology.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the same site used for the first moon landing in 1969, reports CNN.

"I can't believe it with my own eyes. I'm so grateful they're up there," said SpaceX engineer Lauren Lyons, who frequently hosts SpaceX's mission webcasts.

The journey would take approximately 19 hours and the astronauts should reach the space station at around 10.30 ET (eastern time) on Sunday, according to NASA.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew.

They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

Earlier, NASA and SpaceX postponed historic launch of two astronauts to space from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday due to bad weather.

This is the first-ever crewed mission for SpaceX, nearly a decade after the US government retired the space shuttle programme in 2011.

Although the Crew Dragon being used for this flight test can stay in orbit about 110 days, the specific mission duration will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch, said NASA.

The operational Crew Dragon spacecraft will be capable of staying in orbit for at least 210 days as a NASA requirement.

Upon conclusion of the mission, Crew Dragon will autonomously undock with the two astronauts on board, depart the space station and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

Upon splashdown just off Florida's Atlantic Coast, the crew will be picked up at sea by SpaceX's Go Navigator recovery vessel and return to Cape Canaveral.

This Demo-2 mission is the final major step before NASA's Commercial Crew Programme certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station, laying the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency's Artemis programme, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239410

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:16:04 +0530
After the lockdown B wood gears up to shoot amid New Normal

New Delhi,  With the new normal setting in, Bollywood filmmaking will not be the same. New guidelines and restrictions -- from on-set temperature checks to budget alterations -- are bound to be in vogue if shooting and other production activities are to begin for films, TV and OTT shows once the lockdown is lifted.

Filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari told IANS that there will be a change in the way the process of production is looked at.

"We are staying in unknown times of hope. Whenever shoot starts, there will be a change in the way we look at the process of production. A new normal where safety of all is the most important priority will be in place, according to the rule book of the Guild," Tiwari told IANS.

"For all new productions, there may be a schedule revamp, whereby indoor locations with minimum requirement of cast and crew, and production elements will be accomplished first," she added.

"Team management and processes will require special care and planning. This is not going to be easy. It is important to not take chances. Most importantly, everyone is required to be responsible for their team as well as," said Tiwari.

With the economy taking a dip, does she think budgets will have to be reworked?

"I assume budgets will be reworked and the allocation might increase in some areas. It's not easy for production executives and producers, where the supply and demand chain, and managing of operations, will change -- especially on a set which is used to seeing a chain of people on auto mode," Tiwari said.

She added: "To be honest anyone will squirm before they start shooting, especially in Mumbai where the pandemic cases have risen. All of us are human and will be worried about the safety of everyone. Whenever shooting begins, I feel there will be a force of universe to protect everyone. People need to get paid and the river needs to flow with all safety measures in place. It is not going to be easy," she said.

Actress Richa Chadha hopes that shooting will start with proper guidelines in place.

"I really don't know what the shooting scenario will be post the pandemic but I am hoping with proper guidelines shoots can begin. I believe the Producers Guild has already sent a long set of guidelines saying how they plan to restart shoots slowly especially for television," Richa told IANS.

She agrees that there is a fear of uncertainty.

"Of course, there is a fear of uncertainty but that fear exists in every sector. So, I think we are all in this together and definitely there is uncertainty and definitely there is stuff to worry about. But I think we have to be optimistic and just take a pause and wait for stuff to settle down so that more lives are not endangered," she added.

She urged to support the health infrastructure: "We need to support our health infrastructure by also taking due precautions, because there is already a shortage of beds and ventilators, and doctors have succumbed to the disease."

Actress Jacqueline Fernandez feels the changes will take place slowly.

"Post the lockdown, I'm sure there will be change but it will happen gradually. Things will take time to get back to normal for everyone and not just for the entertainment industry. Till then, we should continue to stay safe at home," Jacqueline told IANS.

Acclaimed actor Pankaj Tripathi told IANS that whatever rules are given by the higher authorities have to be followed by actors and workers alike.

"The guidelines given by the government, medical authorities and experts across the world -- those will be the change we will get to see. Any guidelines -- from WHO, the medical fraternity, doctors in India, the Maharashtra government, the film federation, CINTAA and our union -- will be similar for actors as well as workers. We actors are also workers," said Pankaj.

Actress Yami Gautam feels that budgets are going to be adjusted.

"Budgets are going to be reworked. Already, proposed films most of us were to be part of are looking at reworked budgets and mediums, with theatres being shut and with no idea when they will open," Yami

Safety is the key, she feels. "We will have to follow protocols, precautions and the fresh guidelines. We'll have to wait and watch. Safety is the most important thing. I don't think things will be resumed any time soon. Budgets, of course, are going to be curtailed and reworked, knowing that globally the economy is taking a hit. Content-wise, I can hope that this is the time people are using to write films about good subjects and fresh concepts. I hope content-wise we come out stronger," she said.

Actress Purbi Joshi feels that films with big sets will be drained.

"There's going to be a lot of changes in the near future where more precautions are going to be taken. The way we even film -- big sets with many people coming and going might all be drained now

 

(IANS) C-1-1239374

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:11:29 +0530
US equities post weekly gains as economy reopening in focus

New York, US equities posted solid gains during the holiday-shortened week, as investors weighed the possibility of normalizing economic activities.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow advanced 3.8 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 3 percent, and the Nasdaq was up 1.8 per cent. US markets were closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day, 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 gain of 5.2 per cent.

For the month of May, the Dow notched a 4.3 per cent rise, the S&P 500 climbed 4.5 per cent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq marked a 6.8 per cent return.

"The bottom line is that the worst of the economic crisis may be over - which may help explain the ongoing stock market rally - but no one can know for sure at what pace the economy is likely to recover from here," analysts at Zacks Investment Management said in a note on Saturday.

All 50 US states have eased COVID-19 restrictions to varying degrees, despite fears of a re-acceleration in virus cases.

Signs of life are starting to appear again across the United States, however, the return of economic activity is happening at a much slower pace so far, and plenty of weakness remains - retail sales data for April showed steep declines, and Americans are still losing jobs, albeit at an increasingly slower pace, noted analysts at Zacks Investment Management.

Multiple data released lately showed the pandemic has severely crippled the US economy.

US personal consumption expenditures (PCE) nosedived 13.6 per cent in April month on month amid widespread shutdowns triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak, the US Commerce Department reported on Friday.

The plunge, following a revised 6.9 per cent drop in March, has been the sharpest drop in government records since six decades ago, according to the report released by the department's Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The PCE data came one day after the Commerce Department revised down gross domestic product in the first quarter to a 5.0 per cent annualized contraction in a second estimate, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate in April.

Meanwhile, US initial jobless claims registered 2.123 million in the week ending May 23, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Over the past 10 weeks, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance.

Wall Street also paid close attention to the latest comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

At a virtual event held by Princeton University on Friday, Powell said he is concerned about a potential second wave of outbreak. "I think a second wave could be what would really undermine public confidence and might make for a significantly longer recovery, weaker recovery."

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 1.76 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 103,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
(IANS) C-1-1239414

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:06:13 +0530
Over 530 arrested after protests over death of George Floyd turn violent

Los Angeles,  Over 530 people were arrested after protests against police brutality turned violent in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

A total of 533 arrests were made related to the protests on Friday night and early Saturday. The charges include burglary, looting, probation violation, battery on police officer, attempt murder and failure to disperse. All but 18 of the arrestees have been released on their own recognizance, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

The department said it would continue to assess the full extent of property damage from last night's protest activities.

Several police vehicles were vandalized, and numerous downtown businesses were damaged and looted, the department noted.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles Friday night during a third day of demonstrations against police brutality.

Protesters marched in the streets, shouting slogans such as "I can't breathe" to express their anger over the killing of the unarmed Minnesota black man by police. A group of protesters briefly blocked a major north-south freeway in downtown Los Angeles.

Authorities had to make so many arrests because those on the street refused repeated orders to leave, including an unlawful assembly order for all of downtown issued Friday night, according to the Los Angeles Times, adding it marked one of the largest mass arrests by the Los Angeles Police Department in recent years.

Local TV channel footage showed protesters clashing with police and some store windows were smashed.

The Target store at Seventh and Figueroa streets, a Rite Aid store at Seventh and Hope streets, the Sixth Street Market, the Starbucks on Sixth Street between Broadway and Main Street, and jewelry stores near Sixth Street and Broadway were among the businesses looted before midnight, according to the local news outlet City News Service.

Police set up skirmish lines throughout the downtown area and, in at least one instance, fired non-lethal ammunition as they pushed a crowd out of the area, City News Service reported.

Six police officers were injured in confrontations with protesters. Los Angeles Police Department said that those injured officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries ranging from lacerations to impact wounds.

"I believe in our city. L.A. is strong enough to stand for justice and walk in love," tweeted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday.

"We respect every Angeleno's right to protest, but violence and vandalism hurts all," he noted.

Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore tweeted Saturday morning that "last night was a dark reminder of the perils of a society in turmoil."

"As of this morning, all restrictions in the downtown area have been lifted. While more protests are slated for various locations throughout the city today, we remain hopeful those demonstrations will be peaceful," tweeted the Los Angeles Police Department Saturday morning, adding that the department would be deploying additional resources to maintain order and ensure the safety and security of people.

Demonstrations and riots have spread to cities across the United States after a video went viral of George Floyd being suffocated to death by a white police officer in the mid-western US state of Minnesota on Monday.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239415

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:00:28 +0530
Over 530 arrested after protests over death of George Floyd turn violent

Los Angeles,  Over 530 people were arrested after protests against police brutality turned violent in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

A total of 533 arrests were made related to the protests on Friday night and early Saturday. The charges include burglary, looting, probation violation, battery on police officer, attempt murder and failure to disperse. All but 18 of the arrestees have been released on their own recognizance, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

The department said it would continue to assess the full extent of property damage from last night's protest activities.

Several police vehicles were vandalized, and numerous downtown businesses were damaged and looted, the department noted.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles Friday night during a third day of demonstrations against police brutality.

Protesters marched in the streets, shouting slogans such as "I can't breathe" to express their anger over the killing of the unarmed Minnesota black man by police. A group of protesters briefly blocked a major north-south freeway in downtown Los Angeles.

Authorities had to make so many arrests because those on the street refused repeated orders to leave, including an unlawful assembly order for all of downtown issued Friday night, according to the Los Angeles Times, adding it marked one of the largest mass arrests by the Los Angeles Police Department in recent years.

Local TV channel footage showed protesters clashing with police and some store windows were smashed.

The Target store at Seventh and Figueroa streets, a Rite Aid store at Seventh and Hope streets, the Sixth Street Market, the Starbucks on Sixth Street between Broadway and Main Street, and jewelry stores near Sixth Street and Broadway were among the businesses looted before midnight, according to the local news outlet City News Service.

Police set up skirmish lines throughout the downtown area and, in at least one instance, fired non-lethal ammunition as they pushed a crowd out of the area, City News Service reported.

Six police officers were injured in confrontations with protesters. Los Angeles Police Department said that those injured officers sustained non-life-threatening injuries ranging from lacerations to impact wounds.

"I believe in our city. L.A. is strong enough to stand for justice and walk in love," tweeted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday.

"We respect every Angeleno's right to protest, but violence and vandalism hurts all," he noted.

Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore tweeted Saturday morning that "last night was a dark reminder of the perils of a society in turmoil."

"As of this morning, all restrictions in the downtown area have been lifted. While more protests are slated for various locations throughout the city today, we remain hopeful those demonstrations will be peaceful," tweeted the Los Angeles Police Department Saturday morning, adding that the department would be deploying additional resources to maintain order and ensure the safety and security of people.

Demonstrations and riots have spread to cities across the United States after a video went viral of George Floyd being suffocated to death by a white police officer in the mid-western US state of Minnesota on Monday.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239415

Sun, 31 May 2020 09:00:28 +0530
Police arrest 3 terrorist associates in Kashmir

Srinagar, The Jammu and Kashmir Police along with security forces have arrested three terrorist associates of proscribed terror outfit LeT from Sopore in North Kashmir and recovered arms and ammunition from their possession.

According to a police statement Sopore Police along with 22 Rashtriya Rifles unit of the army and CRPF 179 Battaliom have arrested three terrorist associates in a joint operation at Shangergund area of Sopore.

They have been identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Mir, Mudasir Ahmad Mir and Athar Shamas Mir, all residents of Sopore.

Police said incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from their possession.

An FIR has been filed and further investigation has been initiated by the police.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239405

Sun, 31 May 2020 08:54:23 +0530
Google responds to European Commission s call for responsible AI

San Francisco, Google has responded to European Commissions white paper on artificial intelligence (AI) on how to regulate and accelerate the adoption of responsible and ethical AI.

In February this year, the European Commission launched a consultation on Artificial Intelligence and asked citizens and stakeholders to provide their feedback by June 14.

Google said on Friday that it supports the Commission's plans to help businesses develop the AI skills they need to thrive in the new digital economy.

"Next month, we'll contribute to those efforts by extending our machine learning check-up tool to 11 European countries to help small businesses implement AI and grow their businesses," the tech giant said in a statement.

Google Cloud already works closely with scores of businesses across Europe to help them innovate using AI.

Google has partnered with several European universities via its machine learning research hubs in Zurich, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and London, and many of their students go on to make important contributions to European businesses.

"We also support the Commission's goal of building a framework for AI innovation that will create trust and guide ethical development and use of this widely applicable technology. We appreciate the Commission's proportionate, risk-based approach," said Kent Walker SVP, Global Affairs at Google.

The ‘White Paper on Artificial Intelligence - A European Approach' aims to foster a European ecosystem of excellence and trust in AI.

Google said that AI has a broad range of current and future applications, including some that involve significant benefits and risks.

"We think any future regulation would benefit from a more carefully nuanced definition of ‘high-risk' applications of AI. We agree that some uses warrant extra scrutiny and safeguards to address genuine and complex challenges around safety, fairness, explainability, accountability, and human interactions," the company explained.

While AI won't always be perfect, it has great potential to help us improve over the performance of existing systems and processes.

"But the development process for AI must give people confidence that the AI system they're using is reliable and safe," said Google.

That's true for applications like new medical diagnostic techniques, which potentially allow skilled medical practitioners to offer more accurate diagnoses, earlier interventions, and better patient outcomes.

The Commission's proposal suggests "ex ante" assessment of AI applications (upfront assessment, based on forecasted rather than actual use cases).

"Our contribution recommends having established due diligence and regulatory review processes expand to include the assessment of AI applications," said Google.

Responsible development of AI presents new challenges and critical questions for all of us.

In 2018, Google published its own AI Principles to help guide ethical development and use of AI, and also established internal review processes to help avoid bias, test rigorously for safety, design with privacy top of mind.

"AI is an important part of Google's business and our aspirations for the future. We share a common goal with policymakers—a desire to build trust in AI through responsible innovation and thoughtful regulation," Google noted.
 

(IANS) 

Sat, 30 May 2020 10:37:42 +0530
India It s Time to Move Away From Meat

New Delhi, As the world continues to experience the deadly effects of COVID-19, PETA India has urged everyone to help stop another pandemic saying "India: It's Time to Move Away From Meat".

In a statement, the animal rights organisation said it is overwhelmingly believed that coronavirus has jumped the species barrier from infected animals to humans at a live-animal market in China.

"The PETA India is urging everyone to help stop another pandemic by running ads in newspapers that proclaim 'India: It's Time to Move Away From Meat'," it said on Friday.

The advertisement points out that India's live-animal markets, factory farms, and slaughterhouses are as filthy as China's "wet markets", their floors covered with blood, urine, faeces, and offal and that no one needs to eat meat.

"Consuming It not only causes animal suffering but also comes back to bite consumers in the form of heart disease, cancer, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. The ads, which feature a sickly chicken lying face down on an Indian Poultry farm, urge, "Eat as if Everyone's Life Depends on It, Because It Does."

Veterinarian and PETA India CEO Manilal Valliyate said many people feel powerless in the face of this health crisis, but everyone has control over what, or who, is on their plates.

"PETA India stands ready with free vegan starter kits, tips, and recipes to help people stay healthy and try to prevent the next pandemic," Valliyate said.

At the Chinese market where the novel coronavirus is believed to have first infected humans through bats or possibly pangolins, live and dead animals were sold for human consumption, PETA India said.

"SARS first infected humans at a similar Chinese live-animal market. Swine flu, which killed up to 5,75,000 people worldwide in the first year it circulated alone, is considered to have originated in US factory farms. Meanwhile, bird flu, which has a 60 per cent mortality rate, routinely plagues chicken farms.

"The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that approximately 75 per cent of recently emerged infectious diseases affecting humans originated in other animals."

The ads features a chicken because chickens used for meat in India and around the world are now purposely bred to grow so large so fast that they often have trouble standing and walking and even have heart failure when they're just a few weeks old.

"On today's factory farms, they're confined to crowded, filthy sheds amidst their own waste. The ammonia from their combined waste often causes sores, burns, and ulcers on their bodies, and when combined with the dust from their feathers and skin, the birds regularly experience respiratory and eye problems."
 

(IANS) C-1-1239018

Sat, 30 May 2020 09:17:35 +0530
US stocks end mixed amid data

New York, US stocks closed mixed as Wall Street pored through a slew of economic data.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17.53 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 25,383.11. The S&P 500 increased 14.58 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 3,044.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 120.88 points, or 1.29 per cent, to 9,489.87, Xinhua news agency reported.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors finished higher, with health care and technology up 1.27 per cent and 1.18 per cent, respectively, outpacing the rest. Financials sank 1.21 per cent, the worst-performing group.

The moves came after data showed US consumer spending suffered another record decline in April amid the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

US consumer spending plunged 13.6 per cent in April after a 6.9 per cent drop in March, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis said on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer spending would plummet 12.6 per cent in April.

Multiple data released lately showed the pandemic has severely crippled the U.S. economy.

US initial jobless claims registered 2.123 million in the week ending May 23, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Over the past 10 weeks, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance.

US economic activity in the first quarter contracted at an annual rate of 5.0 per cent in a second estimate, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 1.73 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 102,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
(IANS) C-1-1239107

Sat, 30 May 2020 09:10:45 +0530
TikTok app needs to be regulated Orissa HC

Cuttack, The Orissa High Court has said that the popular TikTok mobile app needs to be properly regulated as it often demonstrates a degrading culture and encourages pornography.

"Tik Tok mobile app which often demonstrates a degrading culture and encourages pornography besides paedophiles and explicit disturbing content is required to be properly regulated so as to save the teens from its negative impact," observed Justice S.K. Panigrahi.

The observation of the High Court came on Thursday while disposing of a bail petition involving a suicide case in Sambalpur district.

The court said the appropriate government has the social responsibility to put some fair regulatory burden on those companies which are proliferating such applications.

The allegation against the accused was that she along with the co-accused have inflicted direct and indirect mental torture on the deceased who was her husband.

The victim's husband hailing from Dhanupali area in Sambalpur district ended his life on July 13 last year by hanging himself from the ceiling fan of his bedroom.

The accused had married the deceased on February 21 last year. However, prior to her marriage, she was alleged to have been in a relationship with the co-accused.

The co-accused had sent some of the intimate and private TikTok videos with the woman to the deceased which were also alleged to have been streamed on social media.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239051

Sat, 30 May 2020 09:05:05 +0530
India s forex reserves rise by over 3 bn

Mumbai, India's foreign exchange reserves rose by over $3 billion during the week ended May 22.

According to the RBI's weekly statistical supplement, the overall forex reserves increased to $490.044 billion from $487.039 billion reported for the week ended May 15.

India's forex reserves comprise foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold reserves, special drawing rights (SDRs) and India's reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On a weekly basis, FCAs, the largest component of the forex reserves, edged higher by $3.035 billion to $451.706 billion.

However, the value of the country's gold reserves decreased by $127 million to $32.779 billion.

Besides, the SDR value inched up by $8 million to $1.432 billion.

The country's reserve position with the IMF increased by $89 million to $4.12 billion.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239098

Sat, 30 May 2020 08:59:52 +0530
Pakistan resumes int l flight operations

Islamabad,  Pakistan has resumed its international flight operations after the government eased some of the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a notification issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

"As per decision of the Federal Government, the outbound international flights (scheduled, non scheduled and charter flights) operation has been allowed with effect from 11.59 p.m., tonight," The Express Tribunes quoted spokesperson Aviation Division Abdul Sattar Khokhar as saying on Friday.

In a statement, the spokesperson added that both national and foreign airlines will be allowed to operate from all international airports of Pakistan except Gwadar and Turbat.

"SOPs for outbound international flights have already been issued according to which airlines will be required to follow the SOPs of the destination country."

Keeping in view the current situation, the statement said that congestion at airports will not be allowed and planes will be disinfected.

The country had resumed partial domestic flight operations on May 16.

In March, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended all international flights in the wake of the novel coronavirus.

A month later, the government extended the suspension of international and domestic flight operations till April 30 in line with the national strategy to stem the spread of novel coronavirus.

However, during that period, PIA resumed its relief flights to repatriate stranded Pakistani nationals.
 

(IANS) C-1-1239116 

Sat, 30 May 2020 08:56:26 +0530
No crisis can determine India s future

A year ago, a golden chapter was added to the history of Indian democracy. After decades, the people of the country gave a second opportunity to a government elected with a full majority. You have played a major role in writing this chapter. Today presents an opportunity for me to bow to you and honour you for your commitment to India and Indian democracy.

Had the situation been normal, I would have been blessed to be in your midst. However, the circumstances brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic have led me to write this letter and seek your blessings. In the past one year, your affection, blessings and active participation have given me fresh energy and inspiration. During this period, you have shown to the world democracy's collective strength, which has become an example before the entire world.

In the year 2014, the people voted for a big change; you voted to change the policy and system (niti & reeti). In those five years, the country saw extricating itself from the quagmire of inertia and corruption. In those five years, the country inspired by Antyodaya has seen the change in governance in easing the lives of the poor.

In that tenure, on the one hand, the country's prestige before the world grew, and on the other, we raised the dignity of the poor by opening their bank accounts, making available free cooking gas and electricity connection for them; and by building homes and toilets for them. In that tenure, whereas there were surgical and air strikes, there were also works for one-rank-one-pension, one-nation-one-tax GST and fulfillment of decades' old demands involving procurement of crops under MSP for farmers. That tenure was dedicated to meeting several needs of the country.

In 2019, your blessings meant dreaming big for the country, for high hopes and for meeting the aspirations. The decisions taken in the last one year are the reflections of those big dreams. The people's power fuelled by the common man is effulgently shining as the nation's strength. In the past one year, the country had many dreams, many resolves as it also continuously took several steps towards realizing those goals.

In this historic journey, each community, each section and each individual has played one's part responsibly. 'Sabka sath, sabka vikas' with this mantra, the country is forging ahead in all directions -- social, economic, global or internal.

in the last one year, some important decisions have been in discussion, and that is why it is natural to for these achievements to linger on in our memory. Whether it was the topic of Article 370 for national unity and integrity, or the happy outcome of age-old conflict over the Ram temple construction, or the factor disrupting the modern social system, the 'triple talaq' or the symbol of India's compassion, the citizenship law – all these achievements you remember.

Amid these decisions which came in quick succession, there are many other decisions and changes that have given new momentum to India's development journey, have given us new objectives as we have strived to fulfill many expectations of the people. The constitution of the post of Chief of Defence Staff has led to increased coordination among armed forces. At the same time, India has accelerated its preparations for Mission Gaganyaan.

In this period, our priority has been to empower the poor, farmers, women and the youth.

Today, each farmer has been covered under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. In the last one year, under this scheme, over Rs 72,000 crore have been deposited in the bank accounts of more 9.5 crore farmers.

To make available piped drinking water for the country's over 15 crore rural population, the 'Jal Jeevan Mission' has been initiated.

To ensure better health care for our more than 50 crore cattle, a massive campaign for livestock vaccination is under way.

For the first time in the nation's history, the government has decided to offer the facility of Rs 3,000 monthly pension for farmers, farm labourers, small shopkeepers and workers belonging to the unorganized sector after the age of 60 years.

A separate department has been formed to strengthen 'blue economy' and increase the facilities for fishermen. Similarly, it has been decided to constitute National Traders Board to timely resolve issues concerning business enterprises. About 7 crore sisters associated with self-help groups have been given more financial assistance. Recently, the loan amount available without guarantee for self-help groups has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh.

Keeping the education of tribals' children in mind, a campaign is under way to build more than 450 Eklavya Model Residential Schools.

The government has also worked expeditiously towards making better laws linked with common man's welfare. Our Parliament has broken decades' old record in conducting legislative business. That's why several laws – the Consumer Protection Act, amendment to Chit fund law, and laws concerning more security for women and children – have been quickly enacted.

The government policies have led to bridging the gulf between the urban and rural lives. For the first time, the internet users in rural areas have outnumbered the urban counterparts by 10 per cent.

The list of historic works and decisions is very long. It is not possible to elaborate on all of them in this letter. But I would surely say that in the last one year, each day round the clock, the government has worked with full awareness, sensitivity, and has taken decisions.

just when we were moving quickly towards realizing our country's aspirations, the corona pandemic surrounded India too.

On the one hand, there are countries with massive economies and most modern health services, and on the other, there is India with its huge population and so many challenges. Many people had expressed their apprehensions that when corona would attack India, the country itself would become a trouble for the world. Today, all countrymen have changed the way they look at India. You have proved that your collective capability and capacity are unprecedented in comparison with other more resourceful and prosperous countries.

You have shown that India alone holds the guarantee for a greater and better India – whether it was collective clapping or thali-beating or lighting the lamps, whether it was honouring of corona warriors by the armed forces, or following the Janata curfew or following the lockdown rules with sincerity.

In this crisis, no one can claim that nobody has been put to trouble or inconvenience. Our workers, migrant brother and sister labourers, those working in small industries, cart pushers and vendors, our shopkeeper brothers and sisters and those having small businesses have suffered immensely. We all are working together in an attempt to sort out their problems.

But we have to be careful that these inconveniences should not transform into a crisis of life. For that, each Indian has to follow all directives. We have to move forward with the same patience and courage that we shown so far. This is the reason why the situation in India has so far been manageable in comparison with other countries.

This battle will stretch on, but we are on way to victory and, to be victorious is our common resolve.

We can draw inspiration from those people who recently faced the Cyclone Amphan boldly. They worked hard to reduce the damage caused by the cyclone.

under the given circumstances, there have been discussions as to how economies of India along with other nations will emerge out of the crisis. At the same time, there is this belief that the way India has surprised the world in facing coronavirus with its unity, the country can present the same example in the economic field -- 130 crore Indians can not only surprise the world but can also inspire it.

Today, the time demands that we must stand on our feet, and we will have to move on our own strength. And for this, there is only one path: a self-reliant India (atmanirbhar Bharat). The recent economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore is a big step towards 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' campaign. This campaign will usher in a new trend of opportunities for every countryman – our farmers, workers and labourers, medium enterprises and the youth associated with startups. India will reduce its dependence on imports with the sweat of its citizens, with their hard work and skills, thus becoming self-dependent.

you have continued to bless me with your affection in the past six years. The country has moved ahead with unprecedented pace with historic decisions and development. But I know there is so much left to be done. The country has many challenges and problems before it. I am making all efforts day and night. I may have some deficiency, but the country does not have any. That is why I place more confidence in you, in your strength and in your capacity. You, your support and your blessings are the energy behind my resolve.

The global pandemic has brought about a crisis situation, but at the same time, for us Indians, this is also the time for determination. We have to remember that no calamity, no crisis can determine the present or future of 130 crore Indians. We will decide our present and, the future too.

We will move ahead, we will race ahead to progress and we will be victorious. It is said in our country: "Kritam me dakshine haste, jayo me savya ahita-h" – meaning, in one hand we carry our deeds and duties and in the other, sure success.

I bow before you yet again with a wish for our country's success forever. Best wishes for you and your family. Be healthy, be safe. Be aware and be conscious.

Your Pradhan Sevak
 IANS C-1-1239109

Sat, 30 May 2020 08:52:51 +0530
We are terminating relationship with WHO Trump

Washington,  While addressing the briefing in the White House Rose Garden, US President Donald Trump said the US will be terminating the relationship with the World Health Organisation (WHO) right away.

In his today's briefing, he also attacked China on several issues like origin of the coronavirus, recent development in Hong Kong, border disputes in the South China Sea and human rights abuses. He also announced measures aimed at punishing China, the BBC reported.

We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organisation and directing those funds" to other global public health charities, Trump said.

"The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government," he says, adding that China "instigated a global pandemic that has cost over 100,000 American lives".

China, he said, "pressured the World Health Organisation to mislead the world" about the virus.

"Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe," he adds.

Trump's criticism of the WHO started last month when he threatened to permanently withdraw US funding if the body did not "commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days".

"It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world," Trump wrote in a letter to the WHO director-general on May 18.

"The only way forward for the World Health Organisation is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China."

In today's White House speech, Trump said "China has total control over the World Health Organization", despite paying the organisation a fraction of what the US does.

China has accused the US of being responsible for the spread of the virus on its own soil, attributing the outbreak to American "politicians who lie".
(IANS)

Sat, 30 May 2020 08:48:28 +0530
India records highest single day spike surpasses China toll

New Delhi,  India on Friday not only recorded its largest jump in new cases as it added 7,466 new Covid patients in 24 hours, emerging as the ninth worst-hit country in the world by pandemic, but it also surpassed China's toll of 4,638 so far as it recorded 4,706 deaths.

While China was the first country to report disease last December and recorded over 84,000 total cases so far, India that reported its first case in January end, now has 1,65,799 cases that is more than Turkey's (1,60,979).

The only good news for India is that it has shown a 42.88 per cent recovery with 71,105 of the patients who contacted the disease being cured and sent back home. In the past one day, 175 deaths were also reported.

Delhi and Tamil Nadu showed jump of around 1,000 cases as Maharashtra continued to contribute a lion's share, it was still the worst hit state that reported 59,546 cases so far. Tamil Nadu now has 19,372 and Delhi 16,281 cases.

Gujarat reported 15,562 cases, Rajasthan 8,067, Madhya Pradesh 7,453 and Uttar Pradesh 7,170.

Kerala which had almost flatten the curve, is witnessing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, there are now 1,088.

Number of cases have spiked in the North East, with Assam having 856 cases.

Other States and UTs have also reported steady increase and West Bengal now has 4,536 cases, Telangana (2,256), Punjab (2,158), Jammu and Kashmir (2,036), Bihar (3,296) and Andhra Pradesh(3,251).

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.
(IANS)

Fri, 29 May 2020 10:57:46 +0530
No domestic cricket to be played before August 1 ECB

London, The suspension of England's domestic cricket season has been extended to at least August 1, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday. The previous suspension was scheduled to end on July 1.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) can today confirm a further delay to the start of the professional domestic cricket season, with no domestic cricket to be played before 1 August.

"The specifics of the season remain subject to ongoing advice from UK Government and health experts, but the ambition remains to host domestic men's and women's cricket across England and Wales later this summer," said the ECB in its statement.

"The Professional Game Group (PGG) will look to outline a number of opportunities for domestic play, which will be presented to the ECB Board in June."

"Naturally we want to see cricket being played at every level," said ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison. "We remain hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season and planning with the PGG has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play.

"While traditional formats of our competitions are the preference, we are not against exploring the unorthodox to ensure that we can return our players to the field. That can only happen though when it is safe, and we have said throughout this crisis that the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the game is our key priority."

The statement did not talk about the scheduled international series against Ireland and West Indies which are scheduled to take place in July.
(IANS) 

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:20:30 +0530
Facebook to verify users whose posts go viral rapidly

San Francisco,  Facebook said on Thursday that it will now verify the identity of people who have a pattern of inauthentic behaviour on its platform and whose posts start to go viral rapidly.

In 2018, Facebook had first started to verify the identity of people managing Pages with large audiences.

"Now we're extending ID verification to some profiles with large audiences in the US," the social networking giant said in a statement.

If someone chooses not to verify their identity or the ID provided does not match the linked Facebook account, the distribution of their viral posts will remain reduced so that fewer people see them.

"In addition, if the person posting is a Page admin, they'll need to complete Page Publishing Authorisation and will not be able to post from their Page until their account is verified through our existing Page Publisher Authorisation process," said Facebook.

The company said that IDs will be stored securely and won't be shared on the person's profile.

"We want people to feel confident that they understand who's behind the content they're seeing on Facebook," the company added.
(IANS)

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:17:25 +0530
S Korea reports 58 more COVID 19 cases 11 402 in total

Seoul,  South Korea reported 58 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 12 midnight on Friday (local time), raising the total number of infections to 11,402.

The daily caseload rose sharply for the past three days, recording 79 on Thursday and 40 on Wednesday each.



A new cluster infection was found at a logistics centre of local e-commerce operator Coupang in Bucheon, just west of the capital Seoul, Xinhua reported.



At least 90 patients have been traceable to the distribution centre in just five days since the first relevant case was confirmed on May 23.



Of the new cases, three were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,235.



No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 269. The total fatality rate stood at 2.36 per cent.



A total of 23 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,363. The total recovery rate was 90.9 per cent.



Since January 3, the country has tested more than 885,000 people, among whom 849,161 tested negative for the virus and 24,557 are being checked.
(IANS)

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:15:02 +0530
Adah Sharma on pandemic Hope we come out of this as kinder people

New Delhi, Actress Adah Sharma has no idea about how or when shooting will resume amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and is hoping that once they go on sets everyone acts responsibly and take necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all.

At present, a lot of plans are being explored to find a way to restart shoots soon, as the entertainment industry continues to reel under the ongoing lockdown.

Asked how she feels things things will change, Adah told IANS: "Honestly I have no idea. I just hope we all come out of this as more grateful , kinder people who are conscious about the environment."

"I think once we begin shooting, all of us will be responsible and take the necessary precautions ensuring safety of oneself and the people around us," the actress said while talking about if she is wary about going on sets as of now," she added.

Talking about her lockdown period, the "Commando" star said: "From slicing watermelons to doing cartwheels, reading scripts and learning to mimic all the bird whistles -- this lockdown has been quite productive."

The actress started her Bollywood journey with horror film "1920", and went on to do "Hasee Toh Phasee", "Bypass Road", "Commando 2" and "Commando 3".

Adah is confident that the "Commando" series, which also stars Vidyut Jammwal, will continue further.

"Till there is evil , the commando franchise will go on. We will fight crime and go on different missions and take down the bad guys," she said.

"Commando 3" will air on Zee Cinema on May 31.
(IANS) 

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:12:34 +0530
US dollar slips amid rallying euro

New York,  The US dollar weakened in late trading on Thursday amid strong momentum in the euro.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was down 0.69 per cent at 98.3887.

The euro rallied after the European Commission on Wednesday proposed a recovery fund to help the world's largest trading bloc recover from a coronavirus-prompted recession.

In late New York trading, the euro increased to $1.1089 from $1.0989 in the previous session, and the British pound increased to $1.2340 from $1.2253 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was up to $0.6658 from $0.6605, Xinhua reported.

The US dollar bought 107.64 Japanese yen, lower than 107.70 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar decreased to 0.9634 Swiss franc from 0.9688 Swiss franc, and it decreased to 1.3760 Canadian dollars from 1.3779 Canadian dollars.
(IANS)

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:10:23 +0530
Global COVID 19 cases top 5 8 mn Johns Hopkins

Washington,  The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 5.8 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 360,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Friday morning, the total number of cases stood at 5,808,672, while the death toll increased to 360,289, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

Currently, the US has 1,721,479 confirmed cases and 101,573 deaths, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the CSSE.

Meanwhile in terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 438,238 infections.

This was followed by Russia (379,051), the UK (270,508), Spain (237,906), Italy (231,906), France (186,384), Germany (182,196), India (165,386), Turkey (160,979), Iran (143,849), and Peru (141,779), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues in the second position after the US with 37,919 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (33,142), France (28,665), Spain (27,119), and Brazil (26,754).
(IANS)

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:08:25 +0530
18 more areas in Gurugram added to containment zones

Gurugram, As the corona positive cases rose in Gurugram, the administration has added 18 more areas to the containment zones, taking the total number to 63.

The decision was taken on Thursday in a review meeting headed by Gurugram DM Amit Khatri.

The areas included in the containment zones are Gali Number 1 and 7 in Sarhaul village, Om Nagar, Police station road Dundehera, Shakti Nagar gali number 2, Shivaji park gali number 1,2,3 and 4, Anand Garden gali number 2, Ashok garden gali number 3, Rattan Garden gali number 5, Swaroop Garden gali number 6, Krishna Nagar gali number 2, Jyoti Park, Khandsa village near Shyam public school, Khandsa road near HSM school, Palam Vihar extension near RBS school, Rajiv colony gali number 2, Dadawas in Pataudi village and Shikohpur village.

"As per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, we have declared same number of buffer zones along every containment zone. The review of these containment zones will take place only after no case is reported in next 28 days," said Khatri.

Ashok Vihar, Dev Jewelery Shop, Nandi Dhm and Chotu Raam Chowk were declared containment free zones as no new case has been reported from there in the last 28 days.
(IANS) 

Fri, 29 May 2020 03:04:54 +0530
Legendary socialist press baron M P Veerendra Kumar passes away

Thiruvananthapuram, One of Kerala's tallest socialist leaders M.P. Veerendra Kumar passed away at a private hospital here on Thursday, said family sources. He was 83.

Veerendra Kumar, a sitting Rajya Sabha member, succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

His last political appearance was when he took part in the meeting, via video conference, called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss COVID 19 issues with all lawmakers from Kerala two days back.

Member of the Loktantrik Janata Dal and President of its Kerala state unit, Veerendra Kumar was also the Managing Director of the second-largest circulated Malayalam daily 'Mathrubhumi'.

A voracious reader and also an award-winning writer, he was a highly respected politician not just in Kerala but also in Delhi.

He was in the Kerala Assembly from 1987-1991 and was sworn in as Forest Minister in the cabinet of Left Democratic Front leader E.K. Nayanar but resigned after five days due to differences in his party.

He later contested the Lok Sabha polls and won the Kozhikode Lok Sabha seat in 1996 and became Union Minister of State for Finance and later of Parliamentary Affairs from 1997 to 1998.

Winning the Lok Sabha polls again in 2004, Veerendra Kumar and his then party Janata Dal-United remained part of the LDF till 2009 but shifted to the Congress-led UDF camp after he was denied a chance to recontest the Kozhikode LS seat in the general elections that year.

A nominee of his party was given a Cabinet post when the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government assumed office in 2011.

Veerendra Kumar lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by over one lakh votes and since then he was unhappy with the UDF. However, the UDF kept him happy by offering him a Rajya Sabha seat in 2016 and when he had decided to quit it late next year, he put in his resignation from the Upper House.

Later, he rejoined the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front, who allowed him to contest the Rajya Sabha polls and he became a member again in 2018.

Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony said he has lost a close friend and a "teacher".

"When I was the President of the Kerala Students Union in 1964, I met him first and thus began a long journey with him, even though we belonged to different parties. It was just two days back I spoke to him and he looked cheerful. Now the reality is he is no more, I have lost a close friend," said Antony.

Chandy said that Veerendra Kumar was a multifaceted personality and excelled in whatever roles he played.

"He had several caps and in every field, he was a shining star and was a hugely successful person.. We, in our political journey, at times were together and at times, we were in the opposite camps, but I had the highest regards for him always," he added.

Veerendra Kumar's son M.P.Shreyams Kumar, a former two-time legislator, is the joint Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Group.

Kumar hailed from the hilly district of Wayanad and was a Jain by religion.
 

(IANS)

Fri, 29 May 2020 02:25:57 +0530
194 deaths in single day India reports 1 58L cases

New Delhi, With 6,566 new cases and 194 new deaths India's total tally of COVID-19 reached 1,58,333 on Thursday, the Health Ministry data revealed. This is the second-highest number of deaths reported in 24 hours, it was on May 5 when India had reported 195 deaths in a day.

Of the total cases, at least 86,110 are active cases and 4,531 people lost their lives while a total of 67,691 people have recovered taking the recovery rate to 42.75 per cent. The deaths rate hovers at 2.86 per cent which was 2.85 per cent on Wednesday. India continues to maintain the plateau of over 6,000 cases per day.

Maharashtra's position remained the same with the highest number of total cases -- 56,948 -- which is 35.96 per cent of the total number of cases in the country, followed by Tamil Nadu with 18,545 cases and Delhi with 15,257 cases. The national capital surpassed Gujarat's total cases which were the third worst-hit state till now. The state of Gujarat reported 15,195 cases.

The infection is witnessing a surge in Bihar (3,061) and Uttar Pradesh (6,991) mostly due to the migrant exodus from urban areas to rural one in these states.

According to ICMR, a total of 33,62,136 samples have been tested so far and 1,19,976 samples in a day.

On the world front there over 5.7 million cases of novel coronavirus and more than 3 lakh deaths have been reported. India is a few cases behind Turkey (1,59,797) which is the 9th worst-hit country Globally from the pandemic. India has already surpassed Iran and China in terms of total cases and is the tenth worst-hit country due to the pandemic worldwide.

 

(IANS) C-1-1238343

Thu, 28 May 2020 05:38:27 +0530
Little Kashmir in Telangana Tribal farmer harvests maiden apple crop

Hyderabad, Four years of hard work of a young tribal farmer in Telangana have literally borne fruit.

Balaji Kendre has proved that with innovative thinking, determination and hard work any goal can be achieved.

Growing apples in the arid lands of Telangana is no mean achievement.

The 37-year-old knew that the hilly rugged terrain of Komaram Bheem Asifabad district is no Kashmir Valley but he was determined to prove that anything can be grown in the soil of Telangana.

After four years of untiring efforts, Balaji has succeeded in replicating famed apple orchards of Kashmir on a three acre field in the remote village of Dhanora in Kerameri area of K.M. Asifabad district, earlier a part of Adilabad district bordering Maharashtra.

Balaji, whose parents had migrated to Telangana from the neighbouring state, is not a traditional farmer. A Class 12 dropout, he always wants to try new things.

"Four years ago, a thought came to my mind. Why not grow apples here. People laughed at me but I started working on it and found that a variety of apples is grown in a region in Himachal Pradesh where the maximum temperature touches 40 degrees," said Balaji, who also received the best farmer award from the Telangana government in 2017.

He started with few plants and encouraged by the results got in touch with farmers in Himachal Pradesh. He was convinced that he could grow apples in Keriameri, located at an altitude of 220 m above sea level. He found that with its hilly terrain, cooler climes and streams, the region is suitable to cultivate apples.

The farmer placed an order of 50 saplings and after transporting it to Dhanora, he began seriously pursuing his dreams with organic farming. As the saplings grew and bore the flowers and then fruits, he informed the officials in the Agriculture Department.

The experts told him to wait for a couple of years and advised him to grow some other trees in the vicinity for the right climate and protection of the apple crop.

He also received the help and guidance from agriculture scientists of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CCMB).

Meanwhile, the number of trees grew to 400 and this year he had his first crop of HR-99 variety apples.

He is keen to present fruits from the first crop to Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao who is impressed with his achievement and has invited him for a meeting.

Minister for Forests and Environment Indrakaran Reddy on Tuesday visited Balaji's field and interacted with him about the crop. The minister praised the farmers for his innovative approach.

Balaji's success has raised hopes among many farmers in Dhanora and surrounding villages. Some have even started cultivation and are taking the help from Balaji.
 

(IANS) C-1-1238231

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:51:38 +0530
Rani Hum Tum will always be memorable for Chintu uncle

Mumbai, Kunal Kohli's 2004 romantic comedy film "Hum Tum" was released in Hindi cinema 16 years ago on this day, and actress Rani Mukerji remembered her shooting experience with veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, who recently passed away.

" 'Hum Tum' will always be memorable for me because it was the film that Chintu uncle was part of, and I fondly remember our shoot in Amsterdam. Recently, when I met him before his untimely demise, we were chatting about the 'Hum Tum' shoot and we were recalling the days of how much fun we had during the Amsterdam schedule," Rani said.

She recalled that Rishi Kapoor took a leap of faith and played actor Saif Ali Khan's father in the movie.

"I remember very clearly that, for Chintu uncle, it was one of the first films in which he had started playing key character roles. He took a leap of faith and he agreed to play Saif's dad because till then he was always the leading star. Somehow he did this and he was just brilliant as usual and made our film truly special!" she said.

Rani shared that she was a huge fan of Rishi Kapoor.

She narrates her memories of acting with him in "Hum Tum", saying: "Chintu uncle belonged to the era when actors never did sync sound and 'Hum Tum' was a sync-sound film. We were shooting in a house in Amsterdam that had wooden flooring and Dilip Subramaniam was the sound recordist."

She added: "He kept telling Chintu uncle that each time he would take a step in the house, the floor would creak and create sound. Chintu uncle invariably moved and Dilip would say cut, we will need one more!"

But Rishi Kapoor was not used to more takes, recalled Rani.

"Chintu uncle was just not used to one more take and we used to all crack up because he used to fire him. He used to say what the hell is this, why is the take not getting okayed and why is the floor creaking. He was hilarious. It was quite a first for him because he had to actually understand what this sync sound is all about, because they used to dub for their films back in the day, and these things never mattered," she said

Rani says Rishi Kapoor's demise is a double loss.

"It was a first and we used to have lots of chats and laughs about this. I have always been a huge fan of Chintu uncle, and his demise has been a double loss for me, as somebody whom I knew very well and also as a fan," she said.

Rani feels the film was definitely ahead of the curve by showing progressive portrayal of women in cinema.

"'Hum Tum' was a very, very special subject, a very modern subject. It was definitely ahead of its time. The way my character Rhea reacts at the end and walks away from Saif's character's (Karan) life when he just randomly suggests to get married because they had physical intimacy, it was bold."

"I think that was way ahead of its time for a woman to do this in a Hindi film. For a girl to actually walk away from a man and break stereotypes and notions of how a woman should react, it was new but it was also much needed to show in cinema."

She feels that the film spoke about a new emerging woman.

"Before 'Hum Tum', we hadn't seen many roles where women were strong and self-reliant like that. They would hardly take a stand like that. So, it kind of spoke about the new emerging woman," she said.

Rani says her character Rhea stood for the modern Indian woman of the time.
 

(IANS) C-1-1238264

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:46:07 +0530
Most MP liquor shops shut HC restrains govt from action

Jabalpur,  The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday restrained the state government from taking any action against the liquor vendors who are on warpath over the existing terms of excise policy that cripples their business and have shut down their vends.

The vendors had moved the court against government's pressure to reopen liquor vends without revising the terms of business.

Hearing the matter, the court on Wednesday granted three days' time to the state government to furnish terms of the excise policy and other documents related to agreements with the licensees (liquor contractors or sellers).

The HC division bench comprising Chief Justice A.K. Mittal and Justice V.K. Shukla allowed the state Advocate General to file the affidavit furnishing these details by May 30, the petitioners' counsel Rahul Diwakar said.

The petition is listed for hearing on June 2.

The court heard 30 liquor contractors from various parts of the state seeking direction for either revision of the terms and conditions of their contract or recalling of the entire bidding process of liquor sale for the current fiscal due to economic slowdown caused by the Covid pandemic.

The government had announced conditional reopening the liquor and hemp (Bhang) vends in 49 out of 52 districts in Madhya Pradesh a fortnight ago, as it was keen to get the excise revenue.

However, liquor retail contractors opposed the government order, fearing heavy losses they would incur if the vends were opened under the fresh terms laid down post-lockout.

The contractors, who have invested high amounts for vending licenses, said that they would not be able to recover even a fraction under the present stipulations. Before the start of the lockdown, they could keep the shops open for more than 12 hours.

"We are opposed to the reopening of the liquor shops now as it would cause heavy losses to us. The sale will be high for initial two or three days after that it will nosedive due to the lock down," a liquor retailer had said.

Sales would be minimal given that the bars and other drinking vends are closed, the liquor vendors believed.

The government had insisted that the vends must be opened first before the Finance Department revisits the terms. The terms were not revised subsequently.
 

(IANS)C-1-1238287

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:39:19 +0530
Passengers on SpiceJet flight to Guwahati test Covid positive

New Delhi, Airline major SpiceJet has confirmed that two passengers, who had travelled from Ahmedabad to Guwahati via Delhi on May 25 have tested Covid-19 positive.

The passengers had travelled on SG-8194 (Ahmedabad-Delhi) and SG-8152 (Delhi-Guwahati).

"COVID tests were conducted at Guwahati after landing and the passengers were quarantined. The test reports came on May 27," a SpiceJet spokesperson said in a statement on late Wednesday evening.

"The operating crew has been quarantined and SpiceJet is coordinating with government agencies in notifying other passengers who had travelled with them."

The airline said it has been strictly adhering to all SoPs and social distancing norms laid down by the government.

"All passengers are being provided face masks, face shields and sanitizers by the airline and the operating crew has been taking all necessary precautions and wearing Personal Protective Equipment to ensure a clean and sanitised flying experience," the statement said.

Earlier, a passenger each on IndiGo and Alliance Air flights were found to be Covid-19 positive in the last few days.

The Centre has allowed limited passenger flights -- about one-third of the summer schedule -- to operate between metros and other destinations from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:35:00 +0530
NASA SpaceX postpone historic astronauts launch

Washington, NASA and SpaceX postponed historic launch of two astronauts to space from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday due to bad weather.

"Due to the weather conditions, the launch is scrubbing," NASA tweeted, Xinhua reported.

The crewed mission will be the first time since 2011 that American astronauts launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX said the launch was delayed due to unfavorable weather in the flight path.

The next launch opportunity is scheduled on Saturday, May 30 at 15:22 Eastern Time.

"No launch for today - safety for our crew members is our top priority," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted.

The countdown was halted less than 17 minutes before the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was due to lift off from historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Later the propellant has been offloaded from the rocket, the launch escape system has been disarmed, and the two astronauts safely exited the vehicle, according to NASA.

"As the egress team assists astronauts out of the capsule, we are looking at a 50 percent chance of favorable weather for Saturday's launch," NASA tweeted.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Crew Dragon spacecraft and veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to orbit.

The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the ISS about 24 hours after launch.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew.

This is SpaceX's final test flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX's crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.
 

(IANS) C-1-1238305

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:31:40 +0530
COVID 19 2nd wave in US not inevitable Fauci

Washington,  A second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US "could happen" but it was "not inevitable", America's top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said.

The US can prevent another wave of COVID-19 as long as states reopen "correctly", Xinhua news agency quoted Fauci as saying in a CNN interview on Wednesday.

"Don't start leapfrogging over the recommendations of some of the guidelines because that's really tempting fate and asking for trouble."

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has previously warned that Americans need to prepare for the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, which would run alongside the flu season.

Stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus could end up causing "irreparable damage" if imposed for too long, Fauci said last week.

"I don't want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go."

Fauci's remarks came as the US hit a grim milestone of over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

As of Thursday morning, the number of coronavirus deaths in the country stood at 100,418, while the overall cases surged to 1,699,126, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

New York, the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, reported 364,965 cases and 29,370 deaths.

New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois each reported over 5,000 deaths.
(IANS)

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:27:21 +0530
Trump offers to mediate between India China

New York, Despite his tensions with Beijing, US President Donald Trump has offered to "mediate or arbitrate" the border dispute between India and China as the situation heated up with threats from both Beijing and Islamabad.

He tweeted on Wednesday: "We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute. Thank you!"

The offer came as tensions between the US and China are rising with high-level diplomats of both countries exchanging Cold War-style rhetoric making Trump's offer political showmanship rather than a realistic one.

Though China has been aggressive against India at the border in the eastern sector in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, its latest offensive at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the western sector in Ladakh has resulted in Indian and Chinese soldiers locked in a face-off in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie.

Trump's diplomacy came a day after both China and Pakistan issued open threats of war on India's both fronts. The Pakistan Army also initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation with intense mortar-shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu & Kashmir early Tuesday.

Posturing as an international statesman Trump has been keen to bring his style of diplomacy to India and has repeatedly offered to mediate between India and Pakistan.

Last year he made the dubious claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to "mediate or arbitrate" between India and Pakistan.

India has denied that such a request was ever made and pointed out that it holds that disputes between India and Pakistan are bilateral issues under the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and then Pakistan President, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Trump did not know that India and China shared a border, according to a book published earlier this year by two journalists from The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The authors, Phillip Rucker and Carol Leonning, claimed in their book "A Very Stable Genius" that Trump told Modi, "It's not like you've got China on your border."

"Modi's expression gradually shifted, from shock and concern to resignation," they wrote.

On Tuesday, China's President Xi Jinping was quoted by state news agency Xinhua, as saying: "It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war" and "to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military's ability to perform military missions." His statement was preceded by a decision to increase the budget for the Chinese military by 6.6 per cent.

China's close ally, Pakistan expressed similar views threatening war. Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his second visit in a month, to the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Sunday, said "Kashmir is a disputed territory and any attempt to challenge disputed status, including any political-cum-military thought related to aggression will be responded with full national resolve and military might," threatening that "disturbing strategic stability matrix in South Asia can lead to dire consequences".

"Pakistan Army is fully alive to the threat spectrum and will remain ever ready to perform its part in line with national aspirations," he warned.Both China and Pakistan which have occupied portions of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir have aggressively opposed India's bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories last year.

Though China has already built heavy infrastructure on the occupied territory, it is now suddenly objecting to the infrastructure development work that India has been carrying out on its side of the LAC.
 

(IANS) C-1-1238280

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:22:58 +0530
Pvt public partnership is working to bring Covid vaccine in India Dr Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, The governments point man on the gravest health emergency confronting the world and India is Dr Harsh Vardhan, our very own Health Minister, a Chandni Chowk MP. A doctor himself and in the main an Otorhinolaryngologist, he has risen from a doctor to a well-regarded politician. Extremely soft-spoken, he has been a minister in the Delhi government and headed the Delhi BJP and was its CM candidate. Prime Minister has a special bonding with him. And as such he heads what has turned out to be the most sensitive ministry in these challenging times.

He also heads the Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Ministry. With the world witnessing the worst ever pandemic, Dr Harsh Vardhan has now been elected to head the WHO executive board. Arguably one of the busiest persons in the country currently, he took time off to speak extensively with IANS. Here is everything that you wanted to know about the corona virus, but were afraid to ask. Excerpts:

Q: What is the situation of the COVID-19 cases in India compared to other countries like US, UK and China? Some research is showing that deaths in tropical climes is only 6 per cent, will rising temperatures kill this virus?

A: In India, definitely, due to the timely decisions taken by our government under able guidance of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, the situation is better. As on May 26, in terms of confirmed cases per lakh population, India has so far about 10.7 cases per lakh population as against global average 69.9 cases per lakh population, 486 cases per lakh population in USA, 390 cases per lakh population in UK and 5.8 cases per lakh population in China. Further, in terms of case mortality per lakh population, India has so far about 0.3 deaths per lakh population as against a global average of 4.4 deaths per lakh population; 29.3 deaths per lakh population in USA; 55.3 deaths per lakh population in UK and 0.3 deaths per lakh population in China.

As I have been saying all along and which has also been informed by various studies, there does not appear to be any correlation between the rate of infection and atmospheric temperature. The spread of COVID-19 outbreak around the world does suggest a preference for cool and dry conditions; although it is worth noting that the virus has appeared in countries with a wide range of climates, including hot-humid ones. The low death rate of COVID-19 in tropical countries compared with the Western world could be due to various reasons such as lower population density, younger average age of people, and lesser number of international travels in tropical countries as compared to Western countries.

Q: You have been saying that people have to learn to live with the virus. How is it possible for the government to implement the task of distancing and yet continue the process of opening up? Is it Catch-22?

A: I say that with my experience. This new virus, SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID- 19, has an incredibly fast rate of spread, but at the same time, it has a low fatality rate. In fact, in India it is due to complete lockdown as well as focus on augmenting public health infrastructure that has placed us in a good stead and helped contain the fatality rate. However, it is too early to say when the virus will be completely eliminated. Just like any other virus which remains in populations and ebbs over time, this virus may also become part of our lives in times to come.

Given this uncertainty, we have to find ways and means to enable us to restart our social and economic activities that have been brought to a standstill due to the lockdown. We should remember that lockdown has not been an easy decision. This is because socio-economic and psychological costs are associated with it. Despite this our Hon'ble Prime Minister took the decision of complete lockdown as we had to prioritize lives of our citizens. Today, when we are fully prepared to tackle the spread and have made our best efforts to tackle the disease, we are mindful of the fact that this lockdown, this fight has impacted the livelihoods of a large number of our people. We cannot let our economy slow down as it would be catastrophic in the long run. That is why to reboot our economy, our Prime Minister has brought this economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore.

Moreover, with every new phase of lockdown, we have been opening up the economy. We are starting activities in such a way that the relaxation allowed does not interfere with the containment measures and a balance is achieved between containment measures and the activities allowed.

Moreover, unlike previous viruses, we need to remember that this corona virus spreads through lack of observance of personal hygiene and maintaining physical distancing. So, these should become part of our lives to check not only the spread of this virus but other similar infections in future. In fact, this would spur us further to develop innovative and safer ways of interaction with each other in the society.

The onus of maintaining this balance also falls on all of us. Each one of us has to follow all necessary guidelines and advisories issued by the government from time to time in true spirit -- use of face covers, regular hand washing, cough etiquettes and use of sanitizers both at home and workplace regularly is essential. Crowded places and gatherings need to be avoided. Let us follow our Prime Minister's clarion call of �Jaan Bhi Jahan Bhi'.

Q: Do you think that the cause of worry is asymptomatic patients who are potential virus carriers and they may take the virus deeper and deeper into rural India?

A: I am aware about WHO's mention of some laboratory-confirmed cases that are truly asymptomatic. It is equally true, that as on date, there has been no documented asymptomatic transmission. Recently, more symptoms like headache, muscle pain, pink eye, loss of smell, or loss of taste, intense chills, rigors and sore throat have been included in the list of COVID-19 symptoms by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA. It will require more studies before these symptoms are finally included in our list in India.

As you will notice, these are very subjective and vague symptoms which may go unnoticed, may not be remembered by the patient and, thus, may not even be reported.

Even today, in almost 80% of the cases of COVID-19, which are being reported in India, the patients tend to exhibit either nil or mild symptoms. These patients are mostly contacts of confirmed cases. Interestingly, had it not been for our contact tracing efforts, and if left to their own in isolation, these patients may not have even remembered or reported their infection.

Moreover, if for a moment we talk of testing such asymptotic patients, identification of all these asymptomatic cases will require repeated testing of 1.3 billion population which is a resource expensive exercise for any country and is neither possible nor recommended because of its feasibility.

Q: What do you think about worsening situation in Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, West Bengal, Indore and Ahmedabad?

A: I have been in regular touch with the Health Ministers of Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat. States have been trying their best to contain the disease. In the absence of drugs or vaccine for treatment of COVID-19, our emphasis has been on early detection of cases especially through meticulous contact tracing of confirmed cases and active case search through house-to-house survey as well as on provision of optimized care to patients.

You would appreciate that effective containment of COVID-19 depends on the successful collective outcome of the various interventions taken to contain the outbreak. It also depends on the level of community ownership and dedication in discharging the social responsibility by its members. Any deficiency in efforts may result in worsening of the situation.

Q: What is the status of testing and can more testing curb the disease?

A: The current testing strategy is need-based and gives priority to individuals who are primarily at risk or have symptoms. It is revised regularly according to the evolving situation.

From one laboratory at NIV, Pune in the first week of February 2020, the number of facilities has increased to a total of 624 which include 435 government labs and 189 NABL-accredited private laboratories are involved in testing at present.

As on May 27, our testing capacity is 1,60,000 per day and we have done 32,44,884 tests to date. On May 26, itself, we have conducted 1,15,229 tests. As I said earlier, if for a moment, we talk of repeated testing of 1.3 billion population to curb the disease, you would appreciate that this is not only a resource expensive exercise but also neither possible nor feasible.

Therefore, I am still of the view that priority-based and targeted testing will be helpful in detecting more cases for COVID-19 and curbing the disease. With our efforts at sustained and quality assured scaling up of the testing facilities, I am sure, we shall be better placed for maximum case detection.

Q: When do you expect the curve to flatten since AIIMS Director Guleria has said that the situation may worsen in the next two months?

A: Right now, we have a steady curve. It has never shown any exponential rise. We are now trying to bend the curve downwards. The trajectory of the outbreak is decided by a number of factors such as pathogenicity and transmissibility of virus; availability of specific treatment or vaccine; as well as collective performance of all public health interventions undertaken to contain the outbreak such as testing and early case detection, isolation, quarantine, contact-tracing, optimum care of cases and surveillance.

As you know that COVID-19 is a new disease and the behaviour of this virus in evolving outbreak is unknown. We have isolated the virus and our scientists and epidemiologists are studying it with the help of gene sequencing. Not much data about the virus and the disease is available at the moment.

Further as far as the issue of predictions of the further spread of the disease is concerned, let me tell you that I keep on hearing about one mathematical prediction model or the other. There are so many such models giving so many predictions round-the-clock that it is difficult to track them or justify them. But just like any mathematical model, these models are based on a number of assumptions and presumptions which may or may not match with real ground data because the data is still being generated each day and the disease has not matured across the world.

Therefore, it beats me as to with so much uncertainties, whether it is possible to make accurate predictions about future scenario of the disease.

Q: What is the status of vaccine in our country, how is the government coordinating the research with the private sector and by when can we expect something positive on this front? The CSIR is also working in this as are others?

A: As far as India is concerned, it is among the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world. About half-a-dozen major vaccine makers are in India and make doses against polio, meningitis, pneumonia, rotavirus, BCG, measles, mumps and rubella, among other diseases.

Since the onset of COVID-19 in India, scientific community and the vaccine manufactures are working closely to bring out an effective vaccine against the viral infection. Government of India through the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science and Technology, CSIR, and through their Autonomous Institutes and agencies like BIRAC, TDB and SERB have been supporting academia and vaccine industries to develop an efficacious vaccine against SARS-COV-2.

A multifaceted approach is being adopted to ensure that vaccine candidates utilizing different platforms and at different stages of development are fast-tracked through the COVID-19 Research Consortium under funding from Department of Biotechnology, BIRAC and National Biopharma Mission. Both, repurposing of existing vaccine candidates for immediate protection of high-risk groups and novel vaccine candidate development have been considered.

Currently over 14 vaccine candidates are in different stages of development. More than 4 are in an advanced stage of preclinical. Nearly 10 have been recommended for funding support by Department of Biotechnology.

Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd is being funded for a Phase-III human clinical trial of a recombinant BCG vaccine candidate. Cadila Healthcare is being funded for a DNA vaccine candidate, Bharat Biotech International Ltd for a safe inactivated rabies vector platform while Gennova Biopharma Ltd for an m-RNA vaccine candidate. Besides these, the National Institute of Immunology is developing a novel vaccine evaluation platform to support SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development in resource-limiting settings.

The CSIR has funded Monoclonal antibody program through NCCS, Pune in collaboration with IIT, Indore and Bharat Biotech.

Q: What is the preparation in the country vis-a-vis beds, ventilator and PPE kits? Are we adequately fortified against the inordinate rise in cases?

A: Yes, the country is well prepared to face the challenge of inordinate rise in cases with the available infrastructure. As on May 27, the number of beds in dedicated COVID hospitals is 2,49,636, and dedicated COVID health centers is 1,75,982, making a total of 4,25,618. Further, we have identified 6,50,173 beds in 7,202 COVID care centres and 5,09,690 beds in 10,345 quarantine centres. Several domestic manufacturers for ventilators have been identified and orders for 60,848 ventilators have been placed which will be received in a phased manner in this month and June.

Many hospitals and medical colleges are increasing the number of ventilator beds. Several hospital owners in the private sector are also coming forward to dedicate their facilities for the cause of the nation.

As regards PPE, as on date 32.54 lakhs PPEs are available with states &UTs. With the help of Ministry of Textile, 109 domestic manufacturers have been identified and orders have been placed for 2.23 crore of which 89.84 lakh have already been supplied. Today we are manufacturing 3 lakh PPEs every day and distributing to states.

49.06 lakh N 95 masks are available with states, the order for 2.29 crore is placed and 114.02 lakh have already been received. Further ten domestic manufacturers have been identified for in-house production.

As regards sufficiency of the infrastructure, I have said time and again that this virus, even though having a faster spread rate, has a low fatality rate. Normally, 80% of the infections of COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic, 15% are severe infections requiring oxygen and only a maximum of 5% are critical infections requiring ventilator support. Moreover, analysis of recovery data, as on May 27 indicates that about 1.9% of all active cases under management require oxygen support; about 2.3% of the active cases under management require ICU support and 0.41% of the active cases under management require ventilator support.

Q: Being a doctor yourself, how do you think people should contain the disease and which are the most vulnerable sections? For most part PM Modi's resorting to old style Indic shut down has saved India?

A: As I told you earlier, the complete nationwide lockdown was a great success in containing the spread of the COVID-19 but at the same time, it is also important to note that lockdown has socio-economic costs and needs to be used very judiciously. You already quoted me earlier and I say again: We must learn to live with the virus while continuing with our economic and social activities. Employers should provide a safe environment and make arrangement as per the prescribed guidelines to prevent the spread of disease at workplace while it is incumbent on the employees to ensure that they follow the physical distancing measures and personal hygiene. With these measures in place, it will be reasonably safe to go for work. I have said it time and again that social and physical distancing is the most potent social vaccine available to us.

Talking of the most vulnerable sections, I must say, these include the industrial and construction workers, in addition to people living in slums and other overcrowded areas where observance of personal hygiene and physical distancing measures is not satisfactory.

Q. Was the government blindsided by the migrant issue? Did the sheer numbers overwhelm the government machinery?

A: Migrants are not foreigners. They are our people. Why would their numbers overwhelm the government? Shri Narendra Modi ji's government works for the last man in the society. We have been aware of the costs that lockdown has imposed on us but lives of our people are far more precious.

The government has been aware of their plight right from the first day when we imposed lockdown. With lockdown, their livelihoods have been affected. From time to time it was ensured that they had access to food, medicines and basic amenities. Orders were also issued to ensure that they were not evicted from their residential premises or from their places of work. During the lockdown, our government announced economic package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore to distribute food-grains and pulses to them through fair price ration shops apart from disbursement of cash in their accounts. The new Rs. 20 lakh-crore economic package also has a component to alleviate their sufferings.

We have also tried to ensure smooth movement of migrants from their places of work to their place of residence while at the same time ensuring observance of social distancing guidelines. Instructions have also been issued for not allowing migrants to travel on foot or other unsafe mode of transport. In such cases they should be lodged at suitable places with arrangement of food and other essential facilities and register for the next train available from the place.

We have tried to ensure that the migrants are kept under watch with periodic health check-ups. When all hygiene and physical distancing measures are undertaken by migrants properly and the public health procedures are followed by all concerned, risk of spread of disease is reduced and the situation does not worsen in the near future.

Q: The curve had more or less been flattened till the Tablighi Jamaat carriers created a brand-new challenge?

A: You are right that the curve of emerging cases had started to flatten when the Tablighi Jamaat incident happened. While 1.35 billion Indians had been placed under a three-week lockdown, large numbers of attendees at the Tablighi Markaz, with a history of foreign travel, defied social distancing norms and continued to stay there despite appearance of symptoms among few of the members. Many of these participants later travelled to various states and became a key source of transmission and spread of COVID-19 across the country.

This no doubt had serious implications on the spread of the disease in the country across 24 states including Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. There was an increase in cases over the weeks following the event.

Intensive tracking of Tablighi Jamaat participants and their contact-tracing across the country and appropriate care to affected persons remained the most important issue to contain the disease and was undertaken on a war footing. This is an example of how negligence on the part of a few persons can undo the praiseworthy national efforts in no time and destroy the containment achievements.
 

(IANS) C-1-1238313

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:17:53 +0530
Dow jumps over 550 points closing above 25 000

New York, US stocks ended higher on Wednesday as investors weighed the possibility of normalizing economic activities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 553.16 points, or 2.21 per cent, to 25,548.27. The S&P 500 rose 44.36 points, or 1.48 per cent, to 3,036.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 72.14 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 9,412.36, Xinhua reported.

The 30-stock average popped back above the 25,000 level for the first time since March, while the S&P 500 ended above the 3,000 mark

All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors finished higher, with financials and industrials up 4.34 per cent and 3.34 per cent, respectively, leading the gains.

The moves followed a massive rally on Wall Street in the previous session with the Dow closing up more than 500 points.

All 50 states in the United States have reopened in some way.

More than 1.69 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States as of Wednesday afternoon, with nearly 100,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
(IANS) 

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:11:57 +0530
Global COVID 19 cases near 5 7 mn Johns Hopkins

Washington, The overall number of global coronavirus cases was nearing the 5.7 million mark, while the deaths have increased to more than 355,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 5,690,951, while the death toll increased to 355,615, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US has also reached a grim milestone of over 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Currently, the country has 1,699,126 confirmed cases and 100,418 deaths, both tallies account for the highest in the world, according to the CSSE.

Meanwhile in terms of cases, Brazil comes in the second place with 411,821 infections.

This was followed by Russia (370,680), the UK (268,619), Spain (236,259), Italy (231,139), France (183,038), Germany (181,524), Turkey (159,797), India (158,086), Iran (141,591), and Peru (135,905), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues in the second position after the US with 37,542 COVID-19 deaths, the highest fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Italy (33,072), France (28,599), Spain (27,117), and Brazil (25,598).
 

(IANS) 

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:08:18 +0530
Domestic passenger numbers flights continue to rise

New Delhi; Air passenger numbers along with domestic flight operations continued to increase on Wednesday, the third day after services were resumed.

Till 5 p.m. on Wednesday, 354 departures and 288 arrivals were reported, ferrying almost 48,000 people.

On Twitter, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said: "People who were stranded in different parts of the country are now able to fly to be with their loved ones."

"Till 5pm on day 3 today, there have already been 354 departures & 288 arrivals with a total of 47,917 people at various airports."

"The numbers continue to grow."

On Tuesday till 5 p.m., airports had handled 325 departures and 283 arrivals with 41,673 passengers.

As per Wednesday's schedule, 129 scheduled departures and arrivals were planned from Terminal 3 in the national capital.

Similarly, Mumbai's CSMIA saw a total of 50 scheduled flights, which included 25 departures and the rest arrivals.

"Operations are going on smoothly. Almost no flight cancellations. The passenger numbers and flights will increase from tomorrow with the addition of West Bengal," Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-founder of EaseMyTrip.c om, told IANS.

"Plus the fact that some airlines like IndiGo and AirAsia India have started giving full refunds has started to restore passenger confidence."

At present, barring West Bengal, domestic flight services have been resumed to all states.

The first flight to and from the state will be operated on Thursday.

The Centre has allowed limited passenger flights -- about one-third of the summer schedule -- to operate between metros and other destinations from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended on March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown to check the spread of Covid-19.
(IANS) 

Thu, 28 May 2020 03:05:23 +0530
The Divine Teaching By Poojaneeya Sri Madhava Chaitanya Ji

In the scenic Himalayan mountains live three friends tending dairy cows and sheep and doing horticulture for their sustenance.

They used to serve priests and their interactions with them sparked a desire to gain knowledge on otherworldly wisdom.

They were elated to know that in days of yore numerous otherworldly Rishis used to stay in the mountains especially at the tall pinnacle. The priests also revealed to the youth that right at the top there was an exceptional cave and when someone entered it they could stay alive without any heartbeat.

Priests also informed them that at the tallest top there was an unadulterated smooth cascade and one who drinks that wonderful water will gain outright satisfaction. Other priests revealed to them that the highest point of the pinnacle had a view point and when somebody arrives at that view point then they can understand the entire universe for what it’s worth.

The youths were highly enthralled on hearing these stories and began dreaming about exploring the pinnacle. Their interests became deeper the longer they took part in discussions and made their minds to climb the hill top to explore more.

For several years in history no one had successfully climbed the mountain top and no one knew the journey to the peak, how hazardous the journey was, and so on. Even the priests couldn’t give a clear picture and yet the youths decided to move ahead with their plan.

One rainy day they were with their cow in the valley. To escape from the rain they ran into a cave. They saw a monk meditating in the cave. They were scared to disturb the monk but their desire urged them to try and they went to the monk and bowed to him and saying “Pranam Guru”.

The monk opened his eyes and blessed them. The friends served the monk with love and respect. They succeeded in drawing attention to them, and then the monk suddenly asked them: “What is your desire? I’ll fulfil that.” They became very happy and expressed their wish to the monk.

The monk meditated for a while and told them that it will take 32 days of continuous walk to reach that peak and daily they have to walk 15 hours. He also told them to take one more person with them who knew mountain climbing, and could serve them. Saying this the monk blessed them and gave some dry plant which they could eat along with some water to gain energy when they get tired during the journey, and the friends returned to their village.

They began searching for a fourth person who could accompany them in the journey, it wasn’t easy as none of the people in the village will put their life in trouble.

When they realized it wasn’t possible to get a person from their own village they went to the neighbouring village, where they got a half-crazy but healthy man. Once he heard their idea he started to sing and dance and without any objection he agreed to be with them to climb the peak. They fixed a date with him and returned to their village and started preparations.

On an auspicious day they started their journey to the mountain peak. It was extremely hard and dangerous. Many times they felt that they should return to the village and live their peaceful life. They were afraid to die in the mountains but through the monk's blessings and with the fourth man's unstoppable energy and entertainment they overcame all the difficulties. Strictly they followed the wise monk's instructions and continued climbing.

After 31 days of continuous climbing they got very close to the peak. Suddenly the impulses of their personal desires increased and unity was broken. They began to think of their personal aims to achieve once they reach the peak.

On the 32nd day they almost touched the peak. They saw sunshine reflecting on the cloud and millions of colours in the blue sky. Suddenly each of them got confused, they started to doubt that soon they were reaching the destination. Also they thought once they reach maybe the information they got from different monks was wrong, and they could not find their aim, or even if they find the aim the result would not match with their dreams.

The real fear of each was that I wouldn’t reach my destination and if others reach there, then it will be a disaster. They were highly emotional once reached very close to the top of the peak. The fourth person however was very much relaxed, he didn't have any aim for himself, he just was serving them, singing and dancing for them, and he wanted to return as soon as possible to his village.

In the evening, at the closing time of the day which means sandhya, they put their final foot on the top of the peak. Daylight was ending and moonlight was beginning. They made fire and with cressets in the hands even before taking rest in that fire light and began to search for their own destinations.

They separated suddenly, and each one was very surprised to discover that what they heard from the monks was exactly similar to what they were finding at the peak. They got happy and confident, they left the fourth one and went to their own destiny.

Without any difficulty they found their destinations. Milky water flows were there. The first person’s heart pulse became calm. With full of devotion he touched the water and his whole body got electrified. He carried a special copper vessel with him, so he took it out and filled the vessel full with water. Without any doubts, with full trust he drank that water from the vessel.

Suddenly his past, present and future related thoughts disappeared, and unlimited flow of bliss entered his mind so that he became immovable, even he forgot to breathe.

The third person went to search for the viewpoint. With the help of the fire which he carried in his hand he also found the way easily and reached the bottom of the viewpoint. It looked like a triangular shape building, with a very narrow way to climb to the top.

Only one human body could enter it was that narrow, impossible to turn around or return in that path. It seemed extremely difficult for him to climb, but his deep desire did not allow him to return. He was standing and looking at the sky. Suddenly he noticed thousands of stars in the sky, and he felt that all that stars were blessing him, as if he received a message “come as soon”!

Fears disappeared, he remembered all the monks he met in his life, and he prayed to them for his safe reach. He prayed to the thousands of the stars, to full moon, and to the sun which was hiding. In his prayers, he prayed to his father and mother, he prayed to the fire which he was holding in his hand and very carefully started to climb through the narrow way to the top of that viewpoint. He didn't make any hurry, slowly he reached the top of the view point.

He felt he was in the sky, just 12 steps away from the viewpoint all his life memories awakened, he saw everything in a flashback. At the end of that he came back to present life.

His foot touched the last step and his form disappeared, his sound disappeared, he became the universal sound, the sound which was before creation.

His consciousness rounded with billions of quantum, purest light without any shadow, purest sound without any variation. He realized the point as the place where the sound and self-illumination existed, he realized the wholeness of the universe.

Wed, 27 May 2020 14:07:19 +0530
The Divine Teaching By Poojaneeya Sri Madhava Chaitanya Ji

Years ago in the delightful Himalayan valley there lived three companions who had dairy cattle, sheep, etc. and used to do horticulture for their sustenance. They were quite intrigued to serve the priests and in their interactions with them further sparked their desire about otherworldly wisdom. They were elated to know that in days of yore numerous otherworldly Rishis used to stay in the mountains especially at the tall pinnacle. The priests also revealed to the youth that right at the top there was an exceptional cave and when someone entered it they could stay alive without any heartbeat. This implies that all sense organs got dormant and the psyche and insight became void and the individual could understand the awareness of wisdom.

Some other priests also informed them that at the tallest top there was an unadulterated smooth cascade and one who drinks that wonderful water will gain outright satisfaction. Other priests revealed to them that the highest point of the pinnacle had a view point and when somebody arrives at that view point then they can understand the entire universe for what it’s worth. The youths were highly enthralled on hearing these stories and began dreaming about exploring the pinnacle. Their interests became deeper the longer they took part in discussions and made their minds to climb the hill top to explore more.

For several years in history no one had successfully climbed the mountain top and no one knew the journey to the peak, how hazardous the journey was, and so on. Even the priests couldn’t give a clear picture and yet the youths decided to move ahead with their plan.

One rainy day they were with their cow in the valley. To escape from the rain they ran to a cave. They saw a monk meditating in the cave. They were scared to disturb the monk but their desire urged them to try and they went to the monk and bowed to him and saying “Pranam Guru”. The monk opened his eyes and blessed them. The friends served the monk with love and respect. They succeeded in drawing attention to them, and then the monk suddenly asked them: “What is your desire? I’ll fulfil that.” They became very happy and expressed their wish to the monk.

The monk meditated for a while and told them that it will take 32 days of continuous walk to reach that peak and daily they have to walk 15 hours. He also told them to take one more person with them who knew mountain climbing, and could serve them. Saying this the monk blessed them and gave some dry plant which they could eat along with some water to gain energy when they get tired during the journey, and the friends returned to their village. They began searching for a fourth person who could accompany them in the journey, it wasn’t easy as none of the people in the village will put their life in trouble.

When they realized it wasn’t possible to get a person from their own village they went to the neighbouring village, where they got a half-crazy but healthy man. Once he heard their idea he started to sing and dance and without any objection he agreed to be with them to climb the peak. They fixed a date with him and returned to their village and started preparations.

On an auspicious day they started their journey to the mountain peak. It was extremely hard and dangerous. Many times they felt that they should return to the village and live their peaceful life. They were afraid to die in the mountains but with the monk's blessings and the fourth man's unstoppable energy and entertainment they overcame all the circumstances.

On the way they tried to convince each other to follow their perspective aim but it was not happening. Each one got stuck with their own personal desire but the fourth one didn't have any personal aim so he made entertainment to the friends. Strictly they followed the wise monk's instructions and continued climbing.

After 31 days of continuous climbing they got very close to the peak. Suddenly the impulses of their personal desires increased and unity was broken. They began to think of their personal aims to achieve once they reach the peak.

On the 32nd day they almost touched the peak. They saw sunshine reflecting on the cloud and millions of colours in the blue sky. Suddenly each of them got confused, they started to doubt that soon they were reaching the destination. Also they thought once they reach maybe the information they got from different monks was wrong, and they could not find their aim, or even if they find the aim the result would not match with their dreams. The real fear of each was that I wouldn’t reach my destination and if others reach there, then it will be a disaster. They were highly emotional once reached very close to the top of the peak. However the fourth person was very much relaxed, he didn't have any aim for himself, he just was serving them, singing and dancing for them, and he wanted to return as soon as possible to his village.

In the evening, at the closing time of the day which means sandhya, they put their final foot on the top of the peak. Daylight was ending and moonlight was beginning. They made fire and with cressets in the hands even before taking rest in that fire light and began to search for their own destinations. They separated suddenly, and each one was very surprised to discover that what they heard from the monks was exactly similar to what they were finding at the peak. They got happy and confident, they left the fourth one and went to their own destiny.

Without any difficulty they found their destinations. Milky water flows were there. The first person’s heart pulse became calm. With full of devotion he touched the water and his whole body got electrified. He carried a special copper vessel with him, so he took it out and filled the vessel full with water. Without any doubts, with full trust he drank that water from the vessel. Suddenly his past, present and future related thoughts disappeared, and unlimited flow of bliss entered his mind so that he became immovable, even he forgot to breathe.

The third person went to search for the viewpoint. With the help of the fire which he carried in his hand he also found the way easily and reached the bottom of the viewpoint. It looked like a triangular shape building, with a very narrow way to climb to the top. Only one human body could enter it was that narrow, impossible to turn around or return in that path. It seemed extremely difficult for him to climb, but his deep desire did not allow him to return. He was standing and looking at the sky. Suddenly he noticed thousands of stars in the sky, and he felt that all that stars were blessing him, as if he received a message “come as soon”!

Fears disappeared, he remembered all the monks he met in his life, and he prayed to them for his safe reach. He prayed to the thousands of the stars, to full moon, and to the sun which was hiding. In his prayers, he prayed to his father and mother, he prayed to the fire which he was holding in his hand and very carefully started to climb through the narrow way to the top of that viewpoint. He didn't make any hurry, slowly he reached the top of the view point.

He felt he was in the sky, just 12 steps away from the viewpoint all his life memories awakened, he saw everything in a flashback. At the end of that he came back to present life. No past or future thoughts were left in him. Without his knowing his feet began climbing the steps, with each step he realized all the names and forms knowledge in his memory was erasing. As he was passing the last steps nothing was left in him, he became pure and empty.

His foot touched the last step and his form disappeared, his sound disappeared, he became the universal sound, the sound which was before creation. His consciousness rounded with billions of quantum, purest light without any shadow, purest sound without any variation. He realized the point as the place where the sound and self-illumination existed, he realized the wholeness of the universe.

Wed, 27 May 2020 13:53:00 +0530
The Divine Teaching By Poojaneeya Sri Madhava Chaitanya Ji

Years ago in the delightful Himalayan valley there lived three companions who had dairy cattle, sheep, etc. and used to do horticulture for their sustenance. They were quite intrigued to serve the priests and in their interactions with them further sparked their desire about otherworldly wisdom. They were elated to know that in days of yore numerous otherworldly Rishis used to stay in the mountains especially at the tall pinnacle. The priests also revealed to the youth that right at the top there was an exceptional cave and when someone entered it they could stay alive without any heartbeat. This implies that all sense organs got dormant and the psyche and insight became void and the individual could understand the awareness of wisdom.

Some other priests also informed them that at the tallest top there was an unadulterated smooth cascade and one who drinks that wonderful water will gain outright satisfaction. Other priests revealed to them that the highest point of the pinnacle had a view point and when somebody arrives at that view point then they can understand the entire universe for what it’s worth. The youths were highly enthralled on hearing these stories and began dreaming about exploring the pinnacle. Their interests became deeper the longer they took part in discussions and made their minds to climb the hill top to explore more.

For several years in history no one had successfully climbed the mountain top and no one knew the journey to the peak, how hazardous the journey was, and so on. Even the priests couldn’t give a clear picture and yet the youths decided to move ahead with their plan.

One rainy day they were with their cow in the valley. To escape from the rain they ran to a cave. They saw a monk meditating in the cave. They were scared to disturb the monk but their desire urged them to try and they went to the monk and bowed to him and saying “Pranam Guru”. The monk opened his eyes and blessed them. The friends served the monk with love and respect. They succeeded in drawing attention to them, and then the monk suddenly asked them: “What is your desire? I’ll fulfil that.” They became very happy and expressed their wish to the monk.

The monk meditated for a while and told them that it will take 32 days of continuous walk to reach that peak and daily they have to walk 15 hours. He also told them to take one more person with them who knew mountain climbing, and could serve them. Saying this the monk blessed them and gave some dry plant which they could eat along with some water to gain energy when they get tired during the journey, and the friends returned to their village. They began searching for a fourth person who could accompany them in the journey, it wasn’t easy as none of the people in the village will put their life in trouble.

When they realized it wasn’t possible to get a person from their own village they went to the neighbouring village, where they got a half-crazy but healthy man. Once he heard their idea he started to sing and dance and without any objection he agreed to be with them to climb the peak. They fixed a date with him and returned to their village and started preparations.

On an auspicious day they started their journey to the mountain peak. It was extremely hard and dangerous. Many times they felt that they should return to the village and live their peaceful life. They were afraid to die in the mountains but with the monk's blessings and the fourth man's unstoppable energy and entertainment they overcame all the circumstances.

On the way they tried to convince each other to follow their perspective aim but it was not happening. Each one got stuck with their own personal desire but the fourth one didn't have any personal aim so he made entertainment to the friends. Strictly they followed the wise monk's instructions and continued climbing.

After 31 days of continuous climbing they got very close to the peak. Suddenly the impulses of their personal desires increased and unity was broken. They began to think of their personal aims to achieve once they reach the peak.

On the 32nd day they almost touched the peak. They saw sunshine reflecting on the cloud and millions of colours in the blue sky. Suddenly each of them got confused, they started to doubt that soon they were reaching the destination. Also they thought once they reach maybe the information they got from different monks was wrong, and they could not find their aim, or even if they find the aim the result would not match with their dreams. The real fear of each was that I wouldn’t reach my destination and if others reach there, then it will be a disaster. They were highly emotional once reached very close to the top of the peak. However the fourth person was very much relaxed, he didn't have any aim for himself, he just was serving them, singing and dancing for them, and he wanted to return as soon as possible to his village.

In the evening, at the closing time of the day which means sandhya, they put their final foot on the top of the peak. Daylight was ending and moonlight was beginning. They made fire and with cressets in the hands even before taking rest in that fire light and began to search for their own destinations. They separated suddenly, and each one was very surprised to discover that what they heard from the monks was exactly similar to what they were finding at the peak. They got happy and confident, they left the fourth one and went to their own destiny.

Without any difficulty they found their destinations. Milky water flows were there. The first person’s heart pulse became calm. With full of devotion he touched the water and his whole body got electrified. He carried a special copper vessel with him, so he took it out and filled the vessel full with water. Without any doubts, with full trust he drank that water from the vessel. Suddenly his past, present and future related thoughts disappeared, and unlimited flow of bliss entered his mind so that he became immovable, even he forgot to breathe.

The third person went to search for the viewpoint. With the help of the fire which he carried in his hand he also found the way easily and reached the bottom of the viewpoint. It looked like a triangular shape building, with a very narrow way to climb to the top. Only one human body could enter it was that narrow, impossible to turn around or return in that path. It seemed extremely difficult for him to climb, but his deep desire did not allow him to return. He was standing and looking at the sky. Suddenly he noticed thousands of stars in the sky, and he felt that all that stars were blessing him, as if he received a message “come as soon”!

Fears disappeared, he remembered all the monks he met in his life, and he prayed to them for his safe reach. He prayed to the thousands of the stars, to full moon, and to the sun which was hiding. In his prayers, he prayed to his father and mother, he prayed to the fire which he was holding in his hand and very carefully started to climb through the narrow way to the top of that viewpoint. He didn't make any hurry, slowly he reached the top of the view point.

He felt he was in the sky, just 12 steps away from the viewpoint all his life memories awakened, he saw everything in a flashback. At the end of that he came back to present life. No past or future thoughts were left in him. Without his knowing his feet began climbing the steps, with each step he realized all the names and forms knowledge in his memory was erasing. As he was passing the last steps nothing was left in him, he became pure and empty.

His foot touched the last step and his form disappeared, his sound disappeared, he became the universal sound, the sound which was before creation. His consciousness rounded with billions of quantum, purest light without any shadow, purest sound without any variation. He realized the point as the place where the sound and self-illumination existed, he realized the wholeness of the universe.

Wed, 27 May 2020 13:45:26 +0530
NCLT approves IL FS stake sale in GIFT City to Guj Govt

New Delhi, The Principal Bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the stake sale of IL&FS in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Limited (GIFTCL) to the Government of Gujarat.

The crisis-ridden IL&FS holds 50 per cent stake in GIFTCL. Notwithstanding the liability of GIFTCL, the Gujarat Government has agreed to pay positive equity value of 100 per cent of the IL&FS stake in GIFTCL, by which, the positive equity value of over Rs 32.70 crore will come to IL&FS.

In its order, the tribunal said that the applicant, IL&FS had submitted that the sale resolution has been conducted to ensure a fair resolution upholding the key principles of the value maximisation, commercial viability and financial stability for all stakeholders.

IL&FS also submitted in order to facilitate and implement the sale or resolution process of GIFTCL, an amount of Rs 61,84,403 is excluded as resolution process costs incurred for meeting various expenditures, other applicable taxes from the sale proceeds of its shareholding in GIFTCL to the state government.

"In view of the relief sought by the applicant, this bench hereby approved that sale of shares of GIFTCL held by IL&FS to Governor of State of Gujarat/Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited shall be free and clear from all encumbrances, liens, security interest and third-party claims (including any statutory or tax claims) upon receipt of sale consideration from GUDC," it said.

That sale consideration payable to IL&FS excluding resolution process costs shall be credited into a designated escrow account intimated to the infrastructure lending group and such funds shall be maintained as interest-bearing fixed deposits.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had permitted green entities to continue in accordance with the resolution framework subject to the supervision of the Justice (Retd.) D.K. Jain. Since GIFTCL has been classified as a "Green" entity, IL&FS has commenced the resolution process of GIFTCL.

The principal bench of NCLT also permitted IL&FS to withdraw a sum of Rs 3 crore from the escrow account opened to keep sale consideration for meeting the additional process resolution costs that may arise, after approval by the Board of Directors appointed by the tribunal.

"The distribution of the remaining purchase consideration is hereby subjected to further orders of this Bench," it said.
 

Wed, 27 May 2020 08:38:22 +0530
90 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast IOM

Tripoli, The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that another 90 illegal immigrants were rescued off the Libyan coast.

"Last night, 90 migrants were rescued by a commercial vessel and returned to Libya. They spent the night onboard the ship and are awaiting clarity on disembarkation," IOM tweeted.

IOM reiterated that "Libya is not a safe port" for disembarkation of rescued migrants, Xinhua news agency reported.

IOM said earlier on Monday that at least five boats carrying nearly 400 people attempted to flee Libya during the previous 48 hours.

After the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011, Libya has become a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.

Immigrant shelters in Libya are crowded with thousands of immigrants either rescued from the sea or arrested by Libyan security forces, despite international calls to close them.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 27 May 2020 08:32:22 +0530
Delhi HC awards Rs 30 lakh as damages to 3 software giants

New Delhi,  The Delhi High Court has awarded Rs 30 lakh as damages to tech giant Microsoft Inc, Adobe Systems and another firm after a company based in the national capital's Nehru Place used pirated software of the three companies.

"This Court is of the view, in the absence of any defence of the defendants and the magnitude of the violation carried out by the defendants, the plaintiffs shall also be entitled to damages. Accordingly, this Court awards damages to the tune of Rs 30 lakhs in favour of the plaintiffs to be shared equally by all of them," said a single-judge bench of the High Court presided by Justice V. Kameshwar Rao.

The court also restricted Chetu, the Delhi based company from using any software of the three companies (Plaintiffs) illegally. "The defendants, their principal officers, directors, agents, franchisees, servants, and all others acting for and on their behalf are restrained from directly or indirectly using for any kind of computer-related activities or otherwise, pirated/counterfeit/unlicensed software of the Plaintiffs," the court said.

Microsoft Corporation, Adobe Systems and Quest Software (Plaintiffs) had moved the High Court against the Defendant, a company named 'Chetu' which provided IT services and solutions to its clients, and its related parties, after it came to its knowledge that the Defendant was using unlicensed/pirated software programs of the Plaintiffs on its computers.

The plaintiffs had hired an independent investigator to determine the activities of Chetu and its related clients. During the investigation, it was found that there are approximately 300 computer systems at Chetu, which are operating software programs such as Microsoft Office. It is also stated that there is no installation of Open Office on any of the computer systems.

It was further revealed that 40 to 50 employees at Chetu work on software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe CS3 and Adobe Reader.

"There are approximately 200 computer systems in use at Chetu and that all the computer systems operate Microsoft Windows Operating System and have software programs such as Microsoft Office installed upon them. He also divulged the use of software programs such as Adobe Reader 9.0, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash by approximately 60 employees working on computer systems at Chetu," the petitioner told the court.

The plaintiffs claim that in September and October 2010 it conducted a license check within their database which revealed that there were no substantial licenses purchased in the name of the defendants.
 

(IANS)- C-1-1238019

Wed, 27 May 2020 08:20:49 +0530
After row over paid quarantine Kerala mulls changes

Thiruvananthapuram, The row that began on Tuesday when Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that with the number of Covid-19 cases witnessing an upswing with arrival of Keralaites from abroad, and they will now have to pay for the quarantine, intensified on Wednesday with more top leaders coming against it.

It now appears that this outburst has made Vijayan have a re-think.

According to the quarantine rules, that Vijayan announced on Tuesday, from now on all those who return from abroad have to go for paid institutional quarantine for a week and then remain at their home for another week.

On Wednesday, two times former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Vijayan's somersault is an inhuman act.

"This is a shame to Kerala and a deep insult to our diaspora, who for long have been the backbone of the state's economy. They are arriving, buying their own ticket and then adding insult to the injury, they are asked to pay for the quarantine, is simply not acceptable and it has to be reconsidered," said Chandy.

Senior Indian Union Muslim League leader and Lok Sabha member P.K. Kunhalikutty said under no circumstances this new rule should be effected.

"If the state government cannot afford it for whatever reasons, we (the UDF) can take it up. If not, there are so many organisations who are willing to bear the cost of quarantine. A huge majority of the people who are coming are those who have lost their jobs and have no money. They will have nothing left with them at this juncture and they should no longer be taxed," said Kunhalikutty.

Since Tuesday this issue has been raging in the state and numerous diaspora have condemned this.

The Vijayan government for long has been saying that all arrangements are ready and they have created over 1.50 lakh beds for quarantine besides setting up 9000 rooms including houseboats which will be used for paid quarantine.

Following the outburst from several quarters the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by Vijayan on Wednesday morning is understood to have taken this stiff resistance and an announcement is expected to be made by him, when he meets the media, later in the evening.

Things have gone haywire after the arrangements made for institutional quarantine came under fire from some sections of the diaspora.

There has been a spike in the number of cases and of the present 415 cases, 231 have been registered in the past four days, including 67 on Tuesday, the highest recorded in a day. Of these, 133 have come from abroad and 178 from other states.

By now just 11,189 of the 1.35 lakh registered from abroad have returned.
 

(IANS) C-1-1238009

Wed, 27 May 2020 08:10:11 +0530
Four labourers dead 15 missing as boat sinks in Bangladesh

Dhaka, At least four labourers were dead and 15 remained missing after a boat capsized in the river of Jamuna in Bangladesh's Sirajganj district, a senior police official said on Wednesday.

The district's police chief Hasibul Alam told Xinhua over the phone that the boat carrying some 70 people, mostly day labourers, sank at about 11:30 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday amid inclement weather.

"The bodies of three labourers were recovered Tuesday night," he said.

Masud Parvez, officer-in-charge of Sirajganj's police station of Enayetpur where the accident happened, said: "The body of another ill-fated labourer of the boat was recovered this (Wednesday) morning."

He said divers of the fire service and civil defence and local people resumed search and rescue operations from Wednesday morning.

"At least 15 people are still missing," he said.

Officials said at least 50 people swam to shore as the boat capsized in a strong current and choppy river waters.

They said rescuers have been struggling against a strong current and choppy waters of Jamuna, one of the three main rivers in Bangladesh.

Parvez said the boat has not been salvaged and brought to shore yet.
 

(IANS) 

Wed, 27 May 2020 08:04:53 +0530
IMD issues advisory to fishermen over rough Arabian sea

New Delhi,The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday said that a low-pressure area was likely to form over the southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining areas around May 31 and advised fishermen not to venture into the deep-sea fishing till June 4.

"The situation is being monitored and accordingly a daily update will be provided," the weather bureau said.

Adam H. Sobel, Atmospheric scientist at the Columbia University has also anticipated a cyclone over the Arabian Sea, early next week.

"Possible landfalls all over the map: Oman, Pakistan, etc.; most recent ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) takes it just north of Mumbai, bad for storm surge there. It is very early days, no huge deal just yet, but bears watching closely."

Besides this, the red-colour coded warning will persist for Assam and Meghalaya on Wednesday, with the IMD asserting that the states are likely to receive heavy to extremely heavy rainfall for the next four to five days.

Parts of Assam and neighbouring states have been receiving heavy rains since the super cyclone Amphan weakened last week. The IMD warning has come at a time when rivers in the states have crossed danger levels.

The weather bureau added that isolated places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura will also receive heavy to very heavy rainfall during the next five days. Heavy rainfall is also expected over parts of south peninsular India during May 27 and 30.

At least three people died and over 2,50,000 people of over 350 villages were affected due to floods and landslides in three Northeastern states -- Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, officials said on Tuesday.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority has said that a total of seven districts including Goalpara, Tinsukia, Nalbari, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Darrang and Dhemaji are affected by the flood situation.

The Authority officials said that the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force teams have already been deployed at 40 locations with equipment.

It is a double whammy for the states as they have already been battling the COVID-19 crisis.

Besides this, due to prevailing dry northwesterly winds over plains of northwest India, Central India and adjoining interior parts of eastern India, present heat wave conditions are very likely to continue to prevail mainly during next 24 hours.

Churu in Rajasthan recorded 50 degree Celsius temperature on Tuesday, while mercury in the national capital crossed the 47 degree Celsius mark.
(IANS) 

Wed, 27 May 2020 07:39:45 +0530
Corona cases cross 1 5L mark in India with 42 44 recovery

New Delhi, Maintaining the plateau of over 6,000 cases, India on Wednesday crossed the psychological 1.5 lakh mark of total Covid-19 cases so far. However, it also posted a strong recovery rate of 42.44 per cent as at least 3,935 people were also cured during the day.

A total of 6,387 new cases took the nationwide tally to 1,51,767, a Health Ministry data revealed on Wednesday. There were also 170 new deaths in the past 24 hours, 97 of them in Maharashtra where there were over four deaths each hour.

It took the country just four days to reach the over 1.5 lakh figure from 1,25,101 on May 23. With this, India continues to remain as the tenth worst-hit country by the pandemic globally.

Of the total cases so far, 83,004 are active, while 64,425 people have been cured and 4,337 have died.

Maharashtra continues to have the lion's share of the COVID-19 cases, with at least 54,758 which is 36.08 per cent of the total cases across the country. The state has reported 1,792 fatalities so far, as per the health ministry data.

The situation in Tamil Nadu was also worsening as a total number of cases reported there hover at 17,728, followed by Gujarat with 14,821 cases and Delhi with 14,465 cases.

The rising number of cases in the country doesn't seem to get any respite even with the rising temperature as some experts had opined. Globally the cases of COVID-19 topped at 5.6 million and over three lakh fatalities.
(IANS) 

Wed, 27 May 2020 05:51:18 +0530
How is that Kerala could effectively combat COVID 19

How is it that Kerala could in actual fact productively combat COVID-19 when the world at large appeared not well prepared to respond to this health emergency?

The Kerala Left Democratic govt. Under the leadership of CM Pinarayi Vijayan in close collaboration with his team and people has managed to successfully curtail the human and economic losses whether due to the floods, the Nipah Virus, outbreak and now the covid19 pandemic which has surprisingly made Kerala a role model and topic of discussion worldwide.

 

 In Kerala, the congress being in the opposition has been in working together and playing a role in living aside all the political differences in creating success towards the fight against covid19.

The credit also goes to our Hon. Prime Minister Narendra having won accolades for the bold, timely decision of imposing a nationwide lockdown on 24 th March to fight the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent implementation by the left govt. religiously played a crucial role in flattening the curve

This becomes more evident that the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan appreciating the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and health minister  K. K Shailaja along with the entire team for doing a wonderful job in flattening the curve of coronavirus in Kerala is noteworthy. Finally, a lesson to learn from the pandemic grappled by the entire world Kerala has shown that being a gods own country we are all protected and governed by nature. A healthy environment provides nutrients that flow up the food chain, from plants to animals, to provide energy. ... By preserving nature, the planet and all its inhabitants are guaranteed a constant supply of clean water and fresh air resulting in building a strong immune system which is the need of the hour to fight against the coronavirus menace by protecting and preserving the ecological balance.

The government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan did not lose any time when it was alerted to Covid-19’s dangers and proceeded to raise people’s awareness even as first world leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson continued to overlook the urgency of the situation in the initial months.

Kerala was the first state in India to have the first case of corona positive on 30th January with topping the charts alarmingly with more cases than elsewhere in the country before WHO declaring it as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The population of Kerala is 33 million with 667 confirmed positive cases and only four deaths reported till date. On the other hand, Italy and Spain too had confirmed the first case of COVID positive on 31st January on par with Kerala. Today as on 22nd May 2020 Italy has a population of 66 million has 2,28,000 confirmed positive cases and the death toll has reached 32,486, whereas Spain with a population of 41.1

 million people coronavirus cases have touched 2,33,037 and the death toll figure is 27,940.

For example, if we look into the third case study of New York the most developed state of U.S and Kerala as compared to highlight and understand the severe difference in the approach of two states. The population of Kerala is 33 million while that of New York is 19 million. The per capita income of Kerala is $2,937 while that of New York state is $88,981. There are 1.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in Kerala whereas the corresponding figure for New York is 3.1 beds. Kerala has 1.7 doctors per 1,000 persons, New York is credited with 3.8 doctors. However, the total corona positive cases in Kerala as on May 20 was 667 people of which the state had reported just four deaths while 12 had returned recently to the state from abroad and 12 from the opening of interstate boundaries.161 people in the state are still undergoing treatment and 502 having recovered out of a total of 667. On the subsequent date, New York state had over 3,57,757  corona positive cases with more than 28,437deaths as per New York times official report updated May20,2020,8:37A.M

Kerala has the lowest mortality rate as well as the highest recovery rate with respect to coronavirus infections having half the population size compared to entire Italy or double the population of New York State. The initial statistical projection of cases and deaths became outmoded due to the organic method adopted by Kerala. The number of tests conducted in Kerala is just 10 per cent of the figures for countries such as the US, Italy and Spain. The real but aggressive contact tracing and keeping a large number of people under observation helped Kerala in preventing community spread. Ninety per cent of the positive cases were detected among people who were kept under observation.

The credit should go to Kerala’s strong local governance, effective social structure and well-knit multi-layered public health formation. The state may be way behind in industrial production, but its human development indices are the best foundation of social equality. Kerala is well known for its heavy dose of politics which is prevalent in all aspects of life in the state. A positive feature of this is that there is a close interconnect between the layers of administration and people. Larger civil society is quite familiar with the links between citizens’ health and good governance, consider health equality as one of the foundational prerequisites for social equality.

Kerala is known for the welfare measures it has taken for the people of the state and is considered a welfare state. The state has initiated many social security schemes for the poor and the needy as the concept of a welfare state pre-supposes careful planning and effective implementation of welfare services for the weaker sections of the community which becomes handier during any crisis.

The presence of multiple voices expects both people and government to help each other, connecting network till the micro-level in building a strong public health system with utmost belief and trust being the main reason for the success of any disaster striking Kerala.

 One can argue that Kerala’s success is intrinsically connected to its vibrant public sphere in which the ideas of rights and citizenship are debated constantly.

The success of the current government in battling the pandemic lies in its judicious realization of the political and civic sensibilities of its people and its ability to extract solutions based on these factors.

And for the rest of us Indians, we need to figure out...Finally, what matters??? Communal supremacy, ideological pride, retrospecting history or a system that promises us a good, healthy, respectable quality of life for us and our family...Think about it!

Tue, 26 May 2020 18:50:36 +0530
Covid 19 corollaries on the dairy sector CRISIL

New Delhi, Supply chain disruptions in the early weeks of the nationwide lockdown, and bread-and-butter issues for hotels, restaurants and cafes, have materially reduced demand for dairy products.

This is despite supply of most dairy products continuing during the lockdown, since they are categorised as essentials.

The shuttering of hotels and dine-ins has also dried up off-take of skimmed milk powder and khoya.

According to report by CRISIL Research on the state of dairy industry and supply chains, products that can't be made at home easily - such as cheese, flavoured milk and also khoya - haven't found their way back to the dining table in the same quantities as before the lockdown.

Demand for ice creams, which usually peaks in summer (accounting for 40 per cent of annual sales) has just melted away. Rural areas, which are feeling the income pinch more, seem to be staying off butter and ghee, the report by global analytics firm has said.

To be sure, since the third week of April, supply chains have turned smoother, so demand for staples such as milk, curd, paneer and yogurt are expected to see a quick rebound, leading to on-year expansion in sales, CRISIL said.

The pandemic, however, may sour the business for unorganised dairies because of pervasive contamination fears.

Conversely, as consumers shift, revenues of organised dairies and packaged products should fatten.

Overall, demand for milk and dairy products would be lukewarm in the near term, so prices are unlikely to boil over, according to the report.

Large brands such as Amul and Mother Dairy had already hiked retail milk prices by 4-5 per cent last fiscal. They may not serve an encore.
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 12:54:12 +0530
Amitabh Bachchan is in a state of confusion

Mumbai, Amitabh Bachchan's new post is all about his confusion.

The veteran actor took to Instagram, where he shared a video of himself in slow motion. He then asked a funny question to fans and followers in the caption.

"I don't know why it hurts when we bite our tongue mistakenly. But it didn't hurt when we bite it intentionally. And I still don't understand why you are biting your tongue now," he captioned the video.

On the film front, the veteran actor will be seen sharing screen space with Ayushmann Khurrana in Shoojit Sircar's "Gulabo Sitabo", which will release on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.

The film was slated for a theatrical release earlier this year before the COVID-19 pandemic led to a complete lockdown of the nation.
(IANS) 

Tue, 26 May 2020 12:01:18 +0530
Afghan govt releases another 900 Taliban inmates

Kabul,  The Afghan government on Tuesday released another batch of 900 Taliban inmates in the latest move to further advance the intra-Afghan peace talks with the militant group, a spokesperson for the Office of the National Security Council confirmed.

"The government released 900 Taliban prisoners today to further advance peace efforts, including an extended ceasefire and the immediate start of intra-Afghan peace talks," spokesman Javid Faisal tweeted.

The move came after Taliban militants announced a three-day ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr festival, which started on from Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Taliban militants have reportedly agreed to extend the ceasefire for another four days or more.

On Monday, the second day of the festival, the government released 100 Taliban from Bagram prison in eastern Parwan province.

Around 1,100 Taliban prisoners have been released in smaller groups in the past few weeks, but Tuesday batch was the biggest to be released at once.

In response to the government's gesture, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Qatar, said it was a good step but added that the process of releasing 5,000 prisoners should be completed to create a suitable environment for confidence building.

On March 11, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole and Taliban agreed to release 1,000 soldiers but the exchange of prisoners was repeatedly delayed.

As of May 10, some 1,000 Taliban fighters and 200 Afghan government soldiers had been freed by the two sides, but the exchange process had been suspended over some disputes.

The release of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners was included as part of the US-Taliban deal signed in Doha on February 29.

However, the Afghan government was not a signatory of the deal.
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 08:15:11 +0530
SAP brings business Cloud to India data centre

Mumbai, Software solutions major SAP on Tuesday announced the launch of SAP Commerce Cloud and S/4 HANA Cloud on their India data centre to help Indian enterprises meet end-to-end customer demands, make commerce frictionless while ensuring compliance with the Personal Data Protection Bill.

As enterprises go digital in the Covid-19 era, SAP Commerce Cloud will offer a comprehensive, end-to-end commerce solution powering real-time, intelligent customer engagement with personalised experiences.

"Adoption of agility like that of a ‘Digital Native' model across the business landscape can lead India Inc to quicker recovery as well as push the demand of a digital buying mindset (electronic commerce)," said Debdeep Sengupta, President and Managing Director, SAP Indian Subcontinent.

"With SAP's locally available Business Cloud, we are easing Indian enterprises transition to be a digital business," he said in a statement.

SAP brings together core technologies into one "stack" to deliver a high level of scalability and flexibility in the country while adhering to localisation of the data policy.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud will simplify and redefine processes, improve modern user experience

Companies now gain ultimate business advantages with an intelligent, next-generation ERP system that consolidates financial, managerial, and operational data in one unified in-memory system.

SAP's end-to-end suite of applications and services are currently enabling more than 437,000 business and public customers.
(IANS) 

Tue, 26 May 2020 08:09:01 +0530
Ghavri defends Team India s trophy drought since 2013

New Delhi,  Former fast-bowler Karsan Ghavri has praised Team India for their consistency in multi-national events despite them failing to lift any such trophy since 2013. Ghavri feels people of the country are so used to winning trophies that a semi-final or a final berth just doesn't work with them anymore.

After winning the Champions Trophy in 2013, India have gone on to lose the final of 2014 WT20 and semi-final of 2016 WT20. The 'Men in Blue' also tasted defeat in the semi-finals of 2015 World Cup and 2019 World Cup respectively. They were also defeated by Pakistan in the Champions Trophy 2017 final as well.

"But the Indian team is reaching the knockouts, right? See, over the years, right since 1983, we have entered so many finals, so many trophies we have won," Ghavri was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

"I think it's the habit of winning trophies which we have developed over the years, because of which we are not content as long as we do not have a trophy in hand - even if that means we tend to overlook the fact that the Indian team has done so well to reach the final four or final two.

"Playing all nine teams and topping the group in a World Cup is no mean feat," he added.

Ghavri also heaped praise on former India opener Sunil Gavaskar and stated he played during a very tough era for batsmen when fast-bowlers used to rule the roost.

"He (Gavaskar) played all his cricket on uncovered pitches and there were no restrictions on bouncers. Against all of that, he's scored 34 centuries and 10000 runs, batting against brilliant attacks," Ghavri said.

"When he was playing, every team had a quality fast bowler - genuine and express. Australia had Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson; West Indies had five of them. England had Bob Willis. Pakistan had Imran and Sarfraz. New Zealand had Sir Richard Hadlee. As an opening batsman, he scored all those runs."
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 07:47:27 +0530
Glenmark to start trial combining 2 anti viral drugs on India Covid patients

New Delhi, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals announced on Tuesday that it will commence another new Phase 3 clinical trial on a combination of two anti-viral drugs Favipiravir and Umifenovir in hospitalized patients of moderate COVID-19 in India.

Glenmark has received approval from the Indian regulator to initiate the study.

The combination study which will be called the FAITH trial will look to enrol 158 hospitalized patients of moderate COVID-19 in India.

Early treatment with combination therapy will be evaluated for safety and efficacy as it is emerging as an effective approach in shortening duration of virus shedding, decreasing cytokine response, and facilitating early discharge of patients.

Glenmark said the antivirals with different mechanisms of action could complement and enhance efficacy against COVID-19.

Glenmark also continues its Phase 3 clinical trials on antiviral Favipiravir monotherapy for COVID-19 patients in India.

The company has announced a new randomized, open-label study to test the combined efficacy of two antiviral drugs Favipiravir and Umifenovir as a potential COVID-19 treatment strategy.

The two antiviral drugs have different mechanism of action, and their combination may demonstrate improved treatment efficacy by effectively tackling high viral loads in patients during early stage of disease.

Early administration of a combination of antiviral medications acting by different mechanisms is desirable for the treatment of COVID-19, since the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 peaks around the time of symptom onset.

Thus combining antiviral drugs could result in greater clinical effectiveness and could also prevent, or delay, the emergence of resistance.

Favipiravir is an oral antiviral drug approved in Japan since 2014 for the treatment of novel or re-emerging influenza virus infections. It has a unique mechanism of action by which it inhibits viral replication.

It is converted into an active phosphoribosylated form (favipiravir-RTP) in cells and recognized as a substrate by viral RNA polymerase, thereby inhibiting RNA polymerase activity that is required for viral replication.

Umifenovir is another oral antiviral drug licensed for the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza A and B infections in Russia and China.

Umifenovir impedes the viral attachment to cells and acts as a viral entry inhibitor. Additionally it exhibits modulatory effects on the immune system and induces interferon-production.

Hence a combined use of Favipiravir and Umifenovir acting on different mechanisms offers a comprehensive antiviral cover on pre-entry and post-entry life-cycle ofthe SARS-CoV-2virus.

Both Favipiravir and Umifenovir inhibitedvirus infection invitro6and have shown efficacy in COVID-19 clinical trials.

The current Glenmark study will examine whether early administration of a combination of Favipiravir and Umifenovir, both acting by different mechanisms, enhances antiviral efficacy on COVID-19patients.

Commenting on this development, Vice President & Head Clinical Development Global Specialty/Branded Portfolio, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Monika Tandon, said: " Combining antiviral agents that have a good safety profile and act on different stages of viral life-cycle is an effective treatment approach to rapidly suppress initial high viral load and lead to overall improvement in clinical parameters. We consider Glenmark's study will be pivotal in leading to identification of highly effective and safe treatments against COVID-19 in India. Beyond its many potential patient treatment benefits, we also hope the combination therapy will reduce infection risk amongst medical professionals and healthcare workers by reducing the duration of virus shedding from treated patients."

Further, Sujesh Vasudevan, President, India Formulations, Middle East and Africa business, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. mentioned "This is another step in our effort is to launch a treatment for COVID-19 patients and we are looking at every possibility. We will do all it takes to ensure accessibility of the product across the country if the clinical trials are successful."

The new combination clinical trial will be called FAITH-(FAvipiravir plus Um Ifenovir (efficacy& safety) Trial in IndianHospitalsetting). A total of 158 hospitalized patients of moderate COVID-19 infection will be enrolled in the combination study and randomized in two groups : one group receiving Favipiravir and Umifenovir (with standard supportive care); and one group receiving Favipiravir along with standard supportive care.

Patients in the arm receiving the drug will receive Faviprivir 1800mg bid and Umifenovir 800 mg bid on Day1. Thereafter patients would receive Faviprivir 800mg bid and Unifenovir 800mgbid for the remaining course of the treatment.

Duration of treatment will be 14 days and patients will be discharged after clinical cure and two consecutive negative tests for COVID-19 based on RT-PCR.

Simultaneously Glenmark is also conducting phase 3 clinical trials of Favipiravir asa COVID-19monotherapy option with 150 patients, enrolled from 9 leading government and private hospitals across the country.

So far 30 patients have been randomised. The monotherapy phase3 clinical trial results are expected by July/August 2020. Glenmark was the first pharmaceutical company to receive approval from drug regulator DCGI to conduct Favipiravir clinical trials against COVID-19 in India.
(IANS) 

Tue, 26 May 2020 07:23:55 +0530
Galaxy Watch Active 2 gets approval for ECG BP monitoring

Seoul, South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has granted approval to Samsung to use the Electrocardiogram (ECG) feature for measuring heart rhythms on the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The feature is already available on Apple Watch globally.

The Samsung Health Monitor app also received clearance for blood pressure measurement and users will be able to conveniently measure both ECG and BP, giving them a better picture of their overall health.

"When you pair the advanced hardware of Galaxy watches with innovative software solutions, you can create unmatched experiences – such as in this case, convenient and accessible health check-ins for millions of users across the world," TaeJong Jay Yang, Corporate SVP and Head of Health Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics said in a statement.

The ECG feature uses advanced sensor technology on the Galaxy Watch Active2 and will enable users to measure and analyze their heart rhythm for irregularities indicating Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

To measure the ECG, a user just need to open the app and place his smartwatch arm on a flat surface, and then place his fingertip of the other hand on the top button of the smartwatch for about 30 seconds.

The Samsung Health Monitor app will be available on the Galaxy Watch Active2 within the third quarter and will progressively expand to upcoming Galaxy Watch devices.

"This marks just one way in which Samsung is pioneering to give everyone a simple, convenient and informed picture of their overall health and wellness," said Jay Yang.
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 06:29:41 +0530
Annual fishing ban days reduced to 47

Chennai, The Central government on Monday has reduced the annual fishing ban days to 47 from the earlier 61 days, said a top official of the National Fisherfolk Forum (NFF).

In a statement issued, M. Ilango, Chairperson, NFF said: "Accepting the demands of various coastal state Fisheries Department and the National Fisher Organisations, including National Fisherfolk Forum, the Govt. of India Ministry of Fisheries today issued an order reducing the 61 days annual fishing ban to 47 days."

As per the revised order issued by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, the fishing ban on the East Coast will from April 15 to May 31 (both days inclusive 47 days) and on the West Coast from June 15 to July 31 (both days inclusive 47 days).

The amendment in the period of uniform fishing ban is applicable only for the current year and would not set any precedent for the future.
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 06:24:22 +0530
No slowing down As 6 535 cases take India tally to 1 45 380

New Delhi, The spread of the novel Coronavirus has shown no indication of slowing down with the increased mercury, in fact in the last 15 days it has steadily climbed the graph adding in two weeks more cases than it did in the first 100 days. On Tuesday, the Health Ministry Data revealed that there were 6,535 new cases added in 24 hours which also witnessed 146 new fatalities.

As the total tally of Covid-19 cases in India touched 1,45,380, it also showed a week of continued spurt in the cases hovering close to 6,000 before almost touching the 7,000 marks. On Monday (6,977), Sunday (6,767), Saturday (6,654), Friday (6,088) and Thursday (5,614).

While in the first 100 days of the disease being reported in the country since January 30, there were around 60,000 cases, now with a steady plateau of cases the fortnight alone saw some 70,000 cases. On May 9, India was inching towards the 60,000-mark and between April 12 and May 26, we have recorded 70,657 cases, even as the mercury remained in the range between 38 and 46 degrees Celsius in the last seven days.

Of the total cases so far 80,722 are active, while 60,490 people have been cured and 4,167 have died. In the past 24 hours at least 2,769 people have also been cured.

Maharashtra alone has 36 per cent caseload of the total confirmed cases in the entire country. It has reported 52,667 cases and 1,695 fatalities, followed by Tamil Nadu with 17,082 cases and Gujarat with 14,460 cases.

After Maharashtra, the highest fatality numbers are reported from Gujarat (888) and Madhya Pradesh (300).

The national capital according to Health Ministry data has reported 14,053 cases and 276 mortalities.

States and UTs that have reported more than 6,000 cases are Rajasthan (7,300), Madhya Pradesh (6,859), Uttar Pradesh (6,532).

West Bengal now has 3,816 cases, Andhra Pradesh (3,110), Bihar (2,730), Haryana (1,184), Jammu and Kashmir (1,668), Karnataka (2,182), Punjab (2,060), Telangana (1,920) and Odisha (1,438),

India is now among the ten countries worst hit by the pandemic that has over 5 million cases worldwide.
(IANS) 

Tue, 26 May 2020 06:18:20 +0530
Raj govt allows opening of parks cab and auto services

Jaipur,  Amending the guidelines announced during Lockdown 4.0 on May 18, the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan allowed the restoration of taxi, auto and cab services in the Red Zone and also permitted the public parks to open from 7 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.

Permitting the sale of pan, gutkha and tobacco products in the state, removing them from the prohibited commodities to be sold under lockdown-4, the Home department clarified that no person will be able to use such products in public places.

According to the order, spitting in public places still remains a punishable offence.

Amending the guidelines of Lockdown 4.0, the state government allowed plying of taxis, autos and cabs in the Red Zone by ensuring social distancing and sanitation conditions.

The modified order said that a cab can carry three people including driver while in auto rickshaw only two persons are permitted to travel. The driver will have to wear mask and ensure sanitisation of seats.

The government has also permitted for opening of public parks in the Red Zone areas from 7 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.

These activities, earlier, were allowed in the areas falling in the Orange and Green zones.

Meanwhile, ban on public gathering continues as before.

Further, it was also clarified in the revised order that hand rickshaws, kiosks, small food shops, juice, tea and other shops have been given approval to operate but on the condition that cleanliness and hygiene protocol will have to be taken care of.

Additional chief secretary Rajeev Swaroop said that municipal authorities shall ensure compliance of these orders.
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 05:05:58 +0530
Neha Kakkar Important for singers to be seen

New Delhi,  Neha Kakkar says singers do get their due credit but stressed that it is important for them to be seen these days.

"Wherever there are singers, they get mentioned whenever the credits come," Neha told IANS, referring to singers being given credit, but she added: "It has become important to be seen also."

The "Garmi" hitmaker says singers are not known if they are not visually present.

"When they don't see you, they don't know you. So, it has become very important for singers to be seen. As (far as) singer credit (goes), we of course get it. Now, social media is very important," she added.

On the work front, Neha recently featured in a song with rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh titled "Moscow suka". The number is a mix of Punjabi and Russian languages.
(IANS)

Tue, 26 May 2020 04:44:05 +0530
Human trials for COVID 19 vaccine may begin in at least 6 months

New Delhi, May 26 As India ranked 10th in the global infection list, overtaking Iran, which was an early hotspot of coronavirus, India's top medical body has said the human trials of COVID-19 vaccine may begin at least in six months.

Speaking to IANS, Dr. Rajni Kant, Director Regional Medical Research Centre and Head at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, "The virus strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) laboratory in Pune will be used to develop the vaccine, and this strain has been successfully transferred to the Bharat Biotech International Ltd. (BBIL). It is expected that the human trials of the vaccine will begin in at least six months."

Queried on the focus areas as India inches closer to 1.4 lakh COVID-19 cases, Kant said we should not get anxious about the rapid increase in numbers, especially in the past week, which saw 5,000 Covid-19 cases daily, instead focus on protecting the most vulnerable group.

"We should not fear from increasing Covid-19 cases. The elderly and people with comorbidities need protection. This is the highly vulnerable group, and we need to deploy resources and develop strategies to keep the mortality rate as low as possible in this group," said Kant.

Initially, it was assumed that the country would require thousands of ventilators, but last week, the health ministry said only 0.45 per cent of COVID-19 cases need ventilator support.

Kant insisted the focus should be on five per cent to 10 per cent serious patients. "We are testing more than one lakh daily and our case fatality rate is already one of the lowest in the world. In absence of vaccine, people should follow social distancing guidelines," he added

On the significance of the recovery rate, Kant said the increasing recovery rate of the COVID-19 patients, which is at 41 per cent, is a bright spot in India's fight against deadly viral infection.

Queried on large scale COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad, Kant said the population density in these regions is very high, which proves to be the just right environment for the viral infection.

He insisted on developing robust cluster management strategies in the hard-hit coronavirus spots, and the movement of people should be curtailed in these areas.

"Currently, a lot of people are moving around easily and avoiding social distancing norms. The first phase of the lockdown was very effective, but now things have changed," added Kant.

Tue, 26 May 2020 04:43:06 +0530
Japan s Abe lifts state of emergency

Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the countrys nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria," the BBC quoted Abe as saying said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

He said the country had managed to control the spread of COVID-19 since issuing the order in some areas on April 7, then later extending it nationwide.

Japan has been easing restrictions since mid-May, but kept several areas, Tokyo included, under watch to ensure the outbreak had been contained.

Unlike other major economies, Japan has endured a relatively limited outbreak of OVID-19, recording 820 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,550 infections as of Monday.

Initially, Japan was criticised for its handling of the pandemic, prompting the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in metropolitan areas on April 7, later expanding it nationwide.

Monday's decision came after the number of infections and the situation of the health system in Tokyo, the three neighbouring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama and the northern Hokkaido, the only ones where the state of emergency remained in effect, reports Efe news.

The group of experts advising the government appreciated the efforts made by citizens to comply with the recommendations to achieve the target of reducing interpersonal contact by 80 per cent, top government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Monday.

The recommendation for citizens to avoid unnecessary trips outside and the request for non-essential businesses to close were not mandatory nor accompanied by fines or other penalties for non-compliance, unlike the stricter containment measures implemented in other countries.

The government had already decided to lift the emergency in 39 prefectures on May 14 after they reported a marked decrease in the number of infections, leaving out the more populated regions such as Tokyo and Osaka.

To avoid new outbreaks of the virus, Abe has urged people to become accustomed to a "new lifestyle" that includes maintaining social distancing, the use of masks outside as well as a series of guidelines for the reopening of shops, restaurants and public facilities.
(IANS) 

Mon, 25 May 2020 12:28:20 +0530
Apple to begin reopening stores in Japan this week

Tokyo,  With the nation-wide state of emergency lifting in Japan, Apple is all set to begin reopening its retail stores in the country.

Apple kept all the 10 retail stores in the country closed for months due to health risks rising out of the coronavirus pandemic.

The iPhone maker's stores located in Fukuoka and Nagoya Sakae will reopen on Wednesday.

The company is yet to reveal the reopening dates for other eight retail stores in the country.

"Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we're confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores," Apple said in a statement last week.

"We look at every available piece of data -- including local cases, near and long-term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials. These are not decisions we rush into -- and a store opening in no way means that we won't take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant," it added.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday lifted the country's nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the country had managed to control the spread of COVID-19 since issuing the order in some areas on April 7, then later extending it nationwide, according to a report in BBC.

While Apple closed nearly all of its retail stores worldwide in response to Covid-19, nearly 100 of its stores globally have now reopened.
(IANS)

Mon, 25 May 2020 12:21:26 +0530
Malls lose Rs 90k cr in 2 months SCAI seeks adequate relief

New Delhi, The Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) on Monday said the sector has lost over Rs 90,000 crore in the last two months, owing to the lockdown, and market players need much more than the repo rate cut and the loan moratorium extended by the RBI.

In a statement, the industry body said that the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) relief measures are not adequate to support the liquidity needs of the industry.

According to the SCAI, there is a common misconception that the shopping centres' industry is centred around metros and large cities with investments only from large developers, private equity players and foreign investors.

"However, the fact is that most malls are part of the SMEs or standalone developers. i.e. more than 550 are single owned by standalone developers out of the 650-odd organised shopping centres across the country and there are 1,000+ small centres in smaller cities," it said.

Amitabh Taneja, Chairman of SCAI said: "The organised retail industry is in distress and has not earned anything since the lockdown and their survival is at stake. While the extension of the loan moratorium talks about some relief on repayment but won't help the industry in liquidity."

He said that a long term beneficial plan from the government is much required to revive the sector.

"Being the most safe, accountable, and controlled environment, unfortunately, malls have not been permitted to open which will lead to job losses and might even shut shops for a lot of mall developers," Taneja said.

In its representations to the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India, the association has also pointed out that, in absence of financial package and stimulus from the RBI, over 500 shopping centres may go bankrupt, that may lead to the banking industry staring at NPAs of Rs 25,000 crore.

The industry body has put forward its recommendations and requests to the government. It had sought moratorium till March 2021 at the least in terms of repayment of bank loans, interest, EMI and so on, without levy of any penalties or penal interest.

It has also sought a one-time loan restructuring with lower rates of interest, permitted for shopping centres and a facilitative and forward-looking support provision of short-term financing options for a period of six to 12 months, at lower interest rates, to meet the increased working capital requirements.

Among other relaxations it had also appealed for GST rebates to offset the losses on account of and for the period of closure of business.

It also said that interest rates should be brought down to "manageable levels" of 5-6 per cent in view of the precarious financial situation.
(IANS) 

Mon, 25 May 2020 12:18:47 +0530
Since childhood I have always dreamt to become an actor Aaira Dwivedi

Debutante Aaira Dwivedi featured in a music video titled Judaai sung by hairstylist turned singer Moin Sabri. Popular actor and anchor Gunjan Utreja also featured in the song. Speaking about her dreams, Dwivedi said, “Since childhood, I have always dreamt to become an actor and worked all these years towards fulfilling that dream. The fact that my first song has been shot like a movie is nothing short of a dream coming true.”

 

Elaborating further on the shoot, she said, “It was exceptionally challenging for me as an actor to shoot in the picturesque locations of Kyrgyzstan. In real life I am a fun loving person always chit chatting and laughing and for this video I had to step into the shoes of a character which was totally opposite to my real life self. It was emotionally draining.”

Speaking about the location of the song, the actress said, “It was quite daunting to shoot in the harsh temperatures of -20 degrees in Kyrgyzstan but I am elated that the efforts were fruitful and is manifested in the final product.”

The song was shot in Kyrgyzstan for the first time and the beauty of the location has been captured adroitly in the video. Speaking of that Aaira said, “This is the first time this location has been used and a song has been shot on this scale. I can’t recall any other song which comes in closer to this. It looks like an action film filled with emotions.”

Commenting further on the project, Aaira added, “Working with Gunjan was a fruitful experience. This was the first time we shared screen space. For the story and emotions to come out like this we both had to work extremely hard.”

Praising her co-star Dwivedi said, “Gunjan is a hardworking, dedicated and extremely cooperative. After working with him for seven days in challenging conditions I can vouch for the fact that he is one of the finest actors we have today and this video will prove that. People have showered us with great praises and compliments for our chemistry. I look forward to work with him soon.”

Today is a big day, as I soak in the love and compliments; I cannot help but remember the days I had been rejected at auditions. I am glad I never gave up on my dreams. This video is my first step towards achieving my dreams. One thing that I learnt with this shooting is that in order for you to succeed you will have to work harder than you did yesterday. 

Elaborating on how she bagged the project, Aaira said, “I and Moin know each other since several years. The director wanted to cast a girl who could enact the right emotions. I accidentally bumped into him at Moin’s salon. That's where they asked me whether I could audition for the role. There is a saying: the best things in your life can happen at the most unexpected places. I now believe in this phrase.

Aaira Dwivedi was born in Mehsana in Gujarat and did her schooling from the city initially. Her father used to work in oil field industry while her mother was a housewife and when she was in eighth standard her father got a transfer to Ahmedabad. The aspiring actress completed the rest of her education from Ahmedabad.

Mon, 25 May 2020 08:08:41 +0530
Domestic flights resume from Bengaluru airport cautiously

Bengaluru, Domestic flights of a few airlines resumed from this tech city on a cautious note after they were grounded for over 2 months due to Covid-19 induced extended lockdown, an official said on Monday.

"The first flight of Air Asia took off at 5.35 a.m. to Ranchi in Jharkhand with 173 passengers and an Indigo flight from Chennai was the first to land at 7.30 a.m.," the airport operator official told IANS here.

Till 9.00 a.m., 17 flights departed to various destinations and 5 landed from other cities.

"About 60 departures and 54 arrivals are scheduled for the first day of domestic operations by different airlines from the Kempegowda international airport," the official said.

With the Karnataka government making 7-day institutional quarantine mandatory for passengers flying from the 6 most Covid-hit states, many fliers are learnt to be wary of rushing to the city, as they don't want to be 'stranded' again in a hotel or hostel booked for a week-long compulsory stay.

The 6 most Covid-hit states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Passengers from low Covid prevalence cities or states will have to be in 14-day home quarantine.

In the first five hours of operations since 5 a.m., delays in departures and arrivals occurred due to teething troubles and in following the stringent standard operating procedures stipulated by the state-run Airport Authority of India.

Some flights, including an Air India service to Hyderabad were suddenly cancelled without prior notice to the passengers.

The airport operator - Bangalore International Airline Ltd (BIAL) has geared up to handle around 215 air traffic movements a day, including 108 departures and 107 arrivals.

"Airlines have been allotted slots to depart every 10 minutes," said an official of a budget carrier.

Air India, Indigo, SpiceJet, Vistara and Air Asia are among the airlines allowed to operate one-third of their services under the new guidelines, including social distancing, wearing of mask and washing hands with sanitizers.

As the third busiest airport after Mumbai and New Delhi in normal times, the country's first greenfield airport under the public-private partnership has been functional even during the extended lockdown, with cargo services by domestic and international airlines and inbound/outbound evacuation flights since March-end.

"As per standard operating procedure, only asymptomatic passengers who have downloaded the Aarogya Setu app and booked the air ticket online will be allowed into the airport on showing an e-boarding pass or its printed version at the entrance and after thermal screening and hand washing with sanitiser, asserted the official.

For the first time, the movement of passengers for departure from parking to boarding will be contactless to maintain physical distancing and avoid risk of touching any surface in the airport.

"Even sanitiser-dispensers will be touch-free in the airport terminal. So also food and beverage service and retail sales in the departure lounge.
(IANS)

Mon, 25 May 2020 06:57:30 +0530
Australian students return to classrooms

Canberra,Tens of thousands of Australian school students returned to their classrooms on Monday to resume full-time face-to-face classes, as the country plans to normalize its economic activity in July after curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Preschool, primary and secondary students in the state of New South Wales, the most populous in Australia, as well as those in Queensland and Tasmania, returned to school under strict hygiene measures, but will not yet be able to participate in excursions or competitions, reports Efe news.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said Monday morning that it was an "exciting day for lots of parents and teachers and students" and that "by all accounts, this morning things are going very well".

The state of Victoria will allow the return of its eldest and youngest students on Tuesday, while the others will do so on June 9.

The remaining four states and territories, which are responsible for managing education in their regions, have already standardized school classes or will do so progressively until early next month.

The return of schoolchildren has put pressure on public transport, which has been restricted in New South Wales.

Despite the fact that the government's health ministry has assured that children are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus by returning to school, more than 7,000 parents have signed a petition on Change.org to demand that New South Wales authorities deem that going back to class is not compulsory.

Meanwhile, universities were continuing to analyze how to resume face-to-face classes, mainly in laboratories, although the decision will depend on each tertiary institution and each state and territory.

International students, many of whom are still outside the country due to the closure of borders, contributed about A$37.6 billion ($24.5 billion) last fiscal year.

Australian states and territories have begun to implement Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government plan at different speeds, with a view to resuming all activities in July, although the country's borders will remain closed indefinitely.

Australia, which has carried out more than 1.2 million tests to detect the novel coronavirus, has recorded some 7,100 cases of COVID-19, including 102 deaths, and since May 17 has registered fewer than 14 new infections per day.
(IANS) 

Mon, 25 May 2020 06:04:48 +0530
India resumes passenger flight services

New Delhi, After many anxious moments India resumed civil passenger flight services on Monday, exactly two months after it had suspended these operations due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Accordingly, IndiGo operated its Delhi-Pune service early on Monday.

The IGI Airport will receive a SpiceJet flight from Ahmedabad later.

Similarly, two flights operated at the CSMIA, while one departed from Mumbai for Patna, the first arrival was from Lucknow as the domestic flights' operations resumed. Both operated by IndiGo, the first service to Patna flew out at around 6.45 a.m., while the incoming flight landed around 8.20 a.m., said, airport officials.

Several other incoming and outgoing flights are scheduled during the day as the Maharashtra government late on Sunday permitted restricted operations in view of the Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped the state in a big way. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport authorities and the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, state government and other agencies have deployed full Covid-19 protocols to handle the incoming and outgoing flight passengers.

Flights are so expected to resume at Pune, Nagpur -- both international airports -- besides smaller state airports like Nashik, Shirdi, Kolhapur etc.

The re-commencement of services comes a day after massive spike in ticket cancellations, along with a drop in bookings, was reported by the aviation industry for Monday's flights as several states had moved to limit air operations.

Consequently, in order to calm nervous passengers Centre said that barring just two states rest of the country is open to accept domestic flights.

On Sunday evening, Union Civil Aviation Minister, on Sunday evening tweeted that states across the country will resume domestic flight services on Monday except Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

Airports in Andhra Pradesh will resume services on Tuesday and West Bengal will restart on Thursday.

"It has been a long day of hard negotiations with various state govts to recommence civil aviation operations in the country. Except Andhra Pradesh which will start on 26/5 & West Bengal on 28/5, domestic flights will recommence across the country from tomorrow," Puri tweeted.

Sources said that starting May 28, Kolkata and Bagdogra airports will each handle 10 arrivals and 10 departures per day.

Further, according to people in the know, both Vijayawada and Vizag airports in Andhra Pradesh will operate 20 per cent of both arrivals and departures as planned under the Summer Schedule. Hyderabad will resume services on Monday with 15 arrivals and 15 departures, sources said.

In another tweet, the minister said that starting Monday, there will be limited flights from Mumbai and as per approved one-third schedule from other airports in the state.

For Tamil Nadu, he said that there will be maximum 25 daily arrivals in Chennai, but there would be no limit on number of departures.

"As per request of state govt, operations in Andhra Pradesh will recommence on limited scale from 26 May. For Tamil Nadu there will be max 25 arrivals in Chennai but there's no limit on number of departures. For other airports in TN flights will operate as in other parts of country," Puri said.

Consequently, passengers, who had booked for flights on these and other inter-metro route segment for May 25, rushed to cancel their tickets.

Industry insiders had pointed out that majority of bookings received were for flights between metro cities, due to the "pent-up demand", but now with limited operations and quarantine norms, a large number of queries have been received from passengers travelling to these cities.

Even airline executives were left in lurch on Sunday evening as state after state came out with new norms for accepting flights, thereby, distorting their network planning.

Another daunting confusion was over the quarantine norm which many states said they will enforce on air travellers.

This led to a cascade of calls at the customer care centres of online travel agents.

Nevertheless, many passengers still wanted to travel, if they were provided with a choice for 'Home Quarantine'.

Earlier, air passengers gave an overwhelming response to the re-commencement of passenger flight services from May 25, as healthy demand was witnessed for tickets on all metro routes.

The Centre had only allowed limited passenger flight operations of about one-third capacity of the summer schedule to operate between metro cities and other destinations from May 25, adding that this capacity might be ramped up in the coming period.

Passenger air services were suspended for both scheduled domestic and international flights since March 25, due to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
(IANS) 

Mon, 25 May 2020 05:51:18 +0530
Apple TV promotes kid friendly content as summer vacation begins

San Francisco, Apple has released a 30-second ad on YouTube and other channels to promote child-friendly movies and shows on its Apple TV+ streaming service as summer vacation begins in most countries including in India.

The 30-second ad spot titled 'The Next Generation' showcases content like 'Ghost Writer,' 'Helpsters,' 'Snoopy in Space' and ‘Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,' among others.

The video that was released on Sunday describes the streaming service as offering "original series and films to inspire the next generation of dreamers, explorers, and believers".

"Here We Are" is the latest show to become available within the group, landing on the service on April 17, reports Apple Insider.

The film is adapted from the best-selling children's book by Oliver Jeffers and created by animation firm Studio AKA.

Meanwhile, WarnerMedia has announced its new streaming service HBO Max will be available from May 27 on Apple devices, fully integrated with the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TVs.

Customers who are billed through the App Store or through Apple TV Channels for HBO Now will be upgraded automatically to HBO Max at no additional charge.
(IANS) 

Mon, 25 May 2020 05:20:20 +0530
India records over 6K cases for 4th day straight tally crosses 1 38L

New Delhi,  India witnessed a spike of more than 6,000 cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for the fourth consecutive day and also recorded 154 fresh fatalities in 24 hours, country's tally climbed to 1,38,845 with 4,021 people losing their lives to the pandemic.

According to the Union Health and Family Welfare department data, India witnessed a surge of 6,977 new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the total 1,38,845 cases, 77,103 are active cases while 57,720 people have been cured, including 3,280 cured in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit state with 50,231 cases. 3,041 new cases and 58 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours the took the tally of fatalities to 1,635. Of the 50,231 cases a total of 14,600 have been cured.

Tamil Nadu stood second with 16,277 cases, and Gujarat third with 14,056 cases. The death toll was 111 in Tamil Nadu and 858 in Gujarat.

Delhi reported 13,418 cases and 261 casualties, while 6,412 patients have been cured here.

States/UTs with more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases are Rajasthan (7,028), Madhya Pradesh (6,665) and Uttar Pradesh (6,268). Others with more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,667), Andhra Pradesh (2,823), Punjab (2,060), Telangana (1,854), Bihar (2,587), Jammu and Kashmir (1,621), Karnataka (2,089), Odisha (1,336) and Haryana (1,184). States and UTs with significant number of cases are Kerala (847), Jharkhand (370), Chandigarh (238), Assam (378), Tripura (191), Chhattisgarh (252) and Uttarakhand (317).

Sikkim and Dadra and Nagar Haveli did not report any fresh incident in the last 24 hours, as per ministry data. Goa has reported 66 cases so far. A spurt has been observed in Pudducherry which now has 41 cases. There are now 52 cases in Ladakh.
(IANS)

Mon, 25 May 2020 05:06:24 +0530
Since childhood I have always dreamt to become an actor Aaira Dwivedi

Debutante Aaira Dwivedi featured in a music video titled Judaai sung by hairstylist turned singer Moin Sabri. Popular actor and anchor Gunjan Utreja also featured in the song. Speaking about her dreams, Dwivedi said, “Since childhood, I have always dreamt of becoming an actor and worked all these years towards fulfilling that dream. The fact that my first song has been shot like a movie is nothing short of a dream coming true.”

 

 

 

Elaborating further on the shoot, she said, “It was exceptionally challenging for me as an actor to shoot in the picturesque locations of Kyrgyzstan. In real life I am a fun-loving person always chit-chatting and laughing, and for this video, I had to step into the shoes of a character which was totally opposite to my real-life self. It was emotionally draining.”

Speaking about the location of the song, the actress said, “It was quite daunting to shoot in the harsh temperatures of -20 degrees in Kyrgyzstan but I am elated that the efforts were fruitful and is manifested in the final product.”

The song was shot in Kyrgyzstan for the first time and the beauty of the location has been captured adroitly in the video. Speaking of that Aaira said, “This is the first time this location has been used and a song has been shot on this scale. I can’t recall any other song which comes in closer to this. It looks like an action film filled with emotions.”

Commenting further on the project, Aaira added, “Working with Gunjan was a fruitful experience. This was the first time we shared screen space. For the story and emotions to come out like this, we both had to work extremely hard.”

Praising her co-star, Dwivedi said, “Gunjan is a hardworking, dedicated and extremely cooperative. After working with him for seven days in challenging conditions, I can vouch for the fact that he is one of the finest actors we have today and this video will prove that. People have showered us with great praises and compliments for our chemistry. I look forward to working with him soon.”

Today is a big day, as I soak in the love and compliments; I cannot help but remember the days I had been rejected at auditions. I am glad I never gave up on my dreams. This video is my first step towards achieving my dreams. One thing that I learnt with this shooting is that in order for you to succeed, you will have to work harder than you did yesterday. 

Elaborating on how she bagged the project, Aaira said, “Moin and I know each other for several years. The director wanted to cast a girl who could enact the right emotions. I accidentally bumped into him at Moin’s salon. That's where they asked me whether I could audition for the role. There is a saying: the best things in your life can happen at the most unexpected places. I now believe in this phrase.

Aaira Dwivedi was born in Mehsana in Gujarat and did her schooling from the city initially. Her father used to work in the oil field industry while her mother was a housewife, and when she was in the eighth standard, her father got a transfer to Ahmedabad. The aspiring actress completed the rest of her education from Ahmedabad.

Sun, 24 May 2020 11:12:55 +0530
AAP MLA tests negative for COVID to donate plasma

New Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party MLA from the Karol Bagh, Vishesh Ravi after being tested negative for COVID-19 after 22 days of quarantine said he will donate plasma after he recovers fully from the infection.

"I want to inform you all on the twenty second day of quarantine my Corona Test has come Negative. However, I still have a little cough, so according to the advice given by the doctor after taking rest for a few more days, I will be ready to donate plasma and return back to work," the MLA tweeted.

On May 1, Ravi along with his brother tested positive for COVID-19.

(IANS) 

Sun, 24 May 2020 10:16:08 +0530
AWS driving Netflix Fortnite Zoom entertain and empower millions at home

New Delhi, As you stream your favourite movies or TV series on Netflix, Disney Plus or Hulu, or connect with your team via video meet app Zoom, leading Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the backdrop is ensuring seamless, scalable and secure connectivity to help people at home and organisations function while they can't operate normally at work.

According to AWS CEO Andy Jassy, a lot of things that are allowing humanity to deal with the global health crisis run on top of AWS which is Amazon's Cloud arm and topped $10 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time in the January-March period.

"We're just trying to help our customers in various areas. If you look at Netflix, it runs completely on top of AWS. So does Disney Plus. Hulu runs on AWS. Prime Video runs on AWS. All those entertainment pieces have kind of made time go by," Jassy said during a fireside chat at AWS Online Summit recently.

"Fortnite runs on top of AWS, and so does Sony PlayStation. A lot of other popular games too," he infomed.

The popular Battle Royale game Fortnite has gained 350 million registered players, who in April collectively spent over 3.2 billion hours in the game.

According to Jassy, AWS has its own video-conferencing service in Chime.

"But a lot of people use Zoom, and the vast majority of Zoom's cloud infrastructure runs on AWS and will for the foreseeable future," he said.

Amazon Chime Voice Connector is a service that enables enterprises to migrate their telephony workloads to AWS.

If you have kids at home, you also realise they're all doing e-learning at the moment.

"If you just look at companies like Blackboard and Instructure's Canvas, which run on top of AWS. A lot of the things that are allowing us to deal with the crisis run on top of AWS. So we're just trying to help our customers in various areas," Jassy emphasised.

AWS today offers 15 purpose-built database engines including relational, key-value, document, in-memory, graph, time series, and ledger databases.

"We have an unmatched number of those purpose-built databases that people are getting real value from and are changing the way they build applications. So (for us), it's just the way that people are rethinking how they build in this unprecedented era of data growth," informed Jassy.

It is interesting to see how manufacturing and industrial organisations are changing in these Covid-19 times.

"In these industrial organizations, they have all of these assets that function in their facilities and their factories, and they collect really important data. And today they're largely sending that data, through AWS IoT, to the cloud to store it and to analyze it," said Jassy.

Amazon AWS IoT has done well in terms of completeness benefiting from a robust Cloud IoT and Application Enablement capabilities. Further, AWS has been building its edge capabilities via AWS Greengrass.

AWS has grown into a behemoth in itself, raking in $10 billion in sales in the first quarter this year, with a super annual run rate of more than $40 billion.

The cloud computing service logged $10.2 billion in sales in the March quarter, up from $7.7 billion from the year-ago quarter - a growth rate of 33 per cent.

According to Amazon, AWS now spans 76 Availability Zones within 24 geographic regions, with announced plans for nine more Availability Zones and three more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Japan, and Spain.
(IANS)

Sun, 24 May 2020 09:05:10 +0530
Canadian provinces to ease restrictions despite concerns

Ottawa, Ontario and Quebec were among the Canadian provinces going ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, despite concerns about their capacity for testing and tracking the spread of the virus, a media report said.

Health officials in Ontario on Saturday released data showing the province has added 412 cases, a number not as high as the 441 counted on Friday — the most on a single day since May 8 — but it's still in line with an upward trend seen in the past week and a half, CBC Canada said in the news report.

Matthew Oughton, an infectious diseases expert and professor at McGill University, told CBC News: "We should be monitoring much more, even than what we currently are, and we should certainly have more capacity in our hospital system to absorb new cases than we do right now.

"If we are lucky and everything goes smoothly, everyone would be thrilled with that. But if things don't go smoothly, we need to have surplus capacity, not already be at capacity in hospitals. That's really a setting for potential problems."

Earlier in the week, the Quebec government began allowing people to gather outdoors in groups of up to 10, from a maximum of three households.

There were 646 new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Friday and 65 more deaths.

Ontario, meanwhile, entered Stage 1 of its framework to reopen the economy on May 19, giving the green light for retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances to reopen with physical distancing measures, the CBC News report said.

Golf courses, marinas and private parks were also allowed to reopen.

As of Saturday, labs across Canada have tested 1,429,000 people for COVID-19, with about 5 per cent of these testing positive, according to Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.

Currently, Canada has 83,621 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 6,447 deaths.
(IANS)

Sun, 24 May 2020 08:39:29 +0530
This optical chip can help download 1 000 HD movies in a split second

Sydney, A team of researchers has recorded world's fastest Internet speed from a single chip that can help download 1,000 high-definition movies in a split second, at a data speed of 44.2 Terabits per second from a single light source.

The research has the potential to become a game-changer at a time when billions of people are working from home and the Internet is under tremendous load.

Researchers from Monash, Swinburne and RMIT universities successfully tested and recorded the fastest internet data speed from a single optical chip.

Published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, the findings have the potential to fast-track telecommunications capacity worldwide.

The technology has the capacity to support the high-speed internet connections of 1.8 million households in Melbourne, Australia, at the same time, and billions across the world during peak periods.

Such demonstrations are usually confined to a laboratory but, for this study, researchers achieved such data speed using existing communications infrastructure, where they were able to efficiently load-test the network.

They used a new device that replaces 80 lasers with one single piece of equipment known as a micro-comb, which is smaller and lighter than existing telecommunications hardware.

It is the first time any micro-comb has been used in a field trial and possesses the highest amount of data produced from a single optical chip.

"We're currently getting a sneak-peak of how the infrastructure for the internet will hold up in two to three years' time, due to the unprecedented number of people using the internet for remote work, socialising and streaming," said Dr Bill Corcoran, co-lead author and lecturer in electrical and computer systems engineering at Monash University.

And it's not just Netflix the researchers are talking about here.

"It's the broader scale of what we use our communication networks for. This data can be used for self-driving cars and future transportation and it can help the medicine, education, finance and e-commerce industries, as well as enable us to read with our grandchildren from kilometres away," explained Corcoran.

The future ambition of the project is to scale up the current transmitters from hundreds of gigabytes per second towards tens of terabytes per second without increasing size, weight or cost.

"Long-term, we hope to create integrated photonic chips that could enable this sort of data rate to be achieved across existing optical fibre links with minimal cost," said Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell from RMIT.

Initially, these would be attractive for ultra-high-speed communications between data centres.

"However, we could imagine this technology becoming sufficiently low cost and compact that it could be deployed for commercial use by the general public in cities across the world," Mitchell added.
(IANS)

Sun, 24 May 2020 08:26:34 +0530
How is that Kerala could effectively combat COVID 19

The Kerala Left Democratic govt. Under the leadership of CM Pinarayi Vijayan in close collaboration with his team and people has managed to successfully curtail the human and economic losses whether due to the floods, the Nipa Virus, outbreak and now the covid19 pandemic which has surprisingly made Kerala a role model and topic of discussion worldwide.

 

 

 

How is it that Kerala could in actual fact productively combat COVID-19 when the world at large appeared not well prepared to respond to this health emergency? Kerala was the first state in India to have the first case of corona positive on January 30 with topping the charts alarmingly with more cases than elsewhere in the country before WHO declaring it as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The population of Kerala is 33 million, with 667 confirmed positive cases and only four deaths reported till date. On the other hand, Italy and Spain too had confirmed the first case of COVID positive on January 31 on par with Kerala. Today as on May 22 2020 Italy has a population of 66 million has 2,28,000 confirmed positive cases and the death toll has reached 32,486, whereas Spain with a population of 41.1

 million people coronavirus cases have touched 2,33,037, and the death toll figure is 27,940.

For example, if we look into the third case study of New York, the most developed state of U.S. and Kerala as compared to highlight and understand the severe difference in the approach of two states. The population of Kerala is 33 million, while that of New York is 19 million. The per capita income of Kerala is $2,937 while that of New York state is $88,981. There are 1.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in Kerala, whereas the corresponding figure for New York is 3.1 beds. Kerala has 1.7 doctors per 1,000 persons; New York is credited with 3.8 doctors. However, the total corona positive cases in Kerala as on May 20 was 667 people of which the state had reported just four deaths while 12 had returned recently to the state from abroad and 12 from the opening of interstate boundaries. One hundred sixty-one people in the state are still undergoing treatment, and 502 having recovered out of a total of 667. On the subsequent date, New York state had over 3,57,757  corona positive cases with more than 28,437deaths as per New York times official report updated May20,2020,8:37A.M

Kerala has the lowest mortality rate as well as the highest recovery rate with respect to coronavirus infections having half the population size compared to entire Italy or double the population of New York State. The initial statistical projection of cases and deaths became outmoded due to the organic method adopted by Kerala. The number of tests conducted in Kerala is just 10 per cent of the figures for countries such as the U.S., Italy and Spain. The real but aggressive contact tracing and keeping a large number of people under observation helped Kerala in preventing community spread. Ninety per cent of the positive cases were detected among people who were kept under observation.

 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stressed the need for a strict vigil, and quarantine pointing out that the number of cases has spiked recently due to people coming from abroad and opening of the interstate borders.  The credit should go to Kerala’s strong local governance, effective social structure and well-knit multi-layered public health formation. The state may be way behind in industrial production, but its human development indices are the best foundation of social equality. Kerala is well known for its heavy dose of politics which is prevalent in all aspects of life in the state. A positive feature of this is that there is a close interconnect between the layers of administration and people. Larger civil society is quite familiar with the links between citizens’ health and good governance. These multiple publics, with their strong participatory ethics, engage with the right to equal health. They thus forced the larger civil society and successive governments to consider health equality as one of the foundational prerequisites for social equality. The presence of multiple voices expect both people and government to help each other, even though the parties in power use the inter connecting network till the micro level of the people in building a strong public health system with utmost belief and trust has been the main reason for the success of any disaster striking Kerala. The management of top to bottom Government functionaries

effectively handled with the active participation of people interface, which becomes handy during any crisis. One can argue that Kerala’s success is intrinsically connected to its vibrant public sphere in which the ideas of rights and citizenship are debated constantly.

The success of the current government in battling the pandemic lies in its judicious realization of the political and civic sensibilities of its people and its ability to extract solutions based on these factors. Consequently, the government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan did not lose any time when it was alerted to Covid-19’s dangers and proceeded to raise people’s awareness even as first world leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson continued to overlook the urgency of the situation in the initial months

And for the rest of us Indians, we need to figure out. Finally, what matters??? Communal supremacy, ideological pride, retrospecting history or a system that promises us a good, healthy, respectable quality of life for our family and us.Think about it!

Sun, 24 May 2020 07:54:12 +0530
How is that Kerala could effectively combat COVID 19

The Kerala Left Democratic govt. Under the leadership of CM Pinarayi Vijayan in close collaboration with his team and people has managed to successfully curtail the human and economic losses whether due to the floods, the Nipa Virus, outbreak and now the covid19 pandemic which has surprisingly made Kerala a role model and topic of discussion worldwide.

How is it that Kerala could productively combat COVID-19 when the world at large appeared not well prepared to respond to this health emergency? Kerala was the first state in India to have the first case of corona positive on January 30 with topping the charts alarmingly with more cases than elsewhere in the country before WHO declaring it as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The population of Kerala is 33 million, with 667 confirmed positive cases and only four deaths reported till date. On the other hand, Italy and Spain too had confirmed the first case of COVID positive on January 31 on par with Kerala. Today as on May 22 2020 Italy has a population of 66 million has 2,28,000 confirmed positive cases and the death toll has reached 32,486, whereas Spain with a population of 41.1

 

 

 million people coronavirus cases have touched 2,33,037, and the death toll figure is 27,940.

For example, if we look into the third case study of New York, the most developed state of U.S. and Kerala as compared to highlight and understand the severe difference in the approach of two states. The population of Kerala is 33 million, while that of New York is 19 million. The per capita income of Kerala is $2,937 while that of New York state is $88,981. There are 1.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in Kerala, whereas the corresponding figure for New York is 3.1 beds. Kerala has 1.7 doctors per 1,000 persons; New York is credited with 3.8 doctors. However, the total corona positive cases in Kerala as on May 20 was 667 people of which the state had reported just four deaths while 12 had returned recently to the state from abroad and 12 from the opening of interstate boundaries. One hundred sixty-one people in the state are still undergoing treatment, and 502 having recovered out of a total of 667. On the subsequent date, New York state had over 3,57,757  corona positive cases with more than 28,437deaths as per New York times official report updated May20,2020,8:37A.M

Kerala has the lowest mortality rate as well as the highest recovery rate with respect to coronavirus infections having half the population size compared to entire Italy or double the population of New York State. The initial statistical projection of cases and deaths became outmoded due to the organic method adopted by Kerala. The number of tests conducted in Kerala is just 10 per cent of the figures for countries such as the U.S., Italy and Spain. The real but aggressive contact tracing and keeping a large number of people under observation helped Kerala in preventing community spread. Ninety per cent of the positive cases were detected among people who were kept under observation.

 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stressed the need for a strict vigil, and quarantine pointing out that the number of cases has spiked recently due to people coming from abroad and opening of the interstate borders.  The credit should go to Kerala’s strong local governance, effective social structure and well-knit multi-layered public health formation. The state may be way behind in industrial production, but its human development indices are the best foundation of social equality. Kerala is well known for its heavy dose of politics which is prevalent in all aspects of life in the state. A positive feature of this is that there is a close interconnect between the layers of administration and people. Larger civil society is quite familiar with the links between citizens’ health and good governance. These multiple publics, with their strong participatory ethics, engage with the right to equal health. They thus forced the larger civil society and successive governments to consider health equality as one of the foundational prerequisites for social equality. The presence of multiple voices expect both people and government to help each other, even though the parties in power use the inter connecting network till the micro level of the people in building a strong public health system with utmost belief and trust has been the main reason for the success of any disaster striking Kerala. The management of top to bottom Government functionaries

effectively handled with the active participation of people interface, which becomes handy during any crisis. One can argue that Kerala’s success is intrinsically connected to its vibrant public sphere in which the ideas of rights and citizenship are debated constantly.

The success of the current government in battling the pandemic lies in its judicious realization of the political and civic sensibilities of its people and its ability to extract solutions based on these factors. Consequently, the government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan did not lose any time when it was alerted to Covid-19’s dangers and proceeded to raise people’s awareness even as first world leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson continued to overlook the urgency of the situation in the initial months

And for the rest of us Indians, we need to figure out. Finally, what matters??? Communal supremacy, ideological pride, retrospecting history or a system that promises us a good, healthy, respectable quality of life for our family and us... Think about it!

Sun, 24 May 2020 07:44:38 +0530
2 9 crore Indian job seekers data leaked on Dark Web

New Delhi,  In a startling revelation, cybersecurity researchers have claimed that a hacker has posted personal details of nearly 2.9 crore Indian job seekers at one of the hacking forums on the Dark Web for free.

As part of the regular sweep over the Deep Web and Dark Web, researchers from cybersecurity firm Cyble came across an interesting item, where a threat actor posted 2.3GB (zipped) file on one of the hacking forums.

"The leak actually has a lot of personal details of millions of Indians Job seekers from different states," Cyble said in its blog on Friday.

This breach includes sensitive information such as email, phone, home address, qualification and work experience etc from job seekers spanning across states, from New Delhi to Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for such personal information to conduct various nefarious activities such as identity thefts, scams, and corporate espionage.

"It appears to have originated from a resume aggregator service given the sheer volume and detailed information," it added.

Cyble indexed this information at ‘AmIbreached.com; – Cyble's data breach monitoring and notification platform.

"Cyble researchers have identified a sensitive data breach on the darkweb where an actor has leaked personal details of nearly 29 million Indian job seekers from various states.

"Cyble's team is still investigating this further and will be updating their article as they bring more facts to the surface,' it said in a statement.

Cyble said it has acquired the leaked data.

The same cyber security firm earlier exposed that Bengaluru-based edtech firm Unacademy was hacked.

According to Cyble researchers, nearly 22 million Unacademy user accounts were affected and the data was dumped and sold on Dark Web.

'We would like to assure our users that no sensitive information such as financial data or location has been breached," said Hemesh Singh, Co- Founder and CTO, Unacademy, in a statement.

In April, hackers sold personal data of a whopping 267 million Facebook users for just Rs 41,500 (approximately 500 Euros) that includes email addresses, names, Facebook IDs, dates of birth and phone numbers.

No passwords of the 267 million Facebook users were exposed by the hacker, according to Cyble.
(IANS)

Sun, 24 May 2020 07:20:35 +0530
Tomatoes selling below Re 1 per kg in Delhi wholesale markets

New Delhi, In the wholesale markets of the national capital, the prices of all vegetables, including tomatoes, onions have come down drastically this month. In Asia's largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetables -- Azadpur Mandi, tomatoes have started selling at less than Re 1 per kg.

Mandi traders and agents say that the number of vegetable retailers has decreased in the market, due to which the demand is less.

The auditor of Okhla Mandi, Vijay Ahuja told IANS that not only tomatoes but other green vegetables are also being sold at a quarter to one price.

Ahuja said that the wholesale price of 'Ghiya or louki' (Bottle Gourd) has increased from two to three rupees per kg and the 'Turai' (Ridge Gourd) is being sold for Rs six per kg.

Similarly, the prices of other vegetables have also come down. The average price of onion has dropped by one and a half rupees so far this month.

Ahuja said that the price has come down due to the migration of millions of people from Delhi.

Rajendra Sharma, a businessman at the Azadpur Mandi and president of the Indian Merchant Association, said that the prices of all vegetables, including tomatoes, have come down due to reduced demand in the market.

He said that the restaurants, dhabas are closed which has reduced the consumption.

Besides the reduced demand, Sharma said that because of the token system, customers have to wait longer, which is also dissuading them from coming to the market.

Another trader from Mandi said that lakhs of labourers have migrated from Delhi, so the consumption of vegetables has reduced, but the demand for fruits has not reduced, so the price of fruits has not come down.

According to the rate of Azadpur Mandi APMC, where the wholesale price of tomato was Rs 6-15.25 per kg on May 1, the cost is Rs 0.75-5.25 per kg for the last three days.

Similarly, where the wholesale price of onion was Rs 4.50-11.25 per kg on May 1, it was Rs 2.50-8.50 per kg on Saturday.

However, in various colonies of Delhi and surrounding areas, vegetable vendors are selling tomatoes for Rs 15-20 per kg.

Similarly, the prices of other vegetables are also moving higher than the wholesale price. Asked the reason for this, Shivpal, who is selling fruits and vegetables in Delhi's R.K. Puram, said that some of the vegetables or fruits that he brings from the wholesale market in the mandi, gets spoiled. Apart from this, the fare of transporting is higher, so they have to sell at a higher price than the wholesale market.

(IANS)

Sun, 24 May 2020 07:11:31 +0530
Yogi performs rudrabhishek for safety from corona

Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath performed 'Rudrabhishek' (a ritual to appease Lord Shiva) at the Gorakhnath temple, of which he is the head priest, for the safety of mankind from the Corona pandemic.

The ritual was held on Saturday and lasted two hours, according to temple officials.

The Chief Minister had reached Gorakhpur on Friday evening after almost two months, and returned to the state capital on Saturday.

"The Chief Minister also visited the Gaushala in the temple complex and took stock of sanitation in the area. He also held a review meeting with officials on the Corona situation and also the pace of developmental projects," said the official.

He held meetings with doctors at the Guru Gorakshnath hospital before returning to the state capital.

The Chief Minister had not visited Gorakhpur since the lockdown began and this was one of his longest periods of absence from his home town.
(IANS) 

Sun, 24 May 2020 07:08:47 +0530
Over 6k cases for 3rd day India s corona tally above 1 30 lakh

New Delhi, With 6,768 new coronavirus cases -- denoting over 6,000 new cases for the third day in a row -- India's total tally climbed to 1,31,868 on Sunday, the Health Ministry data revealed. At least 147 more corona fatalities have been recorded since Saturday, the Ministry said.

Of the total cases, 73,560 are active whereas 3,867 people lost their lives to the highly contagious disease. A total of 54,441 people have been cured so far, including 2,658 in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit state with 47,190 corona cases, 1,577 deaths but also 13,404 recovered patients.

Tamil Nadu came second with 15,512 cases, and Gujarat third with 13,664 cases. The death toll was 103 in Tamil Nadu and 829 in Gujarat. Delhi reported 12,910 cases and 231 casualties, while 6,267 patients have been cured here.

States/UTs with more than 5k cases are Rajasthan (6,742), Madhya Pradesh (6,371) and Uttar Pradesh (6,017). Others with more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,459), Andhra Pradesh (2,757), Punjab (2,045), Telangana (1,813), Bihar (2,380), Jammu and Kashmir (1,569), Karnataka (1,959), Odisha (1,269) and Haryana (1,131). States and UTs with significant number of corona cases are Kerala (795), Jharkhand (350), Chandigarh (225), Assam (329), Tripura (189), Chhattisgarh (225) and Uttarakhand (244).

Sikkim has reported its first case, as per ministry data, while in Dadar Nagar Haveli one more case has emerged, taking its tally to two. Goa has reported 55 cases so far. A spurt has been observed in Pudducherry which now has 26 cases. There are now 49 cases in Ladakh.
IANS

Sun, 24 May 2020 07:02:23 +0530
Over 6k cases for 3rd day India s corona tally above 1 30 lakh

New Delhi, With 6,768 new coronavirus cases -- denoting over 6,000 new cases for the third day in a row -- India's total tally climbed to 1,31,868 on Sunday, the Health Ministry data revealed. At least 147 more corona fatalities have been recorded since Saturday, the Ministry said.

Of the total cases, 73,560 are active whereas 3,867 people lost their lives to the highly contagious disease. A total of 54,441 people have been cured so far, including 2,658 in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra continued to be the worst-hit state with 47,190 corona cases, 1,577 deaths but also 13,404 recovered patients.

Tamil Nadu came second with 15,512 cases, and Gujarat third with 13,664 cases. The death toll was 103 in Tamil Nadu and 829 in Gujarat. Delhi reported 12,910 cases and 231 casualties, while 6,267 patients have been cured here.

States/UTs with more than 5k cases are Rajasthan (6,742), Madhya Pradesh (6,371) and Uttar Pradesh (6,017). Others with more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,459), Andhra Pradesh (2,757), Punjab (2,045), Telangana (1,813), Bihar (2,380), Jammu and Kashmir (1,569), Karnataka (1,959), Odisha (1,269) and Haryana (1,131). States and UTs with significant number of corona cases are Kerala (795), Jharkhand (350), Chandigarh (225), Assam (329), Tripura (189), Chhattisgarh (225) and Uttarakhand (244).

Sikkim has reported its first case, as per ministry data, while in Dadar Nagar Haveli one more case has emerged, taking its tally to two. Goa has reported 55 cases so far. A spurt has been observed in Pudducherry which now has 26 cases. There are now 49 cases in Ladakh.
(IANS) 

Sun, 24 May 2020 06:55:51 +0530
Outraged China asks India to refrain from supporting Taiwan

New Delhi/Beijing, May 23 Outraged by the subtle support that the ruling BJP extended to the democratically elected government of Taiwan, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime has asked India to "refrain from such acts."

On Wednesday, in an unprecedented move, two parliamentarians of the BJP, Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan, 'virtually attended' the swearing-in ceremony of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and sent her congratulations. Tsai was sworn in for her second term.

As most of the international travel remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic which originated in Wuhan city of Hubei province in China, Lekhi and Kaswan were among the 92 dignitaries, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, representing 41 countries, who virtually participated in the ceremony.

Though the Indian government did not officially participate in the event, the presence of two well-known BJP MPs miffed China so much that its Foreign Ministry without naming anyone on the same day objected and hoped everyone would "support the just cause of Chinese people to oppose the secessionist activities for 'Taiwan independence' and realise national reunification."

Now a counsellor (parliament) of the embassy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in New Delhi, Liu Bing has registered CCP's protest against India's participation in the ceremony by writing to both Lekhi and Kaswan. Liu Bing shared a copy of the letter with the IANS.

In his complaint, Liu called Lekhi and Kaswan's congratulatory message to President Tsai "utterly wrong" which needs to be "corrected".

"The one-China principle, enshrined by the UN Charter and its relevant resolutions, is a generally recognized norm in international relations and a general consensus of the international community," he claimed.

Liu Bing reminded the parliamentarians that "the Indian governments have pledged to adhere to one-China principle since the bilateral ties were established seventy years ago."

"Any wrong signals" including the message of congratulation to President Tsai, Liu warned, "will encourage those separatists to go even farther on the wrong and dangerous track, which would ultimately undermine the peace and prosperity of the region."

He strongly urged the BJP parliamentarians to "refrain from such acts and instead do good to support China's great cause of unification."

Describing President Tsai as "the locally elected leader in China's Taiwan Province", Liu said that "unfortunately, the authority led by her in Taiwan province has refused to accept the '1992 consensus' that both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one China and will work together towards national unification."

"On the contrary, Madam Tsai has never renounced to seek 'Taiwan Independence' and kept engaged in separatist activities in one way or the other," he wrote in the letter.

Since the Communist Party of China gained control of the mainland China in 1949, pushing out the Republic of China (ROC) government to the island state of Taiwan, the political status of Taiwan has remained uncertain. The ROC was replaced by the PRC's membership at the UN in 1971. The PRC refuses diplomatic ties with countries that recognize Taiwan as an independent state.

Source : IANS

Sun, 24 May 2020 06:49:24 +0530
Trump could form panel to probe anticonservative bias online

San Francisco, US President Donald Trump wants to form a panel that would examine complaints of anticonservative bias and censorship on social media platforms, said a media report.

Trump has on many occasions alleged that the platforms like Facebook and Twitter do not give equal weightage to conservative views.

"The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google," he tweeted last week.

The US President added that the administration is "working to remedy this illegal situation."

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Saturday, it now seems that the US President actually has an action plan to address his concerns.

The scope and authority of the panel is still under the clouds, but sources of the outlet said that the plans may include a "White House-created commission" that would work in tandem with other agencies like the Federal Elections Commission and Federal Communications Commission.

In a White House meeting last year, Trump, who is a prolific Twitter user, complained to the company's CEO Jack Dorsey that he was losing followers.

On one occasion, Trump even accused Twitter of playing "political games."

Social media platforms have said that its rules are impartial.

A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge on Saturday that the platform enforces "the Twitter Rules impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation."

Twitter is also in regular touch with elected officials in efforts to improve the platform, the spokesperson added.
(IANS) 

Sun, 24 May 2020 06:47:41 +0530
testSun, 24 May 2020 06:43:19 +0530testSun, 24 May 2020 06:39:54 +0530testSun, 24 May 2020 06:37:09 +0530testSun, 24 May 2020 06:13:47 +0530testSun, 24 May 2020 06:07:15 +0530Over 6k cases for 2nd consecutive day India tally crosses 1 30L

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) With 6,768 new cases on the second day in a row, the total case count of the novel coronavirus in the country crossed 1.30 lakh mark and docked at 1,31,868 on Sunday, the Health Ministry data revealed.

At least 147 fatalities have also been recorded since Saturday, said the Health Ministry.

Of the total cases, 73,560 are active cases, while at least 3,867 people lost their lives due to this highly contagious disease. However, a total of 54,441 people have been cured so far, at least 2,658 in the last 24 hours from the disease.

The worst hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 47,190 cases, 1,577 deaths while 13,404 people have recovered.

Tamil Nadu after Maharashtra has reported the most cases with at least 15,512 cases, while Gujarat is on the third spot with 13,664 cases. At least 829 deaths have been reported from Gujarat and a total of 103 from Tamil Nadu.

The national capital reported 12,910 cases and 231 casualties, while 6,267 have been cured here. The states and UTs that have reported more than 5,000, cases are Rajasthan (6742), Madhya Pradesh (6,371) Uttar Pradesh (6,017).

Other major states and UTs that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,459), Andhra Pradesh (2,757), Punjab (2,045), Telangana (1,813), Bihar (2,380), Jammu and Kashmir (1,569), Karnataka (1,959), Odisha (1,269) and Haryana (1,131).

The states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (795), Jharkhand (350), Chandigarh (225), Assam (329), Tripura (189), Chhattisgarh (225) and Uttarakhand (244).

Sikkim has reported its first case as per the health ministry data, while in Dadar Nagar Haveli one more case has emerged and now there are two.

Goa continues to see the resurgence and reported 55 cases so far. A spurt has also been observed in Puducherry, which has now 26 cases. There are now 49 cases in Ladakh.
 

Sun, 24 May 2020 05:06:00 +0530
Over 6k cases for 2nd consecutive day India tally crosses 1 30L

New Delhi,  With 6,768 new cases on the second day in a row, the total case count of the novel coronavirus in the country crossed 1.30 lakh mark and docked at 1,31,868 on Sunday, the Health Ministry data revealed.

At least 147 fatalities have also been recorded since Saturday, said the Health Ministry.

Of the total cases, 73,560 are active cases, while at least 3,867 people lost their lives due to this highly contagious disease. However, a total of 54,441 people have been cured so far, at least 2,658 in the last 24 hours from the disease.

The worst-hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 47,190 cases, 1,577 deaths while 13,404 people have recovered.



Tamil Nadu after Maharashtra has reported the most cases with at least 15,512 cases, while Gujarat is on the third spot with 13,664 cases. At least 829 deaths have been reported from Gujarat and a total of 103 from Tamil Nadu.

The national capital reported 12,910 cases and 231 casualties, while 6,267 have been cured here. The states and UTs that have reported more than 5,000, cases are Rajasthan (6742), Madhya Pradesh (6,371) Uttar Pradesh (6,017).

Other major states and UTs that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,459), Andhra Pradesh (2,757), Punjab (2,045), Telangana (1,813), Bihar (2,380), Jammu and Kashmir (1,569), Karnataka (1,959), Odisha (1,269) and Haryana (1,131).

The states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (795), Jharkhand (350), Chandigarh (225), Assam (329), Tripura (189), Chhattisgarh (225) and Uttarakhand (244).

Sikkim has reported its first case as per the health ministry data, while in Dadar Nagar Haveli one more case has emerged and now there are two.

Goa continues to see the resurgence and reported 55 cases so far. A spurt has also been observed in Puducherry, which has now 26 cases. There are now 49 cases in Ladakh.
 

Sun, 24 May 2020 05:03:50 +0530
Over 6k cases for 2nd consecutive day India tally crosses 1 30L

New Delhi,  With 6,768 new cases on the second day in a row, the total case count of the novel coronavirus in the country crossed 1.30 lakh mark and docked at 1,31,868 on Sunday, the Health Ministry data revealed.

At least 147 fatalities have also been recorded since Saturday, said the Health Ministry.

Of the total cases, 73,560 are active cases, while at least 3,867 people lost their lives due to this highly contagious disease. However, a total of 54,441 people have been cured so far, at least 2,658 in the last 24 hours from the disease.

The worst-hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 47,190 cases, 1,577 deaths while 13,404 people have recovered.


Tamil Nadu after Maharashtra has reported the most cases with at least 15,512 cases, while Gujarat is on the third spot with 13,664 cases. At least 829 deaths have been reported from Gujarat and a total of 103 from Tamil Nadu.

The national capital reported 12,910 cases and 231 casualties, while 6,267 have been cured here. The states and UTs that have reported more than 5,000, cases are Rajasthan (6742), Madhya Pradesh (6,371) Uttar Pradesh (6,017).

Other major states and UTs that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,459), Andhra Pradesh (2,757), Punjab (2,045), Telangana (1,813), Bihar (2,380), Jammu and Kashmir (1,569), Karnataka (1,959), Odisha (1,269) and Haryana (1,131).

The states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (795), Jharkhand (350), Chandigarh (225), Assam (329), Tripura (189), Chhattisgarh (225) and Uttarakhand (244).

Sikkim has reported its first case as per the health ministry data, while in Dadar Nagar Haveli one more case has emerged and now there are two.

Goa continues to see the resurgence and reported 55 cases so far. A spurt has also been observed in Puducherry, which has now 26 cases. There are now 49 cases in Ladakh.
(IANS)

Sun, 24 May 2020 05:00:40 +0530
Over 6k cases for 2nd consecutive day India tally crosses 1 30L

New Delhi, With 6,768 new cases on the second day in a row, the total case count of the novel coronavirus in the country crossed 1.30 lakh mark and docked at 1,31,868 on Sunday, the Health Ministry data revealed.

At least 147 fatalities have also been recorded since Saturday, said the Health Ministry.

Of the total cases, 73,560 are active cases, while at least 3,867 people lost their lives due to this highly contagious disease. However, a total of 54,441 people have been cured so far, at least 2,658 in the last 24 hours from the disease.



The worst hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 47,190 cases, 1,577 deaths while 13,404 people have recovered.

Tamil Nadu after Maharashtra has reported the most cases with at least 15,512 cases, while Gujarat is on the third spot with 13,664 cases. At least 829 deaths have been reported from Gujarat and a total of 103 from Tamil Nadu.

The national capital reported 12,910 cases and 231 casualties, while 6,267 have been cured here. The states and UTs that have reported more than 5,000, cases are Rajasthan (6742), Madhya Pradesh (6,371) Uttar Pradesh (6,017).

Other major states and UTs that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,459), Andhra Pradesh (2,757), Punjab (2,045), Telangana (1,813), Bihar (2,380), Jammu and Kashmir (1,569), Karnataka (1,959), Odisha (1,269) and Haryana (1,131).

The states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (795), Jharkhand (350), Chandigarh (225), Assam (329), Tripura (189), Chhattisgarh (225) and Uttarakhand (244).

Sikkim has reported its first case as per the health ministry data, while in Dadar Nagar Haveli one more case has emerged and now there are two.

Goa continues to see the resurgence and reported 55 cases so far. A spurt has also been observed in Puducherry, which has now 26 cases. There are now 49 cases in Ladakh.
(IANS) 

Sun, 24 May 2020 04:51:18 +0530
Pregnant women with Covid 19 show placenta injury Study

New York, The placentas from 16 women who tested positive for Covid-19 while pregnant showed evidence of injury, the organ that acts as the gut, kidneys, liver and lungs for a fetus during pregnancy, say researchers.

According to the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, pathological exams completed directly following birth found evidence of insufficient blood flow from the mother to the fetus and blood clots in the placenta. The type of injury seen in the placentas shows abnormal blood flow between the mothers and their babies in utero, pointing to a new complication of Covid-19. The findings could help inform how pregnant women should be clinically monitored during the pandemic.

"Most of these babies were delivered full-term after otherwise normal pregnancies, so you wouldn't expect to find anything wrong with the placentas, but this virus appears to be inducing some injury in the placenta," said study senior author Dr Jeffrey Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern University in the US.

"Not to paint a scary picture, but these findings worry me," said study researcher Emily Miller.

"This preliminary glimpse into how Covid-19 might cause changes in the placenta carries some pretty significant implications for the health of a pregnancy. We must discuss whether we should change how we monitor pregnant women right now," Miller stressed.

According to the researchers, examining a woman's placenta allows a pathologist to follow a retroactive roadmap of a woman's pregnancy to learn what happened to the baby in utero or what could happen to both the mother and the infant after birth.

"The placenta acts as a ventilator for the fetus, and if it gets damaged, there can be dire outcomes," Miller said.

"In this very limited study, these findings provide some signs that the ventilator might not work as well for as long as we'd like it to if the mother tests positive for SARS-CoV2," Miller added.

The placentas in these patients had two common abnormalities: insufficient blood flow from the mother to the fetus with abnormal blood vessels called maternal vascular malperfusion (MVM) and blood clots in the placenta, called intervillous thrombi.

"Our finding support that there might be something clot-forming about coronavirus, and it's happening in the placenta," Goldstein added.

The 16 women in the study delivered their babies at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women's Hospital. All tested positive for Covid-19. Four patients came in with flu-like symptoms three to five weeks before delivery and tested positive for the virus. The remaining patients all tested positive when they came in to deliver.

Five patients never developed symptoms, others were symptomatic at delivery. The team began testing placentas of Covid-19 positive mothers in early April. "They were healthy, full-term, beautifully normal babies, but our findings indicate a lot of the blood flow was blocked off and many of the placentas were smaller than they should have been," Miller said.

"Placentas get built with an enormous amount of redundancy. Even with only half of it working, babies are often completely fine. Still, while most babies will be fine, there's a risk that some pregnancies could be compromised," Miller noted.
(IANS) 

Sat, 23 May 2020 11:42:22 +0530
IBM lays off thousands of employees as Covid 19 hits business

San Francisco,  Arvind Krishna-led tech giant IBM has joined the league of companies who have started firing employees in tough Covid-19 times.
The company confirmed the lay offs in a statement given to the media late Friday.

"Recognizing the unique and difficult situation this business decision may create for some of our employees, IBM is offering subsidized medical coverage to all affected US employees through June 2021," said a company spokesperson.

"While we always consider the current environment, IBM's workforce decisions are in the interest of the long-term health of our business," said the company, adding that the "highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly remix high-value skills".

Both Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and IBM have announced significant cost-cutting measures, including pay cuts and significant job losses, reports Ars Technica.

IBM, however, did not disclose how many workers are affected but media reports said thousands of employees are set to lose jobs in at least five

HPE also announced its cost-cutting plans "as part of its more recent quarterly earnings report".

The company will cut some salaries through October 31, with executives taking pay cuts of 20 to 25 per cent.

According to Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, he is hearing it's a balancing act between business units.

"IBM is moving as many resources as it can to the cloud. Essentially, you lay off some of the people without the skills you need and who can't be re-educated and you bring in people with certain skill sets. So not a net reduction in headcount," Moorhead told TechCrunch.

The company acquired Red Hat for $34 billion in 2018.
 

Sat, 23 May 2020 10:04:09 +0530
American billionaires richer by 434 billion during the pandemic

New York, As millions of US citizens lost their jobs in the Covid-19 pandemic, nations billionaires saw their net worth jump $434 billion in the first two months of pandemic, led by Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos ($34.6 billion) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($25 billion).

The top five US billionaires - Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Oracle's Larry Ellison - saw their wealth grow by a total of $75.5 billion, or 19 per cent.

"America's billionaires bound far ahead financially even as the rest of America was locked down during the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic," according to the report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies – Programme on Inequality (IPS).

"The surge in billionaire wealth during a global pandemic underscores the grotesque nature of unequal sacrifice," said Chuck Collins, director of the IPS Program on Inequality and co-author of the ‘Billionaire Bonanza 2020' report.

"While millions risk their lives and livelihoods as first responders and front line workers, these billionaires benefit from an economy and tax system that is wired to funnel wealth to the top," Collins added.

Between March 18 and May 19, the total net worth of the 600-plus US billionaires jumped by $434 billion or 15 per cent, based on the group's analysis of Forbes data.

During that same approximate period, more than 38 million working Americans lost their jobs, nearly 1.5 million Americans fell ill with the virus and almost 90,000 died from it.

The billionaires' worth rose from $2.948 trillion to $3.382 trillion in the period.

"Together, the top five captured 21 per cent of the total wealth growth of all 600-plus billionaires in the last two months. The fortunes of Bezos and Zuckerberg together grew by nearly $60 billion, or 14 per cent of the $434 billion total," said the report.

In March there were 614 billionaires on the Forbes list, and 630 two months later, including newcomer Kanye West at $1.3 billion.

Among other Covid-19 victims are the more than 16 million Americans who have likely lost employer-provided healthcare coverage.

"Low-wage workers, people of color and women have suffered disproportionately in the combined medical and economic crises. Billionaires are overwhelmingly white men," the report mentioned.

Decades of tax cuts for the rich have fueled the growth of billionaires and their wealth.

"The pandemic has revealed the deadly consequences of America's yawning wealth gap, and billionaires are the glaring symbol of that economic inequality," said Frank Clemente, ATF's executive director.
(IANS)

Sat, 23 May 2020 09:59:00 +0530
Delhi govt allows reopening of 66 private liquor shops

New Delhi, The Delhi government's excise department has allowed reopening of 66 private liquor shops in the national capital from Saturday, but the shop owners have been asked to strictly adhere to the odd-even rule.

According to the department, the shops can operate between 9 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. on alternate days. The L-7/L-9 shops were only allowed to resume sale subject to certain conditions.

"They shall deposit 70 per cent special corona fee on total sales daily, which will be deducted from their ledger account linked with their Vend-ID in ESCIMS. They should, therefore, maintain the requisite balance in their ledger account," the excise department said on Friday.

The department also asked the shop owners to strictly abide by the National Directives for COVID-19 Management and to take all possible measures including deployment of adequate number of guards, proper barricading, marking to ensure social distancing, in coordination with Delhi Police and local administration.

"In case of any un-scanned sale, the MSR Gap generated shall be treated as the stock sold and 70 per cent special corona fee shall be levied and payable at the same," it added.

The department further said that in case the shops which were allowed to operate comes under the containment zone in future, the same shall be closed immediately.
(IANS)

Sat, 23 May 2020 08:54:40 +0530
Chidambaram slams govt asks why RBI is infusing liquidity

New Delhi, Former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, on Saturday, slammed the central government and questioned why the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is infusing more liquidity as the growth in the financial year 2020-21 is headed towards negative territory.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said, "RBI Governor says demand has collapsed, growth in 2020-21 headed toward negative territory. Why is he then infusing more liquidity?"

The former Minister in next tweet also said that Shaktikanta Das should bluntly tell the government -- "Do your duty, take fiscal measures".

"Even after RBI's statement, is the Government or Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) lauding themselves for a package that has fiscal stimulus of less than 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP)?" he said.

Slamming the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), Chidambaram said, "RSS should be ashamed of how the government has dragged the economy into negative growth territory."

His remarks came a day after the RBI delivered an emergency rate cut for the second time in as many months on Friday as it judged that the Covid-19 pandemic poses a grave threat to the country and will lead to the first economic contraction in 40 years.

Das on Friday announced a 40 basis points (bps) cut in the repo and reverse repo rates, while markedly pivoting the central bank's focus from inflation control to fostering growth. Das pledged to take whatever "measures are necessary" to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.

He also said that India's GDP growth rate for the financial year 2020-21 is likely to be in the negative territory.
(IANS) 

Sat, 23 May 2020 07:49:44 +0530
HCQ ups death risk warns Indian origin researcher in Lancet study

New York, A significant observational study led by Professor Mandeep R. Mehra, executive director of the Brigham and Women's Hospital Center for Advanced Heart Disease in Boston, has claimed that treatment with antimalarial drug chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (taken with or without antibiotics azithromycin or clarithromycin) offers no benefit for patients with Covid-19.

The study, published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, comes after US President Donald Trump said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus, even though health officials have warned it may be unsafe.

"This is the first large scale study to find statistically robust evidence that treatment with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine does not benefit patients with Covid-19," said Mehra.

"Instead, our findings suggest it may be associated with an increased risk of serious heart problems and increased risk of death,a he warned.

The study analysed data from nearly 15,000 patients with Covid-19, receiving a combination of any of the four drug regimens and 81,000 controls.

Treatment with these medications among patients with COVID-19, either alone or in combination with macrolide antibiotics, was linked to an increased risk of serious heart rhythm complications in these patients.

Researchers suggest these treatment regimens should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of clinical trials until results from randomised clinical trials are available to confirm the safety and efficacy of these medications for COVID-19 patients.

"Randomised clinical trials are essential to confirm any harms or benefits associated with these agents. In the meantime, we suggest these drugs should not be used as treatments for COVID-19 outside of clinical trials," said Mehra.

Chloroquine is an antimalarial drug and its analogue, hydroxychloroquine, is used to treat autoimmune diseases including lupus and arthritis.

Both drugs have a good safety profile as treatments for those specific conditions, and the findings do not imply patients should stop taking these drugs if they are prescribed for approved conditions.

In the study, researchers analysed data from 96,032 patients hospitalised between December 20 2019 and April 14 2020 with laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection from 671 hospitals.

All of the patients included in the study had either been discharged or had died by April 21.

The team compared outcomes from patients treated with chloroquine alone (1,868), hydroxychloroquine alone (3,016), chloroquine in combination with a macrolide (3,783) or hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide (6,221). Patients from these four groups were compared with the remaining control group of 81,144 patients.

At the end of the study period, around one in 11 patients in the control group had died in hospital.

All four of the treatments were associated with a higher risk of dying in hospital.

The team also found that serious cardiac arrhythmias, which cause the lower chamber of the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly, were more common in the groups receiving either of the four treatment regimens.

The biggest increase was seen in the group treated with hydroxychloroquine in combination with a macrolide, where 8 per cent of patients developed a heart arrhythmia compared with 0.3 per cent patients in the control group (226/81144).

Several countries have advocated use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, either alone or in combination, as potential treatments for Covid-19.

"Justification for repurposing these medicines in this way is based on a small number of anecdotal experiences that suggest they may have ," said Professor Dr Frank Ruschitzka, Director of the Heart Center at University Hospital Zurich who also co-authored the study.

"However, previous small-scale studies have failed to identify robust evidence of a benefit and larger, randomised controlled trials are not yet completed. However, we now know from our study that the chance that these medications improve outcomes in COVID-19 is quite low," he elaborated.
(IANS)

Sat, 23 May 2020 06:41:21 +0530
PCGS for NBFCs operational Rs 3 lakh cr credit line for MSMEs soon

New Delhi,  The Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS) for NBFCs has become operational and the Rs 3 lakh crore collateral-free credit line for MSMEs is expected to be operational soon, according to the Department of Financial Service (DFS).

In a tweet, post the meeting of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with chiefs of public sector banks (PSBs) on Friday, the DFS said that the formalities for the government-guaranteed credit for MSMEs are underway.

"PCGS scheme operational! Ensuring liquidity to #MSME! 100% Govt. Guaranteed Rs. 3 Lakh Cr credit line expected to be operational very soon. Formalities underway," said the DFS tweet.

In another tweet, the department further said that PSBs will prioritise sanctions under emergency credit, reassessment of working capital and guaranteed credit line in tier-II cities in each state and Union Territory by June 1.

The government and the PSBs have aimed for fully digital loan documentation process of all the liquidity measures under the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package.

The DFS also said that the PSBs remain at the forefront in fight against the pandemic and 97 per cent bank branches and 80 per cent ATMs were operational throughout the lockdown.

"Helping nation tide over the economic distress caused due to #Covid19! PSBs sanctioned Rs. 1.22 Lakh cr to 92 per cent of eligible MSMEs & corp. loan accounts of PSBs. under COVID-19 related emergency credit products & enhanced working capital," said a tweet.

The details of the schemes and the loans sanctioned by the PSBS have came after Sitharaman on Friday met heads of public sector banks (PSB) through video conference for the operationalisation of the economic package under the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiative.

She also reviewed loan sanction pace, concerns of borrowers and bankers, interest rate transmission.

The DFS said that everyone attending the conference was aligned on the need to quickly address the needs of MSMEs and other customers.
(IANS)

Sat, 23 May 2020 06:16:27 +0530
DMK will not be cowed down by falses cases Stalin

Chennai, The Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) President M.K.Stalin on Saturday condemned the arrest of the party's Organising Secretary and MP R.S.Bharathi, saying that DMK will not be cowed down by false cases.

In a statement issued here, Stalin said Bharathi had given an explanation to his speech made at a party office and also expressed regret.

Stalin said there are two cases in the Madras High Court to quash the First Information Report (FIR) registered pertaining to the case.

Without taking that into account the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister K.Palaniswami has arrested Bharathi which is nothing but shameful, the DMP President said.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Stalin said Bharathi had complained against corruption in the government and hence his arrest was to divert the attention.
(IANS)

Sat, 23 May 2020 06:10:11 +0530
Karachi plane crash toll increases to over 90

Karachi, More than 90 people have been confirmed dead after a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane crashed into a residential area in Karachi near the city's airport, while a search and rescue operation continued on Saturday, according to authorities.

Sindh health officials have said that 97 people have been confirmed dead, while two survived the crash on Friday that took place in the densely populated Model Colony near the Jinnah International Airport, reports Dawn news.

According to PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez, the A320 Airbus was carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members from Lahore to Karachi.

Eyewitnesses said the flight PK 8303 appeared to attempt to land two or three times before crashing.

Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator for the Sindh Health Minister, told Dawn news that two passengers had survived and were brought to hospitals.

She identified the survivors as Zubair and Zafar Masood, who is the President of Bank of Punjab.

"Zubair has 35 per cent burns and is being treated at the (Dr Ruth Pfau) Civil Hospital Karachi, while Masood has four fractures and is being treated at the Darul Sehat Hospital," said Yousuf, adding that both were in stable condition.


Moreover, she said that 19 victims had been identified so far.

A third person, who had earlier been identified as a survivor from the plane, was later confirmed to be a resident of the area where the plane crashed.

She was among the 11 persons who were injured on the ground.

Meanwhile, PIA's Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik has ruled any possibility that the plane had any technical or any other issue.

"All standard operating procedures were followed before the plane's takeoff," The Express Tribune quoted him as saying in a news conference on Friday night.

He said the inquiry will be held to ascertain the cause of crash.

But Pakistan Airlines Pilots' Association spokesperson Tariq Yahya, while speaking on Geo News, said that the plane seemed to be gliding at the end.

"Communications show that the plane did not have power at the end and was gliding and couldn't make it to the runway," said Yahya, adding that it didn't have power when it was asked to climb to 3,000 feet.

The crash came just days after Pakistan allowed the domestic flights to resume operations after being grounded for days due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered condolences to the families of the departed and has ensured an immediate inquiry is instituted.

Federal Minister for Aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, expressed his grief and sorrow over the tragedy and has instructed the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board to come up with a prompt inquiry report for the incident.

In Pakistan's most recent deadly crash, a PIA plane in 2016 burst into flames after one of its two turboprop engines failed while flying from the remote north to Islamabad, killing more than 40 people.

The deadliest air disaster on Pakistani soil was in 2010, when an Airbus A321 operated by private airline Airblue and flying from Karachi crashed into the hills outside Islamabad as it came into land, killing all 152 people on board.

(IANS) 

Sat, 23 May 2020 06:01:49 +0530
Democrats denounce US withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty

Washington, Democrats have denounced US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, saying it was illegal and demanded an explanation for the move.

In a letter on Friday to State Secretary Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said that the withdrawal from the treaty without consultation with Congress violates Section 1234 of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, reports Xinhua news agency.

"This provision of law stipulates that you must notify Congress not later than 120 days before the intent to withdraw from the treaty is presented to either treaty depository... To date, this requirement has not been fulfilled," the two Democrats said in the letter, demanding an explanation for this "intended illegal action".

Engel and Smith also said that they strongly oppose the withdrawal decision, which they believe would "specifically negatively impact US leadership in NATO and the transatlantic relationship with its allies and partners".

"It appears that short-sighted interests and partisan politics prevailed over reason and good foreign policy. This is a regrettable decision that will have lasting consequences," they added.

Trump on Thursday announced that he was withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty, saying that "Russia didn't adhere to the treaty. Until they adhere we will pull out"

.He also said that there was a "very good chance we'll reach a new agreement" with Russia.

Also on Thursday, Pompeo announced that the US would submit the notice of its decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty to all other state parties on Friday, citing Russian non-compliance as a motivating factor for its decision.

The withdrawal would formally take place in six months, based on the treaty's withdrawal terms. Pompeo said Washington might reconsider its decision if Moscow returns to "full compliance with the Treaty".

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that the country was open to dialogue with the US on the Open Skies Treaty, but only if it is based on equal rights and aimed at mutual consideration of interests and concerns.

The US and Russia have blamed each other for noncompliance with the treaty.

The Treaty on Open Skies, the implementation of which is monitored by the Vienna-based Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, has been in force since 2002 and allows its 34 signatory nations to fly over any part of one another's territory, photographing from the air, with the aim of ensuring that other countries or rivals were not preparing military attacks.

The official notification of Washington's withdrawal from the pact will be presented on Friday, which implies that within six months, which is by November 22, the US will no longer be a party to the agreement.

Over 1,500 Open Skies flights have been conducted since the deal entered into force in 2002, according to media reports.

Ten European nations on Friday issued a joint statement regretting the US' withdrawal.

"We regret the announcement by the government of the United States of its intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, although we share its concerns regarding the implementation of treaty provisions by Russia," said the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Sweden in the statement.

"We will continue to implement the Open Skies Treaty which has obvious added value for our conventional arms control architecture and our common security," said the statement.

It was the latest in a string of moves by the Trump administration to withdraw from major international treaties.

Washington abandoned the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Moscow last year.

The pullout of the Open Skies Treaty further raised doubts over whether the Trump administration would extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty in force between Washington and Moscow.

The New START, which expires next February, can be extended for at most five years with the consent of the two countries.

Russia has expressed willingness to extend the treaty, while the Trump administration has yet to officially reply.
(IANS) 

Sat, 23 May 2020 05:52:02 +0530
India s COVID tally crosses 1 25 lakh mark 3 720 deaths

New Delhi, As Lockdown-4 brought in the easing of restrictions across the country, India crossed the 1.25 lakh mark coronavirus cases with the total number rising to 1,25,101, the Union Health Ministry data revealed on Saturday.

Of the total cases, 69,597 are active, 51,783 have recovered while 3,720 people have lost their lives due to the deadly virus.

The worst-hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 44,582 cases, 1,517 people deaths while 12,583 people have recovered. Next is Tamil Nadu with 14,753 cases and 98 deaths while Gujarat is at the third spot with 13,268 cases and 802 deaths.

Delhi has so far reported 12,319 cases with 208 fatalities and 5,897 people recovering from the disease. States with more than 5,000 cases are Rajasthan (6,494), Madhya Pradesh (6,170) and Uttar Pradesh (5,735)



Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,332), Andhra Pradesh (2,709), Punjab (2,029), Telangana (1,761), Bihar (2,177), Jammu and Kashmir (1,489), Karnataka (1,743), Odisha (1,189) and Haryana (1,067).

States and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (732), Jharkhand (308), Chandigarh (218), Assam (259), Tripura (175), Chhattisgarh (172) and Uttarakhand (153).
(IANS)

Sat, 23 May 2020 05:41:04 +0530
How is that Kerala could effectively combat COVID 19

How is it that Kerala could in actual fact productively combat COVID-19 when the world at large appeared not well prepared to respond to this health emergency?

The Kerala Left Democratic govt. Under the leadership of CM Pinarayi Vijayan in close collaboration with his team and people have managed to successfully curtail the human and economic losses whether due to the floods, the Nipah Virus, outbreak and now the covid19 pandemic which has surprisingly made Kerala a role model and topic of discussion worldwide.

 In Kerala the congress being in the opposition has been in working together and playing a role in living aside all the political differences in creating success towards the fight against covid19.

The credit also goes to our Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi having won accolades for the bold, timely decision of imposing a nationwide lockdown on 24 th March to fight the corona virus crisis,  and the  subsequent implementation by the left govt.religiously played a crucial role in flattening the curve

This becomes more evident that the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan appreciating the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and health minister  K. K Shailaja along with the entire team for doing a wonderful job in flattening the curve of corona virus in Kerala is note worthy. Finally a lesson to learn from the pandemic grappled by the entire world Kerala has shown that being a Gods own country  we are all protected and governed by nature. A healthy environment provides nutrients that flow up the food chain, from plants to animals, to provide energy. ... By preserving nature, the planet and all its inhabitants are guaranteed a constant supply of clean water and fresh air resulting in building a strong immune system which is the need of the hour to fight against the corona virus menace  by protecting and preserving the ecological balance.

The government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan did not lose any time when it was alerted to Covid-19’s dangers and proceeded to raise people’s awareness even as first world leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson continued to overlook the urgency of the situation in the initial months.

Kerala was the first state in India to have the first case of corona positive on 30th January with topping the charts alarmingly with more cases than elsewhere in the country before WHO declaring it as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The population of Kerala is 33 million with 667 confirmed positive cases and only four deaths reported till date. On the other hand Italy and Spain too had confirmed the first case of covid positive on 31st January on par with Kerala.Today as on 22nd May 2020 Italy having a population of 66 million has 2,28,000 confirmed positive cases and the death toll has reached 32,486, whereas Spain with a population of 41.1

 million people corona virus cases have touched 2,33,037 and the death toll figure is 27,940.

For example if we look into the third case study of New York the most developed state of U.S and Kerala as compared to highlight and understand the severe difference in the approach of two states. The population of Kerala is 33 million while that of New York is 19 million. The per capita income of Kerala is $2,937 while that of New York state is $88,981. There are 1.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in Kerala whereas the corresponding figure for New York is 3.1 beds. Kerala has 1.7 doctors per 1,000 persons, New York is credited with 3.8 doctors. However, the total corona positive cases in Kerala as on May 20 was 667 people of which the state had reported just four deaths while 12 had returned recently to the state from abroad and 12 from opening of inter state boundaries.161 people in the state are still undergoing treatment and 502 having recovered out of a total of 667.On the subsequent date, New York state had over 3,57,757  corona positive cases with more than 28,437deaths as per New York times official report updated May20,2020,8:37A.M

Kerala has the lowest mortality rate as well as the highest recovery rate with respect to corona virus infections having half the population size  compared to entire Italy or double the population of New York State. The initial statistical projection of cases and deaths became outmoded due to the organic method adopted by Kerala. The number of tests conducted in Kerala is just 10 per cent of the figures for countries such as the US , Italy and spain. The real but aggressive contact tracing and keeping a large number of people under observation helped Kerala in preventing community spread. Ninety per cent of the positive cases were detected among people who were kept under observation.

The credit should go to Kerala’s strong local governance, effective social structure and well-knit multi-layered public health formation. The state may be way behind in industrial production, but its human development indices are the best foundation of social equality. Kerala is well known for its heavy dose of politics which is prevalent in all aspects of life in the state.A positive feature of this is that there is a close interconnect between the layers of administration and people. Larger civil society is quite familiar with the links between citizens’ health and good governance, consider health equality as one of the foundational prerequisites for social equality.

Kerala is known for the welfare measures it has taken for the people of the state and is considered a welfare state. The state has initiated many social security schemes for the poor and the needy as the concept of a welfare state pre-supposes careful planning and effective implementation of welfare services for the weaker sections of the community which becomes more handy during any crisis.

The presence of multiple voices expect both people and government to help each other, connecting network till the micro level  in building a strong public health system with utmost belief and trust being the main reason for the success of any disaster striking Kerala.

 One can argue that Kerala’s success is intrinsically connected to its vibrant public sphere in which the ideas of rights and citizenship are debated constantly.

The success of the current government in battling the pandemic lies in its judicious realization of the political and civic sensibilities of its people and its ability to extract solutions based on these factors.

And for the rest of us Indians, we need to figure out...Finally what matters??? Communal supremacy, ideological pride, retrospecting  history or a system that promises us a good, healthy, respectable quality of life for us and our family....Think about it!

Fri, 22 May 2020 15:08:20 +0530
Pak COVID 19 cases tally over 50 000

Islamabad, The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has increased to 50,694 with 1,067 deaths, the Health Ministry said in its latest update on Friday.

A total of 2,603 new cases and 50 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

Overall, 34,426 patients are under treatment in hospitals, while 15,201 have recovered completely, which is 30 per cent of the total confirmed cases.

Sindh province is the most affected region with 19,924 cases followed by Punjab province with 18,455 cases.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province reported 7,155 cases, with 365 deaths.

At least 3,074 cases have been reported in southwestern Balochistan province, 1,326 in the capital city Islamabad, and 602 in northern Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Sindh recorded 336 deaths, followed by Punjab where 310 infected people have lost their lives, the Ministry said, adding that Pakistan has conducted 445,987 tests officially so far.

The Pakistani government started to ease the lockdown from May 9, aiming at mitigating the influence of the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown on the labour class and the poor in the country.

Domestic flight operations and train services in Pakistan have also been resumed partially.
 

(IANS) 

Fri, 22 May 2020 11:13:44 +0530
Several Indian Americans added to Biden s unity taskforces

Washington, Several prominent Indian-American leaders have been added to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' joint task forces which will promote party unity by hammering out consensus on top policy issues.

On May 13, it was announced that Biden and Sanders put together six of the "unity task forces" to handle policy in the areas of economy, education, immigration, health care, climate change, and criminal justice reform, India-West reported on Friday.

Two Indian-Americans had already been named as co-chairs of the Health panel: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and US Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

On Thursday, South Asians for Biden said that additional Indian-Americans have also been named members of the Unity Taskforce.

Chiraag Bains, director of Legal Strategies for the think tank Demos and former Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, now president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will serve on the Criminal Justice Reform group.

Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement, a leading organization focused on climate change among young people, will be a part of the Climate Change group.

Sonal Shah, policy director for former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg's 2020 presidential campaign, will serve on the Economy group.

"We are thrilled to see that a number of South Asian leaders have been selected to serve on the Unity Taskforce, which will have an impact on the Democratic Party platform for years to come," India-West quoted Neha Dewan, National Director of South Asians for Biden, as saying.

"South Asians represent the second-most rapidly growing demographic group in America. In this critical election year, the South Asian community has a stake in key policy questions that affect our communities, and are deeply impacted by issues spanning immigration, civil rights, and healthcare.

"Such a robust representation of South Asians on the Unity Taskforce reflects the growing voting strength of the community," said Ritu Pancholy, a member of the communications team for South Asians for Biden.

South Asians for Biden is a national, grassroots organization that is dedicated to engaging, educating, and mobilizing the South Asian community to help elect the former Vice President to the White House this year.
(IANS) 

Fri, 22 May 2020 08:55:18 +0530
Congress reiterates CBI probe into controversial Sprinklr deal

Thiruvananthapuram, May 22 (IANS) A day after the Pinarayi Vijayan government in an affidavit informed the Kerala High Court, that US-based PR and marketing firm -- Sprinklr will have no more role in COVID-19 data analysis, the Congress on Friday reiterated its demand for a CBI probe into the deal, that was kept as a closely guarded secret.

Speaking to the media here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said his and the opposition's position on this deal right from the start has turned to be true and the fresh affidavit submitted makes it complete.

"The case is still in the court, but we wish to reiterate our earlier position that the entire truth on this controversial deal has to be probed by the CBI. Vijayan was ridiculing us each time we raised this matter, but in the affidavit that was submitted on Thursday, shows a clear somersault if you compare, the government's first affidavit on this issue," said Chennithala.

"Had I not raised this issue on April 10 for the first time, not a soul would have known of this deal with Sprinklr. Vijayan ever since Covid surfaced has been meeting the media practically every day and barring this, he said everything. A CBI probe will reveal , on how and why this Sprinklr was selected. Then Vijayan said, only Sprinklr would be able to do this, now they say everything can be done by C-DIT ( the state agency) . Everything is fishy and contradictory. Let the truth come out," added Chennithala.

Last month, the Kerala High Court after hearing various petitioners in the controversial transfer of COVID-19 patients data by the Kerala government, while refusing to stay the agreement, gave a number of directions to the state government, saying all safeguards regarding data privacy be maintained and posted the case, which is soon coming up and hence the new affidavit was filed.

The main demand of the Opposition (both Congress and BJP) was to stay and cancel the agreement.

"We will pursue this issue seriously as none knows about the data of five lakhs people which this company collected between March 27th and April 3rd. This amounts to data of around five lakhs people in our state. Yesterday in the affidavit , the state government has said they will be asking Sprinklr to destroy all the data. But, how will we know if they do that. We will pursue this case in the court also," added Chennithala.
 

Fri, 22 May 2020 08:24:55 +0530
RBI s Moratorium extension may be negative for NBFCs Report

New Delhi,  The RBI decision to further extend moratorium period to end borrowers may be negative for all NBFCs (including the ones with strong liability franchises) as this would further delay the overall collection and recovery procedure, and stretch the total liquidity cycle for all, a report from a brokerage said on Friday.

According to a quick analysis of RBI decisions done by Emkay Global, the extension of the moratorium would further damage financial discipline, especially for small-ticket borrowers and MFIs and may result in bigger problems for the sector ahead.

While NBFC may face pressure from delays in recovery of loans, there is no clarity yet over moratorium extension for NBFCs from banks. Most of the large NBFCs stayed away from opting for a moratorium; however, they also need to change stance over this. Hence, confusion multiplies now, the brokerage said.

Another worry, the report added, remains over absence of clarity over asset reclassification standstill which is expected to expire on May 31. In the absence of an extension, there could be a large chunk of NPA additions, along with sizeable increase in provision requirement for all lenders.

The RBI, though has clarified that asset classification standstill will continue during the moratorium/deferment period from March 1 to August 31. Thereafter, the normal ageing norms shall apply.

Although the 40bps cut in policy rate cut would support margins, especially for better NBFCs, further moratorium extension would be a bigger trouble for large ones now, Emkay said.

"We have been reiterating that HFCs are better placed in comparison with AFCs. However, near-term pressure for all is inevitable. BAF, CIFC and MMFS could be a little more vulnerable now," the brokerage said.
(IANS)

Fri, 22 May 2020 08:15:32 +0530
Economic damage for India from lockdown to be significant Moody s

New Delhi, Moody's Investors Service said on Friday that economic damage as a result of India's coronavirus lockdown will likely be extensive and reflect the country's inherent economic vulnerability and fiscal constraints.

The report pointed out that this will have wide-ranging effects on both public and private sectors.

Moody's Investors Service has released a report titled "Coronavirus - India: Lockdown compounds economic challenges as credit risks rise in many sectors".

"We expect the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak to weigh on the already fragile household consumption which, coupled with sluggish business activity, will result in a sharp decline in India's economic growth in fiscal 2020-21," says Deborah Tan, a Moody's Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, the economy had already been growing at its slowest pace in six years.

Adding the impact from the outbreak, Moody's now expects India's real GDP to contract in the fiscal year ending March 2021 (fiscal 2020-21) compared with an earlier projection of zero growth.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das in his monetary policy review statement projected that the economy will contract in FY21.

Moody's estimates that economy is also expected to recover somewhat more strongly in fiscal 2021-22 relative to an earlier forecast of 6.6% growth.

Among corporates, the auto, oil & gas and mining sectors will bear the brunt of the downturn, given their sensitivity to consumer demand, sentiment and supply chain disruptions.

The economic slowdown will also hit the performance of commercial vehicle and MSME loans, with the effects more significant if the outbreak spreads and suspension of business activity is prolonged.

"Moreover, we expect the economic shock from the coronavirus to result in significant slippage from the central government's budgeted deficit target for fiscal 2020-21," added Tan.

While the announced stimulus will bring a degree of relief to rural households and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the measures are unlikely to offset lower activity resulting from the extended lockdown.

Banks and finance companies accordingly will see a broad-based deterioration in asset quality, while finance companies and smaller private banks will also face funding and liquidity issues, Moody's Investors Service said.

Slowing premiums, increasing medical claims and liquidity pressures will pose risks for insurers. While general and health insurers will see some surge in medical premiums, the sector's challenges will continue, it added.
IANS)

Fri, 22 May 2020 08:11:42 +0530
3 women killed in SL stampede over COVID 19 aid

Colombo, At least three women were killed and nine others injured in a stampede during the distribution of coronavirus-related aid in the Sri Lankan capital, police said.

Police said the incident took place on Thursday in the Maligawatta area of Colombo, where a businessperson had organized an event to distribute cash donations of 1,500 Sri Lankan rupees ($8) to the poor, reports Efe news.

The island country is under a nationwide lockdown that has pushed the economy to the brink amid no tourism, with millions losing their livelihood.

Police superintendent Jaliya Senaratne said six people who had organized the charity event were arrested following the incident.

"Everything happened within five or 10 minutes. Over 1,000 people had gathered to get the donation. Three were killed and nine others injured," Senaratne told reporters.

The police rushed the injured to a hospital.

Senaratne said the businessperson and five of his associates had organized the event near a mosque on the eve of the last Friday before the end of Ramzan, the holy Muslim month of fasting.

"The people had gathered at a road near the mosque where they were given cash donations. We were told people were given 1500 rupees each," a police officer told Efe news.

The accused face charges of violating social distancing regulations by organizing a public event without informing police, at a time when the government has prohibited large gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Senaratne said the arrested also face charges "related to the origin of the stampede".

The charity event was organized to help those who have been hit hardest by the weeks-long curfew.

The restrictions were eased last week as the country has so far reported just over 1,000 positive cases and nine deaths. The relaxations have allowed many people to return to work.

In a bid to aid poverty-hit people, the government had initiated a scheme to distribute a monthly grant of 5,000 Sri Lankan rupees to each family from March onwards.

However, the government discontinued the program after a National Election Commission request, as it could be considered a violation of the code of conduct before the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The poll body had fixed elections for April 25, but due to the pandemic they will now be held on June 20.
(IANS)

Fri, 22 May 2020 06:02:18 +0530
Rahul Gandhi disturbed over Amphan mayhem

New Delhi, Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's to West Bengal and Odisha for taking the stock of the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too expressed his concern over the loss of lives.

"The widespread devastation caused by #CycloneAmphan in West Bengal & Odisha is disturbing. My condolences to the families of those who have perished & I pray the injured make a speedy recovery. I offer my support to the brave people of these two states in this time of crisis," Gandhi tweeted.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the storm left at least 72 people dead and many homeless besides snapping electricity, internet connection and other communication tools in large parts of the state.

"I have requested the Prime Minister to pay a visit to the affected areas of the state, mainly the coastal districts situated along the Bay of Bengal and its surrounding areas," she said, adding that everything has been ruined by the cyclone.

The super Cyclone has been the deadliest one since 1999, to make a landfall in the bay of Bengal area.
(IANS)

Fri, 22 May 2020 05:54:32 +0530
Samsung launches its first outdoor TV The Terrace

San Francisco, South Korean tech giant Samsung has launched its first outdoor 4K QLED TV called 'The Terrace' with an IP55 dust and water resistance rating.

According to the Verge, The Terrace QLED 4K Smart TV comes in 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch models. The 55-inch model is available at $3,455, the 65-inch is at $4,999, and the 75-inch display for $6,499.

Currently, the product is available in US and Canada and will come to Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and other regions later this year.

"With the introduction of The Terrace, we are thrilled to transcend the connected living room experience to the outdoors by delivering on engineering feats and content experiences that only Samsung can achieve," Jonghee Han, President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement.

On ‘The Terrace', Samsung increased the brightness to a maximum of 2,000 nits, so the picture will be brighter and reduce the reflection rate.

‘The Terrace' boasts a 4K QLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, full-array local dimming, and Samsung's Quantum processor for upscaling HD images to 4K.

It features three HDMI ports, a LAN port, a Toslink optical audio output, and a USB port.

Meanwhile, Samsung has also introduced the Terrace Soundbar.

The Soundbar can sync with the Terrace TV's audio via Bluetooth, in keeping with Samsung's "no wires but the power cord" pitch for its new outdoor Terrace products.

The Terrace Soundbar will cost $1,200 and is slated to ship at the end of May.
(IANS) 

Fri, 22 May 2020 05:44:51 +0530
How is that Kerala could effectively combat COVID 19

How is it that Kerala could in actual fact productively combat COVID-19 when the world at large appeared not well prepared to respond to this health emergency?

The Kerala Left Democratic govt. Under the leadership of CM Pinarayi Vijayan in close collaboration with his team and people have managed to successfully curtail the human and economic losses whether due to the floods, the Nipah Virus, outbreak and now the covid19 pandemic which has surprisingly made Kerala a role model and topic of discussion worldwide.

In Kerala, the congress being in the opposition has been in working together and playing a role in living aside all the political differences in creating success towards the fight against covid19.

The credit also goes to our Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won accolades for the bold, timely decision of imposing a nationwide lockdown on 24 th March to fight the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent implementation by the left Govt. religiously played a crucial role in flattening the curve

This becomes more evident that the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan appreciating the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and health minister  K. K Shailaja along with the entire team for doing a wonderful job in flattening the curve of coronavirus in Kerala is noteworthy. Finally, a lesson to learn from the pandemic grappled by the entire world Kerala has shown that being a Gods own country we are all protected and governed by nature. A healthy environment provides nutrients that flow up the food chain, from plants to animals, to provide energy. ... By preserving nature, the planet and all its inhabitants are guaranteed a constant supply of clean water and fresh air resulting in building a strong immune system which is the need of the hour to fight against the coronavirus menace by protecting and preserving the ecological balance.

The government under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan did not lose any time when it was alerted to Covid-19’s dangers and proceeded to raise people’s awareness even as first world leaders like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson continued to overlook the urgency of the situation in the initial months.

Kerala was the first state in India to have the first case of corona positive on 30th January with topping the charts alarmingly with more cases than elsewhere in the country before WHO declaring it as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. The population of Kerala is 33 million, with 667 confirmed positive cases and only four deaths reported till date. On the other hand, Italy and Spain too had confirmed the first case of COVID positive on 31st January on par with Kerala. Today as on 22nd May 2020 Italy has a population of 66 million has 2,28,000 confirmed positive cases and the death toll has reached 32,486, whereas Spain with a population of 41.1

 million people coronavirus cases have touched 2,33,037, and the death toll figure is 27,940.

For example, if we look into the third case study of New York, the most developed state of U.S. and Kerala as compared to highlight and understand the severe difference in the approach of two states. The population of Kerala is 33 million, while that of New York is 19 million. The per capita income of Kerala is $2,937 while that of New York state is $88,981. There are 1.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in Kerala, whereas the corresponding figure for New York is 3.1 beds. Kerala has 1.7 doctors per 1,000 persons, NewYork is credited with 3.8 doctors. However, the total corona positive cases in Kerala as on May 20 was 667 people of which the state had reported just four deaths while 12 had returned recently to the state from abroad and 12 from the opening of interstate boundaries.161 people in the state are still undergoing treatment, and 502 having recovered out of a total of 667. On the subsequent date, New York state had over 3,57,757  corona positive cases with more than 28,437deaths as per New York times official report updated May20,2020,8:37A.M

Kerala has the lowest mortality rate as well as the highest recovery rate with respect to coronavirus infections having half the population size compared to entire Italy or double the population of New York State. The initial statistical projection of cases and deaths became outmoded due to the organic method adopted by Kerala. The number of tests conducted in Kerala is just 10 per cent of the figures for countries such as the U.S., Italy and Spain. The real but aggressive contact tracing and keeping a large number of people under observation helped Kerala in preventing community spread. Ninety per cent of the positive cases were detected among people who were kept under observation.

The credit should go to Kerala’s strong local governance, effective social structure and well-knit multi-layered public health formation. The state may be way behind in industrial production, but its human development indices are the best foundation of social equality. Kerala is well known for its heavy dose of politics which is prevalent in all aspects of life in the state.A positive feature of this is that there is a close interconnect between the layers of administration and people. Larger civil society is quite familiar with the links between citizens’ health and good governance, consider health equality as one of the foundational prerequisites for social equality.

Kerala is known for the welfare measures it has taken for the people of the state and is considered a welfare state. The state has initiated many social security schemes for the poor and the needy as the concept of a welfare state pre-supposes careful planning and effective implementation of welfare services for the weaker sections of the community which becomes handier during any crisis.

The presence of multiple voices expects both people and government to help each other, connecting network till the micro-level in building a strong public health system with utmost belief and trust being the main reason for the success of any disaster striking Kerala.

 One can argue that Kerala’s success is intrinsically connected to its vibrant public sphere in which the ideas of rights and citizenship are debated constantly.

The success of the current government in battling the pandemic lies in its judicious realization of the political and civic sensibilities of its people and its ability to extract solutions based on these factors.

And for the rest of us Indians, we need to figure out. Finally, what matters??? Communal supremacy, ideological pride, retrospecting history or a system that promises us a good, healthy, respectable quality of life for our family and us...Think about it!

Fri, 22 May 2020 05:27:57 +0530
Unicef warns of dangers for migrant kids forcibly returned

United Nations, May 22 (IANS) The Unicef has warned of the dangers for migrant children who are being forcibly returned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since early March, at least 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been returned from the US to Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras despite serious protection risks in their communities of origin aggravated by COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

Over the same period, at least 447 migrant children were returned from Mexico to Guatemala and Honduras, the Unicef said on Thurday.

It warned that acts of violence and discrimination are being perpetrated against returnees perceived to have been infected with the disease and that they face major protection risks during their reintegration.

"For children on the move across the region, COVID-19 is making a bad situation even worse. Discrimination and attacks are now added to existing threats like gang violence that drove these children to leave in the first place," said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

"This means many returned children are now doubly at risk and in even greater peril than when they left their communities. It is never in a child's best interest to be sent back to an unsafe situation."

Limited public information about COVID-19 testing, treatment and containment protocols in the region is causing confusion and fear among returnees and the general population.

In some communities, there are worries that children and families returned from the US and Mexico could be carrying the virus. This has led to further stigmatization of migrants, said the agency.

It has received reports of communities in Guatemala and Honduras barring physical entry to outside groups or strangers, including returnees, to prevent local transmission of the disease.

Unicef is calling on all governments to end pushbacks and deportations of unaccompanied or separated children, as well as children with their families without prior adequate protection and health screenings.
 

Fri, 22 May 2020 05:06:23 +0530
KKR to acquire 2 32 stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 11 367 crore

Mumbai, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Jio Platforms Limited, India's leading digital services platform, announced on Friday that US private equity fund, KKR will invest Rs 11,367 crore into Jio Platforms.

This transaction values Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.

This is KKR's largest investment in Asia and will translate into a 2.32 per cent equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis.

Over the last month, leading technology investors, such as, Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic and KKR have announced aggregate investments of Rs 78,562 crore into Jio Platforms.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, said: "I am delighted to welcome KKR, one of the world's most respected financial investors, as a valued partner in our onward march to growing and transforming the Indian digital ecosystem for the benefit of all Indians."

"KKR shares our ambitious goal of building a premier Digital Society in India. KKR has a proven track record of being a valuable partner to industry-leading franchises and has been committed to India for many years. We are looking forward to leveraging KKR's global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise to further grow Jio," Ambani said.

Henry Kravis, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KKR, said: "Few companies have the potential to transform a country's digital ecosystem in the way that Jio Platforms is doing in India, and potentially worldwide. Jio Platforms is a true homegrown next generation technology leader in India that is unmatched in its ability to deliver technology solutions and services to a country that is experiencing a digital revolution."

"We are investing behind Jio Platforms' impressive momentum, world-class innovation and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR's commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and Asia Pacific," Kravis said.

Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is a next-generation technology platform focused on providing high-quality and affordable digital services across India, with more than 388 million subscribers. Jio Platforms has made significant investments across its digital ecosystem, powered by leading technologies spanning broadband connectivity, smart devices, cloud and edge computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, augmented and mixed reality and blockchain.

Jio's vision is to enable a Digital India for 1.3 billion people and businesses across the country, including small merchants, micro-businesses and farmers so that all of them can enjoy the fruits of inclusive growth.

Founded in 1976, KKR has a long history of building leading global enterprises and successfully investing in businesses in the technology sector, including BMC Software, ByteDance and GoJek through its private equity and technology growth funds.

Since inception, KKR has invested over $30 billion (total enterprise value) in tech companies, and today the firm's technology portfolio has more than 20 companies across the Technology, Media and Telecom sectors. In addition, India has been a key strategic market for KKR with a history of investing in the country since 2006.

KKR is making the investment from its Asia private equity and growth technology funds. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.

Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisor to Reliance Industries, and AZB & Partners and Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as legal counsel. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP acted as financial advisor to KKR.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel to KKR.
(IANS) 

Fri, 22 May 2020 04:48:19 +0530
Pak violates ceasefire on LoC for 5th consecutive day

Jammu,  Pakistan continued violating the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) for the fifth consecutive day on Friday by using small arms and mortars in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch and Rajouri districts.

For the fifth consecutive day, the Pakistan army used small arms and was shelling with mortars to target the Indian positions on the LoC in the two districts.

defence ministry spokesman, Colonel Devender Anand told IANS, "On May 22, 2020, at about 3.30 a.m., Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and shelling with mortars along Line of Control in Krishna Ghati Sector, District Poonch (J&K).

"Indian army is retaliating befittingly," he said.

The force said that again at about 7.20 a.m., Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation in the Nowshera Sector in Rajouri District in Jammu. The Indian Army was giving the befitting reply to this also, said the army.

Pakistan has been frequently violating the bilateral ceasefire agreement signed between the two countries in October 2003.

Senior army officers believe these ceasefire violations are a deliberate attempt by the Pakistan army to give fire cover to terrorists so that they can sneak into the Indian side of the LoC.

The Pakistani Army has been continuously targeting the Keran Valley, Poonch, Uri Sector, Krishna Ghati and Akhnoor sectors in the Union Territory.

In 2019, a total 3,200 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan across the LoC were reported as compared to 1,629 incidents in 2018, the Ministry of Defence had stated.
(IANS)

Fri, 22 May 2020 04:43:13 +0530
China pushes out 90 000 tweets since April in COVID 19 offensive

San Francisco,  In the ongoing COVID-19 information war on Twitter which is often fought with the launch of new conspiracy theories, China has now gone on the offensive with about 90,000 tweets since the start of April.

Twitter is blocked in China so most of the tweets are churned out by diplomatic accounts as well as state media accounts.

According to a report in NBC News on Wednesday, the number of tweets from China's official handles on the microblogging platform has almost doubled since January.

Similarly, there has been a huge surge in the number of China's diplomatic Twitter accounts. From just 40 such accounts a year ago, their numbers have now reached to 135, said the report on the basis of an analysis by Bret Schafer, the digital disinformation fellow at Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The alliance in late March announced the expansion of the Hamilton 2.0 dashboard to include the tracking of Chinese government-backed information operations on social media, state-sponsored information websites, YouTube, and via official diplomatic channels.

Collecting data since November 2019, the China section of the dashboard has captured official government messaging on topics like the Hong Kong protests, Xinjiang, the trade war with the United States, the implementation of Huawei technology in Europe, and, most notably, the global outbreak of COVID-19.

In recent days, China has used Twitter to spread a conspiracy theory that the COVID-19 leaked from a US government lab, the NBC News report said.

"The #US keeps calling for transparency & investigation. Why not open up Fort Detrick & other bio-labs for international review? Why not invite #WHO & int'l experts to the US to look into #COVI19 source & response?" the spokesperson for China's Foreign Affairs Ministry wrote in a tweet on May 8.

The tweet refers to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

In fact, China has been pushing this conspiracy theory for quite some time now, said the report.

According to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, official Chinese diplomatic and state-run media accounts tweeted the Fort Detrick conspiracy theory more than 30 times in the past two months.

China's more confrontational posture on COVID-19 represents a clear departure from its past behaviour, according to an analysis by the alliance.

In the early stages of the outbreak, official Chinese messaging largely focused on human-interest stories and reporting on the Chinese government's efforts to control the virus.

But from February 27, as the virus spread rapidly to Europe and the US, website data indicates that four of the top 10 most engaged articles on Facebook from Chinese state media outlets featured content that was critical of the Trump administration's response to COVID-19, the analysis showed.

On Twitter, Chinese diplomatic and embassy accounts promoted conspiracy theories from fringe websites, it added.
(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 08:24:18 +0530
GST council may extend compensation cess levy beyond 5 years

New Delhi, Faced with a sharp decline in GST collections due lockdown and disruptions in economic activities across the country, the government is looking at paying GST compensation to states using a portion of its borrowings and repaying it by collecting cess in the sixth or further subsequent years.

Under the GST law, states are guaranteed full compensation for any revenue loss for the first five years after the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) in July 2017.

The compensation is a gap between actual revenue collected and projected revenue. The projected revenue is revenue growth of 14 per cent for states per year over base year 2015-16.

As per the GST Act, full compensation to the states has to be paid for a period of five years till FY22 only through the compensation fund that gets its funds through a levy of GST compensation cess on few items. However, with funds not getting enough collections since August 2019, the GST compensation to states have been delayed with Centre now looking at getting the GST Council nod for extending the levy of compensation cess at least a couple of years beyond the cut-off fifth year to make good the gap in cess collection actual compensation payment to states.

"This (extending the duration of GST compensation cess) has been discussed in the past to ensure states are paid full compensation for any loss of revenue in first five years of the implementation of the new indirect tax regime while the Centre repays its liabilities through cess collections in subsequent years. The GST Council may explore the option again at its next meeting," government sources privy to the development said.

In case the amount in the GST Compensation Fund fell short of the compensation payable in any bimonthly period, the GST Council shall decide the mode of raising additional resources, including borrowing from the market, which could be repaid by a collection of cess in the sixth year or further subsequent years, sources added.

The situation on GST revenue has worsened in the month of April, with several states indicating a shortfall in collections to the tune 80-90 per cent of average monthly collections during this time of the year. In fact, Delhi has said its GST collections may end up at a mere Rs 300 crore in April against a collection of Rs 3,500 crore in the same month previous year. Other states like Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh also facing severe revenue decline due to shrinking economic activities during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

With economic activity and GDP growth projected to remain subdued for the most part of FY21, the Centre is looking at all possible means, how it could meet its constitutional obligation of compensating the states for their revenue loss.

After February, when Centre released GST compensation of Rs 19,950 crore for the months of October and November, 2019, it is only now that the government has released Rs 15,340 crore despite insignificant tax collections due to the relief provided for filing of returns and payment of taxes owing to lockdown. This amount includes the second instalment of GST compensation for October and November to states of over Rs 14,100 crore leaving compensation dues for December-January period still unpaid.

The monthly compensation requirement for states in 2020-21 is being pegged at Rs 20,250 crore, government sources said leaving a big gap between what needs to be paid and what is being collected. Even in FY21, monthly cess collections could be a low of Rs 7,000-8,000 crore or lower.

In 2019-20, the Centre had released Rs 120,498 crore GST compensation to states while it had collected only about Rs 95,000 crore in the form of compensation cess.

According to previous releases of the Finance Ministry, in the FY 2017-18 a total GST compensation cess of Rs 62,611 crore was collected, out of which a sum of Rs 41,146 crore was released to the States/UTs as GST compensation. After that, in the FY 2018-19, Rs 95,081 crore were collected as GST compensation cess out of which Rs 69,275 crore were released to the States and UTs as GST compensation. As per the releases of the finance ministry, as on March 31, 2019 an amount of Rs 47,271 crore GST compensation cess collected had remained unutilized after the release of GST compensation to the States and UTs in the FYs 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Since the end of August 2019, the Central government has started realising the impending precarious position in paying GST compensation to the States and UTs as the compensation cess requirement was being double of the average monthly cess collection.

Sources said that though GST Council also has the option to either bring more items under the cess base by expanding the base of GST cess items or to increase cess rates on the existing items, any increase in compensation cess on few items could only yield about Rs 2000-3000 crore a year.

Therefore, Council in its earlier meeting also discussed other options to either forego full cess compensation which was increasing at 14 per cent per annum or to go ahead with whatever compensation is available. One more option looked was to raise the tax rate on items by rationalisation of rates by shuffling slab rates.

(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 07:44:59 +0530
Not just sins Ganga water can end corona

Varanasi, Eminent river engineer and former professor of civil engineering at IIT in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Prof. U.K. Choudhary has said that the judicious use of river technology can help resolve the Coronavirus crisis as well as the plight of Ganga river.

Choudhary, who is also founder of Ganga Research Centre at IIT (BHU), said: "The Ganga water contains a significantly higher proportion of bacteriophages - a kind of virus that kill bacteria. Our ancient scriptures like Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads say that Ganga jal is medicinal water. Scientists later found that Ganga water has bacteriophages capable of killing pathogens."

Explaining further, he said, "Let us analyze the source of bacteriophages. If we take three rivers of Himalayan origin having sources at different heights -the Ganga (Gomukh), Yamuna (Yamunotri) and the Sone river, we find the colours of waters are different. The whitish colour of Ganga water, greenish colour of Yamuna water and the brownish colour of Sone water is also indicative. As Gomukh is the highest among the three, its water comes from lowest depth of aquifer as compared to Yamunotri and Sone river," he explained.

Thus, the quality of river water is proportional to height of origin point. This defines the genetic character of Ganga water. The balanced flow of this water in entire length of the Ganga defines the medicinal property of Ganga water," he stated.

Prof Chaudhary said that the bacteriophages in the Ganga can curb the spread of coronavirus through soil, water and air.

He suggested that the idea is to preserve the medicinal value of Ganga water and to use it to fight Corona. He said that this can be done by opening the gates of all the dams and barrages in a way that the discharge through each is similar to the water at Gomukh. In this way, the concentration of bacteriophage will be enhanced in Ganga water making it more effective against pathogens.

"With increasing diffusion of bacteriophages in water and soil, the spread of Coronavirus will be impacted and reduced. This methodology and technique can also help maintain the quality of Ganga water later when the problem of Corona ends," he said.
(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 07:27:27 +0530
Savage cyclone Amphan leaves death destruction in its trail

Kolkata, Scenes of large uprooted trees, damaged houses and flown off roofs were just the beginning when Super Cyclone Amphan made its appearance less that 24 hours back, as it pummelled through the night over Kolkata and large parts of West Bengal it left behind a trail of deaths as at least 12 people were killed.

Scenes from Kolkata airport showed the damage left behind as large airliners stood in a river of water with facilities damaged. This is the most devastating cyclone that struck the city in centuries, some wondered since the 1737 when the Calcutta cyclone killed many, while others said nothing like this have they crossed in the past few decades. Houses were flattened, massive number of trees uprooted as many feared damage to iconic structures in the city as well, and reports still pour in

Amitav Ghosh, the renowned author, who along with many others tweeted concern for their old parents stuck alone in the city amid the covid-induced lockdown. Ghosh said: "The terror they have been through is evident in their voices," as he was finally able to touch base with his folks.

With landlines severed and no electricity for hours as the people managed through the raging storm, many tweeted photos of destruction to property, waterlogging right inside their kitchen as they paddled through pools of water. A taxi stand in Maniktala was completely submerged. End of Days-kind of scenes were witnessed as wind at 185 kmph blew through the railings of the iconic Howrah Bridge.

The severe cyclonic storm on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.

The super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) moved "north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7eN and Longitude 89.5eE about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)", the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours," the IMD said.

It said that the Cyclone is now centred over Bangladesh and it will have no adverse impact over West Bengal and Odisha -- a good sign as it cut a swathe through northern Odisha before bearing down on West Bengal where it claimed 10-12 lives, flattened houses and cast aside trees and electricity poles like matchsticks in six-and-a-half hours of monstrous fury that left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised.

While Odisha was spared the worst of Amphan, the Sunderbans region and six south Bengal districts felt the full impact of winds gusting at 155-165 kmph along with torrential rain after the cyclone made landfall near Sagar Island around 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday and entered Kolkata, about a 100 km north, around 5 p.m.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said, "We are not getting proper reports as the connections have been completely cut off due to the storm. But the total losses are likely to amount to thousands of crores. It will take at least 3-4 days to do an initial assessment of the losses. Many bridges and kutcha houses have been completely ravaged."

Heavy rains and huge gush of wind storms damaged the roofs of several buildings and uprooted a massive number of trees across Kolkata and its adjoining Howrah district. Among the dead, were a girl in Howrah who died after a wall collapsed on her at Shalimar locality. In North 24 Parganas districts, a 56-year-old woman in Minakhan and another youth in Basirhat were killed by uprooted trees. In Kolkata, a mother and her son died at the Regent Park area in south Kolkata.

In the first few hours Amphan already destroyed over 5,000 houses in Minakhan, Haroa, Basirhat Hingalgunj and Hasnabad areas of North 24 Parganas district. Most of the areas in Howrah and North 24 Parganas faced massive power cuts due to heavy rainfall. Roofs of several houses also collapsed as a result of the strong winds during the cyclonic spell. There have been damages inside the state secretariat building Nabanna as well.

Two teams of NDRF have already started road clearance work at Shyampur Block in Howrah district, sources said. "We will ask the Centre to look at the extent of damages with a humane face. As per our initial estimates, 10-12 people have died. We feel the loss of lives could even surpass that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic," Banerjee said.

Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.
(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 07:12:37 +0530
YouTube adds bedtime reminders for Android and iOS

San Francisco, Google-owned YouTube has announced to roll out a new feature called bedtime reminders to help late-night surfers to sleep on time.

YouTube's bedtime reminders joins the list of Digital WellBeing features the app has to help users cut down on their screen time.

"Bedtime reminders let you set reminders at specific times to stop watching videos and (you guessed it!) go to bed.

"You set start and end times in your Settings, including whether or not you want the prompt to interrupt a video or wait until the video is over. You'll also be able to dismiss or snooze the reminder," the company said in a statement.

The new feature by YouTube is already for both Android and iOS users and it will be rolled out gradually for all users soon.

As part of Digital WellBeing features the app has a Take a Break feature that lets users set reminders to take a break from watching videos. These reminders can be set to appear every 15, 30, 60, 90 or 180 minutes.

YouTube also has a Scheduled notification digest feature that allows users to combine all of the daily push notifications into a single combined notification.

Additionally, the app also has a Disable notification sounds and vibrations feature.

This feature ensures that notifications from the YouTube app are sent silently to users' phone during a specified time period each day.
(IANS) 

Thu, 21 May 2020 07:01:50 +0530
Apple may delay iPhone 12 announcements until October

San Francisco, Cupertino based tech giant Apple may push the September "iPhone 12" event into early October due to global coronavirus pandemic.

Apple is considering pushing the announcement into October to avoid a gap between the event and handsets reaching store shelves and the iPhone maker will have more stores reopened by that point as well, according to Jon Prosser, a reliable Apple insider.

Prosser, who correctly reported the release date of the iPhone SE said that there is also the possibility that a later iPhone 12 launch event could allow more reporters and analysts to attend in person.

According to Posser, 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 models will be available with 128GB or 256GB of storage and that 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro models will have 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options.

Prosser has claimed that the upcoming 5.4-inch iPhone 12 may start from $649 while 6.1-inch iPhone 12 may come with a price tag of $749.

Like the 5.4-inch iPhone, the 6.1-inch device will sport 5G connectivity and a dual-camera setup at the rear.

The only difference is that it would come with a bigger 6.1-inch OLED display, said Prosser.

There will be two 'pro' iPhone 12 models as well.
(IANS) 

Thu, 21 May 2020 06:16:35 +0530
Sensex up 280 points banking finance stocks rise

New Delhi, The key Indian equity indices rose on Thursday with the BSE Sensex gaining over 280 points.

Buying activity in banking, finance and auto stocks supported the indices.

At 10.46 a.m., Sensex was trading at 31,105.46, higher by 286.85 points or 0.93 per cent from the previous close of 30,818.61.

It had opened at 30,904.29 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 31,107.52 and low of 30,765.32.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 9,138.25, higher by 71.70 points or 0.79 per cent from the previous close.
(IANS) 

Thu, 21 May 2020 05:50:20 +0530
Heat kills thousands of Australians yearly Study

Canberra, Australian researchers have called to add climate change as an official cause of death after a study published on Thursday found that heat-related deaths have been under-reported in the country.

The study, published by Australian National University (ANU), found that excessive natural heat has been responsible for at least 50 times more fatalities than recorded on death certificates, reports Xinhua news agency.

A statistical analysis found that 36,765 deaths in Australia over the past 11 years could have been attributed to heat, but there were only 340.

"Climate change is a killer, but we don't acknowledge it on death certificates," Arnagretta Hunter, a co-author of the study from the ANU Medical School, said in a media release.

"If you have an asthma attack and die during heavy smoke exposure from bushfires, the death certificate should include that information.

"We can make a diagnosis of disease like coronavirus, but we are less literate in environmental determinants like hot weather or bushfire smoke," Hunter said, adding that heat is the most dominant risk posed from climate change in Australia.

According to the study, excessive natural heat was responsible for approximately 2 per cent of all deaths in Australia.

Hunter said the country's death certificates must be modernized to capture the impact of global warming.

"Climate change is the single greatest health threat that we face globally even after we recover from the coronavirus.

"We know the summer bushfires were a consequence of extraordinary heat and drought and people who died during the bushfires were not just those fighting fires - many Australians had early deaths due to smoke exposure," she said.
(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 05:44:57 +0530
Modi remembers Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary

New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid tribute to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary.

Modi tweeted: "On his death anniversary, tributes to former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

Gandhi was assassinated on this day in 1991 during a late-night election rally in Sriperumbudur village of Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu ahead of the Lok Sabha polls when a suicide bomber struck. He was the youngest Prime Minister, who took oath at 40, following the assassination of mother and another former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
 

(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 05:37:15 +0530
Savage cyclone Amphan weakens centres over B Desh

New Delhi, A day of killing 12 people after barrelling in from the Bay of Bengal with wind speeds up to 185 kmph, severe cyclonic storm Amphan on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.

The super cyclonic storm Amphan (pronounced as UM-PUN) moved "north-northeastwards with a speed of 27 kmph during the past six hours, further weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Thursday over Bangladesh near latitude 24.7 degrees N and Longitude 89.5 degrees E about 270 km north-northeast of Kolkata, 150 km south of Dhubri and 110 km south-southeast of Rangpur (Bangladesh)", the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours," the IMD said.

It said that the Cyclone is now centred over Bangladesh and it will have no adverse impact over West Bengal and Odisha -- a good sign as it cut a swathe through northern Odisha before bearing down on West Bengal where it claimed 10-12 lives, flattened houses and cast aside trees and electricity poles like matchsticks in six-and-a-half hours of monstrous fury that left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised.

While Odisha was spared the worst of Amphan, the Suderbans region and six south Bengal districts felt the full impact of winds gusting at 155-165 kmph along with torrential rain after the cyclone made landfall near Sagar Island around 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday and entered Kolkata, about a 100 km north, around 5 p.m.

Amphan, a Thai name that means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.
(IANS) 

Thu, 21 May 2020 05:28:07 +0530
Corona tally in India reaches 1 12 359 death toll 3 435

New Delhi,  With ,5609 new novel coronavirus cases and 132 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, the total tally of such infections in India stood at 1,12,359 on Thursday the Health Ministry data revealed.

The total includes 63,624 active cases, 3,435 fatalities, and 45,300 patients cured of the disease, the Ministry said.

At least 3,002 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

In Maharashtra, coronavirus cases climbed to 39,297, followed by Tamil Nadu with 13,191 cases and Gujarat with 12,537 cases so far.

Maharashtra has the highest number of deaths at 1,390, followed by Gujarat's 749 and Madhya Pradesh's 267.

In Delhi, the total tally rose to 11,088.

States with more than 5,000 cases each are Rajasthan (6,015), Madhya Pradesh (5,735) and Uttar Pradesh (5,175).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases each are West Bengal (3,103), Andhra Pradesh (2,602), Punjab (2,005), Telangana (1,661), Bihar (1,674), Jammu and Kashmir (1,390), Karnataka (1,462) and Odisha (1,052).

Other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Haryana (993), Kerala (666), Jharkhand (231), Chandigarh (202), Tripura (173), Assam (170), Chhattisgarh (115) and Uttarakhand (122).
(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 05:22:41 +0530
15 Karnataka special trains transport 19 690 migrants home

Bengaluru,  The South Western Railway (SWR) zone has run 15 Shramik special trains to transport 19,690 migrants back home to seven states in north and east India, an official said on Wednesday.

"First Shramik special train of SWR on Wednesday left Bengaluru Cantonment to New Jalpaiguri (in West Bengal) at 12.20 a.m. with 1,200 passengers," said a SWR spokesperson.

Wednesday's second special train departed from KSR Bengaluru to Bettaiah in Bihar at 1.27 a.m. with 1,526 migrants.

Both the first and second trains were scheduled for Tuesday but got delayed and overran their time schedules to be counted on Wednesday.

"Third Shramik special train left Hubballi at noon with 1,564 passengers on board to Madhubani (Bihar)," said the official.

The fourth special train departed from Bengaluru Cantonment station at 2.47 p.m. with 1,530 migrants, including 26 children to Darbhanga in Bihar.

Wednesday's fifth special train left Hubballi for Samastipur in Bihar at 4 p.m. with 1,541 migrants.

Overall, Wednesday's fifth special train was SWR's 100th Shramik special train.

"SWR on Wednesday ran its 100th Shramik special train carrying 1,40,473 passengers, mostly migrant workers, students and families to their hometowns," said an official statement.

Similarly, the sixth special train departed from Bengaluru Cantonment to Purnia in Bihar at 4:40 p.m. with 1,515 passengers, including 15 children.

Wednesday's seventh special train left from KSR Bengaluru to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh at 5:50 p.m. with 1,541 migrants.

The eighth special train departed from Bengaluru Cantonment to Chapra in Bihar at 6.35 p.m. with 1,550 migrants, including 30 children.

Wednesday's ninth special train left Chikka Bannavara to Mau in UP at 7.10 p.m. with 1,500 migrants.

The 10th special train departed from Hubballi to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh at 8 p.m. with 1,488 migrants.

"Wednesday's 11th Shramik special train left from Chikka Bannavara to Basti at 8.40 p.m. with 1,495 passengers," the official said.

The 12th special train left Bengaluru Cantonment station to Darbhanga at 8.45 p.m. with 1,534 migrants, including 12 children.

SWR's 13th special train and Wednesday's last one departed from Chikka Bannavara to Haridwar in Uttarakhand at 10 p.m. with 1,076 migrants.

This was SWR's 107th Shramik special train.

The special trains are being run following the Ministry of Home Affairs' permission for the movement of stranded migrant labourers, workers, students, tourists and others.
(IANS)

Thu, 21 May 2020 05:17:25 +0530
OnePlus hires ex Apple executive in key India role

New Delhi,  OnePlus on Wednesday announced the appointment of Navnit Nakra as Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for its India operations.

Prior to OnePlus, Nakra worked with Apple as the Head of Affordability in India for over three years.

In new role, Nakra will lead the strategic operations on the Red Cable Club, OnePlus marquee digital lifestyle membership initiative and drive key strategic partnerships.

According to the company, Nakra led the strategic initiatives on devising effective consumer and enterprise finance offers across categories ranging from smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to watches and accessories.

Nakra previously worked with Citibank for nearly 15 years, where he held a variety of leadership roles across consumer and institutional banking.

Nakra holds an MBA degree from the Faculty of Management Studies - University of Delhi. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School where he pursued his Program for Leadership Development.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 11:40:11 +0530
2nd generation of VMware Cloud on Dell EMC now available

San Francisco, Enterprise software major VMware has announced the availability of second generation of VMware Cloud on Dell EMC that will enable IT teams to transform operation, management and protection of their on-premises infrastructure to a cloud model.

Jointly developed with Dell Technologies, this VMware service delivers simple, more secure and scalable infrastructure as-a-service to customers' on-premises data centre and edge locations.

"Organisations can migrate existing VMware-based workloads immediately to this cloud service, eliminating any re-development, re-factoring, or architectural rework and related costs," said Fidelma Russo, senior vice president and general manager, VMware Cloud on Dell EMC.

Additionally, it maximizes the value from existing IT investments—eliminating the potential need for point IT tools and related processes.

Now available in the US, the second generation of VMware Cloud on Dell EMC introduces several new key capabilities like business continuity support as virtual desktops are a critical capability for enabling business continuity as more people work from home.

VMware Horizon enables enterprises to offer their remote workforces more secure access to their desktops and applications - especially valuable in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services.

VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is now fully certified for VMware Horizon to deliver virtual desktops at the edge or in the data centre, said the company.

VMware Cloud on Dell EMC now offers support for backup and recovery with certification of ‘Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager' to protect customers' workloads.

Additionally, the service supports other leading backup and recovery solutions.

"With the second generation of VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, we are extending this cloud service capability to a broader set of enterprise use cases," said Deepak Patil, senior vice president and general manager, Cloud Platforms and Solutions, Dell Technologies.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 11:27:00 +0530
Odisha woman delivers baby in fire service vehicle during cyclone

Bhubaneswar, A woman gave birth to a girl inside a fire service vehicle in Odisha's Kendrapara district amidst gusty winds and heavy rainfall during cyclone Amphan on Wednesday, said an official.

The woman delivered the baby in the vehicle while being rescued by the fire service personnel in the morning.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena said both the mother and the newborn have been shifted to a government hospital in Mahakalapada in the district and both are fine.

A pregnant woman Janaki Sethi (20) of Janhara village under Mahakalapada police limits started having labour pains during the cyclone in the morning.

Kendrapara District Fire Officer P.K. Dash said that when they received a SOS from the distressed family in the morning, the fire brigade personnel proceeded towards the village.

They cleared the road of 22 uprooted trees despite strong winds and torrential rain and ferried the woman in the service vehicle.

The woman delivered a baby girl midway in the vehicle while being taken to the Mahakalapada Community Health Centre (CHC).

Jena said over 1800 pregnant women have been shifted to hospitals in the affected districts in view of cyclone Amphan.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 10:55:11 +0530
Cyclone Amphan Landfall begins to continue for 4 hours

New Delhi, The landfall process of cyclone 'Amphan' commenced at 2.30 p.m. and will continue for four hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday afternoon.

As per 3 p.m. update by the weather agency, "Landfall process commenced since 2.30 p.m. The forward sectors of the wall cloud region are entering into land in West Bengal and the landfall process will continue for four hours."

The Cyclone is 190 km east-northeast of Odisha's Paradip, 65 km east-southeast of West Bengal's Digha, 35 km from Sagar island and 225 km south-southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.

Amphan will move north-northeastwards and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coast between Digha and Hatiya Islands close to Sundarbans around Sagar Island. During landfall, the intensity of the cyclone is likely to be 155 to 165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.

Storm surge during the landfall in West Bengal is expected to be four to six meters above astronomical tide. The surge is expected to inundate low lying areas of South and North 24 Parganas and parts of East Medinipur district.

The wind speed in Kolkata, Hooghly and Howrah is likely to range between 110 kmph to 120 kmph gusting to 130 kmph, which may cause extensive damage in the urban areas also.

In coastal Odisha, gale wind of 100 to 100 kmph gusting to 125 kmph will also impact Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore.

The weather condition would result in uprooting of trees, communications and power transmission poles, bending of telephone lines and extensive damage to the 'kutcha' and even 'pucca' houses and crops and plantations.

The NDRF has positioned over 41 teams to carry out evacuation and relief, Director General S.N. Pradhan had said on Tuesday.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 10:44:29 +0530
Bharat Biotech Thomas Jefferson varsity to work on Covid vaccine

Hyderabad,  Leading vaccine maker Bharat Biotech on Wednesday announced that it has signed an exclusive deal with Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia to develop a new vaccine candidate for Covid-19 invented at Jefferson.

The novel vaccine was developed using an existing deactivated rabies vaccine as a vehicle for coronavirus proteins. This is in part because this vehicle or carrier vaccine is known to produce a strong immune response, and is approved for the whole population including children and pregnant women, Bharat Biotech said in a statement.

Infectious Diseases expert Professor Matthias Schnell's lab developed the vaccine in January this year, and has recently completed preliminary tests in animal models.

The vaccine showed a strong antibody response in mice receiving the vaccine. The researchers are currently testing whether vaccinated animals are protected from SARS-CoV-2 infection with results expected the next month.

"Our partnership with Bharat Biotech will accelerate our vaccine candidate through the next phases of development," says Prof Schnell - a coronavirus expert who directs The Jefferson Vaccine Institute and chairs Jefferson's Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

"We are particularly excited about this technology since the basic proof of concept has been established while using it for other pandemic infectious diseases. Bharat Biotech is committed to global public health and will be involved in an end to end development of the vaccine including comprehensive clinical trials to achieve commercial licensure," said Dr Krishna Mohan, Chief Executive Officer of Bharat Biotech.

Under the license agreement, Bharat Biotech gains exclusive rights to develop, market and deliver Jefferson's vaccine across the world excluding countries such as USA, Europe, Japan etc, where Jefferson continues to seek partners.

With support from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Bharat Biotech aims to get into human trials as soon as December 2020.

Of the 90 or so coronavirus vaccines in development, about 25 per cent use an established vaccine to act as a carrier or vector for the target virus, in this case, the coronavirus SARS-COV-2 spike protein.

"Since we know the immune system reacts to the rabies vaccine with a strong response when we add the coronavirus component, we expect to see that level of protection, and immune memory, carry over to the SARS-CoV-2 viral protein as well," says Prof Schnell.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 10:38:19 +0530
2 56 lakh ferried in 204 Shramik trains on Tuesday

New Delhi, The Indian Railways on Wednesday said that it transported 2.56 lakh passengers on 204 Shramik Special trains on Tuesday across the country, the maximum on a single day since May 1.

Railway and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted: "Yesterday, the Railways promised to run 200 special trains for migrant workers; beyond that we have run a record 204 trains in the service of passengers.

"So far, 1,773 Shramik trains have been operated by the Railways to send migrant workers to their home states," Goyal added.

The railways started Shramik trains from May 1, transporting over 23 lakh migrant workers to their native places till date.

It suspended passenger, mail and express train services from March 25 amid the novel cornavirus outbreak.

The railways is also running 15 pairs of special air-conditioned trains from May 12 and 200 more non-AC special trains from June 1.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 09:39:07 +0530
Cyclone Amphan 1 4 mn people evacuated in Bangladesh

Dhaka, At least 1.4 million people in the coastal areas of Bangladesh have taken refuge in storm shelters as super cyclone Amphan moved closer to the coast on Wednesday

Authorities are continuing to shift the local people to the shelters, said Kazi Tasmin Ara Ajmiri, Deputy Secretary in the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre.

Some people who came to the centres on Tuesday left for home as the storm has not hit the coast yet; they are being brought back to the shelters, she said.

"There are 1,364,000 people in the shelters as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday," said the Deputy Secretary.

The Bangladesh Meteorological Department elevated the storm alert to great danger signal 9 for Chattogram and Cox's Bazar ports as the cyclone was just 345 km from the country's coastline, bdnews24 reported.

Mongla and Payra ports have been asked to keep hoisted great danger signal number 10.

The storm is expected to cut its path through the Bangladesh-West Bengal coast near the Sundarbans by Wednesday evening, according to the Met Office.

Last year, 1.8 million people were taken to the shelters ahead of cyclone Fani while another 2.2 million were moved to safety from the imminent dangers of cyclone Bulbul.

In Jhalakathi, almost 10,000 riverside inhabitants of Sugandha Char, Rajapur, Bishkhali and Nalchhiti have been evacuated to cyclone shelters.

Bagerhat, another coastal district, had more than 90,000 of its residents including children, senior citizens and specially-abled persons moved to 977 cyclone shelters as of Wednesday morning, said Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Kamrul Islam.

About 12,000 volunteers are working at the shelters where special emphasis is being placed on maintaining social distancing amid the coronavirus crisis.

The local authorities and the Red Crescent Society supplied food, safe drinking water and candles to the people taking refuge at the shelter homes.

Around 13,000 livestock have also been moved to safety as the storm approaches the coastline, said the additional deputy commissioner.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 09:22:33 +0530
Unregistered migrants throng Mumbai terminus to catch train

MUMBAI; The Western Railway and security agencies made some frightening memories as many on edge transients swarmed outside the Bandra Terminus here on Tuesday early daytime planning to get a train to Bihar, authorities said. 
A Shramik Special train was scheduled to leave for Punia in Bihar at 12 p.m., however an enormous number of unregistered and unauthorized migrants with their and luggage were seen on the road and bridge outside the terminus building.
"In any case, the bonafide travelers were checked and permitted to enter the station premises by the state government authorities. The train left Bandra at 12 early afternoon with 1,700 registered migrants and their families who were qualified for movement on it," said Western Railway Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar. 
Later, after the train departed, the abundance swarms which had gathered outside were cleared from the region by the police and other security personnel without any untoward episodes reported

Wed, 20 May 2020 09:10:36 +0530
SARS antibody found to neutralise COVID 19 virus

San Francisco,  An antibody first identified in a blood sample from a patient who recovered from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 has demonstrated ability to prevent SARS-CoV-2 live virus infection of cells in laboratory, says a study, raising new hope in the fight against COVID-19.

The antibody, called S309, is now on a fast-track development and testing path at San Francisco-headquartered Vir Biotechnology in the next step toward possible clinical trials.

The initial results, published in the journal Nature, could ultimately pave the way for using the S309 antibody, alone or in a mixture, as a preventive measure for people at high-risk of exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus or as post-exposure therapy to limit or treat severe illness, according to the scientists.

"We still need to show that this antibody is protective in living systems, which has not yet been done," said study co-author David Veesler, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

"Right now there are no approved tools or licensed therapeutics proven to fight against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19," he added.

Vir Biotechnology in a separate statement said it is advancing two clinical development candidates based on the S309 antibody as potential therapeutics for COVID-19 -- VIR-7831 and VIR-7832 -- in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline plc.

The research showed that the S309 antibody is particularly potent at targeting and disabling the spike protein that promotes the coronavirus entry into cells.

It was able to neutralise SARS CoV-2 by engaging with a section of the spike protein near the attachment site to the host cell.

Through their cryo-electronmicroscopy studies and binding assays, the researchers learned that the S309 antibody recognises a binding site on the coronavirus that is conserved across many sarbocoviruses, not just the SARS and COVID-19 viruses.

That is probably why this antibody, instead of being single-minded, is able to act against related coronaviruses.

Combining the S309 antibody with other, though weaker, antibodies identified in the recovered SARS patient enhanced the neutralisation of the COVID-19 coronavirus, said the study.

This multiple antibody cocktail approach might help limit the coronavirus' ability to form mutants capable of escaping a single-ingredient antibody treatment, according to the researchers.

"Remarkably, we believe S309 likely covers the entire family of related coronaviruses, which suggests that, even as SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, it may be quite challenging for it to become resistant to the neutralizing activity of S309," Herbert "Skip" Virgin, Chief Scientific Officer, Vir, said in a statement.

"In addition, S309 exhibits potent effector function in vitro, potentially allowing the antibody to engage and recruit the rest of the immune system to kill off already infected cells."
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 08:29:21 +0530
Childhood obesity may increase bladder cancer risk

London, Adults who were overweight in childhood may be at greater risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a new study.

Published in the journal Annals of Human Biology, the study based on more than 315,000 children in Denmark, shows body size is associated with getting the disease later in life. A body mass index (BMI) increase above average during childhood, high/low birth weight and below-average height also increase the odds. Identifying causes that arise early on could lead to a new understanding of the disease which is the 9th most common cancer in the world, has high recurrence rates and is more likely to affect men aged over 65, the study said.

"These results suggest that the higher levels of overweight and obesity in children today may contribute to an increased burden of bladder cancer in future," said lead author Dr Kathrine K Sorensen from Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital in Denmark.

"Our study contributes to the understanding of how body size early in life may indicate a risk for bladder cancer," Sorensen added.

The link between bladder cancer and lifestyle factors such as obesity is already established. However, little is known about whether this association has its origin in childhood.The findings were based on information relating to 315,763 children born between1930 and 1989, and aged from seven to 13.

This data from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register included BMI, birth weight and height, and was cross-referenced with the Danish Cancer Registry.The number of individuals diagnosed with bladder cancer as adults were 1,145, including 839 men.

The risk of developing the disease later in life was, for example, 10 per cent higher for a 13-year-old boy of average height (154.5 cm or 5ft) whose BMI increased 5.9kg above normal (the equivalent of 42.5kg). Conversely, a boy the same age and 8cm taller than average (162.5 cm or 5ft 3ins) had a six per cent lower risk of being diagnosed, according to the research.

"To put our results in perspective, for two 13-year-old boys of average height (154.5 cm), moving from a weight of 42.5 kg to 48.4kg equates to a 10 per cnet higher risk of bladder cancer in the heavier boy," said senior author Dr Jennifer L Baker.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 08:23:19 +0530
Binge worthy books to sail through Lockdown 4 0

New Delhi, Life in the lockdown has not been easy for most of us. Were isolated and there's no sign of things changing anytime soon.

Well, books can come to your rescue and what better way to spend the last two weeks in home-sheltering than by reading. Reading is not only a great form of escapism, but it also helps to stimulate creativity and enrich language skills, making it a great idea for all ages.

Here is a list of must-read books which can transport you to another time and place:

'The Hunger Games Series-The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new Hunger Games book is on its way, the first since 2010; it's not only for teens but also for all sci-fi lovers. A prequel to the "Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins, "A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" was first announced in June last year, and - as revealed in an extract published by Entertainment Weekly - 'will focus on Coriolanus Snow.'

'Hunted by the Sky' by Tanaz Bhatena (Penguin Random House India)

From the author of 'A Girl Like That', the YA fantasy explores identity, class inequality, alongside a high-stakes romance story, 'Hunted by the Sky' is set in the Kingdom of Ambar - a world inspired by medieval India-- a world of deadly, dark secrets and adventures.

'A Thousand Cranes for India: Reclaiming Plurality Amid Hatred' edited by Pallavi Aiyar (Seagull Books)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This anthology - comprising 23 pieces of reportage, stories, poems, memoir and polemic - uses the mythology, history, and symbolism of Japanese Origami paper cranes as a pathway for some of India's best-known writers, poets and artists to pave a "shared, civic space for a conversation about the fault lines in India at a time of darkness".

'Shameless' by Taslima Nasreen, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha (HarperCollins India)

'Shameless', the sequel to the controversial and best-selling 'Lajja', had never been published in Bengali, or any other language, until very recently, when a Hindi translation was printed. This "timely, topical and outspoken novel about communal tensions in India" is, according to its author, "not a political novel - and instead about what the politics of religion does to human beings and their relationships: a ruthless, uncompromising, heartbreaking tale of ordinary people's lives in our times".

'A Burning' by Megha Majumdar (Knopf; Penguin Random House India)

"For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, and Jhumpa Lahiri" (!), Majumdar's debut, a thriller-like epic, centres around three characters who find their lives criss-crossing in the aftermath of a catastrophe. 'Of A Burning', Amitav Ghosh has said: it's "the best debut novel I have come across in a long timee In telling the story of a young Muslim girl whose life is undone by a single social media post, it creates a kaleidoscope of contemporary urban India, with its internet-driven hysteria, religious fanaticism, rampant corruption, poisoned air, random violence, enraged mobs and pervasive misogyny."
 

Wed, 20 May 2020 08:14:58 +0530
Bike taxi booking app Rapido resumes operations in 39 cities

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) Bike-taxi service provider Rapido on Wednesday said it has resumed normal operations in 39 cities across 11 states, following the new guidelines announced by the government for lockdown 4.0.

"For now, our bike taxi services will be operational in the green and orange zones as the services cannot be extended to the containment zones as per the lockdown guidelines," the company said in a statement.

The company said it will keep updating customers on the status of various cities and safety instructions via in-app notifications.

According to the company, ‘captains' or drivers need to install the Aarogya Setu app before they go on-duty to start accepting orders and have been asked to wear a mask at all times as well as carry sanitizers, hair net in addition to the mandatory helmets.

Captains are also asked to maintain personal hygiene and sanitise their bikes at regular intervals, especially sanitise the pillion seat before on boarding customers.

Meanwhile, after every ride, customers can give feedback about wearing a mask or captains not using sanitizer.
 

Wed, 20 May 2020 07:54:02 +0530
Xiaomi launches secure MIUI 12 for global markets

Beijing,  Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has released the latest version of in-house Android-based skin MIUI 12 for the global markets.

The new version comes with several new features and improvements to existing features.

According to GSMArena, MIUI 12 gets massive upgrades in the privacy section.

The OS will now notify everytime an app is accessing a sensitive feature such as the cameras, microphone, contacts, location and more.

MIUI 12 also brings stock Android 10 navigation gestures, new quick reply feature, floating windows and a new universal casting feature that supports Miracast standard.

Xiaomi plans to start releasing the update to its phone by the end of June.

(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 07:49:20 +0530
Villagers pelt cops with stones on Delhi Gurugram border

Gurugram, Hundreds of residents of a village on the Delhi-Gurugram border pelted police with stones on Wednesday morning after the latter denied them entry into the Haryana city. There was no report of any injury on both sides.

The incident took place on the Palam Vihar border connected to Bijwasan in Delhi.

According to a district official, residents of Salahpur Khera village adjoining the Gurugram border tried to enter Gurugram forcibly even though the border was sealed on the direction of the Gurugram District Magistrate.

As nearly 1,000 villagers who had gathered at the spot were stopped from moving into Gurugram around 9am, it led to a fracas between the two sides, following which the villagers threw stones at police.

"Keeping in view the stone-pelting incident, we have deployed additional police to tackle the situation," said Gurugram Police PRO Subhash Bokan.

After the Delhi government allowed shops to reopen subject to certain conditions, residents on both sides of the Delhi-Gurugram border move between the two cities for trade and other jobs. They have demanded smooth passage on the inter-state border.

The Gurugram authorities have claimed that number of coronavirus-infected persons in the district had increased due to people moving in from Delhi.

Gurugram has so far reported 220 positive cases, including 102 active and admitted in different hospitals.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 07:30:25 +0530
COVID 19 UN calls for international help in Africa

United Nations, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for international action to help Africa deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These are still early days for the pandemic in Africa, and disruption could escalate quickly. Global solidarity with Africa is an imperative -- now and for recovering better," said Guterres in a video message for the launch of a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on Africa, according to Xinhua news agency.

Ending the pandemic in Africa is essential for ending it across the world, he said.

"We are calling for international action to strengthen Africa's health systems, maintain food supplies, avoid a financial crisis, support education, protect jobs, keep households and businesses afloat, and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings," said Guterres.

African countries should also have quick, equal and affordable access to any eventual vaccine and treatment, that must be considered global public goods, he added.

He repeated his call for a global response package amounting to at least 10 percent of the world's gross domestic product. For Africa, that means more than 200 billion US dollars as additional support from the international community, he said.

Guterres reiterated his call for a comprehensive debt framework, starting with an across-the-board debt standstill for countries unable to service their debt, followed by targeted debt relief and a comprehensive approach to structural issues in the international debt architecture to prevent defaults.

African countries should work to silence the guns and address violent extremism. Political processes and elections in the coming months offer potential milestones for stability and peace. Women and youth must be empowered, said the UN chief.

He warned that the pandemic threatens African progress. "It will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease. Already, demand for Africa's commodities, tourism and remittances are declining. The opening of the trade zone has been pushed back, and millions could be pushed into extreme poverty."

The virus has taken more than 2,500 African lives. Vigilance and preparedness are critical, he said.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 07:02:53 +0530
Strong winds heavy rain in south Bengal districts

Kolkata,  Cyclone Amphan, which has weakened from a super cyclone to an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm', is likely to make a landfall in Bengal between Wednesday afternoon and evening even as strong winds accompanied by heavy rain lashed different south Bengal districts since morning.

Amphan (pronounced UM-PUN) lay 155-km south-southeast of Paradip in Odisha, 177-km south of Digha and 260 km from West Bengal capital Kolkata. It has moved towards north-northeast with a speed of 22 km/hour during the past 6 hours.

According to MeT Department sources, Amphan will move towards north-northeast and pass through the West Bengal-Bangladesh coastline between Digha and Hatiya Island, located close to Sunderbans region, with a wind speed of 155-165 km/hour gusting to 185 km/hour.

Over 3 lakh people have already been evacuated from the coastal districts of West Bengal, including East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, and North 24-Parganas.

Other south Bengal districts like West Midnapore, Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata will also experience heavy rain during the cyclonic spell -- one of the worst storms over the Bay of Bengal since 1999.

Meanwhile, the departure of 02301 Howrah-New Delhi AC Special Express has been cancelled in view of cyclone Amphan on Wednesday, eastern Railway (ER) sources said. Similarly, 02302 New Delhi-Howrah AC Special Express on May 21 will also remain cancelled.

West Bengal disaster management authorities are keeping a close watch on the situation. A control room has been opened at the state Secretariat Nabanno.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has formed a task force spearheaded by Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, which will monitor relief-and-rescue operations during cyclone Amphan.

Sources said that at least seven National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in six West Bengal districts including East Midnapore, West Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah.

At least 12 NDRF teams have also been kept on stand-by as the cyclonic storm is likely to hit a large part of the coastal districts with "very heavy rainfall".

Besides West Bengal, a warning has also been issued for Odisha, Sikkim, and Meghalaya till Thursday.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 06:36:17 +0530
Dia Mirza I have never believed in competition

Mumbai, Actress Dia Mirza shot to fame with the Miss India pageant back in 2000, but says she never believed in competition.

"It feels almost surreal to look back 20 years. I was so young when it all happened," she reminisced on an experience that made the young Hyderabad girl a household name.

"The year 2000 marked a new millennium, bringing with it a sense of hope, promise and excitement", she added.

Interestingly, Dia was never one who dreamt of winning a beauty pageant.

"I happened to be spotted by a modelling agent who offered me a part-time job at 16. Everything happened very quickly after that -- advertising campaigns, fashion shows, editorial shoots. One thing led to another and I was selected from Hyderabad for the Miss India pageant," she recalled.

"I remember my mother being really surprised that I wanted to take part!"

Dia, who had never left Hyderabad before in her life, vividly remembers adapting to life in Mumbai.

"It was a journey that brought love and encouragement, but was still very daunting to be go through alone. As an individual, I have never believed in competition, so for me it was about putting my best foot forward, enjoying myself and learning as much as I could," she said.

Dia was the second runner-up at Miss India 2000 and later won Miss Asia Pacific.

She still remembers the feeling and chaos of that winning moment.

"We were announced the winners, crowned, wore our sashes, took that final walk, and had thousands of lights and cameras flashing in front of us - through all of that, I remember thinking 'where are my parents? I want to meet them'! In that moment I truly realised how happiness can be truly cherished when you have your family to share it with."

But as a winner just crowned, she found herself whisked away for the Femina cover photo-shoot with actor Shah Rukh Khan. "That was a whole experience in itself, as the camera caught me looking at him in complete awe and love!" she added.

Another iconic moment Dia remembers fondly was when she got a chance to share the stage for a big group picture with all the previous international title winners from India -- Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Diana Hayden and Yukta Mookhey -- along with the year's two other winners, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra.

On the one thing that has stayed with her through since then, she shared: "Be yourself. Staying authentic and speaking my truth was what set me apart then and continues to define me even now."
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 06:27:38 +0530
Bidita Bag Making a film at home is fun challenging

Mumbai, Bollywood actress Bidita Bag has been utilising her quarantine days making short films at home. The actress has shot two short films during the ongoing lockdown, titled "Happy Quarantine" and "We Need To Talk", both of which have released.



"I was feeling bored sitting at home and wanted to do something creative. I was looking for ideas. My friend Mithun Debnath, who was also my co-actor, pitched me the idea (for 'Happy Quarantine'). The second film 'We Need To Talk' was suggested by my sister-in-law Suja K. Menon. I loved both the ideas and wanted to do the films," Bidita told IANS.

"However, I stay alone and have nobody to help me with the camera and light. It is very difficult to shoot a film alone, but luckily, I have a tripod and two phones. Also, I think I have a good sense of framing, so I managed somehow. While sitting idle, I look at my house from different angles, which helped me to find interesting locations for the shoot," she added.

"We Need To Talk" deals with the story of two friends who realise amid the pandemic that they have deeper feelings for each other, which is more than just friendship. "Happy Quarantine" on the other hand, shows Jasmine and Aladdin in a futuristic way. The film while having a humorous touch, delivers a message.

When quizzed what are the challenges of shooting a film at home, the actress replied: "After doing all the household chores, I felt exhausted before the shoot. Also, doing my own makeup, taking care of lights, camera etc., setting up the house for the shoot and then act while imagining the other actors' lines, these are too many things to do all by yourself. While making films sitting at home is fun, it is challenging at the same time."

The "Bhaukaal" actress also opened up on what keeps her busy apart from making short films during the ongoing lockdown.

"Everyday I am performing household chores like laundry, washing clothes, cleaning the house et cetera. I have also started cooking and preparing different types of Bengali sweets at home. I think I am becoming a specialist in Bengali sweets like rossogolla, kalakand, milk cake, kheer kadam et cetera. Also, I have taken out my harmonium, cleaned it and have started singing once again," she shared.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 06:22:00 +0530
Bus service begins in Kerala with restricted time schedule

Thiruvananthapuram, Fifty six days after operations came to a complete standstill the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Wednesday morning commenced its bus and water services. The state government had cleared the operation of only intra district services, which is available between 7 to 11 a.m. and then again from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

At all the depots police keep a strong vigil and ensure all maintain social distancing and use masks.

The strict guidelines include a maximum number of passengers of 24 to 28 depending on the seating capacity of a bus, and no standing passengers are allowed.

The KSRTC has been operating special services since May 11 for employees of the State Secretariat from the city depots in the capital district.

The fares have been increased by 50 per cent and this increased fare is applicable to all including those having concessions.

According to the KSRTC on Wednesday around 1,850 buses will be on the roads across the state.

However, the private sector has opposed the 50 per cent increase in the fare. They have decided not be operate and hence the private buses continue to be off the road.

At Alappuzha, where the KSRTC operates motor boats in the Vembanad lake, services commenced, and here too all the norms were being followed.

"Since today being the first day and people do not know the schedules. In the coming days, we are sure more people will be using our service. Moreover, opening of shops and offices have just started. A seat, which can accommodate three people, will have only two people sitting now," said a KSRTC boat conductor operating on the Alappuzha-Nedumudy sector.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 06:04:53 +0530
Microsoft opens Azure quantum platform for developers

San Francisco, Microsoft has announced to make its Azure platform for quantum computing available for select developers and enterprises as a limited preview.

At its Build developer conference, the company said on Tuesday that developers will be able to take advantage of nearly two decades of quantum research infused into every layer of the Azure Quantum stack.

The developers will get access to an open ecosystem of diverse quantum software, hardware and solutions from Microsoft and its partners 1QBit, Honeywell, IonQ, and QCI.

They will have an ability to have a quantum impact with pre-built solutions that run on classical computers (what Microsoft refers to as quantum-inspired solutions).

While Microsoft is yet to publically announce a quantum supercomputer, Google has built a quantum computer that is way ahead than world's top supercomputers in the calculation - solving tasks in nearly three minutes that would otherwise take current supercomputers 10,000 years to achieve.

Researchers at Microsoft are currently busy writing the software to build a scalable computer that will help humanity unlock solutions to problems in areas such as clean energy, global warming, materials design and much more - including solving the mysteries of our universe.

If all goes well, Microsoft is confident about having one such scalable super machine within the next five years.

Based on quantum bits, the computer will not use classical bits but qubits which are not limited to binary and can have properties of 0 and 1 simultaneously, thus trying every possible number and sequence simultaneously to unlock vast amounts of data.

The current bits in computers store information as either 1 or 0, thus limiting the potential to make sense when faced with gigantic volumes of data.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 05:58:39 +0530
Cyclone Amphan Heavy rain strong winds in coastal Odisha

Bhubaneswar, The Odisha government has evacuated over 1.37 lakh people to safer places as extremely severe cyclone Amphan hurtled towards the coast triggering heavy rain and strong wind on Wednesday morning.

Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Pradeep Kumar Jena informed that over 1.37 lakh people have been evacuated to cyclone shelters till morning and the figure may go up.

According to reports, trees were uprooted and power infrastructure suffered damage following strong winds in the coastal districts.

Paradip recorded the highest wind speed of 102 kmph followed by Chandbali with 74 kmph, Balasore 61 kmph, and Bhubaneswar 56kmph.

Paradip also registered highest 197.1 mm rainfall.

As many 16 units of the National Disaster Response Force, 15 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), 75 teams of Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) and 217 fire service team have been deployed in the affected districts.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 05:52:31 +0530
Facebook Shops now open for small businesses coming on Instagram soon

San Francisco,  In a bid to help struggling small businesses in Covid-19 times, Facebook has introduced Shops to help set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.

While Facebook Shops is being rolled out from Wednesday, the company will introduce Instagram Shop, a new way to discover and buy products in Instagram Explore, this summer, starting in the US.

The social networking giant also announced to invest in features across its family of apps to inspire people to shop and make buying and selling online easier.

"Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand," Facebook said in a statement late Tuesday.

Any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it's convenient for them.

People can find Facebook Shops on a business' Facebook Page or Instagram profile, or discover them through stories or ads.

"From there, you can browse the full collection, save products you're interested in and place an order — either on the business' website or without leaving the app if the business has enabled checkout in the US," informed the company.

Last month, Facebook announced $40 million in grants for 10,000 small businesses in the US to help them get through these challenging time.

The grants will go to small businesses in 34 locations where Facebook employees live and work.

The company said that in Facebook Shops, users will be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more.

In the future, they will be able to view a business' shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct.

Later this year, Facebook will add a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so people can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.

Facebook said it is making it easier to shop for products in real time.

Soon, sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.

"We're starting to test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and we'll roll it out more broadly in the coming months," said the company.

Facebook is also working with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to support small businesses.
(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 05:46:54 +0530
Australia announces emergency financial aid to Pacific Island nations

Canberra, The Australian government has announced: "quick financial support" for 10 Pacific countries hit by Cyclone Harold and the coronavirus pandemic.

Cyclone Harold swept through the Pacific in April, causing widespread damage that exacerbated the economic impacts of COVID-19.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) committed 100 million Australian dollars (65.4 million US dollars) to nations struggling with the basic costs of running their countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) will receive the most assistance at 20.5 million Australian dollars (13.4 million US dollars), followed by the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu at 13 million Australian dollars (8.5 million US dollars) each.

"To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our region, Australia has been working in partnership with Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to provide quick financial support, drawing on our existing aid program," a DFAT spokesperson said.

"Australia is providing separate support packages for Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Timor-Leste.

"This immediate funding will provide respite."

The government in November 2019 provided PNG with a 440 million Australian dollars (287.7 million US dollars) short-term loan, repayments on which have been postponed amid the pandemic.

Marise Payne, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, told the parliament earlier in May that Australia's Pacific neighbours had kept the spread of COVID-19 "to a very low rate" on account of "very swift action."

However, she said Cyclone Harold "compounded the impact of COVID-19 in the Solomon Islands, in Tonga, in Vanuatu and in Fiji", saying it prompted a "pivot" in foreign aid priorities.

(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 05:37:59 +0530
Super cyclone Amphan to hit coastal areas from afternoon IMD

New Delhi, Heavy rains lashed Digha in West Bengal and Paradip Coast in Odisha on Wednesday morning as Super cyclone Amphan was expected to hit the coastal areas of both the Indian states and also of the neighbouring country Bangladesh in the afternoon.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the Super cyclone Amphan was about 120 km east-southeast of Paradip in Odisha at 8.30 a.m. "It is to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digh (West Bengal) and Hatiya Islands (Bangladesh) close to Sunderbans. The Landfall process to commence from the afternoon," the IMD stated.

The department also pointed that Super cyclone Amphan centred at 7.30 a.m. on May 20, 2020, as an extremely severe cyclonic storm over northwest Bay of Bengal about, 125 km nearly east-southeast of Paradip, 225 km south of Digha and 380 km southwest of Khepupara in Bangladesh.

The department stated that the current intensity of Super cyclone Amphan near the centre is 170-180 kilometre per hour and gusting to 200 kilometres per hour.

According to the observations from the coast, the IMD said that wind speed at Paradip was 102 kilometre per hour, at Chandbali 74 kilometre per hour, at Bhubaneshwar, it was 37 kilometre per hour, at Balasore 61 kilometre per hour and in Puri, the speed was 41 kilometre per hour.

As super cyclone Amphan barrels towards the Indian shores, the government had evacuated lakhs of people from vulnerable areas and shifted to safety.

On Tuesday, IMD Director General M. Mohapatra had warned that there will be extensive damage to buildings, and uprooting of trees and electric and communication lines. "Amphan is very intense and has the potential to wreak large scale damage," Mohapatra had said.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General S.N. Pradhan had said that Amphan is a 'super cyclone' and it is a serious issue. "The only other cyclone of this magnitude hit Odisha in 1999 and it was very deadly," Pradhan had stated.

The Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also spoke to Chief Secretaries of West Bengal and Odisha to make necessary arrangements and preparedness against the cyclone.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 05:30:21 +0530
Tripura scientist makes robot to take care of Corona patients

Agartala,  A scientist of Tripura University has made a robot from locally available and scrap materials to assist the front-line health workers, including doctors, to take care of the coronavirus patients from a distant place. The remote-controlled robot can carry 10-15 kilograms of materials, has an operational range of 15-20 metres, and can deliver food, medicines and other essential items to the COVID-19 patients.

"I have just spent Rs 25,000 and took a week's time to make the robot. Due to the ongoing lockdown, I could not collect the latest and modern devices and tools from outside Tripura, hence I have to depend on the local and scrap materials. I used the vital receiver of the robot from an old toy of a son of my relative," scientist Harjeet Nath told IANS on Tuesday.

Nath, who received the prestigious young scientist award in 2018, said that the robot can be of enormous help to the doctors, nurses and other health workers to deal with the patients of the highly contagious nCoV.

An assistant professor of the Chemical and Polymer Engineering Department of the Tripura University, a central varsity, the 32-year-old scientist said that the robot, regulated by a transmitter and a receiver, can work for around 90 minutes after the lad acid rechargeable battery (135 watts) is given five hour's charge.

In the robot, Nath has installed a two-way communication device of a Wi-Fi-controlled camera with inbuilt microphone and speaker to help both the doctors or nurses and patients to communicate directly with each other maintaining a safest distance.

A resident of southern Assam, the enterprising researcher had earlier developed the first of its kind portable water purifier in the country, which can benefit people during calamities like flood and also reduce pollution.

He said that as the frontline health workers including the doctors and nurses are at the risk of getting infected with the highly infectious virus as they have to closely take care of the COVID-19 patients.

"In India and abroad many doctors, nurses and health workers were already infected by the dreaded virus. The robot would reduce the risk for the frontline warriors to a large extent," he said.

Nath, who was a research scholar at the IIT-Guwahati, said that he can add many more skills including thermal screening of suspected patients, sanitizing the hospital floors to the existing robot to make the machine many more other health-related jobs besides purposeful.

(IANS)

Wed, 20 May 2020 05:22:09 +0530
COVID 19 Total tally in India mounts to 1 06 750 death toll 3 303

New Delhi, With 5,611 new novel coronavirus cases and 140 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, the total tally of such infections in India stood at 1,06,750 on Wednesday, the Health Ministry data revealed.

The total includes 61,149 active cases, 3,303 fatalities, and 42,298 patients cured of the disease, the Ministry said.

In Maharashtra, coronavirus cases climbed to 3,37,136, followed by Tamil Nadu with 12,448 cases and Gujarat with 12,140 cases so far.

Maharashtra has the highest number of deaths at 1,249, followed by Gujarat's 719 and Madhya Pradesh's 258.

In Delhi, the total tally rose to 10,554.

States with more than 4,000 cases each are Rajasthan (5,845), Madhya Pradesh (5,465) and Uttar Pradesh (4,926).

Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases each are West Bengal (2,961), Andhra Pradesh (2,532), Punjab (2,002), Telangana (1,634), Bihar (1,498), Jammu and Kashmir (1,317), and Karnataka (1,397).

Other states and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Haryana (964), Kerala (642), Odisha (978), Jharkhand (231), Chandigarh (200), Tripura (173), Assam (142), Chhattisgarh (101) and Uttarakhand (111).

While Goa is witnessing a resurgence of cases with at least 46 patients, Ladakh became COVID-19 free as all 43 patients were cured and no mortality reported.

Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram have zero active cases as their lone patients have since been cured. In Meghalaya, 12 of the 13 coronavirus patients were cured whereas one died. All 33 patients in the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been cured.
(IANS) 

Wed, 20 May 2020 04:25:45 +0530
2 Kerala Congress lawmakers begin 24 hour fast in isolation

Trissur (Kerala),  Two Congress lawmakers -- T.N. Prathapan (MP) and Anil Akkara (MLA) on Tuesday morning began a 24-hour fast to protest the way laws were used to confine them in isolation, while the same rule was not made applicable to State Local Self Government Minister A.C. Moideen.

Trouble broke out last week when five Congress lawmakers -- three MPs and two MLAs -- who visited the Walayar check-post in Palakkad on May 9 were asked to go for a two-week isolation, after a person who arrived from outside Kerala turned coronavirus positive.

Of the five, Prathapan and Akkara belong to Trissur, while the other three, Remya Haridas, V.K. Sreekantan (both MPs) and Shafi Parambil (MLA) belong to Palakkad district.

The Congress was up in arms after it came to light that Moideen had interacted with two persons, who have now turned Covid-19 positive, but the Trissur medical authorities did not ask him to go into isolation.

While Prathapan is on a 24-hour fast at his house, Akkara is in his office.

"I am extremely happy from the responses that I have got on the way how people have realised that the CPI-M is playing Covid politics by keeping us in isolation, when Moideen is not asked to undergo the isolation," said Akkara.

While the two are on fast sitting in isolation, top district Congress party leaders are on a protest before the Trissur collectorate.

"Now it has come to light that the person who later turned positive after entering Kerala at Walayar had come only at 10.30 a.m., while all these lawmakers had left that place by 10 a.m. So this is petty politics that's being played by the CPI-M," said Congress leaders on protest.

The Youth Congress leader, here had shown visuals of Moideen interacting with those who had arrived in Guruvayoor, where they were put in isolation, after arriving at Kochi on May 7 in the first evacuation flight from Abu Dhabi.
(IANS)

Tue, 19 May 2020 08:14:39 +0530
Another Indian expat in UAE fired for Islamophobic post

Abu Dhabi, Another United Arab Emirates (UAE)-Indian has joined a list of expats that have either been fired or suspended over their Islamophobic posts on social media, a media report said.

Originally from Chapra, Bihar, Brajkishore Gupta was fired without notice for his post on Facebook by employer Stevin Rock, a mining company headquartered in Ras Al Khaimah, said the Gulf News report on Monday.

"This isolated incident involving a junior employee was investigated and dealt with immediately resulting in the termination without notice of this person's employment with Stevin Rock," the company's business development and exploration manager Jean-Francois Milian told Gulf News on Sunday.

"Our company policy supports the direction of the UAE Government in promoting tolerance and equality and strongly renouncing racism and discrimination and we have sent communications to all of our employees irrespective of their religious or ethnic background reminding them that any such behaviour is unacceptable and will lead to immediate dismissal," said Milian.

Both the former and current Indian Ambassadors to the UAE have warned their countrymen about the consequences of violating the UAE's strict hate speech laws.

In May, at least three Indian expats were fired or suspended in the UAE over such hate posts, said the Gulf News report.
(IANS) 

Tue, 19 May 2020 08:07:36 +0530
370mn indigenous people in 90 countries lack Covid 19 health efforts

New York, As the world scrambles to fight coronavirus pandemic that has affected more than 4.6 million people, little attention has been paid to indigenous populations worldwide who may be especially vulnerable to Covid-19 but are largely excluded from most national or regional efforts to curb the spread of the disease, according to new research.

According to the World Bank, over 370 million indigenous people inhabit over 90 countries, in both rural and urban areas.

Even in high-income countries, indigenous groups like the Navajo have been hit hard by COVID-19, with per capita infection rates rivaling those of New York and New Jersey.

To address this, a team of anthropologists, physicians and tribal leaders has developed a strategy for mitigating the impact of COVID-19 among the Tsimane, an indigenous population in the Bolivian Amazon.

Led by University of California-Santa Barbara's Michael Gurven and Hillard Kaplan of Chapman University, their plan brings together relevant stakeholders to best serve Tsmane interests.

"They hope to provide a general template that can be applied to other indigenous groups, and to promote a wider discussion on how to adapt strategies to local circumstances, with the goal of minimizing harm to indigenous populations due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic," said the study published in the journal The Lancet.

"In Bolivia, most attention is focused in the cities, where the pandemic first appeared. Indigenous communities have not been part of any organizational plan," said Daniel Eid Rodriguez, the paper's co-author and a physician working with the Tsimane Health and Life History Project since 2005.

To reach a wider audience, the authors have published their paper not only in English, but also in Spanish, Portuguese and French -- languages spoken in countries where many indigenous people reside.

"We've been working with the Tsimane and other indigenous groups in Bolivia for almost two decades," said Gurven.

While every individual around the world is vulnerable to COVID-19 because it is new and no one has developed any immunity, many indigenous communities are at additional risk because of widespread respiratory illness, including prior history of tuberculosis, bronchitis and lower respiratory tract infections and compromised immune function.

Though health clinics may be present in rural areas, access and resources such as medication, portable oxygen and other treatments may be very limited.

The potential for higher mortality among infected individuals makes COVID-19 more salient for indigenous populations, Gurven noted, for reasons different from those typically considered.

"Indigenous elders are at greater risk because of their age and comorbidity, yet they are crucial for helping to pass on long-standing traditions. They are 'walking libraries,' the ones who transmit cultural practices, native language and rituals that are crucial to indigenous identity".

The authors hope their paper will serve to affect policy and call for action.

"Our article is directed toward the heads of state in countries with indigenous peoples, tribal leaders, scientists, health care workers, missionaries and non-governmental organizations that work with tribal peoples," said Kaplan.
(IANS) 

Tue, 19 May 2020 06:52:28 +0530
Yoga for holistic health

New Delhi, Yoga can play a big role in restoring health, and bringing you numerous physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Yoga is a one size fits all solution to stress, and when combined with a sensible diet it can help in balancing out your blood pressure levels.

Yoga can have a calming restorative effect on the mind, and body. Yoga asanas, pranayama and meditation are particularly useful to control your stress levels naturally. This can help prevent lifestyle diseases such as blood pressure. Holistic practises such as yoga can drastically improve the quality of your life.

Yoga improves the functioning of your organs, strengthens your immunity, uplifts your mood and brings a plethora of additional benefits. To support a healthy lifestyle, you can adopt a healthy diet, cut down on your salt intake, and get quality sleep in order to feel refreshed and energetic each morning, says yoga expert Grand Master Akhsar.

In a fast-paced and results-driven world such as ours, success is measured not by health, but wealth. And this has become one of the biggest reasons why lifestyle disorders such as hypertension, hypotension, diabetes etc are rampant. With a severe imbalance in work-life routines, people are leading desk-bound sedentary lives.

Hypertension is caused by stress, excess alcohol consumption, excess weight and excess salt/sugar within the diet and dehydration etc. High blood pressure can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart attacks, strokes, renal disorder and vascular dementia.

Along with early detection for prevention, regular exercise through asanas, pranayama and meditation can put you on the path to holistic well-being. Ensure to consult with your medical physician before you start yoga. Follow these yogic techniques to alleviate the condition of High blood pressure.

Ensure to consult with your medical physician before you start yoga. Follow these yogic techniques to alleviate the condition of High blood pressure. Pay attention to your breath in each pose. Try to repeat 3 sets of every posture and hold each asana for up to 30 seconds.

Tadasana

Formation of the posture

Stand tall with your feet together

Keep your spine aligned and posture erect

Relax your shoulders

Interlock your fingers, inhale and come on your toes

Exhale and bring your heels down



Vajrasana - This is the only pose that can be done on a full stomach. In fact, it should be done right after having a meal.

Formation

Drop your knees down on your mat

Place your pelvis on your heels and point your toes outward

Here, your thighs should press your calf muscles

Keep your heels close to each other, and big toes together

Place your palms on your knees facing upward

Straighten your back and look forward



Padamasana

Formation of the posture

Sit in Ardha Padmasana with your right foot over your left thigh

Lift your left foot and place it on your right thigh facing up

Pull your feet closer to your hips

Drop your knees to the floor

Place your palms on your knees facing up

Hold the asana for a while

Repeat with the other leg
IANS

Tue, 19 May 2020 06:00:13 +0530
FBI says it accessed terrorist s iPhone without Apple s help

Washington, The US government has accessed an iPhone of a terrorist involved in December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, without any help from Apple despite repeated requests.

In a media briefing, US Attorney General William Barr said that Mohammed Alshamrani, the Saudi air force officer accused of killing three classmates and injuring eight others at Florida Naval Air Station on December 6 was affiliated with Al Qaeda.

Alshamrani shot one of his two iPhones, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted to examine but Apple refused once again, reports NBCNews.

"Apple's decision has dangerous consequences for public safety and national security and is, in my judgment, unacceptable," Barr said on Monday.

The FBI director Chris Wray credited technical skill of the agency in accessing the iPhone

"We received effectively no help from Apple," said Wray.

According to Forbes, the FBI has spent $72,150 on GrayKey technology in April that can break through Apple encryption and get data.

The agency has spent over $1 million on the technology that costs $15,000-$30,000 for a license.

Apple earlier defended its stance on hardware encryption, as the FBI asked the Cupertino-based giant to unlock two iPhones owned by the Florida shooter.

"Building back doors into encryption is not the way we are going to solve those issues," Jane Horvath, Apple's Senior Director of Global Privacy, said in January this year.

Apple also denied FBI access to an iPhone belonging to the shooter in San Bernardino terror attack in 2016. The FBI had to pay professional hackers to break into the device.
(IANS) 

Tue, 19 May 2020 05:51:35 +0530
Time wasted in US response against pandemic Biden

Washington, Former US Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that time had been wasted in Washington's response against the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a virtual event on Monday, Biden said the scale of the loss from the global health crisis, which has infected 1,508,291 people and killed 90,340 in the US, was "staggering" and "infuriating", reports Xinhua news agency.

"But more than that, it's heartbreaking to think how much fear, how much loss, how much agony could have been avoided if the president hadn't wasted so much time and taken responsibility," he said.

"We got denials, delays, distraction -- many of which were openly xenophobic."

Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, along with other party members, has ramped up criticism of President Donald Trump over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Barack Obama, Trump's predecessor, also took a shot.

"More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing," Obama said during a virtual commencement speech on May 16.

"A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge."

Trump fired back at Obama and Biden on Sunday, claiming that the former administration "is turning out to be one of the most corrupt and incompetent in US history".

(IANS)

Tue, 19 May 2020 05:32:26 +0530
Sensex up 500 points on positive global cues

Mumbai, The key Indian equity indices opened on a positive note on Tuesday with the BSE Sensex rising over 500 points.

The rise in the domestic market was in line with the gains in the global markets.

Around 9.55 am, Sensex was trading at 30,536.97, higher by 507.99 or 1.69 per cent from the previous close of 30,028.98 points.

It had opened at 30,450.74 and touched an intra-day high of 30,554.18 and a low of 30,187.77 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 8,949.85, higher by 126.60 points or 1.43 per cent from the previous close.
(IANS)

Tue, 19 May 2020 05:16:03 +0530
WHO chief warns of long road to travel as COVID 19 risk remains high

Geneva, The majority of the world's population remains susceptible to COVID-19 and there is a long road to travel as the risk remains high, the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

"This is a dangerous enemy, with a dangerous combination of features: this virus is efficient, fast, and fatal," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Even in the worst-affected regions, the proportion of the population with the tell-tale antibodies is no more than 20 per cent, and in most places, less than 10 per cent, Tedros said.

"In other words: the majority of the world's population remains susceptible to this virus," he said. "The risk remains high and we have a long road to travel."

There have been over 4.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the WHO, with more than 300,000 people having lost their lives.

Its health impacts extend far beyond the sickness and death caused by the virus itself, said Tedros, adding that it is also more than a health crisis, as the global economy is headed for its sharpest contraction since the Great Depression.

"All countries have faced challenges in coming to grips with this virus, rich and poor, large and small," he said.

Tedros said the WHO had sounded the alarm early, noting that when the Geneva-based organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, there were less than 100 cases and no deaths outside China.

"We all have lessons to learn from the pandemic," he said. "Every country and every organization must examine its response and learn from its experience."

Tedros said he will initiate an independent evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment to review experience gained and lessons learned, and to make recommendations to improve national and global pandemic preparedness and response.

He urged member states to strengthen the WHO.

"The world doesn&