Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Mumbai's Taj Hotels receive bomb threat call from Pakistan security tightened

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Mumbai (ANI): Security outside Mumbai's two Taj Hotels Colaba and Bandra -and the nearby areas has been tightened after a bomb threat call from Karachi said the Mumbai Police on Tuesday.

"Security tightened outside Taj Hotels and nearby areas after a threat call was received yesterday from Karachi, Pakistan to blow up the hotels with bombs," said the Mumbai Police.

The police further added that the call from Karachi came in the late hours on Monday. Taj Hotel was one of the venues which was targeted during the 26/11 attacks in 2008.

Mumbai had come to a standstill on November 26, 2008, when 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who entered the city via sea route from Pakistan carried out a series of coordinated shootings and bombings that injured over 300 and claimed the lives of 166 people in India's financial capital.

The Attacks took place at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station, Cama Hospital, Nariman House business and residential complex, Leopold Cafe, Taj Hotel and Tower, and the Oberoi-Tribdent Hotel. (ANI)

Regional Tibetan Youth Congress holds anti-China protest outside Chinese Consulate in Toronto

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Toronto [Canada], June 30 (ANI): The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress staged a protest against China outside the Chinese Consulate in Toronto to show solidarity with India over the recent Chinese military intrusion in Ladakh's Galwan Valley. The protest was held on Monday.

Protestors condemned the Chinese intrusion and raised slogans in support of India and the Indian Army like 'Tibet stands with India' and 'Thank you Indian Army'. The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress also held similar protests in the New York and New Jersey in the United States.

Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in a violent face-off in the Galwan Valley on June 15-16 after an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation. Indian intercepts revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the face-off. (ANI)

Indian newspapers, websites not accessible in China

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Beijing (ANI): Amid ongoing border tension between China and India following the June 15 standoff, the Indian newspapers and websites are not accessible in China. Though Chinese newspapers and websites continue to be accessible in India, people in China can only access the Indian media websites with Virtual Private Network (VPN) server.

The Indian TV channels also can be accessed through IP TV as of now. And ExpressVPN has not been working in the Communist state for the past two days on the iPhone as well as desktops. A virtual private network (VPN) is a powerful tool that gives users online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask internet protocol (IP) address so a user's online actions are virtually untraceable.

But China has created such a technologically advanced firewall that it blocks even the VPNs. The recent action comes amid the ongoing tension between India and China after the violent standoff on June 15 in the Galwan Valley area in eastern Ladakh in which both sides suffered casualties.

The Chinese action of banning Indian media sites came even before the Indian government's move to ban 59 applications including Tik Tok, UC Browser, and other Chinese apps "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity and defense" of the country. China has one of the strongest online censorship in the world. It is known to heavily regulate and censor domestic internet usage and actively block any websites or links that are seen as going against the narrative of the communist party.

The Asian country has the world's most sophisticated censorship system known as the 'Great Firewall'. The Chinese government controls the media through techniques including blocking IP addresses, DNS attacks, and filtering specific URLs and keywords within URLs, according to SCMP. According to an article in South China Morning Post in November, over the years, the number of websites blocked in China has ballooned to 10,000.

The blacklist includes social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp; news outlets like Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times; and popular collaboration tools such as Dropbox and Google Drive (or anything else on Google). In 2016, Freedom House ranked China last for the second consecutive year out of sixty-five countries that represent 88 percent of the world's internet users.

China passes controlversial Hong Kong security law

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Beijing (ANI): The Chinese Parliament on Tuesday passed controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong, ignoring the worldwide outcry and protest in the semi-autonomous city against the law. According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), the law approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Tuesday is expected to carry a maximum penalty of life in jail, contrary to earlier indications of a 10-year limit.

Sources told the SCMP that the law was proved unanimously by the Standing Committee's 162 members, within 15 minutes of the meeting starting at 9 am. Only a handful of Hong Kong delegates to the national legislature saw the draft of the law before the passage.

A source familiar with the situation had told Xinhua, the official state news agency, would publish the details in the afternoon, marking the first time the law will be fully disclosed to the public. The law is expected to come into effect on July 1, the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover to China from British rule.

The security legislation, which bans secessionist activities, among other things, is seen by Hong Kong residents as undermining their liberties. On Sunday, pro-democracy demonstrators took out a silent march against the law. Police had arrested 53 people of them on the charges of unlawful assembly.

The bill in regard to national security law that was introduced last month has sparked domestic protests and was received with international criticism despite both Beijing and Hong Kong's leadership maintaining that they have the full right to implement the legislation. Countries like the US, Australia and the UK have opposed the law which is believed to be brought by China to strengthen its hold on Hong Kong.

On June 23, the European Parliament voted in favour of bringing China before the International Court of Justice over its decision to adopt a new national security law for semi-autonomous Hong Kong. US President Donald Trump announced a slew of measures to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese Security Apparatus.

On June 18, Foreign Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) member countries issued a joint statement strongly urging China to reconsider its decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong. (ANI)

Rajnath Singh to hold talks with US counterpart, India-China face-off likely to come up

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

New Delhi (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to speak to his American counterpart Mark Esper over the telephone on Tuesday, during which the ongoing tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China are expected to come up for discussion, as per Defence Ministry officials.

"Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to talk to his American counterpart Mark Esper over the telephone. Ongoing tensions between India and China on the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh expected to come up for discussion in talks," officials said.

The third round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China to discuss and diffuse the tension over the ongoing dispute along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh is scheduled to be held at 10:30 am today in Chushul, Leh, informed government sources said on Monday.

The first two rounds had taken place in Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC. In the second round of Corps Commander-level talks held on June 22, both sides reached a mutual consensus to disengage in the Eastern Ladakh sector, Army sources said.

The modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed and these will be taken forward by both sides, the sources added.

India and China have been involved in talks to ease the ongoing border tensions since last month. Twenty Indian soldiers lost their lives in a violent face-off in the Galwan Valley on June 15-16 after an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation.

Indian intercepts revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the face-off. (ANI)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Amid China row, India likely to get six 'fully loaded' Rafales by July-end

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New Delhi (ANI): Amid the ongoing dispute with China over its transgression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India is likely to get around six fully-loaded Rafale fighter aircraft by July-end fitted with the long-range Meteor air to air missiles.

The Rafales along with the Meteor missiles which can hit targets at more than 150 km strike range will give an edge to the Indian Air Force over the Chinese Air Force.

"Depending upon the situation and the ongoing training of IAF pilots in France, we may get six Rafales by July-end. The aircraft will be arriving with their full package and will be made operational within few days itself," government sources told ANI.

The original plan was to get four Rafales including three twin-seater trainer versions for training the pilots here at Ambala Air Force station, which will be the first base of the Rafale fighter jets in India. The second base would be in Hashimara, West Bengal, sources said.

The number of aircraft set to arrive in India may be higher according to requirement and a decision will be taken keeping in mind the training requirements of the pilots already stationed in France, the sources said.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Air Force has worked hard to ensure that the ground infrastructure gets ready by the time the planes land here.

The IAF officials said the date of arrival of the planes would be decided by mid-July after taking multiple factors into account.

The first aircraft to be flown in is planned to be piloted by the Commanding Officer of the 17 Golden Arrows' squadron along with a French pilot, they said.

The aircraft on their way from France to India would be refuelled by a French Air Force tanker aircraft in the air before they make a stopover in the Middle East.

"From Middle East to India, there would be one mid-air refuelling done by the Indian IL-78 tanker before they land in India," sources said.

Sources said that the Rafales could have come directly from France to India but a 10-hour flight would be stressful for pilots sitting inside a small cockpit.

The first batch of seven Indian pilots has also finished their training at a French airbase while the second batch would be going to France as soon as the lockdown measures are relaxed in both the countries.

Post lockdown, India received the first consignment of equipment from France when a cargo plane landed in Delhi few weeks ago and more equipment would arrive in the near future.

India had signed a deal worth over Rs 60,000 crore with France in September 2016 for 36 Rafales to meet the emergency requirements of the Indian Air Force.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria was the Deputy Chief of Air Staff at that time and headed the Indian negotiation team for the deal which is the biggest ever in monetary terms in India.

Armed with the long-range Meteor air to air missiles and SCALP, the Rafales would give India an edge over both Pakistan and China in terms of air strike capability.

Sources said the air to air and the air to ground strike capabilities of the Rafale cannot be matched by both China and Pakistan and the aircraft would give India an edge over both the rivals.

4 terrorists involved in attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi killed

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Karachi (Pakistan): At least two people were killed and three got injured after terrorists attacked Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi at 10 am on Monday (June 29). According to reports four terrorists launched the attack and three of them were killed within minutes by security forces. The terrorists hurled grenade near KSE followed by gunfire. The injured included a policeman.

Pakistani news agency Dawn quoted Sindh Rangers as saying that police and Rangers' officials arrived at the scene soon after the attack and eliminated all the four terrorists. Security officials are currently undertaking a clearance operation in the area. Police have recovered weapons and hand grenades from the attackers. Sources said that the terrorists were wearing police uniforms giving an impression that they were off duty personnel of the police.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail condemned the incident and said that those involved in the cowardly attack will not be spared.

Emergency has been declared in all hospitals in Karachi and II Chundrigar road has been completely sealed. II Chundrigar road is also known as the Wall Street of Pakistan. Karachi is one of the most important cities of Pakistan and is the financial capital of Pakistan. Zee News.

Google to add background blur, low-light mode to Meet video calls

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California (ANI): Google is working on several new features including background blur, low-light mode and background replacement images for its video calling application Meet.

Alike rival videoconferencing platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Google Meet users will be able to either choose their own image or pick from several default options.
Google confirmed to The Verge that in addition to background blur and background replacement images, real-time captioning, low-light mode, hand-raising, and a tile view of up to 49 meeting participants will be rolled out to the consumer version of Meet.

Google integrated Meet into Gmail last month, adding a sidebar link and making meetings of up to 100 people with no time limits available to anyone with a Google account. (ANI)

Vande Bharat flight with 195 Indians departs from Washington DC

As on Thursday, 3,64,209 people have returned under this mission, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.(Photo: ANI)

Washington DC [US], June 29 (ANI): A special flight under Vande Bharat Mission departed from Washington DC with 195 stranded Indians for Delhi on Sunday.

"#VandeBharatMission Phase III @airindiain with 195 pax left Washington, DC for Delhi," Indian embassy in the US tweeted.

Vande Bharat Mission, which started from May 7, is in its third phase. The recent phase commenced on June 11.

As of Thursday, 3,64,209 people have returned under this mission., the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

In the first three phases of the Vande Bharat Mission, around 875 international flights were scheduled for operation from over 50 countries across 5 continents.

The Indian government has also approved additional flight services to bring back Indian nationals who are still stranded abroad.

Dissident says CCP pays off Vatican $2 billion annually for its silence on Chinese atrocities

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Washinton [US], June 29 (ANI): Exiled Chinese dissident Guo Wengei has revealed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) allocates USD two billion every year to pay off the Vatican for its silence concerning atrocities by Beijing. In an interview on The War Room on June 20, Guo said that the CCP earmarks massive sums each year to win the allegiance of foreign countries including the Vatican, Italy, and Australia, US-based Breitbart news reported.

He alleged that the Vatican receives up to USD 2 billion from the Chinese Communist party. "The Chinese Communist Party allocates 2 billion US dollars each year" to gain influence over the Vatican's internal policymaking and to pay for its silence on the CCP's repression of religious freedom, said the billionaire whistleblower.

Guo had previously stated that China has drafted a complete strategy for world domination known by the initials "BGY," which stands for Blue (control the Internet), Gold (buy influence with money), and Yellow (seduce key people with sex). According to Breitbart, the Chinese government since 2014 has formulated internal policies to invest a certain percentage of trade with foreign countries in the BGY program to erode the local state system, Guo said Saturday. The current BGY quota for the United States is 5 per cent.

Guo also offered a similar calculation for Australia. "The trade volume between the CCP and Australia is about the US $200 billion," he said. "Previously, 1 per cent was used for BGY, but it rose to 5 per cent. That is, USD 10 billion was used for BGY."

In September 2018, the Vatican had signed an important secret accord with Beijing concerning the appointment of Catholic bishops in China. Veteran Vatican journalist John L Allen Jr. has said that the Vatican has not spared any effort to attract China into full diplomatic relations.

The Vatican is "covetous of a relationship with China and often apparently willing to stifle objections and give away a great deal" in order to move toward that goal, Allen wrote last month. In short, "the Vatican is moving full-steam ahead in its courtship of Beijing, with the ultimate prize remaining full diplomatic relations, a secure legal standing for the church, and partnerships on the global stage," Allen wrote. (ANI)

British-Pakistani doctor's licence suspended for peddling misinformation about COVID-19

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London [UK], June 29 (ANI): The United Kingdom's General Medical Council (GMC) has suspended the medical practice licence of a British-Pakistani doctor after he claimed that Covid-19 was a conspiracy to control the world.

The GMC, which maintains the official list of medical practitioners in the UK, has removed Dr Iqbal Adil's reference number from its website, Geo News reported.
"This person has been suspended from the Medical Register and may not practise as a doctor in the UK," the website said, adding that he was neither on the General Practioner (GP) register nor the specialist one.

"This doctor is not subject to revalidation (as) only doctors holding full registration with a licence to practise are subject to revalidation," the website said.
Dr Adil worked in the UK as a specialist in colorectal and emergency surgery and laparoscopy, having graduated from Bahauddin Zakaria University in Pakistan's Multan city in 1986.

The doctor has peddled various conspiracy theories about coronavirus on social media platforms and in online interviews, claiming that the virus "orchestrated by the elite and is indeed a hoax".

So far, over 10 million people have been infected with Covid-19 worldwide, while the number of fatalities crossed the 500,000 mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In an interview to a news outlet, Dr Adil said he had been working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK for almost 30 years and was dismissed because of political victimisation, according to Geo News.

The doctor, in various social media posts and YouTube videos, claimed that a vaccine was not a cure for Covid-19 while physical distancing was of no help as well to combat the virus. Almost all of his controversial videos have been taken down by YouTube.

Following the suspension of his medical practice license, the doctor set up a petition at Change.org, which has got over 300 signatures so far. It says that he "is Chairman of All Pakistan Medical Association and Global Nishtarian Organisation (GNO) with a large number of medical graduates worldwide".

"Mr Adil has a family with 3 children to support. NHS UK need doctors to work. It would not be in the best interest of the public and health system to lose experienced and highly qualified surgeon like him," it added while stressing that it was "an injustice" to suspend his license over "his personal point of view on Covid-19".

"We request to the GMC to revoke his unfair 12 months suspension ... and allow him fair chance to work in this country (for the benefit of) the health system, communities and medical graduates at large," the petition further states. (ANI)

Ashok Gehlot asks PM Modi to withdraw statement on Galwan valley face-off

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], June 29 (ANI): Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw his statement, made at an all-party meeting on June 19, in which he said that "neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured". "At Opposition's meeting, the Prime Minister said that China did not intrude into our land and capture any post. He has done a blunder. He knowingly or unknowingly gave a certificate to China, which it wanted. This was not required. He should withdraw his statement," Gehlot said in a video conference on Sunday while commenting the violent face-off between troops of India and China. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the clash.

"He is the only Prime Minister whose statement is being welcomed by China," the Chief Minister claimed. In the meeting, the Prime Minister had said: "Neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured."

The Chief Minister said that the government should tell the nation about the situation on LAC. It is the right of the countrymen. "Isn't it a moral responsibility of the Prime Minister to take the people of the country in confidence and clarify the status on the LAC," he said. Gehlot said that the Prime Minister went to China four times as a Chief Mand five times as a Prime Minister and in general met the Chinese premier 18 times.

"In Ahmedabad, they enjoyed swings with Chinese leadership while there was a conflict on the border. The Prime Minister should have understood his intentions," he said. (ANI)

Bihar on high alert over possible terrorist intrusion through Nepal border

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Patna (Bihar) [India], June 29 (ANI): Bihar Special Branch has issued a high alert to all districts in the state after a warning was issued regarding possible terrorists from Taliban and Jaish-e-Mohammad entering the state through the Nepal border. It is learnt that the ISI has formulated a plan to send about 5-6 Taliban and Jaish terrorists, trained by the Pakistan army, through the Nepal border into the state.

"As per an input, a threatening email was received on NIA control room indicating a hit list having names of Hon'ble Union Home Minister and other BJP Leaders. Please keep a lookout for the movements of Kashmiri terrorists, Muslim Fundamentalists ie Jaish-e-Mohomed, Al Qaeda and all Pakistan, Taliban, Afganistan, Jihad, terrorist organisation, Islamic Terrorist Organisation, Left-wing extremist elements, and North-eastern Insurgent Groups, All India Security Suspect and Rabid Communalists who could threaten the security of the VVIP," read the alert.

"Requested to keep a close watch in your jurisdiction from now onwards till the VVIP visits are over. A watch would also be required individuals who have come to notice for addressing threatening letters to VVIP and those noticed moving under suspicious circumstances near VVIP locations," it added.

Local police authorities may also be sensitised to such threats, the order stated. (ANI)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Facebook to ban ads encouraging racial divisions, religious affiliation

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California (ANI): Social media giant Facebook will update its advertising policy to restrict hateful content and explicitly ban ads that encourage racial divisions.

Specifically, the new policy will "prohibit claims that people from a specific race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status are a threat to the physical safety, health or survival of others."

The policy will also restrict ads that express contempt for immigrants or refugees, The Verge reported. Notably, the new restrictions apply only to advertisements and will not affect posts without paid promotion.

"Facebook stands for giving people a voice, and that especially means people who have previously not had as much voice, or as much power to share their own experiences. It's really important that we make sure our platforms live up to these principles," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a company town hall while announcing the changes.

The restrictions are part of a suite of changes Facebook is making in advance of the 2020 US elections. (ANI)

Shooting during Louisville protests leaves 1 person dead, another injured

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Louisville (ANI): One person was killed and another injured in a shooting during protests in the US city of Louisville, the city's Police Department (LMPD) said in a statement.

"Just about 9pm [01:00 GMT Sunday], there were reports of shots fired in Jefferson Square Park. Calls then came in the Sheriff's Department personnel were in the park performing life-saving measures on a male who eventually died at the scene. A short time later, we got a report of another shooting victim at the Hall of Justice. That person was taken to University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries," the statement, posted on Facebook, read.

According to the Courier-Journal newspaper, the protests over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor have been going on in the city park for weeks.

The LMPD noted in the statement that Jefferson Square Park would remain closed for several hours.

On March 13, Taylor, 26, was shot dead by police in her home as officers entered to execute a search warrant targeting her former boyfriend.

The death of Taylor, George Floyd in Minneapolis, and other African Americans served as a catalyst for protests against police brutality throughout the United States as well as the world. However, many protests turned into riots complete with violence against police and civilians as well as acts of vandalism, arson, and looting.

The incidents have also amplified calls by activists across the United States for the defunding of police departments and redirecting funds to other areas to help communities, such as education and housing. (Sputnik/ANI)

Pakistan becomes 12th country to surpass 2,00,000 coronavirus cases

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Islamabad (ANI): Pakistan has become the 12th country in the world where the coronavirus count has surpassed 2,00,000 mark, Geo TV reported citing Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.

The Country has reported 4,098 deaths due the virus. According to official data, over 5,000 medical workers have contracted the virus in the country.

Geo TV reported the infection rate has multiplied manifold over the last few weeks ever since the government has eased lockdown restrictions last month.

On April 23, the World Health Organisation has warned Pakistan against lifting restrictions.

"With effective interventions, there could be an estimated 200K+ cases by mid-July. The impacts on the economy could be devastating, doubling the number of people living in poverty," Director-General WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom had said.

However, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has downplayed the importance of lockdown saying the country couldn't afford to match the losses incurred during the lockdown as many other countries had done. (ANI).

PM Modi to share thoughts in Mann ki Baat on Sunday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo:ANI)

New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share his thoughts on the 66th edition of his monthly radio programme 'Mann ki Baat' on Sunday.

"Tune in tomorrow at 11 AM! MannKiBaat," he said in a tweet.

The Prime Minister addresses Mann ki Baat on last Sunday of every month. (ANI)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Imran Khan's government continues to muzzle academicians taking anti-govt stance

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan (Photo: ANI)

Islamabad (ANI): Pakistan has always been in the news for committing gross human rights violations. Under the Imran Khan-led democratic government a number of universities have been forced to sack their professors who spoke or supported anti-government campaigns, reported the DW.

"After I participated in a student demonstration, the government registered a sedition case against me. The university administration, Lahore's Forman Christian College (FCC), told me to stay away from these activities and warned that they would take action against me if I didn't knuckle under," Ammar Ali Jan, a prominent Pakistani acamedician and activist against the military atrocities in Baluchistan, was quoted as saying to DW.

He said that the universities are being forced by the country's powerful military to sack the professors who take an anti-government stance.

According to the several Rights groups, the freedom of expression, especially the freedom of press, is regularly being strangulated with Prime Minister Imran Khan coming in power in August 2018. They say that the military has further consolidated its power under the present government.

Jan's stance has prompted several other academicians to come forward and speak against the curbs of academic freedom.

"In 2018, I was hired to teach politics at a local university in Lahore. After spending two semesters there, the management told me that my contract would not be extended. When I asked the head of department as to why I was being abruptly dismissed, he told me that the university had received complaints about my political views," Aima Khosa, an academic and rights activist, wrote on Twitter.

Similarly, Pervez Hoodbhoy, an internationally renowned physicist and a known voice against religious conservatism and militarisation of the state, was told by the FCC that his contract will not be renewed next year.

"That academic freedom has always been under threat in Pakistan is old news. What is somewhat new is the frequency with which lecturers, professors, researchers, students, and even writers feel threatened now in both private and public-sector universities. These threats are of multiple nature and presumably emanate from various quarters," DW quoted a June 26 editorial in The News International, a leading English-language newspaper in Pakistan.

However, these claims have been denied by both the government and the military. While Imran Khan has said that the press has full freedom of expression in the country, Aijaz Awan, a retired military officer and defense analyst, told DW: "The military has nothing to do with the contracts of these academics. If somebody has been sacked, it is likely due to the terms and conditions of their contract. They should not blame the military for everything." (ANI)

Yogi Adityanath congratulates students as UPMSP declares Class 10, 12 results

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. (Photo:ANI)

Lucknow (ANI): Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday congratulated all students who cleared their Class 10 and 12 Board examinations conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP).

The Chief Minister also thanked the board for conducting the exams and declaring the results on time despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The result of high school has been 83.31 per cent and the intermediate result has been 74.63 per cent.

"Despite COVID-19 outbreak, UPMSP conducted exams and declared results on time. I congratulate all the children who passed in Class 10 and 12 board exams. The result of high school has been 83.31 per cent and the intermediate result has been 74.63 per cent," Adityanath told ANI here.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma along with UPMSP officials had announced the state boards result of class 10 and 12 today.

Sharma had further announced, that on the instructions of the Chief Minister, the meritorious children will get Rs 1 lakh cash, a laptop and we will build a road to their houses. (ANI)

Friday, June 26, 2020

China has occupied Indian territory in Ladakh, how will Modi govt take back our land: Sonia Gandhi asks Centre

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi in a video message on Friday. (Photo:ANI)

New Delhi (ANI): Targetting the BJP-led Central government over the border stand-off with China, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that the Chinese army has occupied Indian territory in Ladakh and asked "how will the Modi government take back our land".

She further reiterated that the Centre cannot back away from its responsibilities. "The Chinese army has occupied Indian territory in Ladakh. How will Modi government take back our land? Today, people are standing beside the army and our soldiers. The government should give full support to the army. This is true patriotism," she added.

Gandhi, in a video message on 'Shaheedon Ko Salaam Divas', said that the Central government should extend full support to the Indian armed forces.

"Today, when there is a crisis at the Indo-China border, the Central government cannot back away from its responsibilities. The Prime Minister said that there is no incursion on Indian territory. However, Defence Minister and Foreign Minister have repeatedly mentioned Chinese incursion," the Congress interim chief said.

This comes days after 20 Indian Army personnel lost their lives in a violent face-off with the Chinese troops in Ladakh's Galwan valley. "Generals of our army, defence experts, and news outlets have confirmed Chinese incursion in our territory. If what Prime Minister Modi is saying is true, how did 20 Indian Army personnel lose their lives?" she asked.

The Congress leader said that the Congress and the people of India are observing 'Shaheedon Ko Salaam Divas' to pay their respect and tribute to the martyrs.

"Twenty of our soldiers were martyred while trying to prevent Chinese incursion in Ladakh's Galwan valley. The country will always be indebted to their service. We are proud of our soldiers and the army. We are safe because our army secures the country by putting their lives at stake," she said. (ANI)

PM Modi interacts with people in UP, hears their experiences amid COVID-19

Photo: ANI

New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday interacted with several people in Uttar Pradesh and listened to their experiences about their employment amid the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

At the launch of "Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan" on Friday, held through video conferencing the Prime Minister discussed with Tilak Ram, a farmer and a beneficiary of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana from the district of Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh on his experiences and feedback.

Interacting with Tilak Ram, the Prime Minister joked with him saying that now that he has a new house so many relatives and guests must be visiting his house.
Prime Minister also asked the farmer what will he give him. To this, the farmer said that he wishes him to remain Prime Minister of the country forever. This brought laughter on the face of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister asked for a promise that he will continue to make his children study. To which the farmer replied in affirmative.

Prime Minister Modi also interacted Kurbaan Ali, a returnee from Mumbai, where he was working as a master mason and who has now returned to his home district of Siddharthnagar.

Kurbaan Ali shared that with public works underway in the village he and his brother are now working in these projects.

The Prime Minister also interacted with Nagendra Singh, from Gorakhpur. Singh who was previously working in Ahmedabad has now decided to stay on and work in his home village, shared experiences under COVID-19, and future plans.

The Prime Minister also spoke with Deepu from Jalaun district. Deepu ji, who was previously working in Hyderabad, has now gained gainful employment close to his village on the Bundelkhand Expressway project.

Prime Minister Modi interacted with Vineeta Pal, leading a Self Help Group (in Gonda district). Vineeta shared her plans regarding her work for the future with the Prime Minister. (ANI)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Large numbers of US immigration workers to be laid off

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Washington (ANI): More than 13,000 people employed in the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) workforce are expected to face extended furlough starting August 3 that would cut off their salaries and will severely curtail the agency's work, Washington Post reported citing union representing the employees.
USCIS management will send notices of potential furloughs between Wednesday and July 3, under government personnel rules requiring advance notice when a furlough is projected to last 30 days or more.

Moreover, the USCIS has seen a dramatic decrease in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fees from visa and citizenship applications and other services it provides are down sharply in the wake of the pandemic.

The USCIS has said it will need to take action unless it receives a cash infusion from Congress.

"We got a distinct impression that they did not want to do the furloughs but if they did not get money from Congress they are going to have to," said Danielle Spooner, president of AFGE Council 119.

This development comes after President Donald Trump passed an executive order barring many categories of foreign workers and curbing immigration visas through the end of the year. The action is further going to erode the agency's main source of funding.

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has seen a dramatic decrease in revenue and is seeking a one-time emergency request for funding to ensure we can carry out our mission of administering our nation's lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity, and protecting the American people," a USCIS representative said in an email.

"Without congressional intervention, USCIS will need to administratively furlough approximately 13,400 employees." The agency has said that it needed an additional USD 1.2 billion to be spread over the rest of this fiscal year and the start of the new on.

"With a loss of nearly three-fourths of its workforce, work, student and visitor visa petitions, asylum and citizenship/naturalization applications, green cards, and refugee applications will not be processed," AFGE National President Everett B. Kelley told a House hearing last week.

"We recognize the enormous economic pain that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused throughout our nation and the world. But the United States should not and need not discontinue its capacity for administering legal immigration processes. But without this supplemental appropriation, that is exactly what will happen," he said.

The threatened furlough at USCIS would be the most extensive in the federal workforce since mid-2013 when numerous agencies put some employees in unpaid status for several days scattered over the summer because of "sequestration" budget limits. (ANI)

Leaders are feeling suffocated in Cong: Amit Shah asks party to self-introspect

Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

New Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday hit out at Congress for "unceremoniously sacking" its spokesperson and said that leaders in the opposition party are "feeling suffocated".

To substantiate his point, Shah referred to the recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet in which senior members and younger members raised a few issues, however, they were "shut down".

Taking to Twitter, Shah posted two English dailies' articles titled -- "Not scared of PM Modi, but many in the party dodge him: Rahul at Congress Working Committee meet" and "Congress removes Sanjay Jha as party spokesperson after critical article".

Last week, Jha was dropped as AICC spokesperson and Abhishek Dutt and Sadhna Bharti appointed as National Media Panelist of Congress party.

"During the recent CWC meet, senior members and younger members raised a few issues. But, they were shouted down. A party spokesperson was unceremoniously sacked. The sad truth is - leaders are feeling suffocated in Congress," the Union Minister tweeted.

Meanwhile, Shah also targetted Congress on the completion of 45 years of emergency, which was imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25, 1975 and asked the party to self introspect.

"As one of India's opposition parties, Congress needs to ask itself: Why does the Emergency mindset remain? Why are leaders who do not belong to 1 dynasty unable to speak up? Why are leaders getting frustrated in Congress? Else, their disconnect with people will keep widening," he wrote. (ANI)

Churches will be allowed to open if they comply with COVID-19 safety protocols: Goa Archbishop


Panaji (Goa), June 25 (ANI): Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao on Wednesday said churches will be allowed to reopen if the concerned authorities comply with all the safety protocols in view of COVID-19 outbreak.

The Archbishop announced stringent rules while rolling out a formal protocol for the re-opening of Churches in the state.

"On receipt of a petition, the Diocesan Authority will send a delegate for an on-site inspection and will grant the requested permission only if he is satisfied that the church/chapel/shrine can, in fact comply will all the requirements," the Archbishop stated in an advisory.

As per the protocol, churches situated in containment or buffer zones in the state will not be allowed to open.

Moreover, the priest in charge has to make sure that thorough cleanliness and disinfection of the sacred place and of the surrounding premises have been carried out and can be assured to be undertaken regularly and the place of worship is well ventilated; volunteers/ushers are adequately instructed and prepared to assist the Faithful.

The Archbishop has asked authorities to ensure that the seating arrangement with the physical distancing of six feet is marked out; hymnals and other books/leaflets are removed from the place of worship; holy water stoups/fonts are kept dry; there is a display for signage, clearly indicating: the necessity of maintaining a physical distance of six feet others, at all times; hand sanitisers are available for the use of the Faithful and a contactless thermometer is in place to check the body temperature of those who enter.

The coordinating team, under the chairmanship of the priest, should make the necessary arrangements in the light of the directives of the church and of the civil authorities, to facilitate the process of the dradual opening of the place of worship and monitor the implementation of all the guidelines, he added.

The state government had allowed reopening of religious places on June 8. However, several religious places, including churches, remained closed for visitors fearing a surge in coronavirus cases. (ANI)

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Nearly 1.25 lakh Indians returned from overseas under Vande Bharat Mission: Hardeep Puri

Minister of Civil Aviation of India (Representative Image)

New Delhi (ANI): Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday said that nearly 1,25,000 Indians have returned from different countries under the Vande Bharat Mission.

He informed that 6,037 people returned to India from overseas on June 23. "Vande Bharat continues to be a mission of hope and happiness for stranded and distressed Indian around the world. So far, nearly 125K Indians have come back on these evacuation flights and nearly 43K have flown out of India. Today (on Tuesday) 6,37 people returned from different countries," Puri said in a tweet.

As many as 2,50,087 Indian nationals stranded abroad have been repatriated since the beginning of Vande Bharat Mission last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said last week.

The Vande Bharat Mission, which started from May 7 to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus pandemic, is in its thrid phase.

The recent phase commenced on June 11.

Under the third phase, India would have 550 flights including 191 feeder flights.(ANI)

Security forces recover arms, ammunition from J-K's Poonch

Arms and ammunition recovered from Surankote area of Poonch district on June 23, [Photo/ANI]

Poonch (ANI): Arms and ammunition were recovered from Surankote area of Poonch district on June 23, after a joint operation was conducted by the security forces.

According to the officials, one Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL) gun and 212 rounds were recovered in a joint search operation of the Indian Army and Special Operations Group (SOG).

On Tuesday, in a joint operation in Srinagar's Harwan, security forces had busted an active hideout loaded with armes and ammunition. (ANI)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

PM Narendra Modi greets Kutchi community on Ashadhi Bij

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Representative Image)

New Delhi (ANI): On the occasion of Ashadhi Bij, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended wishes to the people of Kutchi community and lauded the group known for its rich culture.

"On the special occasion of Ashadhi Bij, greetings to the Kutchi community. This is a community known for its great culture and bravery. I pray that the coming year is filled with happiness and good health," the Prime Minister tweeted.

Ashadhi Bij is the second day of Shukla paksha of Aashaadha month, of Hindu calender, which is associated with the begging of rains in the Kutch region. (ANI).

WHO suggests dexamethosone usage for critical COVID cases

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Representative Image)

Geneva [Switzerland], June 23 (ANI): The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Sunday (local time) emphasised on a rapid increase in production of dexamethasone, a cheap steroid which after clinical trials has shown life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients. According to researchers from Oxford University, a low-dose regimen of dexamethasone, which is typically used to treat certain forms of arthritis, severe allergies, asthma, and certain types of cancer, for 10 days was found to reduce the risk of death by a third among hospitalized patients requiring ventilation in the trial.

The preliminary trial was conducted over random 2,100 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, and about 4,300 hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were randomized to receive the usual standard of care at their hospitals. Their findings are preliminary, still being compiled and have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal -- but some not involved with the study called the results a breakthrough, as per CNN's report.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 on Sunday said that although the data is still preliminary, the recent finding that the steroid "dexamethasone has life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients gave us a much-needed reason to celebrate". "The next challenge is to increase production and rapidly and equitably distribute dexamethasone worldwide, focusing on where it is needed most," he said.

"WHO emphasizes that dexamethasone should only be used for patients with severe or critical COVID-19 under close clinical supervision," he informed people through a virtual conference further. He said there is no evidence that this drug works for patients with mild disease or as a preventative measure, and it could cause harm. Tedros, however, ignored the fact that the side effects can include conditions such as upset stomach, headache, dizziness, insomnia and depression.

He said the demand for the steroid has already surged and as this is an inexpensive medicine and there are many dexamethasone manufacturers worldwide, "we are confident we can accelerate production". Guided by solidarity, he noted, countries must work together to ensure supplies are prioritised for countries where there are large numbers of critically ill patients, and that supplies remain available to treat other diseases for which it is needed. (ANI)

India, China Corps Commanders hold talks for nearly 11 hours

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New Delhi (ANI): The meeting between Indian Army's 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh and his Chinese counterpart is still on after more than 10 hours, Army sources said. The meeting started around 11:30 am at Moldo on the Chinese side of Line of Actual Control (LAC) opposite Chushul to defuse the tensions in Eastern Ladakh sector due to Chinese military build-up, the sources said.

This is the second meeting between the two corps commanders. They had met on June 6 and had agreed to disengage at multiple locations. India had asked the Chinese side to go back to pre-May 4 military positions along the LAC. The Chinese side had not given any response to the Indian proposal and not even shown intent on the ground to withdraw troops from rear positions where they have amassed over 10,000 troops.

India is also likely to discuss the change in rules of engagement on the LAC where the forces have been empowered to use firearms in extraordinary circumstances, sources had said. They said India will also ask China to honour the commitment given during June 6 talks to disengage in the Galwan valley completely and other places.

The build-up of Chinese air assets including strategic bombers by the PLA Air Force in fields near Indian territory close to Ladakh is also likely to figure in discussions. India and China have been involved in talks to ease the ongoing border tensions since last month.

However, last week as many as 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the face-off in the Galwan Valley after an attempt by the Chinese troops to unilaterally change the status quo during the de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. The Indian intercepts have revealed that the Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in the violent clash. (ANI)

Monday, June 22, 2020

Rajnath Singh leaves for Russia, to discuss defence and strategic partnership

Minister of Defence Shri Rajnath Singh. (Representative Image)

New Delhi (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Monday left for a three-day visit to Russia, Singh is likely to discuss the India-Russia defence and strategic partnership during the visit and also attend a military parade in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The visit comes days after the violent face-off with China in which 20 Indian Armymen were killed in Galwan valley in Ladakh.

"Leaving for Moscow on a three day visit. The visit to Russia will give me an opportunity to hold talks on ways to further deepen the India-Russia defence and strategic partnership. I shall also be attending the 75th Victory Day Parade in Moscow," the Defence Minister tweeted.

Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar is also accompanying the minister. (ANI)

Sikh abducted in Afghanistan, Afghan American Sikhs seek India's support

Representative Image.

Washington DC [US], June 22 (ANI): An Afghanistan Sikh was abducted from the Paktia province in Eastern Afghanistan four days ago, confirmed the Afghan Sikh community living in the United States.

The man identified as Nidhan Singh, hails from Tsamkani district in the Paktia province and was employed as a Gurusewak (helper) at the local Gurudwara.

Post Singh's abduction, the Afghan Sikh community living in the United States has again urged the Government of India to help in the resettlement of the Sikhs living in Afghanistan .

They have appealed to India to make special arrangements under Vande Bharat Mission to provide a safe haven of over 600 Sikhs.

"I have spoken to Sikh Member of Parliament Narinder Singh and he confirmed that officials in the Afghan Government have promised to help and find Nidhan," Paramjit Singh Bedi, Chairman of the Afghan Sikh community in New Jersey told ANI.

"Narinder Singh has also reached out to the Taliban leaders and has been assured that all efforts will be made to ensure his release," Bedi further said.

Bedi and other community members will send written appeals to former diplomat and Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the Indian envoy to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

Worried for the lives of the Sikh minorities living in Kabul, Jalalabad and Ghazni, the Sikh community, has been constantly seeking support from India.

Encouraged by the steps taken in the past by the Indian government, leaders of the Afghan Sikh community leaders have made several appeals to India to accommodate the Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan and grant them legal entry with long term residency multiple entry visa.

The community leaders living in the United States said it is imperative to alleviate the dire situation of religious minorities in Afghanistan who look to India as the only safe haven in the region.

In May this year, expressing concerns over the safety and security of religious minorities in Afghanistan, twenty-six US Congressmen urged Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to take all available steps to facilitate the "safe and expeditious relocation" of members of the Sikh and Hindu communities trapped in the war-hit country.

In the letter dated May 4, Congressman John Garamendi, co-chair of Sikh Caucus, and twenty-five others stated that the Sikh community continues to be under "grave" threat from Islamic State terrorist attacks directed at Sikhs.Once a thriving community of nearly 250,000 people, the Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan has endured years of discrimination and violence from extremists, and the community is now estimated to comprise fewer than 100 families across the country, the letter said. (ANI)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Army changes rules of engagement on LAC with China, empowers filed commanders to allow use of firearms under 'extraordinary' circumstances

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New Delhi (ANI): After an incident of the violent face-off with China in Eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army has changed its rules of engagement on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which would allow field commanders to order troops to use firearms under "extraordinary" circumstances.

The Rules of Engagement have been changed and the field commanders have been empowered to order troops to use firearms under extraordinary circumstances, army sources said here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also stated that the Army has been given full freedom to deal with the situation on the ground.

The Indian side is expected to discuss the issue with the Chinese Army during the proposed talks at Corps Commander level to defuse the tensions in Eastern Ladakh.

Both sides don't fire at each other as per the border agreements between them signed in 1996 and 2005.

They had also agreed not to use any blasting or firearms within two kilometres of the LAC.

The Galwan river clash near Patrolling Point 14 claimed 20 Indian Army personnel lives who removed a Chinese observation post from there. (ANI)

People in Jammu buy 'Boycott China' face masks


Jammu (ANI): After a face-off with China, people in Jammu have decided to boycott Chinese goods. On Sunday people were seen buying indigenously manufactured 'Boycott China' face masks to fight coronavirus.

"After Galwan valley clash with China, 'Boycott China' masks are in huge demand, said Amit, a shop owner in Srinagar said while speaking to ANI.

"I have got masks imprinted with favourite characters of my children. At least they will wear it happily," said a customer.

Notably, some of the masks also have slogans like "Boycott Made in China" and "Boycott" Red China, Buy Made in India."

At least 20 Indian Army personnel, including a Colonel rank officer, had lost their lives in the violent face-off in the Galwan valley area of Ladakh on June 15. (ANI)

Yoga goes beyond race, colour, gender and faith: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Representative Image)

New Delhi (ANI): On the occasion of International Yoga Day on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Yoga enhances our quest for a healthier planet and goes beyond race, colour, gender, faith and descent.

"Many congratulations and best wishes to all of you on the 6th international Yoga Day. This day is a day of solidarity and universal brotherhood," Prime Minister Modi said.

"Yoga engances our quest for a healthier planet. It 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 descent," he added.

The International Yoga Day was proposed by Prime Minister Modi in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2014. (ANI).

Saturday, June 20, 2020

PM Modi to launch 'Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan' today to boost livelihood opportunities in rural India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Representative Image)

New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch 'Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan' today to boost livelihood opportunities in rural India amid COVID-19 crisis.

The Prime Minister will flag off the Abhiyan from village Telihar in Bihar's Khagaria district via video-conferencing.

"The Government of India has decided to launch a massive rural public works scheme 'Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan' to empower and provide livelihood opportunities to the returnee migrant workers and rural citizens," the Prime Minister's office had said. The campaign of 125 days across 116 districts in 6 states aims to work in mission mode to help migrant workers.

It will involve intensified and focused implementation of 25 different types of works provide jobs and create inrastructure in the rural regions of the country with a resource envelope of Rs50,000 crore, PMO office had said.

Around 39 crore people have received financial assistance of Rs 34,800 crore amid the COVID-19 lockdown under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) as on May 5, the government had said in a statement on May 6.

These people received the assistance, which was announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26 to protect them from the impact of the lockdown due to COVID-19, via digital payment infrastructure. (ANI)

Friday, June 19, 2020

Reliance raises over Rs 168,818 cr, becomes 'net debt-free'

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New Delhi (ANI): Reliance Industries Limited has raised over Rs 1,68,818 crore in just 58 days through investments by by global tech investors - Rs 115,693.95 crore and Rights Issue - Rs 53,124.20 crore. With these investments, RIL has become a "net debt-free" company.

"The combined capital raised has no precedence gloabally in such a short time. Both of these are also uprecedented in Indian corporate history and have set new benchmarks. This is even more remarkable that this was achieved amidst a global lockdown caused by COVID-19 pandemic," the company said in a statement on Friday.

Along with the stake sale to BP in the petro-retail JV, the total fund raise is in excess of Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Our net-debt was Rs 161,035 crore, as on March 31, 2020. With these investments, RIL has become "net debt-free", it added.

Expressing his gratification at this achievement, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani stated: "Today I am both delighted and humbled to announce that we have fulfilled our promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt-free much before our original schedule of March 31,2021. Exceeding the expectations of our shareholders and all other stakeholders, again and yet again, is in the very DNA of Reliance. Therefore, on the proud occasion of becoming a net bebt-free company, I wish to assure them that Reliance in its Golden Decade will set even more ambitious growth goals, and achieve them, in fulfilment of the vision of our Founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, to consistently increase our contribution to India's prosperity and inclusive development."

"Over the past few weeks, we have been overwhelmed by the phenomenal interest of the global financial investor community in partnering with Jio. As our fund-raising milestone from financial investors is achieved, we sincerely thank the marquee group of financial partners and warmly welcome them into Jio Platforms," he further said.

Notably, Jio Plantforms has raised Rs 155,693.95 crore from leading global investors including Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton and PIF since April 22,2020. PIF's investment marks the end of Jio Platforms' current phase of induction of financial partners.

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. (ANI)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Deeply grateful for overwhelming support shown by global community for India's membership to UNSC: PM Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo:Representative Image)

New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said he is "deeply grateful" for the overwhelming support shown by the global community for India's membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

With a comfortable victory of 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly, India on Webnesday was elected unopposed as a non-permanent member of the 15 members UNSC for the 2021-22 term.

The Prime Minister said that India will work with all member countries to promote global peace, security, resilience and equity.

"Deeply grateful for the overwhelming support shown by the global community for India's membership of the @UN Security Council. India will work with all member countries to promote global peace, security, resilience and equity," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

The UN General Assembly held elections for the President of the 75th session of the Assembly, five non-permanent members of the Security Council and members of the Economic and Social COuncil on Webnesday (June 17, 2020), amid special voting arrangementsin place at the UN Headquarters in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.

Speaking to ANI, TS Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, said India's election as a non-permanent member at UNSC is a recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's global role and his strong engagement across countries.

"Our election is a recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's global role. His strong engagement across countries and across regions has clearly found resonance," he said. (ANI)

Terrorist killed in encounter in J-K's Awantipora, operation underway

Visual from the encounter site (deferred by unspecified time). (Photo: ANI)

Awantipora [Jammu and Kashmir] June 18 (ANI): An inudentified terrorist has been eliminated in an ongoing encounter at Meej in Pampore area of Awantipora, said Kashmir Zone Police on on Thursday.

"Meej Pampore encounter- So far one unidentified terrorist killed; operation on," Kashmir Zone Police tweeted.

The encounter between security forces and terrorists broke out in the early hours of Thursday.

Further details are awaited.

On June 16, three unidentified terrorists were eliminated in an encounter that started at the Turjwangam area of Shopian, police said. (ANI).

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

World condoles death of Indian soldiers, urges India, China to de-escalate

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New Delhi [India], June 17 (ANI): The violent face-off between two Asian giants India and China drew wide international attention with the United States, which is at loggerheads with China, saying that it was closely monitoring the situation between Indian and Chinese forces along the Line of Actual Control.

"We note the Indian Army has announced that 20 soldiers lost their lives. We offer our condolences to their families," a State Department Spokesperson told ANI

Russia, which shares close ties with both India and China, welcomed efforts at de-escalation.

"We welcome all steps aimed at de-escalation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including the conversation between the two Foreign Ministers and remain optimistic," said Nikolay Kudashev, Ambassador of Russia to India.

Earlier today India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Li and said that China took "pre-meditated and planned action" that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties. However, the two leaders agreed that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner and both sides would implement the disengagement understanding of June 6 sincerely. Military officials also held talks to defuse tensions.

Russia also announced today that it will be hosting Russia, India, China (RIC) Foreign Ministers virtual meeting on June 23, a trilateral meeting to focus on COVID pandemic. It was reported earlier that the meet may get deferred due to tensions between India and China.

The United Kingdom also urged India and China to engage in dialogue.

"Clearly these are concerning reports. We encourage China and India to engage in dialogue on issues relating to the border. Violence is in no one's interest," a British High Commission spokesperson told ANI.

European Union urged India and China to show restraint and engage in military de-escalation.

"In light of recent worrying developments along the Line of Actual Control between India and China, we encourage both sides to show restraint and to engage in military de-escalation, as well as to continue the dialogue. This is crucial for building trust and reaching a peaceful solution which is essential to preserving peace and stability in the region," said Virginie Battu-Henriksson, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Australia commended India 's efforts to de-escalate and conveyed condolences to families of Indian soldiers who lost their lives.

"We note India's efforts to de-escalate at the border and wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the Indian soldiers who have lost their lives. As a father of a serving military officer, I greatly value the sacrifice that our soldiers make in the defence of our countries," Barry O' Farrell, Australian High Commissioner to India, told ANI.

United Nations also expressed its concerns over violence and urged both sides to exercise maximum restraint.

"We are concerned about reports of violence and deaths at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China and urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint. We take positive note of reports that the two countries have engaged to de-escalate the situation," said an Associate Spokesperson of UN Secretary-General. (ANI)

'We are on deep shock', say parents of Col Santosh Babu, who lost his life in violent face-off with Chinese soldiers

Parents of Colonel Santosh Babu talking to ANI on Webnesday. (Photo:ANI)

Suryapet (Telangana)[India], June 17 (ANI): Parents of Colonel Santosh Babu, Commanding Officer of the 16 Bihar Regiment, who lost his life in the violent face-off with Chinese soldiers in Galwan valley area, are shocked by the unexpected loss.

Upender and Manjula, the parents said they had first been in disbelief but later accepted the truth after being informed by higher authorities about the face-off.

Manjula, the martyred Colonel's mother, told ANI, "We received the news, yesterday afternoon at 2 pm that my son has been martyred. I could not believe that my son has been martyred."

"We are under deep shock, We could not believe it when we got to know about our son. I could bot believe it as he was very brave. Since the last fifteen years, he had gained success. I immediately inquired from one of the officers. Later, several officers of the Army contacted directly through my phone. They said that they are making arrangements to get the body from that place to Suryapet," Col Santosh's father, Upender, told ANI.

He added that the body of his son will reach Suryapet by today evening, and also said that he has been given assurance of full support from leaders and officials, including MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy.

"By tomorrow the body will reach here, along with my daughter-in-law and the kids, the officer told me on phone. Kishan Reddy spoke to me on the phone as well. All the delegates from Suryapet, including, Collector has given us assurance to support us at this time. An Army official has informed that the body will start in the day and reach Suryapet at around 4 pm via Chandigarh to Hyderabad and then Suryapet," he said.

The violent face-off happened on late evening and night of June 15 in Ladakh's Galwan Valley as a result of an attempt by the Chinese troops to "unilaterally change" the status quo during de-escalation in Eastern Ladakh and the situation could have been avoided if the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side, India said on Tuesday.

The Army confirmed that 20 soldiers were killed in the face-off including 17 who were critically injured at the stand-off location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain.

Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area in Ladakh where they had earlier clashed on the night of June 15 and 16, Indian Army said. (ANI)

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