Sunday, May 17, 2020

Lockdown extended till May 31

New Delhi (ANI): The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Sunday asked Ministries/Departments of the Governement of India, State Governments and State Authorities to continue the lockdown measures up to May 31 to prevent the spread of COVD-19 in the country.

The NDMA directed the National Executive  Committee (NEC) to issue modifications in the guidelines as necessary, keeping in view with the need to open up economic activities while containing the spread of COVID-19.

Maharashtra, Telangana and Punjab have already announced the extension of the lockdown till May 31.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday had announced that the nationwide coronavirus lockdown will be extended to a fourth phase with "totally different" rules, which will be announced before the current one expiring on May 17.

The nationwide lockdown that the Prime Minister had first announced on March 24 was slated to end on May 17. Modi had on March 24 announced the nationwide lockdown for 21 days. On May 14, he exttended the lockdown period to two weeks beyond 4 May, with some relaxations. The Central government recently announced Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to combat COVID-19.
By: ANI.

Afghan President Ghani and rival Abdullah sign power-sharing deal

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his main political rival, former Chilef Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah. (Photo: ANI)
Kabul (ANI): Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal to end a months-long political stalemate that has hampered progress towards peace, Ghani's spokesman said on Sunday.

"The Political Agreement between President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has just been signed," spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter, adding that Abdullah would lead the council for peace talks and his team members would be included in cabinet.

Abdullah had disputed the results of September's presidential election. Earlier this year, he announced the formation of a parallel government, undermining Ghani's administration just as the United States was trying to advance a peace process with the Taliban to end Afghanistan's 19-year war.
By: ANI.

Vande Bharat's Phase 2: Third Air India Express flight from Oman to depart for Trivandrum today

Indian nationals queue at Muscat Airport to board third Air India Express flight for Trivandrum. (Photo ANI)
Muscat (ANI): A third flight Air India IX 554, carrying urgent medical cases, workers, stranded visitors and people having family emergencies, will depart from Oman on Sunday afternoon for Trivandrum, Kerala.

"Third flight from Oman under #VandeBharatMission, IX 554 scheduled to depart for Trivandrum today. Passengers include urgent medical cases, workers, stranded visitors and people having family emergencies," the Embassy of India said on Twitter.

Anjali, an 8-month pregnant woman who is returning from Muscat, Oman to India on the special repatriation flight, said, "I would like to thank the government of India for extending help to us at this time."

The phased evacuation is being done under the Government of India's Vande 'Vande Bharat' mission which glagged off its second phase from May 16. In order to facilitate the return of stranded Indian nationals in Oman, the Indian government has decided to operate seven more special flights to Huderabad, Bangalore, Calicut, Delhi, Kannur, Kochi and Gaya on May 18,20,21,22 and 22.

Under the second phase, a total of 149 flights, including feeder flights, is expected to operate to bring back stranded Indians from 40 countries.
By: ANI.

'Not even pretending to be in charge': Obama criticises US leadership's handling of COVID-19

Former US President Barack Obama. (Photo: ANI)
Washington D.C. (ANI): Former US president Barack Obama on Saturday criticised the nation's leadership for bungling their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing them in twin commencement addresses of not "even pretending" to be in charge and asking the wrong questions. The comments came in a speech to high school graduates of 74 historically black colleges and universities across the United States. Obama did not mention his successor, President Trump, by name. But the comments echoed criticism of the Trump administration that Obama leveled last month in a video endorsement of former vice president Joe Biden, The Washington Post reported.

Obama said then that the pandemic had shown that "having leaders who are informed and honest and seek to bring people together" matters, the media reported. "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 told college and university graduates on Saturday.

"A lot of them aren't even pretending to be in charge," he added. In the speech to high school students, he went further by adding it has revealed not only that many adults lack the right answers, they are not even asking the right questions.

"Do what you think is right," Obama told the students. "Doing what feels good, what's convenient, what's easy -- that's how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way -- which is why things are so screwed up," he stressed further.

Obama also mentioned racial, gender and economic inequity in both addresses, saying the current economic and health crises had revealed much about the country. Hours later, he appeared in a program for graduating high school seniors broadcast by the major television networks.

After largely avoiding the spotlight for the last three years, Obama has promised to play a more prominent public role in the coming months as a campaign surrogate for Biden. Trump has also sought to elevate Obama back into the public conversation by highlighting the role his administration played in reviewing foreign intelligence intercepts after the 2016 election that picked up Trump's future national security adviser speaking by phone with the Russian ambassador. Obama has declined to respond directly to those attacks from Trump, posting a tweet instead Thursday with a single word: "Vote."

On June 6, the former president is once again scheduled to deliver a third address to graduating students across the world in another simulcast event, joined by former first lady Michelle Obama for a global virtual commencement celebration.
By: ANI.

Ronaldo is a king, says Rohit Sharma

Opening batsman Rohit Sharma. (Photo: ANI)
New Delhi: "Cristiano Ronaldo is the king," said opening batsman Rohit Sharma when he was asked whether he is a fan of the Portuguese star or not. Rohit was doing a Facebook live chat with Bangladesh opening batsman Tamim Iqbal and it was then that both players opened up about their love for Real Madrid and Ronaldo.

The Indian opening batsman has been quite vocal about his support for La Liga side Real Madrid and last year, Rohit also went on to see the 'El Clasico' between Madrid and Barcelona last year. When asked to say something about Ronaldo, Rohit replied: "Yes, of course. Who doesn't love Ronaldo? He is the king. What he has done with his career is simply outstanding. You have to applaud whatever he has achieved in his career".

"It is not easy because of the background that he came from. He had a very rough time at the start. I appreciate all these people who have a hard time in their career at the start, and towards the end, they have gone on to make it very big out of whatever opportunities they had," he added. Earlier, the Indian skipper Virat Kohli had also chosen Ronaldo over Argentine Lionel Messi during an Instagram live chat with former England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

Ronaldo is the first player to win the Champions League five times. He last won the Champions League in 2018 as he helped Real Madrid claim the title.

Ronaldo, however, now plays for the Serie A club Juventus. The Portuguese striker has also managed to win five Ballon d'Or.

In his career so far, Ronaldo has won three Premier League titles, two La Liga titles, one Serie A, five Champions League. He first made headlines in 2003 after Manchester United signed him on. He received the highest amount for a teenager at that point in time.

The striker currently has 99 international goals to his name and he would look to go past 109 goals of Iran's Ali Daei. If he reaches the feat, he will become the top international scorer of all time.

If Ronaldo manages to reach the top of the goal-scoring charts this year in Serie A, he will become the first player in history to have been top goal-scorer in the English (Premier League), Spanish (La Liga) and Italian (Serie A) leagues.
By: ANI.

Odisha increases VAT on petrol, diesel from today

Representative Image.
Bhubneswar (ANI): The Odisha government has increased the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel with effect from Sunday.

The VAT rate for petrol has been hiked from 26 percent with effect from May 17, increasing the price by Rs 3.11 per litre. While the VAT rate on diesel has been hiked from 26 percent to 28 percent, increasing the price by Rs 1.03 per litre.

With this, the price of petrol and diesel in Bhubaneswar will now be Rs 71.69 and Rs 67.73, respectively, accourding to a statement by the state government.

With this increase, the Odisha government will collect VAT of Rs16.60 per litre of petrol and Rs 14.34 per litre of diesel.

Earlier, the state governments of Assam, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Karnataka, among others, have increased VAT on petroleum products.
By: ANI.

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