Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Pompeo slams China for pursuing 'coercive bullying tectics against friends' in the UK

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. (ANI)

Washington [US], Aug 26 (ANI): US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Wednesday condemned the Chinese Communist Party for pursuing "coercive bullying tactics against our friends in the United Kingdom".

He said that the HSBC is maintaining accounts for individuals who have been sanctioned for denying freedom for Hong Kongers and is shutting accounts for those seeking freedom.

"The United States is dismayed to learn that the Chinese Communist Party's coercive bullying tactics against our friends in the United Kingdom continues. In the latest example, British bank HSBC has reportedly prevented Hong Kong-based executives at Next Media, a well-known publisher of pro-democracy publications, from accessing their credit cards and personal bank accounts. The bank is thus maintaining accounts for individuals who have been sanctioned for denying freedom for Hong Kongers, while shutting accounts for those seeking freedom," the US Secretary of State said.

He further said, "Only a few months ago, HSBC's Asia-Pacific CEO signed a petition supporting Beijing's decision to crush Hong's Kong's autonomy and its people's freedoms."

He urged the free nations to ensure that corporate interests are not suborned by the CCP to aid its political repression.

"We stand ready to help the British government and its companies resist CCP bullying and stand for freedom," he added.

Beijing imposed the National Security Law in Hong Kong in June targeting acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison for the most serious offences.

The move came after months of social upheaval triggered by opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill but that morphed into wider demands, including universal suffrage.

The legislation, which came into effect on July 1, punishes what Beijing terms secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference with punishment ranging upto a life-term in prison. (ANI)

Pak's statement will not go on record, UNSC President Indonesia tells India

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New Delhi [India], Aug 26 (ANI): India, which had hit out at Pakistan over the lies peddled by its mission at UN and for faking a speech to the Security Council, has been told by Indonesia that Islamabad's statement will not go on record, sources said.

Indonesia, which is the current President of the UN Security Council, gave the clarification on India's request, the sources added.

"At India's request, we got a clarification from Indonesia that Pakistan's statement will not go on record," a source said.

India had hit out at Pakistan over the lies peddled by its mission at UN.

Pakistan Mission to the UN had put out the statement yesterday in a tweet pretending that it was delivered even though its Ambassador did not speak at the session on terrorism.

In a strong statement, the Indian Mission to the UN said that Pakistan has put out a false statement claiming that their envoy Munir Akram spoke at the United Nations Security Council while the session was not open to non-members.

"We have seen a statement put out by the Pakistan Mission to the UN, claiming that these remarks were made by the Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the UN Security Council. We fail to comprehend where exactly did the Permanent Representative of Pakistan make his statement since the Security Council Session today was not open to non-members of the Security Council", Indian mission said.

India also said that the statement exposed the "five big lies" being peddled and pushed by Pakistan. (ANI)

China's fame in shipbuilding industry turns to ashes

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Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 26 (ANI): Years of China's fame in the shipbuilding industry due to its pace in production turned to ashes when on April 11 the PLA Navy's latest Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious ship caught fire.

According to a report in Ceylon Today, on the morning of April 11, 2020, the PLA Navy's LHD caught fire, as smoke was observed coming out of rear hangar opening and lift near island superstructure. Within 10 days of the incident, the ship was painted and readied for the launch ceremony of PLA Navy's second Type 075 on April 22.

The incident brought forth several questions on the quality of material and workmanship in Chinese shipyards and their adherence to industry safety norms and international standards, Ceylon Today reported.

The examples of Chinese-built ships developing malfunctions are numerous.

China's 'all-weather ironclad friend' Pakistan was one among several countries who had to bear the brunt of Beijing's lack of attention in quality while producing ships.

According to Ceylon Today, the refurbished Chinese built F22P frigates have been beset with various technical malfunctions. In September 2018, the Pakistan Navy had requested China for a comprehensive proposal to undertake the Mid-Life Upgrade/overhaul of these ships. However, China seeing no profit turned a blind eye, thus forcing Pakistan Navy to turn to Turkey.

In the case of China's gift of PLA Navy warship to the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN), the warship was stripped of its main armament -- missile and CIWS systems before handing it over to Sri Lanka, which commissioned it as an offshore patrol vessel (OPV) SLNS Parakramabahu.

SLNS Parakramabahu sailed on its maiden voyage from Shanghai on June 25, 2019, but reportedly had major operational defects, requiring it to pull into port en route and undertake substantial emergency repairs, Ceylon Today reported.

Similarly in the case of Bangladesh, two used Type 035G Ming Class submarines (recommissioned as BNS Nobojatra and BNS Joyjatra) were offered at just over USD 100 million a piece by China. Ceylon Today reported that in April 2003, PLA Navy Ming Class submarine 361 suffered a mechanical failure in the Yellow Sea killing all its 70 crew members.

Ceylon Today reported that the major defects, across various classes of ships built by the Chinese, include rapid corrosion of the underwater hull and propellers, welding defects and excessive vibrations of main engines. Ships' operating speeds have also reportedly shown a reduction of up to 5 knots within a few years of commissioning.

Ceylon Today reported that the recently acquired two Chinese 053H3 Frigates (BNS Umar Farooq and BNS Abu Ubaidah) arrived at Mongla Port Bangladesh in 2020, after experiencing multiple defects en route. During the trials, the performance of the H/LRM1290A Navigation Radar was reportedly found unsatisfactory and was not accepting GPS and AIS feeds. (ANI)

Floods in Afghan province of Parwan kill 70, injure 110

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Kabul [Afghanistan], August 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Floods in the eastern Afghan province of Parwan killed 70 and injured 110, the public health department told Sputnik on Wednesday.

"Floods in Parwan have killed 70 people and injured 110 others," the department said. Minister for Disaster Management Ghulam Bahauddin Jilani said there were 36 fatalities, more than 70 people injured and at least 300 houses destroyed. (ANI/Sputnik)

SAS & CSM Technologies Enable Government of Odisha to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic with Analytics

SAS COVID-19 Dashboard aiding state's performance to combat the pandemic and plan ahead. (Photo: ANI)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Aug 26 (ANI/Mediawire): Life-threatening pandemics create extraordinary challenges for governments and health care systems. SAS, a global leader in analytics, works with government organizations across the globe to respond to COVID-19's unique challenges by putting data to work and supporting evidence-based policymaking and governance.

SAS India, along with its partner CSM Technologies has associated with the Government of Odisha for its COVID-19 Dashboard project. The dynamic data visualization dashboard offers the most recent statistics on Odisha's COVID-19 performance across several KPIs through interactive charts, graphs, diagrams, and much more. It has drill-down capabilities to depict the status, location, demographics, spread, and trend analysis of cases at the most granular level across the state.

In addition to such rich visualization capabilities, the platform also supports advanced analytical and modelling tools that have helped the Government of Odisha to plan for the future. This includes estimating the infection risk profile and susceptible population of geographic regions. Collaborating closely with the government authorities, a medical infrastructure simulation was also done by analyzing the data on the number of patients, a potential increase of the disease, and existing bed capacities and ventilator readiness at district levels. These insights have been enabling the state to strategically allocate funds and resources to the districts on the basis of their requirements including increasing bed capacities and providing additional medical personnel.

The collaborative effort between SAS & CSM has also helped the government with simulation analysis, which provides insights on the impact of the different lockdown situations as well as migrant influx on the infection rate, thereby assessing the best- and worst-case scenarios. The Government of Odisha has shown digital leadership in factoring such simulation output to decide on the extent of lockdown and achieve a balance of public safety & economic activity.

"Odisha is pushing the frontiers of digital transformation by investing in emerging technologies such as big data and advanced analytics. We looked at COVID-19 as an opportunity to leverage data to take proactive decisions and remain one step ahead in our war against the pandemic. And that marked the genesis of the Odisha COVID-19 dashboard which is accepted today as the single version of truth for citizens and administrators alike," said Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary, Electronics & Information Technology Department, Government of Odisha.

"The key to containing the COVID-19 pandemic is to harness and analyse related data and offer actionable insights. By offering SAS COVID-19 Outbreak Management Solution to the Government of Odisha, we reiterate our commitment to helping governments and organizations globally to help save lives and contain the pandemic by leveraging the power of analytics," said Noshin Kagalwalla, VP & Managing Director, SAS India.

"The success of data analytics largely depends on the quality of data captured across user journeys. We have effectively leveraged the SAS platform to integrate, clean and harmonize data, and produce a state of the art visualizations and modelling for prudent data interpretation", said PriyadarshiNanu Pany, CEO & Founder, CSM Technologies.

SAS' dedicated COVID-19 Data Analytics Resources Hub, a public dashboard to monitor the spread of the epidemic, a data discovery environment built on SAS®Viya®, and access to free training.

Ek India Team India - Designing a national indentity: Homegrown agency Smitten designs new identity for Indian Olympic Association

A contemporary and sporty new indentity for Indian athletes and officials to represent the country on the world arena. (Photo: ANI)

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India] Aug 26 (ANI/BusinessWire India): The Indian Olympic Association has adopted a new identity to commemorate 100 years of Indian participation at the Olympic Games. The new logo and brand identity were designed by SMITTEN®, a communication design, and branding firm founded in India.
The new identity of the IOA will be used by athletes while competing on the world arena, as well as in all official events and ceremonies at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and other international sporting events.
Introducing Team IndiaFor the very first time, the identity also includes a logo specially designed for Team India, similar to the approach taken by Team GB and Team USA in international sporting events.
"India has arrived and belongs firmly in the world arena. Banding together under a unifying identity allows a country to rally behind their athletes and cheer for what their participation represents," said Smita Rajgopal Poliak, Founder and Global Creative Director at SMITTEN®.
HistoryThe previous logo of the IOA was based on the pre-Independence Star of India emblem. This redesign, therefore, was an opportunity to create a contemporary logo that would resonate with all enthusiasts of Indian sports and the diaspora across the globe.
InspirationIn a country with many cultures, and varied sentiments, it was important to identify a visual that could resonate with each and every Indian, and represent all sports at the Olympic Games equally. The flag's tricolour has been integrated vertically into the word INDIA, in a non-fuss aesthetic that can stand the test of time.
"The negative space between the I and N represents 1 (one), which merges perfectly with the themes of unity and team. We reinforced the message further with the anthem Ek India Team India which can be seamlessly extended to digital platforms in the form of a unique hashtag," said Neethi Nair, Director of Creative and Marketing, India at SMITTEN®.
International context"To a global audience, India often conjures up visual tropes like the Taj Mahal, peacocks or elephants, and not necessarily our national flag. This was an opportunity for us to clearly associate our country with our national colours. For example, when you say 'red, blue and white', USA or GB are often the first countries that come to mind. Much in the same way, we wanted the tricolour to be 'owned' by our country and quite literally imprinted into INDIA," said Rajgopal Poliak.
"It's a chance to celebrate Team India with the tricolour that every Indian knows and loves while translating it across designs for various physical elements like team kits, apparel, and merchandise," explained Sruthi Prabhakar, Art Director, India at SMITTEN®, while speaking about increasing public interest in global sporting events and making the games appealing to the youth.
The result"What I particularly like about the Indian Olympic Association's new identity is the story behind the logo. It captures the essence of the tiranga and tells a powerful story from many angles appealing to all audiences we would like to reach out to in India and beyond, athletes and viewers. I liked SMITTEN's conceptual thinking about design and its contemporary aesthetics while taking into account the feedback. The new identity that they have helped us create is one which will carry well for years to come," added Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, President, IOA.
"We like to promote athletes from all walks of life so when it came to IOA's rebranding exercise, we decided to entrust a homegrown design studio with the task. After reviewing their portfolio, we were confident that they would do a great job. But when we were presented with the logo and accompanying tagline options by Smita and Neethi, they far exceeded our expectations. SMITTEN's processes of studying 206 NOC logos to narrow down on the route the new identity could take and then translating that into a contemporary design that captures the true spirit of the country was something that really stood out to us," said Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA.
SMITTEN® is an international communication design firm founded in early 2008 by Smita Rajgopal Poliak. It currently has offices in New York, Bengaluru, and Chennai with a presence in Dubai.
The agency services businesses across the world and has worked on brands such as Ashok Leyland, United Nations, ITC Hotels, Hilton, Johnnie Walker, Funskool, and so on. (ANI/BusinessWire India)

First Lady Melania Trump sympathises with kin of COVID-19 deceased

First Lady Melania Trump addressing the convention in Washington. (Photo: ANI)

Washington [US], August 26 (ANI): As the United States is the worst affected from the COVID-19 pandemic with over 5 million COVID-19 cases, First Lady Melania Trump on Tuesday (local time) offered sympathies to kins of people succumbing to the disease adding that the Trump administration will work continuously to find a cure for the coronavirus.

"I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically. The invisible enemy -- COVID-19-- has swept our country and has impacted all of us. My deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has lost a loved one and my prayers are with those who are ill and suffering," First Lady Trump said at the White House addressing the Republican National Convention 2020.

"I know many people feel anxious and helpless. I want you to know that you are not alone. My husband's administration will not stop fighting until there is an effective treatment or vaccine for everyone. Donald will not rest until he has done everything he can to take care of everyone impacted by this terrible pandemic," Trump added.

Further extending gratitude to the healthcare workers and frontline workers during the pandemic, the first lady said the workers put "our country" first.

"I want to extend my gratitude to the healthcare professionals, frontline workers, and teachers who stepped up in these difficult times. Despite the risks to yourselves and your families, you put our country first and my husband and I are grateful," the first lady said.

As per the latest data, the US has a total of 5.7 million COVID-19 cases and reported 178,486 fatalities due to the highly contagious virus so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US Presidential Elections are set to take place on November 3 this year. (ANI)

Planning to host BRICS Games during Khelo India Games 2021: Keren Rijiju

Sports Ministers of BRICS meet via video conference to assess the impact of Covid 19 on sports. (Photo: Kiren Rijiju Twitter)

New Delhi [India], Aug 26 (ANI): Union Minister of Youth and Sports Kiren Rijiju has said that India is planning to host BRICS Games 2021, which will be aligned with the Khelo India Games scheduled for next year.

"BRICS Games 2021 will be held during the same time and at same venues as of Khelo India Games 2021 so that our players from various parts of the country, who will gather for Khelo India Games, will have the benefit and great opportunity of witnessing BRICS Games from close quarters. This will be a great morale booster and motivational moment for them," Rijiju said in a video conference between the Sports Ministers of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) on Tuesday.

Stressing on the importance of building fitness and sporting culture to promote the well-being of citizens, the Sports Minister said," One of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for UN Agenda 2030 is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. To aligning sports activities and programmes with this SDG, the Government of India has taken several initiatives and launched schemes and programmes. To keep people healthy and fit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched FIT INDIA Movement in August 2019."

Speaking about organising sporting events as India unlocks, Rijiju said," During India's 2021 Chairmanship of the BRICS, Sports and Games will be one of the deliverables. The Government of India organises annual sports competitions under the Khelo India scheme. As we find ways to get over COVID-19, we are hopeful of organising Khelo India Youth Games and Khelo India University Games in 2021."

"During Khelo India Youth Games 2021, we will invite BRICS member countries to showcase their traditional indigenous games during the inaugural or closing ceremony of Khelo India," he added.

The Union Minister further said that for the Fit India Movement, the government is playing the role of catalyst so that Fit India becomes a people's movement, adding that the main focus of the movement is to create awareness among Indians about the importance of fitness in their daily lives. (ANI)

Vikas EcoTech Ltd to exploit opportunities in pharma, API and chemical industry; to invest Rs 75 crore

Vikas Garg, MD.

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] Aug 26 (ANI/NewsVoir): BSE and NSE Listed Vikas EcoTech Ltd, an integrated-specialty product solutions company producing a wide variety of superior quality, eco-friendly rubber-plastic compounds and additives has informed exchanges that its board has approved the report on opportunities available for the company in pharmaceuticals, API and chemical industry, prepared by the Expert Committee constituted by the Board of Directors of the company for business expansion to evaluate the identified business proposal.

Also, the company has decided to invest up to Rs 75 crores in the next two years, in new ventures or strategic partnerships for steering growth by both organic and inorganic means.

Vikas EcoTech had also recently announced that despite the current COVID-19 crisis, the company's exports of its flagship product, the eco-friendly 'Organotin PVC Stabilisers' to the United States of America (world's largest Organotin market) have continued unabated.

The company has tied-up with one of the largest specialty chemical/Organotin stabilizer distributor in the USA, having a well-established countrywide distribution network.

The US company has continued placing its orders as per their earlier agreement with the company for 2020 and is eyeing a long-term association.

Organotin stabilizer is a US FDA approved product and is the most sought after a substitute for the health hazardous lead-based PYC Stabilizers.

Organotins are recommended by most international legislation for potable water pipes and fittings and have received extensive global certifications and approvals for food contact applications.

USA is the world's largest consumer of Organotin stabilizers - having banned lead and other harmful chemical-based PVC stabilizers in the mid-1980s. During FY 2019-20 the company export to the USA was almost 1,000 MTs or Rs 500 million in value terms.

In India too, the demand for Organotin Stabilisers has seen a significant increase after NGT (National Green Tribunal) order which banned the use of Lead-based stabilizers in PVC pipes and has ordered their systematic phase-out.

They have recently got an order from HIL Limited (a CK Birla Group Co), resuming business post-COVID-19 lockdown. The company expects domestic sales to jump significantly post the lockdown as most of the inventory at ground level has been drawn down and the supply pipeline is pushing hard to replenish it.

Vikas EcoTech is the only manufacturer of Organotins in India with in-house R&D facilities and is one amongst the single-digit number of manufacturers worldwide who has the technology and expertise for its manufacturing right from tin metal stage to the final product.

Vikas EcoTech is an emerging player in the global arena of high-end specialty chemical players. The company's incremental innovation engine improvises on both technology and processes to help them produce a product-solution mix that offers a higher value offering to the company's customers across industries.

As an integrated, multi-specialty product solutions company, VEL produces a wide variety of superior quality, eco-friendly rubber-plastic compounds, and additives.
The company's rubber-plastic compounds and additives are process critical and value enabling ingredients used to manufacture a varied cross-section of high-performance, environment-neutral and safety-critical products.

From agriculture to automotives, cables to electricals, hygiene to healthcare, polymers to packaging, textiles to footwear, VEL's products serve a diverse range of global industry needs.

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

ADB issues $3 billion five-year global bechmark bond

ADB plans to raise around 30 billion to 35 billion dollars from capital markets this year.. (Photo: ANI)

Manila [The Philippines], Aug 26 (ANI): The Asian Development Bank (ADB) returned to US dollar bond market with the pricing of a three billion dollars five-year global bond proceeds of which will be part of ADB's ordinary capital resources.

"We looked at the post-summer issuance window and saw an opportunity to add a new five-year to our global benchmark curve," said ADB Treasurer Pierre Van Peteghem on Wednesday.

"With most of the immediate action in the dollar market situated around the long end, we felt that the mid part of the curve was relatively under-supplied and decided to capitalise on pent-up demand," he said in a statement.

"The result was a strong one with an over-subscribed order book for a three billion dollars benchmark print that will provide much-needed resources to support ADB's increased assistance to its regional members in 2020," said Peteghem.

The five-year bond with a coupon rate of 0.375 per cent per annum payable semi-annually and a maturity date of September 3, 2025, was priced at 99.556 per cent to yield 15.4 basis points over the 0.25 per cent US Treasury notes due in July 2025.

The transaction was lead-managed by Bank of America, Credit Agricole CIB, Citi and JP Morgan. A syndicate group was also formed consisting of ANZ, BNP Paribas, DBS Bank Ltd, Natixis and Rabobank.

The issue achieved wide primary market distribution with 41 per cent of the bonds placed in Asia, 34 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 25 per cent in the Americas.

By investor type, 52 per cent of the bonds went to central banks and official institutions, 31 per cent to banks, and 17 per cent to fund managers and other types of investors.

ADB plans to raise around 30 billion to 35 billion dollars from the capital markets in 2020. (ANI)

Biden a 'pushover to Communist China, giant relief for terrorists': Trump's son Eric

Donald Trump's son Eric Trump at RNC 2020, Washington on Tuesday (Local Time).

Washington [US], Aug 26 (ANI): Eric Trump, son of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday (local time) called Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden "a total pushover" to China and added that he "was a giant relief for terrorists".

"Joe Biden is a politician who has been in the government for 47 years. He is a career politician who has never signed the front of a check and does not know the slightest thing about the American worker or the American business," Eric said here at the Republican National Convention here.

"The same politician has been a total pushover for Communist China and someone who would be a giant relief for terrorists. Joe Biden has pledged to raise taxes by USD 400 trillion. My father fights for the American people every day," he added.

Eric, the executive vice president to the US President's campaign, addressed a message to his father stating that he was "proud of what you (Donald) are doing for this country".

"I miss working alongside you every single day but I am damn proud to be on the frontlines of this fight. I am proud of what you are doing for this country. I am proud to show my children what their grandfather is fighting for. Keep fighting for what is right," he said.

"Dad, let's make Uncle Robert (US President's brother who passed away on August 15 [local time]) proud this week," he concluded.

The Presidential elections in the US are scheduled to take place on November 3. (ANI)

UAE Crown prince, Pompeo hold telephonic conversation, review ways to enhance ties

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Abu Dhabi [UAE], August 26 (ANI): Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, discussed strategic relations between the two countries over a phone call.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Pompeo also reviewed ways to enhance ties at all levels in the best interest of the two countries, reported WAM.

As per the report, during the call, they tackled several regional and international issues of mutual interest, foremost of which is the "Peace Accord" between the UAE and Israel and the prospects for strengthening it in a way that serves the foundations of peace and stability in the region.

The two leaders discussed the latest developments in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East regions, the two countries' efforts to jointly fight the COVID-19 outbreak and the most important steps to limit the repercussions of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mohammed bin Ahmad Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defense Affairs, had a telephone call with Benny Gantz, Israeli Defense Minister, focusing on the UAE-Israel peace accord, WAM reported.

Both leaders expressed their conviction that this accord will enhance the chances of peace and stability in the region as it represents a positive step in this direction, according to the report.

"Moreover, they both noted that they were looking forward to strengthening communication channels and establishing solid bilateral relations for the benefit of their countries in particular and the region as a whole," the report said.

Under a historic agreement earlier this month, Israel and the UAE agreed to full diplomatic ties including the mutual establishment of embassies and beginning of open trading. Israel said it would halt its plans to formally annexe parts of the West Bank. (ANI)

US 'strongly objects' to Turkish President hosting Hamas leaders

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Washington D.C. [US], August 26 (ANI): Objecting to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul, US on Tuesday said (local time) Erdogan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community.

"The United States strongly objects to Turkish President Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists," US State Department said.

"The U.S. Rewards for Justice Program is seeking information about one of the individuals for his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings," it added.

The State Department said President Erdogan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, harms the interests of the Palestinian people, and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza.

"We continue to raise our concerns about the Turkish government's relationship with Hamas at the highest levels. This is the second time President Erdogan has welcomed Hamas leadership to Turkey this year with the first meeting occurring February 1," the statement read.

Ties between the US and Turkey have been strained over several issues including Ankara's decision to purchase the Russian S-400 air defence system.

Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the supply of S-400 air defence systems in September 2017. This resulted in the US suspending deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to its NATO ally.

Washington refused to provide Turkey with the aircraft, claiming that the S-400 deal is incompatible with the alliance's military equipment and might compromise the operations of the new fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. Ankara, however, refused to back down. (ANI)

US imposes sanctions on Chinese national over fentanyl trafficking

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Washington D.C. [US], August 26 (ANI): US Department of Treasury on Tuesday (local time) said Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has identified Chinese national Taotao Zhang as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act).

"Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) identified Chinese national Taotao Zhang as a Significant Foreign Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act)," US Department of Treasury said in a release.

"OFAC also designated Hong Kong-based Allyrise Technology Group Co., Limited, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, Taotao Zhang," it said.

"Fentanyl has wreaked havoc on American communities and families," Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich was quoted as saying. "The United States remains committed to protecting vulnerable Americans by targeting individuals peddling this deadly drug."

According to the Department of Treasury release, Taotao Zhang, a chemist and chemical supplier, has shipped synthetic opioids to the United States via multiple individuals and freight-forwarding services in order to disguise the origin of the substances.

"Labels disguising the substances contained in the parcel are used to avoid seizure by authorities. Once a package is received in the United States, U.S.-based distributors can generally then press one kilogram of fentanyl into up to one million counterfeit pharmaceutical pills for further distribution to domestic customers," the release said.

"In addition, Taotao Zhang is the director of Allyrise Technology Group Co., Limited, located in Hong Kong. Allyrise Technology Group Co., Limited is a front company for Taotao Zhang's financial transactions," it added.

The Department said as a result of today's action all property and interests in property of the individual and the entity that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

"OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons," it said. (ANI)

Top Chinese diplomat warns against regressing to cold war

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. (File Photo)

Rome [Italy], August 26 (ANI/Sputnik): China does not want another Cold War, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a trip to Italy on Tuesday, which is aimed at strengthening Beijing's ties with Europe.

"Chinese is against the Cold War mentality. It does not want a Cold War because this would be a step backward in our historical development," the minister said at a news conference in Rome.

Wang, who met with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio earlier in the day, said China would not let other countries start a Cold War to the detriment of the international community.

He said that his visit to Rome proved that ties between Italy and China had withstood the pandemic. Di Maio said they had signed two deals on Italian gas and agricultural exports to China.

The Chinese diplomat will also visit the Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany. This is his first foreign trip since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. (ANI/Sputnik)

Russia, India discuss upcoming official communications

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Moscow [Russia], August 25 (ANI/Sputnik): Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov had a phone conversation with Indian Ambassador to Russia Venkatesh Varma to discuss the communications of various levels between the two countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"On August 25, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov had a phone conversation with Indian Ambassador to Russia Venkatesh Varma. They discussed topical issues pertaining to the Russian-Indian cooperation within multilateral associations as well as the upcoming bilateral communications of various levels," the ministry said in a press release.

On Tuesday, Sputnik learned from Varma that Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was expected to visit Russia in September for preparatory events ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

Additionally, the Russia-India summit is scheduled to be held in November in India with attendance of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI/Sputnik)

Chinese, US chief trade negotiators hold talks on coordination of macroeconomic policies

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Beijing [China], August 25 (ANI/Xinhua): Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a phone conversation with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday morning.

Liu is a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue.

During the talks, the two sides conducted a constructive dialogue on such issues as strengthening bilateral coordination of macroeconomic policies and the implementation of the China-US phase one economic and trade agreement.

Both countries agreed to create conditions and atmosphere to continue pushing forward the implementation of the trade deal. (ANI/Xinhua)

Chinese Ambassador terms Galwan clash as 'unfortunate', says it is 'brief moment' from perspective of history

Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], August 26 (ANI): Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong termed the Galwan clash, which claimed lives of 20 Indian soldiers, as 'unfortunate incident' saying it is "brief moment from the perspective of history."

"Not long ago, an unfortunate incident happened in the border areas that neither China nor India would like to see. Now we are working to handle it properly. It is a brief moment from the perspective of history," the Chinese Ambassador said while speaking at China-India youth webinar.

Weidong said since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India 70 years ago, bilateral relations have withstood tests and become more resilient. "It should not be disturbed by one thing at a time. In this new century, bilateral relations should continue to move forward instead of backward," he said.

The Ambassador was convinced that China and India, two ancient civilizations, have the wisdom and ability to properly handle bilateral relations.

"China sees India as a partner instead of a rival, and an opportunity instead of a threat. We hope to put the boundary question at an appropriate place in bilateral relations, properly handle differences through dialogue and consultation, and push bilateral relations back on track at an early date," the Ambassador said.

Weidong said India and China "should live in peace and avoid conflicts."

"No country can be isolated from the rest of the world and seek development on its own. We should not only adhere to self-reliance, but also stick to opening up to the outside world in line with the trend of globalization. Only in this way can we achieve better development," he said.

The Chinese Ambassador emphasised that the economic complementarity between China and India is very strong. "China has been India's largest trading partner for many years in a row, while India is also China's largest trading partner in South Asia. The Chinese and Indian economies are interwoven and interdependent," he said. "I think the two big economies of China and India should attract each other like magnets, rather than forcefully separate them."

The Chinese Ambassador said language learning is indispensable in people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries, which "cannot be ignored, let alone be politicized."

India and China are engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including Finger area, Galwan valley, Hot springs and Kongrung Nala.

The talks between the two sides have been going on for the last three months including five Lieutenant general-level talks but have failed to yield any results, so far.

The Chinese Army has refused to withdraw or disengage completely from the Finger area and seems to be buying time to delay its disengagement from there.

While efforts are underway to resolve the ongoing border dispute, India has rejected the Chinese suggestion to disengage equidistantly from the Finger area in Eastern Ladakh.

Earlier this month, China had expressed hope that India will treat Confucius Institutes in an "objective and fair manner".

In a statement, the Chinese embassy had asked India to avoid politicising normal cooperation and maintain healthy and stable development of China-India people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

The remarks came after India begins a comprehensive review of local chapters of Confucius Institutes and agreements with Indian universities. (ANI)

26/11 terror attack survivor facing hardships, moves HC for a home

Devika Rotawan, one of the 26/11 Mumbai attack survivors and an eyewitness talking to ANI on Tuesday. (Photo: ANI)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Aug 26 (ANI): Devika Rotawan, one of the 26/11 Mumbai attack survivors and eyewitness is under acute financial stress and has requested the government to fulfil the assurance given to her of providing a house under EWS Scheme.

She has also filed a petition in Bombay High Court seeking a house for her family and to make provisions for her to continue her education.

The matter will be listed this week for hearing.

Devika was at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus station (CST) in Mumbai on November 26, 2011, and she was shot by Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Ajmal Amir Kasab in her right leg. She saw him firing at her and others as well. She went through 6 surgical operations and was bedridden for almost 6 months.

During her time in the hospital, many government officials promised her and her family about providing residential accommodation under EWS Scheme and provision for her educational expenses once Kesab was convicted. However, while talking to ANI, she said that it has not happened yet.

"I am facing problems especially following the lockdown period. I seek support from the Maharashtra government. I was told by the government that I will be given a house and all assistance but it has not happened yet. I had received the help of Rs 10 Lakhs from former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, it was used for my treatment for Tuberculosis (TB). I am thankful for that but the promises made to me before that have not been met yet," Devika Rotawan said.

"I demand that a house be arranged for us - my family and me. My landlord has told me that if I can not pay rent, I will have to look for a house somewhere else," she added.

During the trial of Kesab, she was the star eye-witness to testify against him and the same was heavily relied upon by the Sessions Judge in convicting him.

Rotawan, the petitioner said that she and her family got nothing from the government as promised, apart from some compensation which was utilised in her medical care.

"My father is a senior citizen and bedridden. My brother has had 3 operations for his backbone and has been diagnosed with hernia recently. Now my landlord has been threatening me and my family to forcibly evict the room. I thus wrote to Chief Secretary, Maharashtra but got no response. I have no source of Income. Hence left with no other option, I have approached Bombay High Court on compassionate grounds," she said.

The Mumbai terror attacks which begin on November 26, 2008 lasted for four days killing 166 people and injuring over 300.

In these gruesome attacks, 9 terrorists were killed and the lone survivor, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was caught and was sentenced to death at Yerwada Central Jail in Pune in 2012. On November 11, 2012, Kasab was hanged in Yerawada Jail in Pune. (ANI)

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