Saturday, August 29, 2020

Reliance Retail to acquire retail, wholesale, logistics, warehousing business of Future Group

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Aug 29 (ANI): Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited, on Saturday announced that it is acquiring the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business from the Future Group as going concerns on a slump sale basis for lumpsum aggregate consideration of Rs 24,713 crore, subject to adjustments as set out in the composite scheme of arrangement.

The acquisition is being done as part of the scheme in which Future Group is merging certain companies carrying on the businesses into Future Enterprises Limited (FEL).

RRVL said in a release that the retail and wholesale undertaking of Future Group is being transferred to Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited (RRFLL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of RRVL. The logistics and warehousing undertaking of the Future Group is being transferred to RRVL.

RRFLL also proposes to invest Rs 1,200 crore in the preferential issue of equity shares of FEL to acquire 6.09 per cent of post-merger equity. RRFLL further proposes to invest Rs 400 crore in a preferential issue of equity warrants which, upon conversion and payment of balance 75 per cent of the issue price, will result in RRFLL acquiring further 7.05 per cent of FEL.

Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, said: "With this transaction, we are pleased to provide a home to the renowned formats and brands of Future Group as well as preserve its business ecosystem, which have played an important role in the evolution of modern retail in India."

"We hope to continue the growth momentum of the retail industry with our unique model of active collaboration with small merchants and kiranas as well as large consumer brands. We are committed to continue providing value to our consumers across the country," she added.

This acquisition is subject to SEBI, CCI, NCLT, shareholders, creditors and other requisite approvals. (ANI)

US, Japan reiterate commitment to maintain rules-based order in South China Sea

US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono

Washington [US], August 29 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono on Saturday reiterated their commitment to maintain a 'rules-based order' in the East and South China Seas.

According to an official statement by the US Department of Defence, Esper hosted Kono in Guam, where they reaffirmed the strength of the US-Japan alliance and discussed ways to deepen and expand bilateral defence cooperation.

"Secretary Esper and Minister Kono exchanged views on their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The Secretary expressed serious concern regarding Beijing's decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, as well as coercive and destabilising actions vis-a-vis Taiwan," the statement said.

"Both ministers restated their commitment to maintain a rules-based order in the East and South China Seas, and more broadly in the region and world. The Secretary welcomed Japan's efforts to strengthen cooperation with other like-minded partners, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, Australia and trilaterally with the United States and the Republic of Korea," it stated.

The statement comes even as China continues to conduct military activities in the South China Sea region.

On Wednesday, China fired two missiles including an "aircraft-carrier killer" into the South China Sea as an act of "warning" to the United States after a US spy plane allegedly intruded into its army's no-fly airspace, a source close to the Chinese military told the South China Morning Post.

This military exercise is the latest in a long string of China's actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbours in the South China Sea, according to the US Defence Department.

Even as the international community continues to slam China for its continuous violation of international law, Senior Colonel Li Huamin, a spokesperson for the PLA Southern Theater Command was quoted as saying, "China has undisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters in the region, and the command troops are always on high alert to resolutely protect national sovereignty and safeguard peace and stability in the region of the South China Sea." (ANI)

Japan's Defence Minister Undecided on running for position of ruling party head

Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono (File photo)

Tokyo [Japan], August 29 (ANI/Sputnik): Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono said on Saturday that he is yet to make a decision on whether to run for the position of the head of ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which also envisages premiership, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to step down.

"I want to think carefully about this and consult with my team," Kono told reporters during his trip to Guam, as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

Abe, who is currently the party leader, officially announced on Friday his plan to step down, citing health issues. He has already informed the Liberal Democratic Party and Natsuo Yamaguchi, the head of the Komeito party, which is a part of the ruling coalition, about his plans.

Abe said he would continue to carry out his duties until the ruling party elects its new leader, who would subsequently become the new prime minister. The elections are expected to be held in mid-September. (ANI/Sputnik)

Death toll from floods in Afghanistan reaches 160, 250 injured

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Kabul [Afghanistan], August 29 (ANI/Sputnik): The number of people who have died due to heavy rains and floods in Afghanistan, has risen to 160, while 250 others have been injured, the national media reported on Saturday, citing the Ministry for Disaster Management.

Previous reports indicated that 150 people had been killed and nearly 200 others were injured in the floods that hit the country on Wednesday.

According to TOLOnews, flash floods have affected 12 Afghan provinces with Parwan being the hardest-hit. The broadcaster said that 116 people died and 130 others had been injured there.

Monsoon seasons, which run from June to September, cause considerable damage every year in various South Asian countries due to severe floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains. (ANI/Sputnik)

Don't see US sporting boycotts making their way to England: Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

London [UK], Aug 29 (ANI): Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that the US sporting boycotts won't make their way to England even though the battle against racism is a "worldwide issue".

His remark comes as various sports in America were called off earlier this week as protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake continued.

"Whatever actions they take there they will have their reasons for it and I don't see them at the moment coming to England, but we have to see. It is a worldwide issue but, at the moment for some specific cases, they are thinking about proper actions in America because another thing happened that shouldn't have happened," quoted Klopp as saying.

"That is why the players there do what they do but I don't see it coming at the moment in England," he added.

Earlier this week, many from the National Basketball Association (NBA) boycotted their games after Blake was shot seven times in Wisconsin.

Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Hockey League and the WNBA also called off their games amid the anti-racism demonstrations taking place America.

England's football community had shown its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement when the 2019-20 season resumed in June after a coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

All clubs wore jerseys with "Black Lives Matter" printed on the back and players also took a knee before the start of each game in memory of George Floyd, who passed away after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck.

Liverpool had won the 2019-20 Premier League season and the side will take on Arsenal in the FA Community Shield later today. (ANI)

5 Afghan security force personnel, civilian hurt in blast in Afghanistan's Paktia

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Kabul [Afghanistan], Aug 29 (ANI): As many as five Afghan security force personnel and a civilian were injured in a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan's Paktia province on Saturday, TOLO news reported.

"At least five security force members and a civilian were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Gardez city, Paktia province," Deputy Governor Abdul Wali Sahi was quoted as saying.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the blast. (ANI)

Death toll rises to 13 in Raigad building collapse incident

Visuals from incident spot (Photo/ANI)

Raigad (Maharashtra) [India], August 26 (ANI): The death toll in the building collapse incident in Maharashtra's Raigad district rose to 13, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said on Tuesday.

Thirteen people have died ---6 male and 7 female-after a five-storey residential building collapsed in Maharashtra's Raigad district on Monday evening. Following which, the local administration and NDRF are carrying out search and rescue operation which has been going on for more than 24 hours now.

Maharashtra Minister Vijay Wadettiwar on Tuesday announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the family of each person killed in the Raigad building collapse incident.

An FIR was registered against five people earlier on Tuesday at Mahad city police station over the building collapse in a residential area of Mahad, Raigad district.

On this, Wadettiwar said, "We will not spare people responsible for this collapse. They murdered innocent people. Quality of construction material is very poor and is breaking with hands."

According to the police, the FIR has been registered under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 304-A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life) and 34 (acts by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). (ANI)

Khalifa bin Zayed issues decree to abolish the Israel boycott law

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Abu Dhabi [UAE], August 29 (ANI/WAM): Following the announcement of the peace accord with Israel, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has issued a Federal Decree-Law No. 04 of 2020, abolishing the Federal Law No. 15 of 1972 regarding boycotting Israel and the penalties thereof.

The Decree comes as part of the UAE's efforts to expand diplomatic and commercial cooperation with Israel, and by laying out a roadmap towards launching joint cooperation, leading to bilateral relations by stimulating economic growth and promoting technological innovation.

Following the abolition of the Israel Boycott Law, individuals and companies in the UAE may enter into agreements with bodies or individuals residing in Israel or belonging to it by their nationality, in terms of commercial, financial operations, or any other dealings of any nature.

Based on the Decree, it will be permissible to enter, exchange, or possess Israeli goods and products of all kinds in the UAE and trade in them. (ANI/WAM)

PM Modi to inaugurate Atal Tunnel connecting Manali with Leh by September end: Jai Ram Thakur

Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur visiting south portal of tunnel on Saturday. Photo/ANI

Sissu/ Lahaul-Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) [India], August 29 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the 9.02 kilometre long Atal tunnel, the world's longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres, connecting Manali with Leh by the end of September this year, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said here on Saturday.

Thakur today visited the south portal of the tunnel in Lahaul-Spiti and held a meeting with the officials at Sissu about the completion of the tunnel. He said this tunnel is very important from a strategic point of view as well as for tourism.

"The Prime Minister wants to inaugurate the tunnel by the end of next month. He will visit the spot physically instead of virtually attending the event. This tunnel is going to be very significant. The dream of Atal ji is finally coming true," Thakur told reporters here.

He said the south and north portals of the tunnel have now been connected and added that it would be an all-weather road for farmers, tourists and will play a strategically important role.

The tunnel was initially opened for emergency vehicles in 2019. The entire route would be opened for public soon and it would be an all-weather road with the Defence Research Development Organisation's (DRDO) Snow Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) design to make snow galleries on both ends of tunnels.

The tunnel, named after former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will significantly reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by nearly 45 kilometres and drive time by around seven hours. It will also save crores of rupees in transport costs in the long run.

The decision to construct the strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3, 2000, when Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. The foundation stone for the access road to the South Portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.

It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fire-proof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.

Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said the tunnel was also important from the perspective of national security and lauded the Border Roads Organisation for constructing the tunnel in less than the stipulated cost.

The tunnel is now nearing completion and is a step in the direction of providing all-weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.

According to officials, there would be escape tunnels after every 500 meters with a vehicle speed permitted would to 80 km/hour and around 3,000 vehicles will be able to run at once on both lanes of the tunnel.

There are provisions of high-security surveillance team and CCTV vigilance in New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM), used for the first time in India. (ANI)

Tibetans and Uyghurs hold anti-China protest outside UN office in London

Members of the Tibetan and Uyghur community protesting outside UN office in London. Photo/ANI

London [UK], Aug 29 (ANI): Members of the Tibetan and Uyghur community in UK oragnised a 'Black Day' protest outside the United Nations office in London to mark the ninth anniversary of 'heinous crimes against humanity' in Tibet and East Turkistan by Chen Quanguo, currently the party secretary for Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The protest was held under the aegis of Tibetan Community UK, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) on Friday. They were holding banners saying "Long Live friendship of Tibet and East Turkistan", "Say no to internment Camps" and save the "Uyghur people".

A statement by Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities said, "Chen Quanguo, a member of the 19th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is being considered for the Number 2 position in the CCP so is most likely to take control of the Central Administration in future. He is the most ruthless Chinese leader ever to have ruled Tibet and East Turkistan."

Chen Quanguo, who had been Party Secretary for Tibet Autonomous Region (Aug 2011 - 2016), was one of three Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials sanctioned by the US last month over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Tsering Passang from the GATPM while reading the "Recommendations" submitted to the UN Secretary-General called for a special session of the United Nations on the issue. He said, "UN must hold the Chinese nation accountable for genocide crimes against humanity in Tibet and East Turkistan."

"Members of the United Nations organisation should impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on China," said Tsering Passang while reading the recommendations.
Rahima Mahmut, UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said, "This is the time that everybody should come together and voice our outrage".

Rahima also added that World Uyghur Congress will soon launch a 'Stop Uyghur Genocide' campaign.

"We already have many human rights organisations coming together. There will be a national movement", she said while adding that every day she receives emails from people and students to join this movement. (ANI)

Specially-abled people in Gilgit Baltistan suffer due to bereaucratic disobedience

Irshad Kazmi, Information Secretary of Gilgit Baltistan Disability Alliance

Gilgit [PoK], Aug 29 (ANI): The specially-abled persons in Gilgit Baltistan are suffering due to bureaucratic hurdles in getting education and job quota.

In the region, which remains under Pakistani occupation since 1947, these specially-abled people are fighting with both, the government's discrimination as well as their physical disability.

There is a provision of just two per cent quota for specially-abled people in government jobs but even that is not implemented in true spirit due to rampant corruption.

The top representatives of the Gilgit Baltistan Disability Alliance blame the bureaucracy for their sufferings. They say that it has been in cahoots with the corrupt political class of the region and has been deliberately framing discriminatory policies. In other cases, they accuse it of negligence.

Irshad Kazmi, Information Secretary of Gilgit Baltistan Disability Alliance said, "The main problem here is implementation. Bureaucracy is always against when we talk about the implementation here. Be it the implementation of disability quota or the issue of accessibility, bureaucracy has always acted as a hurdle".

He added, "If we talk about the implementation of the disability quota in Gilgit-Baltistan, then there will be around 45 per cent fake people. If the documents are to be verified by making a Commission, then a number of people will be found who have got a government job by faking disability while the deserving specially-abled candidates are still unemployed and are stumbling here and there."

Time and again, the specially-abled people in the region have protested against the government for failing to protect their rights but all in vain.

Last year, they deceived them by announcing Rs 5 billion under Gilgit Baltistan Chief Minister's Package, which was never really spent on their welfare.

It's not just about the jobs and other benefits; the government has not even bothered to provide them a decent education.

There is only one Special Education Complex in the entire region where the hostel, too, has been occupied by Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau officials.

Kazmi said, "There is the issue of education for the specially-abled, which still continues to persist. At the Special Education Complex in Gilgit, only primary level education is provided and its hostel is still under the control of NAB (National Accountability Bureau). In other districts too, the problem of special education is not given any importance. Around 99 per cent of specially-abled children in Gilgit-Baltistan are still not receiving any education. These all are the genuine problems that the specially-abled people face."

As per the estimates, there are around 80,000 specially-abled people in Gilgit Baltistan, out of which only 15,000 are registered but even they are not provided with the benefits they deserve.

The government continues to show its apathetic attitude towards these people, forcing them to live a life in darkness. (ANI)

Electricity - another factor binding Nepal, India relations

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Kathmandu [Nepal], August 29 (ANI): Nepal and India back in 1971 signed the "Power Exchange Agreement" according to which, both countries have been importing and exporting electricity on the basis of need.

Recently, Nepal also signed the Power Trade Agreement with India according to which, it is importing electricity from 220 KVA Dhalkebar-Mujarrafpur transmission line from India's NVVN (NTPC Vidhyut Vyapar Nigam). Apart from this, Nepal and India have been exchanging electricity from various transmission lines, which range over one dozen.

Nepal mainly has been exporting surplus electricity to India during the monsoon season when the production soars and consumption decreases during the night. Surplus electricity is being transported to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

India has been paying Nepali rupee 6 rupees 18 paise to Nepal when it imports the electricity while Nepal also pays India the same amount when it imports electricity.

As per record kept by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), a total of 291 Megawatt electricity is being exchanged between Nepal and India. In order to facilitate the transmission of electricity, Nepal has been using 132, 33 and 11 KVA transmission lines.

"Nepal was able to export a total of 10 crores 70 lakh Unit Electricity to India in the previous fiscal year," Prabal Adhikari, Spokesperson for NEA said.

Adhikari said Nepal would be able to export a large portion of electricity to India from next year if Upper Tamakoshi (hydroelectric project) comes into operation.

"It would be a milestone achievement for us. We will be able to export a large portion of electricity to India. We are planning to produce about 1,300 MW electricity this year only," the spokesperson for the state-owned electricity authority said.

India and Nepal not only have been engaged in exchanging electricity, India also has been helping in building hydropower projects in Nepal. Arun-III, the biggest hydropower project of Nepal is being built in Indian assistance, which is expected to electrify Himalayan Nation. (ANI)

'His magic with hockey stick will never be forgotten': PM Modi pays tribute to Major Dhyan Chand on National Sports Day

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File Photo

New Delhi [India], Aug 29 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday paid tribute to Indian hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand on his birth 115th anniversary, stating that "his magic with the hockey stick can never be forgotten".

On August 29, India celebrates National Sports Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand.

Paying his tribute to the Indian hockey wizard, Priem Minister Modi tweeted, "Today, on National Sports Day, we pay tributes to Major Dhyan Chand, whose magic with the hockey stick can never be forgotten. This is also a day to laud the outstanding support given by the families, coaches, and support staff towards the success of our talented athletes."

He said National Sports Day is "a day to celebrate the remarkable achievements of all those exemplary sportspersons who have represented India in various sports and made our nation proud. Their tenacity and determination are outstanding."

The Prime Minister asserted that the government is making all efforts to popularise sports and support sporting talent in the country.

"Government of India is making numerous efforts to popularise sports and support sporting talent in India. At the same time, I urge everyone to make sports and fitness exercises a part of their daily routine. There are many benefits of doing so. May everyone be happy and healthy," he said in a subsequent tweet.

The legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand was born in 1905 and was known for his magical hockey skills. He was part of the Indian hockey team which struck gold in the Olympics of 1928, 1932, and, 1936.

National Sports Awards which include the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the Arjuna award, the Dronacharya award, and the Dhyan Chand award, are conferred on athletes every year by the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 29, the National Sports Day.

However, this year, the names would be announced by President Ram Nath Kovind virtually. (ANI)

PM Modi to inaugurate Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University buildings today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], Aug 29 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday will inaugurate college and administration buildings of the Rani Lakshmi Bai (RLB) Central Agricultural University in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said. He will inaugurate the buildings through remote video conference at 12:30 pm today.

The RLB Central Agriculture University is located in Jhansi and is a prominent institute of the Bundelkhand region. The University has started its first academic session in 2014-15 and is offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

"It is currently operating from the Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi as the main buildings were getting ready," said the PMO. The Prime Minister will also interact with students of the university during the event.

Prime Minister Modi on Friday said that this would improve the education infrastructure and contribute to cutting edge research in agriculture as well as further farmer welfare."At 12:30 pm tomorrow (on Saturday), the College and Administration Buildings of Rani Lakshmi Bai Central Agricultural University, Jhansi would be inaugurated. This would improve the education infrastructure and contribute to cutting edge research in agriculture as well as further farmer welfare," the Prime Minister had tweeted. (ANI)

UNSC unanimously votes to renew peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, cut troop levels

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New York [US], Aug 29 (ANI/Sputnik): The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and calling for the reduction of the number of peacekeepers in the country, UNSC President for August Dian Triansyah Djani said following the closer voting procedure.

"The result of the voting is as follows; the draft resolution received 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously," Djani said on Friday.

The resolution, sponsored by France, calls for the reduction of troops from 15,000 to 13,000.

The adoption comes a few weeks after on August 4, a massive explosion occurred at the port of Beirut that destroyed nearly half of the city's buildings and killed more than 170 people while injuring more than 5,000 others.

The Lebanese authorities said the improper storage of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in the Beirut port was the cause of the blast. (ANI/Sputnik)

Chinese Researcher Arrested In US On Charges Of Stealing Trade Secrets

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Washington D.C. [US], August 29 (ANI): Authorities in the US have arrested a Chinese national, a researcher at the University of Virginia on charges of theft of trade secrets after he attempted to board a flight to China.

Haizhou Hu, 34, is charged with accessing a computer without authorization, or exceeding authorization to obtain information from a protected computer and theft of trade secrets, Justice Department said in a release.

"Haizhou Hu, a Chinese national conducting research at the University of Virginia, was arrested today and charged via criminal complaint with a pair of federal crimes just days after he attempted to board a flight to China. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Richmond Division announced the arrest," it said.

Ties between US and China have worsened in the recent past with two countries sparring over several issues.

"According to court documents, investigators first became aware of Hu, who is in the United States conducting research studying bio-mimics and fluid dynamics at the University of Virginia, on August 25, 2020, when he attempted to board a flight to China at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport," the Justice Department release said.

"A routine screening conducted by authorities revealed that Hu was alleged to be in possession of bio-inspired research simulation software code that he was not authorized to possess, and which represented the result of years of research and resources in its development by members of the University of Virginia academic community," it added.

Recently, the US had ordered China to close its Consulate General in Houston, Texas, over accusations that it engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations in the US. In retaliation, China ordered the US to close its Consulate General in Chengdu. (ANI)

Russian fighter Su-27 scrambled to intercept 3 NATO spy planes

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Moscow [Russia], August 29 (ANI/Sputnik): Russian fighter Su-27 was scrambled to intercept three targets over Baltic Sea, which turned out to be reconnaissance aircraft from the United States, Sweden and Denmark, the Russian Defense Ministry's National Defense Control Center said on Friday.

According to the center, airspace control detected three air targets approaching the Russian border over the neutral waters of Baltic Sea.

"To identify air targets and prevent violation of the Russian state border, Su-27 fighter was from the air defense duty of the Baltic Fleet was scrambled. The crew of the Russian fighter identified the air targets as strategic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135 of the US Air Force, Gulfstream of the Swedish Air Force and Challenger of the Danish Air Force," the statement says.

After the foreign aircraft turned away from the Russian border, the Su-27 returned safely to the airfield. The entire flight took place strictly in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace. No violation of the state border by NATO aircraft was allowed. (ANI/Sputnik)

'US welcomes Taliwan President's statement on lifting restrictions on imports of pork, beef'

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

Washington D.C. [US], August 29 (ANI): US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Friday (local time) said his country welcomes President Tsai Ing-Wen's statement that Taiwan will move quickly to lift restrictions on imports of U.S. pork and beef.

"The U.S. welcomes President Tsai Ing-Wen's August 28 statement that Taiwan will move quickly to lift restrictions on imports of U.S. pork and beef. This move opens the door for even deeper economic and trade cooperation. Kudos to President Tsai for her leadership," Pompeo said in a tweet.

US State Department said it welcomes President Tsai Ing-Wen's August 28 statement that Taiwan will move quickly to lift restrictions on imports of U.S. pork and beef. "We look forward to the timely implementation of these actions, which will provide greater access for U.S. farmers to one of East Asia's most vibrant markets, and for Taiwan consumers to high-quality U.S. agricultural products," the statement read.

"President Tsai's vision and leadership in removing these long-standing barriers open the door to greater economic and trade cooperation between the United States and Taiwan," it added.

The United State is going to keep its commitment in helping Taiwan to meet self-defence capabilities, Assistant Secretary of State Clarke Cooper told reporters last week, Sputnik had reported.

"We are making sure that we are going to address self-defence capabilities for Taiwan," Cooper said during a virtual press briefing.
The United States, along with many other countries, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation. However, Washington has maintained informal relations with the island nation after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979. (ANI)

Indian naval ship INS Nireekshak assisting in salvage operations in Mauritius

INS Nireekshak at Port Louis in Mauritius. (Photo credit: Indian Navy twitter)

Port Louis [Mauritius], August 29 (ANI): Indian naval ship, INS Nireekshak, which reached Mauritius few days ago is assisting in oil spill containment and salvage operations.

"Divers @indiannavy assist environment impact assessment. After deployment of 10-member Tech Response Team @IndiaCoastGuard & 30 T specialized eqpt brought on board @IAF_MCC & Evacuation of 1,000 T oil from MV Wakashio by Indian Oil (Mauritius) Ltd," High Commission of India, Port Louis said in a tweet.

On August 24, the High Commission had in a tweet said: "INS Nireekshak, a diving support vessel @indiannavy docks at Port Louis for OTR. Resources including divers on board will be available for any seaward search and rescue or medical support and specialized salvage operations relating to MV Wakashio."

Indian naval ship Nireekshak, a specialised diving support vessel, has reached Port Louis in Mauritius to help in efforts to contain an oil spill, Indian Navy said on Tuesday.

"INSNireekshak a specialised Diving Support Vessel reached Port Louis, Mauritius on Aug 24, 2020. The ship has the capability to provide assistance towards fighting oil spill and provide seaward security and medical cover off the Wakashio wreck," Navy Spokesperson said in a tweet.

India had also sent an IAF planes along with a 10-member Technical Response Team to assist Mauritius in its ongoing oil spill containment and salvage operations.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has sent a 10-member specialist team with equipment to Mauritius for supplementing the efforts.

A ship that has leaked tons of oil off the coast of Mauritius has split apart, authorities said on August 16, CNN had reported.

"At around 4.30 pm, a major detachment of the vessel's forward section was observed," the National Crisis Committee of Mauritius was quoted as saying in a statement. (ANI)

Nations exporting terrorism attempting to paint themselves as victims of terror: EAM

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], August 29 (ANI): Taking a dig at Pakistan, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday said that countries that have turned the production of terrorists into a primary export have attempted to paint themselves as victims of terror.

"19 years from the tragedy of '9/11' and 12 years from our own '26/11', we have a range of mechanisms in place to contend with terrorism. These include the Financial Action Task Force, various UN Sanctions Committees and the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate," EAM said 19th Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture.

Without naming Pakistan, the Minister said: "But we still lack a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, with the membership of the UN still wrestling with certain foundational principles. All the while, States that have turned the production of terrorists into a primary export have attempted, by dint of bland denials, to paint themselves as victims of terror."

Jaishankar said sustained pressure through international mechanisms has eventually compelled a "state complicit in aiding, abetting, training and directing terror groups" to "grudgingly acknowledge the presence of wanted terrorists."

"But as we have seen last week, sustained pressure through international mechanisms to prevent the movement of funds for terror groups and their front agencies can work. It has eventually compelled a state complicit in aiding, abetting, training and directing terror groups and associated criminal syndicates to grudgingly acknowledge the presence of wanted terrorists and organized crime leaders on its territory," said EAM.

Further, Jaishankar said the struggle against terror and those who aid and abet it is a work in progress.

"It remains for the international system to create the necessary mechanisms to shut down the structures that support and enable terrorism, whether in South Asia or across the globe," he said.

In a bid to avoid a demotion from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list to the blacklist during the upcoming October plenary meeting, Pakistan last week imposed sanctions on more than 88 terrorists associated with different terrorist groups, including Daesh, al-Qaida, and Taliban, Pakistan media reported.

According to the details, the government has also seized the bank accounts and properties of the terrorists in the country. They have also been banned from traveling aboard, Ary News had reported.

Earlier this month, Pakistan has submitted its initial draft report to the joint group of FATF, showing compliance of the remaining 13 points out of 27 action points pertaining to terror funding, ahead of the plenary meet scheduled for October, The News International had reported.

EAM Jaishankar stated that terrorism is cancer that "potentially affects everyone" just like pandemic.

"We have long known intellectually that terrorism is cancer that potentially affects everyone, just as pandemics potentially impact upon all humanity. And yet, in both cases, globalized focused responses to either challenge have tended to emerge only when there has been sufficient disruption created by a 'spectacular' event," he said. (ANI)

India supports women in peacekeeping resolution at UN

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By Reena Bhardwaj
New York [US], August 29 (ANI): India's Permanent Mission to the United Nations has co-sponsored a Security Council resolution that calls for "full, effective and meaningful participation" of women personnel in peacekeeping operations.

On Friday the mission said in a tweet, "India is proud to co-sponsor" the resolution which was put forth by Indonesia.

Peacekeeping is one of Indonesia's priorities during its 2019-2020 term on the Council. When it held its first presidency in 2019, The women in peacekeeping resolution was initiated by Indonesia and on Friday the Security Council president (Indonesia) is expected to announce the result of the voting on a draft resolution. Sources told ANI that the resolution has passed by consensus but the results will be announced late evening.

"In line with the priorities we (India) have set for ourselves, during our tenure in the Security Council beginning 2021, India will continue to push for greater involvement of women in all areas," the Indian mission further said in the tweet.

India has a long tradition of deploying women peacekeepers. As early as 1960, India sent women in the Armed Forces Medical Services to serve in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Republic of Congo.

In 2007, India was the first country to send an all-women Formed Police Unit to Liberia. They were hailed as "role models" by the then President of Liberia, as well as former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

This year, Major Suman Gawani won the UN Military Gender Advocate award. She is deployed in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). (ANI)

India 'proud' to co-sponsor Indonesia's resolution on Women in Peacekeeping

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New York [US], Aug 29 (ANI): India on Friday said that it is proud to co-sponsor Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations in New York's resolution on Women in Peacekeeping.

"India is proud to co-sponsor @indonesiaunny's resolution the Security Council today on Women in Peacekeeping," Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations tweeted.

India further said, "In line with the priorities we have set for ourselves during our tenure in the Security Council beginning 2021, India will continue to push for greater involvement of women in all areas."

India had made history in 2007 when it deployed the first all-women Formed Police Unit in the United Nations Mission in Liberia. (ANI)

Chinese authorities arrest 12 people, including pro-democracy activist, secretly heading to Taiwan

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Tokyo [Japan], Aug 29 (ANI): Chinese authorities have arrested 12 people, including a pro-democracy activist, who were secretly heading to Taiwan by sea.

Citing Coast Guard Bureau in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, NHK World reported that a speedboat was intercepted on Sunday on suspicion of illegally entering China-administered waters off the coast of Guangdong.

According to Hong Kong media reports, among the people who were arrested was pro-democracy activist Andy Li.

Li is among the other pro-democracy activists including Agnes Chow and Jimmy Lai who were arrested on August 10 under the draconian National Security Law.
Since the enactment of draconian law, several pro-democracy activists have been fleeing for a safe haven to other countries.

Beijing had 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 up to a life-term in prison. (ANI)

Nepal's only Billionaire- Binod Chaudhary tested COVID-19 positive

Binod Chaudhary. (Photo: ANI)

Kathmandu [Nepal], Aug 29 (ANI): Nepal's only billionaire and member of Lower House representing the Nepali Congress Binod Chaudhary has tested COVID-19 positive on Friday, the industrialist confirmed on a micro-blogging site and urged people who were in his recent contact to take precautions.

In his tweet, Chaudhary also has mentioned that he is asymptomatic and have isolated himself as per the doctor's advice.

"Dear friends and well-wishers- I have tested positive for corona as per PCR test this morning! By the grace of God, so far I have no symptoms. However, I have isolated myself as per doctor's advice. Whoever came in contact with me please take all possible precautions! Regards," the 64-year-old billionaire wrote.

As per the world's Billionaire list published by Forbes Magazine, Chaudhary ranks 1513th with a net worth of USD 1.4 Billion. Chaudhary owns CG Corp Global and also has a stake in Nepal's Nabil Bank and CG Foods, maker of the popular Wai Wai noodles.

COVID-19 cases are increasing on a daily basis in the Himalayan Nation. In the last 24 hours, a total of 927 new cases with 169 recoveries and 12 deaths were recorded in the country.

Till date, a total of 36,456 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Nepal with 20,242 cases of recoveries and 195 deaths. (ANI)

Tibetan Community UK, WUC to hold 'Black Day' against human rights abuses in Tibet, East Turkistan by CCP official

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London [UK], August 29 (ANI): Tibetan Community UK, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and GATPM will hold a 'Black Day' protest outside UN office in London today to mark 9th anniversary of 'heinous crimes against humanity' in Tibet and East Turkistan by Chen Quanguo, currently the party secretary for Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Chen Quanguo, who had been Party Secretary for Tibet Autonomous Region (Aug 2011 - 2016), was one of three Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials sanctioned by US last month over human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The protests are slated to take place on August 28 (local time) from 4 pm to 5:30 pm. This peaceful, socially-distant protest is organised by Tibetan Community UK, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and GATPM.

Chen Quanguo, a member of the 19th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is being considered for the No. 2 position in the CCP and therefore is most likely to take control of the Central Administration in future. He is most ruthless Chinese leader ever to have ruled Tibet and East Turkistan.

On July 9, the United States government imposed Global Magnitsky Act sanctions and visa restrictions against Chen Quanguo. With sanctions, he and his immediate relatives are barred from entering the US and will have US-based assets frozen.

Last month, while announcing sanctions against CCP officials including Chen Quanguo, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo had said: "The United States will not stand idly by as the CCP carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith."

"Before ramping up the CCP's campaign of repression in Xinjiang, Chen oversaw extensive abuses in Tibetan areas, using many of the same horrific practices and policies CCP officials currently employ in Xinjiang," Pompeo had said. (ANI)

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