Sunday, September 6, 2020

Pak NAB, SC working army's dictation as hostages': Altaf Hussain

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain. (Photo: ANI)

London [UK], September 06 (ANI): The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Supreme Court (SC) does not look into the corruption of the security forces because they are also working on "army's dictation as hostages'', Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain.

During his lecture on Saturday, Hussain said that the Pakistan Army has been inflicting atrocities on Balochs, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Mohajirs for demanding their rights.

"The corruption of the Army Generals is rampant but the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Supreme Court (SC) does not look into this corruption of the army because the SC and the NAB is also working on army's dictation as hostages. He said this in his lecture yesterday," Hussain was quoted in a statement as saying.

He slammed the state atrocities on Balochs, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Mohajirs.

"Thousands of innocent MQM workers were extra-judicially killed during the military operations against the MQM. Many workers abducted by the military intelligence from Karachi were buried alive in the Margalah Hills in Pakistan's capital Islamabad. The army did not spare even our senior leader, philosopher and senior lecturer of University of Karachi, Prof. Dr Hassan Zafar Arif," he said.
He said that due to recent rains and floods in Karachi like other areas of Karachi, DHA and Clifton were also submerged in water on which the people were protesting.

"We sympathise with the people of Defense and Clifton as we continue to deal with the flooding of the area and the difficulties it poses," he said.

"Once, when Parveen Rehman, an urban planner exposed the wrongdoings of the military generals in the coastal areas and explained how natural trees called mangroves were being removed from the coastal areas and sand and gravel was dumped there then the army and the establishment killed her," he added.

He said that the reserves of oil, gas, coal and other minerals in Sindh are under the control of the army and the entry of permanent residents of Sindh is closed and the ministers of Sindh are busy to save their seats.

He said, "I request with my folded hands to all the permanent residents of Sindh to get ready to come forward for the liberation of their land. We will end the occupation on Sindh soil and its resources because they belong to the permanent residents of Sindh and not to those who come from outside."

He said that those who have settled permanently in Sindh and live here and earn money here and consider Sindh as their homeland should also be a part of the struggle for the rights of Sindh, we will also embrace them. (ANI)

692 new COVID-19 cases reported in Oman, 87,072 in total

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Muscat [Oman], September 6 (ANI/Xinhua): The Omani health ministry on Sunday announced 692 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the sultanate to 87,072, the official Oman News Agency (ONA) reported.

Meanwhile, 579 people recovered during the past 24 hours, taking the overall number of recoveries to 82,406, while 23 new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 728, according to a ministry statement quoted by ONA.

The ministry urged everyone to adhere to social distancing instructions issued by the Supreme Committee and the ministry of health, as well as staying home and avoiding unnecessary going out. (ANI/Xinhua)

6.3 magnitude quake jolts soutern Philippines

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Manila [Philippines], September 6 (ANI/Xinhua): An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 jolted 18 km ENE of Talagutong in the southern Philippines at 15:23 GMT on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

No casualties have been reported so far.

The epicentre, with a depth of 120.89 km, was initially determined to be at 6.3023 degrees north latitude and 125.8322 degrees east longitude. (ANI/Xinhua)

Over 227,000 houses in Japan's south left without power due to typhoon

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Tokyo [Japan], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): More than 227,000 households in Japan's southern Kyushu region have been left without electricity due to the approaching of Typhoon Haishen, which is believed to be the strongest in decades, the NHK broadcaster reported on Sunday, citing Kyushu Electric Power Company.

Haishen is already the 10th typhoon to rage across northeast Asia in the past several days. The Typhoon started approaching Japan's south and southwest over the weekend, with all seven prefectures on Kyushu Island having already issued evacuation orders to local residents -- about 1.8 million people.

According to the broadcaster, as of 10 p.m., local time (11:00 GMT) was 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the city of Makurazaki city on the island's Kagoshima prefecture and was en route to the north-northwest at 35 kilometres per hour (22 miles per hour).

The latest data suggests that atmospheric pressure in Haishen's center is 945 hectopascals, while its wind power is 162 kilometres per hour and gusts are up to 216 kilometers per hour.

Japan's Kyushu island is expected to be the worst-affected region by the typhoon. Within the context, over 550 domestic flights scheduled for Sunday have been cancelled, with over 580 others to be cancelled on Monday. (ANI/Sputnik)

Fire aboard MT New Diamond doused, no oil spill: ICG

The large 333-metre long crude carrier is carrying over three lakh metric tons of crude oil for the Indian Oil Corporation from Kuwait to Paradip (ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): The fire onboard oil tanker MT New Diamond off Sri Lanka coast has been doused, said the Indian Coast Guard on Sunday, adding that cooling of the ship is in progress.

The ICG had been engaged in fire fighting and pollution response operation for MT New Diamond since September 3. According to the ICG, no oil spill has been reported, fire remains localised and the cargo hold is reported to be safe.

Twenty-two crew members of the oil Motor Tanker (MT) New Diamond caught fire after a major explosion in its engine room on September 3 when it was transiting in Sri Lankan exclusive economic zone.

The large 333-metre long crude carrier is carrying over three lakh metric tons of crude oil for the Indian Oil Corporation from Kuwait to Paradip.

"Fire Fighting with efforts of #ICG and SL Ships (Sri Lankan) ships, Tugs and Aircraft fire appears to be doused. No flame and smoke visible on #MTNewDiamond. The situation is being monitored for further action. Continuous boundary cooling in progress with the use of AFFF and water spraying," the ICG tweeted.

"No further increase in the crack or any significant change in trim or list has been observed," it added.
Earlier in the day, specialised ICG pollution Response ship Samudra Paheredar arrived at the scene of the incident and joined fire fighting operation. The ship is equipped with Ocean Boom, four Oil Skimmers and Oil Spill Dispersant to handle pollution response in event of an oil slick.

ICG Ships Sujay, Shaurya, Sarang and Pollution Response Vessel Samudra Paheredar were engaged in the operation on rotation using specialised external fire fighting system.

ICG Fast Patrol vessels Ameya and Abheek embarked with Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), Dry Chemical Powder and Oil Spill Dispersants are maintaining in close vicinity to render assistance as required.

Sri Lankan Ships Samudra, Udara, SLCGS Samaraksha, SLCGS Samudra Raksha, SLN FACs P 462 and 464 alongwith INS Sahyadri are in area. (ANI)

At least 4 people killed as result of mine collapse in Southeastern Iran

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Tehran [Iran], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): At least four people were killed as a result of a mine collapse in southeastern Iran, the national Fars news agency reported on Sunday, citing doctors.

The incident took place in the area near the city of Hojedk in Iran's southeastern province of Kerman.
According to the news agency, another miner sustained serious injuries due to the collapse and was hospitalized. (ANI/Sputnik)

Governments should prioritise health of citizens, observes conclave of 2,000 doctors

Dr Maria Neira, Director, PHE (top centre) at the doctors conclave (ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): Air pollution is hazardous to health and governments should prioritise the health of citizens by ensuring clean air as people recover from COVID-19, 'Doctors for Clean Air' conclave observed on Sunday.

The conclave was held on the occasion of the United Nations' first-ever 'International day of clean air for blue skies'. The conclave was conducted in a mode of a webinar where multi-disciplinary doctors including seven medical associations representing over 1,50,000 doctors discussed the necessity of clean air and possible ways to achieve it.

Air pollution causes over 7 million premature deaths across the world, with 1.2 million people in India alone.

State of Global Air 2019, published by Health Effects Institute, said that long-term exposure to indoor and ambient (outdoor) air pollution in the country is found to be linked to nearly 5 million deaths from non-communicable diseases like stroke, diabetes, heart attack, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases.

The conclave also acted as a torchbearer to discuss the role of doctors in advocating for clean air.

Dr Maria Neira, Director, Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health Department (PHE), World Health Organization, said, "As a health professional, I have seen first-hand what air pollution does to our bodies, to our lungs, and to our brains. Polluted air, largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels, affects almost all major organs in our bodies. It is responsible for the premature death of over 1 million Indians every year and brings huge healthcare costs to Indian families and the economy. Health professionals have a duty of care, and they take up a trusted position in society."

The doctors also discussed "Health impacts of air pollution on pregnant women and newborn children's heart, lungs and brain".

Dr Arvind Kumar, Founder and Manager Trustee of the Lung Care Foundation, stated, "Air pollution not only has long-term health impacts on us but also makes people living in the polluted city more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 by reducing their immunity and damaging their organs. We must focus on having clean air for the health and wellbeing of our citizens and future generations."

In a survey among the 2,000 registrants for the conclave, 99.5 per cent respondents said 'air pollution is hazardous to our health'.

96.9 per cent respondents said that the government should prioritise citizen's health by ensuring clean air for all as we recover from COVID-19.

Recent research evidence from across the world also suggests a strong link between air pollution and COVID-19 communicable disease.

A study conducted by Harvard University in the United States highlighted that every one ug/m3 increase in PM2.5 is associated with an 8 per cent increase in the COVID-19 death rate. People living in polluted areas are found more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

A strong correlation was observed between the increased concentration of PM2.5, Carbon monoxide (CO), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) & higher mortality rates in Italy & the US. (ANI)

Nearly 90 people in Hong Kong held allegedly for violating security law

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Hong Kong, September 6 (ANI): At least 90 people have been arrested allegedly for violating the national security law in Hong Kong as protestors took to the streets against the draconian law imposed by mainland China in June.

According to South China Morning Post (SCMP), police fired pepper balls at anti-government protestors in Mong Kok area of Hong Kong.

The people gathered following online calls by anonymous activists who had aimed to draw 50,000 people onto the streets.

Despite heavy police presence in the Jordan neighbourhood, the protestors chanted slogans -- "Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times".

League of Social Democrats activists "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, Raphael Wong Ho-ming and Figo Chan Ho-wun were among those arrested after raising a banner outside Eaton Hotel in Jordan to criticise the government for postponing the polls.

"I want my right to vote! Shame [on the government] for postponing the elections!" Leung said.
Police sources earlier said 2,000 riot officers would be deployed across West Kowloon, with water cannons and armoured vehicles on standby.

The protests were organised on the day Hongkongers were supposed to be casting their votes to choose lawmakers for the next terms.

However, the pro-China Hong Kong administrations postponed the election citing the rising coronavirus concerns in late July.

The SCMP reported that critics have deemed the move as politically motivated.

A 63-year-old protester said she was not worried despite the heavy police deployment. The woman, named Yim, was unhappy about the postponement of the elections.

"Why not let me vote? You let people do mass virus testing, but why not let people participate in an election?" Yim said, referring to the government's citywide coronavirus screening scheme. "If you are postponing the elections for one month, that would still be acceptable. But that is not the case now. Why does it have to be so?". (ANI)

Protests underway across Belarus, 10 people already arrested in Minsk

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Minsk [Belarus], Septemeber 06 (Sputnik/ANI): Protests are currently taking place throughout Belarus, and approximately 10 people have been arrested in Minsk, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova told Sputnik on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, the ministry announced boosting security in the capital in light of unauthorized protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.

"Unauthorized protests are taking place on Sunday in Minsk and in the regions of Belarus. They are small-scale in the regions. There have been no arrests anywhere except Minsk so far. By now, about 10 people have been arrested in Minsk," Chemodanova said. (Sputnik/ANI)

1 killed, 7 injured in Brimingham's stabbing attack

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Birmingham [UK], September 06 (ANI): At least one person was killed and seven other suffered injuries in a stabbing attack in the UK city of Birmingham, the West Midlands police said on Sunday.
"We can now confirm that we have launched a murder investigation following the events in Birmingham city centre overnight.

A man has tragically died. Another man and a woman have suffered serious injuries and five others have also been injured, although their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening," Sputnik quoted the police statement.

The stabbings took place between 23:30 and 01:20 GMT and are said to be linked, according to the police. (ANI)

Russia records 5,195 COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours, total reaches 1,025,505

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Moscow [Russia], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): Russia has registered 5,195 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which brings the cumulative total to 1,025,505, the country's coronavirus response center said on Sunday.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,195 COVID-19 cases in 84 regions, of which 1,156 (22.2 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said in a statement.

Moscow recorded 620 cases, St. Petersburg registered 192 cases, the Moscow region confirmed 167 new cases.

In the same period, Russia recorded 61 deaths, bringing the total to 17,820, and 2,823 recoveries, taking the total to 840,949. (ANI/Sputnik)

Ukraine confirms over 2,100 new COVID-19 cases, 35 related deaths

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Kiev [Ukraine], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): Ukraine has registered 2,107 new coronavirus cases, down from a record 2,836 on Saturday, and 35 related fatalities over the past 24 hours, the National Security and Defense Council's monitoring center said on Sunday.

Updated data takes the cumulative tally to 135,894 cases and 2,846 deaths. The number of recoveries has increased by 578 to 62,227 over the given period.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said during a briefing on Sunday that over 8,700 children and nearly 12,000 health workers have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

Kiev registered most of the new cases -- 240. The capital is followed by the Lviv region with 188 cases and the Ivano-Frankivsk region with 176 cases. (ANI/Sputnik)

Japan orders evacuation of over 810,000 people as Typhoon Haishen approaches

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Tokyo [Japan], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): More than 810,000 people living in Japan's southern and southwestern prefectures were ordered to immediately evacuate on Sunday due to approaching Typhoon Haishen, the NHK broadcaster reported.

The evacuation was recommended to another 5.5 million people in 10 prefectures of the country.

According to Japan's weather officials, Haishen, at 17:00 local time (08:00 GMT) was 70 kilometers (43 miles) away from the country's southern Yakushima island and was en route to the north at 35 kilometers per hour (22 miles per hour).

The latest data suggests that atmospheric pressure in Haishen's centre is 945 hectopascals, while its wind power is 162 kilometers per hour and gusts are up to 216 kilometers per hour.

Haishen is expected to hit Japan's Kyushu island on Sunday night. (ANI/Sputnik)

Education Ministers of G 20 nations resolve to work together to ensure 'inclusive and equitable quality education'

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New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): A virtual meeting of G20 Education Ministers was held on Saturday to discuss and share experiences of member countries in the three identified areas of education continuity in times of crises, early childhood education and internationalization in education, Ministry of Human Resource Development said on Sunday.

Yesterday's meeting was the culmination of ongoing discussions on these themes, conducted virtually due to the Covid 19 pandemic, said the Ministry.

"Education Ministers of G 20 nations have resolved to work together and share best practices in the area of education so that member countries can ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, even in times of crises," a release from the Ministry said.

Representing India, Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that these themes are also priority areas that the government of India has been pursuing.

"India's commitment for these themes is reflected in the new National Education Policy 2020 that seeks to bring in transformational changes in the education landscape of the country," the release said.
According to the release, the Minister said India will continue the efforts it has taken to reform and transform its education system and mitigate the challenge posed by the Covid 19 pandemic. He also said India is committed to collaborate with G 20 member countries in the area of education.

"The Education Ministers adopted a communique at the end of the meeting. Regarding ensuring education continuity in times of crises, the communique recognizes the value of distance and blended teaching and learning and underscore the importance of enhancing access to high-quality education, professional development for educators, digital infrastructure and content, cybersecurity awareness, appropriate teaching methodologies and active learning, while recognizing that these approaches complement face-to-face learning," the release said.

The communique, as per the release, expresses the resolve to encourage internationalization in education by sharing of best practices in education and the adaptation of such practices at the local, national, and international levels, as appropriate.

"It also supports advancing the discussion on internationalization at the K-12 level. The communique emphasizes the impact of internationalization practices in a country in broadening students' intercultural and global competencies and in providing equal learning opportunities and experiences for all," said the release. (ANI)

Fire on MT New Diamond under control, reports on scene Commander INS Sahyadri

MT New Diamond, which caught fire after an explosion (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): The fire onboard oil tanker MT New Diamond, off Sri Lanka's coast, has been brought under control the Indian Navy said on Sunday.

INS Sahyadri was involved in towing the oil tanker that caught fire.

"On Scene Commander INS Sahyadri reports, fire on MT New Diamond under control. Aerial reconnaissance being undertaken to assess the present situation, to be followed by boarding of ship," said Indian Navy in a tweet.

Twenty-two crew members of the oil Motor Tanker (MT) New Diamond, which caught fire after a major explosion in its engine room on September 3, have been rescued, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) officials said on Saturday.

The ICG has deployed 6 ICG ships and two aircraft for fire fighting and to handle pollution response in event of an oil slick.

The explosion on MT New Diamond, a Greek owned vessel, under charter by Indian Oil Corporation took place on September 3 when it was transiting in Sri Lankan exclusive economic zone.

The large 333 metre long crude carrier is carrying over three lakh metric tons of crude oil for the Indian Oil Corporation from Kuwait to Paradip. (ANI)

South Korea confirms 167 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death

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Seoul [South Korea], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): South Korea confirmed 167 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, marking the fourth consecutive day of less than 200 new cases registered per day, and the overall tally reached 21,177, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Sunday.

At the same time, the coronavirus-related death toll increased by 1 to 334.

"As of 0:00, 6 September 2020, [03:00 GMT on September 5] the total number of confirmed cases is 21,177 (including 2,892 imported cases), of which 16,146 cases have been discharged from isolation. There are 152 new local cases, 15 new imported cases, and 1 new death," the KCDC said.

Seoul, with nearly 4,000 confirmed cases, and the nearby province of Gyeonggi, with over 3,100 cases, are the most affected.

On Friday, the authorities extended COVID-19 restrictions, which include a ban on operations of restaurants, bakeries and coffee chains, in the greater Seoul area for one more week. (ANI/Sputnik)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meets Iranian counterpart, discusses regional security

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met Iranian defence minister  Brigadier General Amir Hatami in Tehran (Photo tweeted by Defence Minister)

Tehran [Iran], September 6 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said he had a "very fruitful" discussion with his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Amir Hatami and discussed regional security situation including Afghanistan and issues of bilateral cooperation.

"Had a very fruitful meeting with Iranian defence minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in Tehran. We discussed regional security issues including Afghanistan and the issues of bilateral cooperation," Rajnath Singh said in a tweet.

"The meeting between the two Ministers took place in a cordial and warm atmosphere. Both the leaders emphasized upon the age-old cultural, linguistic and civilizational ties between India and Iran," the Defence Minister's office said in a tweet.

The Defence Ministers discussed ways to take forward bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on regional security issues, including peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Singh had held bilateral meeting on September 5 with Iran's Minister of Defence and Armed Forces Logistics, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, at the latter's request, according to the office of the Defence Minister.

Singh had arrived in Tehran on a transit halt to New Delhi from Moscow, after concluding a three day visit to Russia for the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers that took place on Friday.

On Saturday, Singh met his counterparts from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and deliberated on ways to give greater thrust to defence cooperation between India and the Central Asian countries.

On Friday, Singh had a meeting with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe during which the two sides discussed military standoff along the Line of Actual Control. (ANI)

Ethnic Mongolians in Tokyo hold anti-China protests for imposing language policy

Ethnic Mongolians living in Japan protested in front of the Chinese embassy in Tokyo (Photo/ANI)

Tokyo [Japan], September 6 (ANI): Ethnic Mongolians living in Japan protested in front of the Chinese embassy in Tokyo against the policy to forcibly push Mandarin-language education in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in northern China.

Some 15-20 people joined the protest on Saturday to raise their concern.

In Inner Mongolia, protests have been ongoing after a new policy aimed at pushing Mandarian language education across the region sparked widespread unrest among the country's ethnic Mongols. It has angered many as they saw it as a move to erase their culture.

Thousands of students in Inner Mongolia have taken to streets during the past week to rally against Beijing's three-year plan to push Mandarin language education across the northern region and phase out local history, literature and ethnic textbooks in favour of national course books.
According to local media reports, parents are also refusing to send their children to school in defiance of the new policy.

Activists say that under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has intensified to promote Mandarin and push the country's ethnic minorities to adopt a uniform Chinese identity.

The latest move to roll out Mandarin language instruction has raised fears that it could be the end for a minority language already at risk of fading away. (ANI)

Nepali migrant workers start returning to work in India

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Dhangadhi [Nepal], September 6 (ANI): Lokendra Bahadur Dhami, who had been working in India for the past 5 years had gone back to his hometown in Nepal after the outbreak of the Covid pandemic now wants to return to India.

He is among the numerous Nepali workers who have queued up at Kailali's Trinagar Customs waiting to return to India for work.

Lokendra used to work at a shopping Complex in New Delhi as a security guard for the last five years and had returned four months ago. Others like him too had to leave their jobs in India to return to their hometowns.

"Malls have opened in India. I got to join my duty. It has been four months since I reached Nepal to skip the pandemic but I have got nothing to do here. At least I have a job in India with which I am able to meet the expenses of my family. I am therefore thinking about returning to India for the work which is there for me. My employer has been for week asking me to return, so I am off to New Delhi," Lokendra said.

More than a thousand workers from Nepal have been crossing the Customs at Kailali District of Southern Plain of Nepal to rejoin their jobs in India.

Although exact number of Nepali migrant workers are not recorded by any of government institutions, thousands of Nepali are working in India. People of various age groups go to India on annual basis mainly from Far-Western Nepal which has become a means of living for them.

As it does not require visa or permit to work in India, various cities there have been job centres for Nepali workers. Likewise, thousands of Indian workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also crossed the border to work in various sectors in Nepal.

As per the record of June 24, a total of 1300 Nepali went to India from Trinagar Customs. As per the record kept by Armed Police Force, a total of 7,500 Nepali migrant workers went to India in between June 24 to July 24 via Trinagar Customs.

With rise in COVID-19 cases in India during the month of March and the imposition of lockdown in India, more than two hundred thousand Nepali migrant workers had returned back to Nepal. Now with business falling back to track in India despite rising number of cases in India, Nepali workers despite knowing the risk are flocking to India for jobs.

Hundreds of Nepali migrant workers had returned home after the coronavirus induced lockdown was imposed in India.

India registered the highest single-day spike of 90,633 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the national caseload past 41-lakh mark, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

With 1,065 more deaths in the last 24 hours, the cumulative toll reached 70,626. The total case tally stands at 41,13,812 including 8,62,320 active cases, 31,80,866 cured/discharged/migrated. (ANI)

Multiple stabbings in UK's Birmingham, police declare it 'major incident'

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London [UK], September 6 (ANI): Following the stabbing of several people in Birmingham, the police on Sunday declared it a "major incident".

"We can confirm that at approximately 12:30 am today we were called to reports of a stabbing in #Birmingham city centre. We immediately attended, along with colleagues from the ambulance service. A number of other stabbings were reported in the area shortly after," West Midlands Police said in a statement.

The police said it is aware of a number of injured people, but at the moment it is not in a position to say how many or how serious. "However, all emergency services are working together at the scene, and making sure that those who are injured receive medical care."

"This has been declared a major incident," said West Midlands Police.

In its statement, the police said work is still going on to establish what has happened and could take some time before we are in a position to confirm anything.

It said that at this early stage it would not be appropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident.

"The emergency services have well-rehearsed plans for dealing with major incidents. Our response is ongoing in Birmingham city centre and will be for some time. Cordons are in place, and there are some road closures," said the police urging people to remain calm but vigilant and to stay away from the area. (ANI)

EAM Jaishankar greets Eswatini on its Independence Day

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (File Photo)

Doha [Qatar], September 6 (ANI): External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Sunday extended his greeting to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini on its independence day.

"On the Independence Day of Eswatini, my warm congratulations to FM Thuli Dladla and the Government and people of the Kingdom of Eswatini," he said in a tweet.

EAM said he was happy to note that the opening of "our High Commission in Mbabane last year has further enhanced our ties." (ANI)

China's experimental reusable spacecraft successfully returns to designated landing site

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Beijing [China], September 6 (ANI): China's reusable experimental spacecraft has successfully returned to its designated landing site on Sunday, according to Chinese media.

After flying in orbit for two days, China's reusable spacecraft, which was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday, successfully returned to its designated landing site, reported China's state-run Global Times.

According to the report, the experimental flight marked a breakthrough in R&D for reusable spacecraft, and in the future, such spacecraft will pave the way for peaceful utilization of space and offer a cheaper commuting option for space travel.

The reusable spaceship was launched on a Long March 2F carrier rocket, as per a Sputnik report. (ANI)

Two cops injured, 12 people arrested during anti-government protests in Jerusalem

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Tel Aviv [Israel], September 6 (ANI): Two cops were injured while 12 people were arrested as thousands took part in an anti-government demonstration in Jerusalem.

"Police in Jerusalem is responding to an unauthorised protest. Protesters have broken the police cordon. Two officers have sustained injuries," Israeli Police said in a release, according to Sputnik.
According to Times of Israel report, the demonstrations, which have also focused on the government's failure to handle the coronavirus crisis, have become a weekly flashpoint between protesters and police since they began to gain steam in June.

The demonstrators carried Israeli flags and signs calling for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ouster over corruption scandals.

According to Sputnik report, in Israel, a notorious corruption case, known as Case 3000, which implicates high-ranking officials from the Netanyahu government in the illegal soliciting of multi-million-dollar state contracts on nuclear submarines for German company Thyssenkrupp, has been underway since 2018.

Several individuals close to the Prime Minister were indicted in the case on various corruption-related charges. According to the report, Netanyahu himself was indicted in several other cases on charges of illegal lobbying for positive media coverage, corruption and bribery, among other things.
The next hearing in his cases is scheduled to take place later this year. (ANI).

Brazil's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 126,000

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Brasilia [Brazil], September 6 (ANI/Xinhua): With 682 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, Brazil's death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 126,203, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a total of 4,123,000 COVID-19 cases have so far been reported nationwide, up by 30,168 from a day earlier.

In total, 22 states have reported over 1,000 deaths each, with the state of Sao Paulo, the most highly populated in the country, registering 31,313 deaths, followed by Rio de Janeiro with 16,526 deaths, and Ceara with 8,565 deaths. (ANI/Xinhua)

Chinese mainland reports 10 imported cases of COVID-19

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Beijing [China], September 6 (ANI): The Chinese mainland reported 10 newly imported COVID-19 cases Saturday, Xinhua reported citing the National Health Commission.

With this, the total number of imported cases have risen to 2,573.

While Guangdong and Shaanxi has reported three each of the newly imported cases, two cases were reported in Shanghai while one was reported in Fujian and Gansu provinces.

A total of 2,397 of the imported cases had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 176 remained hospitalized, with two in severe condition, the National Health Commission said.
No deaths had been reported from the imported cases, the report said. (ANI)

200 Sikh families from Afghanistan put up in gurudwaras across Delhi

Afghan Sikh Community living in Gurudwaras across Delhi (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): Close to 200 families belonging to the Sikh Community who have arrived here from Afghanistan have been put up at Gurudwaras that are run by the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

"Close to 200 families have come here and are staying in Gurudwaras. We are making the arrangements for their accommodation and ticket as well till the time they do not get permanent citizenship. We are also providing them assistance in employment as well," Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjinder Singh Sirsa told ANI.

He added that all the cost would be borne by the management committee. He also thanked the Central government, particularly Home Minister Amit Shah for facilitating visas for these families.

"Home Minister Amit Shah Ji from Day 1 gave the assurance that they can stay here for as long as they want and if they want to be permanent citizens of India, we would make them permanent citizens as well," he added.

"There are 138 persons in 31 rooms living over here. We are providing them with all the basic amenities to live. We will also try to have the children enrolled in Guru Harkishan Public Schools and will teach them free of cost if the need arises," Harjit S Bedi, Chief VC, Gurudwara, Motibagh said while speaking to ANI.

Bedi further said that the persons could stay in the gurudwara for as long as they need to. "In the case of earning bread and butter, they need to be emotionally secure. In the case of residential, they are secure over here," he added.

63-year-old Balbir Singh, a resident in Afghanistan, one of the Sikhs who along with his family were brought here by the Government of India, from Afghanistan over the attacks faced by minorities in the country, said that he was grateful to the gurudwara for looking after him and his family.

"We are very thankful to them. They provided us with everything and ensured that we did not face any shortage of anything," he said while speaking to ANI.

"We left everything including our houses--I had a clothes store. Our lives were in danger but now, we feel safe here," he added.

Ministry of External Affairs recently announced that India has decided to facilitate the return of Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members facing security threats in Afghanistan to India.

The decision comes after a terror attack at a gurdwara in Kabul's Shor Bazaar in March killed at least 25 members of the community.

India has condemned the "targeting and persecution" of minority community members by terrorists in Afghanistan at the behest of their external supporters remains a matter of grave concern.

Leaders of the Afghan Sikh community have appealed to the Indian government to accommodate the Sikhs and Hindus from Afghanistan and grant them legal entry with long term residency multiple entry visas.

Once a community of nearly 250,000 people, the Sikh and Hindu community in Afghanistan has endured years of discrimination and violence from extremists, and the community is now estimated to comprise fewer than 100 families across the country. (ANI)

Valley fire spreads over 500 acres in San Diego County

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San Diego [US], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): Wildfire has spread over 500 acres in San Diego County, threatening local communities, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

"#ValleyFire off of Japatul Road and Carveacre Road, Southeast of Alpine in San Diego County is 500 acres," Cal Fire said in a Twitter update on Saturday.

The Cleveland National Forest (Cleveland NF) said on Twitter earlier on Saturday that the fire had spread over 400 acres.

"Update on the #ValleyFire, 300-400 acres, dangerous rate of spread, the community of Carveacre is threatened and under evacuation orders. Multiple air and ground resources are on scene and en route," Cleveland NF said.

According to a Saturday update from Cal Fire, nearly 12,500 firefighters continue to battle 22 major fires and lightning complexes in California. Over 10,500 people remain evacuated.

Since August 15, California has seen over 900 wildfires, which have now burned over 1.5 million acres, according to Cal Fire. At least 8 people have died because of the fires and nearly 3,300 structures have been destroyed.

US President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for California on August 22.

Two active wildfires in California, the SCU Lightning Complex, and the LNU Lightning Complex have become the second and third largest wildfire incidents in state history, respectively, according to Cal Fire records. (ANI/Sputnik)

Armed forces, GOI committed to Make In India intiative: Rawat

Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat

New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): The Government of India and the Armed Forces have "clearly demonstrated their resolve and commitment" to the Make in India Defence initiative, said Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday.

"The Indian Defence Sector is today at an inflection point poised to take off. The Government and the Indian Armed Forces have clearly demonstrated their resolve and commitment to the Make in India Defence initiative. We are fully committed to winning India's wars with Indian Solutions," he said at a symposium on 'emerging defence exports'.

"In this era of multidimensional technology, we must focus on constant innovations and modern technological solutions, to keep ourselves ahead of the adversaries. Keeping in mind the macro-economic parameters and socio-economic requirement of our country we have to work through the budgetary constraints by finding the best solutions through new acquisitions and optimization/upgradation of legacy systems," he added.

The Defence Chief said that the creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) admits the military "into the central edifice" of the Indian Government further adding that the restructuring of the Defence Ministry would give an opportunity to embrace "forward-looking" strategies.

"The creation of the DMA, headed by the CDS, having a central Staffing Scheme along with amendments to GoI Business Rules, in effect, admits the military into the central edifice of the Government of India," he said.

"This restructuring of the Ministry of Defence gives us the opportunity to embrace forward-looking strategies to seize and exploit the moment and set in motion a dynamic transformation process," Gen Rawat added. (ANI)

Hospital occupancy for COVID-19 patients drops to lowest level in Chine since May

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Santiago [Chile], September 6 (ANI/Xinhua): Hospital occupancy in Chile for patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 has dropped to the lowest level since May, according to the authorities. The Ministry of Health reported on Saturday that 908 patients are currently in intensive care units throughout the country, with 666 on mechanical ventilators and 121 in critical condition.

Additionally, the number of cases in the country has risen to 420,434, with 1,961 cases registered in the last 24 hours, along with 57 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 11,551. Authorities reported that in recent weeks, there has been a marked decrease in infections and deaths from the virus, however with the lifting of quarantines, this downward trend has stalled.

Several areas throughout the country have ended their quarantines and resumed commercial activities. Other areas have decided to remain confined, with still others registering a second wave of contagion (the disease), like in the Magallanes region in the south of the country. For this reason, government officials and experts have said they will closely monitor the situation over the next two weeks as the country prepares to celebrate the nation's Independence Day when small gatherings will be permitted in private and public spaces nationwide. (ANI/Xinhua)

Death toll from has explosion in Bangladesh mosque rises to 21

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Dhaka [Bangladesh], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): At least 21 people were confirmed dead as a result of a gas explosion in the Baitus Salah Jame mosque, located in the Narayanganj city of Bangladesh. Dozens of injured worshipers are still receiving medical treatment, the Dhaka Tribune newspaper reported.

The explosion occurred on the evening of Friday as people gathered in the mosque for the evening prayer.

According to preliminary data from Narayanganj Fire Service's Deputy Assistant Director Abdullah Al Arefin, as quoted in the report, gas leaked out from underground pipes and accumulated inside the mosque and then detonated "due to sparks when someone tried to switch [one of the six] air conditioners or fans on or off."

There was a 7-year-old child among the deceased, according to the report.

More than 15 people are reportedly still being treated from burns and other injuries at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. All of them are in critical condition, Partha Shangkar Paul, a resident doctor at the institute, was cited in the report as saying.

The local fire department and police have launched an investigation into the incident. (ANI/Sputnik)

Boasts sink during Trump parade in Lake Travis, Texas

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Austin [US], September 6 (ANI): Several boats sank in Lake Travis, Texas, during a support rally for US President Donald Trump on Saturday (local time".
"TCSO responded to multiple calls involving boats in distress during the Trump parade on Lake Travis. Several boats did sink," CNN reported quoting the Travis County Sheriff's Office (TCSO).

A senior public information officer told CNN that officials responded to "many emergency calls for boats in distress" and confirmed that several have sunk.

According to CNN, more than 2,600 people planned to attend the event.
No injuries have been reported so far. (ANI)

Brazil's COVID-19 death toll rises to 125,521

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Brasilia [Brazil], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): Brazil's coronavirus death toll has surpassed 125,000, showing a weekly increase of more than 5,000 fatalities, according to Health Ministry data.
In the past 24 hours, 907 new deaths from COVID-19 were confirmed in Brazil; the country's total death toll now stands at 125,521, the health ministry said on Saturday. A week ago, Brazil's coronavirus death toll was 120,262.

Brazil's total number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 4,092,832. In the past 24 hours, 51,194 new cases were registered in the county, according to the health ministry.

On Friday, Brazil reported 43,773 new cases and 834 new deaths from COVID-19.

More than 3.2 million people have recovered from COVID-19 in Brazil.

The US and Brazil are the top two countries in terms of the total number of coronavirus cases and fatalities.

The US has registered over 6.2 million coronavirus cases and more than 188,400 deaths from COVID-19, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. (ANI/Sputnik)

Ousted Malian President To Leave For UAE For Treatment Following Stroke

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Bamako [Mali], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): Ousted Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who recently suffered a stroke on the back of a military-initiated mutiny in the country, will leave for the United Arab Emirates for further treatment in the next few hours, a Malian military source told Sputnik on Saturday night.

"Ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will be transported to the UAE for treatment tonight on board a medical plane," the source said, adding that Keita will be accompanied by his family.
The UAE-owned plane arrived at the Malian capital of Bamako on the morning of Saturday, according to the source.

This past Wednesday, Keita was hospitalized in a private Bamako clinic after suffering a stroke. Doctors said his condition was stable but might require emergency transportation abroad for further treatment.

On Friday, Sputnik learned from a Malian military source that Keita got a permit from the new authorities to leave the country.

On August 18, a group of Malian soldiers initiated an uprising at a military base near Bamako. They demanded political reforms, the transition of power, and a new general election. Rebels kidnapped several high-ranking officials, including Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse. Keita subsequently announced the resignation of the government and parliament and was let go by the rebels.

The restive military has set up a new institution, dubbed the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, and announced that the country would be ruled by a transitional president until a new election is held. (ANI/Sputnik)

Over 15 Lakh People Returned Under Vande Bharat Mission: Puri

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New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): Under the Vande Bharat Mission, more than 15 lakh people have returned through various modes including more than 4.5 lakh on flights, said Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, on Saturday.

"International flights continue to facilitate repatriation and outbound travel of stranded citizens under Vande Bharat Mission since 6 May 2020. More than 15 lakh people have returned through various modes including more than 4.5 lakh on flights so far," Puri tweeted.

Puri also shared a photograph that stated that 4,059 Indian nationals returned on September 5.
The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus restrictions. (ANI)

Kamala Harris says she would not trust Trump alone on coronavirus vaccine

Democratic Vice President Nominee Kamala Harris. (Photo: ANI)

Washington [US], September 6 (ANI): Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Saturday (local time) said that she would not trust Donald Trump alone on a coronavirus vaccine adding that it would have to be a "credible source" that talks about "the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about".

In an interview with CNN, Harris said that it was "going to be an issue for all of us" to get a vaccine that was approved and distributed before the presidential elections.

"I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about. I would not take his word," CNN reported quoting Harris.

The California Senator further said that public health experts would be "suppressed, sidelined" with regard to getting the last word on the efficacy of the vaccine.

"If past is the prologue that they will not, they'll be muzzled, they'll be suppressed, they will be sidelined because he's looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days and he's grasping to get whatever he can to pretend he has been a leader on this issue when he is not."

As per the latest update, the US has a total of 6,232,889 COVID-19 cases and 188,252 deaths due to the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Presidential elections are scheduled to be held on November 3. (ANI)

Moscow's COVID-19 death toll rises to 4,891

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Moscow [Russsia], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): Moscow has registered 13 new deaths of patients infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 4,891, the city's coronavirus response center said in a statement on Saturday.

"Another 13 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow," the center said.

In the previous day, 11 COVID-19 patients died in Moscow. (ANI/Sputnik)

About 30 participants of unauthorised protests detained in Minsk

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Minsk [Belarus], September 6 (ANI/Sputnik): About 30 participants of unauthorized protests in the capital of Belarus have been detained on Saturday, Natalya Ganusevich, a spokeswoman for the police department of the Minsk City Executive Committee, told Sputnik.

Earlier in the day, students from several universities staged unauthorized protests in Minsk.
"As of now, about 30 people have been detained and taken to the territorial police departments," Ganusevich said.

Belarus has been rocked by large-scale protests since the August 9 election, which saw President Alexander Lukashenko re-elected for a sixth term. The opposition rejected the outcome, claiming that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya won the election.

After the election, Tikhanovskaya left for Lithuania, from where she initiated the creation of a coordination council for power transition.

The early days of the demonstrations in Belarus were marked by police violence. Over 6,700 people have been detained, and hundreds have been injured, including more than 130 law enforcement officers.

According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, three people have died during the protests. (ANI/Sputnik)

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