Monday, September 14, 2020

Indian High Commission in Pakistan celebrates Hindi Diwas

Young participants won accolades with their performances, the mission said. (Photo: ANI)

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 14 (ANI): Indian Mission in Pakistan on Monday celebrated Hindi Diwas 2020 with great enthusiasm.

The occasion was marked with an essay competition, declamations and poetry. Young participants won accolades with their performances, the mission said.

"#HindiDiwas2020 w
as celebrated with great enthusiasm at @IndiainPakistan

. The occasion was marked with an essay competition, declamations and poetry. Young participants won accolades with their performances," the Indian High Commission here tweeted.

The Hindi language was first adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as the official language of the Republic of India on September 14, 1949.

The decision of using Hindi as an official language of India was legalised by the Constitution of India on January 26, 1950.

Hindi is spoken as a native language by 258 million people and is recognised as the fourth most spoken language in the world. (ANI)

Some countries taking advantage of COVID-19 to enhance terrorism, adopt aggressive policies, says India

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, TS Tirumurti. (Photo: ANI)

New York [US], September 14 (ANI): In a veiled reference to Pakistan and China, India said on Monday that when some countries were taking advantage of COVID-19 pandemic to enhance terrorism or adopt aggressive policies, it has been rushing medical supplies and strengthen national health capacities to mitigate socio-economic impact on vulnerable countries.

TS Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, made the remarks at the commemoration of the third anniversary of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

"When some countries are taking advantage of COVID to enhance terrorism or adopt aggressive policies, India's answer is to rush medical supplies, strengthen national health capacity or mitigate socio-eco impacts on vulnerable countries," India mission at UN tweeted quoting Tirumurti.

"India gives priority to sustainability and demand-driven projects, and shuns efforts to impose conditionalities or create indebtedness or constrain developmental space of developing countries," he added.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area and Galwan Valley. The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June.

The envoy said that the essence of India's development partnership was articulated by Swami Vivekananda.

"Each nation must give in order to live. When you give, you will have life; when you receive, you must pay for it by giving to all others," he quoted Swami Vivekananda as saying.

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund is a dedicated facility within the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation established in 2017. It is supported and led by the Indian government, managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation and implemented in collaboration with the United Nations system. (ANI)

Abdullah Abdullah thanks India for continued support to Afghanistan

Abdullah Abdullah, the chairperson of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation and JP Singh, Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) in the Ministry of External Affairs. (Photo: ANI)

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 14 (ANI): Abdullah Abdullah, the chairperson of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, on Monday held talks with a senior Indian official on the sidelines of intra-Afghan talks and discussed developments on the peace efforts and the need for genuine regional as well as international support for talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.

Abdullah met JP Singh, Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) in the Ministry of External Affairs and thanked India for its continued support.

"Had a good meeting with J. P. Singh, JS (PAI), Ministry of External Affairs of India

@MeaIndia in Doha-Qatar. We took stock of the developments on the peace efforts, & the need for genuine regional & international support for talks. I also thanked India for its continued support," Abdullah tweeted.

The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban have opened in Qatar's capital Doha to end the decades of war that has killed ten of thousands.

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar on Saturday participated during the opening ceremony of Afghan peace negotiations in Doha through video conferencing and reiterated that the peace process should be Afghan-led and ensure the interests of minorities and women.

He said Afghan soil should never be used for carrying out anti-India activities and supported the need for an immediate ceasefire in order to establish long-lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Taking to his Twitter, the External Affairs Minister said, "Addressed the conference on Afghan peace negotiations at Doha today. Conveyed that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, promote human rights and democracy, ensure the interest of minorities, women and the vulnerable and effectively address violence across the country." (ANI)

Hope rekindles among Bahrain's Jews following Israel deal announcement

Bahrain Flag

Manana [Bahrain], September 14 (ANI): With Bahrain and Israel announcing normalisation of ties, Jews in the Arab state are planning to revive the declining community- including refurbishing the sole synagogue in the capital Manana, which was burnt down in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Leader of the Jewish community in Bahrain, Ebrahim Nonoo told Al Arabiya English "the agreement changes everything." While the majority of Jewish families in Bahrain fled the country in the aftermath of 1948 war, the Nonoo family stayed back.

"We are hoping to create a functioning synagogue with a rabbi," said Ebrahim, a businessman who previously served as the first Jewish member in Bahrain's parliament.

Bahrain is home to the only indigenous Jewish community in the Gulf, which numbers about 50 to 60 people. In addition, the Jewish community in the country also includes a number of expats.

There has not been an acting rabbi in Bahrain for over 40 years.

"I have a strong feeling that the community will grow now that the normalization is in place," Ebrahim was quoted as saying in Al Arabiya English.

The hope in Jewish community rekindled after Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa officially announced a ties normalisation agreement in a trilateral phone conversation with US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Ebrahim and his family could have left the country at any time to become citizens of Israel but they chose to stay in Bahrain.

"I really do consider myself a Bahraini. It wasn't the Bahrainis that took objection to the Jews after 1948. The backlash was mostly from a group of foreign workers in the country," said Nonoo, adding that the Bahraini leadership has always protected the Jewish minority.

The family hopes that the children of Jews to left for Israel will be able to return.

"Now the children of the Jews who left for Israel will be able to return and visit the houses where their parents used to live," said Nonoo.

The Jewish synagogue, which was burnt down after the 1948 war, was rebuilt in the 1980's by Ebrahim's father and is now being refurbished.

"For me as a Jew, it will be a very heartening thing to be a guide for Jewish visitors from Israel," he said.

This Friday will mark the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, but Nonoo said it feels like a new era.

"The Jewish community here always felt 'oh dear, our kids won't stay here' - but this changes everything," he said. (ANI)

MT New Diamond safe, stable after sailors undertook deballasting measures: Indian Navy

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

New Delhi [India], September 14 (ANI): Indian Navy on Monday informed that Motor Tanker (MT) New Diamond is safe and stable after sailors undertook deballasting measure on the ship.

"MT New Diamond (Sri Lankan vessel) safe and stable. Sailors undertook deballasting from Engine Room to Ballast Tanks.
 All leaks on hull sealed. Tug Boka Expedition took over 2 pm, 13 Sep. MT New Diamond assessed pollution free and ready to be towed," Indian Navy tweeted.

MT New Diamond which caught fire after a major explosion in its engine room on September 3, is stable and safe 95 kilometres from Sri Lanka coast, Navy said.

A joint team of Indian Navy, Sri Lanka Navy and a diving team had completed underwater inspection.

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 was carrying over three lakh metric tons of crude oil for the Indian Oil Corporation from Kuwait to Paradip. (ANI)

Am concerned about Uyghurs Muslims in China, says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. (Photo: ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], September 14 (ANI): The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in her inaugural statement at the 45th session of the Human Rights Council on Monday, raised concerns over rights violations in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

"I am concerned about the Uyghurs
. My office continues to engage with the Chinese Government on the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the impact on human rights of its policies," Bachelet said.

She added, "Following an invitation extended by the Government of China, I have been discussing with the authorities about conditions of a possible visit to Xinjiang when conditions are conducive".

A new report in Foreign Policy revealed that China's suppression of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and others chiefly Muslim ethnic minorities in northwest China now meets the United Nations definition of genocide, mass sterilization, forced abortions and mandatory birth control part of a campaign that has swept up more than 1.5 million people.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also said that her office is keeping a close eye on developments in Hong Kong.

The statement said, "In China, my office continues to follow developments in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, particularly the impact of the National Security Law. Since its implementation in July, at least 24 individuals have been charged under the law. The Hong Kong authorities have consistently stated that the law is not intended to impact negatively on the peaceful exercise of human rights by Hong Kong residents".

She added, "Accordingly, I would encourage the Hong Kong authorities to monitor closely the enforcement of the law by the police and the courts, and to take steps to review the law in response to any negative consequences it might have on the enjoyment of human rights".

In her statement Bachelet also raised concerns over Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The statement said, "On the Pakistan side, people also have limited Internet access, creating difficulties in accessing education and other vital services. I remain concerned about ongoing restrictions to the rights to freedom of expression and association".

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also highlighted the grim situation in Afghanistan.

The statement said, "In Afghanistan, the human cost of conflict remains unacceptably high with some 3,500 civilian casualties this year, and continuing attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel - a situation that is severely exacerbated by COVID-19".

It added, "With the formal start of intra-Afghan peace talks on 12 September, I reinforce the call for an immediate reduction in violence, a humanitarian pause, and the need for victim-centered justice and inclusion of marginalised groups' concerns".

"These are critical to successful talks and any peace agreement. I also condemn attacks on human rights defenders with nine killed since the start of 2020, including members of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. I urge the Government to establish an effective national protection mechanism", said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. (ANI)

India, Japan agree to advance defence cooperation to realise free, open India-Pacific

India and Japan flags

Tokyo [Japan], September 14 (ANI): Indian Army Chief MM Naravane and Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), Chief of Staff General, Goro Yuasa, on Monday, had a telephonic discussion during which they agreed to advance defence cooperation and exchanges between the two countries to realise a free and open India -Pacific region.

"General Yuasa, the Chief of Staff, #JGSDF held a discussion with General MM Naravane, the Chief of the Army Staff, #IndianArmy (IA) over the phone on September 14th. Both generals agreed to advance JGSDF-IA defense cooperation/exchanges to realize a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific"," the JGSDF tweeted.

India- Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims in the South China Sea.

Beijing rising assertiveness against counter claimants in East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, several concerned nations are already deepening security ties with each other and the US in order to mitigate the threat.

In recent years, Japan has expressed increasing concern regarding Beijing's activities in the region especially concerning the situation with the disputed Senkaku islands, known in China as the Diaoyudao islands and claimed by Beijing to be Chinese territory. (ANI)

First in India, doctor replaces two heart valves of NRI patient with TAVI and TMVR

Dr Ravinder S Rao, Director TAVI and Structural Heart, Eternal Hospital. (Photo: ANI)

Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], September 14 (ANI/NewsVoir): A 55-year-old Canadian patient, originally from Chandigarh underwent successful two heart valve replacement with TAVI and TMVR, without open-heart surgery by a team of doctors led by Interventional Cardiologist and structural Heart Disease specialist, Dr Ravinder Singh Rao.

The patient was suffering from severe aortic stenosis, severe mitral stenosis, and severe mitral annular calcification. Due to the above heart problems, he was finding difficulty in doing his Daily activities and would become short of breath on minimal exertion.

He was also hospitalized for heart failure at his home town. Due to the severe narrowing of both the valves, medicines were not working for his disease, and the only treatment offered was valve replacement. Dr Rao replaced both mitral and aortic valves by performing TAVI and TMVR, non-surgically.

This transcatheter native double valve replacement in the same sitting is rarely performed worldwide and is the first case in Asia and in India. This treatment has brought a new ray of hope for the patient and his family.

Aortic stenosis refers to the narrowing of the aortic valve. Aortic valve is the outflow valve that controls the oxygenated blood flow from the heart to the body. Mitral valve controls the flow of blood from the lungs to the heart. Narrowing of both the valves creates a life-threatening situation called aortic stenosis and mitral stenosis causing heart failure.

The patient was admitted to the hospital with the condition of heart failure, a history of shortness-of-breath, difficulty in walking, and carrying out daily activities. Traditionally such patients are treated with open-heart surgery.

However, due to his calcification in the aorta and chest wall, he was deemed high risk for open-heart surgery by more than three surgeons from all across the country. Dr Rao who specializes in TAVI and TMVR from Mount Sinai, New York, and Washington university school of Medicine, St Louis, USA decided to perform TAVI and TMVR in MAC in the same sitting.

"This was the first successful TMVR in MAC in the country and the first case of native transcatheter double valve replacement. CT angiogram was done to assess the size of the valve and also to assess the size of groin vessels via which the valves were to be replaced. He was to undergo: TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) and TMVR (Transcatheter Mitral Valve Repair) in MAC (Mitral Annular Calcification). The aortic valve was replaced using TAVI, and a new valve was placed inside the old valve. The new valve started functioning immediately and had no complications. Substituting the mitral valve in calcified stenosis was one of the biggest challenges. 

The new valve was placed by going from the Femoral vein (found in the leg) under fluoroscopic and echo visualization. The valve was then deployed under rapid pacing following which both the valves began to function. Both the valves started functioning immediately and had no complications. The patient was taken off the ventilator, immediately post-procedure, and also met the family and spoke with them. He stayed in the ICU for one day. Following this, he was shifted to the room and started recovering," said Dr Ravinder Singh Rao, Director TAVI and Structural Heart Disease Programme, Interventional Cardiology at Eternal Hospital, Jaipur, while commenting on the procedure.

"It felt unreal to be able to speak to my father immediately after the procedure, and he was with us in the room the very next day. Both the valves were replaced, and there was no scar on his chest. Even though we consulted multiple hospitals, the treatment for this particular condition was not available. However, when we consulted Dr Rao, he suggested TAVI and TMVR. We traveled to him and got our treatment. Dr Rao went on to replace both the valves as it was the only complete solution for my father's medical condition. We are thankful to him for performing this miracle and helped save my father's life," said the son of the patient.

Dr Rao has experience of doing maximum TAVI procedures in India. He is also a Co-principal investigator for the National TAVI studies and has presented and shown live TAVI procedures for national and international meetings. He has also proctored TAVI in India, Asia, and in Europe.

TAVI is a minimally invasive heart procedure conducted to replace a narrowed aortic valve that fails to open correctly and can be an option for people who are in immediate or high risk of complications from the traditional surgery. In multiple randomized trials like PARTNER 2, PARTNER 3, TAVI when compared to surgery is safer in selected patients.

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

Netanyahu lands in US to sign deal with UAE, Bahrain to establish diplomatic relations

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Washington [US], September 14 (ANI): Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached the United States ahead of Tuesday's ceremony at the White House where he and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will formally establish diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu's plane landed at 
Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, DC, after Bahrain's foreign minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, arrived Sunday evening, The Times of Israel reported.

Though the texts of agreements have not been made public, the two Gulf countries have agreed to normalise ties with Israel. It will be Israel's third and fourth treaty with Arab states.

The other two Arab countries, which have diplomatic ties with Israel are Egypt and Jordan. For decades, most Arab states have boycotted Israel, insisting they would only establish ties after the Palestinian dispute was settled.

Calling the trip "historic," Netanyahu told Israelis in a televised address on Sunday evening that he had brought about "two peace deals in one month," and said they would mean an economic boon for Israel.

"That's always good, but it's particularly good during the coronavirus," he said.

On August 13, Israel and the UAE agreed to normalise relations and establish diplomatic ties between the two states, which, among other things, entailed Israel giving up its plans to expand sovereignty over the West Bank's territories. The landmark deal was brokered by the US.

Expectations have been voiced ever since that the other countries of the region will follow the UAE's example.

On September 11, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa officially announced a similar agreement in a trilateral phone conversation with US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (ANI)

Taliban kill 1, injure 4 police officers in Afghanistan

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Kabul [Afghanistan], September 14 (ANI/Sputnik): One police officer has been killed and four others were injured at a checkpoint in the northeastern Afghan province of Kunar in an attack by the Taliban, the provincial governor's spokesman, Abdul Ghani Mosamim, told Sputnik on Monday.

The clashes too
k place on Sunday night when the terrorists attacked the post in the province's Marawara District.

Mosamim added that there was no information on possible casualties among the attackers.

The Taliban have not yet commented on the matter. (ANI)

Shooting near university in New Jersey leaves 2 dead, 6 injured

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New Jersey [US], September 14 (ANI/Sputnik): A shooting near the Rutgers University campus in the city of New Brunswick in the US state of New Jersey has left two people dead and six others injured, the ABC broadcaster reported on Monday, citing local police.

According to the media outlet, the incid
ent took place on Sunday at a birthday party. Police found eight injured people, who were then taken to a hospital. Two male victims were pronounced dead, including the man celebrating his birthday.

"In this incident, it is reported that an unknown perpetrator(s) fired several shots from a weapon striking individuals who were present. Those injured were transported to an area hospital and injuries are reported to be serious," the Rutgers University Police Department wrote on Facebook.

Police have already launched an investigation into the incident. (ANI/Sputnik)

Coronavirus was made in Wuhan lab, claims Chinese virologist

Chinese virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan (Video grab: Loose Women YouTube video)

New Delhi [India], September 14 (ANI): In a stunning revelation, a Chinese virologist has claimed that the coronavirus was created in a government-controlled laboratory in Wuhan, the original epicentre of the outbreak and offered scientific evidence to back her claims.

In an exclusive conversation w
ith 'Loose Women', a British talk show, Dr Li-Meng Yan, the scientist said she was assigned to investigate "new pneumonia" in Wuhan. She said that she discovered a cover-up operation regarding coronavirus during her investigation.

Dr Li-Meng, who specialised in virology and immunology at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, said she conducted two researches on new pneumonia in China first between December and early January and the second one in mid-January, before fleeing to the US from Hong Kong.

"I decided to report this development to my supervisor, who is also a World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant. There was no response from the WHO and my supervisor. Everyone warned me that do not cross the right line and keep silence or else I would be made to disappear," she said.

The virologist said she had expected her supervisor to "do the right thing on behalf of the Chinese government and WHO".

Several countries, including the US, have criticised both China and WHO for covering-up the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Li-Meng revealed she had contacted a famous Chinese YouTuber in the US. The expose, which was in Chinese, said that the Chinese Communist Party was covering up the COVID-19 crisis and there was a human-to-human transmission of the virus.

She also said that coronavirus is a "high-mutant virus" which will become an outbreak soon and the seafood market in Wuhan and the virus's intermediate hosts were just a "smokescreen".

The doctor then made the stunning revelation that the "virus is not from nature" and it was from a "laboratory controlled by the Chinese government in Wuhan".

"This is based on the China Military Institute that discovered and owned some bad coronavirus named CC45 and ZXC41. Based on that, after lab modification becomes a novel virus," she said.

Asked if she had scientific proof about the revelation, Dr Li-Meng said she has intelligence from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local doctors and other people across China. "These are the truths and all other things were covered up," she added.

The virologist said she is working on a scientific report with a small group of top scientists across the world and will be published soon.

"There are two reports. The first one will come in several days and it will tell the people all the evidence," she said, adding that the coronavirus is a highly contagious and a dangerous virus.

Asked whether she was worried about her safety after fleeing Hong Kong, the doctor remarked she wanted to deliver the message as soon as possible to the world.

"It was very scary at that time. But I had to do it because I am a doctor and I cannot see it happen. If I do not tell the truth to the world, I will be regretful. So, this foundation which is based in New York helped me to secretly leave Hong Kong. They help people who are against the Chinese government," she added.

Giving an insight into her unpublished scientific report, Dr Li-Meng said anyone, even those who do not have knowledge of biology, can read it.

"The genome sequence is like our human fingerprint. So, based on this you can recognise and identify this thing. So, I used the evidence existing in the genome sequence of Sars-CoV-2 to tell people why this came from China and why they are the only ones who made it," she stated.

She further said, "You can check, identify and verify it by yourself. It is a critical thing for us to know the origins of the virus. If not, it will be life-threatening for everyone." (ANI)

Sports Science has helped players improve their knowledge, feels Venkatesh Shanmugam

Venkatesh Shanmugam

New Delhi [India], September 14 (ANI): Former India football team captain Venkatesh Shanmugam has lauded the contribution of sports science in helping current players improve their knowledge.

Shanmugam, currently employed as the Assistant Coach of the Indian National Team, lamented the lack of prope
r grooming of players off the field during the early days of his career.

"There was no sports science back then which is why we weren't so strict with our diet. We only got physios and doctors after 2000, and then began to learn what we need to do to improve our game," the football-federation">All India Football Federation's (AIFF) official website quoted Shanmugam as saying.

"The off-field knowledge of professional players back then was lacking. Of course on the pitch, they were all great. Players like Bhaichung (Bhutia) and (IM) Vijayan come once in a lifetime. But if you look at the current crop right now, you will understand that they have more knowledge of how to handle things, take care of their body in the off-season, put emphasis on diet," he added.

Shanmugam is also happy over players getting "a lot of exposure".

"I would also like to mention that the current crop is also extremely lucky to have an idea of how to deal with the media. This awareness has had a very big positive impact on their game," he stated.

"Nowadays the number of exposure tours and friendly matches have increased quite a lot. Teams nowadays get a lot of exposure. Even the junior and the women's teams play so many exposure matches," Shanmugam added.

Shanmugam, who also functioned as the head coach of the Indian Arrows, AIFF's developmental team, in the I-League, went on to draw the example of two Arrows products, who are doing well because of the exposure they have received.

"There have been a lot of exposures in the last few years. Especially if you look at Narender (Gahlot) and Amarjit (Singh), who were in the U-17 World Cup, they played close to 50 friendly matches before the main tournament," said Shanmugam.

Comparing things to back in his own times, the 41-year-old stated that the Blue Tigers only started getting exposures after the turn of the millennium.

"We used to hardly get around two friendlies a year before. It was in 2000 that I think we got our first tour when we played some matches in England," he continued.

The India assistant coach further went on to explain how different things were, back in the 90s. "In 94-95, most of the players had to travel via trains. And even the accommodations and facilities were not close to what they are today. When we used to have the camps in Kolkata, we used to stay at the SAI complex. But that has changed since 2000," he said.

"At that time a lot of the players even used to wear their own club jerseys in National Camps. Some would be wearing East Bengal, some Mohun Bagan, or other clubs. But all of that has changed. It's so professional now," Shanmugam continued. (ANI)

Equity indices tumble on profit booking but IT stocks shine

HCL Technologies rose by over 10 pc on Monday to close at Rs 795.95 per share.

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 14 (ANI): Equity benchmark indices closed lower on Monday after choppy trading as traders booked profit after an initial spurt in the morning session.

At the closing bell, the BSE S&P Sensex was down by 97 points or 0.25 per cent at 38,757 while the Nifty 50 l
ost by 43 points or 0.38 per cent at 11,421.

Sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were mixed with Nifty financial service dipping by 1.8 per cent, private bank by 1.5 per cent and pharma by 0.8 per cent.

But Nifty IT jumped by 4.3 per cent, realty by 3.6 per cent and auto by 0.7 per cent.

Among stocks, Bharti Airtel dipped by 3.7 per cent to close at Rs 473.10 per share while Bajaj Finance lost by 3.2 per cent and Bharat Petroleum Corporation by 3.1 per cent.

The other prominent losers were State Bank of India, Grasim, Hindalco, Sun Pharma, HDFC and HDFC Bank.

However, HCL Technologies spurted by 10.6 per cent to Rs 795.95 per share while Tata Consultancy Services moved up by 4.8 per cent, Wipro by 4.4 per cent and Tech Mahindra by 3.4 per cent.

Oberoi Realty advanced by 6.2 per cent to Rs 400.10 per share while Prestige estate gained by 7.9 per cent, Brigade Enterprises by 7 per cent and DLF by 1 per cent.

The others which gained were Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, Adani Ports, UPL and Titan.

Meanwhile, Asian shares firmed on renewed hopes for a coronavirus vaccine after AstraZeneca resumed its phase three trial though sentiment was still cautious.

Japan's Nikkei added 0.65 per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose by 0.56 per cent and South Korea's Kospi ticked up by 1.3 per cent. (ANI)

Will 'not interfere' in China's detention of 12 people: Hong Kong

Hong Kong flag

Hong Kong, September 14 (ANI): The Hong Kong government has said it will not interfere in the arrest of 12 Hong Kongers by Chinese authorities when they were trying to flee to Taiwan.

In a statement late on Sunday, the government said the families of the 12 individuals has requested the administrati
on for help, Al Jazeera reported.

Meanwhile, China on Sunday labelled the group 'separatists'.

"The relevant crime falls within the jurisdiction of the mainland and the special administrative region government respects and will not interfere with law enforcement actions," Hong Kong's government said.

The group was suspected of committing "various criminal offences" in Hong Kong, it added, as it urged the families to make use of a free legal consultation service provided.

Taiwan has opened its doors to people of Hong Kong who are escaping the city, which is rocked by months of protests and where China recently imposed a controversial national security law but has said they must arrive legally.

The Chinese foreign ministry in a statement confirmed that the group comprised 11 men and a woman, aged 16 to 33 have been detained while they were trying to escape China.

According to a South China Morning Post report, the foreign ministry in Beijing has declared that the group of young fugitives, some of whom were linked to last year's anti-government protests, were "elements attempting to separate Hong Kong from China".

According to earlier Hong Kong media reports, among the people 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)

Russia records 5,509 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours

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Moscow [Russia], September 14 (ANI/Sputnik): Russia has registered 5,509 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours which brings the cumulative total to 1,068,320, the country's coronavirus response center said on Monday.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,509 COVID-19 cases in 83 regions, of 
which 1,388 (25.2 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the response center said in a statement, adding that the total tally has reached 1,068,320.

Moscow recorded 696 cases, St. Petersburg registered 199 cases, and the Moscow region confirmed 163 new cases. No new cases were recorded in the Nenets Autonomous Region and the Chukotka Autonomous Region.

In the past 24 hours, Russia recorded 57 COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 18,635, and 2,475 recoveries, taking the total to 878,700.

According to the public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 40.9 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, and 219,000 suspected carriers remain under medical monitoring.(ANI/Sputnik)

Roadside bomb kills 5 Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan

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Kabul [Afghanistan], September 14 (ANI/Xinhua): Five Afghan soldiers were killed as a roadside bomb struck a military vehicle in Abkamari district of the western Badghis province on Sunday, a member of the Provincial Council Mohammad Nasir Nazari said on Monday.

A mine planted by terrorists on a roa
d in Dehistan area of the restive Abkamari district struck a military vehicle on Sunday afternoon, killing five soldiers aboard, the official said.

Deputy Governor for Badghis province, Faiz Mohammad Mirzazada, also confirmed the incident without providing details.

Since the start of intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha on Saturday to end the war in their country, 31 fighters including terrorists and security personnel have been killed in the troubled Badghis province, according to local officials.

Taliban terrorists who are active in parts of Badghis province with Qala-e-Naw as its capital have yet to make comments. (ANI/Xinhua)

Has COVID-19 increased the risk of modern slavery in Asia?

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By Lee Kah Whye
Singapore, September 14 (ANI): A recently published study revealed that the risk of modern slavery is higher than at any point since 2017 in manufacturing hubs across Asia.

The study was issued earlier in September by Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based consultancy that specialises in work
ing with multinational organisations on ESG (environment, social and corporate governance) and human rights risks. They have offices in the UK, the US, Canada and Singapore.

The report goes on to add that Asian manufacturing hubs have witnessed a significant increase in modern slavery over the last four years, and the risk is set to grow as the economic fallout from COVID-19 takes full hold.

In the latest annual edition of the Verisk Maplecroft Modern Slavery Index, among Asian countries, workers in Bangladesh face the highest risk of labour exploitation in Asia and is in 18th place globally. It is followed by China (20th position globally), Myanmar (23rd), India (25th), Cambodia (32nd), Vietnam (35th) and Indonesia (44th). All these Asian countries sit at their lowest point in the ranking of 198 countries since 2017. The index measures the risk to business of the possible association with slavery, trafficking in persons and forced labour in supply chains, operations and service providers.

For the first time, Bangladesh and India, key manufacturing countries for the apparel sector, have dropped into the 'extreme risk' category of the Modern Slavery Index. They join China and Myanmar in a group of 32 countries where populations face the highest levels of risk. The index identifies Bangladesh as not only seeing an increase in violations, but also a weakening of enforcement of labour laws over the last few years. In India, a notable decline in enforcement is largely responsible for its slip from 'high' to 'extreme' risk.

Reuters quoted the Clean Clothes Campaign pressure group reporting that Asian garment workers supplying global fashion brands lost up to USD 5.8 billion in wages from March to Mayas the COVID-19 pandemic led to store closures and cancelled orders. About 60 million people work in Asia's garment industry and falling sales have put many jobs at risk.

According to the index, the risk of modern slavery is highest in North Korea, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, DR Congo, the Gambia and Burundi. However, it is the countries where a majority of retail goods and a swathe of raw materials are produced that will be of the highest concern for sustainable sourcing departments of companies, responsible investors and ethical consumers across the board.

The United Nation's International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated that in 2016, at any given time, about 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, with 24.9 million in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage. It means there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.

The ILO said that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the earning capacity of an astounding 1.6 billion informal workers has been damaged. With more than 65 per cent of Asia's workforce employed in the informal economy with little or no access to labour protections, they will be increasingly exposed to the risk of forced labour. These risks also extend beyond the manufacturing sector to encompass construction, agriculture, services and hospitality.

Asian manufacturing has suffered from the fallout caused by the collapse in consumer demand as well as lockdown restrictions. With factory workers out of work due to companies going bust or downsizing, millions have little choice but to turned to the informal economy and more exploitative forms of work to stay afloat. This increases modern slavery risks in countries where labour protection is lacking.

The data from the study shows a key factor for the drop in ranking for many of Asia's manufacturing giants has been an increase in the severity and frequency of violations. Growth in such abuses has been witnessed across Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Of the Asian manufacturing hubs, Vietnam has recorded the greatest increase in violations in recent years. The fallout from the pandemic threatens to tip the country into 'extreme risk', particularly as more forced labour cases emerge. Cambodia has seen the largest fall in rankings, dropping 32 places in the last year, and 48 spots since 2017, due not only to an increase in violations, but to a significant deterioration in enforcement capabilities. Poor labour law enforcement is also behind China's worsening score.

The study was not optimistic about the labour situation even as countries emerge out of lockdown and make the slow transition to fully reopening their economies. It predicts that the heightened risks of modern slavery will linger and corporate exposure to slavery will expand due to continued uncertainty, particularly within procurement in countries that were previously already grappling with this issue.

As the world's manufacturing hub, Asia's heightened modern slavery risks will present an increasingly complex picture for corporates, especially when it comes to meeting mandatory modern slavery or other ESG-related reporting requirements.

The author of the report, Sofia Nazalya, Human RightsAnalyst at Verisk Maplecroft commented, "Travel restrictions have also left the ability of companies to carry out audits in their supply chains in disarray, meaning the reputational risks to brands from association with modern slavery are now higher than at any other time over recent years." (ANI)

US State Dept releases new webpage on China's atrocities on Uyghurs in Xinjiang

An Uyghur man in Xinjiang in northwestern China (File photo)

Washington [US], September 14 (ANI): The US State Department has released a new webpage highlighting the Chinese government's human rights abuses committed against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang Province in northwestern China.

"We released a new webpage that illustrates the Chinese Co
mmunist Party's abuses perpetrated against Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang. The US is committed to leading the global fight against these egregious human rights abuses," the State Department said in a tweet earlier..

Relations between the US and China have worsened in recent times with the two countries sparring over a range of issues including Beijing's territorial aggression in the South China Sea and the Chinese government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

Pompeo has said recently that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a clear and intensifying pattern of bullying its neighbours from the Taiwan Strait to the Himalayas and beyond and hoped for a peaceful resolution of the situation on the India-China border.

"We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanising abuses," he said in a statement.

The US has sanctioned several high-ranking Chinese government officials in connection to the human rights violations of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. (ANI)

UAE, Bahraini Foreign Ministers arrive in US to sign peace deals with Israel

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani arrives in Washington on Sunday. (Photo source: Bahrain Foreign Ministry Twitter)

Washington [US], September 14 (ANI/Sputnik): The Foreign Ministers of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have arrived in Washington to attend a signing ceremony of peace treaties with Israel.

On Sunday, the top Bahraini diplomat, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, landed in Washington, where t
he official ceremony is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, according to a statement by the country's Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrived in the US capital at the head of a high-level official UAE delegation to participate in the signing ceremony of the historic peace accord, the State-run Emirates News Agency reported.

On August 13, Israel and the UAE agreed to normalise relations and establish diplomatic ties between the two states, which, among other things, entailed Israel giving up its plans to expand sovereignty over the West Bank's territories. The landmark deal was brokered by the US.

Expectations have been voiced ever since that the other countries of the region will follow the UAE's example.

On September 11, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa officially announced a similar agreement in a trilateral phone conversation with US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The first two Arab countries that recognised Israel were Egypt and Jordan, in 1979 and 1994, respectively. (ANI/Sputnik)

Is project Khalistan dead and buried? Not really

Representative Image

Chandigarh [India], September 14 (ANI): A comprehensive reading of the 'Khalistan'--A project of Pakistan' from Macdonald-Laurier Institute would make it appear that the only people interested in keeping alive the 'Khalistan' movement are some fringe Canadian Sikhs and the Pakistani intelligence apparatus. But retired policemen in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Ludhiana and Amritsar say that the 'Khalistani' movement is finding resonance among nefarious elements in Punjab keen on settling scores with those who crushed the movement. Nobody was willing to speak on record because of the fear of fringe supporters of 'Khalistani' groups.

From 1981 to 1995 at the peak of the 'Khalistani' terror movement about 21,000 people were killed in terror incidents that included more than 11,000 civilians and 1,415 personnel of the Punjab Police. 'Khalistanis' and 'Khalistani' supporters and masterminds mostly living in Canada, Europe and Pakistan have begun an insidious campaign to resurrect the movement. In the past two years there has been a concerted attempt to sully the image of former Director General of Police (DGP) KPS Gill who broke the back of militancy in Punjab. 

A campaign has been launched in the past year on social media to vilify the image of Gill, dubbing him as the butcher of Punjab. Whereas the truth is, and almost every resident of the state acknowledges, that the real butchers were the foot soldiers of Bhindrawale who killed hundreds of innocents in train massacres, shootings in crowded markets and trains and busses.

Senior retired Punjab police officers residing in leafy suburbs of many cities in Punjab, fear that they could be the next targets of mercenaries in the state who are acting on the behest of Canada based Khalistanis. Former DGP of Punjab and close associate of KPS Gill, Sumedh Singh Saini has gone underground last week after his Z plus security was withdrawn and he was denied anticipatory bail by a Mohali court in a terror case that suddenly cropped up after almost 30 years! Saini was the target of a terror attack in 1991 that left him injured and three policemen dead. 

Many senior police officers not willing to speak on record for fear of being targeted by powerful people say that policing Punjab in the eighties and nineties meant using tough measures, and Saini did just that. Is he paying the price for that? If arrested and kept in a Punjab prison, he would be easy target, fear these officers.

On September 6th 2020 two Khalistani terrorists Bhupender alias Dilawar Singh and Kulwant Singh who are wanted in terror cases in Punjab were arrested in Delhi after exchange of fire with security forces. If they were attempting to target any politician or attempt a terror strike is not yet known.

On August 14th, 2020 a 'Khalistani' flag was affixed on the district administrative complex building in Moga, Punjab by one youth while another filmed him and uploaded the video on social media. Moga police claims to have identified the culprits and arrested one Akashdeep Singh (19). The other two Jaspal Singh and Inderjeet assisted in the operation in the hope of getting the 'award' of $2,500 offered by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of the banned outfit 'Sikhs for Justice' of Canada. Jaspal's father is a police inspector.

Terry Milewski who has followed the Khalistani movement for 35 years since the Air India bombing and authored the Macdonald-Laurier Institute report notes that Pakistan has been propping the 'Khalistani' flag for half a century in its goal to bleed India. But it is nowhere near security that goal, however it is not giving up on it either. The report notes "it's clear who's really driving the Khalistan bus: Pakistan - the same Pakistan where countless Sikhs were murdered and expelled in the name of Islam. 

What's more, while separatist Sikhs complain loudly and properly about the massacre of several thousand Sikhs by Hindus in 1984, there are no rallies to demand justice for at least a quarter-million Sikhs massacred by Muslims in 1947."

Three 'Khalistani' flags cropped up in tall buildings in Moga in 10 days. Since it is not an offence, no FIRs were lodged but it is clear that attempts are being made to stir trouble in Punjab. And there are sympathizers or mercenaries willing to do the bidding of 'Khalistani' separatists. (ANI)

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