Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Vikas Swarup meets Ambassador of Kazakhstan, takes stock of ongoing cooperation activities

Vikas Swarup, Secretary(West) at MEA met Yerlan Alimbayev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan (Picture tweeted by Vikas Swarup)

New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): Vikas Swarup, Secretary(West) at Ministry of External Affairs, on Wednesday met Yerlan Alimbayev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan in India, wherein the two took stock of ongoing cooperation activities.

"Moving forward with Kazakhstan. Had a fruitful meeting with Ambas
sador HE @AlimbayevYerlan today. Took stock of ongoing cooperation activities and exchanged views on issues of mutual interest," Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier this month 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.

In a tweet, the Defence Minister said he had a "productive" interaction with his Kazakh counterpart Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev and discussed ways to further boost bilateral defence cooperation.

"Productive interaction with the Defence Minister of Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev. We discussed ways to add further momentum to India-Kazakhstan defence cooperation," he said. (ANI)

32 Army, 3 Air Force personnel have died due to COVID-19: Govt

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New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): The government informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that there are 16,758 coronavirus cases in Army, 1,365 in Navy and 1,716 in Air Force.

The number of deceased due to COVID-19 in Army and Air Force are 32 and 3 respectively and none in the Navy, Minister of St
ate (MoS) for Defence Shripad Naik said in a written reply.

"As per the extant rules, there is no special compensation for deaths occurring due to infectious diseases while in service. However, all deaths while in service are awarded terminal benefits," he said. (ANI)

Joint sitting of Pakistan parliament passes 3 FATF related bills

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Islamabad [Pakistan], September 16 (ANI): A joint sitting of Pakistan's parliament on Wednesday passed amendments in three bills related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the opposition staged a walk out in protest.

According to a Geo News report, the opposition staged a walk out after mo
st of their proposed amendments to the bills were rejected and they were not allowed to speak.

As per the report -- the three bills that were passed with amendments were --the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020, Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Anti-Terrorism Act (amendment) Bill, 2020.

In a last-ditch to clear the FATF related legislations that were blocked by the opposition last month, President Arif Alvi had summoned a joint sitting of parliament on Wednesday. Dawn reported citing sources.

Pakistan is making attempts to avoid a demotion from the FATF grey list to the blacklist during the upcoming October plenary meeting.

While Pakistan tries to showcase its "efforts" in combatting terrorism, there have been reports from Afghanistan giving ample evidence of the presence of Pakistani terrorists on its land.

In recent weeks, Pakistan has been trying to paint a picture that it has started the reforms including the passing of bills in order to prevent blacklisting by the FATF.

In late July, Pakistan Financial Monitoring Unit Director-General Lubna Farooq told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance that the country is yet to comply with 13 conditions out of the 27-point Action Plan of the FATF including curbing terror financing, enforcement of the laws against the proscribed organisations and improving the legal systems. (ANI)

Royal team of Bahrain arrives in Nepal for expedition despite virus ban

Royal team of Bahrain arrives in Nepal for expedition (Photo/ANI)

Kathmandu [Nepal], September 16 (ANI): An 18 member expedition team from Bahrain which includes a royal family member arrived Nepali capital on Wednesday to summit Mt. Loubuche and Mt. Manasalu.

The Government of Nepal made an exception by allowing Royal Expedition Team of Bahrain to enter Himalayan
 Nation despite a ban on mountaineering activities for foreigners. The team whose identities are yet to be announced will remain in Himalayan Nation for about two months and make summit attempt of 8,163 metre Manaslu and 6,119 metre Lobuche.

It was decided on August 30 by a meeting of Council of Ministers to allow Royal Bahrain team to make summit attempt for two mountains which is taken as a prelude to climb the world's highest peak Mount Everest in 2021.

Seven Summit Treks which will manage the high-profile royal as well as Military Expedition in coming autumn season has confirmed that the team has been sent to 7 days quarantine in Gokarna Forest Resort immediately after their arrival. The team had arrived Tribhuwan International Airport on a special flight from Sheikh Isha Airbase on late Wednesday morning.

Government of Nepal lately has lifted restriction for expedition and other mountaineering activities till end of October. Due to rising number of COVID-19 cases, Nepal forcibly shut down its Domestic and International Flights and halted main expedition season of year.

Closed for nearly six months due to the COVID-19 spree since March, Nepal recently has opened its airport for International flights only for Foreign Diplomats and rescue flights. Though mountains in Nepal are open for expedition, no foreign climbers are permitted to make summit attempt before October.

An all-Nepal expedition team has been permitted for 7129 metre Baruntse for the Autumn Season apart from the Bahrain Royal teams. (ANI)

WhatsApp Web to roll out new video, voice call icons soon

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Washington [US], September 16 (ANI): Popular instant messaging platform WhatsApp recently was spotted experimenting with new icons for its feature WhatsApp web as part of the WhatsApp Web 2.2037.6 update.

According to Mashable, a popular website that posts regular updates on WhatsApp WABetaInfo repo
rted that the application is designing new voice and video calls buttons.

They are currently unavailable because it's still under development. Also, WhatsApp is working towards new icons for the attachment menu. These will soon be officially visible in a new update. In addition to these new icons, a new loading screen feature is under progression that will let users use the same WhatsApp account on multiple devices. The instant messaging application is currently working on the new screen.

As reported by Mashable, WhatsApp has also been working on a slew of other features. A new wallpaper feature was spotted in WhatsApp beta for Android 2.20.199.5 which would allow users to choose a different wallpaper based on the theme used in WhatsApp. As part of this feature, if one wants to choose a default wallpaper, WhatsApp will ask if the user wants to download the WhatsApp Wallpaper app, an official application from the company that provides wallpapers.

WhatsApp was already working towards new wallpaper improvements for its iOS app, and now it's also working on this feature for its Android users. (ANI)

Advancing reform of Security Council should remain urgent priority: IBSA Joint Ministerial Statement

EAM S Jaishankar chaired the customary meeting of IBSA Foreign Ministers (Photo tweeted by EAM)

New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): A meeting of foreign ministers from India, Brazil and South Africa on Wednesday emphasized redoubling of efforts for "accelerated and comprehensive reform" of the UN Security Council.

External Affairs Minister of S Jaishankar, chaired the customary meeting of t
he India-Brazil-South Africa( IBSA) grouping through video conferencing where the foreign ministers exchanged views on furthering IBSA cooperation.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor and the Secretary (Vice-Minister) for National Sovereignty and Citizenship of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Ambassador Fabio Marzano, led their respective delegations, said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The Ministers also exchanged views on various issues of global significance including peace, security, countering terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, multilateral trading system, disarmament, non-proliferation issues and South-South Cooperation, said MEA.

"Further, the Ministers shared their experience on COVID-19 pandemic situation and appreciated the work done by the IBSA Fund for Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger," it added.

IBSA Joint Ministerial Statement reiterated that advancing the reform of the Security Council should remain an urgent and key priority.

"Emphasizing that while a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system remains a crucial international undertaking, on which there has been some progress, we reiterate that advancing the reform of the Security Council should remain an urgent and key priority," it said.

The joint statement read: "The failure to reform the Security Council has serious implications for international peace and security. Significant and accelerated reform is critical to ensure that this organ is more representative, effective and responsive, and remains capable of delivering on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter."

The Joint statement expressed frustration with the slow pace of progress on Security Council reforms in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations process, which, it said lacks transparency in its working methods.

"We insist that the time has come to move towards a result-oriented process, with provision for substantive negotiations based on a single comprehensive text, in a formal setting," said the joint statement.

Brazil and South Africa congratulated India on its successful election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the term 2021-2022. (ANI)

Hong Kong demands Washington to drop 'Made in China' label on exports to US

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Hong Kong, September 16 (ANI/Sputnik): Hong Kong has officially demanded the United States walk back its decision to make it mark exports to the US with the Made in China label, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah.

In August, the US President Donald Trump administration introduced the measure following the termination of Hong Kong's special status with the US as a response to China having adopted a national security law that prohibits separatist activities along with foreign interference in the city.

Yau told the newspaper that he had requested the US consulate to deliver a letter to Washington's trade representative Robert Lighthizer, which expresses Hong Kong's opposition to the US initiative.

The secretary added that the city was ready to bring the matter before the World Trade Organisation.

In late June, China adopted the law that bans separatist, subversive, and terrorist activities, along with any form of foreign interference in Hong Kong. This provoked outrage among the Hong Kong opposition and abroad. According to Beijing, the new security law aims to punish illegal activities in the city without harming the existing democratic freedoms of locals. In July, Trump signed an executive order revoking the city's special status in response. (ANI/Sputnik)

Kendall Jenner says she's a 'stoner'

Kendall Jenner (Image courtesy: Instagram)

Washington [US], September 16 (ANI): American supermodel and reality TV star Kendall Jenner and her sister Kourtney Kardashian joined actors Kate Hudson and Oliver Hudson for an episode of their podcast, 'Sibling Rivalry,' where the TV stars revealed some of their lesser-known hobbies.

According to 
Fox News, the sisters were asked a handful of speedy lighting questions, in which they revealed that Jenner smokes marijuana, a legal pastime in the state of California where she resides.

The 44-year-old actor Oliver asked, "If there was a stoner [in your family] who would it be?"

To which the 41-year-old Kardashian responded, "Kendall," according to People magazine, and the young model agreed.

"I am a stoner," Jenner admitted. "No one knows that, so that's the first time I've ever really said anything out there."

Jenner didn't offer up any extra details, but she's not the first in the Kardashian-Jenner clan to address their drug use.

As per Fox News, in a previous episode of 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians,' fashion mogul Kim Kardashian revealed that she was on ecstasy during her 2000 wedding to Damon Thomas, as well as while she filmed her sex tape with Ray J in 2003.

The 39-year-old Kim explained as per People Magazine, "I got married on ecstasy. The first time.I did ecstasy once and I got married. I did it again, I made a sex tape. Like, everything bad would happen."

When Kourtney's former partner Scott Disick asked for whether that was true, Kim said, "Absolutely."

"Everyone knows it," she added. "Like, my jaw was shaking the whole time."

A source told People Magazine at the time that the reality star "definitely does not do drugs" anymore and hadn't done so in many years. (ANI)

AEHRF slams use of derogatory epithets publicly leading to hatred, xenophobia

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Geneva [Switzerland], September 16 (ANI): Asian Eurasian Human Rights Forum (AEHRF), a Delhi based NGO with ECOSOC status has criticized "unwarranted" use of derogatory epithets publicly leading to "greasing of machines of hatred and xenophobia".

"We wish to bring to the attention of the 45 session 
of the Human Rights Council and also to the notice of the distinguished Special Rapporteur that we strongly condemn contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances...," AEHRF said.

"...we equally abhor direct or indirect effort by the States or so-called Non-State Actors of attributing Nazi and neo-Nazi epithets to countries or societies with whom they may not be on very friendly terms," it added.

It cited the example of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who has often resorted to using objectionable language against India and its leaders.

"The unwarranted use of derogatory epithets publicly in rallies, press conferences and even in parliamentary sessions, leads to greasing the machines of hatred and xenophobia," it said.

AEHRF stated that it is tantamount to creating a generation or two of their people with a mindset that is polluted with hatred and animosity. "This is one of the new forms of racism and neo-Nazism."

Highlighting that India and Pakistan, two neighbouring countries of the Asian sub-continent, do not enjoy friendly relations for whatever reasons, it said: "Both have duly elected governments in place, and both of them are answerable to their respective parliaments."

The tone and tenor of these utterances and tweets from a Prime Minister of a country indicate that he is filling the mind and brain of his countrymen especially the youth with livid hatred against the Prime Minister and the government of India, it said referring to the language used by Pakistani Prime Minister.

It pointed out that these words are spoken by the Prime Minister of a country that has remained under the iron heels of military regimes for half of its life of seven decades.

"This is a very dangerous trend in a country where several religious extremist and terrorist organizations and their leaders have been designated by the UN and the US State Department," it said while describing the trend of rising hate groups and spreading hatred against a neighbour as a threat to the entire sub-continent.

AEHRF stated that it demands that a directive is issued by the UNHRC to all member states emphasizing that they should refrain from spreading hatred and animosity by taking recourse to the unwarranted use of highly derogatory parallels.

"AEHRF condemns any attempt by parties with the vested interest of initiating a state-level campaign of sullying another states' reputation by calling their governments as neo-Nazi just because the two are politically at loggerheads," it said. (ANI)

PM Modi expresses grief over loss of lives as boat capsizes in Kota

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed grief over the boat capsize in Rajasthan's Kota where 11 people have died while three are still missing.

"Anguished by the capsizing of a boat in Kota, Rajasthan. My thoughts are with those who have lost their
 near and dear ones," The Prime Minister's Office tweeted.

Earlier in the day, 11 bodies were recovered while 19 people were rescued after a boat carrying over 40 people to a temple capsized in the Chambal river in the Kota district.

According to the official, three people are missing and rescue operation by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams is underway.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the people who died in the incident. (ANI)

India joins Djibouti Code of Conduct as Observer

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New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct as Observer, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said here on Wednesday.

"India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment, as Observer, following the high level meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct
/ Jeddah Amendment (DCOC/JA) held virtually on August 26," MEA said in a statement.

DCOC/JA is a grouping on maritime matters comprising 18 member states adjoining the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the East coast of Africa and Island countries in the IOR.

India joins Japan, Norway, the UK and the US as Observers to the DCOC/JA, MEA said.

The DCOC, established in January 2009, is aimed at the repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean Region, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

"As an Observer at the DCOC/JA, India looks forward to working together with DCOC/JA member states towards coordinating and contributing to enhanced maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region," MEA said. (ANI)

NSAs of BRICS nations to hold virtual meeting tomorrow

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New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of BRICS nations will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday.

Indian NSA Ajit Doval on Tuesday walked out in protest from a virtual meeting of the national security advisers of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisa
tion (SCO) after Pakistani representative projected a "fictitious map" that inaccurately depicted the borders of the two countries.

The Ministry of External Affairs said what Pakistan did was in "blatant disregard to host Russia's advisory".

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had earlier urged full support of BRICS in reforming the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as an exercise in collective faith in meaningful multilateralism. He made the comments during a virtual meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers convened by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier this month. (ANI)

Titan Company with SBI launches India's first contactless payment watches

C K Venkataraman, Managing Director, Titan Company Limited and Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, SBI.

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], September 16 (ANI/NewsVoir): The new normal has enforced upon an urgent need to bring about innovative & safer purchase solutions in the retail space.

The fifth largest watch brand in the world, Titan Company Limited has partnered with country's largest lender State Ba
nk of India (SBI) to introduce Titan Pay powered by YONO SBI.

Through this partnership, Titan and SBI are launching a range of stylish new watches with contactless payment functionality for the first time in India. With this launch, SBI account holders can tap their Titan Pay watch on contactless payment POS machine without the need of swiping or inserting their SBI bank card.

Payments of up to Rs 2000 can be made without entering a PIN. A secure certified Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip embedded in the watch strap by Tappy Technologies enables all the functionalities of a standard contactless SBI debit card.

The payment feature on these watches will be accessible on over 2 million contactless Mastercard-enabled Point-of-Sale (POS) machines in the country. This exclusive collection of elegant watches include 3 styles for men and 2 for women and are attractively priced between Rs 2995 and Rs 5995 to make it widely accessible to all SBI and Titan consumers.

"Titan has always been at the pinnacle of design and innovation. We have always launched products to cater to the changing needs of our consumers. SBI is the perfect partner to introduce a payment solution for the new normal that is fast, secure and seamless. This product will not only satisfy the consumer's banking needs but will also serve today's evolving consumers with its classic and sophisticated designs," said C K Venkataraman, Managing Director, Titan Company Limited, while speaking on the occasion.

"We are glad to be a part of the launch of this unique proposition in the contactless payments space by Titan. It gives me immense pleasure to join hands with one of the world's 5th largest watch manufacturer, to provide a smart and innovative shopping solution for our YONO customers with Titan Payment Watches. We believe this innovative offering will redefine the shopping experience for our customers with Tap & Pay technology. With latest technological advancements, State Bank of India has always been striving towards providing innovative, best-in-class banking services for our customers," said Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, SBI, while sharing his thoughts on the association.

Titan Company has always been at the centre of innovation and believes in harnessing technology for convenience and ease of the users. These watches address the needs of the new normal by eliminating payment barriers and making transactions quick, contactless, secure, and easy for consumers. Through constant investment in technology and design, Titan aims to continue advancing the products and offerings for the consumers in the smart segment.

The collection is exclusively available on www.titan.co.in.

Titan Company Limited (earlier known as Titan Industries Limited) is a joint venture between the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) and Tata Group, commenced operations in 1987, under the name Titan Watches Limited. In 1994, Titan diversified into Jewelry and subsequently into eyewear with Titan Eyeplus.

In 2013, Titan entered the fragrances segment with SKINN and 2019 in sarees with Taneira. Today, Titan Company Limited, India's leading manufacturer/sellers in watches, jewelry; and eyewear, is credited with changing the face of all these industries. The Company recorded a revenue of INR 21,052 Cr. for the year ended 31st March 2020.

State Bank of India (SBI) is the largest commercial bank in terms of assets, deposits, branches, customers, and employees. It is also the largest mortgage lender in the country. As on June 30, 2020, the bank has a deposit base of over Rs 34 lakh crore with CASA ratio of more than 45 per cent and advances of nearly Rs. 24 lakh crore. SBI commands nearly 34 per cent market share in home loans and nearly 33 per cent in the auto loans segment.

The Bank has the largest network of over 22,100 branches in India with an ATM/CDM network of over 58,500 and total BC outlets of more than 62,200. The number of customers using internet banking facilities is about 76 million and mobile banking services stand a little more than 17 million. The integrated digital and lifestyle platform by SBI - YONO has crossed the landmark of 58 million downloads.

YONO which has 26 million registered users, witnesses 5.5 million logins per day along with over 4000 daily disbursals of personal loans, 16,000 YONO Krishi Agri Gold Loans. The bank recently launched the YONO Global app in the UK and Mauritius and plans to cover 9 more countries by the end of 2020. On social media platforms, SBI has the highest number of followers on Facebook and Twitter amongst all banks worldwide.

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

Pre book your vaccination through WONDRx app

Pankaj Agrawal (Right), Co-founder and Director-WONDRx, with Pankaj Sindhu (Left), Founder and Director, WONDRx.

New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI/NewsVoir): A Mumbai-based health-tech start-up launched an application for Indian citizens to book an appointment with the nearest doctor or the vaccination clinic to get themselves vaccinated.

Bringing in much-needed convenience and transparency, this platform w
ill ensure vaccination reaches every nook and corner of India. The health-tech firm, WONDRx, has tied up with doctors and qualified healthcare service providers across the country to ensure easy accessibility of the vaccine to the concerned citizens through an app.

WONDRx has already curated and listed 180K plus healthcare providers on its WONDRx consumer app, making it the largest healthcare providers' aggregator in India.

"Our app would list the details of all vaccination clinics that we are curating, along with the fees to be paid for availing the vaccination at a pre-booked time slot. Vaccination booking via pre-booked slots will ensure crowd management as well while maintaining social distancing aspects. People from every nook and corner of this country would be able to take an informed decision based on the details provided," said the Co-founder and Director of WONDRx, Pankaj Agrawal, while speaking on the occasion.

"Our app would act as a bridge between the residents of each state and the vaccination clinics. This would help the people to schedule their appointment with the vaccination clinics of choice and do away with waiting in uncertainties and long queues," he added.

The app would be compatible with Android phones in the first phase and iOS versions would be launched at later stages. This app would be available as a free download from Google Play Store for every consumer and healthcare provider of this country.

"This product will make the vaccination journey highly convenient for every stakeholder - consumer, doctors, vaccine distributors and manufacturers - while ensuring required transparency and control around vaccination. It would give control and visibility right from the manufacturer to the end consumer at the last mile and ensure a controlled supply chain," stated the Founder and Director of WONDRx, Pankaj Sindhu, while dwelling on the advantages of this product.

WONDRx is a made in India health-tech start-up working on Digital India mandate augmenting Atmanirbhar concept across the healthcare stakeholders in the country.

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

Yoshihide Suga sworn in as new Japan Prime Minister

Yoshihide Suga, new Prime Minister of Japan

Tokyo [Japan], September 16 (ANI): Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday took charge as the new Prime Minister of Japan and formed a cabinet of familiar faces.

Other Cabinet members including Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi were retained.
 Of the Cabinet's 20 members, 15 had ministerial portfolios in the previous administration. There are only two women in the new cabinet, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa and Olympics and Paralympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto.

Japan Health Minister Katsunobu Kato was chosen to succeed Yoshihide Suga as Chief Cabinet Secretary, a key post that serves as both a policy coordinator and the government's top spokesman.

Meanwhile, Nobuo Kishi, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's younger brother and a former senior vice foreign minister was named defence minister in his first Cabinet post, Kyodo News reported.

Kishi's predecessor in the defence post, Taro Kono, was tapped for Minister-in-charge of administrative reform, an area Suga has promised to focus on to reduce bureaucratic sectionalism.

Abe's Cabinet resigned en masse Wednesday morning, drawing an end to the premier's record-long tenure of seven years and eight months. Abe announced his resignation last month due to ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease which earlier forced him to resign from the post of the premiership in 2007. (ANI)

MSME sector strengthens India-Nepal relations

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Kathmandu [Nepal], September 16 (ANI): The micro, small and medium entreprises (MSME) sector has been playing a pivotal role in strengthening trade and commerce relation between India and Nepal, policymakers and authorities concerned have opined.

Keeping in view the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, expert
s and policymakers have made their remarks in an interaction held virtually by India-Nepal Centre in association with the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Nepal SBI Bank Ltd (NSBL) and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).

Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, Maha Prasad Adhikari in his keynote speech called the MSME sector as the growth engine of Nepal's economy. Highlighting on the recent policy measures, he assured that Nepal's MSMEs are on its way to emerge stronger and can partner for registering positive outcomes.

Sushil Bhatta, the newly appointed CEO of Investment Board Nepal (IBN) recognised the challenges MSMEs are facing with the demand and supply shocks due to the ongoing pandemic situation. He highlighted the importance of MSME for Nepal's economy and job creation. He stressed on the need of creating awareness in MSMEs for skill development, entrepreneurial advancement, innovative practices and new technology to give them a competitive edge at the regional and global platforms.

"In the recent past, the trade between India and Nepal has reached to around 85 per cent peak of pre-COVID times both in terms of exports and imports," mentioned Kapidhwaja Pratap Singh, Commercial Representative from the Indian Embassy in Nepal.

He highlighted many importers in India are dependent on exports of Nepal, making it a two-way flow of commodities between India and Nepal. He added that localised trade is happening at a faster pace. This shows the immense networking and supply chain management development by business between India and Nepal.

The webinar entitled "Enhancing Cooperation for MSMEs in Nepal" was moderated by Ambassador KV Rajan, Chairman, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI & India's Former Ambassador to Nepal and Nirvana Chaudhary, Chairman, India-Nepal Centre (Nepal), VP, CNI & MD, Chaudhary Group.

Anil Khaitan, Former President, PHDCCI; Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHDCCI; Atul K Thakur, Nodal Coordinator, India-Nepal Centre, PHDCCI; Madhav Lal, Former Secretary, Ministry of MSME, Government of India; Ashutosh Bharadwaj, MD, Noveau Manufacturing Pvt; Praveena Kala, Director, Paramount Cables Pvt Ltd & Former CGM-SBI; Dr Binod Atreya, MD, BFIN were also present in the virtual interaction.

It was hailed how PHDCCI's India-Nepal Centre has taken the initiative for hosting this webinar as well as preceding two: Strategizing Economic Rebounding and Cooperation in India and Nepal (April 30, 2020); Exploring Hydroelectricity Potential in Nepal (July23, 2020). (ANI)

Russia to supply 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories

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Moscow [Russia], September 16 (ANI): The Russian Direct Investment Fund on Wednesday confirmed reaching an agreement to supply 100 million doses of Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V to India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.

"The RDIF, Russia's sovereign wealth fund, and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. (Dr. Reddy's), a global pharmaceutical company headquartered out of India, have agreed to cooperate on clinical trials and distribution of Sputnik V vaccine in India. Upon regulatory approval in India, RDIF shall supply to Dr. Reddy's 100 million doses of the vaccine," Sputnik quoted the RDIF's press release.

Deliveries could start in late 2020, the release added.

GV Prasad, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Dr. Reddy said that the Phase I and II trials results have shown promise, and the company will be conducting Phase III trials in India to meet the requirements of the Indian regulators.

"We are pleased to partner with RDIF to bring the vaccine to India. Phase I and II results have shown promise, and we will be conducting Phase III trials in India to meet the requirements of the Indian regulators. Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against COVID 19 in India," Dr. Reddy's Co-Chairman and Managing Director GV Prasad said, as quoted in the press release.

The RDIF is pleased to reach the agreement with the Indian company, the RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said.

"Dr. Reddy's has had a very well established and respected presence in Russia for over 25 years and is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in India," he said
"India is amongst most severely impacted countries from the novel coronavirus and we believe our human adenovirus dual vector platform will provide a safe and scientifically validated option to India in the battle against COVID 19. RDIF partners will receive an effective and safe drug to fight the coronavirus," he added.

Last week, the Russian Health Ministry announced that the first batch of Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 has been released into civil circulation.

The Russian health ministry registered the first vaccine against COVID-19, named Sputnik V, on August 11. (ANI)

Trump declares state of emergency in Florida over approaching hurricane Sally

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Washington [US], September 16 (ANI/Sputnik): US President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in the State of Florida due to approaching Hurricane Sally that has been raging off the US coast for several days, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said on Wednesday.

The National Hu
rricane Center (NHC) warned on Tuesday that the hurricane, the second storm bearing down on the US coast of the Gulf of Mexico in a span of three weeks, could bring "extreme, life-threatening" and historic floods to the region.

"President @realDonaldTrump has declared that a State of Emergency exists in the State of Florida and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from #HurricaneSally," Deere wrote on Twitter.

Hurricane Sally is the 18th named storm in the Atlantic this year, according to NHC records.

It comes less than three weeks after Hurricane Laura, one of the strongest US hurricanes in more than a century, made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, in late August as a Category 4 storm. That hurricane, which killed at least 25 people and damaged countless property, also scored a near-direct hit on one refinery in Louisiana processing 769,000 barrels per day of crude oil. (ANI/Sputnik)

China eases alert on border after foreign ministers' meeting in Moscow: Report

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Beijing [China], September 16 (ANI): The People's Liberation Army's (PLA) troops stationed at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) raise their combat readiness to the second-highest possible last week after an exchange of fire with Indian troops but the alert was eased following a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counter Wang Yi in Moscow, South China Morning Post reported citing Chinese military sources.

It means more weapons and troops were deployed and training exercises were ramped up for commanders, officers and soldiers, a military source told the South China Morning Post.
The last time such a high level was employed by troops in the restive region was in 1987 when a skirmish in the Sumdorong Chu valley pushed the two sides to the brink of war, said the person, who asked not to be named.

The PLA has four grades of combat readiness. The first level is used only when military leaders are convinced an armed conflict is inevitable.

"Since the combat readiness level was raised, commanders, officers and soldiers have been working around the clock, carrying out extra training and drills," the source said.

"The PLA mobilised more troops and weapons systems to the Line of Actual Control [the formal name for the disputed China-India border] in preparation for the worst," the source added.

The heightened state of alert was only relaxed after Wang met his Jaishankar, in Moscow on Friday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, a second source said.

Jaishankar met Wang on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers' meet in Moscow on last weekdays after Chinese soldiers fired in the air while attempting to close in on Indian positions across the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
Tension is high along the LAC as Indian and Chinese Army are engaged in a standoff at several points.

According to a joint press statement about the meeting, the two leaders had a "frank and constructive discussion on the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations."

"The two ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations, including not allowing differences to become disputes," it read.

The meeting came days after The Indian Army had said on Tuesday that Chinese troops have been "blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres".

In a statement about the Thursday's meeting, the Chinese defence ministry said the two sides have reached a five-point consensus regarding the current situation after a full in-depth discussion, says a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. (ANI)

Russia records 5,670 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours

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Moscow [Russia], September 16 (ANI/Sputnik): Russia has registered 5,670 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which brings the cumulative total to 1,079,519, the country's coronavirus response center said on Wednesday.

"Over the past 24 hours, Russia has confirmed 5,670 COVID-19 cases in 84 regions,
 of which 1,309 (23.1 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 1,079,519.

Moscow recorded 750 cases, St. Petersburg registered 207 cases, and the Moscow region confirmed 173 new cases. No new cases were recorded in the Chukotka Autonomous Region.

In the past 24 hours, Russia recorded 132 COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 18,917, and 5,809 recoveries, taking the total to 890,114.

According to the public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, over 41.4 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the pandemic, and 223,000 suspected carriers remain under medical monitoring. (ANI/Sputnik)

Rajya Sabha passes Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020

The Rajya Sabha.

New Delhi [India], September 16 (ANI): The Rajya Sabha passed the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 on Wednesday.

The bill seeks to merge three institutes, which will be called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, in Jamnagar, Gujarat which will be given the st
atus of an institution of national importance.

Speaking about this in the Upper House, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said, "It has been chosen without any bias, and in the most objective manner because it is the oldest Ayurveda institution created by the government back in 1956. This is the only collaborating centre for the WHO in the whole world for Ayurveda."

"In the last 20 years, students from 65 countries have come to this place. On every parameter we can say that it is the number one institution which deserves this status," he added.

The bill was earlier passed in the Lok Sabha. (ANI)

Terrorist incidents reduced significantly in J-K after abrogation of Article 370: G Kishan Reddy in Rajya Sabha

Minister of State (MoS) Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], Septemeber 16 (ANI): The number of terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir has reduced significantly after the abrogation of Article 370, i.e. after August 5, 2019, informed Minister of State (MoS) Home affairs G Kishan Reddy in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

No major terror attac
k took place in the hinterland of the country during the period from August 2019 to Sept 2020", Reddy said in a written reply to 'total terrorist incidents in the country after revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir till date.

Rajya Sabha MP MV Shreyams Kumar raised questions on the total number of terrorist incidents in the country after revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir till date and the various measures taken by the Government to deal with the terrorist menace?

Reddy in a written reply stated, "After August 5, 2019, the number of terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir have reduced significantly."

Giving the details of the number of terrorist incidents, the Minister stated, Before August 5, 2019-- from 29.06.2018 to 04.08.2019 (402 days) the number of incidents 455. After August 5, 2019; from 05.08.2019 to 09.09.2020 (402 days) the number of incidents 211.

Reddy stated, No major terror attack took place in the hinterland of the country during the period from 05.08.2019 to 09.09.2020.

On the question of measures taken by the government to deal with the terrorist menace, Reddy stated, "The Government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism and has taken various measures, such as strengthening of security apparatus, strict enforcement of the law against anti-national elements, intensified cordon and search operations to effectively deal with challenges posed by the terrorist organisations. Security Forces keep a close watch on persons who attempt to provide support to terrorists and initiate action against them." (ANI)

Economy showing sign of stability, but recovery to be gradual: RBI Governor Das

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das addressing the FICCI meeting on Wednesday. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], Sep 16 (ANI): India's economic recovery is likely to be gradual as the country is still reeling from the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) and rising infections continue to pose a risk, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday.

However, the latest data
 suggests some stabilisation in economic activities in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, he said while addressing the FICCI National Executive Committee Meeting through video conferencing.

"High-frequency indicators of agricultural activity, the purchasing managers' index (PMI) for manufacturing and certain private estimates for unemployment point to some stabilisation of economic activity. The contraction in many other sectors is simultaneously easing," said Das.

"But the recovery is not yet fully entrenched. In some sectors, the optics noticed in June and July appear to have leveled off. By all indications, the recovery is likely to be gradual as efforts towards reopening of the economy are confronted with rising infections," he added.

Das said the RBI stands battle-ready and whatever measures are required will be taken up.

His comments came days after official data showed the country's GDP contracted by a record 23.9 per cent in the April to June period. (ANI)

Apple launches new iPad Air (4th gen) with A14 Bionic SoC, starting from USD 599

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California [US], September 16 (ANI): Apple has announced the new iPad Air (4th gen) with the A14 Bionic processor at the special 'Time Flies' event on Wednesday.

The latest iPad Air (4th gen) features a 10.9-inch edge-to-edge retina display, Touch ID and USB-C connectivity. The chipset promises 40 p
er cent faster CPU, 30 per cent faster graphics, and 70 per cent faster machine learning with next-generation Neural Engine.5

The iPad Air (4th gen) has been announced at a starting price of USD 599. As for India, the device will be available in October at Apple Authorised Resellers.

Apart from the iPad Air (4th gen), Apple also launched the 8th generation iPad and Apple Watch SE and Watch Series 6 at the event. (ANI)

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