Thursday, September 24, 2020

No legal basis whatsoever, totally ab-initio: India slams Pakistan on attempting to hold elections in Gilgit Baltistan

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava (Image: ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): Coming down heavily on Pakistan for attempting to hold general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, India on Thursday said that any action by Islamabad to alter the status of the military occupied so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan' has no legal basis whatsoever and is totally ab-initio.

Speaking during a weekly briefing, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "Any action by Pakistan to alter the status of the military occupied so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan' has no legal basis whatsoever and totally ab-initio. Our position has already been clear and consistent-- the entire territories of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and are an integral part of India and would remain so."

"Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on India's internal matters," he added.

"It is very typical of Pakistan to use such fora to raise bilateral and contentious issues which is inconsistent with the principles and charter of such organisations and their meetings. What else can be expected of a country that indulges in cross-border terrorism as a part of its state policy?" he said.

The MEA further slammed Turkey for raising the issue of Kashmir at the General Assembly adding that it constitutes "gross interference into India's internal affairs".

"You would have seen the right of reply exercised by our Permanent Mission in UN where we have stated inter alia that the remarks of the President of the Republic of Turkey on the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir constitute a gross interference in India's internal affairs and are completely unacceptable," he said.

"Turkey should learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply," he added.

Last month, condemning Prime Minister Imran Khan for releasing Pakistan's new political map laying untenable claims to Indian territories, India had termed the act as an "exercise in political absurdity.

"We have seen a so-called "political map" of Pakistan that has been released by PM Imran Khan. This is an exercise in political absurdity, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian state of Gujarat and our union territories of Jammu Kashmir and of Ladakh," the Government of India had said in a stern statement.

India also slammed Pakistan for their malafide intentions and said it confirms the reality of "Pakistan's obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism."

The Imran Khan government had released a new political map of Pakistan, claiming Indian territories of Junagadh, Sir Creek and Manavadar in Gujarat, of Jammu and Kashmir and a part of Ladakh.

This came after the first anniversary of the Indian government's decision to revoke Article 370 which gave special powers to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)

Farmers will be able to sell produce at any price they want: Narendra Singh Tomar


Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar speaking during press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo/ANI

New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): Farmers will now be able to sell their produce at any price they want even outside the mandi and their states, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference about the Farm Bills here, Tomar said, "Farmers, so fa
r, were forced to sell their produce in mandis. In Punjab, there's 8.5 per cent tax in the mandis on several items. Now, through these Bills, farmers will now be able to sell their produce even outside the ambit of the mandi, their state at any price they choose."

The Minister said that these Bills assure farmers to receive payment in at most three days.

"No act, till date, guaranteed the time of payment for a farmer. The new Bills assure the farmer to receive payment in at most three days. This will promote inter-state trade and farmers would receive more options to sell at the right price," Tomar said.

The Minister said there is no provision to end the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMCs). "The new Bills just allow the farmer to sell his produce outside APMCs, giving him a wide range of buyers," Tomar added.

Speaking about the contract farming he said, there will be no deals related to the land of the farmer under these Bills.

"Once a farmer decides an agreement with a processor, they decide on an average value of the produce, ensuring that there's no risk for the farmer. Also, if the price of the produce is higher than what is decided, a percentage of that would be paid to the farmer by the processor. There will be no deals related to the land of the farmer under these bills. The farmer is also allowed to leave the deal when he wants," he said.

Protests have broken out across various parts of the country including Haryana and Odisha against the Farm Bills.

On September 17, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and Lok Sabha MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet, displaying her opposition to the three Bills.

According to the Centre, these Bills will help small and marginal farms by allowing them to sell produce outside mandis and sign agreements with agri-business firms and doing away with stock-holding limits on key commodities.

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed by Parliament on Sunday. (ANI)

India, China decided to have next meeting of Senior Commanders at the earliest: MEA

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): India and China have decided to have the next meeting of the Senior Commanders at the earliest, said the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday on the India-China border issue.

"The way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change 
the status quo, while the two sides continue their discussions to achieve complete disengagement in all friction areas and to ensure full restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas," said the MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at a briefing.

"In this regard, the two sides have also decided to have the next meeting of the Senior Commanders at the earliest. In parallel, the next meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) is also likely to take place soon," he added.

India and China, which held the sixth round of Senior Commanders' meeting on Monday following border tensions in eastern Ladakh, have agreed to avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any actions that may complicate the situation.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen communication on the ground and to hold the next round of Military Commander-Level Meeting as soon as possible.

A joint press statement on Tuesday said that the two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on "stabilizing the situation along the LAC in the India - China border areas".

It said that the two sides agreed to take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground. (ANI)

UK preparing to impose human rights sanctions against Belarus, says Foreign Secy

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London [UK], September 24 (ANI/Sputnik): UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on Thursday that the UK government was preparing to impose sanctions against Belarus, based on the alleged human rights violations committed by President Alexander Lukashenko's government.

"I have directed the FCDO 
[Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] sanctions team to prepare Magnitsky sanctions for those responsible for the serious human rights violations [in Belarus]," Raab said in a statement in Parliament.

The UK foreign minister said his decision to apply sanctions had been triggered by the European Union's delay in imposing "targeted sanctions" against those responsible for the violence and repression of the Belarusian people, and Lukashenko's "fraudulent" inauguration on Wednesday.

"The UK, the West and the world cannot just sit idle by while the Belarusian people's democratic and human rights are violated so brutally in clear violation of Belarus' responsibilities as a member of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]," he stressed.

Raab also said that the UK was coordinating with the United States and Canada to prepare "appropriate listings" of the Belarusian officials to be sanctioned under the so-called Magnitsky act.

Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer in the London-based Hermitage Capital Management hedge fund. He was arrested in Moscow in 2008 on tax evasion charges and later died of heart failure while in prison. An official investigation into his death was closed due to a lack of criminal evidence.

In late 2012, the United States adopted the so-called Magnitsky Act, which imposes travel bans and financial sanctions on Russian officials and other individuals believed to have been involved in Magnistky's death as well as in the case against him and related issues.

In 2015, the US Senate adopted the so-called Global Magnitsky Act, which expands Russia-specific sanctions to other countries.

"We will apply all the tools at our disposal to Lukashenko and his regime to account and we call on him to engage in serious and credible dialogue with the opposition," Raab told the UK Parliament.

The foreign secretary said that the UK government had already doubled up its financial support to human rights groups, independent media organizations and community groups in Belarus, providing an extra £1.5 million ($1.9 million) over the next two years. The funds include £800,000 ($1 million) of support for journalists in particular.

Presidential elections were held in Belarus on August 9, and, according to the Central Election Commission, were won by Lukashenko, who gained 80.1 percent of the vote. The Belarusian opposition, however, claimed that ex-Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, not Lukashenko, had won.

In line with the law, the inauguration of the president-elect must take place within two months from the date of the election. (ANI/Sputnik)

Proposal to hold 19th summit in Pakistan falls through at SAARC meet due to lack of consensus

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New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): An agenda at the informal meeting of SAARC Foreign Ministers on Thursday was holding the 19th summit of the grouping, which was to be hosted by Pakistan, but the proposal fell through due to lack of consensus as most countries felt it wasn't an opportune time for the event due to member states being preoccupied in dealing with COVID-19, sources said.

"One agenda item in the SAARC Ministerial meeting was the 19th SAARC Summit, which was to be hosted by Pakistan. Most countries felt it wasn't an opportune time for the event as member states are preoccupied with dealing with COVID-19. So the proposal fell through due to a lack of consensus," a source said.

Earlier today, India took up the issue of cross-border terrorism at the informal meeting of SAARC Foreign Ministers which happened virtually on the sidelines of UNGA this year.

After the meeting, the Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, "Cross-border terrorism, blocking connectivity and obstructing trade are three key challenges that SAARC must overcome. Only then will we see enduring peace, prosperity and security in our South Asia region".

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said Jaishankar stated at the meeting that over the last 35 years, SAARC has made significant progress but efforts toward collective collaboration and prosperity have been hampered by acts of terrorism.

EAM said it was crucial to take a collective resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism, including the forces that nurture, support and encourage it.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also took part in the meet.

"Highlighted need to condemn and oppose unilateral/illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of UNSC resolutions. Such unilateral measures run counter to the shared objective of (the) SAARC to create regional amity and cooperation and must be opposed resolutely," he said in a tweet.

Qureshi also emphasized on hosting the 19th SAARC meet in Islamabad.

"In this same spirit, I restated Pakistan's willingness to host the 19th SAARC Summit and for obstacles created in its way to being removed for SAARC to function as an effective instrument of regional cooperation," he said. (ANI)

UN Chief calls on World Bank, IMF to provide more support to states hit by COVID-19

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (File photo)

New York [US], September 24 (ANI/Sputnik): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday during a Security Council meeting that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should provide enhanced access to facilities and tools to countries impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"We need the World Bank Group on the International Monetary Fund to support member countries through enhanced access to facilities and tools," Guterres said. "Network multilateralism must extend beyond peace and security, encompassing the Bretton Woods institutions, development banks, trade alliances and more."

Guterres pointed out that the pandemic has highlighted multiple vulnerabilities worldwide, including increased humanitarian needs, and reversed decades of progress on sustainable development.

Meanwhile, the international community is not keeping pace with the world as it is, Guterres added.

The UN chief said countries around the world must unite in promoting multilateral institutions that are ready to react to the range of challenges the pandemic has put forth.

"We have no choice: either we come together in global institutions that are fit for purpose or we will be crushed by deviousness and chaos," Guterres said. (ANI/Sputnik)

UN must declare BRI projects between Pakistan and China as illegal, asks activist

Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza during the 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

Geneva [Switzerland], September 24 (ANI): A political activist from Pakistan occupied Kashmir has demanded the United Nations to declared Belt and Road Initiative projects between China and Pakistan as illegal.

Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza, while making at intervention during the 45th Session of the UN Huma
n Rights Council in Geneva also said that Pakistan is collaborating with China to make GilgitBaltistan as its 5th province.

He said, "Pakistan is attempting to illegally make Gilgit- Baltistan her fifth province. On October 31st, 1947, Pakistan instigated a coup d'etat in Gilgit agency with the collaboration of British officers of Gilgit scouts and occupied Gilgit Agency. By attacking the state of Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Agency, Pakistan has committed a war of aggression, crime against peace and crime against humanity, all I wish tend to amount to war crimes".

"Today, we are faced with a double colonisation of Gilgit Baltistan as China joins Pakistan under the Belt and Road initiative", he adds.

In his intervention, Dr. Mirza said, "More than 100 human rights activists are languishing in prisons. For every 25 people, Pakistan has deployed one soldier in Gilgit Baltistan. Almost every single government official serving in Gilgit Baltistan is Pakistani".

"Our natural resources are being plundered. UN resolutions regarding Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan seem to have become obsolete hence a new approach has become the need of the hour. Therefore, I demand that Pakistan be tried for war crimes and that the world should collectively demand the withdrawal of the Pakistan Army from our lands. That all belt and road initiative projects between Pakistan and China should be declared illegal by the United Nations," he told the UN.

Dr. Mirza said, "A truth and reconciliation commission should be set up to investigate the 1990s genocide of Hindu Pandits in Kashmir committed by Pakistan Sponsored Jihadi Terrorists in collaboration with local Muslim clergy". (ANI)

Renowned wildlifer Raj Singh unveils Luxury Cruise for untouched destinations along Indian rivers

Antara Cruises unveils its Luxury River Cruises. (Image: ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): People may have heard about luxury sea cruising but courtesy Antara Cruises, luxury river cruising while keeping environmental sustainability in mind, is now the new norm in India these days.

Renowned Indian wildlifer and author, Raj Singh and luxury hospitalit
y industry leader Hemant Mediratta recently launched the Antara Luxury River Cruises.

Luxury river cruising is relatively a new concept in India with tremendous scope for experiential discovery of both, the known and the untouched destinations of the country. Since its launch, the brand has been extremely well received by the well-heeled luxury traveler who seeks a seamless holiday experience.

The lavish 'All Suite' cruises take you to untouched destinations along the Indian rivers while the customer experiences the 'all-inclusive' warm, personalized and unmatched hospitality.

"We are extremely delighted to have Hemant on board, he comes with rich experience of building organizations and expanding and developing new markets for us. I am sure he will add tremendous value towards the growth of Antara Cruises," Raj Singh, Founder and Chairman of the group said.

As the world continues to address the challenges pertaining to COVID-19, Mediratta said, "The true spirit of Antara is built around serving from the heart, nurturing strong relationships with our guests, partners, colleagues and our communities. We do this by being responsible in our actions and to this effect have introduced 'ANTARA ASSURE' heightened hygiene, health and safety protocol that has been implemented based on local and international health experts and authorities to offer a comforting and enjoyable experience to our guests and a safe workplace for our team members."

The 'all-suite' offering, French balconies, expansive social spaces, plush on-board amenities, unique gastronomy experiences, wellness, sunrise yoga, activities on-board, and excursions make Antara cruises a perfect venue for pre-wedding retreats, milestone events like anniversaries, birthdays, spiritual retreats and family reunion while sailing on the Ganges.

The ships are currently stationed in Kolkata, follow the course of the holy river up to Varanasi and have itineraries available for bespoke charters from 2-11 nights itinerary. (ANI)

Pakistan a failed state with no regard for values, culture of democracy, says India in right of reply at UNHRC

Vimarsh Aryan, First Secretary, MEA, exercises India's Right of Reply in response to Pakistan at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. (Image: ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], September 24 (ANI): India on Thursday lambasted Pakistan in its Right of Reply at the UNHRC in Geneva, terming it "a failed state" with no regard for values and culture of democracy and noted that its shenanigan of running with the hare and hunting with the hound was hard to miss.

Exercising India's Right of Reply in response to "mendacious statement" delivered by Pakistan at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Vimarsh Aryan, First Secretary, MEA, said it is very unfortunate to witness incessant and insensible ranting by Pakistan on issues that are extraneous to the mandate of this Council and which relate to the internal affairs of India.

"Pakistan's sole objective as a member of this Council is to distract the attention of international community from serious human rights violations committed by it against its own people, and in Indian territories occupied by it," Aryan said.

He said Pakistan is epicentre of global terrorism and a strong proponent of monoethnic culture and monoethnic dominance and "is violating every single international treaty and declaration on human rights as we speak".

"Pakistan as a state is a threat not only to religious and ethnic minorities within Pakistan and in the illegally occupied territories of India, but if left unchecked by the international community it will grow on to become a threat to the international peace and harmony. The malafide intent that drives Pakistani deep state is in total contradiction to the objectives and principles that we all have gathered to promote, in this temple of human rights," he said.

Aryan said in these extraordinary times of pandemic when everyone is putting on a mask for the safety and protection of fellow human beings, Pakistan "unfortunately is using another kind of pernicious mask to masquerade as a champion of human rights that it itself violates egregiously by torturing and persecuting minorities".

India said that the deep state of Pakistan pretends to speak for the rights of human beings but unleashes state sponsored cross-border terrorism against it and ruthlessly targets innocent lives.

"Human rights are meant for human beings, but it defeats common sense to see how the deep State of Pakistan on one hand pretends to speak for the rights of human beings while at the same time it has unleashed state sponsored cross border terrorism against my country and is ruthlessly targeting innocent lives. It is high time for this Council and the international community to address the irony where a failed state like Pakistan with no regard whatsoever for values and culture of democracy dares to preach an open and transparent democratic system like India," Aryan said.

"The Pakistani shenanigan of running with the hare and hunting with the hound is hard to miss. I can only advise them that instead of squandering the membership of this human rights forum for purposes which are neither humane nor right, they should address the gross human rights violations that are being inflicted upon thousands like Rubina and her husband, the poor workers from Punjab province who cannot freely practice their own faith and are being pressurized to convert their religion in order to be paid for a living, despite their labour and hard work," he added.

Aryan said "politicization and hijacking of the agendas" of the council by Pakistan for purely political purposes has undermined the credibility of this Council, "which we strongly object to and urge other members also to do so". (ANI)

Bombay HC to hear bail applications of Rhea, her brother on Sept 29

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 24 (ANI): The Bombay High Court on Thursday said that it will take up the bail applications filed by Rhea Chakraborty and her Showik Chakraborty on September 29. Both of them have been arrested in a drug case linked with Sushant Singh Rajput's death.

While arg
uing in the court, Chakraborty's lawyer Satish Maneshinde said that the investigation of offence lodged under the NDPS ought to have transferred to CBI as the as per Supreme Court's order.

He said that the central government has empowered CBI to investigate Rajput's death so the NCB has no jurisdiction.

"The investigations by NCB are without jurisdiction and illegal in view of the fact that the Case no 16/20 is in relation to drug angle in the death of SSR as per NCB , the SC in its order dated August 19 had directed that all cases in relation to SSR death be transferred to CBI. Therefore, the investigations are illegal," Maneshinde argued.

"The offences for which she's charged are bailable as 27A is not applicable to the present case. The embargo on bail under section 37 of NDPS applies to Commercial Quantities only and the offences in relation to Rhea at worst are of Small quantity. Nothing has been seized from Rhea. It's a witch hunt," he said.

Rhea Chakraborty's judicial custody has been extended till October 6.

Earlier on September 11, the court had rejected the bail plea of Rhea, her brother, and others observing that if she is released on bail she may alert other accused persons and they may destroy evidence in the matter.

The NCB had launched an investigation after it received official communication from Enforcement Directorate (ED), in which there were various chats related to drug consumption, procurement, usage and transportation in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case.

The ED had on July 31 registered an Enforcement Case Information Report in the late actor's death case after a First Information Report was filed by Rajput's father KK Singh against Rhea Chakraborty in Bihar on July 28.

Rajput was found dead at his Mumbai residence on June 14. (ANI)

Finance Ministry allows five states to raise Rs 9,913 crore as additional borrowings on meeting reform targets

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New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): The Union Finance Ministry has granted permission to raise additional financial resources of Rs 9,913 crore to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Karnataka and Tripura through Open Market Borrowings.

Fin Min grants permission to raise additional financial resource
s of Rs 9,913 crore to five states through Open Market Borrowings

The permission is accorded after these States met the condition of implementation of the 'One Nation One Ration Card'.

"The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, has granted permission to raise additional financial resources of Rs. 9,913 crore to 5 (five) States through Open Market Borrowings (OMBs). These states are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Karnataka and Tripura. This permission has been accorded after these States successfully met the reform condition of implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System," read a press statement from the Ministry of Finance on Thursday.

According to the press statement, the state-wise details of the additional borrowing permission granted by the Government of India are as follows: -Andhra Pradesh-Rs 2,525 crore, Telangana - Rs 2,508 crore, Karnataka - Rs 4,509 crore, Goa- Rs.223 crore, and Tripura-Rs 148 crore.

The press statement further read, in view of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic the Central Government had in May, 2020 allowed additional borrowing limit of up to 2 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to the States for the year 2020-21. This made an amount up to Rs 4,27,302 crore available to the States.

One percent of this is subject to the implementation of following four specific State-level reforms, where the weightage of each reform is 0.25 percent of GSDP:-Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System; Ease of doing business reform; Urban Local body/ utility reforms; and Power Sector reforms.

"The remaining additional borrowing limit of one per cent was to be released in two installments of 0.50 per cent each - first immediately to all the States as untied, and the second on undertaking at least 3 out of the above-mentioned reforms,' the press statement read

The Government of India has already granted permission to States to raise the first 0.50 percent as OMB in June, 2020. This made an additional amount of Rs 1,06,830 crore available to the States, it added. (ANI)

India slams Qureshi's remarks at CICA meet, says Pakistan continuing its spurious narrative

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New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for misusing another forum by "continuing its spurious narrative" and said Islamabad has no locus standi to comment on India's internal affairs.

In its right to reply during virtual CICA Special Ministerial Meeting on Thursday
, India said Pakistan is the global epicentre of terrorism and continues to be the source of terrorist activities in India.

In response to remarks by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, India advised the neighbouring country to cease its sponsorship and overt and covert support to terrorism against India.

"Unfortunately, Pakistan has misused another forum by continuing its spurious narrative about India. The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and will remain an integral part of India. Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on India's internal affairs," India said in its right to reply.

New Delhi also said that Pakistan's remarks today constitute gross interference in India's internal affairs, sovereignty and territorial integrity which is inconsistent with the CICA Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA Member States of September 1999.

"Pakistan is the global epicentre of terrorism and continues to be the source of terrorist activities in India. We advise Pakistan to cease its sponsorship and overt and covert support to terrorism against India. This will enable the two countries to engage and address issues bilaterally rather than distract this important forum from its agenda," India said in its reply.

Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. (ANI)

European think-tank exposes Pakistan at UN for harbouring terrorists

Veronica Ekelund, Research Analyst at EFSAS

Geneva [Switzerland], September 24 (ANI):
The European Foundation for South Asian Studies, a think-tank based in Amsterdam has exposed Pakistan for harbouring terrorists in its territory during the ongoing 45th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In her intervention, Veronica Ekelund, Rese
arch Analyst at EFSAS said that Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have time and again confessed at international platforms that their country shelters terrorists.

"Respect for human rights is universal and paramount and applies to all countries, including Pakistan. And, Terrorism inherently undermines the promotion and protection of human rights. Talking to CNN in February 2019, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi admitted that UN-designated Terrorist and Chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Masood Azhar, resides in Pakistan. To BBC in March 2019, Mr Qureshi also confessed that his Government and Jaish-e-Mohammed maintained official contact", Veronica told the UN.

She added, "In July 2019, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan told the US Institute of Peace in Washington that his country hosts 40,000 terrorists. In June 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan referred to Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden as a "Martyr" in the country's Parliament. Last month, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the presence of UN Designated Terrorist, Dawood Ibrahim on its territory".

Veronica said that Pakistani officials have time and again confessed; the country continues to be a safe haven for terrorists and terrorist organizations.

"The UN Security Council's consolidated list of terrorist individuals and entities includes 146 entries from Pakistan. With all due respect, I am compelled to ask. Why is Pakistan still a member of this August Council?", she said in her intervention. (ANI) 

NBC's 'This Is Us' moves up premiere date

A still from 'This Is Us' (Image courtesy: Instagram)

Washington [US], September 24 (ANI): Television broadcasting company NBC is moving up the premiere date of drama series 'This Is Us', giving it one of the earliest debuts of any network "fall" dramas as production starts to ramp up.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series' fifth season had b
een scheduled to premiere November 10. NBC has moved that date up by two weeks, setting a new debut for October 27.

The change will move 'This Is Us' six days ahead of ABC's 'The Good Doctor' on November 2, and the first drama on the big four broadcasters -other than acquired shows and a couple of series that moved back from planned summer debuts -- to premiere this season. The CW's 'Supernatural' will begin its final run of episodes on October 8.

Production on 'This Is Us' started this week, making for a relatively short turnaround between filming and airdate. A source told The Hollywood Reporter that producers were happy with scripts for season five and want to get the finished product in front of viewers.

A number of broadcast comedies are also set to premiere in October, including NBC's Superstore and ABC's The Goldbergs, The Conners, Black-ish, and American Housewife.

However, ABC and NBC had initially slated all their dramas for November. CBS has yet to announce premiere dates for its regular lineup, and The CW is holding all of its 2020-21 series for January. Other than its Sunday animation lineup, which continued production during the pandemic, Fox's scripted shows for the fall are summered holdovers Filthy Rich and Next and acquired series 'L.A.'s Finest', which originally aired on Spectrum Originals. (ANI)

A look at few Indian startups acing AtmaNirbhar game in Indian Med Tech Industry

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New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): At the time of coronavirus pandemic, where there is an urgent need for innovation in the medical industry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged the Indian startups to innovate and become AtmaNirbhar (self-sufficient). With the advent of new-age startups pivoting and bringing solutions for COVID 19, the Indian Med Tech Industry saw a lot of boost and support. Many Indian Startups aced the aspirational AtmaNirbhar game and are supporting India with their innovation.

Let's look at a few of these startups.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when there is a need for innovation in the medical industry, Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged the Indian startups to innovate and become AtmaNirbhar. In the pandemic, startups stepped up to innovate and find solutions that can help India fight the COVID 19 battle. This led to a lot of disruption in the Indian medical industry. With the advent of new-age startups pivoting and bringing solutions for COVID 19, the Indian Med Tech Industry saw a lot of boost and support. Many Indian Startups aced the aspirational AtmaNirbharga me and are supporting India with their innovation.

Let's look at a few of these startups.

1. Nocca Robotics: An incubatee company of IIT Kanpur launched a high-flow oxygen therapy device to help in the treatment of coronavirus-positive patients, and reduce the chances of them having to undergo painful intubation procedures to help them breathe.

2. Chakra Innovation: IIT-Delhi's incubated startup Chakr innovation has recently come up with 'Chakr DeCoV' that will help decontaminate N95 masks. Chakr DeCoV has been designed with an innovative decontamination mechanism and it appears in a form of a cabinet, inside which masks can be placed.

3. Thinkerbell Labs: Bengaluru-based startup, Thinkerbell Labs has received a grant by the Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), an initiative by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for developing 'Chakravyuh', a product that helps to collect and analyze real-time data on COVID-19.

4. Minion Labs: Bengaluru-based Energy Analytics startup MinionLabs, has introduced a new product 'MinionLabs UV Saaph' - a disinfectant machine that can sterilise the surface of anything in less than 10 minutes. Designed in the shape of a microwave, MinionLabs UV Saaph Standard has a disinfection chamber with a total capacity of 28 litres. It provides 360-degree exposure of ultraviolet-C (UVC) to the objects placed inside the cabinet to sanitize them. The UVC light technology kills 99.99% of SARS-COV-2, and other pathogens like germs, bacteria and fungicides.

5. Marut Dronetech: They have developed two types of drones that are being used by the Telangana government and various departments across the state. The drones are being deployed for spraying disinfectant in public spaces to prevent the coronavirus. They can disinfect 50 times more area than what can be done using traditional methods. (ANI)

For the 1st time in real estate, Bhutani Group offers an advance return offer

Ashish Bhutani, MD, Bhutani Group

Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], September 24 (ANI/NewsVoir): Bringing a paradigm shift to the way assured return is doled out to the buyers, Bhutani Group, the NCR based and leading realty player in commercial real estate, has come with a unique offer where the buyers can get the annual return in advance after making the down payment.

The mega offer will work on their 50:25:25 plan and will be available on all their commercial projects in Noida. The group is expecting revenue of Rs 1000 crore during the festival season.

"Real estate sector has never seen such an offer, and we are hopeful of getting a good response. The down payment is 50 per cent of the total amount, and the customer has to pay the next 25 per cent after three years. The buyer can deduct the annual return of three years from the down payment amount or else we will give them a cheque of three years' annual return after the realisation of their down payment cheque," said Ashish Bhutani, MD, Bhutani Group, while divulging details about the offer.

The Mega Offer is valid on all their projects - Grandthum (Sector 1, Greater Noida West), Cyberthum (Sector 140A, Noida) and Alphathum (Sector 90, Noida). All the projects by Bhutani Group are green and are IGBC Gold certified. "The idea behind all our projects is to present the people of Noida with iconic structures that will add value to their lifestyle. The projects offer great office space location for top companies looking for space in the city. With plenty of residential development happening in Noida, the projects enjoy great catchment for both offices and retail spaces," he adds.

With the ongoing festival season, the Group has already started getting inquiries, and the offer announcement is likely to act as a catalyst to sales. "As festival season is approaching, it is our gift to the customers that will help them realise their dreams. Real estate asset has come out strong in these tough times, and we want to iron out every possible hindrance from the path of the buyers. We are sure that this season would be phenomenal as we have witnessed an increased number of queries from end-users. The enquiry to sales ratio is already very encouraging, and it is likely to improve further," said Bhutani.

Bhutani Group is synonymous with Best Commercial projects in Noida. Among all the commercial projects in Noida the best commercial projects are delivered by the Bhutani Group, for example, i-Thum, Corenthum located in sector 62, Noida.

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

Air passenger and cargo markets continue to recede due to border closures: AAPA

The results underscore the need for governments to review existing restrictions and implement harmonised protocols. (Image: ANI)

Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], Sep 24 (ANI): International air passenger demand stayed severely depressed in August as a result of ongoing border restrictions, preliminary figures released on Thursday by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) showed.

There was little indication of recovery in sig
ht for the remainder of the year unless coordinated actions are taken to restore global connectivity, said AAPA.

Asia Pacific airlines carried only one million international passengers in August or just 3 per cent of the 34 million passengers carried in the same month of 2019.

Offered seat capacity was relatively higher at 9.6 per cent of the levels operated last year. The average international passenger load factor was 35.8 per cent for the month.

International air cargo demand in August as measured in freight tonne-kilometers registered a 19.3 per cent decline year-on-year, reflecting the ongoing weakness of global trade flows.

Freighter operations remained active but significant cuts in the numbers of passenger flights led to a 33.4 per cent year-on-year overall decline in offered freight capacity.

As a result, the average international freight load factor increased by 12.3 percentage points to 70.6 per cent for the month.

AAPA Director General Subhas Menon said the latest traffic results underscore the need for governments to review existing restrictions and implement harmonised protocols based on objective risk assessments.

"Uncoordinated measures and abrupt changes to protocols only serve to diminish travel confidence, with wider repercussions that impact consumers and businesses far beyond the aviation industry," he said in a statement. (ANI)

Take the politics out of COVID-19 vaccine says Kazakhstan President Tokayev

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev participated in the 75th-anniversary session of the UN General Assembly. (Image: ANI)

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan], September 24 (ANI):
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev participated in the 75th-anniversary session of the UN General Assembly and delivered a speech at the high-level General Debate on September 23, 2020. The event was taking place online due to the international
 COVID-19 pandemics.

In his pre-recorded message President Tokayev stressed that the international community needs to build a strong global health system; must take the politics out of the vaccine; to revise the International Health Regulations to increase the World Health Organization's capacity; to develop a network of Regional Centers for Disease Control and Biosafety under the UN auspices; to establish the International Agency for Biological Safety.

He outlined approaches to solving current problems and challenges in the contemporary world, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, restoring global economic growth, countering terrorism, nuclear disarmament, and non-proliferation, as well as climate change.

Besides that, the Kazakh President also focused on strengthening the UN's role in strengthening international cooperation and trust.

According to the President, the international community obviously needs to do more to combat the pandemic. First of all, as he said, to build a strong global health system priority must be given to upgrading national health institutions through timely and coordinated support from developed countries and UN agencies.

"In the wake of this unprecedented human tragedy, on behalf of my country-fellows I extend the profound gratitude to all medical professionals and frontline staff members who work very hard to protect us," said President Tokayev.

In addition, the Head of State stressed upon the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, commitment to the <>, and regional cooperation in Central Asia.

"We will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030 through an economic overhaul and industrial modernization. And yet, in the next five years, we will plant more

than two billion trees," Kazakhstan President emphasized.

Additionally, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has revealed Kazakhstan's domestic policy issues, particularly the implementation of the <> Concept and proposed a number of international initiatives, one of which will be aimed at acknowledging the merits of volunteers worldwide.

"To acknowledge the role of volunteers, I propose the United Nations proclaim an International Year of Mobilizing Volunteers for Development," Kazakhstan President said.

Concluding his speech at the General Political Debate, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed that Kazakhstan will always remain a strong supporter of the UN and will actively participate in fulfilling our collective aspiration for a better and happier future. (ANI) 

RITES bags Rs 206 crore contract for road over bridges in AP

The company is a leading player in transport consultancy and engineering sector. (Photo: ANI)

Gurugram (Haryana) [India], Sep 24 (ANI): (ANI): Government-owned RITES Ltd said on Thursday it has been awarded a turnkey contract worth Rs 205.85 crore for construction of road over bridges in Andhra Pradesh.

The order covers the construction of four roads over bridges in replacement of level cros
sings on the Vijaywada-Vishakhapatnam section.

A memorandum of understanding will be executed between RITES and South Central Railway in due course, it said in a brief statement.

RITES is a mini-Ratna category one schedule A public sector enterprise and a leading player in the transport consultancy and engineering sector in India, having diversified services and geographical reach.

The company has experience spanning 46 years with projects in over 55 countries including Asia, Africa, Latin America, South America and Middle East regions. (ANI)

MP Congress asks ECI to take action against BJP candidate for using Lord Ram's name in campaign

Congress Party logo

By Archana Prasad, Joymala Bagchi

New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee wrote a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI) demanding action against BJP candidate and state Transport Minister Gobind Singh Rajput from Surkhi assembly constituency for seeking votes in the name of Lord Rama.

complaint was made on September 21.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee in its letter alleged that Gobind Singh Rajput is misusing the government's machinery and demanded that Rajput be removed from the post of minister at the earliest.

The complaint was made after Singh took out 'ramleela rathyatra' from September 2 to September 13, in which the Congress alleged that he is misguiding the voters in the by-polls.

"We urge the Election Commission to take action against minister Govind Singh Rajput, who is not an MLA and has been made a minister just to fight the Vidhan Sabha by-polls. He is misusing ministerial post and through it also misusing the administrative wing and machinery and the religious feelings of simple-minded voters' are being exploited to seek votes in the name of Lord Ram," the complaint letter stated.

While talking to ANI, Congress spokesperson JP Dhanopia said, "Gobind Singh Rajput from Surkhi assembly constituency has started election campaign for the upcoming by-polls in the name of Lord Ram. He is dragging religious aspects into politics for his personal benefit. He has been distributing calendars with images of Ram Mandir, BJP party symbol and his photo imprinted on it."

He also alleged that "Singh has been telling voters that if a voter votes for the lotus symbol (BJP's party symbol) a piece of brick will be installed in Ram Mandir (Ayodhya) on behalf of that voter's name. We demand immediate action by Election commission on this act."

Congress's MP wing demanded immediate action against the said complaint and sought his removal from the state Cabinet for the sake of an unbiased bypoll in Surkhi, Madhya Pradesh.

As the dates of by-polls in 28 assembly seats is yet to be declared by the election body, the model code of conduct (MCC) has not been enforced yet.

By-elections are due on 28 seats which fell vacant following the resignations of 24 Congress MLAs and the death of two legislators earlier.

In March, 22 Congress MLAs resigned from the state Assembly paving the way for BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan to take over as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister for the fourth time. (ANI)

Hitachi Air Conditioners strives to offer seamless customer service


New Delhi [India], September 24 (ANI/PRNewswire): Johnson Controls - Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd, a manufacturer of the legacy air conditioners brand Hitachi, has always believed in providing cooling and heating solutions, for homes and businesses, that empower the customers to have complete control of their indoors.

With the outbreak of the global pandemic at the beginning of summer, not only customers but also the service providers have been facing the heat. In order to stay proactive and continue to make lives better adhering the social distancing guidelines issued by the government, Johnson Controls - Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd, has always remained available in resolving the issues of its customers with service team operational at full strength.

To get quick response to queries or to register for Hitachi Service, customers can reach out on the Customer Care helpline (0)756788-4848 (M) or 079-7141-4848 (L) or mail on from the comfort of their homes.

They can seek technical support for any type and model of Hitachi air conditioners, get information about Hitachi service center locations, status of a repair, new offers and also request for demo and installation of Hitachi air conditioners that they have just bought. This service is available from 9 am to 6 pm.

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

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