Friday, September 25, 2020

Balochistan suffering a severe humanitarian crisis, activist told UN

Qambar Malik Baloch at the 45th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. (ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], September 25 (ANI): A Baloch political activist has told the United Nations that Balochistan is suffering a severe humanitarian crisis, having been in the throes of a ruthless genocidal conflict for the past two decades.

While making an intervention during the 45th Session of U
N Human Rights Council in Geneva, Qambar Malik Baloch said, "The Pakistani army's sponsored death squads are roaming with impunity. A large number of Baloch youth has been the victim of forcible disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Thousands of them have fled to different countries in recent years".

A senior member of London-Based Baloch Human Rights Council, Qambar said, "The military establishment of Pakistan and its clandestine agencies are kidnappings, torturing, and murdering activists and human rights defenders to counter the Baloch people's demand to exercise their right to self-determination. The recent killing of a student Hayat Baloch in Turbat testifies to that. He was brutally murdered by the Frontier Corps while his parents were forced to watch his unfortunate fate."

He added, Considering the gravity of the situation, we request this council to put a resolution in the Council to send a fact-finding mission to Balochistan to investigate the gross violations of human rights and subsequently, make the state military officials accountable for their crimes against humanity in Balochistan." (ANI)

Indian delegate walks out as Imran Khan begins speech at UNGA

Indian delegation walks out ahead of Imran Khan's speech. (ANI)

New York [US], September 25 (ANI): The Indian delegate at the United Nations General Assembly session walked out when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan began his speech in which he made comments on India's internal affairs.

The Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations TS Tirumurti sa
id that Khan's statement was "a new diplomatic low".

He said Khan's speech was another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, warmongering and obfuscation of Pakistan's persecution of its own minorities and of its cross-border terrorism.

Tirumurti said India will give a befitting reply in its Right of Reply.

"PM of Pakistan statement a new diplomatic low - at 75th UN General Assembly. Another litany of vicious falsehood, personal attacks, warmongering and obfuscation of Pakistan's persecution of its own minorities and of its cross-border terrorism. Befitting Right of Reply awaits," Tirumurti said in a tweet.

Baloch and Sindhis protest outside UN against Pakistan's human rights violations in Balochistan & Sindh

Baloch and Sindhis protest outside UN against Pakistan's human rights violations in Balochistan & Sindh. (ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], September 25 (ANI): The Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) and the World Sindhi Congress (WSC) held a joint protest outside the UN building at the Broken Chair in Geneva during the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against the institutionalised state violence and other forms of socio-economic and political suppression of the Baloch and Sindhi people by the Pakistan military.

Human Rights defenders from various nationalities including Pashtuns and Kashmiris who also suffer at the hands of the military establishment of Pakistan, participated in the protest and expressed solidarity with the Baloch and Sindhis.

Samad Baloch the Secretary-General of the BHRC led the protest whereas those who addressed the protest included the Secretary-General of WSC Dr Lakhu Luhana, KaihanMashriqwala leader of the PTM Italy and a human rights defender Anila Gulzar.

The protestors called the United Nations and the International community to live up to their mandate and commitments without any hindrance and political pressures and make Pakistan which is a signatory to various human rights instruments to end its genocidal policies in Balochistan and Sindh.

"Stop Abducting Baloch People", "Pakistan Stop Baloch Genocide", "Stop Abducting Sindhi People" were slogans chanted by the protesters while different roller banners highlighting the various violations of human rights in Balochistan and Sindh by Pakistan were put on display.

"The perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Balochistan must be tried in the International court of justice" read one of the banners.

Following the protest, a memorandum documenting some of the major human rights issues requiring urgent attention was also submitted to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by the BHRC representatives. (ANI)

World doesn't need lessons of Human rights from a country known as "nursery and epicenter of terrorism": India slams Pak at UN

Senthil Kumar, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India, Geneva. (Photo: ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], September 25 (ANI): India again gave a befitting reply to Pakistan at the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations on Friday saying that the world doesn't need lessons on human rights from a country which has been known as "nursery and epicenter of terrorism".

Addressing the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council at the UN, Senthil Kumar, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India, Geneva, hit out at Islamabad and said Pakistan "uses every opportunity to make unfounded and fallacious remarks against my country, which reflect their negative and paranoic state of mind".

"Before preaching to others, Pakistan must remember that terrorism is the worst form of human rights abuse and a crime against humanity. The world doesn't need lessons on human rights from a country which has been known as 'nursery and epicenter of Terrorism'," he said.

Kumar further went on to point out the enforced disappearances, state violence and forced mass displacements, harassment, extrajudicial killings, army operations, torture, kill-and-dumps, torture camps, detention centers, military camps "are regular features" in Balochistan adding that "Nobody knows the fate of missing 47,000 Baloch and 35,000 Pashtuns till date. Sectarian violence has claimed more than 500 Hazaras in Balochistan and more than 100,000 Hazaras have fled Pakistan."

"The Baloch have never felt safe inside Balochistan and now they do not feel safe even outside Pakistan. The case of the disappearance of Rashid Hussain in December 2018, and the killing of journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch after he went missing in March 2020, only serves to demonstrate that the Baloch human rights defenders are being targeted and eliminated even after they quit Pakistan," he added.

The First Secretary further pointed out that it was a matter "of great concern" that the population of religious minorities in Pakistan which was 23% in 1947 has reduced to an insignificant number.

"The reasons are not hard to find. Systemic discrimination and persecution through killings, violence, forced conversions, forced displacement have nearly annihilated religious minorities in Pakistan. In the Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has effected demographic change by reducing and driving the real Kashmiris out," he added. (ANI)

Officials from Australia, Japan, US, India, focus on sharing best practices to combat COVID-19

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New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): Senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the US Department of State in a video conference on Friday spoke about the importance of sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic.

"In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the officials underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic. The officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The statement further added that the officials reiterated their firm support for ASEAN-Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms particularly the leaders-led East Asia Summit, in the regional architecture for the India-Pacific, and their readiness to work with ASEAN and all other countries towards realising a common and promising vision for the India-Pacific.

"They appreciated the Vietnamese chairmanship of the ASEAN and looked forward to the 15th East Asia Summit in November this year. The officials looked forward to the ministerial consultations to be held later this year," it said further. (ANI)

UN must intervene to protect minorities from persecution in Pakistan, asks woman activist

Anila Gulzar during the 45th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. (Photo: ANI)

Geneva [Switzerland], September 25 (ANI): A rights activist from Pakistan, Anila Gulzar has requested the United Nations to intervene and protect the rights of minorities in Pakistan as they have been facing persecution for the past seven decades.

While making an intervention during the 45th Session
 of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Gulzar said, "Minorities are suffering for the past 73 years in Pakistan. I would like the world to know that a lot of Christians have left Pakistan due to fear of being persecuted by Blasphemy law. They are languishing in Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Srilanka."

She said, "Every year 1000 minor Christian Hindu and Sikh girls are kidnapped and forcefully converted and married to their kidnappers".

A 37-year-old Christian man Asif Pervez refused to accept Islam and was arrested in 2013 under Blasphemy law and has now sentenced to death.

A 14-year-old Hindu girl named Mehek Kumari was abducted on her way to school in Jacobabad and forcefully converted to Islam and married to her abductor.

Gulzar added, "I request the United Nations Human Rights Council to intervene in this situation. Thousands of Pakistani minority refugees are languishing all over the world. At least they should be settled in Europe and Canada so that their nightmare can be over." (ANI)

Jaishankar exchanges views on developments in Afghanistan with Dostum

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar meets former Afghan vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum. (ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday met former Afghan vice president Abdul Rashid Dostum and said India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process.

Jaishankar said in a tweet that he exchanged views o
n developments in Afghanistan and the larger region with Marshal Dostum.

"Glad to meet Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum. Exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan and the larger region. His vast experience and deep insights were evident. India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process," Jaishankar said.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla also met Field Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and listened to his insights on the Afghan peace process and evolving situation.

"Constitutional order and rights of all sections of Afghan society were also discussed. India has conveyed it's long term commitment to Afghanistan," Srivastava said in a tweet.

The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar's capital Doha to end decades of war in which tens of thousands have been killed.

Jaishankar had participated in the opening ceremony of Afghan peace negotiations in Doha through video conferencing and reiterated that the peace process should be Afghan-led and ensure the interests of minorities and women.

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

According to Tolo News, President Ghani, speaking at the 75th UN General Assembly via video conference on Wednesday night, said, "the Afghan people have a clear and urgent priority: a ceasefire".

"An urgent end to the violence, will more than anything else, give us a chance to progress," he said.

Tolo News reported that both parties had formed "small contact groups" on the opening day of peace talks and have held close to five meetings to discuss rules, regulations and agenda of the negotiations. (ANI)

Maritime Exercise Between Japan and India to Commence off West Coast of India

Visual from JIMEX 18 (File Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): The 4th edition of India-Japan maritime bilateral exercise JIMEX, which is conducted biennially between the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) will be held in the North Arabian Sea from 26 to 28 September 2020.

JIMEX series of exercise
s commenced in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam, India.

Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over the years. Advanced level of operations and exercises planned during JIMEX-20 are indicative of the continued upswing in Indo-Japanese defence relations and continued efforts by both Governments to work closely for a more secure, open and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations.

JIMEX 20 will showcase a high degree of inter-operability and joint operational skills through the conduct of a multitude of advanced exercises, across the spectrum of maritime operations.

Multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firings, cross deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine and air warfare drills will consolidate coordination developed by the two navies.

JIMEX 20 will be spread over three days and is being conducted in a 'non-contact at-sea-only format', in view of COVID-19 restrictions.

Indigenously built stealth destroyer Chennai, Teg Class stealth frigate Tarkash and Fleet Tanker Deepak, under the command of Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, will represent the Indian Navy. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will be represented by JMSDF Ships Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Destroyer and Ikazuchi, a Guided Missile Destroyer, led by Rear Admiral Konno Yasushige, Commander Escort Flotilla - 2 (CCF - 2).

In addition to ships, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, integral helicopters and fighter aircraft will also participate in the exercise.

JIMEX 20 will further enhance the cooperation and mutual confidence between the two navies and fortify the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries. (ANI)

First look of high-speed, energy-efficient train for Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor unveiled

An image of the high-speed, energy-efficient train for Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor. (ANI)

New Delhi (India) September 25 (ANI): The first look of energy-efficient trains with a design speed of 180 kmph for the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) was unveiled on Friday by Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) here. The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor is one of the three prioritised RRTS corridors being implemented in phase-1.

According to National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), which is mandated to implement India's first RRTS in the NCR, the state-of-the-art rolling stock will be first of its kind in the country. On the lines of New Delhi's iconic Lotus Temple, whose design allows the flow of natural sources of light and air circulation, the RRTS rolling stock will have lighting and temperature control systems with less energy consumption.

With radiating stainless steel outer body, these aerodynamic RRTS trains will be lightweight and fully air-conditioned, said NCRTC. Each car will have six automatic plug-in type wide doors, three on each side, with push buttons for the selective opening of doors on need basis. This eliminates the requirement of opening all doors at every station, thus leading to energy saving. The train has been designed keeping in mind high acceleration and deceleration, given the maximum operational speed of 160 kmph and stations at every 5-10 km.

The RRTS trains will have transverse 2x2 seating with adequate legroom, optimised aisle width with grab handles and poles for standing passengers, overhead luggage rack, mobile/laptop charging sockets and on-board Wi-Fi among other commuter-centric features.

The trains will also have one business-class coach each with spacious, comfortable and reclining seats, accessible through a special lounge at the platform-level. The business class will have four doors, two on each side. An automatic food-vending machine will also be installed in the business coach.

Also, one coach on every train will be reserved for women passengers.

Given the high-speed train operations, all RRTS stations will have Platform Screen Doors, to which the train doors will be integrated.

Mishra, who is also the NCRTC Chairman, said infrastructure is one of the five pillars of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "It is a matter of great pride that these high-speed, high-frequency commuter trains for RRTS are entirely being manufactured under the government's 'Make in India' policy. The environment-friendly, energy-efficient trains will improve the quality of life in and around NCR by accelerating economic growth, creating economic opportunities and at the same time reducing air pollution, carbon footprint, congestion, and accidents."

Deliberating on the benefits of the project, NCRTC Managing Director Vinay Kumar Singh said the RRTS rolling stock will be energy-efficient with about 30 per cent regeneration during braking. "The NCRTC has awarded the rolling stock work with an integrated long-term comprehensive maintenance by the manufacturer, thus leveraging the benefits of life cycle costing," he said.

The entire rolling stock for Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor will be manufactured at Bombardier's Savli plant in Gujarat. It will have double-glazed, tempered large safety glass windows that will offer passengers a panoramic view of the outside.

Equipped with public announcement and display systems, dynamic route map and infotainment display, along with emergency communication facilities, the train is designed for modern visual and audio announcements, which orient passengers with information about next stop, final destination, etc.

Besides, the train will have close circuit television cameras, fire and smoke detector, fire extinguisher and door indicator, apart from a universally accessible dedicated wheelchair space located near the doorway.

The prototype is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2022 and will be put into public use after extensive trials. The NCRTC will procure 30 train sets of six cars each for operating regional rail services on the entire corridor and 10 train sets of three cars each for operating local transit services in Meerut.

The 82-km-long Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor, the first RRTS corridor being implemented, will bring down the travel time between Delhi and Meerut by around one-third to less than an hour from three to four hours by road at present. Civil construction work on about 50-km long section between Sahibabad and Shatabdi Nagar, Meerut, is in full swing, including the construction of four stations - Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, Guldhar and Duhai. The priority section of the corridor is targeted to be commissioned in 2023, while the entire corridor will be commissioned in 2025.

The other two Phase-I RRTS corridors are Delhi-Gurugram-SNB and Delhi-Panipat. Pre-construction activities are in full swing for Delhi-Gurugram-SNB corridor and its Detailed Project Report (DPR) is under active consideration of the Government of India for sanction. The DPR of the Delhi-Panipat RRTS corridor is also under active consideration of the respective state governments for approval.

The NCRTC board of directors and senior officials of the MoHUA, NCRTC and Bombardier India were also present on the occasion. (ANI)

IIT Guwahati students launch Flyzy App for the contactless, seamless air travel amid COVID19 pandemic

Deepak Meena with Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO of National Health Authority on the launch of Flyzy app event (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): In what it could be the relief to the airplane travellers amid the COVID19 pandemic in the country that-- a group of students from IIT Guwahati has launched the Flyzy mobile application on Friday for the contactless, seamless travel experience for airplane passengers.

According to IIT students, Flyzy App is one of its kind mobile-based contactless software technology. This in-house developed mobile-based software will strengthen the aviation industry, making it future-ready to fight against diseases like COVID-19.

While launching the Flyzy App on Friday, Dr Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer of National Health Authority (NHA) said: "Flyzy app is capable of bringing back the pre-COVID like travel where people can move around safely and stress-free without putting their lives in danger. I wish the Flyzy team of enterprising youngsters success in bringing about a positive change in the aviation business."

"Flyzy App is just a tip of the iceberg. In the future, Flyzy will be developing various in-house aviation technologies that are entirely Made in India, which will not only make Indian Aviation Self-Reliant but also make India the global provider of world-class aviation technology. The Beta version of the Flyzy App is currently available on Play Store for Android and soon will be available on Apple App Store for iOS," said Deepak Meena, CEO of Flyzy adding that they believe safe travel is not a luxury; it's the need of the hour.

Explaining salient features of the Flyzy mobile application, Meena said that it enables the passenger to have a stress-free air-travel, by providing features starting from universal web check-in, mobile boarding pass, live flight status, airport guide, contactless shopping, airport maps and lot more.

Hansraj Patel and Arjit Singh, other founder members of the mobile application says that Flyzy App connects all the major air-travel stakeholders at a single platform, to enhance the travel experience and drive commercial revenues for airports, airlines, and travel-retailers

They said that the application is developed as per GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and PDPB (Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019) for the utmost safety of the data.

"It's compatible with Digi Yatra, an initiative of Central government and is designed to integrate the Digi-Yatra ID for enabling the safest and seamless experience," said Singh adding that they are in process of joining hands with all small/big airlines, airports and other government bodies to expand its operations across every airport of India and globally. (ANI)

West Bengal Government and UK India Business Council sign MoU to strengthen the state's industrial development

West Bengal Government and UK India Business Council sign MOU to strengthen the state's industrial development. (Photo: ANI)

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 25 (ANI/NewsVoir): The UK India Business Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), the premier nodal agency of West Bengal's Industry, Commerce and Enterprises Department focused on accelerating industrial development in the state.

This collaborative partnership between the UKIBC and Government of West Bengal will help to boost business and industrial development in the state by proactively developing the business environment and strengthening collaboration with British businesses in West Bengal.

The MoU was signed at a virtual roundtable by Vandana Yadav, Secretary, Industry, Commerce & Enterprises Department & Managing Director, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), Government of West Bengal and Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC in the presence of Nick Low, Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission - Kolkata.

"I am delighted to be signing this MoU today, deepening the UKIBC partnership with the Government of West Bengal. I lived in Kolkata from 2005 to 2008, so it is particularly pleasing for me on a personal basis. As a long-term friend and follower of the State, I have to say that I have never been more impressed by the dynamism and determination of the political and bureaucratic leadership. This is one of the reasons why the UKIBC is so keen to engage and why so many UK businesses want to enter and expand their investment in West Bengal. UK businesses such as BT, Diageo, Chivas Brothers, PwC, HSBC and Standard Chartered are already significant investors in the State. Given the dynamic economic potential on both countries, we believe that there is scope to grow this list even more," said Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC, while speaking on the occasion.

The MoU was signed as part of a virtual roundtable, which examined measures to support businesses in a post-COVID-19 world. What was clear is that Governments and industry are looking beyond the current crisis to re-shape and strengthen economies, supply chains, socio-economic development and business norms post-COVID-19.

"UK and India share great synergies in trade and investment which have only grown in recent years. I am delighted to see the renewal of the MoU between UKIBC and WBIDC which is a testament to the ever increasing engagement between the UK businesses and the Government of West Bengal. As we build back better post pandemic, Government of West Bengal's multiple investment-promotion schemes, along with its business-friendly regulatory environment and resolution to pandemic related business activities, act as a major attraction for the UK based entrepreneurs and corporates," said Nick Low, British Deputy High Commissioner - Kolkata, while speaking about the MoU.

UKIBC will continue to support interactions between UK businesses and the State Government to provide direct feedback from business on the ease of doing business, market access and other relevant issues which can further bolster business confidence and enhance the operating environment for businesses in West Bengal. These interactions will continue in the form of dialogues, annual ministerial meetings and various delegation visits.

UKIBC will also work towards future investment opportunities, strengthening its relationship with state governments, supporting its members in addressing their key asks and smoothing investor interactions in different markets.

The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) is the premier membership-led organisation supporting the promotion of trade, business and investment between the two countries. UKIBC plays an influential role in creating and sustaining an environment in which trade and investment flourishes. Through its insights, networks, policy advocacy, services and facilities, the UK India Business Council supports UK businesses to achieve success.

Find out more by visiting and following @UKIBC on Twitter.

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

Himachal CM issues instructions for media coverage of PM Modi's visit

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur (Photo: ANI)

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], September 25 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Friday presided over a media plan related to PM Narendra Modi's proposed visit to inaugurate the Atal Tunnel Rohtang on October 3, a statement by the state government said.

According to the statem
ent, the CM asked officers to make sure of the installation of LED screens at different locations for live telecast of the event. He added that appropriate hoardings must be installed in different areas and a proper media centre with the internet and other facilities must be established.

Among those who attended the meeting were Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur, Chief Secretary Anil Khachi, Director Information and Public Relations Harbans Singh Brascon. (ANI)

BWF postpones Asian leg of World Tour to Jan 2021

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Kaula Lumpur [Malaysia], September 25 (ANI): Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Friday postponed the Asian leg of the adjusted BWF World 2020 to January 2021.

The three tournaments - Asia Open-! Super 1000, Asia Open-II Super 1000 and the BWF World Tour Finals - will now be held in Bangkok next year.

"It will feature two Super 1000 tournaments, culminating with the BWF World Tour Finals. The decision was announced at a BWF Council meeting on Thursday evening. This means the 2020 season will now finish in January 2021," BWF said.

BWF and Badminton Association of Thailand, in collaboration with the Government of Thailand, completed a feasibility study to ensure all parties can provide a safe COVID-19 framework to stage the three tournaments.

The study concluded Thailand to be the agreed host of the three-tournament Asian leg.
 BWF greatly appreciates the cooperation of the Badminton Association of Thailand and the support and contribution of the Government of Thailand in committing to this important step as part of the restart of international badminton tournaments.

It was agreed by the BWF Council that staging the Asian leg in November as originally planned was no longer a viable option in being able to guarantee the highest standard of tournament including securing all logistical arrangements for players and participants.

"The three Asian leg tournaments now sit alongside the Denmark Open 2020 (October 13-18) in forming the conclusion to the new-look World Tour 2020 calendar," BWF said. (ANI)

Historic reform in Medical Education: National Medical Commission (NMC) constituted, MCI stands abolished

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New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): With coming into effect of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Act from Friday, the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 stands repealed and the Board of Governors appointed in supersession of the Medical Council of India has also been dissolved with effect from the said date, said the Union Health Ministry.

Terming it as historic reform in the field of medical education, the Health Ministry on Friday informed that the much-awaited National Medical Commission (NMC), along with four Autonomous Boards have been made effective by the Central government.

With this, the decade-old institution of the Medical Council of India (MCI) stands abolished. Along with NMC, the four Autonomous Boards of UG and PG Medical Education Boards, Medical Assessment and Rating Board, and Ethics and Medical Registration Board have also been constituted to help the NMC in day to day functioning, informed the government.

According to the health ministry, the key functions of the NMC will be further streamlining regulations, rating of institutions, HR assessment, focus on research. Besides they will work on modalities of the common final year exam after MBBS (NEXT- National Exit Test) to serve for both registration and PG entrance; prepare guidelines for fee regulation by private medical colleges; and developing standards for Community Health Providers to serve in primary healthcare with a limited practicing licence.

"This historic reform will steer medical education towards a transparent, qualitative and accountable system. The basic change that has happened is that the Regulator is now 'selected' on merits, as opposed to an 'elected' Regulator. Men and Women with impeccable integrity, professionalism, experience and stature have been now placed at the helm to steer the medical education reforms further," said the health ministry statement adding that the gazette notification in this regard were issued late last night on the 24th September 2020.

Dr S C Sharma (retd. Prof, ENT, AIIMS, Delhi) has been selected as the Chairperson for a period of three years.

Besides the Chairperson, NMC will have 10 ex-officio members that include Presidents of the four Autonomous Boards, Dr.Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER, Chandigarh, Dr RajendraABadwe, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and Dr SurekhaKishore, Executive Director, AIIMS, Gorakhpur.

In addition, NMC will have 10 nominees from Vice-Chancellors of Health Universities from States/UTs, 9 nominees from State Medical Councils, and three expert members from diverse professions.

Dr SmitaKolhe, a renowned social worker working in the tribal Melaghat area of Maharashtra and Santosh Kumar Kraleti, CEO, Foot Soldiers for Health Pvt Ltd has been nominated as these expert members.

Dr R K Vats will head the Secretariat as Secretary of the NMC.

According to the government, the NMC will carry forward the reforms initiated by the Board of Governors under Dr V K Paul.

Already the number of MBBS seats has been increased over the last six years by 48 per cent from around 54000 in 2014 to 80,000 in 2020. The PG seats have increased by 79 per cent from 24000 to 54000 in the same duration, they informed, health ministry.

It may be recalled that the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament in August, 2019.(ANI)

Nepal adopts ordinance against acid attacks, culprits to face 20 years in jail

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Kathmandu [Nepal], September 25 (ANI): Nepal's Council of Ministers on Friday passed an ordinance against acid attackers amending the Criminal Offence and Criminal Procedure Act which will later take the form of law after ratification from the President.

"If a person dies due to acid attack, then th
e culprit will be awarded a life sentence and in case the victim is injured or body parts are damaged, then, the culprit will be handed over with 20 years in jail and a penalty of one million rupees," Law Minister ShivamayaTumbahangphe told ANI.

The National Criminal Code of the Himalayan Nation already has a provision in the law of a life sentence in case an acid attack victim dies. The new ordinance which tends to criminalized acid attacks has broadened the criteria of penalization for the perpetrator.

As per the new ordinance, if a person sustains injuries over the eyes, ears, nose, face, breast and private parts then the attacker would be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

In case, the attempt fails then the person would be charged with "attempting acid attack and disintegration" and if proved guilty then, they would face a sentence of 10 years.

If victims lose sight of both the eyes, lose hearing capacity, burns on the nose permanently damaging or causing serious dysfunction, damage to the face, burnt breast or permanently damage it in the due course of attack in case of women or permanently damage the private organs or cause harm to it, then the person accountable for the loss or damage will face 20 years of imprisonment and One Million Nepali rupees as fine.

Damage to one eye, ear or hearing disability in one of the ear, burn on the side of the face, burn either side of the breasts in case of women permanently dysfunction-ing it, burn both the hands or legs or cause damage, burn a part of the head or damage it and cause serious impact on the backbone or permanently damage the part, then the culprit would he handed over with jail sentence to maximum 20 years and 10 years in minimum along with a penalty of 7 to 10 Lakhs Nepali rupees.

In case a person encounters any sort of physical damage or harm as a result of an acid attack, then the perpetrator will be handed with a 5 to 10 years prison sentence and a fine of Rupees one lakh to five lakh.

In case the acid attack attempt fails then the attacker would still be found guilty and would face life imprisonment extending to 10 years and 5 Lakhs rupees as a penalty.

The ordinance also has mentioned the later death of the acid attack victim which states that the late death of the victim also would be accounted as murder and damage on other body parts would be decided during the hearing and penalize the attacker.

A new ordinance issued by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli administration also has ensured free of cost treatment for victims of acid attack and also has put a ban on collecting funds in the name to help the victims. (ANI)

Pakistan exploits Kashmiri youth as pawns in its proxy war, says EFSAS director

Pakistan exploits Kashmiri youth as pawns in its proxy war, says EFSAS director

Geneva [Switzerland], September 25 (ANI): Since the late 1980s, Pakistan's military establishment has used youth from Jammu and Kashmir to join its various terrorist proxies like Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, said the director of Amsterdam based think-tank, the European Foundation for South Asian Studies, Junaid Qureshi.

Junaid, who himself is a Kashmiri, was making an intervention at the 45th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

He said, "Legally, Pakistan has no locus standi on Jammu & Kashmir".

Junaid told the UN that rejection of India was the slogan dictated to the youth of Kashmir as Islamabad's aim was the Islamic Caliphate and merger of Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan.

"Thousands of Kashmiris who did not agree were killed by these terrorist proxies. Those who subscribed to the Indian Constitution, were specifically targeted", said Junaid.

He added, "Today, led by its Foreign Minister, Pakistan is demanding a return of the autonomy that Jammu & Kashmir had earlier enjoyed under the Indian Constitution. The same Constitution against which, it started this proxy war in which Kashmiris were massacred".

"Will Pakistan be allowed to get away just like that?", he questioned.

Junaid told the United Nations, "Even after it ruptured our social fabric, ordered the killing of thousands of my fellow Kashmiris, exploited our youth as pawns in its proxy war, and was majorly responsible for getting our autonomy diluted through unleashing its terror-policy?"

"I humbly urge this Council to summon the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for an audit. And hold it, accountable for the destruction of my homeland", he said. (ANI)

Opposition is responsible for chaos in Rajya Sabha over farm bills but is blaming govt: Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar speaking to ANI on Friday. (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): The Opposition is responsible for the chaos in the Rajya Sabha over the farm bills but is blaming the government, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday.

He said, "Ulta chor kotwal ko daante." (The thief is scolding the policeman.)

Speaking to ANI, Jav
adekar said, "Swearing, tearing up documents, attacking the Deputy Speaker, were all acts orchestrated by the Opposition. Only they are culpable for the deplorable and shameful episode in the Rajya Sabha."

"The opposition is responsible for whatever happened in the Rajya Sabha but they are accusing the government. This is the hypocrisy of the Congress," said Javadekar.

"The speaker also gave them an opportunity to apologise for their action but they refused. It could have made the situation better for them. However, the opposition supported their actions," he said.

According to the Union Environment Minister, the government and Congress had envisioned the sale of agricultural produce outside Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) and the present government has implemented it.

The Union Minister asked the opposition why they were were reacting to the bills which they too had envisioned.

"The Congress manifesto itself envisioned the sale of agricultural produce outside APMCs. We also made that same promise. Now since we have fulfilled our end of the vow, how are we wrong? This is hypocrisy on their part," said Javadekar.

"Manmohan Singh ji had said in a speech as PM that the APMC laws needed changes and the farmers must be freed from corresponding restrictions. The Congress should explain what they did for its implementation," he added. (ANI)

West Bengal Forest Minister inaugurates herbal park near Siliguri

West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee has inaugurated a herbal park near Siliguri (Photo/ANI)

Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], September 25 (ANI): West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee has inaugurated a herbal park at Salugara near Siliguri.

The park was inaugurated on September 23 and it is the state's sixth and North Bengal region's third park. It is developed in association with the N
ational Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB).

The department has started planting herbal trees with one hector of land under the forest area of the Baikunthupur forest division with the target of five hectares.

Around hundred of species of medicinal plants especially found in the North Bengal region are being planted in the park. The species are neem, Triphala, amla, Amalaki, haritaki, Arjun, beth Lahori, elachi and others.

Speaking to ANI, Debasish Chakraborty, a forest official of the Salugara range said, "There is a huge demand for medicinal plants in this region, so our department has taken this initiative. We are planning to involve research students of the university and local villagers in this project so that it can work better in the future."

On the other hand, the villagers are happy with the initiative taken by the forest department. They believe that this will not only provide them a job opportunity but also a green nature shed. (ANI)

Maharashtra govt trying to not implement farm bills in state: Ajit Pawar

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar speaking to reporters in Pune on Saturday.

Pune (Maharashtra) [India], September 25 (ANI): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is trying to not implement the farm bills recently passed by Parliament in the state.

"Farmers and farmer organisations have opposed it. NCP also opposed it. 
Many political parties have opposed it as farmers feel it's not beneficial for them. What is the need to hurry for it? We have seen what happened in Rajya Sabha," Pawar told reporters here.

"We are trying that these (farm bills) are not implemented in the state. If the matter goes to the court, what will happen we are studying it that as well. A meeting was held by me in which Minister Jayant Patil, Balasaheb Patil, secretaries and other people were present. We all have discussed it. Advocate General and other related people's opinion has been taken," he said.

"I think Minister Balasaheb Patil has issued an order also in that regard that this should not be implemented here in Maharashtra. In rural areas, the market committees which stood up for farmers will also be in trouble with it," he added.

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. (ANI)

Reliance Jio's in-flight mobile service to be available in 22 partner airlines

Representative Image

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 25 (ANI): The in-flight mobile service launched by Reliance Jio in partnership with the Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, will be available in 22 partner airlines at various airports, a company statement said on Friday.

With this service, 
JioPostpaid Plus users will be able to stay connected with voice and data services on flights while travelling abroad, according to the statement. The services will be available for all Jio customers once the services are available in the Indian airspace.

All the in-flight mobile services will be available in Air Serbia, Alitalia, Asiana Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Euro Wings, Kuwait Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, SWISS, Uzbekistan Airways, and Virgin Atlantic at several airports.

However, only data and SMS services will be available on Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific, Egypt Air, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish Airlines at several airports.

Jio Director Akash Ambani said, "JioPostpaid Plus brings with it industry-defining and highest-quality user experience, and through our partnership with AeroMobile we will now offer in-flight roaming services at an attractive price. We are delighted to bring this new service to our customers, who will be able to enjoy seamless, high-quality, and secure roaming at 20,000 feet, keeping every JioPostpaid Plus user connected, always."

The in-flight mobile service will be available for users at Rs 499 for 250 MB data, 100 minutes of outgoing calls and 100 messages for a day, while Rs 699 and Rs 999 packs include 500 MB data and 1 GB data respectively with 100 minutes of outgoing calls and 100 messages.

Kevin Rogers, Sr Director Mobility Panasonic Avionics, CEO AeroMobile, said, "We are pleased to partner with Jio, and broaden the reach of our connectivity services across India. With the new in-flight roaming bundle, JioPostpaid Plus customers no longer need to worry about connectivity whilst travelling. This new market-leading proposition shows continued commitment to providing the very best service to customers." (ANI)

Centre sanctions 670 electric buses, 241 charging stations under phase-II of FAME India Scheme

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar (File Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): The Centre sanctioned 670 electric buses in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, and Chandigarh as also 241 charging stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday.

Announcing this in a series of tweets, he said, "Happy to announce sanction of 670 E-buses in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Chandigarh and 241 charging stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme. This is in line with PM Narendra Modi's vision to push for eco-friendly public transportation."

"Maharashtra has been sanctioned 240 E-buses, of which 100 E-buses each for MSRTC's Intercity and Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport & 40 E-buses for BEST-Mumbai," he added in another tweet.

The government, while announcing the same in a press release, said that in the first phase of the scheme up to March 31, 2019, about 2,80,987 hybrid and electric vehicles were supported by way of demand incentive, amounting to about Rs 359 crore. Further, the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) sanctioned 425 electric and hybrid buses to various cities in the country with total cost of about Rs 280 crore. It also sanctioned 520 charging stations for Rs 43 crore (approx.) in cities like Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur and NCR of Delhi under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme. "

"At present, Phase-II of FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of 3 years i.e.. From April 1, 2019, with total budgetary support of Rs. 10,000 crore," it added.

The release added, "This phase focuses on supporting electrification of public and shared transportation and aims to support, through subsidies, approximately 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 wheelers, 55,000 e-4 wheeler passenger cars and 10 lakh e-2 wheelers. In addition, creation of charging infrastructure is also supported to address the anxiety among users of electric vehicles." (ANI)

PM Modi expected to highlight India's priorities in UNGA address

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Pic)

New Delhi [India], September 25 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the United Nations General Assembly for the general debate in the 75th session of the General Assembly tomorrow.

He is scheduled as the first speaker in the forenoon of September 26 (Saturday).

Since the UNGA this year 
is being held in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, it is being conducted mostly virtually. Prime Minister's address will, therefore, be via a pre-recorded video statement broadcast at the UNGA hall in New York.

The theme of the 75th UNGA is `The future we want, the United Nations we need, reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism - confronting the COVID-19 through effective multilateral action'.

Prime Minister Modi is also expected to touch on India's priorities at the United Nations.

According to observers, India's focus at the UN is to promote the strengthening of global action on counter-terrorism. India will push for more transparency in the process of listing and delisting of entities and individuals in the sanction committees.

Being one of the largest troop-contributing countries to the peace missions, India will seek to engage intensively in finalizing mandates for the UN peacekeeping mission.

India will continue active engagement on issues relating to sustainable development and climate change.

Promoting its role as a net health service provider, India will highlight its contribution in the global cooperation against COVID-19 through aid to more than 150 countries and as a pharmacy to the world.

This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and India will reiterate its commitments and achievements in women-led development.

India will also refer to its role as a South-South development partner, especially in the context of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

According to analysts, India is committed to the idea of global partnership under SDG 17 including that on climate change and the International Solar Alliance has been created as a step in this direction.

India will also be a non-permanent member of the UNSC for two years beginning January 1 where a "5-S approach" of "Samman (Respect), Samvad (Dialogue), Sahyog (Cooperation), Shanti (Peace) and Samriddhi (Prosperity) will be followed". (ANI)

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